Bachelor Season 27 Episode 5 Recap: Zach Makes Bachelor History With The First Ever Virtual Rose Ceremony

Get your popcorn and rosé ready, because tonight The Bachelor is going to London, England!

Bachelor Zach Shallcross met us there and said — guess what? — say it with me, “This is the perfect place to fall in love!” The group of women was down to 11 already, and Zach decided that his goal this week would be “to focus on the romantic connections.” Isn’t that what he’s been doing all along?

The Bachelor’s In London, Y’all!

Cue the shot of the 11 remaining women shouting, “London!!!” from the London Bridge. (Aren’t they supposed to be screaming Zach’s name? Somebody changed the rules on me.) Also we were treated to several of the women (as well as Zach) uttering phrases like “Pip pip,” “Cheerio” and “Hello, Zachary,” with attrocious “British” accents.

Apparently they were all staying at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge of London, because the camera zoomed in on the sign for promotional purposes. (So was that the Westminster Bridge we saw a moment ago then? My mistake. I’ve never been there.) Their suite was once again gorgeous, with a fabulous terrace overlooking a panoramic view of the city. Also from which they can jealously watch some other girl’s fireworks display. Oh yeah, also for screaming “Zaaaaaaaaaaach!” in unison.

As the women sat on the couch waiting for the first date card to arrive, they talked about how excited they were to be in London and all the things they wanted to do. One of the ladies claimed that London is the “city of romance” (isn’t that Paris?). They were all ready to have some of that with Zach.

When the knock finally came, Brooklyn went to the door to retrieve the card, while all the other women fantasized about what adventure it might hold. Greer loves tea, so she had her hopes up that she would get the date, and it would be for high tea. Sadly for Greer, Brooklyn announced that the first date was for Gabi. The card read, “You’re my queen. — Zach.”

The First One-On-One Date: A Royal Experience

Gabi ran off to primp for her date, and when she returned to the common area, a man in a handsome suit and a typically English bowler hat walked in. “Good day, ladies,” he began, in his perfect British accent. The women were charmed. “Miss Gabi?”

Gabi raised her hand, “That’s me!”

“Excellent,” he replied. “Zachary Shallcross shall meet you downstairs whenever you’re ready.”

And Gabi, wanting to answer in his native tongue, responded with, “Okay, cheers!” And as he left the room, she decided she’d better follow him. And as she left, the spiraling of the other women began. You can’t have every date, ladies.

Downstairs, Zach was waiting next to an elegant Rolls Royce. The roof on the inside of the car sparkled somehow, as Zach opened a small compartment and pulled out a bottle of champs. “Cheers!”

As they drove through the city, drinking their champagne, Zach explained in a side interview that today they would be enjoying the “ultimate royal treatment experience, and I’m so excited for it.”

First stop was a perfumerie, which “created scents, colognes, perfumes for the actual royal family.” (Rich people don’t wear cologne, Zach. That’s just for us commoners.) They went in and started smelling different scents. Zach commented, “That’s Meghan Markle’s, I think.”

Another scent was purportedly Winston Churchill’s. Zach declared it “old man-y” and “terrible.”

They were welcomed to Floris by someone named Edward, who hoped they were enjoying “having a little bit of a look at some of the fragrances in the shop.” (A look?! Who “looks” at fragrance?) Edward explained that Floris has been in business for 300 years, and he’d be “delighted” to show them around and have their own fragrance created. When they finished selecting the various elements of their custom perfume, Gabi joked, “I feel like this is our first child.” Zach cracked up. He loves her silly, quirky sense of humor. They dubbed the fragrance they created together “Zabi.” Sounds too much like “Stabby” for my taste, but whatever.

