HOLLYWOOD—Monday’s episode of “The Bachelorette” featured the first of many one-on-one dates this season and led JoJo one step closer to finding love upon the elimination of three more contestants. The episode opened with an elaborate limousine explosion, which prompted the contestants to rush outside and towards the source of the commotion.

JoJo makes an entrance – she pulls up on a fire truck, decked out in gear, and invites 10 of the guys (Evan, Grant, Wells, Luke, Will, Daniel, Vinny, Ali, James F., and Robby) to a firefighting training facility where they compete against each other in boot camp-like drills for some “extra” time with JoJo.

The first group date.
The first group date.

The events of the competition unraveled as follows: the 10 guys gear up; the fire academy chief signals them to start – and they take off, racing towards a series of physical obstacles; Wells, the 31-year-old Radio DJ hailing from Nashville, TN, tries to keep up, but as Luke, the 31-year-old war veteran from Burnet, TX, put it, “This guy is not cut out for chopping wood wearing 80 pounds of gear;” The heat proved to be too much and Wells became pale – the Chief halted the competition, prompting the medics on scene to examine him; Wells pulled through – and his resilience grabbed JoJo’s attention. The chief announced the final three of the competition: Grant, Luke, and shockingly enough, Wells, who the chief explains was selected for “not giving up. The challenge was simple: rescue JoJo from atop the tower; the final challenge transpired and Luke and Grant were neck-in-neck – predictably, Wells fell behind.

JoJo comforts Wells who pushed himself a little too far during the challenge.
JoJo comforted Wells who pushed himself a little too far during the challenge.

Amid a cutthroat race, Grant came out victorious, just barely beating Luke to the roof.

The setting transitions to the “Bachelorette” estate that night – Grant and JoJo are enjoying his rewarded extra time with her on the deck at the after party, while the other nine contestants from that afternoon’s challenge wait elsewhere for their one-on-one time. The 10 men were ultimately competing that night for the group date rose, which would be offered to one of them following the one-on-ones.

Grant wins the first group date challenge and extra time with JoJo.
Grant won the first group date challenge and extra time with JoJo.

Grant and JoJo’s date closed upon a kiss and she returned back to the guys, inviting Wells to join her for the next date, kicking off the first of many successful one-on-ones. JoJo and Wells clicked – she told Wells she “loved [his] energy,” they joked about his inability to keep up during the challenge, and bonded over pictures of his bloodhound. JoJo and Luke shared a meaningful date as well – they reminisced on his military history and he openeded up about past relationships. The date was sealed with a kiss, and Luke returned to the other nine contestants, confident in his chances of a rose.

JoJo returned back to 10 anxious men awaiting her arrival – she presented the group rose, offering it to who she described as, “somebody that just stood out to me in a way we could all appreciate.” Wells – of course, he accepted, and of course, Luke was infuriated.

Later at the date party, the contestants are presented with a date card, which invites one of the guys on the first one-on-one date of the season. The date card invites Derek, the 29-year-old Commercial Banker from New York City, to join JoJo in choosing their own adventure. They embark towards San Francisco and share a picnic beside the Golden Gate Bridge, where Derek discloses the heartbreak of his past and JoJo relates. She offers him a rose at the end of their date and he accepts – rendering one less rose available to the eighteen anxious, roseless men.

Next up was a challenge that invited six of guys (Jordan, Christian, Nick, James T, Alex, Chad) on a group date which featured ESPN’s “SportsNation” co-hosts, Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley, who agreed to help JoJo find her soulmate and host a spinoff challenge they called, “BachelorNation.” Kellerman and Wiley judged the men in a series of challenges including best touchdown dance and most romantic marriage proposal.

The challenge was going well until Chad made a scene. He irritated the other contestants when he got handsy with JoJo during the touchdown dance, lifting her up and spinning her in the air, further digging his own grave when his insincere marriage proposal prompted an argument between him and JoJo, resulting in Chad calling her, “naggy.”

JoJo summed up her emotions towards Chad’s attitude, stating, “He’s honest, he’s upfront – I like that about him. But I don’t know if it’s too much.” Kellerman and Marcellus power ranked who they thought were the three most eligible contenders: in first place James, in second place, Chad, and in third place, Alex.

The second group date.
The second group date.

The setting swaps to the after party where JoJo gets to know some of the guys better, enjoying one-on-one time with each of the six contestants from that day’s challenge. Stand out one-on-one’s included: James T., winner of that afternoon’s challenge, who brought JoJo to tears with an original poem. Surprisingly, Chad, who owned up to his behavior from earlier in the day and opened up to JoJo about his late mother, unveiling a more sensitive side of himself that “Bachelorette” fans had yet to see from him. JoJo offered James T. the group-date rose and he accepted – heightening tensions between the contestants.

Chaos ensued at the cocktail party as Chad continues to enrage the other contestants by monopolizing JoJo’s time. The guys confront him, but expectedly, Chad denies the accusations and makes more hate-charged insults towards their manhood.

The episode closed with the rose ceremony where 17 men (Alex, Ali, Chad, Chase, Christian, Daniel, Derek, Evan, Grant, James F. James T., Jordan, Luke, Nick B., Robby, Vinny, and Wells) remaining, and three heart-broken bachelors (Brandon, James S., and Will) sent home.

Episode three of the season 12’s “The Bachelorette” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.