Bachelorette Season 16, Episode 3 Recap: What Did We Just Watch?

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
As we enter the third episode of Clare Crawley’s Bachelorette season, it’s clear that we’re not going to be getting much more of her. Going into the season, we knew that she would leave the show at some point, and this episode set the stage for that departure. Like, really set it: We finally got official confirmation that Tayshia Adams is on her way as Bachelorette #2. 
The episode begins at the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party. Yosef is still upset about the “red flags” he’s noticed with Clare: her getting upset that no one talked to her fast enough on his group date and the naked dodgeball group date that happened afterward. “She’s the oldest Bachelorette that there’s ever been. She’s supposed to be the most mature,” he says. Yosef tells the other men about how he’s going to tell Clare off for not giving him the maturity he was promised. Riley amazingly tells him, “You overlook how important the respect aspect is.” Yes, Riley, he does overlook the respect aspect. If Yosef doesn’t like Clare, that’s fine. Starting a fight with her about it instead of just removing himself from the competition is the most immature thing of all.
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When Yosef starts his conversation with Clare by saying there’s been “a couple red flags," her face immediately shows her struggling for restraint — and, wow, is she going to need it. Yosef doesn’t just tell Clare he’s disappointed, he launches a complete assault on her character. Choice words include, “I was absolutely appalled at the group date,” “it's so humiliating and degrading,” “a completely classless display," “I expected a lot more from the oldest Bachelorette,” “you’re not setting the right example for my daughter,” and, the kicker, “I’m ashamed to be associated with you.” 
If you watched Juan Pablo Galavis’ season, you know that some of this echoes the way he spoke to Clare when he said he regretted going in the ocean with her because of how it would look to his daughter. This connection isn’t lost on her. She tells Yosef she never thought she’d have to say these words again, but says, “I would never want you being the father of my child" — the same thing she told Juan Pablo during their breakup. Yosef counters, of course, with “You’re not fit to be a mother to my child!” 
After Clare kicks Yosef off, she walks away in tears as he continues to taunt her, repeatedly calling her “classless." This is one of the meanest, most aggressive interactions I’ve seen between a lead and a contestant on this show and that’s saying a lot. 
Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Of course, Dale is there to comfort Clare after Yosef leaves. And the next thing you know, Clare’s giving a confessional about how she’s in love with him and it’s not even the second rose ceremony yet. (Well, I mean, the rose ceremony is like five minutes away, but I get it.) Chris Harrison pulls up a chair in Clare’s confessional and chats with her about how clearly into Dale she is, which seems like it's only setting the stage for her to leave.
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After their chat, it’s time for the rose ceremony. Clare sends home… some dudes. I consider myself good at remembering Bachelor/ette contestants' names, but this season has given the non-Dale guys so little screen time that I haven’t gotten a chance. Does it really matter, anyway? We'll learn about 'em when Tayshia arrives.
The next day, Clare meets with former Bachelorette DeAnna Pappas and tells her all about Dale. “You know, you can see it … Look at your face, you couldn’t smile any harder,” DeAnna says after hearing, like, two sentences about him. Clare then admits that she kept Dale’s pants that he took off on the group date and slept with them on her face. What is even happening? And what group date? He wasn’t even on the strip dodgeball one. 
I have to ask: Are the producers actually trying to convince Clare to leave with Dale? It seems like DeAnna is brought in just to rile her up. A former Bachelorette is never brought in at this point. “Oh my gosh, this might be the shortest season ever,” Clare says. She and DeAnna both laugh. 
Clare then tells the guys selected for the first group date, who have been waiting all day, that the daytime portion is canceled and they’re just going to have a longer evening cocktail party. She says it all casually, but they’re bummed and confused. As far as we know, this change is literally just because she was filming a chat with DeAnna about how Dale’s pants smell good. 
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At the group date, Dale asks the other guys if he can speak to Clare first and then requests that they all do a group hug with Clare. What even? Dale and Clare chat on a bed. He says he’s proud of how she handled herself with Yosef, then they make out while she tells him how perfect he is. The rest of the group is left waiting again. 
