Spoiler alert: The Coast will be recapping episodes of The Bachelorette every week this season. If you missed our introduction to this series, click here. Please stop reading if you don’t want to know what happened in the episode.
The second episode of The Bachelorette’s 18th season aired last night, and it’s a good one. Filled with tear-jerking moments, unanswered questions and pure chaos, it’s a perfect storm of everything reality television should be. Villains emerged! I laughed! I cried! I yelled “Michelle, NO” at my TV!
Let’s jump into it.
We’re down to 23 men, and Michelle can’t wait to get to know them better. She says they’re all “genuine, authentic” guys. (Spoiler alert: They’re not! Obviously!)
The episode kicks off with the season's first group date, which nearly half of the men are invited to. They’re led into a mock elementary school classroom, where three very cute kids are waiting to quiz them alongside Michelle. There are lots of jokes about “lessons in love” and “being put to the test.” Have we mentioned that Michelle is a teacher?????? Have we????????????
The men are asked to solve a bunch of difficult math equations, which most of them struggle with. The only exception is Romeo, a literal mathematician, who majored in math at Harvard. Pizzapreneur Peter (who I find very corny) is angry that the math is hard, itching to prove himself. “There’s a lot of layers to Peter,” he says in third person, describing himself as having an “alpha presence.”
We move onto chemistry, and Peter keeps trying to get Michelle’s attention in the middle of the activity. He repeatedly calls her name as she ignores him (big “look ma! no hands!” energy), until one of the fifth-grade children says “leave her alone!” He does. It’s funny.
Our last activity for the date is a spelling contest. Peter keeps being disruptive and annoying, trying to make every moment about himself. They’re asked to spell “entrepreneur,” and he reminds everyone he is, in fact, a pizzapreneur. I consider turning off the television and drinking a big glass of wine. The contestants are asked to spell the word “narcissist,” and in a pot-stirring move, someone named Will spells out PETER on his board. The whole group laughs. Peter does not.
Onto the group date’s cocktail party! A few of the men get one-on-one time with Michelle, starting with Brandon, who kisses her. As sparks fly, Pizza Peter pulls Will aside to confront him about the narcissist joke. A screaming match commences, complete with finger-pointing and name-calling.
(Before we go any further, I’d like to point out that I called that Peter would suck in my first recap, when I declared him my nemesis. I feel vindicated.)
Michelle pulls Peter aside to ask what happened. He says it was out of character for him. Michelle somehow believes this, and thanks him for his vulnerability.
Brandon gets the group date rose, granting him immunity this week.
The first group date wraps up, and we move onto the season’s first one-on-one date! Jamie gets the invitation, and says he hopes Michelle proves herself as a worthy partner for him. A little weird given that he, uh, is on a whole show where the point is to win Michelle over, but OK.
They go rock climbing at Joshua Tree National Park, and it’s pretty cute. At the top of a cliff they drink wine and make out at golden hour. Afterwards, Jamie opens up about his difficult upbringing and his mother’s mental health struggles, sharing that she died by suicide when he was 24. It’s a heavy but nice moment, and Michelle is moved by his openness. Jamie gets a rose, meaning he’s safe this week too.
There are a lot of men, which means we get one more group date with the remaining contestants (including Chris G, who we haven’t seen much of this episode!). This date is all about basketball, and as a former player at a Division 1 university in the States, Michelle is in her element. On the court, she shares some chemistry with Joe, the Minnesota Man who ghosted her prior to being on the show.
“Who would do such a thing? A monster, probably! In a confessional booth, he tells the camera he’s not here to be a good guy. Yeah dude, we can tell.”
The 10 men on the date are split into two teams (red and blue), with the winning team earning a cocktail party with Michelle that evening. The blue team (Chris G’s team!) emerges victorious. Joe, who was on the losing team, gets an MVP award for his efforts, and is also invited to the cocktail party.
Joe and Michelle spend a lot of time together at the cocktail party. They chat about basketball, themselves and the fact that Joe’s high school coach recently passed away. They seem to be bonding, and it’s very sweet.
Meanwhile, the other men are getting jealous and antsy. Winnipeg’s Nayte is confident and unbothered, saying he trusts what he has with her. He’s quickly becoming a fan favourite (and maybe even a personal favourite? Sorry, Chris G).
Joe unsurprisingly gets the group date rose.
Okay! The episode is drawing to an end, with only the final cocktail party and rose ceremony remaining. Suddenly, a new and surprising villain emerges!
A small group of men is chatting and Jamie, unable to fathom that Michelle might like a man other than him, is like “isn’t it so weird that Michelle and Joe get along so well??? They must have known each other really well before the show. He has an unfair advantage.”
Other Men: It’s not weird, no.
Jamie: But isn’t it??? Clearly there’s something going on here.
Other Men: No.
Jamie: I heard from a friend in Minnesota that before the show, Michelle was actually DATING a lightskin basketball player!! They were in a relationship! It must be Joe!
Other Men: That sounds like an unfounded rumour and we literally do not care.
Jamie then goes to Michelle and pulls her aside. He explains that “everyone in the house” is talking about how Michelle and Joe clearly have a pre-existing relationship and Joe had a “head start” in the competition. He frames it like “I don’t care about this at all, but others really do.”
Michelle is extremely distraught. Which… makes sense! She’s been told that everyone in the house doubts her character. She asks if people are being disrespectful or mean about it, and Jamie says yes.
WHO, JAMIE?!?!?! WHO???????
Michelle cuts the cocktail party short, telling the men that she’s emotionally distraught and disappointed. She once again explains that she and Joe merely exchanged a few messages several years prior and that she was single before the show started. As she leaves, the men are all extremely confused—everyone is like “wait, I literally haven’t heard a single person talk about this?”
The men grow increasingly agitated, trying to figure out who lied to Michelle. People keep asking who the rat is. Jamie CONTINUES to lie, pretending he has no idea. Who would do such a thing? A monster, probably! In a confessional booth, he tells the camera he’s not here to be a good guy. Yeah dude, we can tell.
Onto the rose ceremony! Our Chris makes it through, despite getting no screentime this episode. PIZZA PETER ALSO MAKES IT THROUGH, which is infuriating.
Pardeep Singh (a fan favourite, despite little screentime), Daniel Tully, PJ Henderson and Alec Thompson all get sent home.
Will Jamie be found out? Will Pizzapreneur Pete continue to be the worst? Will Chris survive another week? We’ll find out.
Halifax’s Chris G is almost invisible this week, but at least he’s not the guy who makes Michelle upset by spreading lies about gossip.