It's Week 7. Six men remain, if you count James Taylor as an adult. Next week is hometowns, which means two of them will go home rose-less, while four will have their dads check out JoJo's rack while drinking Chardonnay on the screened-in porch. The stakes are high.

We've got a ridiculous amount of dates ahead of us. Just ridiculous. THREE one-on-ones, plus a group date with the scraps. And most of them are worse than the "bad" ones that poor monkey ate in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Let's get to it.


The Alex One-on-One Date

"Finally!!" says an extra-floofy-haired Alex, who has had exactly zero one-on-one dates, to date. "I gaucho on my mind," says the card. "That was the best pun about a country person experienced in traditional cattle-ranching work that I ever wrote," says the producer who did the card, and he might just be right. Alex makes it clear that he's not looking at this as a chance to fall in love with JoJo -- he's looking at it as a chance for JoJo to fall in love with him. Also, he's planning on falling in love with JoJo any moment now. I'm so glad he's got this all mapped out. 

Since he's going to be standing next to JoJo all date, Alex busted out the big boots for this one, but he's still about two inches shorter. The Jeep journey to Gaucho Farm Complete With a Guy Who Speaks English is rife with rarified fun: turning Pringles into hilariously gigantic fake lips, identifying crops as wheat, Alex freestyling exactly like white people with floofy hair are expected to freestyle. 

When they arrive, Alex is immediately shuttled off to the Gaucho Store, and returns looking like a hybrid newsie/failing French impressionist painter who stole a belt from Cher. He's got capri pants, those rubber Hunter boots that all the basic chicas wear, and a bolo tie made of a napkin and a really nice napkin holder.


Now, I Googled "gaucho" on the internet, as well as "gaucho hat," and NONE of them wear anything remotely like this. They're straight-up badass cowboys, with regular cowboy hats and boots that would get them ostracized from the Sweetbitter book club. It's like this one guy decided to sacrifice everything, dress up like that too so Alex would believe that's what gauchos wear, and put himself through the embarrassment of it all just so we could see the little man squirm. 

Alex tells JoJo she "looks like something out of a Ralph Lauren model magazine," and before you know it, one gaucho is showing off his crazy horse-breaking tactics. He does lots of horse face-grabbing, twists the horse around in crazy ways that horses are not supposed to twist, and eventually re-creates at least four different kama sutra positions. These guys must get killed weekly. Proving he actually did have sex with the horse but is a heartless lover, the gaucho encourages Alex and JoJo to spoon the horse on the ground, and so they do, they lay on it like they were Laura Dern in Jurassic Park and the horse were an ill triceratops. 


Come nighttime, Alex melts JoJo's heart with the realization "today is confirmation that, somehow, I'm still here," then there's talk of hometowns, and how he wants to get hammered and watch sports with her brothers, and eventually... how he's falling in love with her. Oh boy. He fell in love with her the second he saw her, in fact! But currently? Still falling in love. 

None of this makes JoJo happy, exactly. Really, it makes her look confused, and possibly a bit angry. Maybe frightened. Certainly not overjoyed, or even responsive. But Alex, molded by a lifetime of unforgiving commanding officers who shout horrible things and make faces but deep down love all their men, charges ahead, undeterred. He feels amazing! And he wants to be the person to see her feel the way he feels right now. She's essentially shown her hand of not being into any of this sudden and very odd love seemingly facilitated by a post-coital horse, and he's demanding reciprocation. 

Time to drop the JoJo hammer. When Alex told her this stuff, she didn't feel as excited as she should feel. She should be! Excited! And feel like they're on the same page! But, she doesn't. And she won't. And it's time for Alex to trudge home, which will take a while because his legs are the length of coffee cans. 

In some ways, you have to respect Alex for going for it here, even if -- or perhaps especially because -- he knew he might be on the verge of getting chopped. For throwing up one last Hail Mary, and not giving any fucks whatsoever about looking like a total assclown who confessed his love for a girl he'd spent a total of five hours with on a reality TV show. In all other ways, nobody has to respect Alex at all, for anything. 


The Aaron Rodgers' Brother One-on-One Date

This date sucks until the very end, so let's speedcap it and then get to that. They take a limo, to a private plane, to a vineyard, just like in his regular life, then stomp on grapes, drink the foot-juice and swear it tastes good, hot-tub for a minute, and make out. 

