Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! As we move into week one of the two-week season finale, I only have two questions for you, readers: have you been getting yourself ready? And have you been taking the time to “prepare” yourself for the most dramatic ending yet? I know I have (and not just because on Monday I had an almost Pavlovian urge to douse myself in rosé and self-soothe to Gabby’s vocal fry). Whenever a white dude with the personality of a banana tells you to SHUT UP AND SHAPE UP in any context that isn’t CrossFit, that should send a swift chill down your spine.
Last week, Jesse Palmer sat us all down in his doomsday bunker to threaten us with a particularly upsetting season finale. The mood he created suggested that Gabby and Rachel would have to face off against live tigers before accepting marriage proposals. Or at the very least, they would have to whisper “bloody Mary” three times in front of a mirror and if Chris Harrison appeared, drink in hand and slurring about the “woke police,” then they must spend another six weeks on the USS Fuckboy.
The thing is, Jesse Palmer didn’t have to suggest that some sort of sinister oracular vision was at play in predicting a bleak future for Gabby and Rachel. The numbers speak for themselves. While Rachel still has two men and a bitch baby in play, Gabby is down to her last remaining guy–and that guy has a faux hawk!!! (And a problematic history of other fashion, um, choices.) Out of Rachel’s three guys, Zach would sooner fling himself off a cliff than verbalize what happened between him and Rachel in the fantasy suite, Aven just looks confused, and Tino is still choosing to live in the alternate reality where his family wouldn’t show up to a Thanksgiving with Rachel brandishing garlic and holy water. We have working eyes and ears, Jesse. It’s clear the odds are not really in their favor!
Which brings us to tonight. The showrunners want to emphasize that this footage is BREAKING NEWS. They even got special permission from ABC to extend the episode by 15 minutes, despite no one asking them to do so and, in fact, begging them to do the opposite.
What on earth could be left to watch next week that we couldn’t cover tonight #TheBachelorette
— The Betchelor🥀 (@betchelorpod) September 14, 2022
Tonight’s episode will alternate between the finale moments in Mexico and Jesse Palmer’s live viewing party. The viewing party appears to take place in the pits of Hell, where he has summoned his denizens of flying monkeys (the crowd of sad single people and unfulfilled wives) to feed off of Gabby and Rachel’s anguish like it’s half-price wine night.
For once in her life, our favorite coastal grandma (Rachel) looks absolutely stunning. No notes. Gabby looks fine, too. This is all offset by their haunted facial expressions. These women are about to relive special moments with their supposed dream men, and they look like they’re the last two standing in a Final Destination movie. It’s at this point in the evening, as Rachel stares dead-eyed into the crowd and Gabby tries to disappear into her hair, that Jesse Palmer decides we’re ready to watch the
fourth wave of feminism crumble final moments of the season. Let’s get into it!
WTF Happened In That Fantasy Suite
As I’ve mentioned, Jesse Palmer is working overtime for his Christmas bonus. He tells us that tonight we will be shocked, disgusted, and thankful that we never blacked out so thoroughly as to actually hit send on our Bachelor applications. And all of that starts with Zach’s abrupt exit from the rose ceremony.
Up until this point, Zach was convinced Rachel was the Skipper to his Barbie. The two of them were the perfect matching set, complete with some assembly required. But after what happened in the fantasy suite, the two of them can’t even make eye contact with each other.
Y’all. This is WEIRD. They’re speaking words, but those words aren’t adding up to the visceral reactions they’re having to each other’s bodily presence. We are definitely missing something. Zach keeps saying that Rachel wasn’t acting like herself, and Rachel keeps pretending she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I would still like to know what in the actual fuck went down in that fantasy suite. Like, what could be so bad that the two made a secret blood pact to never speak of it on screen? The meaningful eye contact they keep making has me wondering if one of them proposed eating ass and it gave the other one the ick. I can read between the lines!
Zach sees himself out, but again, there’s no formal dumping. It’s like that Spider-man meme where all the Spider-men are holding guns at each other and slowly backing away. Zach and Rachel are those Spider-men.
Since this is The Bachelorette and the contestants are not living, breathing people, but rather the producer’s personal silly putty, Rachel and Zach must answer for their vagueness. Jesse Palmer invites Zach to the stage, where he and Rachel continue to exchange half-hearted apologies.
RACHEL: I’m really sorry
ZACH: No, I’m really sorry
THANK YOU, JESSE. Finally you’re asking the hard-hitting questions!
Zach confirms what we were all thinking:
the butt stuff got weird Rachel was trying to quiet quit their relationship. She thought she could muster up the energy for one last over-the-clothes fondling, but in the end realized she should have dumped him when he tried to impress her by ordering “uno más” tequila while dressed in head-t0-toe khaki.
