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Bachelorette Episode 7: The Rains of Castamere

CRYING-BACHELORETTE.jpg This season of The Bachelorette is giving me SAD. Every episode starts off all dark and gloomy with someone complaining to or about Kaitlyn (most often to her face!) and it's just bumming me out. I want to see Kaitlyn and Chris Harrison taking a sunlit morning stroll in some garden, bumping elbows and speaking in hushed tones and cautious smiles about her journey. But! Here we are, and we open with Shawn in Kaitlyn's room. He says this:

"Are you in love with me?"
Kaitlyn, looking incredulous: "You can't put me on the spot like that."
Shawn, putting her on the spot just like that: "Yes or no?"
Kaitlyn: "I'm falling in love with you."

Whoo, boy! Shawn, thou shalt not ask that to The Bachelorette's face (or anyone's face, really) so early into your "process." This is Shawn pushing his luck. Her constant reassurance of him combined with her fear of his finding out about Nick, and what he would do with that information, makes for a ball of ick. "It feels wrong. It feels like I'm constantly disappointing people...my heart would break if Shawn left, but this is why I have to explore every option. If someone can't be here they might not be the person for me," she says. Watch your lean back, Shawn -- that sounds reasonable given the strange situation in which she finds herself.

I'm glad to see Nick and Tanner taking me up on that morning garden stroll idea. They gossip about Shawn (so glad Tanner told Nick that Shawn calls him "the other guy" -- that'll bug him) and Tanner continues to be the Greek chorus we love. "I think Shawn thought he was at the top of the totem poll, so he's threatened by Nick." Succinctly put, sir.

It's on to the dreaded two-on-one, and I for one don't want to see sweet, sneaky-funny Joe go through this. JJ unfortunately lost his villain title early on and now he's just a putz. "Today is the biggest day of my recent life," JJ says, realizing he can't put this date above the birth of his daughter.

Joe uses this opportunity to tell Kaitlyn that he, too, is falling in love with her. "I know that you could feel the passion when I kissed you...you're worth putting it out there for...I'm falling in love with you," he says, to which she seems pleased-ish. JJ uses his time to tell Kaitlyn he cheated on his wife three years ago. Kaitlyn sends JJ home. Joe, however, doesn't immediately get a rose -- she makes him sweat it out and be southern and charming through dinner before he emerges victorious.

Back to you, Shawn! Apparently off-camera in San Antonio, Kaitlyn told Shawn that he was the one, and it's got him feeling all types of ways. For her part, Kaitlyn is beginning to feel fed up with all the entitlement and gerrymandering she's had to do. "Certain people are like 'why aren't you validating me all the time,'" she tells Joe.

Cue to Shawn taking it upon himself to visit Kaitlyn in her room yet again. First of all, can we make an effigy of that ugly couch and send it and all it represents out to sea? Nothing good has happened on that thing. Shawn times his visit to coincide with Kaitlyn giving yet another emotional interview, for real-deal crying. She, yet again, is terrified Shawn knows she slept with Nick. Nope! He's just feeling your run-of-the-mill, group dating show blues.

"After we came down to my room in Texas and we talked off-camera, you said some things to me that made things very difficult. When you look me in the eyes and say 'I think you're the one' it's tough," he says. Kaitlyn initially is relieved he's not about to give her the scarlet letter, before she hits on the real issue. "Maybe it's my fault for reassuring you too much," she says. "It's hard for me" Shawn protests, to which she (accurately) hits back with "It's hard for everyone...I've been so reassuring to you and I haven't been like that to other people."

But Shawn, you see, likes her more than the other guys. At this point Kaitlyn has transformed that sofa of sin to a pristine white couch and is basically lounging back with a glass of barolo, because she has transformed into Olivia Pope, and Shawn is getting handled. "When this stuff happens it makes me question us," she tells him, and he's backpedaling. "I'm going to work at this whole thing because it's worth it. I want you more than anything." This, you might note, is a bit different than last week when he told Kaitlyn that she was being "stupid" and "ruining everything." #Dating

More backstory on this San Antonio off-camera tribunal, which needs its own footnote at this point. Apparently Ben H. was there, too (this will come into play), but Kaitlyn focused all her attention on Shawn and did say those things to him. The validity of those feelings is sounding a bit iffy, however. "In that moment and in that time, that's who I could picture myself with, so I said something like 'yeah, you're it.' It's definitely a regret that I've had, and it's led to problems." No kidding. This is why I really like Kaitlyn. She's made some total bonehead moves, but it's weird and exciting to watch an actual human navigate this totally unfathomable, bizarre experience. It's just nice to be reminded this is super weird.