Come night, JoJo is wearing that Angelina Jolie dress with the leg thing, and JoJo asks Jordan, a.k.a. Aaron Rodgers' Brother, who would be at his hometown date, obviously waiting for him to say "Aaron Rodgers' Brother's Brother, who is named Aaron." But he doesn't say this! Mom and dad, sure. Brother Luke? You betcha. Carl Weathers? Absolutely! Even though Carl Weathers is unfortunately a dog, and not the Carl Weathers. Still cool, though. 

The big reveal here is that Aaron Rodgers will definitely not be at the hometown date of Aaron Rodgers' Brother. He's got a big game, right? Charity event? Making sure Olivia Munn doesn't ditch him for an A-list Comic-Con attendee? Nope. Apparently he's got no relationship with his brother, which is sad, but, hey, whatever. The part where it gets weird is that he basically implies that Aaron Rodgers is a terrible brother and a terrible son, and doesn't really hang out with his family anymore. Aaron Rodgers, the guy everyone loves who does all sorts of great stuff! And this is how failed quarterbacks get back at their older, better-quarterback brothers who probably intentionally farted in their face one time. 

Also, he tells JoJo that he's in love with her, and she doesn't kick him off the show.


The Rained-Out Group Date

JoJo's date card for Chase, James Taylor, and Robby reads "let our love soar," but it got rained out, so we'll just have to guess at what they would've done: flown somewhere. Flown kites. Tied the word "love" to birds and watched them fly until their equilibrium was thrown off by the extra weight and they crashed. Exchanged canker sores, lovingly. 

Instead of those things, JoJo's got a hot replacement date: staying in her hotel room, killing about six minibars' worth of booze, and playing all sorts of games! It actually seems like a helluva time. They play Pictionary, and sexily massage each other in a Bachelor Centipede chain that can only be adding and not removing any tension. Robby chooses "dare" and runs around naked, James Taylor makes Robby show his butt, and James Taylor shoves upwards of 40 French fries in his mouth because he's such a goof and all he knows how to do is goof and goof and goof some more.  


The one-on-one time is a parade of heavy eyelids and words they force out with just enough focus to not slur them too badly. Robby somehow broke up with his girlfriend four months ago even though they've been on this show for almost two now, and tryouts are like a year before that. Chase is boring. James Taylor says JoJo will get to meet his dad James Taylor, who is also not actually James Taylor, and JoJo has enough airplane bottles of Goose in her to kiss him. Robby gets the rose, and James Taylor is starting to realize that whenever he sees JoJo's smiling face -- and oh how sweet it is -- he's got a friend in her, and nothing more. He was a fool to care. I'm not sure anyone knows that last James Taylor song, but it fit. 


The Luke One-on-One Date

JoJo definitely has a type: handsome, and hell-bent on having boring, pointless conversations. Luke, who showed up in black jeans so tight that he would get beaten silly with spurs by any actual cowboys, regales JoJo with the tale of how he broke his first horse at 12, then he shoots clay with a shotgun and hits them all because he's a war hero. He tells JoJo that he has no plan for his life, and she's that resonates with her, because he has abs. That's all I'm giving you. 

The Roses

James Taylor shaved for the night, and looks terrible. JoJo gives a speech the producers wrote for her about how sad this all is. Luke! Come and get your rose! Aaron Rodgers' Brother! You too! And... Chase, finish out the list of handsome boring dudes who don't do weird things. Get your dads some dark sunglasses and head on home. 

The James Taylor goodbye is like a conversation between a reasonably smart seven-year-old and a hot adult girl who tells him sorry honey, we can't be boyfriend and girlfriend, but you'll understand one day when you're a grownup. But apparently when he shoved those 40 French fries in his mouth, he made JoJo a better person.


Next Week!

Expect Chase's dad to look exactly like Chase, Luke's family to wear silly hats, and Aaron Rodgers' Brother to talk about the "deep wounds" Aaron Rodgers has caused him, on national television. My money's on the Rodgers clan being the weird one.

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Ben Robinson is Thrillist's Editorial Director, and still thinks Chad is taking this thing home.



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