Big Tony Is In The House
It’s time for the guys to meet Rachel’s fam or, as I like to call them, the Florida Mafia. You can’t tell me Big Tony has a day job that doesn’t involve blackmail or making cement shoes. I won’t believe it.
Tino’s meet-and-greet is absolutely delusional, but it takes up all of seven minutes of tonight’s 2+ hour programming. Instead, ABC focuses almost entirely on Aven’s date. The signs for all of this going terribly are immediately obvious. First, Rachel shows up for this very important date dressed like she’s about to start her shift at the White Lotus. Seriously, what was her thought process in packing for Mexico?
^^Rachel on this date rn
Then, she tries to tell her family what she loves about Aven, and all she can come up with is that he’s so hot it’s upsetting. Where is the lie though?
She got one thing right at least. Aven is so hot and Big Tony is upset. Big Tony isn’t vibing with Aven AT ALL. I’m not exactly sure what Big Tony wants from him. Perhaps a big declaration of love? Weirdly, I think he expects that declaration to involve Aven challenging a camera operator to a fight for looking at Rachel too much. I mean, his lexicon is very hostile. He keeps saying things like, “No one is going to take my daughter away from me!” Sir, this isn’t that kind of program.
Things go from bad to worse when Aven decides to speak words. Oh, sweetie. Why wouldn’t you let that face and those abs do the talking for you? It’s been working for you your whole life! Why switch things up now? While Rachel is singing his praises to her mom, gushing about how she’s had sooo many conversations about marriage and she 100% trusts him to propose in five days, Aven is telling her friends that he, um, actually would be fine with just leaving here girlfriend/boyfriend. Grab the lighter fluid, ladies; it’s time to hunt the witch.
The thing is, I get what Aven’s saying. He’s 100% serious about Rachel, but the timing of the engagement is negotiable. All very reasonable, normal requests in real life, but this isn’t real life, buddy. This is ABC’s chocolate factory, and Rachel is the Veruca Salt demanding a golden goose of an engagement ring. She doesn’t care how, she wants it right now!
Honestly, I think I would be fine with Aven not proposing to me. I would take that man’s breadcrumbs. But to each their own!
Rachel goes to confront him in the hotel room, and she is so tunnel-visioned on the engagement that she won’t listen to anything he has to say. I get the sense that Aven would propose in five days, even if his heart wasn’t fully into it, because his feelings are that strong for Rachel. And also, ABC is likely holding his loved ones at gunpoint off screen… but I’m sure that has nothing to do with it!
Rachel’s tunnel-vision isn’t totally her fault, either. Traditionally, the franchise has emphasized engagements as clear measures of success. What has the Bachelorette been doing for the last six months without her family, friends, phone, or work, if she doesn’t get engaged? But this is not a normal season. These Bachelorettes have had half as much time as as other leads to get to know their men. For almost a quarter of the journey, these guys were dating both women. Maybe an engagement shouldn’t be the measure for success this season. Maybe it should never be again.
But don’t tell Rachel that—she’s still going on and on about how hurt her feelings are and how embarrassed she was in front of her family. Oh, sweetie. You’re on The Bachelorette. I think they were already embarrassed for you.
They go back and forth for a while before Rachel eventually sends Aven home. This would be a good time to mention that I would like Aven to be the next Bachelor. He’s hot, he’s age appropriate, he’s hot… need I say more? Of course, this is something that I want and ABC has done nothing but take steaming piles of shit on my personal desires. While I, and any living creature with a heartbeat, can see that casting Aven as the Bachelor is a no-brainer, I’m sure ABC will gift it to some loser from five seasons ago. We can never have a nice thing.
“He’s a Little Shit, But I Like Him!”
Gabby gets a whopping 20 minutes of the episode, 15 of which are just ABC fan-girling over Grandpa John. Look, I get it. The man is adorable. The reason why he’s sitting down right now is because he’s been carrying the franchise on his back for the last year of Gabby’s Bachelor/Bachelorette reign. But the fanfare over this grandfather is getting to be a little much. At this point, ABC is all but asking him to sign their tits. It’s embarrassing. At least pretend to have a narrative arc in mind for Gabby’s segment of the show.
Speaking of Gabby, Erich absolutely kills it with her family. It goes so well that Gabby’s aunt even encourages her to be her full, vulnerable self with him. She’s like, “Don’t be afraid to show him how much of an emotional hurricane you really are!” I don’t know, Gabs, you want to save something for the honeymoon. I’m not introducing my forever guy to the internal FEMA that takes place every time I’m mildly inconvenienced unless he’s legally bound to me. That’s just good business.
