A graphic of Bachelor Clayton Echard (Hustler Multimedia/Alexa White) (Alexa White)
A graphic of Bachelor Clayton Echard (Hustler Multimedia/Alexa White)

Alexa White

Here for the Wrong Reasons: Episode 3 of ‘The Bachelor’ Season 26

A recap of the third episode of the latest season.

February 3, 2022

Welcome to “Here for the Wrong Reasons,” where each week I’ll be recapping all of the champagne-guzzling and petty “Can I steal you for a second?”s of the 26th season of “The Bachelor.” Nothing boosts your confidence about your own love life like watching a bunch of desperate 20-somethings competing for a stranger’s affection! Check in every week for episode recaps and updates on Clayton Echard’s journey to become an Instagram influencer find love.

I’ve got to come clean about something: I’m having trouble buying into this season. Much like Peter Weber, Clayton is the personification of a stale slice of Wonder Bread™; unlike Peter Weber’s women, the drama between Clayton’s women is not that unique. Usually, the show can make up for a boring lead with good contestants and entertaining drama, but this season’s goings-on fall flat. I’m over the never-ending beef between Shanae and Elizabeth—the irony of Shanae calling Elizabeth “fake” and “two-faced” while Shanae is the fake and two-faced one isn’t funny, it’s incredibly aggravating—and none of the other women are standing out to me. Maybe they’re just matching Clayton’s energy?

 

The rose retraction

Last episode, we left off with Clayton asking host Jesse Palmer if he’s allowed to take back a rose. Jesse gives him the go-ahead, so Clayton pulls Cassidy aside. He interrogates her about her alleged friends with benefits (FWB) back home, whom she had been FaceTiming the night before she arrived at the house, per Sierra. In so many words, Cassidy says that she’s only interested in the benefits rather than a relationship with this guy, but Clayton is not having it. He accuses her for being there for the wrong reasons (a shoutout to this column, maybe?), takes back her rose and walks an ugly-crying Cassidy to the limo. Nobody is sad to see her go except Shanae, which is somehow worse than nobody being sad to see her go.

 

The rose ceremony

At the rose ceremony, an unsettled Clayton sends Ency, Kate and Tessa packing. This means that 18 women are left vying for his heart. As much as I hate to agree with Shanae, she points out how ridiculous it is for the jilted women to have such tearful goodbyes with each other, given that they’ve only known each other for a couple of weeks at most.

 

Trauma-dump group date

Typically, contestants on this show are supposed to reveal a dark part of their past to the lead at dinner on a one-on-one. This week, however, the producers have decided to cut right to the chase, planning a group date that can best be described as a group therapy session without any licensed therapists present. 

Serene, Susie, Eliza, Mara, Marlena, Hunter, Genevieve and Jill are led into a dark room and greeted by none other than former Bachelorette and co-host of the past two seasons of “The Bachelorette,” Kaitlyn Bristowe. They sit down in a circle as Kaitlyn assures them that Clayton is “one of the most genuine, sincere men who’s ever truly been on the show.” 

The only explanation for this inaccurate statement is that Kaitlyn is from Canada, and Canadians are notoriously nice.

It’s time to get “really vulnerable and deep,” so Kaitlyn reads statements such as “Stand up if there are parts of yourself that you’re not proud of,” an exercise that is plagiarized from an anti-bullying seminar I took in middle school. After each statement, Clayton and the women take turns sharing why they stood up. Hunter discloses that her ex-boyfriend made her change everything about herself—from dying her hair to getting colored contacts—before cheating on her. Next, Serene shares that she was shamed for being so small growing up. Obviously, body-shaming is never okay, but it is interesting that the show can talk about skinny-shaming but not cast a single person over a size 4 … Clayton also shares that he has faced body insecurities in the past, and all of the women are moved to tears. 

At the afterparty, Serene tells Clayton that her family rarely discussed emotions growing up, then Eliza and Clayton stare at themselves in the mirror. Eliza scores the group date rose because Clayton likes looking at her.

 

One-on-one with Sarah

Sticking with the theme of former Bachelorettes hosting this episode’s dates, Becca Kufrin is here to oversee a scavenger hunt around town. The catch? Clayton and Sarah have to “strip down to their skivvies” as they run around downtown L.A. This date would have been more fitting for “sex-positive” Katie Thurston’s season, but I’ll let it slide. Quasi-nakedly, they eat ice cream, swing at piñatas and sing (or try to, at least). 