At their next stop, a man in white tie and tails came down the stairs and introduced himself as Grant Harrold, and said, “I’m known as the Royal Butler. I’ve worked for the king [Charles III], the queen consort [Camilla], the Prince [of Wales] and Princess of Wales [William and Kate], and of course, the late queen [Elizabeth II]. And now I’m here for you.” He led Zach and Gabi up the stairs and gave them each “the queen’s cocktail, made exactly as the queen would have it.” I asked my old friend Google what the queen’s favorite cocktail was and found out it was Dubonnet and gin. Yuck. I hate gin.

Next Gabi tried on a diamond-encrusted tiara, some fascinators and assorted hats. While they were playing with the various headgear, Grant returned to the room and said, “I’ve pulled a few strings, and I’ve got somebody I’d like to introduce you to.” And into the room trotted four adorable Corgi pups, which everybody knows were the late queen’s favorite breed. Awwwwww! They were adorable!!!

After playing with the pups, Gabi proceeded to try on gowns. When she entered the room in a beautiful slate gray gown, Zach told her she looked “stunning.” A sparkly gold sequinned gown elicited a “whooooooa” from Zach, and he declared her to be a “Zach Snack.” The next dress, a gorgeous royal blue one, left Zach speechless.

At last they sat down to have tea (Greer would be distraught). Gabi told Zach, “This is the most special I’ve ever felt in my life.”

Meanwhile back at the Plaza, the rest of the women were commiserating over how hard it was to wait their turn, especially when they knew that Gabi was getting the “royal treatment” at that very moment. And speaking of Gabi, she walked in the door with armfuls of shopping bags. She didn’t make herself any friends when she immediately started pulling out all her shopping loot. Her haul included a pair of Jimmy Choo sandals, various articles of clothing and a pair of diamond earrings. The other women were consumed with jealousy as Gabi showed off all her Bachelor bounty. As predicted above, when Gabi started bragging that they had “tea and crumpets,” Greer burst into tears.

RELATED: New Bachelor Zach Shallcross Addresses Being “Too Young” for Marriage

A knock at the door signaled the arrival of Gabi’s fabulous Cinderella dress, the one that had left Zach speechless, along with another date card. The card said, “Gabi, you really were my queen today. Seeing you in this dress gave me butterflies. I’ll see you tonight, Zach.” Half the women said, “Awwwwwwww,” while the other half just wanted Gabi to die.

Greer left the room to go cry in the hallway, and Charity followed to console her. As they sat on the floor in the middle of the hallway, Gabi came down the hall carrying all her shopping bags and her ballgown. She literally had to step over the two women to get to her room to prepare for the nighttime portion of her date.

After climbing over them, Gabi realized her two castmates were ironically sitting right in front of the door to her room. “Do you want to go in?” Greer asked her. Um, why else would Gabi be wandering the halls with her arms full of royal plunder?

Gabi did look like Cinderella when she stepped out of the Rolls that evening in the blue gown. She brought a big smile to Zach’s face. As they sat down to their dinner, Zach proposed a toast and commented on how natural Gabi seemed, rather than being nervous. Zach mentioned his experience “last season, where I thought I knew someone, and then I learned I didn’t.” Ouch. Rachel Recchia is not going to like how he threw her under the bus there.

Back in the Plaza suite, the women were waiting on the couch again. A new date card arrived. Everybody hoped not to hear their name called on this date card, since this would be the group date. Kat read the card out loud: “Brooklyn, Kat, Aly, Kaity, Ariel, Kylee, Jess, Mercedes, Greer. Let’s double up on love. — Zach.”

Charity realized she would be going on the final one-on-one date of the week, and she was “super happy.” Mercedes was the opposite of super happy that her name was on the date card and had to leave the room before she started “hyperventilating.” Kylee ran after her and asked, “What’s wrong?” Seriously? You needed to ask, Kylee?

Mercedes was sad. She said in an interview, “I don’t feel seen . . . Zach is what I want. He is, like, perfect.”