Gabby is on cloud nine. She’s ready to get engaged, and Erich is ready to propose… right? RIGHT?! Just to double check (the foundation of the hotel has been shaking all day after Rachel’s uncontrollable sobbing registered more seismic activity than a magnitude 8 earthquake), she heads to Erich’s hotel room. She wants to make sure that the blood oath Erich took with ABC still stands, and he is READY for an engagement.
GABBY: I don’t want to put pressure on me or you or this relationship
And boy, is Erich ready to propose. Ready to propose… that they just date after the finale. What the fuck is going on this season? Did the men make a secret pact off-camera to refuse an engagement? Is the work of an anti-engagement union? Is Nick Viall the union rep?
This is unprecedented behavior. Sure, every few seasons we get a singular guy who isn’t ready to get engaged to a total stranger after six weeks. But this season, we’re five days away from a proposal and not one, not two, not three, but FOUR GUYS are refusing to get married at the end of this thing. The audacity of these men. Go on Love Island if you want to fuck around! I don’t have time for it.
Thank you, ABC, for extending the show eight extra minutes so we could bear witness to that footage! Now, instead of going to bed mildly depressed, I can spend the evening lying awake, staring into the dark abyss that is our life and dating culture. Truly, I needed that.
Until next week!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; @thebetchelor /Twitter (1); Giphy (4)
Welcome back, friends, to another night of Fantasy Suites! You know, perfect if your fantasy includes being held hostage for two nights and four hours by Mike Fleiss and his band of cretins. Night one of the hostage situation featured overnights with Aven, Tino, Johnny, and Erich. There were highs (shirtless Aven), there were lows (clothed Aven), and there was Johnny showing that his vocabulary for intimacy is as expansive as a TikTok comments section.
Tonight we pick up where things left off, with Erich crying in a corner. God, do I love to see a grown man cry. It’s better than retinol for my beauty routine. Erich made the huge mistake of being too needy during Fantasy Suites. Don’t worry, Erich, we’ve all been there. If I had a dime for every time someone showed me a sliver of intimacy, only to reveal themselves later as a person whose emotional capacity doesn’t extend beyond their three most used emojis, then I wouldn’t be posting pictures of my feet to the internet.
Watching this, it’s clear that Erich was producer-manipulated into rehashing their private conversation in front of cameras. Apparently, they’d already discussed Erich’s feelings of jealousy and insecurity off-camera. Gabby can’t tell if his bringing this up now is the calculated move of a man who wants to generate a fanbase back home, or if it’s because he’s genuinely that stupid. Come on, Gabs. His beauty decisions make it seem like he lost a bet with a fraternity. What do you think?
To be honest, Gabby’s reaction is a little wild. Should he have brought it up like that in front of cameras? Probably not. But he does immediately apologize once he sees how hurt Gabby is by the conversation. He admits that his behavior is unfair to her, that it wasn’t his intention to upset her, he just loves her. He’s not screaming or yelling or calling her a slut. He’s pretty calmly voicing his feelings. And also… the man’s dad is dying! That’s a pretty solid excuse for acting like a lunatic in Mexico.
Gabby still isn’t happy. She heard that Rachel is leaving bodily fluids all over the Riviera Maya and god dammit, she deserves to desecrate Mexican tourist attractions, too! She doesn’t end things with Erich on the spot, but their parting words are strained. This doesn’t bode well for their future.
Fantasy Suite #5: Jason & Gabby
Speaking of foreboding energy, last night we got flashes of Jason, our resident Quiet Guy, speaking more words than he has all season. For most of this season, Jason has been as elusive and mysterious as Rachel’s style choices. Gabby, to her credit, has been patient with him. “He’s just private!”, she says after a date where she had to waterboard him into speaking to her. But is it that he’s private, or he’s just not that into you? I’ve always suspected the latter.
But boy is Jason talking now. Not to Gabby. No, why would he do that? He’s talking to Jesse Palmer, and he’s telling him he’s not ready for an engagement. Not only is he not ready for an engagement, the thing this show requires them to do, but he isn’t even really sure he likes Gabby all that much. Yes, you read that right. We’re at Fantasy Suites, one week away from proposals, and the man is acting like he might leave the Bachelorette on read.
As their date unfolds, I’m finding it painful to watch. In front of Gabby, Jason appears to be all in for this relationship, but in the confessionals, he tells us the opposite. Meanwhile, Gabby is gushing about how this is 100% her guy and she always knew it was him. This feels needlessly cruel. Serial killers have been more upfront with their victims than Jason is being with Gabby!!
Case in point: moments before a clammy-handed producer slips them the Fantasy Suite date card, he finally reveals his true feelings. Never mind that he spent the last 12 hours trying to hide a boner at every hotel recreation facility. Not only does he wait to tell her, but it’s the way he tells her that feels particularly callous.
