Team, Monday night’s episode of The Bachelorette was a rough one. Not only did we lose two soldiers to injury, but our game was in danger of being pushed back because of a pesky little thing called the “NBA Finals,” and was still interrupted by a fascist dictator meeting with a wannabe fascist dictator. It was a trying time, but we made it through—and hey, that’s what delays are for.

Honestly...take me now.

We’ll start where we left off: with our three remaining Sports Men, Colton, Clay, and Mike.

Almost Certainly A Virg Colton

Colton, Colton, Colton. In this episode, the former NFL practice-squadder was still reeling from his not-that-long-ago dalliance with former potential Bachelorette Tia, and still arguing that he and Becca are the real deal. Colton said things like, “We had two very tough conversations but our relationship hasn’t progressed at all”; “If I get the next date card, I’ll be ecstatic”; and “If I was a betting man I’d say that this was the beginning of something great. And I am a betting man.”

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However, there’s a twist. The group date Colton goes on involves Becca bringing all her girlfriends who have canoodled with her former boyfriend Arie. Yes, Tia is included in this date, which meant there were a number of things said regarding what is true/not true about what they did/did not do together.

Tia claimed she didn’t know Colton would be on this date (Tia, you’re no rookie, and that’s a rookie move). Becca said she didn’t know Colton had dated Tia until she talked to Tia, but last week she had said she didn’t know until Colton came on. Anyway, none of the passes were clear, but Tia confirms that “the most” she and Colton did on their “weekend” was kiss (!!!), that they “never established what we were,” and that Colton was upfront and told her he had applied to be on the show. Does everyone involved think he applied because Tia was supposed to be the Bachelorette before Becca got pushed into first after being drop-kicked by Arie? Yes! Does Becca feel that “this is one of my worst nightmares that played out”? Yes! Is she worried she might have to send Colton home if he’s really here for “the wrong reasons,” a famous catchphrase used so many times in this episode it made my head spin? DING DING DING WE HAVE A TOUCHDOWN.

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Of course, star-crossed lovers Tia and Colton are not allowed to really chat during this awkward group date. Following Becca and Tia’s multiple “I love yous” to each other, Becca and Colton discuss the Tia situation.

“I feel like I really put you through the wringer last week, we had so many physical dates,” Becca says.

“The emotions that I feel, they’re so strong,” Colton says. “It’s there.”

Colton explains he wants to be really honest with Becca, particularly because Arie was such a liar-liar. “There’s a lot that I want you to know about me.” Luckily, Becca feels the same way. “I really do genuinely want to get to know Colton for Colton,” she says to him, invoking the all-powerful third person. They kiss, and Colton gets the group date rose. It’s a SCORE, which is only slightly dampened by Colton saying to Male Model Jordan he’ll talk about whatever publicly, then when he finds out it’s Tia, wants to take it private. Bro, leave it on the field: there’s no privacy in this game.

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Clay

Clay Sports Man (also known as Sports Man Clay) was in the zone tonight. “I think we may be up to some football,” Clay the professional football player wisely notes. “But the point of the date is hanging with Becca.” (Is it?)

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It becomes clear that sports and love do not always align. “Me being from Minnesota, I love football. We just had the Super Bowl,” Becca helpfully says, priming the pump. Her equally articulate player Clay agrees. “Getting a rose today would be amazing,” he says. “After the last cocktail party I think I’m trending in the right direction.” He says he wants “to show Becca I’m really passionate about football and it’s important to me.” They do some light touching on the field as the teams warm up.

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“Clay is showing a whole different side to himself,” says Becca, who’s gotten a whiff of those pheromones and is loving how not sweet and gentle he’s become. The teams count off “1-2-3 BECCA!” as Keyshawn Johnson and Chris Harrison announce the “first-time-ever Becca Bowl,” which is being supported by lingerie football players (it’s now called the Legends Football League) Malissa Miles and Dina Karwoski. Not the worst choice, given this show’s prior football guest stars. “It’s gonna be some pretty bad football, let’s be honest,” said Harrison, in the first true statement he’s ever made.