Cut to Gabi telling Zach, “I don’t want you to be perfect. I don’t even want you to try to be perfect, and I don’t want someone to expect me to be perfect. I’m just me, and I want somebody who’s committed to me.” Nice editing, Bachelor producers. Gabi told Zach she wanted it all– “Best friend, partner, lover,” and Zach said she deserved it all. And with that he offered her the rose, and she, of course, accepted it.

Zach told Gabi he had one more surprise for her and walked her down the hall to where a band was playing “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” It’s UB40! I love them! Finally somebody I’ve heard of is a musical guest on this show! [I had a boss once who was turning 40. He liked to walk around and say, ” UB40? IB40, too!” I love a good dad joke.] Zach and Gabi danced, and Zach narrated, “It just feels right.”

The Group Date: Is It Even A Date Without The Bachelor?

The next day, the women got ready for the group date, speculating about what they were going to do. Kaity wondered if they would go on a double-decker bus? Though she was initially sad about the group date, Greer “woke up on the right side of the bed,” and she was ready to have some fun with Zach. “I just want to have a fun-ass day in the UK with my boyfriend,” she announced.

While they were waiting on the couch, someone knocked on the door. It was another message from Zach, which Kaity read aloud, “Good morning, ladies. I have a great date planned for you all. Unfortunately, I’m a little under the weather. But I don’t want to ruin your time here in London. Go enjoy, and I’ll see you soon. Love, Zach.” Uh-oh. All those happy faces just fell flat. Let the spiraling begin! Did Gabi break Zach?

The ladies walked out of the hotel to find — Kaity called it — a double-decker bus, complete with a cute (as in grandpa cute) British tour guide. As they checked out the sites of London on the bus’s upper deck, a man playing the bagpipes strolled down the aisle playing “Amazing Grace.” It was a little funereal. At least he was wearing a kilt. I love a man in a kilt! Just as they were all wondering if the day could get any worse, the skies opened up and it started to rain.

In Zach’s hotel room, he interviewed that he felt “jet-lagged, rundown and beyond upset that I can’t see the girls right now.” He’s sad that rather than building relationships with the women, he’s feeling sick and “time is being taken away from us.” He was hoping to feel well enough by the evening to join the women for the after party.

The women were in a pub, when the lady behind the bar leaned over and said, “Now, I’m a nosy cow, and it’s my boozer [her pub?], good-looking girls. What are you up to?”

“Dating the same guy,” Aly piped up.

The pub owner looked confused and just said, “Right. So where is the lucky guy?” After hearing that Zach was “under the weather,” the woman added, “You must be missing him.” And she guessed that he “must be some looker” to have so many girls interested in him.

Next the ladies found a traditional red British phone booth (when was the last time you saw a phone booth in the States, red or otherwise?). They wanted to call Zach and see how he was feeling, but decided instead to just all cram into the booth together. They must have worked up an appetite, because next we saw them all at a fish and chips shop having some lunch. It looked delicious!

Everywhere they went, they looked for Zach, hoping he’d just pop up somewhere along the way. They even asked a member of the Queen’s Guard if he’d seen Zach (I guess they’d be the King’s Guard now, with Charles in charge). But of course, they aren’t allowed to talk to anyone (cause of all the guarding), so he just stared stoically ahead and ignored them. The ladies tried everything they could think of to get a reaction (dancing, twerking, Ariel even asked him to hold her coat), but the guard wouldn’t move. He didn’t even blink. Poor guy was just doing his job and getting harrassed by more obnoxious American tourists. Finally they gave up and walked away, but as they turned their backs to him, he shifted his gaze and wiggled his eyebrows a bit. Good one, Mr. Guard.

Even though they all wished Zach could have been there to share the day with them, they actually ended up having a lot of fun together. Probably more than they would have had if Zach were there and they were all competing for his attention.

That evening, all the women were hoping that Zach would be recovered and show up for the after party. There was even a rose on the table. Why would there be a rose if Zach weren’t going to be there? Viewers saw a pair of feet walking up the staircase and the ladies heard footsteps coming, causing some excitement that Zach was arriving at last.