First, he says that he’s not fully “there yet” and can’t see himself getting engaged in a week.
Then he tells her that he doesn’t even really know her all that well.
THEN he tells her that he isn’t even sure he wants to date her after this. He would be open to exchanging numbers and drunk dialing each other after happy hours, but only if his private parts are tingling.
WHO. DOES. HE. THINK. HE. IS!!!
Despite this, Gabby still tries to win him back. She practically broke up with Erich for him. He’s all she has left.
GABBY: I guess it’s up to you to decide if you’re willing to buy into the hopeless romanticism.
JASON: Yeah, I’m more of a realist.
A realist, Jason, really? You’re from NEW ORLEANS!! You grew up in fucking Neverland. Your childhood friends are Tinker Bell and the lost boys! Please.
I will say, Jason is a smooth talker. I paraphrased the above conversation as if Jason was being super clear with his meaning—he wasn’t. He’s practically speaking in tongues—fuckboy tongues. He keeps saying things like, “I’m in this for you! I’m here for you!” Yes, but what about once you aren’t “here” anymore? What happens when ABC cuts your bonds loose and allows you to flee from their captivity? Will you still want to be with Gabby then?
JASON: I still want to go to the Fantasy Suite. I think we need that intimate private time with each other.
Subtle, Jason. Real subtle.
It’s at this point in the episode that ABC starts editing Gabby’s love story as if they’re making the next Saw production. They change the music from uplifting and romantic to the Jaws soundtrack. The camera pans to a dead bug floating in a champagne glass. I wait with bated breath for the locusts to start descending.
Instead, we see Gabby alone and clearly not in the Fantasy Suite. She says that once the cameras stopped rolling, they couldn’t come to an agreement about their future. Apparently Gabby said something to the effect of “this just isn’t meant to be,” and Jason responded with “yeah, definitely.” YEAH, DEFINITELY. Does he want to be drawn and quartered in the town square?! Should we have Aven’s mom place a curse on his lineage for generations to come?? Because he’s certainly asking for it at this point.
Gabby sends Jason home, which means she’s now been dumped by two of her guys in the final stretch. Brutal. The last time I saw this much carnage on my television screen, Shark Week was on the air.
Fantasy Suite #6: Zach & Rachel
Rachel’s final Fantasy Suite date is up next. I want to know how things are suddenly working out so well for this coastal grandma? Those hemlines should never inspire that much amorous desire, but I’m happy for her.
She meets up with Zach, who has finally been released from the Mattel factory ABC’s been storing him in. They were worried he might melt in this climate, but don’t worry! He’s here now, and he’s outfitted with all the Barbie vacation accessories! Just look at all of that breathable khaki.
Their date is essentially a tourist’s wet dream. They’re practically two giant fanny packs gallivanting around Mexico. They taste authentic Mexican tequila (818), visit the Señor Frog’s of psychics to learn their futures, introduce the local mariachi band to this thing called the cha-cha slide, and then show up to dinner dressed like they’re about to take a family beach photo. Jesus Christ. These two deserve each other.
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But the next morning, things are amiss. The mood is tense. Rachel is wearing her sensible pajamas, the kind you wear around your nana at Christmas, and Zach won’t stop word vomiting about his “cup of Joe.” It definitely feels like we missed something off-camera.
They vaguely mention “a talk,” and Rachel tells him to stop worrying so much. She leaves, and Zach tells the cameras that he never expected what happened last night to happen. BUT WHAT HAPPENED. Did she scream “arriba!” when she came? Did you scream “arriba!” when you came? Seriously, what is it!!
Turns out, it’s none of those things. Zach says that she kept asking him about his religion and his political beliefs, and that they were unsettled by each other’s responses. Hmmm. Then, Rachel declares he’s too young for marriage. He is *checks notes* one year younger than her.
RACHEL DURING THEIR FANTASY SUITE:
I think Rachel is soft-launching their breakup and he isn’t catching on. She clearly has stronger feelings for Tino and Aven and doesn’t know how to quietly quit this relationship. Buddy, your days are numbered.
So Who Goes Home?
Rachel’s got a big decision to make. She’s got three great guys here and has to narrow it down to two. Who will she choose? Will she go with Tino, the man whose family hopes an asteroid takes her out before she can enter into any sort of binding relationship with their son? Will it be Aven, whose abs speak for themselves? Or Zach, the man who comes with some assembly required?
While Rachel ponders her decision, Gabby is back in her hotel room journaling. Oh boy. Nothing good happens when a millennial woman journals. The seismic energy of our daily reflections is what creates the tide changes.
It seems Gabby is willing to give Erich another chance. After taking some time to reflect, she knows he’s the only guy for her. (Emphasis on the only).
