Tayshia needs to make a decision.
This week, the walls closed in on our Bachelorette as she had to prepare for hometown dates. Although it’s not quite clear how “The Bachelorette” will handle meeting the men’s families next week amidst the pandemic, the pressure is on.
At the start of the episode, Tayshia had 11 suitors. Only four will make it to the next round.
On Tuesday’s episode, she was forced to go deep with her guys, getting them to reveal the root of their characters. Ben and Riley got particularly vulnerable.
But the pain paid off. Tayshia is falling in love with a few of her men, and they’re falling right back.
(Spoiler alert and content warning: Suicidal ideation is discussed in this post.)
Here’s what happened on Week 9.
For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, Noah is a silly 25-year-old, and Bennett, 36, is a very serious, Harvard-educated investment banker. Despite being polar opposites, Tayshia is into both of them. They can’t comprehend that, and are taking it out on her and each other.
Tayshia sat them both down for chats to get to the bottom of their issues. Bennett lectured her on what emotional intelligence is and why Noah doesn’t have it. She felt that he questioned her integrity. Noah apologized to her for being at the center of all the house drama, and said Bennett talks down to him.
Tayshia sent Bennett home — a decision she didn’t take lightly. So when she saw Noah smiling like he had won some prize, she couldn’t reward him for his behavior. No rose for Noah, but no SUV either.
The cocktail party
Riley and Tayshia celebrated their one-week anniversary with a kiss. Zac C. gifted her a framed picture from their photoshoot last week. She also smooched Ben. Brendan wore another adorable turtleneck. It was a lovely few minutes, until JoJo Fletcher (yes, JoJo is still filling in for Chris Harrison) reminded her it was time to break some hearts.
The rose ceremony
Ten guys stood waiting. Only five roses were on the table. Zac, who had a rose from his one-on-one, was safe. Brendan, Riley, Ben, Blake, Ivan and Noah (I know) received roses, meaning Demar, Spencer and Ed went home.
Ben Smith and Tayshia scooted around the resort (literally) to find an “oasis” that JoJo set up for them. They jumped into fountains and hit piñatas to discover clues. It was cute.
They had so much fun, but Tayshia could tell Ben was holding back. He told her that being perfect is something that was drilled into him as a child. Last week, he bravely confessed to her that he suffered from an eating disorder. On Tuesday, Ben revealed to his date that he had two suicide attempts in 2018 and 2019, something he had never told anyone before. “I didn’t want to burden anybody with my problems. Luckily they didn’t work,” he said. Tayshia embraced him with open arms. It was another mature, vulnerable discussion, which has come to be a real highlight and welcome addition to this season. Of course, he was given the rose. With a new bond made, they danced together during a private concert.
The group date
Brendan, Ivan, Noah and Riley were put to the test on the group date. A polygraph test. Because nothing says love like intense interrogation. (Note: it probably wasn’t a real polygraph test, because it was hooked up to flashing lights, and I’ve watched enough true-crime documentaries to know that’s not how they work.) JoJo asked the questions. She discovered that Brendan may not be ready to go into hometown week. She also uncovered that Zac has cheated on someone before. And that he’s falling in love with Tayshia. Also Riley may not be named Riley.
The questions continued at the cocktail party. Why is Zac a cheater? It’s because he made out with a girl at a bowling alley while dating someone else — in sixth grade. More good news: Tayshia is falling in love with him, too.
Off to the side, Riley started to break down, worrying about meeting her family. The test was right: He was originally named after his father. After struggling with his relationship with his mother, he decided to start over, including getting a name change.
Tayshia was floored with his and everyone’s honestly, and didn’t feel that it was fair to give out a rose just because she had to. They’ll have to wait until the rose ceremony to see who will make it to next week.
Bennett came back to get his girl. He claimed that he wasn’t merely falling in love, like those other amateurs. He was in love. She needed to process his words and allowed him to stay the night at the resort, so she could think.
There will be two nights of “The Bachelorette” next week. On Monday and Tuesday, it seems that Tayshia allows Bennett to come back. Everyone breaks down crying. Things are getting real. Also, it’s the “Men Tell All” special, which will never match up to a “Real Housewives” reunion. It wants what Andy Cohen has.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis, call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.