But the man coming up the stairs was not Zach. An older man nicely dressed in a tux announced, “Good evening, ladies. I have a message from Zachary.” Oh no! Disappointment returned to the group, as the man placed an envelope on the table and left the room. Mercedes was the only one polite enough to thank him.

Brooklyn volunteered to read the card. “Ladies, I hope you had an amazing day seeing London. I wish I could have been there. Unfortunately, I’m still not feeling well enough to join you tonight. I’m so sorry. I really do hope to see you soon. Love, Zach.” Several of the women burst into tears. They were all looking forward to having some time with the Bachelor, but their hopes were dashed. They all felt as though they’d been “stood up.” Brooklyn even admitted to being “too pissed off to cry.” Seeing the rose still lying on the table, they decided they should each “take a petal” and call it a day.

The Second One-On-One Date: A Charity Event Gets Canceled

The next morning, the women were still feeling sad that Zach had been AWOL on their group date. Charity was wondering if she would get to spend time with him today or if her one-on-one date would also be canceled. She’d waited “so long,” and she was hoping to still have her day with him. Charity admitted to already having “the feels” for Zach.

But rather than Zach, Jesse Palmer strode into the room with a serious look on his face. “Hey, everybody. How’re we doing?” he started. “Um, I’m just gonna get to it. Obviously, Zach’s been feeling under the weather. And unfortunately, I got some really bad news.” Oh, no. I hope Zach doesn’t have Covid. But Jesse broke everyone’s hearts with his next words. “He tested positive for Covid today.”

Jesse insisted that Zach was “absolutely crushed” to lose so much quality time with the ladies. Not as crushed as they were, Jesse. Many of them were in tears. Jesse called the situation “Zach’s worst nightmare.”

Poor Charity. And where was Gabi? Was she in quarantine at this point? She should have been, after spending the whole day with Zach right before he felt ill. But no, Gabi was right there on the couch, wearing the sweater Zach “bought” her on their one-on-one.

Jesse said, “So the million dollar question now is, what are we gonna do?” My thoughts exactly. Did they shut down production until Zach was Covid-free? Did anybody else catch it? Jesse didn’t have answers to any of those questions. After asking everyone to “continue to be patient with him,” Jesse left.

Kaity, who’s an ER nurse, was “crushed” to find out that Zach had Covid. She felt so bad for him that she made a care package to deliver to his room. I wondered how she was going to see Zach (doesn’t this show have Covid protocols?), but when she got to his room, they talked through the door. She was happy just to hear his voice.

Zach assured Kaity, “I have so much confidence in us, about how I feel with you, how comfortable I am and how much fun I have with you.” He reminded her of their date at the Natural History Museum and how much fun it was. He told her, “I can’t wait to see what happens, and I want you here.”

Kaity promised Zach, “I’m not going anywhere.” She felt a lot better after talking to him. “All my fears and doubts just dissolved.” It’s almost like Kaity had a one-on-one with Zach through a door. She was very happy. And as soon as she walked away, a disembodied hand reached into the hallway and pulled the gift basket into the room. I think it’s safe to assume it was Zach.

A Bachelor Cocktail Party Makes History

Some indeterminate time later, Zach was self-filming in his hotel room. Upset about all the time being lost with the women and having to cancel Charity’s one-on-one date, Zach said, “I need to see the women again. I’ve just gotta figure something out.”

In the women’s suite, the ladies were lamenting how long it had been since they’d seen “Zach’s face.” Kaity said in a production interview, “Zach has Covid, and now we’re in limbo. We don’t know what’s gonna happen.” Apparently they’ve just been “chilling in the hotel until we find out what’s gonna happen next.”

Just as Charity was saying, “I could have had a rose [from her canceled one-on-one date], but now I’m just sitting here without one and don’t know what’s gonna happen,” Jesse walked into the room. It’s always kind of ominous when Jesse shows up. What news has he brought us today?