GABBY: Erich is the only man here. That’s it. That’s the end of the sentence.
Well, when you put it that way…
Look, I know it seems like Gabby’s getting backed into a corner here, but I actually think the two of them are good together. They have visceral chemistry and have trusted each other with intimate family issues. Hot sex, emotional trauma… what else could she possibly be looking for in a man??
Gabby goes to Erich’s room to apologize for the weirdness between the two of them. She’s been looking for the right moment to tell him something and here it is: she loves him! She’s done looking, he’s it for her! Literally, there is no one else! Seriously. Please don’t leave her.
And this, friends, is where things get really weird. Instead of the cameras panning back to Rachel and her rose ceremony, they shift to Jesse Palmer, alone in what looks to be a nuclear waste facility. It could be a deconstructed studio deep in the bowels of ABC headquarters, or it could be the birthplace of the Power Puff Girls. We just don’t know.
He says that they won’t be airing footage from the rose ceremony tonight. At this point, why should any of man on this franchise start finishing? Instead he tells us to “take some time.” “Get yourselves ready,” he says, face somber, and “prepare yourselves for the most shocking finale of all time.”
Is he… threatening us? What’s going to happen next week, Jesse? Unless the producers are going to human sacrifice Jason to a crowd of half-feral rose lovers, then QUIT WASTING OUR TIME. We already saw the schedule! We know the finale is a two-parter. I do not need to get myself ready to watch half a Bachelorette finale while I scroll through my phone. Don’t lie to me!
But, alas, ABC doesn’t care about my time or emotional well-being. Like Gabby and Rachel this week, we’ll have to wait a little longer to experience climax. Until then!
Images: Giphy (6); @thebacheloretteabc /Instagram (1)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! Well, “regularly scheduled” in that it’s a Monday and ABC is airing an episode, regardless of little things like national holidays or my raging hangover. When I think about it, it actually makes perfect sense that ABC would air the first of two two-hour-long Fantasy Suite episodes on a day that celebrates labor. Is there a union that advocates for 30-year-old dog moms with a taste for mediocre wine just trying to scrape by? Asking for a friend.
This week, the gang is off to Mexico for Fantasy Suites. Let me tell you, the vibes are immaculate. If ever there was a hotel to ignite sexual fantasy, it would be this White Lotus wannabe. If one of their dates doesn’t end with Jennifer Coolidge sobbing through her lip fillers, then it’s a missed opportunity. MISSED. OPPORTUNITY.
Normally during Fantasy Suites, we get to see 2-3 of the season’s strongest contenders wooing our leads with powerful statements of love on camera and even more powerful statements of their index finger off camera. But, of course, this season does not care for tradition or rules of any kind. With double the Bachelorettes, we’re getting double the Fantasy Suites. That’s right: six men, two women. It’s not so much a “Fantasy Suite” as a luxurious harem.
And let’s not forget the seventh man haunting this Mexican hellscape: Clayton. Thought you’d heard the last of him? Well, surprise bitch! You know what they say—you never forget your first (man to humiliate you on national television). Rachel and Gabby open the episode by casually shitting on Clayton, every woman’s favorite foreplay. There’s nothing like dissecting a past relationship in excruciating detail to get you in the mood to fuck other people. Better than a vibrator, amiright ladies?
Let’s get into it!
Fantasy Suite #1: Erich & Gabby
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, but Erich and his silent “h” are growing on me. I am a little surprised immigration let Erich into the country with that mullet, though. Feels illegal somehow.
I’m not the only one happy to see Erich. From the moment he steps onto the scene, Gabby is giddy and giggly and butchering common Spanish slang. Though she puts on a good show of pretending to be into her other men, it’s pretty clear that Erich is her guy. Last week, they bonded over Gabby meeting Erich’s terminally ill father. It was somber, it was sweet, it certainly did not deserve to be cheapened by ABC censoring Gabby’s bikini-clad bottom half as they discussed how special and meaningful the moment was to their relationship.
The two go to “Lover’s Leap,” a lagoon with a rickety structure from which they are supposed to leap, supposedly for trust and romantic purposes. It becomes increasingly evident that the point of this date is not to show any sort of romantic connection between Gabby and Erich. The point of this date is to show that the ABC production head who planned it took one screenwriting class in college and now thinks he’s the Steven Spielberg of creating cinematic metaphors.
GABBY: My heart wants me to leap… off the bridge!! But physically I’m scared to take that leap… off the bridge!!
ERICH: I only jump… off the bridge!! If you jump… off the bridge!!
THE METAPHOR WEIGHING IN:
I hate how they always over-explain these metaphors. Like, you don’t have to tell me that a physical leap is just as scary as an emotional leap. I get it. A baby who has yet to develop their sense of object permanence would get it.
