Let's get one thing established right out front. This is no longer The Bachelorette. This is The Chad-chelorette. And holy lord, are we all the better for it.
Throughout this recap, and presumably all future recaps, Chad-isms will pop up often. They have to. He started everyone out with a great one, during the group toast.
Chad, on courtship:
"To a beautiful girl, a beautiful life; fuck you guys, I'm gonna make her my wife."
While approximately all of this recap will be about Chad, I'm going to have to include some other, lesser plot details just for coherence's sake.
The first group date, which doesn't involve Chad
After JoJo's limo arrives -- completely in flames, which never concerns the guys -- she takes the gang to a firefighting academy, where they do all sorts of strenuous physical activity in 80lbs of fireman gear. It's a fierce competition for JoJo's heart, which is great. But this entire date is about fire puns, and also fire double entendres.
These include (but are not limited) to: "That is hot," "This is a hot date," "She is smoking," "That limo wasn't the only thing on fire," and "My time with JoJo completely went up in flames." Scalding winners that were missed, somehow: "Ready, flame, fire," "Bros before hose," and "Where there's a smokeshow, there's fire, because JoJo is a smokeshow and we are at firefighter's academy, where they create fires to test applicants' skill."
Despite Wells being hall-passed to the final BECAUSE he was terrible and no one even complaining, this whole escapade is uninteresting because Grant IS A PROFESSIONAL FIREMAN, and does this stuff every single day of his life. So of course he wins. Luke tries really hard, and kinda gave Grant a run, but I imagine that Grant just knew how to better use his energy because he's a professional fireman, and Luke didn't make it up more than three stairs at the end.
Here's what else happened:
- Erectile Dysfunction Specialist Evan/Dante from Clerks reveals he has kids.
- Luke's hair is looking more and more like a sail every time they show him. He makes out with JoJo.
- Grant also makes out with JoJo because he is a hero and got that cat out of that tree that one time without even using a ladder.
- Wells gets the date rose, because he weighs 75lbs with 80lbs of firefighting gear on. I imagine that Wells would tell you that he has the gift of gab. Unfortunately, Wells does not have the gift of being interesting. His gift means he stresses random SYLLABLES and WORDS to make it SEEM like he's INNNNTERESTING. Also, he's got a bloodhound; he brought a Polaroid of it.
Back at the house...
Normally these scenes are pure fluff, a reminder that JoJo is actively neglecting existing guys, and that they sometimes do silly things, which means these interludes are not worthy of coverage. This season, however, the interludes are "Chad Time," so they are. Chad spends his first Chad Time doing pull-ups with a suitcase full of protein powder lashed to his waist, while hanging from a trellis.
Chad, on the time-space contradictions that surround him:
"These guys are acting like really old, worn-out-looking... high school kids."
Chad, on how old Nissan Sentras can get you the girl:
"Back when I was a car salesman, I used to have people look at the worst cars before I would show them my good cars."
Meanwhile, in a very odd turn, James Taylor has become the Pied Guitarist, and is leading everyone except Chad to a town where there's a concert hall in which they all sing songs about JoJo that he made up, in unison. This shit is weird and cult-y, but there's too much Chad to cover to dissect this fully this week.
The one-on-one date: Derek
I would've gone quick on this one even if I wasn't just wanting to get back to writing about Chad, as this is by far one of the worst dates to ever happen on this show. Derek is Jim from The Office, except he has significantly more penetrating eyes and doesn't say anything clever. To combat this, they send them on a Choose Your Own Adventure Date, in which he and JoJo have to pick between two choices at multiple junctures, which means they end up flying to San Francisco on a private plane so they can have a picnic four miles from the Golden Gate Bridge, before making out with scenic Alcatraz in the background.
At their dinner near San Francisco's 114th-most unremarkable fountain that you throw pennies into for good luck, JoJo asks him about his past relationships, and he basically can't, because one time he liked a girl and got dumped. Then he manages to say some wonderfully generic things about closing himself off/opening back up, and JoJo sees some similarities to her situation, so he gets the rose.
