"The Bachelorette" heads to beautiful downtown post-Hurricane Sandy Atlantic City! It seems a bit like the bachelors have been promised a black-and-white television if they attend a grueling pitch for time shares, but I'm sure ABC has found a way to make this jaunt seem just as fabulously romantic as the others. Yay!

The first one-on-one is with Brad, and Des is (at first) having a fabulous time. They're riding the Slingshot! They're eating chocolate-covered pretzels! It's so romantic! Gosh, Brad's so handsome! Des notices they're having an easy, fun-filled time together. Give that man a rose!

But not so fast. Dinner is a bust, big time. Brad tries to make awkward conversation; Des smiles and tries not to look at her watch. Finally, she suggests they climb up the lighthouse staircase where they're having their not-at-all-romantic dinner, and then she tells him, um, you're only slightly more interesting than a potted plant. Take your stuff and go. Brad cries, but he doesn't try to jump to his death, so I guess that's a good thing. 

Everyone but James will be going on the group date. Best line of the night -- Brooks compares Des to a unicorn, in that she shows up for a few moments, then disappears with some other guy most of the time. I now have to remember to call Des The Unicorn, as it's just so much better. 

The guys all meet The Unicorn at Boardwalk Hall, where Chris Harrison introduces them to the reigning Miss America, Mallory Hagan. How nice! But it's not really that nice, because Miss America is there because The Unicorn is inviting the guys to be part of the very first "The Bachelorette" Mr. America pageant! And there will be a swimsuit competition. Christopher Dean will also help them with their pageant walks. I want everyone in Speedos with Vaseline on their teeth, pronto!

The guys will also have to do a talent competition. I am so into this it isn't funny. I want high heels! And look, there are high heels! This is just a little sadistic, but mostly fun. Or mostly sadistic. Either way, it's great. 

Juan Pablo can baton twirl! I am not surprised, as he is one step removed from being The Most Interesting Man in the World. 

Zak W. grabs the guitar, Chris takes the high heels, and Drew declares the ensuing melee to create a talent segment a hodgepodge of tomfoolery. 

But wait! Time for the guys to get their swimsuits, and yes, there are Speedos for some of them. I may have to watch this episode again. As if to guarantee shrinkage, the guys are informed they will be performing in front of a live audience, as well as Des.

The judges are Hagan, Atlantic City mayor Lorenzo Langford, and The Unicorn. 

The guys are invited to answer some really dumb questions to prove their boyfriend quotient, and still look smarter than Miss Utah in the Miss USA pageant. 

Things really get fired up when the talent portion starts. Mikey T does a Michael Jackson/stripper thing. He can do upside down pushups! Brooks sings sings a funny song, then smashes his ukelele. Ben acts totally lame with ribbons and I desperately want The Unicorn to be so disgusted she sends him home. Drew reads Shakespeare, Chris wears heels and does hula hoops. Bryden does pelvic thrusts (why are so many of the guys going to Magic Mike moves?) and Zak W. sings. 

The second runner up is… Brooks! The runner up is Zak W., and the winner is… Kasey. Huh. Okay. 

Finally, it's time for bonding with The Unicorn. Chris reads her pretty bad poetry, and all the guys spend their free time hating Ben. I know he isn't on the show to make friends, but he's so universally disliked I'm amazed he's able to charm Des at all. 

Zak W. sings Des the rest of the song that he wrote for her, as he was only able to perform half of it at the Mr. America pageant. Des is charmed, and I will admit Zak W. is looking better and less insane to me all the time. The Unicorn must agree with me, because she gives him the date rose. Ben pouts. HE wanted the rose! Waah! God, I just hate that guy.

James can't wait for his one-on-one date with Des, and not just because he gets to take a bubble bath alone while eating chocolate covered strawberries in preparation for it (is James really straight?). So what wondrous romantic outing will they enjoy? A helicopter trip over the devastation left behind by Hurricane Sandy! How sweet!

Actually, it turns out to be one of those bonding through a difficult emotional experience kinds of things, and I think it actually turns out to be a hugely helpful date for James. When they meet a Manny and Jan, a cute little couple who survived Sandy (and 38 years together), Des generously gives them the romantic evening that she and James had planned. James smiles and acts like he isn't entirely annoyed. 

But Manny and Jan are awfully cute, and the Red Cross couldn't have picked a more adorable old couple if they'd gone through central casting. They're given a recreation of their wedding album (which was destroyed during the hurricane) and coo over Des and James when they come to visit. 

It's all a big warm and fuzzy set up for The Unicorn and James to selflessly eat pizza in a crappy bar and let James talk about his past asshattery. It turns out James once cheated on a girlfriend! You can actually see The Unicorn' jets cool as he confesses this. But he promises he'll never do it again and he really likes her and Des has been so giving all day she just hands James the rose and probably makes a mental note not to take him to the final two. 

They also listen to Darius Rucker sing for them. Hootie! I know, he's not Hootie, but I like to think of him as Hootie! Hootie is so much catchier than Darius. Geez. 

The show tries to whip up some last minute drama around Bryden, who is feeling sad and unloved. This is crap, as we know The Unicorn likes him, and we know he likes The Unicorn, and everything will be fine. 

Rose ceremony! 

 

First rose goes to Chris.

Second rose goes to Brooks.

Third rose goes to Juan Pablo.

Fourth rose goes to Drew.

Fifth rose goes to Michael G.

Sixth rose goes to Ben. Yuck.

Seventh rose goes to Kasey.

Eighth rose goes to Bryden. Did anyone really think he wouldn't accept it? Duh.

Last rose goes to Mikey T.

That means Zack K is going home. He was shocked! Why did this happen? Des was what he was looking for! Rejection is hard to swallow. He wants everlasting love, but he feels alone. He cries. I really had kind of forgotten he was still on the show. 

But forget him. Next week they're going to… Munich Germany! Lederhosen for everybody!

 

Did you think Kasey deserved to win Mr. America? What was your favorite part of the pageant? And could you hate Ben more if you tried?