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.
There’s a feeling of loss in the air as episode five of The Bachelorette’s 18th season kicks off. A deeply-felt absence. A lack of hoodie-and-blazer combos. A sense that something—someone—is missing.
Last week, we said goodbye to Chris G, our Haligonian contestant—and we already miss him dearly. As we recap the rest of the season, it’s clear things won’t quite be the same without our east coast poet to root for. Nevertheless we trudge on in Chris G’s honour, keeping him in our thoughts as we do.
This week’s episode kicks off in Michelle Young’s hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fittingly, the only contestant who’s also from Minneapolis—Minnesota Joe—gets the first one-on-one date.
So far, we only know a few things about Minnesota Joe. The first is that he’s from Minnesota. The second is that he once ghosted Michelle via Instagram DMs. The third is that he loves basketball. Unfortunately, during the first chunk of this date we don’t really learn anything beyond that. The pair visits Michelle’s old high school (have we mentioned she’s a teacher?) and then plays one-on-one basketball in the gym (have we mentioned she played basketball?). It’s cute! It’s nice! It’s… fine.
During the date’s evening portion, we finally learn more about Joe. He opens up about an injury that kept him from playing basketball, and the traumatic surgery that followed. He explains that losing the ability to play the sport—which felt like his whole life—wreaked havoc on his mental health, even leading him to suicidal ideation. Michelle is touched by his vulnerability. The date ends with Joe getting a rose, and the two taking a romantic ferris wheel ride together.
Things seem uncertain for Martin, and he worries he might be going home following his blunder (sexism).
We move onto the group date and it’s… something! Now, the thing about group dates is that sometimes (most times?) they reveal very little about the contestants. Instead, they’re just over-the-top for no reason, sometimes even verging on grotesque. Folks, this is one of those times!
The men are brought to a football field, and they’re all excited. Are we going to be playing football? they wonder. Are we going to meet famous football players? they hope. No, you’re not! Sorry! Instead, three burly dudes dressed as vikings walk onto the field. These are not members of the Minnesota Vikings pro football team, they’re just cosplay vikings, explaining that the contestants are gonna do… viking stuff? I guess?
First, they’re asked to yell out their battle cries.
“I feel like this will be a really telling group date,” Michelle says between shots of grown men screaming and beating their chests like vikings.
The men then go through other tasks necessary in picking out an ideal partner for marriage, which include the following: throwing a log as far as you can; wearing viking clothes; eating genuinely disgusting, barely edible fish and meat; arm wrestling each other.
It’s worth noting that, following last week's disastrous group date (during which the men all ignored Michelle in favour of hanging out with each other), the stakes are kind of high here—she’s expecting the men to step up and make moments with her, and they’re delivering. The only exception is Chris S, who last week warned Michelle that Nayte is “cocky,” and is now acting sullen because Nayte’s still there. Nayte isn’t on this group date because he’ll be getting this week’s second one-on-one, which makes Chris S extra pissed off.
Clayton gets the group date rose. Chris S is “in shock” it wasn’t him, despite the fact he ignored Michelle all night.
We now move onto Winnipeg Nayte’s Minnesotan Dayte. He’s the last remaining Canadian on the show, and he seems to be a front-runner—it’s clear Nayte has been one of Michelle’s favourites since the beginning, despite Chris S’s attempt at derailing things. They set off on a pontoon boat, and Michelle’s two best friends join them.
Michelle’s friends both like Nayte, and give him their stamp of approval. They say they’re happy to see Michelle so happy, and that they can tell she has great chemistry with Nayte. The Bachelorette is happy that her beau got along with her friends so nicely, and they enter the date’s evening portion in high spirits.
Back at the hotel, Chris S is stewing. He keeps talking about how Michelle is simply infatuated with Nayte, and needs to be reminded of “the truth.” He’s plotting something with Disney-level villainy. Uh oh!
Michelle and Nayte talk about their pasts. Michelle reveals she was once in a toxic relationship that impacted her physical and emotional well-being, which her parents helped her through.
Suddenly, Chris S appears, interrupting the one-on-one because he simply has to talk to her. He pulls a confused Michelle aside, and she promptly sends him home (as she should!), stating she wants someone who trusts her judgement. This means there are no longer any Chrises on this season of The Bachelorette.
Nayte gets a rose! Fireworks blast off into the Minnesotan night sky! A kiss occurs!
At the final cocktail party, Martin puts his foot in his mouth while chatting with Michelle, saying women are more “high-maintenance” and demanding than men. (He actually uses the word “females,” which I feel icky just typing.) Michelle is confused and offended. He doubles down. I’d like to remind you that he’s a grown adult with frosted tips.
As we enter the rose ceremony, Clayton, Joe and Nayte already have roses from their dates. Things seem uncertain for Martin, and he worries he might be going home following his blunder (sexism). He somehow makes it through, though! In the end, LeRoy and Casey get sent home.
Will Nayte make it to hometowns? Will we ever get over the loss of Chris G? Will new villains step up to replace Chris S? We’ll find out!