At dinner, Sarah tells Clayton about being adopted. Growing up, “I was just really ashamed of being adopted. I just felt like kind of a second choice,” she says. They bond over both having “insecurities,” although Clayton doesn’t specify what his are. To close out the date, he gives her the one-on-one rose, and the two dance to a string quartet in front of the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit (which we have here in Nashville!). Definitely a step up from the usual G-list pop singer and producer-crafted backdrop.

 

Shrimp-Gate

If you’re a card-carrying member of Bachelor Nation like I am, you’ll remember the infamous Champagne-Gate from Peter Weber’s season of “The Bachelor,” when Hannah Ann “accidentally” stole Kelsey’s bottle of Dom Perignon to share with Peter and Kelsey’s replacement bottle exploded in her face. Consider that fiasco the prequel to this episode’s drama: Shrimp-Gate.

We rarely get a glimpse into what the women do in their downtime at the mansion, and I’m honestly not sure why—their shenanigans are far more entertaining than any of the dates. Elizabeth whips up a batch of shrimp for the women to enjoy, and Shanae promptly takes eight—the show documents this with a shrimp count in the corner of the screen—which is more than her fair share. Elizabeth’s response wins Quote of the Week:

“Obviously, there are two things Shanae can’t keep out of her mouth: and that’s my name and shrimp.”

In an effort to appease the women who didn’t get any shrimp, Shanae makes her own batch, but gets even more pissed when they allegedly don’t accept her crustaceal peace offering. 

You can say a lot of things about this show, but you can’t say it’s not amusing.

 

“Baywatch” group date

The second group date card reads, “Love’s a beach.” Gabby, Rachel, Kira, Melina, Lyndsey, Sierra, Teddi, Elizabeth and Shanae meet Clayton at the beach and are playing football (or trying to, at least) when Nicole Eggert, who appeared on the show “Baywatch,” arrives on an ATV to put them through lifeguard training. The women pretend to recognize her, but considering the fact that “Baywatch” aired around the time they were all born, I’m not too convinced. 

Nicole has the women change into matching red one-piece swimsuits, which are very much giving “beach-themed sorority bid day” vibes. First, they apply sunscreen to each other, with Clayton watching in a rather voyeuristic way. Next, they learn how to do CPR on a dummy, which also gets incredibly sexual, and they’re so bad at it that I pray they never get put in a situation where they have to, like, actually do life-saving CPR. They also practice their “Baywatch” slo-mo beach running, which is equal parts uncomfortable for viewers to watch and boner-inducing for Clayton. In classic Shanae-nae form, she takes the opportunity to aggressively make out with Clayton at the end of her run. Nicole decides that Gabby is the day’s winner; as her prize, she gets to share champagne and make out on the lifeguard stand with the painfully-sunburned Bachelor.

At the afterparty, Gabby brings aloe to help relieve Clayton’s sunburn (and to get to touch his shirtless torso). The party takes a less light-hearted turn after this, because Shanae can’t go a date without stirring the pot. She claims that she feels bullied in the house, which is laughable because she’s intentionally making the other women hate her so that she can get camera time. In an interview, she literally admits to being two-faced, saying, “Oh my god, he believed me. I have him. Trust me. I know I have him. I was good.” Unfortunately, Clayton is too dumb to see through Shanae’s obvious calculations, so he tells her not to be “too in your head about it” and kisses her.

Next, Clayton pulls Elizabeth and Lyndsey aside to address Shanae’s bullying accusations, leaving them rightfully flabbergasted: imagine being bullied by someone and then being accused of bullying them.

What kind of middle school drama is this?

When the women confront Shanae, she says “I didn’t point out any names except a couple.” In the words of “Bachelorette” Season 11’s Clint Arlis, who tragically passed away last month, “Villains gotta vill.” Thankfully, Clayton doesn’t reward Shanae’s behavior, giving the group date rose to Gabby instead. 

The episode ends ominously, with Clayton telling the women on the date that he’s frustrated by the fighting that’s been going on in the mansion and that he will be addressing it with all of them tomorrow. Elsewhere in L.A., Cassidy is probably getting some consolation benefits from her FWB.

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