What happens next is some worrisomely heavy-on-the-contact football, as well as some truly confusing life choices. Clay pushes himself to the brink, even going as far as to support Alleged Office Floor Shitter Lincoln by explaining how passes work. “I’ve been down 28-7 in the fourth quarter and won a game before. This is nothing,” he says as his team, the Blue team, is trailing the White team. “We were like poking at the bear all day and then finally Clay decides to let loose and really go insane,” long-haired Leo says of Clay’s switch in personality.

Then, the worst happens. Clay scores a game-tying touchdown and says he’s broken his wrist. True football fan Becca comes over with the sage advice of “You’re such a champ, I’d be sitting there sobbing.” Leo chimes in: “This guy’s a world-class athlete. You don’t want to see him get hurt.”

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Seems like that’s that. We’ve already seen a man fall out of a bunk bed and injure himself so badly there’s blood everywhere (forgot to mention that, but yeah, that happened).

Becca writes off the injured suitor at first. “Unfortunately, Clay, he got hurt and couldn’t make it tonight,” she says oh-so-casually of the guy who just potentially ruined his career for the minuscule possibility of getting married. “I hope that he’s doing okay but going into tonight I’m just excited.”

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Clay is resilient, though. The tight end walks into the rest of the date joking about how he “got hurt playing football on The Bachelorette. That’s pretty funny.” He says he was “vulnerable” and that Becca taking care of him felt good. He’s got something that’s “maybe broken,” but he put off dealing with it until the next day because he wanted to see Becca. She’s proud his skills didn’t intimidate the other guys. He says he’s happy to be here with her.

“Today was scary but getting an opportunity to come back and talk to Becca made it all worth it,” Clay the saint says. “Even though it was all about the competition, today it was really about making connections.”

Obviously, he gets the group date rose and pins it to his arm sling, because they both would have looked like monsters without that exchange. “This is 100 percent my best date ever,” Clay says, the endorphins and/or drugs running through his veins.

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The next day, Clay is told he needs an operation to fix his hand, and is seriously concerned that if he doesn’t do it he won’t be able to provide for his family. Alternatively, if he leaves and hypothetically just has a few more years of playing football, he’ll never forgive himself because he knows he could have been with her. That being said: “But I know the right thing to do is to go.”

Becca and Clay, two nice people who never really seemed to like or feel passionately or anything about each other, are very sad. Becca is “finally seeing a future” with Clay. “You know my job is playing football, and you know it really helps me take care of people who are really important to me,” Clay says. “I know what I have to do and I regret it already.”

“It’s obviously not what I wanted to hear tonight,” Becca says.

“Being a man is making tough decisions and living with them,” Clay says. He gives back the rose. This somehow breaks Becca. “Honestly I have nothing left. I’m just ... done.”

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Mike

Oh yeah, Mike. He did some impressive things on the Blue team during the football date with his hair down. Said hair caught the attention of his castmates. “He looked like a lovely blonde woman walking around,” said long-haired Leo. “I caught myself checking him out.” Mike said something about wanting to have fun and win the game and—honestly, it was so boring I stopped transcribing.

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Team Highlights

  • The pampering date with Becca’s gal pals results in a bunch of the men having painted nails for the rest of the episode. Truly, sincerely awesome.
  • Becca finds out Male Model Jordan has allegedly matched with 4,000 women on the app Tinder. She high-fives him. She rocks.
  • “As they were putting him on a stretcher, I’m like, this dude looks like he was attacked by a bear” –Colton on David, who fell out of the bunk bed.
  • When Becca learns about David’s injury, she assumes it was a result of male-on-male violence. “Who did that?” she asks. David, the bed-faller, jokes with her that he fell off because he’s “so used to sleeping on a king-sized bed.”
  • Also, this: