This week on "The Bachelorette," Desiree Hartsock and her suitors headed to the island of Madeira, Portugal. While Desiree found herself on Cloud 9, cynical fans struggled to find the silver lining in what many perceive to be a lackluster season.
Brooks Has His Head in the Clouds
Brooks had the first one-on-one date of the week. He and Desiree took a drive up the mountains where they (literally) found themselves in the clouds. During a mountaintop picnic, they talked about where they saw the relationship going. Brooks commented that, "things are easy for us," and Desiree felt that the conversation had given them a breakthrough in their relationship.
Lost in the clouds (both literally and metaphorically), Desiree and Brooks yelled, "We're on Cloud 9!" Did anyone have flashbacks of AshLee Frazier maniacally yelling, "I love Sean!"?
Speaking of flashbacks this week, Jackie Parr, Lesley Murphy, and Catherine Giudici showed up in Madeira to "advise" her. Apparently, "Bachelor" Sean Lowe told fiance, Catherine to "give good advice," and that he was really looking out for her.
Looking back, I'm wondering if Desiree would have been better off with Sean. Last season, she showed so much spunk and personality when she was with him. But this season, she's coming across as a bit dull. And who could blame her? It's difficult to be charming and engaging when you have such an underwhelming crop of guys to choose from.
Fans Struggle To Find a Silver Lining
Desiree and Brooks may be on "Cloud 9," but the fans don't seem to be feeling it. Based on Reality Steve's most recent column, viewers really seem to be down on this season. The general consensus seems to be that Desiree is boring, that the guys are slim pickings, and that Drew, Brooks, and/or Michael could possibly be gay.
Wrote one reader, "I think it's a combination of Des being kind of boring and average and horrible casting. Des is cute and peppy but she is no Trista, Emily, DeAnna, Jillian, Ashley or Ali."
Wrote another reader, "Drew is sweet but probably not straight and Michael needs to be punched ... Seriously, if any woman is interested in him after watching this season, then I'm worried about my gender."
Poet Chris Is a One-Trick Pony
Chris had a textbook perfect one-on-one date. He and Desiree sailed to an island where they talked about what they were looking for in a relationship. Apparently, they're both reserved people who are used to living independently, but now they've come to a point where they want to share their lives with someone.
In an over-the-top Nicholas Sparks-esque moment, Desiree and Chris wrote a poem together, placed it in a bottle, and tossed it into the Atlantic Ocean.
Over dinner, they talked about the possibility of meeting her family. In a bit of revisionist history, Desiree commented that her family had only met her high school boyfriend. (Did she forget about Sean? I'm sure Nate hasn't forgotten!)
Chris decided that it was time to drop the L Bomb (to tell her that he loved her). Because he was too nervous to articulate his feelings, he expressed himself the only way he knew how, with a poem.
Poet Chris is such a one-trick pony. At least "#Kasey" had enough sense to drop the hashtag shtick before it got old. Still, Chris did earn a few points with me for the classy navy blue short shorts. (I still have nightmares about Ed Swiderski's neon green short shorts!)
Michael's "Journey" Toboggans Downhill
Michael had the sense that he was running on borrowed time, so he was making quite the last-ditch effort to stick around.
Because he had spent much of the season feuding with other men (mainly Ben), he didn't have the chance to cultivate a relationship with Desiree. This week, he was trying to make up for lost time, but it all seemed a bit contrived.
The prosecutor was really pleading his case, talking about how his ex-girlfriend had broken his heart, and how Desiree had given hope that he could love again. He also played up the sob stories, talking about how growing up with a single mom, being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and how his dad bailed on him after the diagnosis. He talked about wanting to be a great dad in the future, and avoiding the mistakes of his own father.
It's one thing if these topics come up organically over the course of a natural relationship, but it seemed like Michael was trying to cram it in.
During his date with Des, they went tobogganing down a steep hill. As expected, Michael invoked the franchise cliche metaphor about how love was a "wild ride, full of moments where you're extremely scared."
Zak and Drew Race For A Chance At Love
While Michael was experiencing the "wild ride," Zak and Drew sought to make Desiree's heart "race."
Zak and Drew's two-on-one date consisted of a trip to a race car track where they raced in go-karts along a windy track.
Zak out-raced Drew, and was rewarded with the first alone time with Des. Because of his bro code respect for Drew, Zak did not drop the L Bomb. However, he did present her with some original sketches commemorating their "journey" together.
Later, Drew had his turn with Des. He talked about how excited his family was to meet her. He also told her about his mentally handicapped sister, and how excited she would be. He also sealed the deal by dropping the L Bomb (telling Des that he was "falling in love" with her).
Desiree Races To "Finish Line" With Brooks
Drew won the rose on the two-on-one date, but judging by Desiree's conversation with Chris Harrison, it doesn't appear that either Drew or Zak has much of a chance against Brooks.
During her date with Brooks, they talked about being somewhere between "like" and "love." They described the in-between stages as "stepping," "skipping," and "finish line." However, while Brooks seemed to be tip-toeing, Des told Chris that she had hit the "finish line" with Brooks.
Desiree seems to be have her heart set on Brooks. I wonder what she'd say about the fan speculations about his sexual orientation. One Reality Steve reader was particularly blunt, writing, "On the gaydar scale of 1 to 10 (with a 10 being Elton John), I would say Brooks is a strong 9.8."
Drew had a rose from the two-on-one date. At the ceremony, Brooks, Chris, and Zak received roses while Michael was left heartbroken in the reject limo calling his mother.
It appears that Desiree's controversial brother, Nate, will make an appearance during next week's hometown dates. I would love to see Nate go rogue on these guys. It would certainly revive this disappointing season of "Bachelorette."
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