In Movies & TV Reviews

Virginia is for long stares into the middle distance.

"The Bachelorette" Rose Rundown: Virginia is for lovers ... and lame drama

If you're a member of the Virginia Tourism and Travel Department, Monday night's episode of "The Bachelorette" was a very exciting two hours of television. People said, "Virginia is for lovers," more than they said, "Here for the right reasons" or "Not here to make friends," and I now know an alarming amount about Richmond's fine tourist attractions – namely that they have very bad George Washington and Abraham Lincoln impersonators. (Daniel Day-Lewis, that one guy was not.)

Unfortunately, for anyone not working for the Virginia Tourism Commission, Monday night's episode was just fine – half a decent showcase for two fairly charming dudes and half a horrific spotlight for a completely intolerable douchebag. I knew I would miss Jordan on this show. At least he knew how to be a douche with style.

Let's start with some good news, though. Jason, who dresses like he's auditioning a "Sopranos" reboot, gets a one-on-one date – very exciting news because he finally gets some alone time with Becca but also because he doesn't have to be around Lincoln and Chris R., who can't stop bickering at one another.

At some point, the two dudes get in a little verbal tussle about whether they'd rather be on a one-on-one or a two-on-one date, and somehow it ends in ... body shaming? Anyways, this is hell. In a televised fight between Lincoln and Chris R., I root for my electricity to go out. The only fun part of any of this is the cutaway shots to the rest of the guys – especially Blake – who all look profoundly unhappy to be there. I feel you, bros.

Luckily for Jason, he gets to leave for his date with Becca, which starts with a school field trip to a famous historical church and cemetery. Oof, not exactly a romantic stop. Things get a little more romantic, however, as after they go donut glazing, they find the loveliness destination in all of this supposedly lover-approved state: an "unhappy hour," a gothic-themed bar gathering where a bunch of My Chemical Romance fans drink dark red Kool-Aid and talk about darkness. Virginia is for lovers ... of death.

Even though everyone seems confused about why they're there, Jason plays along well with the macabre stop – even charmingly busting a move, and almost his pants, with the gathering's resident sad dancer. He's rewarded with a visit from some of his best friends from back home, who Becca nicely gathered up as a surprise. We don't learn much from them – mainly that, yes, Jason is a good guy – but I did learn something new from this stop: Apparently you drink mead out of wine glasses? I always imagined big ol' bearded "Game of Thrones"-looking dudes drinking mead out of giant wood-carved mugs in between messy bites of mammoth turkey legs. But instead drinking mead looks like a cozy wine tasting in between bites of almonds, refined cheeses and farm-to-table small plates. The more you know!

But, in all seriousness, this ends up being a weirdly nice date – even with the goths and the tombstones. Jason and Becca actually seem like they're connecting and having real conversation – especially at the evening's dinner, where they share stories about losing loved ones: Becca losing her dad at a young age and Jason watching his family cope with Alzheimer's. (Perhaps the unhappy hour was an omen.) It's an odd date, but in the end kind of relatable in its quirkiness – and charming in how the two seem to bond throughout the day. I like Jason – and I look forward to seeing him as an extra in Martin Scorsese's new Italian gangster movie.

Unfortunately, "The Bachelorette" dropped off the charm and picked up Chris R. and the rest of the dudes for a group date, where Honest Abe and George Washington teach a social studies class to our dapper gents – culminating in a CNN-style debate for her affections, complete with the governor of Virginia in attendance. OH GOD, NOT POLITICS IN MY DUMB DATING SHOW!

Colton gets the first question about the perfect date in Virginia (which, in case you haven't heard, is for lovers), and he really drops the ball by giving a real answer instead of using the "Miss Congeniality" line about April 25th being not too hot and not too cold. Blake gets the next question, about what he's learned in past relationships. What the heck: Colton gets a beauty pageant question and Blake gets a real one?! This debate is RIGGED I SAY!

Unfortunately, things get worse during the debate as Lincoln and Chris R. get back at it, with poor sweet Blake stuck in the middle. Chris R. really leans into the drama, however, calling dudes out for being rude to Becca behind the scenes and dropping bad words in front of the crowd. Even sweaty Richard Nixon would be like, "Not your finest debate!" At some point, somebody points out that all of this is "stupid drama that should not be happening in front of all these people," which would be an excellent alternate title for "The Bachelorette." But jokes aside, this is lame annoying drama – and a waste of time that could be spending hanging out with Wills.

