A familiar face arrived to help Bachelorette Tayshia Adams on her search for love: former Bachelorette and franchise success story, JoJo Fletcher. JoJo, who stepped in for host Chris Harrison as he took a break from filming to take his son to college, set the week up for the dates.
Zac Clark’s one-on-one was first, where he and Tayshia dressed up in wedding wear and did a faux-wedding photo shoot. Tayshia started the date visibly anxious, as being in a wedding dress brought flashbacks to her first wedding. However, as the date went on, Zac continued to engage, and brought lighthearted energy to their time together.
While the day portion of their date was lighthearted, the evening turned serious as Zac shared his background with addiction. After being diagnosed with a brain tumor and undergoing immediate emergency surgery, he became reliant on pain pills and began his struggle with pain medication management. He shared that he continued to spiral, which led to the demise of his marriage, a DUI and eight months of “gnarly” and “selfish” behavior.
“It wasn’t pretty,” he told Tayshia.
His turning point came when a bank teller — who he considers his “angel” — called his dad after Zac attempted to cash an illegitimate check. It led him to a four-and-a-half month stint in rehab, and he now sits on the board of that center as a success story. He has since become the co-founder of Release Recovery.
Tayshia — obviously moved by his story — rewarded his honesty with a rose and security from elimination.
The next day, Tayshia challenged 10 of the remaining men with a group date creativity challenge. They started with a figure modeling drawing prompt and also worked with clay and were asked to do self-portraits. Each man used a different medium for their self-portrait, but Ben Smith stood out when he stripped down naked to prove his vulnerability.
“This experience is about taking your walls down,” he said. “I talk a big game, but it’s hard for me to express my emotions. Today has been eye-opening for me, so figuratively and literally, I’m going to let my guard down; this is me showing up — for you.”
During the evening portion of the date, he revealed the significance of his gesture when he discussed his 10-year long struggle with bulimia and body image.
“I don’t often get to be vulnerable or open or any of those things. I’m weirdly uncomfortable about all of it. I feel a connection with you,” he said. “It’s scary.”
Tayshia continued to reward vulnerability and gave Ben a rose.
The last date of the week went to Uzoma ‘Eazy’ Nwachukwu: he and Tayshia roamed the resort in the dark ghost-hunting. The date was lighthearted and full of laughter (with an occasional ghost-sponsored scream), but Tayshia expressed concerns that she wasn’t going to be able to match Eazy’s level of commitment.
“I honestly feel like I’m falling in love with you,” he said. “And that’s real and that’s so strong and apparent and I can’t lie about it. I feel like with love there is no time, there’s no rules, there’s no boundaries, there’s no method. It just is. And you know it and you feel lit in your bones.”
Her fears became realized after Eazy’s confessions, and she ultimately sent him home. While she admired his energy and his ability to make her laugh, she felt that she wasn’t able to match his level of commitment.
“I can’t give you this rose,” she told him. “I’m not there, where you are. And I don’t know if I can get there. The last thing I want to do is for you to continue to pour yourself out and one day just send you home at a rose ceremony.”
Eazy left blindsided as the first contestant of the season to be sent home during a one-on-one.
The next day, JoJo returned to her hosting duties, as she invited Noah Erb and Bennett Jordan to an impromptu two-on-one with Tayshia. After a week of conflict between the two men, Tayshia’s goal was to squash the drama with an elimination. A two-on-one date traditionally resolves with one elimination, while the other contestant is saved with a rose.
The two men prepared for their time with Tayshia, and each took turns throwing jabs and insults at one another. Ultimately, Tayshia was unimpressed with either of them.
“Is this what goes on between you two? ‘Cause this sounds honestly like teenage boy drama and the fact that I have to sit here and listen to you guys talking about this is ridiculous,” she told them.
The episode left on a cliffhanger of who would stay and who would be eliminated between those two men.
“The Bachelorette” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.