“I know the news about Zach caught a lot of you off guard,” Jesse began. “Zach’s in his room, he’s isolating, and he’s missing all of you like crazy.” Jesse then lightened the mood with some good news, for a change. “Zach’s feeling good enough to do something that we’ve never done in Bachelor history: a virtual cocktail party.” Wow! No kissing then. These are truly strange times we live in.

Zach was next shown in his hotel room setting up his own technical equipment. It looked like he was being guided through the steps by someone on a laptop, but it must have been quite an ordeal for him to get everything set up correctly. It was surreal watching Zach film himself, while getting ready to film himself at the virtual cocktail party.

“So what happens next,” Jesse continued, “could be the difference between continuing on this journey with Zach or going home, because later tonight, Zach’s gonna be holding the first ever virtual Rose Ceremony. And unfortunately for some of you, that means you’re gonna be going home tonight.” After wishing them all “the best of luck,” Jesse made his exit.

The ladies worried about the difference between face-to-face and virtual communication. There wouldn’t be any touchy-feely stuff to fall back on (no kissing!). This would definitely be difficult. But as Greer said, “Something is better than nothing.”

One by one, the women went into a side room to “meet with Zach” virtually. I felt like I was watching an episode of Big Brother. Charity went first, and Zach apologized for having to cancel their date. He also had someone hide a gift for her behind one of the couch pillows: a cute little replica of Big Ben, which I think might have been an actual clock. Sweet!

Kat was next, and she told Zach that she’d learned a “British word” since she’d last talked to him. She said she’d learned that “snog” means “kiss” in the UK. Only she pronounced it “snug.” She talked Zach into having a “virtual ‘snug’ session.” I can’t even.

Kylee told him she missed him, and that she was “tired of actually dreaming of your kisses.” She wanted the “real thing and not have to wake up to Mercedes beside me.”

Brooklyn told Zach about the Kings Guard they met. Zach called him a “Beefeater.” She said, “You know, the ones with the hats,” as she put a replica of the tall hat on her head. Zach laughed, because Brooklyn always makes him laugh.

Even though he wasn’t able to see them in person, Zach enjoyed just being able to talk to the women, because he missed them all so much. You’re gonna have to narrow it down soon, Zach. You can’t have all of them!

Poor Greer made an effort to relate to what Zach was feeling by telling him she’d also had Covid during a very important time at work (end of quarter), and she’d felt frustrated that she couldn’t accomplish what she needed to do because of being ill.

Zach insisted it “wasn’t the same,” as he was trying to find his wife and that was more important than work. It was a little hurtful the way he kept repeating that his situation was “more important,” when she’d only been trying to commiserate with him. I felt bad for her. He did hurt her feelings and left her feeling insecure. Greer felt like she’d “offended” him.

Brooklyn nailed the awkwardness of it all when she compared not getting a virtual rose and not being able to say goodbye in person, to breaking up with someone over the phone. Ugh. Been there done that, Brooklyn. It wasn’t fun.

The women still got dressed up to the nines and lined up for their virtual roses, even though Zach wasn’t there in person. Zach assured them through a monitor that even though it was an unusual situation, he was grateful to get some clarity via the virtual cocktail party. “That’s all I can ask for,” he said.

The First Ever Virtual Rose Ceremony began. Zach gave roses to Kaity, Charity, Aly, Kat, Brooklyn, Jess, Ariel, and (“The Final Rose Tonight”) to Greer. Almost every one of them giggled at having to just pick up their own rose off the table, rather than having it handed to them. Afterwards, Jesse returned and told Kylee and Mercedes to “take a moment and say your goodbyes.” Hopefully, they’ll get their hugs at the finale.

Did anyone else find it weird when Greer, breathing a HUGE sigh of relief, proposed a toast “to another adventure of falling deeper with Zach?” Does she really want them ALL to “fall deeper” with Zach? At least the champagne wasn’t virtual.


[Photo Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images]