Michelle Young is the newest Bachelorette. (Hustler Multimedia/Emery Little) (Emery Little)
Michelle Young is the newest Bachelorette. (Hustler Multimedia/Emery Little)

Emery Little

Here for the Wrong Reasons: Episode 6 of ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 18

A recap of the sixth episode of the latest season.

November 26, 2021

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 18th season of “The Bachelorette.” 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 Wednesday for episode recaps and updates on Michelle Young’s journey to become an Instagram influencer find love. Make your picks in Vanderbilt’s (very un)official Bachelorette Fantasy League.

This is my 17th season of this franchise, and somehow hometown dates keep moving earlier and earlier. While it feels like we just met the contestants, it’s already time for Michelle to whittle down her remaining men to determine which lucky four get to introduce her to their families; coincidentally, it’s also time for the next season of “Bachelor in Paradise” to start scouting their newest contestants. While we all know this franchise is a racket, we can usually accept it for the sake of art; this week, however, the producers were so blatantly manipulating the drama that they should consider taking up puppeteering in retirement. Read on for an almost-behind-the-scenes look at what went into Michelle’s last week in Minneapolis and preparation for hometowns.

 

Michelle’s alleged students

The episode begins with four of Michelle’s fifth graders visiting to judge her guys, although I’m calling BS. First of all, some of the “fifth graders” looked no older than eight, as my aunt who’s an elementary school teacher pointed out. Plus, the kids are so good at reciting their canned kid-isms that there’s no way they’re not trained child actors. (I mean, “Olu is, like, nice-hearted. He made us feel warm inside, like hot chocolate and a chocolate-chip cookie?” No real child says that. Give me a break.) Even if they were Michelle’s actual fifth graders reading off a script, what kind of school administration would let their students appear on their teacher’s reality dating show? It’s almost insulting how dumb this show thinks we are. 

Suspending my disbelief, the students—Jalene, Kelsey, Luke and Ahmed—are put in charge of planning Michelle’s next date, and they’re not going to set their teacher up with some loser. They vet the remaining eight guys (Nayte, Joe, Brandon, Rodney, Rick, Olu, Clayton and Martin), concluding that Nayte is tall, Olu is nice, Clayton has muscles and can build a mean pillow fort, Rodney doesn’t shave his nipples and Martin is weird for telling them about the “intimate and romantic moments” he’s had with their teacher. I’ve got to hand it to the kids, because their reads are spot-on. 

 

One-on-one with Clayton

The students decide that Clayton is their favorite since he has muscles and can build a fort, so he gets to go on the date that they totally planned by themselves with zero help from the producers. Michelle and Clayton dine on a gourmet spread of pizza and candy as they take a limo ride to a natural history museum. At the museum, Clayton makes the huge revelation that “I love museums because there’s so much inside that you can learn.” The rest of the date involves equally deep conversations about being themselves and not holding things back. The spiciest part of the night is when they create their own mating calls, and even that lacks any chemistry. 

By the time they sit down for dinner, it’s pretty obvious that Clayton will not be getting a rose. Sure enough, Michelle tells him that even though he “checks every single box,” their connection isn’t strong enough for a hometown date, which is code for, “You’re perfectly average and I’m being told to set you up to be the next Bachelor.” 

Usually, guys who get axed on one-on-ones dip immediately, but Clayton gets to stay an extra night since he’s poised to get the Bachelor edit. So, Michelle’s alleged students pay him another visit the next morning to give him handwritten notes. The producers kids wish him well, saying that he’ll be a great father one day. One of the super real students’ letters reads, “It made me real sad to hear about last night. It was surprising because you are super genuine and I liked you a lot, and I know you’d be a really great husband for Miss Young,” a touching sentiment that was certainly not written by the lead producer. Naturally, Clayton bursts into tears. For the first time, we learn just how badly Clayton wants to settle down and start a family, and it becomes blindingly clear that this is his audition for the Bachelor. He may just beat Arie Luyendyk Jr. for the most boring lead ever.

