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The Bachelorette Season 20 Debuts With Bad Wigs and Questionable Cocktails

Charity Lawson's brother goes undercover in an unprecedented twist.
  • Charity Lawson and Jesse Palmer in The Bachelorette (Photo: ABC/Craig Sjodin)
    Charity Lawson and Jesse Palmer in The Bachelorette (Photo: ABC/Craig Sjodin)

    [Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers for The Bachelorette Season 20, Episode 1.]

    When Charity Lawson brought Zach Shallcross to Columbus, Georgia to meet her family during Season 27 of The Bachelor, things got emotional. Her brother, Nehemiah, grilled Shallcross on his feelings for the other three women and was met with an unsatisfactory, completely charmless response. When Nehemiah confronted Charity with the realities of the situation, and the very real possibility of heartbreak, she broke down. Charity, who up until that point was the season’s frontrunner, was sent home that very same episode.

    It wasn’t necessarily the worst breakup of the season — that honor goes to the awkward rose ceremony that took place via Zoom. But it left enough of an impact on Bachelor Nation that Charity was picked to be the lead for Season 20 of The Bachelorette. And it affected her brother so much that he shows up in this season’s debut episode to make sure Charity’s heart doesn’t get broken again.

    The Bachelorette’s been at this for 20 seasons, making it difficult to pull off too many surprises. Still, the producers tried their darndest to amp up Nehemiah’s arc to “the most dramatic episode ever” status. The introduction to the 25 men competing for her love is brief — there’s a professional wrestler, a world record jumper, and more than one person named Aaron. But the focus is quickly turned on a man who Charity is told she already knows. When host Jesse Palmer delivers the news that the next limo holds a man from her past, Charity goes into a full-on panic attack, creating the perfect clip that the network’s been using to tease the premiere for weeks.

    That man? Nehemiah. He’s there to show support, he says, offering a few kind words and a hug. But seconds after walking away from his sister he reveals that he’s actually there to gather intel, wearing a completely unconvincing curly wig and a Party City mustache to go undercover as a bartender in the mansion.

    Thank god he’s only here to serve drinks. Had he gone undercover as one of her suitors, we’d have just one more entry into the disturbing canon of relatives getting a little too involved in each other's love lives, including shows like Dated & Related and MILF Manor. However, that in itself introduces a problem: He has to actually make drinks. For the first half of the episode he’s too busy fulfilling every contestant’s drink order to do much of anything else. Also, Nehemiah is a dentist by trade — there’s no way those drinks are tasty.

    The men’s minds are blown when he reveals that he’s actually Charity’s brother, with their over-the-top reaction aided by the drinks he was slinging them all night. Did they say anything offensive? Were they too forthcoming with details about making out with his sister? The answer is mostly no.

    The bit, while a fun departure from the typical onslaught of at-home videos of the contestants, ultimately comes up short. It’s unclear whether or not Nehemiah will pop up again to offer Charity emotional support or romantic advice. At least now that his cover’s been blown, the chances of that nightmarish wig returning are low.

    New episodes of The Bachelorette air Mondays at 9:00 PM ET on ABC and stream on Hulu the next day. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.

    Brianna Wellen is a TV Reporter at Primetimer who became obsessed with television when her parents let her stay up late to watch E.R. 

    TOPICS: The Bachelorette, The Bachelor, Charity Lawson, Zach Shallcross