Derek will never forget tonight. Literally everyone who watched this episode will. To make this date stop, turn to page 82. You have been eaten by a whale.
Some quick Chad-isms
Chad, on who's really dangerous out there:
"I always warn girls, I always say: stay away from the nice guys."
Chad, on blenders, and the men in them:
"If you're making a protein shake, made of the group of dudes here, and, y'know, blended it up... half that dude-protein-shake would have zero chance with JoJo."
Chad, on the guy who got naked in episode one, his only friend:
"I think you're cool, man. I'm glad I met you."
The second group date: The Chad-en-ing
The group goes to the ESPN studio to do fake press conferences with Max Kellerman and former Bills defensive end Marcellus Wiley, who graduated from Columbia for this. Chase is pissed he didn't get a date this week, which leads to...
Chad, on patience:
"You've gone a full LIFE without seeing JoJo. You can't wait a couple... like, a day? You can chill. She'll be here. She's not gonna disappear. She's not going to get on a jet and fly away to Malaysia."
That's actually exactly what happens on this show, but Chad can say whatever Chad wants.
This date is a pretty dumb one, too, but at least it's active and things are happening. First they make them do rose-based touchdown dances! Alex does one that involves pretending the rose is a gun and shoots all the other guys, which is fucking weird, because he's a Marine and has probably done that in real life. Then they're made to spin around ten times with their head on a bat, and propose to JoJo. Everyone has some legitimately cute shit to say, and then comes Chad, who just goes with "will you marry me?"
Chad, on why he didn't think he didn't need to tell JoJo why he likes her:
"I feel like, in that moment, you should already know that?"
Chad, on bad starts to fake relationships:
"You're starting off a little naggy here. If I'm getting nagged, I'm gonna say something."
After a faux press conference in which everyone is asked the tough question "who sucks" and they all say "Chad," Marcellus and Max rank the guys, and James Taylor comes out on top, both there and with the date rose, because he sings things. But before we go, a few more from the warrior poet Chad:
Chad, on Hollywood:
"Forgive me if I'm not going to be fake. I'm not an actor. You look like you are right now, so that's cool."
Chad, on who's in the house for the wrong reasons:
"I feel like everyone, man. Ya'll don't know her yet, you can't be in love with her. Is this the first beautiful girl you've ever seen? You don't have TV? You don't have magazines?!?!"
Chad, on being financially ready for a relationship:
"Financially, I'm ready for a relationship."
Let's do something different, and talk about Chad
There is so very much to break down here. Let's start out by establishing that Chad is: 1) not dumb, and possibly in fact quite smart; 2) has way more of a game plan than I gave him credit for earlier in this episode while watching; and 3) is succeeding, at least largely, with that game plan so far.
There have been plenty of dudes before, on this show and in the real world that I've been told exists outside this show, that go with the "Hey, I'm just being honest" maneuver -- a dastardly panacea. When executed well, it allows you to do whatever you want and have it be OK, because at least you're the "real guy" of the bunch. Some of this is laid out sociopathically, as well as strategically. All these other guys are saying how much they love JoJo, but they don't know her, so how can that be true? Meanwhile, Chad doesn't say that, because he's HONEST. Which in turn means that the other guys are liars.
Now, of course, this whole thing is a game, and if you want to be around for next week so you can maybe ACTUALLY fall in fake-love, you have to play it, and advance. It's actually a lot like real life: it's possible that nobody would ever fall in love if they didn't say some nice things that were a bit of a stretch early in their dating of someone. Just like here, you've gotta lock down that next date. But Chad manages to frame the other guys' totally innocuous, sometimes stretched flirtations as an inherent evil, and that's his genius -- doing that while framing the idea of "honest" being some ultimate good, even if horrendously shitty things are being said amidst all that honesty. It's a classic bad-guy move, but he's pulling that string farther than anyone has ever pulled it before, and I presume it's going to break at some point. Hopefully not too soon.
