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‘Bachelorette’ Episode 2 recap: DeMario is caught lying, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stops by, AND SO MANY GOOD DOGS

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis also make an appearance on the best episode of this show we’ve had in years.

It’s Bachelorette time. If you missed it, here’s last week’s recap of episode 1.

Welcome back, Sports Bachelor Nation. It’s Monday night of Memorial Day, so if you’re sitting on your couch sunburned and very full, please know you’re not alone. Luckily, we’ve got Rachel Lindsay’s search for happily ever after to distract us from the fact that we ate our weight in grilled meats (or vegetables, if you’re into that sort of thing) and drank a few too many beers over the past few days.

Speaking of beers, let’s watch some dudes get drunk and embarrass themselves on television as they try to make Rachel fall head over heels in love with them.

RACHEL’S DOG IS BACK!

We’re at Rachel’s temporary Bachelorette pad, where she’s talking about Her Journey so far. As she says that she’s getting good at being vulnerable, we zoom in on a shot of her dog with a cast on its leg. This seems like a metaphor, but I can’t be sure.

I have a message to the producers:

HELLO PRODUCERS PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT RACHEL’S DOG AND EXPLAIN WHY ITS LEG IS IN A CAST THANK YOU.

GROUP DATE ANNOUNCEMENT

In the mansion, the men are wearing henleys — official shirt of the Bachelor franchise. These men all look like the guy on the front of pack of Hanes shirts that you can buy in bulk at Walmart. I can only imagine that house smells like the men’s locker room before a middle school dance, and I sincerely hope Rachel isn’t asthmatic.

Chris “My Personal Trainer Says I’m Very Strong for a Man My Age” Harrison tells the men that A) there will be two group dates and one one-on-one this week and B) that he hopes the men are present for The Right Reasons.

HUSBAND HUNTING

The group date begins and we’re in a field. Rachel is grilling some burgers and shrimp. She throws a football because The Bachelorette is sports, and her spiral is better than many of the dudes’.

In an aside to the camera, Blake — the aspiring drummer with a mushroom cut from my fourth grade class in the ’90s — says that Lucas (Whaaabooooom Guy) is a garbage person who is NOT there for The Right Reasons. I can already tell that Blake’s made himself the Guy Who Hates Whaaabooooom Guy. Blake will undoubtedly spend most of his one-on-one time with Rachel trashing Lucas and then both Blake and Lucas will go home fairly soon after.

Rachel says that her friends are coming over. Her friends turn out to be Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis. It turns out that Ashton and Mila are huge Bachelor fans and called the producers to let them be on the show. I’m not sure if this is true, or if one of them has a contract with ABC and had to appear on this as part of a deal.

Ashton and Mila are funny. Mila is like, “Who here has health insurance?” Health insurance and kind eyes are really all I’m looking for in a man, so I appreciate this.

THE ULTIMATE HUSBAND OBSTACLE COURSE FOR VERY STRONG BOYS

Everyone knows the first thing a man must do when he’s trying to woo a woman is run an obstacle course that includes changing the diaper on a fake baby, running around with a vacuum, unclogging a drain that’s inexplicably clogged in the middle of a field, and buying her flowers.

The men do this. Kenny says he has an advantage because he’s super dad to his 10-year-old daughter, but Whaaabooom Guy wins thanks to what I think was an illegal stiff-arm. Mila calls him “Wazoozoo Guy.”

“I don’t think Rachel’s guy is in this group,” Ashton says, and I agree.

NIGHT DATE AT WHAT LOOKS LIKE A USED FURNITURE STORE

Rachel and her big strong boys go to an arcade bar or a used furniture warehouse (I can’t tell, which doesn’t bode well for the future of the establishment) for the evening portion of their date. Blake is on a tear, because it turns out he knows Lucas (Wazoozoo Guy) from before the show, because Lucas used to date Blake’s roommate. Lucas reads Rachel a poem and Rachel is kind, so she smiles, but the poem is terrible.

Blake is in full-on self-destruction mode. He does, indeed, spend his one-on-one time trashing Lucas to Rachel, but it turns out there’s some back story here: Blake says he lives with Lucas’ ex-girlfriend, that Lucas is a “clown for TV exposure,” and that Lucas wears makeup so he’ll look good on TV.

(PLOT TWIST: The Hollywood Reporter did some digging and found that the two were on a previous reality show together.)

Blake leaves his time with Rachel having only spoken about Lucas. Lucas and Blake then trade dumb insults for a while until Lucas, who is slurring his speech because he’s so drunk, says Blake “is dismissed.” The producers zoom in on a creepy clown face, which feels like another metaphor.

DEAN’S SURPRISING COME-FROM-BEHIND

Dean shocks the world by making Rachel laugh a lot and stirring up what seem like romantic feelings. Rachel tells Dean she truly did like it when he said, “I’m ready to go black and I’m not going back,” but that she wanted to say it first, and he stole her line. Dean, who is 25 and slightly awkward, looks extremely relieved. His hand is on her leg.