Gabby says that before she can take things to the next level with Erich, she needs to know if he can love her unconditionally, and by that, she means if he’ll be okay if she does some hand stuff with the other guys? I’m picking up what you’re putting down, girly pop.
It does seem like prior to this moment, Erich hadn’t realized that Fantasy Suite dates were a plural thing. Look, this is a guy who saw 30 fast approaching, and his immediate reaction to feeling old was to get a faux-hawk. Something tells me his ego was not built for Fantasy Suites!
Cut to the next morning, and that crinkled silk jammies set tells me that Gabby was able to, ahem, calm his fears. Nothing says “I faked an orgasm but still had a nice time” quite like wrinkled silk.
But Erich is still unsure if he can handle the rest of the week knowing Gabby will be with the other guys. Gabby asks him to have patience with her. She knows it’s Erich in the end, but she wants to at least do some over-the-pants fondling with Johnny before she sends him home. You get it, Erich!
Fantasy Suite #2: Aven & Rachel
Has there ever been a hotter sight than Aven’s bronzed body gallivanting all over the Mexican coast? That man was born to be topless on a yacht. Finally, ABC is giving the people what they want.
Aven and Rachel spend the day boating and basking in each other’s hotness. I have nothing to say about this date. They look good together, but in the way that catalog models look good together promoting the Belk End of Season Sale. I’m also not sure how into any of this Aven actually is. Case in point: during the evening portion of the date, he tells Rachel that he’s “100% ready to be engaged to her next week”, but while his mouth is saying he’s ready, his body language is saying he wants to drown himself in the Gulf. Which is it, buddy?
That does not stop the two of them from spending the night together in the Fantasy Suite. I’m not sure what went on in that suite, but when Rachel emerges the next morning she looks like she survived a goddamn natural disaster. Ya know, if that natural disaster originated in Aven’s pants.
RACHEL: Aven is definitely the full package. The full package.
Say less, Rachel! You have my blessing!
Fantasy Suite #3: Tino & Rachel
While Rachel was busy getting a contact high from Aven’s abs, Tino spent his first few days in Mexico lamenting his relationship status with Rachel. He thought his hometown went great. Sure, his dad fed on Rachel’s spirit like a dementor in Harry Potter, but that’s just how you know he likes you! My favorite is that he brings his whining to Jesse Palmer. Jesse Palmer does not care about your problems. Jesse Palmer is just trying to drink enough piña coladas to feel something again, and Tino won’t stop trying to stir shit up.
But before Tino can hash things out with Rachel, they’ve got to go on their date. I see the production head who conceptualized the Lover’s Leap date is back for round two. He’s not a one-trick pony, even if the instrument for his next metaphor is, in fact, a pony. The two saddle up for a horseback ride through the jungle. Despite the fact that Rachel is doing just fine, Tino can’t seem to get a hold of his steed. He’s like “I haven’t ridden a horse in a while!” and then fails to tame the wild beast between his legs. What, oh what, could ABC be trying to imply here?
Later, Rachel brings up the hometown date from hell. She hasn’t forgotten about when his family tied her to a stake and tried to sacrifice her to wild animals for blessings and a plentiful harvest next season. Rachel is genuinely concerned that Tino’s parents hate her. Meanwhile, Tino deals with the entire situation the same way that I deal with anything that causes me mild anxiety: by blacking out and dissociating entirely.
TINO: I’m not sure why Rachel is so upset? I mean, they did ask her some really penetrating questions, but so what?
ME TO MY TV:
Tino holds firm throughout Rachel’s spiraling. He says that he isn’t worried about their future, and repeats over and over again how much he loves her. I’ll give the guy points for consistency. He’s like “you’re my future, that’s it, they’ll get on board.” Ah, the confidence of a mediocre white man.
Good luck, kids, you’re going to need it!
Fantasy Suite #4: Johnny & Gabby
It’s always fun to watch Johnny and Gabby, because they seem like the kind of couple who meets at a hostel and burns bright for as long as it takes them to get to US Customs. There are no hard feelings after the breakup. They’ll think of each other fondly whenever they look at a stamp in their passport or remember the one time they jumped a turnstile abroad.
To his credit, Johnny seems to be aware of their relationship’s expiration date. When Gabby asks him if he’s ready for an engagement, he seems shocked that she would ask him. Of course he’s not ready for an engagement! He’s here for the free vacations… isn’t she? Does that hair say “commitment” to you, Gabby? Do those capris??
Gabby breaks up with him before they can escalate things to the Fantasy Suite. She’s like “this is my worst fear come to fruition” and, yes, I agree. My worst fear is also getting dumped by a man who looks like he manages bands in Florida. What humiliates us only makes us stronger, hunnie!