JoJo might be somewhat on to him, and ultimately, her reaching the Bachelorette Ideal of being totally in control -- and not letting the dudes, either collectively or individually, steamroll her -- rests primarily in her handling of Chad. And right when you think she might have figured out his ruse, he plays another cunning hand (or "cunning" on the sliding Chad scale), when he tells JoJo that he has a puppy, because he inherited it from his mom. Who died. Six months ago. But he can't dwell on it! And hey, he got her dog!!! It's an amazing glimpse into either his true soul -- doesn't give a shit about anyone but Chad, even Chad's recently dead mom -- or his wonderfully devious mind, which parlays a horrible personal loss like that to create a smoke screen right when everyone's clearly on to him.
A few more wonderful things happen:
1. Chad makes out with JoJo, then admits he has feelings for her... which could blow up his whole play of floating above everyone else by accusing them of being liars for saying they have feelings for her. But it won't, since he'll just present it as him finding it more organically than everyone else. Chad!!
2. Two attempts are made to take Chad down: first, by a large group that goes nowhere (Chad on that: "It's like if the Care Bears surrounded you and told you they were going to kick your ass"), then followed by Alex The Tiny Marine, who is going to be the one to finally deflate Chad, if anyone is. Alex comes good and direct, calling Chad out on specific creepy moves he's pulling, which actually manages to warrant a response, which is exactly what Alex wants. That response is, of course: "Fuck you, for real. I'm serious. Keep that up, you're gonna lose your damn teeth." I believe him.
3. Because he missed a protein shake (his words), Chad eats 14 full turkeys worth of cold cuts off little sticks, throughout the entire cocktail party. He is the first person who has eaten food on this show, ever.
The Rose Ceremony
After working his Machiavellian plan to (near-) perfection, Chad shows some cracks, possibly thanks to a combination of cracked pepper turkey and whiskey. The first big potential misstep is waiting outside the house for JoJo to pull up in her limo so he can give her a glass of wine and "take a walk." If Chad's trying to play the mysterious hard-to-get guy, being easy to get is a pretty ineffective way to pull that off.
Secondly, he tells her outright that he doesn't like the other guys... which means he can't play the tactical trump card of having JoJo kick OTHER guys off for not caring about her, and instead complaining about one guy who's always charming around her -- and as far as she knows, may or may not actually be a monster -- a classic Bachelor/ette reasoning for dismissal. Can Chad persist? Of course. But especially when he's already planting these seeds himself, it might not be for too long. Don't blow this for me, Chad.
Now for the actual roses. JoJo thinks she's already on her way to finding the love that Ben -- the dude who dumped JoJo after telling her he loved her last season, and then had sex with her -- has with Lauren B. That kind of love, that's the good love everyone craves.
Alex, you can smell everyone's armpits except Ali's (if you jump), but, come and get that first rose.
Chad, on the vertically challenged:
"She's gonna keep Alex around because she doesn't want America to think she hates short people."
Christian is up next, followed by Robbie, who must be fuming that James Taylor also wore a bow tie. Luke's hair keeps getting sideways-er and sideways-er, so he gets one too, and then it's Chase, Aaron Rodgers' Brother, Grant, Ali, and Chad's Buddy Daniel Who Chad Surely Also Hates, But Hey, Chad Needs At Least One Ally.
Next: James F., Nick, and Vinny, who definitely had a pencil-thin chinstrap beard three years ago. And then Evan/Dante From Clerks. And the final rose goes to... Chad. Of course it's Chad. It was always Chad. Going home are Will, who had terrible magic, Shitty Hipster Brandon, and James S., who, despite being a Bachelor Superfan by trade and knowing all the mechanics of this show, couldn't figure out tactically how to get even one minute with JoJo, and therefore deserves nothing.
Chad, on next week:
"I'm gonna have some protein shakes, keep working out, keep eating the food, and continue to do what I do. And at the end of the day, I'm going to get the girl."
Also he kicks a blow-up flamingo in the face, then starts to beat humans up, too.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.