But no, we head to the evening's cocktail party, and Chris R. is still ruining the night for everyone. Becca's so thrown off by the day's debate antics that she cuts off her time with Garrett to get her head right. So now Garrett's upset too, harrumphing at Chris R. and using the word "headspace" like it was on his word of the day calendar. And then somehow fluffy-haired Chad Connor gets involved somehow because Chris R. thinks he's nervous for his life. It's all terrible – minus the cutaway shots to Wills looking exhausted and Blake looking like he needs a hug.

Things turn around a little bit, as Becca starts doing one-on-one time with the guys again (and Wills says that he's falling in love with her! SQUEEEEE!) "These are great guys," Becca insists at the end. BUT REALLY BECCA? ARE THEY?! The episode frustratingly makes Becca seem like a doofus, complaining about the drama and wanting the BS to be done but still keeping the sources of this drama around. If only you were the star of this show and had the power to fix this and send people home OH WAIT!

Worse yet, her inability to jettison Chris R. from the show gets in the way of her one-on-one date with Leo. That's right: Jason Fauxmoa finally getting that beautiful head of hair in the spotlight! I'll be honest: I assumed he was doomed. I had his Bachelorette obituary written. A person who's had limited screen time finally getting a one-on-one late in the season? Doomed. In the midst of an emotionally turbulent week as well? DOOMED. And the date starts with an uncomfortably quiet plane ride in which no chemistry seems to be cooking? DOOOOOOOOOOMED!

But just when I thought this was the end of Jason Fauxmoa, he completely resurrected the date – and Becca's happiness. She tells him that she's in a bad mental place (or, to speak Garrett-ese, headspace), and he honestly tells her that if she doesn't want to be there, if she's just going to be pretending to have fun, he's more than fine with calling it a day right there. Not in a sulky way, but because this is about her, he notes, and her journey to find love – and she has the right to decide what she wants to do and what will make her happy. It's so sweet and earnest and good-hearted. I knew I loved Jason Fauxmoa for a reason – AND HE DID NOT LET ME DOWN. I can't believe we've had him sitting on the bench this whole time while Chris R. has been Chris R.-ing all over my screen for weeks now.

His kind attitude and demeanor helps resuscitate the one-on-one date, and by the time Jason Fauxmoa is in his natural habitat – playing Aquaman, aka shucking oysters – Becca and him are having the great time they should've had from the start. They even have a nice dinner too, with Leo talking honestly about his self-confidence issues and relationship with his father in the past. In the end, it's a really nice night – one that couldn't even be ruined by "The Bachelorette" pulling the secret country concert shtick for THE SECOND TIME THIS SEASON. Virginia is for lazy writers.

Apparently seeing Jason Fauxmoa come back with a rose is the final straw for Chris R., however, who snaps and storms over to Becca's hotel room for a chat. There's one good moment in here, which comes when Chris R. gets possessed by the spirit of Jordan and howls about how Lincoln has the GALL to eat 12 eggs a day. CAN YOU IMAGINE THE CHOLESTEROL!?

Unfortunately that's the only remotely entertaining part of this exchange, which turns Chris R. from an annoying whiner to a truly uncomfortable creeper, sounding controlling, refusing to back down and telling Becca how to think – all while essentially invading Becca's personal space, her hotel room. At some point, she notes that she's becoming scared of him – and when that starts happening, even "The Bachelorette" producers they can't keep this drama around anymore. So she finally shows him the door.

Dear reader, there wasn't enough confetti in the world to celebrate this moment.

And just in case you thought maybe Chris R. would leave with some modicum of dignity or decency, when Becca politely asks to walk him out, he brusquely declines. What a turd. Hey "The Bachelorette," maybe his invite to the Men Tell All episode can get lost in the mail? Nobody needs this dude back on television.

The carnage isn't over this episode, however, as we're still having a rose ceremony – with no cocktail party to soften the blow for the dudes. And with only three roses to give away, we're getting down to the nitty gritty. At the end of the night, Garrett, poor sweet Blake and Wills (WOO!) get roses, meaning Lincoln – the other responsible party for the stupid Chris R. drama – is finally gone as well as fluffy-haired Connor.

And with his departure, this season of "The Bachelorette" is all out of Chads. We're all out of anonymous guys; it's getting serious – and I know that's the case because we're finally leaving the country, headed to the Bahamas next week. (We probably couldn't leave the U.S. until Jordan and Chris R. were gone because there's a drastic tariff now on exporting douchebags.)

But will the Bahamas be for lovers? Until next week ...


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