Fantasy Suite Date #5: Erich & His Anxiety
Remember when I said a grown man with a mid-life crisis haircut was perhaps not ready for the emotional gymnastics it takes to survive Fantasy Suites? Well, don’t say I didn’t try to warn you, Gabby.
After her date with Johnny, she’s feeling mostly fine about the breakup. So what if she lost out on a guy whose most romantic declaration was calling her “dope”? She’s still got Erich and Jason… right? Right?!
Erich writes Gabby an ominous note telling her to meet him under a bridge. Erich, I’m not trying to critique your methods, but that delivery is the kind of thing a serial killer would do. Girls do not follow unsigned, foreboding notes alone to abandoned locales unless they live in Rosewood, PA, and are being stalked by an entity known only as “A.” They just don’t!
Erich tells Gabby that he doesn’t want her having “what they have” with anyone else. I’m pretty sure what you have is an orgasm and a half between each other, but do carry on. Gabby seems surprised he’s bringing this up again when, apparently, they hashed all of these issues out off-camera. She’s giving him the same look I give my dog when I take her to happy hour and she shits in the grass outside the restaurant. Don’t embarrass us like this, Erich!!
We’ll have to wait until part two to see the conclusion of this fight, as well as Jason and Zach’s dates. Don’t say ABC never gave us anything (even when we explicitly begged them not to). Until then!
Images: ABC (3); Giphy (3); @RyanneProbst (1)
Welcome back to your favorite Bachelorette recap! Last week, Gabby and Rachel headed home with their men and it was… certainly something. Give these ladies a Purple Hearts, because they have seen some shit. Gabby spent a harrowing 24 hours in both Florida and New Orleans, while Rachel faced off for Middle Earth with Tino’s dad and discovered that Tyler’s entrepreneurial ventures amounted to renting a Ms. Pac-Man machine somewhere on a boardwalk in New Jersey.
But if you thought there would be any sort of resolution from hometowns, think again, because this week ABC is delighting us with two hours of men explaining things to us. As if that isn’t my whole damn life, but carry on. Be prepared to watch a room full of America’s supposed “eligible bachelors” remind us why therapy is important. There will be screaming, there will be yelling, there will be Meatball refusing to tell us his legal name. Let’s get into it!
Hometown #7: Aven In Salem, Massachusetts
Before the men fight it out gladiator-style for relevancy and Instagram followers, we’ve got to round out hometowns with Aven’s date in Salem, Massachusetts. This should be fun. I can’t think of a better spot to foster deep, romantic feelings than the first place in American history where men fucked over women en masse.
Rachel seems worried that their relationship is as cursed as Aven’s bloodline. He mentioned several episodes back that his parents have never liked the girls he’s brought home to meet them. She doesn’t want his parents to hate her. She actually can’t have his parents hate her. Tino’s dad is already demanding a lot from her. He wants her to write a 500-word essay, written in her own blood, on why she likes his son, and then to track down Voldemort’s seven horcruxes. She can’t take on any more parental hostility at the moment.
I shouldn’t have worried, because Aven has been thinking about ways they can ensure his parents root for their love story. What does his rock-solid plan entail? A visit to see the “Love Witch”, of course!
RACHEL IN THIS WICCAN STORE RN:
I’ve never seen Rachel’s face light up quite like at the mention of half-priced crystals. Of course Rachel is into crystals. That is the most white girl shit I’ve ever heard. I worry she’s also the type that needs to consult her psychic before making basic adult decisions.
The Love Witch wants to do a love spell, because nothing says “unbreakable bond” like words chanted directly from an Urban Outfitters basic bitchcraft spell book. As if the universe can sense a white girl trying to change her fate, Rachel’s good vibes come crashing down—along with the table carrying the weight of their spell. I love that their love spell just chose to spontaneously combust rather than enter the world. Not a good sign, girlie. Your moon isn’t even rising right now!
Next up: meeting the parents. My first reaction upon seeing Aven’s parents is that the Wiccan store/love spell date suddenly makes so much more sense. His mom is definitely the type to charge her moonstones. It’s also incredibly obvious how his parents ended up divorced. Aven’s dad is the type to talk about how romance is more than fancy dinners and romantic trips, and Aven’s mom is a woman in her 50s with a nose ring. The one thing they agree on is that they support their son and, begrudgingly, Rachel. But don’t worry, Aven’s mom is already communing with the spirits to bless their union with happiness and a prosperous lineage of women. Aven’s dad will be ready and waiting with the divorce lawyer.
