At a hotel, a shirtless Ryan irons a collared shirt, and then he's coming out and greeting Emily as "the lady in red," and while on my screen her dress looks magenta, the hypocrisy of giving someone else shit for straining to make a pop-culture reference would actually crush me to death, so I'm good. They pull up to dinner in front of a large crowd, and I'm taking all these people with nothing better to do than cheer on Season Five Hundred Three of this show as a sign that the Charlotte Tourism Board needs to hire more people. The restaurant is totally empty, and Emily VO gives us Brad Mention #2 in saying that she's going to ask the tough questions. Said "tough questions" involve her declaring that she doesn't want to see this reality show as a competition, so we'll be moving on now. Well, not until Ryan babbles about his feelings and how she needs a guy who will be a good father or whatever, and I don't know how they're lighting this but they both seem like they're getting more tan by the minute.
That same Chris gets to read off the group date card, possibly because he shares his name with the host, and here they are: Alejandro. Nate. Alessandro. Tony. Michael. John. Jefff. Charlie. Kyle. Chris (ugh). Aaron. Stevie. Kalon (dougle ugh, and villain position once more). Much fist-bumping and bro-ing. The note reads, "Let's set the stage for love." They all speculate that they'll be doing some kind of theatrical performance -- good thinking -- and after Kalon camera-interviews that he's super-comfortable with performing, one of the guys asks if he's going to fly to the theater in a helicopter. Not a great joke, but at this point, I'll allow it.
Ryan, without palpable pretension, tells Emily that he likes her, whereupon Emily worries to the camera that he's too perfect -- like Brad. This is Brad Mention #3, and in case there are any more, I think I'll start abbreviating the Brad Mentions as BMs. Seems appropriate, somehow. Thankfully, Emily doesn't drag things out as she picks up the rose, tells him how much she enjoyed spending time with him, and hands it over. Shoot me now, but I think they're a little bit cute, at least until they start talking about the chase and whatever. And the date isn't over -- they go to see Gloriana, whoever that is. They dance in front of tons of people taking pictures with their cell phones, and Ryan calls it "surreal," which is a use of "real" that's a step in the right direction.
Emily's getting ready in her dressing room when the guys show up to the theater, and she tells them that they're going to be performing -- singing, dancing, comedy, and you can just say "variety show," Emily, we won't tell anyone. Charlie is apparently terrified of performing, which is pretty funny given that he's already on national TV, but Emily goes on that they're raising money for a local children's hospital, and I'm not really sure where the money's coming from but I'm sure I won't have to look hard to find things to complain about that don't involve charitable giving. John, the Data Destruction Dude, talks about how the competition is going to be "fierce," and at this point that word is so tired among us gays that he's welcome to it.