Kenny and Rachel have a nice moment where Kenny tells her about his daughter. Kenny is earnest, sweet, and kind. I think I love Kenny.

Rachel gives Dean — whose name might as well be Blake, he totally looks like a Blake — the First Impression rose and he then makes out with her. Looks like a decent kiss. Better than Bryan’s from last episode at least. Rachel seems pleased.

QUICK ASIDE ABOUT LEE

We cut to Lee, the singer-songwriter du jour, for a moment during the group date. He’s at the mansion, talking shit about the other dudes, and you can tell the producers are setting him up to be The Real Villain (Lucas is The Clown-y Villain). These wily puppeteers producers are brilliant.

PETER’S MAGICAL DOG DATE FROM HEAVEN

Peter gets the one-on-one date. This isn’t shocking, because Rachel seemed so drawn to him last episode. He’s very handsome and knows how to drive, which is always a plus in a partner. He proves he can drive by driving Rachel in a Tesla to a private plane. Tesla must’ve paid out the ass for sponsorship this season because they’ve featured very prominently so far.

On the tarmac, Rachel throws a serious curveball when she says that this date will actually be a two-on-one, because her injured best friend is coming along. I’m like, man, is this going to be another famous person, like Kawhi Leonard?

AND THEN IT’S HER DOG!!! It’s Rachel’s adorable, hurt, beautiful dog, Copper. The producers must’ve heard me (and the rest of America) as we clamored for more information about this adorable pooch, because here he is.

I am tearing up.

THERE ARE SOOOO MANY GOOD DOGS ON THIS DATE OH MY GOD

Rachel, Peter, and Copper get on a private plane and fly to a dog party at a dog hotel.

This date isn’t fair to the other contestants, because who wouldn’t immediately fall in love with a handsome man who took them to a dog hotel? We still don’t know how Copper was injured, but we do know that Peter would move to Dallas for Rachel, and that the sparks, they are a flyin’. Peter dances with Copper in a sea of other humans who are also dancing with their dogs.

Both Peter and Rachel have personalities, which is something new and different for this show. My key takeaway so far is that we all need dogs, and then we need handsome men, and then we need those man to bring all of us to dog parties at dog hotels.

TOOTH DATE

Rachel and Peter go on a delightful evening date where they talk about their matching tooth gaps (never thought I’d find a conversation on dentistry so fascinating, but here we are). Copper gets his own seat.

And then something wonderful happens: Both Rachel and Peter talk about how they went to see therapists after their last relationships fell apart. As an anxious person who believes strongly in therapy, I am highly, highly, highly in favor of getting rid of the stigma that goes along with taking care of mental health issues. Talking about it openly on national television is important, unexpected, and I’m here for it.

Rachel is the best lead in this history of reality TV. Peter is the clear front-runner right now.

BASKETBALL DATE

Rachel and another group of merry men go to play basketball at a school gym. I can’t help but feel like maybe ABC is playing into how many sportswriters watch this show, because there are so many sports this season. There are also good dogs, which are definitely sports.

And then Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shows up to coach basketball.

This is very much sports, too, but it’s also somewhat surprising, because Kareem wrote a nuanced and spot-on op-ed in February about how The Bachelor and Bachelorette have had an abysmal amount of diversity and a serious lack of any real conversation:

“The real crime is the lack of intellectual and appearance diversity, which leaves the contestants as interchangeable as the Mr. Potato Head parts. The lack of racial diversity has already been commented on. If you’re black on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, you’re usually kept around as a courtesy for a few weeks before being ejected. Those outside the ideal body fat percentage index need not apply. With all eyes firmly fixed on firm buttocks, the criteria for finding love becomes how high a quarter will bounce off rock-hard abs. Will we ever witness a conversation that isn’t so bland and vacuous that words seem to evaporate as soon as they are spoken?”

Maybe ABC listened? At any rate, the network has finally (however horribly and belatedly) made a black woman The Bachelorette. Perhaps Kareem decided he’d give the show a shot at redeeming itself and have some fun with Rachel in the meantime.

Update: Kareem wrote another great op-ed explaining why he appeared on The Bachelorette.

Kareem will not give these guys a chance to redeem themselves at basketball, though, because they don’t deserve one. Lee is terrible. Kareem laughs a lot. Like, at Lee. Not with him. I love this.

EVERYTHING IS FINE

Everything is going great — the guys play a basketball game in front of a packed crowd, which includes the human version of one of those blow-up guys in front of car dealerships.

That kid rules.

Rachel and DeMario (who by now has compared himself to Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant) have been seriously vibing on this date, and it’s looking like she’s going to give him the Immunity Rose, a.k.a. The Bachelorette’s version of an Epi Pen.

AND THEN NOTHING IS FINE

Uh oh. This woman named Lexi shows up and claims that DeMario is her boyfriend (actually she says, “Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it DeMario?”).