After, allegedly, an hour, Eazy goes to find Clare and Dale and knocks on the door to her hotel room. Clare opens it and says, “Welcome to my house! Dale’s in here!” Um, okay... After chatting with Eazy for what I can only assume is about two minutes, Clare is heard on a hot mic telling a producer, “Could we kind of hurry the rest along? ‘Thank you for coming. Thank you for coming.’” Wowowow. This show is not The Bachelorette we’re used to, but it is entertaining. 
After even more time with Dale, Clare comes out to give the group date rose, her hair all mussed up, and I’m honestly shocked that she still has to hand one out. She gives it to Dale — can you believe? — for “stepping up and being bold." 
At this point, I decide that if Clare stops the show and confesses her love to Dale the next day, then that’s totally understandable. Sure, she ignored the other guys at the group date, but whatever, she was just finishing out the day. Plus, this is a job and she’s supposed to film a certain amount of episodes.
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Unfortunately, though, the dates continue. The next day Clare has a one-on-one with a man named Zach J. Their date is to the spa at the La Quinta Resort, because they literally can’t leave. On another season, this would be a sexy time. On this season, Clare is happy for a respite to think about Dale while Zach J. is hidden behind the cucumbers on his eyes. In all of her talking heads, Clare talks about how she wishes she was with Dale instead. 
Afterward, they go to the pool and while they’re climbing out together, Clare tries to give Zach a kiss, and when he doesn’t lean in, she thinks she’s being rejected. Zach realizes what happened and tries to get Clare to kiss him, even though she repeatedly says to just forget about it, so they can move on and go to dinner. He then grabs her neck multiple times to pull her in, despite her asking him not to. Understandably, this upsets Clare, who says in her confessional that being pulled like that brought up past traumas. It's also pretty upsetting to watch.
The next shot is Zach waiting for Clare to show up for dinner, but Chris Harrison arrives instead. “I’m not the dinner date you were expecting,” he says, and tells Zach that Clare’s not coming and that this means he’s going home.
The next day, there’s another group date. We are now two days out from the DeAnna Pappas Chat of Clarity! Shut it down, Clare! But alas, this date is a roast with celebrity guest Margaret Cho, and the rest of the guys are the audience, which means Dale is there. It will not surprise you to hear that the guys focus their jokes on him, especially Bennett, who among other things, says Dale looks “like the boa constrictor from The Jungle Book.” Clare does not have the temperament for a roast in general, I would say, and she does not like that all the men went after her true love. “Hate on. You can’t hate on love, though,” she says in her confessional. 
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At the nighttime portion of the date, Clare talks to all of the guys one on one… about their Dale jokes. The guys are like, Can we talk about something else, like you, Clare? We would like to learn about you.
Soon, some of the men start talking to each other about how Clare clearly already has her heart set on Dale. The only one who denies it is Bennett, on the basis that the show is still early on. Oh Bennett, you are so naive. He gets slapped with reality when Clare shows up with the group rose and doesn’t give it to anyone, because “I did not get what I needed from you guys.” 
Again, we get a scene of Clare talking to a producer and Clare says, “You dished on my fiancé so hard, like, I can’t be doing that shit. Like, it doesn't feel right.” Clare, your microphone is on! You were previously shown on Bachelor in Paradise talking to raccoons using footage of your actual conversation with producers. You know every bit of footage is going to be used!
The last scene of the episode itself is Kenny, the boy band manager, telling the other guys, “If you want to get crazy, let's get fucking crazy. How about the rest of us walk out?” Hell yes, Kenny. With words like that, I am making a point to learn your name.
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But the show doesn't end there, because we finally get the preview we’ve been waiting for. The promo makes it seem like Clare leaves the show alone with Dale and the other guys still waiting around confused. We’ll have to see what that’s about, but most importantly, the preview ends with Tayshia emerging from a pool to save the day. Or, to give the men a reason to stay in quarantine at the La Quinta resort a few more weeks.
Winner of the episode: The Bachelorette producers, who knocked down the fourth wall like never before. 
Loser of the episode: Clare. I mean this in two ways. On a serious note, Clare went through some truly draining situations on this episode with both Yosef and Zach, and I feel for her in both of them. But also, the episode overall was probably not the edit Clare was expecting, so she “loses” there, too. She came off as unnecessarily dismissive of men who were actually there “for the right reasons” and was shown talking to producers when she probably didn’t expect it to be used.

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