 

Farm group date

For the last group date, Michelle invites the guys to a farm to get a taste of the Minnesota lifestyle. (For a group of aspiring Instagram influencers, this is a bold move.) We learn that creepy Rick has an appropriate knack for milking cows, Nayte has never brought anyone home to meet his dad and, according to Michelle, “Joe clearly knows how to handle teats.” While shoveling manure, Nayte allegedly hurts his lower back, causing Michelle to step in and join Rodney’s team. Like a seasoned franchise professional, Michelle capitalizes upon the guys’ activities throughout the date—milking, bottle feeding and manure-shoveling—to make cheesy parallels to love.

At the afterparty, Joe reveals that his grandparents owned a dairy farm, which was a major influence on his upbringing. Obviously, family-oriented Michelle swoons. Next, it’s time for Martin with the frosted tips to cause trouble. As if his problematic outburst last week wasn’t enough, he doubles down on his misogynistic rhetoric. After a contentious start to the conversation, he interrupts Michelle mid-sentence by calling her “my love,” to which she shoots back, “Not my love.” 

Olu brings to her attention that Martin might not be the gentleman he thinks he is (wow, really?!)—including that Martin said that her intimate poem from a few weeks ago was “immature”—prompting Michelle to confront Martin. When asked about this, Martin responds, “Can I tell you what I said? Am I allowed?” like the jackass he is. He continues to talk over her as she attempts to describe how his actions are beyond problematic, to no avail. Ultimately, Michelle is done with his degrading toxic masculinity and leads him out. I wish I could do this scene more justice, but it’s getting me too riled up just thinking about it—needless to say, I will be so pissed if he ends up getting a redemption arc on “Bachelor in Paradise.” In his exit interview, Martin says, “At this point I wouldn’t even care to give her a shot, a woman like that does not deserve my time,” like the delusional clown he is.

To redeem the night, Michelle gives Nayte the group date rose, securing him the first of four hometown date spots.

 

One-on-one with Brandon

For the final one-on-one in Minneapolis, Michelle takes Brandon on a hometown tour. First, they hit up an ice cream store that was a staple of her childhood (and definitely didn’t pay the show to give them free advertising) before paying a visit to Michelle’s childhood home. Her parents are allegedly out of town, which is possibly the dumbest ploy that anyone has fallen for on this show.

Michelle shows Brandon some childhood photos before proffering some of her father’s swim trunks so they can take a dip in the hot tub in typical Bachelor Nation style. They start making out but are quickly interrupted by Michelle’s mom and dad, who decided (read: were pressured by the producers) to come home early. Following a bit of awkward silence, the Youngs welcome Brandon with open arms—after all, their daughter is the Bachelorette, and they’ve got to get used to watching her make out with randos eventually! After a long conversation full of platitudes, Brandon asks Michelle for a moment alone with her parents, in which he asks them for her hand in marriage, should the day come. Sir, there are seven other men left, and if you’ve ever seen this show, you’d know that the final two guys always have the opportunity to speak to the Bachelorette’s parents before the proposal, during, you know, the finale. Pipe the f*ck down.

Though he’s jumping the gun a bit, Brandon seems to be all sweetness. After telling Michelle how much he would have liked to introduce her to his deceased grandfather, he gives her a bracelet that his mom made for him to give to her if he truly thought she was the one. This is messy AF, sure, but it’s a sweet gesture in the moment and it gets him a Hometown Date Rose, so it’s well played. 

 

Hometown roses

By the time the cocktail party rolls around, Michelle knows what she wants to do. Tayshia and Kaitlyn inform the guys that they’ll be skipping straight to the rose ceremony, causing a major panic for the guys that don’t feel confident in their connection with Michelle. At the rose ceremony, Joe and Rodney secure their hometown slots alongside Nayte and Brandon, meaning that sweet Olu (justice for Olu!) and creepy Rick have to pack their bags.

 

Next week, we’ll be traveling to Joe, Nayte, Brandon and Rodney’s hometowns to meet their families. This will be the first week of actual hometowns since Peter Weber’s pre-pandemic season of “The Bachelor,” and I’m looking forward to jumping back into the familiar tradition of overeager moms and skeptical dads. Will Michelle survive meeting the parents? Tune in next week to find out.

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