Known "handsome devil" Ben H. also needs to talk at Kaitlyn a lil bit. I actually still don't totally understand what happened at #SanAntoniogate, but bear with me. Apparently Ben H. was initially in on this weird San Antonio hang, but he left the room to shower, and apparently while he was doing so Kaitlyn told Shawn he was the one for her. I think. "That night has really altered everything for me, and not in a great way," she tells him, because Ben needs to make sure he's not just "spinning his wheels." Kaitlyn is "extremely disappointed in herself" for putting them both in that situation, and I'm confused again. Anyway, they make out.

Ugh, Nick. He's just squirrely and I can't take it. Nick is freaking out, because this could potentially be the second time a lady says "thanks but no" after sleeping with him. "A concern of mine is you talking about it [the sex] with other people," she says. "You can talk about the date, but not how romantic it was, and I think maybe some people were..." she trails off. Seems like some of the fellows picked up on the potential subtext of Nick telling them how "intimate" the date was, though he tells her to her face he never used that word. Then he starts fidgeting and crying. "I spend time with you and I leave with this confidence, and then I remember I was once the overconfident guy," he says and I have to say, Nick is good at laying it all on the line. They make out.

Man, this episode is like the mumblecore movie of my nightmares! Can't we make the guys be human cannonballs or something? Kaitlyn and Shawn go 'round and 'round again. "What concerns me is how you fight through these situations," she tells him as breakup music plays. "That night what I did, I shouldn't have done." They basically agree to take a "break," which I've never seen before. "We need to take a step back and decide if this is something we can get back to," she says. But Shawn just sees having 2.5 large fights after dating someone for a couple months as a "bump in the road."

Oh, the rose ceremony! So nice to see you, what, an hour in? There's been virtually no sunlight on this gloomy, emo episode. The voice of the people, Tanner, and sensitive hunk Ben Z. go home, and his exit is :( "'This is a girl my mom would have been proud to meet...a cool girl, an amazing woman. Having that forever love is everything to me...I've just got to find her. I'm trying, I'm trying." I'm confident in you, Ben Z.! Just go to virtually any bar after this show and you'll be fine. Don't bring Ian.

On the group date they're off to Killarney, and Kaitlyn chooses Jared as her ride or die while the other guys board the paddy wagon. Kaitlyn hits the curb a few times (who cares! It's a rental!) while she and Jared have a perfectly nice time together. I get why she chose Jared, because, as Mary J. says "no more drama," but she will crush him like a bug, make no mistake.

"I feel like I got back on track tonight," Kaitlyn says, as Chris Harrison ominously makes his way up the stairs. At this point, typically, Kaitlyn will send two more fellows home and then proceed to meet the families of the four remaining men. But not this time! "Be honest with me: Do you think you're ready to go visit four families?" Harrison asks her. She tells him, vaguely, about whatever happened in San Antonio, and that she also brought Nick back to her hotel and she "really regrets it.""That's good, we all screw up" Harrison murmurs as he half-comforts her. Does he know she means they did it? I bet he does! This is where it gets weird for me:

"Let's just tailor this to your experience and how it's going. You have already had off-camera time with some of these men, and I think it's important to get some of these other relationships up to speed, and I think you need off-camera time to get to know them," Harrison says. "That's what the fantasy suite and these exotic dates are all about." No, they're all about having sex, Chris Harrison! Kaitlyn will have her three overnight dates next week, apparently has the blessing to bang on all of them, and then she'll cut one more and meet the families of the final two men.

So...is Kaitlyn too skanky to meet four families? Or is this just the most "fair" solution? I truly don't know, but I dig this development -- time to weed 'em out, because there's no way it's not Shawn and Nick at the final. Chris Harrison breaks the news to the guys, who will have three dates this week before they are cut in half. The first group date goes to Chris "cupcake," and you know this guy is about to get the axe since the last thing Chris Harrison said to Kaitlyn was to be extremely judicial in who she keeps.

They take a helicopter to see the countryside and then have a picnic at the edge of a cliff, because that is the ideal place to breakup with someone. Seriously -- did Chris cupcake get voted Most Stable by the show's psychologists? Because when Kaitlyn drops the hammer, as we knew she would, he breaks down sobbing into his scarf cliffside. "I really wish you could be in my life, Kaitlyn" he tells her, before later telling the cameras that Kaitlyn is "wrong, and I don't think she knows what she wants." That seems true, Chris cupcake! Anyway, she Instagrammed something nice of the two of them last night, so all is well. God, this episode felt long.

On to next week! Shawn and Nick (finally!) get into it, Kaitlyn again may or may not tell the men she boned Nick, Jared is crying, and Nick and Shawn fight some more.

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