Lexi says she saw DeMario on After the Final Rose at the end of Nick’s season, when DeMario was one of the guys who showed up to meet Rachel before her season started. DeMario pretends not to know Lexi at first, which is a mistake, because Lexi has text messages between the two of them in which DeMario says, “goodnight, babe.”

Lexi says the texts prove DeMario never ended their relationship before he went on the show, but DeMario says he ended it in person, so there wouldn’t be any texts. Rachel gives DeMario a chance to explain what happened, but he kind of fumbles through it, saying that Lexi is nuts. Lexi swears on her father’s grave and on her two kittens that DeMario is lying. She also calls him a piece of trash. DeMario is like, “I don’t have keys to your apartment!” And then he’s like “Oh, those keys. Yeah, I mailed them back.”

Both of these people are ... maybe not the best.

Rachel lays down the law: “I don’t want to be played, I don’t want to be made a joke of, so I’m really going to need you to get the f[bleep] out. I don’t like being f[bleeping] embarrassed.”

She sends DeMario home. Lexi also leaves.

RACHEL LAYS DOWN THE LAW SOME MORE

Rachel goes into the locker room and she’s like DON’T FUCK WITH ME, YOU ASSHOLES.

And by that I mean she graciously and kindly says:

“I pride myself in being real. If any of you have a girlfriend, please just tell me now, because it makes me sick that I sent people home. So with that being said, I’ll see you tonight.”

The guys are like WHAAAAAAT and pretend they can’t believe anyone would ever cheat or do anything bad. One guy, maybe Lee (or another Blake, or another Dean, I don’t know, there are too many) says, “That’s insane to me, how can you be so duplicitous?”

And I’m like, oh yeah, because I’m sure all of you are a bunch of goddamn saints.

NIGHT DATE AFTER THE DEMARIO DISASTER

Rachel tells the camera that “DeMario is a dirty, dirty dog” and that it’s making her “question the other men’s real intentions. I need to look past charm and see them for who they are and recognize their true character.”

That seems maybe not possible after two weeks of knowing someone, but if anyone can do it, I believe it’s Rachel Lindsay.

The other guys, meanwhile, are still milking the DeMario thing for all it’s worth. They’re all like I WOULD NEVER HURT YOU OR ANY WOMAN LIKE THAT!

Right. And my uncle’s the Easter Bunny.

Josiah swoops in and acts all protective, which could seem bad, but seems maybe good? I don’t even know anymore. But he’s wearing a great outfit, he’s quite attractive, and he’s very smooth, so I am somewhat taken with him. Rachel seems to be, too, because she gives him the Immunity Rose.

A FEW RANDOM THOUGHTS

  • Diggy wears Von Miller glasses. I like Diggy, I think.
  • We have a Diggy and an Iggy, which is an -iggy record for The Bachelorette.
  • Alex sings to Rachel in Russian.
  • Rachel tells Eric that quality time and physical touch are the things that make her feel loved. I love how sex positive she is. Go Rachel. All women should have good sex.
  • We haven’t seen enough of Anthony!!!!! I want more of Anthony!!
  • Kisses on live mics are disgusting.
  • We’re only two episodes in and this entire episode is better than Nick’s whole dumb season.

DEMARIO COMES BACK?!

So Bryan, the one who kissed Rachel first, is a chiropractor. He sets up a massage table at the cocktail party and gives her a massage. Bryan creeps me out, but massages are good, and Rachel seems into him.

Rachel and Iggy are playing a thumb war (sexy!) when DeMario comes back to try to explain himself. The security guy goes to get Chris Harrison, who is probably asleep at his house in L.A.

But Chris eventually shows up, and he’s like ... OK, DeMario, I’ll tell Rachel you’re here, but it’s up to her if she wants to talk to you. Chris is doing more this season than he did for all of the past three combined.

Rachel is curious. She goes to talk to DeMario.

Meanwhile, the dudes are like, “Wait, is that Chris? He’s not supposed to be here!” And then they realize DeMario is back, and they charge out like an angry mob to go get rid of him.

AND THEN THE EPISODE JUST ENDS

This is the best season of this show I’ve ever seen, and Episode 2 was the best episode. We had drama up the wazoo, promising suitors, and Rachel, who’s smart, funny, and sincere in a not-corny way that makes you actually believe such things as The Right Reasons (or something close to them) exist. I hope she gets her own talk show after this so we can keep watching her conduct the people around her like a symphony. Actually, no, I hope she does whatever the hell she wants to do with the love of her life.

I hated this show after Nick, but now I can’t wait for next week. HOWEVER: If the producers keep doing this stupid cliff-hanger shit, I will call Copper The Adorable Injured Dog and demand he pull rank to make them stop.

VERY IMPORTANT CORRECTION: A previous version of this very important recap stated, repeatedly, that Rachel’s dog is named Cooper. He is not. He is named Copper. However, the author of this article also spelled “Bachelorette” wrong in all of her tweets last night, so the error should come as a surprise to no one.