The Men Tell All… Or At Least, Whatever Their Brand Partners Allow In Between Breaks Of Their SponCon
What occurs next is a 90-minute montage of ads, trailers, and promotions. The last time someone was selling me something this hard, I accidentally liked my sorority sister’s IG story about her CBD business. Suddenly, the Euro trip budget makes so much more sense. Here I thought ABC’s bountiful budget was the result of the showrunners performing a human sacrifice of their least lucrative Bachelor contestants. Instead, it appears to be the result of ABC selling what little soul it has left to any advertiser willing to shill out for prime Tell All real estate. So, in a sense, they are still performing a sacrifice, just of our remaining brain cells.
No one is earning their paycheck more than Jesse Palmer. After spending an entire season practically being green-screened into each episode, the man is front and center for tonight’s Tell All. He tells us that we won’t get a rose ceremony tonight (all the men apparently make it to Fantasy Suites). He can’t be bothered to air that footage when he’s got Meatball in front of a studio audience ready to lather himself in marinara sauce.
I cannot emphasize enough how little tea is spilled. By all means, ABC, waste my time. You know how that thrills me. I’ll spare you the monotonous details and give you the highlights:
Jacob: Jacob was the guy this season who looked like he would have banged your mom the summer he lifeguarded at your neighborhood pool. He also told Gabby (to her face!) that she is the last woman on earth he would date. Him! A man whose entire sexual appeal is affixed to the tiny bun he wears on his head! Because of his faux pas, he spends the Tell All doing major image rehab. He seems sincere enough. I mean, it’s not often that you witness a man say “I was wrong” without immediately adding the caveat of “BUT” to his statement. He says that he shouldn’t have disregarded Gabby’s feelings. He also says that he’s trying to change. His black silk shirt says otherwise, but I suppose only time (and a free Mexican vacation) will tell if the change holds.
Roby: Roby came to the Tell All dressed in full Draco Malfoy cosplay. Roby, you’ll recall, was the magician Gabby and Rachel eliminated on night one because, well, come on. If they wanted to introduce their parents to an adult magician, they would have continued to online date. He does have one great line from the Tell All. After giving us his opinion on the romantic flip-floppers of this season, he dramatically screams “You need to grow some balls, Meatball!” How long do we think he was workshopping that?
Hayden: Hayden, a man who used the story of his dying dog as an excuse for calling the Bachelorettes “bitches”, refused to come to The Men Tell All. Imagine that. He preferred not to be burned at the stake by a crowd full of women drunk off complimentary champagne. Honestly, the odds weren’t in his favor. We’ll always have my fantasy!
Logan: If we can’t tar and feather Hayden, Jesse Palmer will just have to move on to his next human sacrifice: Logan. But even that public roasting lacks drama. Logan basically denies any wrongdoing and after two minutes of benign push-back, he ends his time in the hot seat by announcing his spot on Paradise. So, let me get this straight. The man plays with the emotions of a hot nurse and a hot pilot like the Bachelor mansion is his own goddamn Chuck E. Cheese, and he gets rewarded with a free trip to Mexico? This is what you’re telling me??
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Nate: If anything, Nate spends the most time in the hot seat. Jesse holds his feet over the fire for a whole five minutes while he grills him on social media rumors. Allegedly, prior to coming on the show, Nate had dated two girls at the same time, one of whom he dated for a year and a half and never even told he had a daughter. Just when I was starting to think men should be allowed to breathe the same air as me, they go and prove me wrong again. Smdh. To his credit, he does come clean about the rumors. He says it was all true, but he was a different man then. He didn’t even have an Instagram sponsorship yet! Oh, Nate. I was rooting for you, we were all rooting for you!
Meatball: If you thought the episode wouldn’t end with Meatball rolling his body through a Slip ‘N Slide of marinara sauce, well, think again. I’ve seen a lot of shit during these Tell Alls, but the sight of Chef Boyardee rolling down Meatball’s newly-waxed chest is a thing that will haunt my nightmares indefinitely. *shudders*
And that’s all she wrote, kids! Seriously, there is nothing else to write. Feel grateful that you were not contractually obligated to sit through two hours of trailers and commercials for the sake of “content.” Until next week!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (2); @thebetchelor /Instagram (1)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! This week, spring break is officially over for the girlies. No more desecrating foreign cultural landmarks with over the clothes fondling, or taking artfully staged photos that make it look like the Eiffel Tower is their penis. The S.S. Fuckboy has docked for the last time, so the women can head off to hometowns.
Personally, this is my favorite episode of every season. More than watching the men emasculate themselves during fetish-forward group dates, more than wanting to disintegrate into my chair when the Bachelorette pretends to orgasm during the fantasy suites, more than shrieking when Neil Lane eventually slithers out of the hole ABC holds him hostage in to pander his last-season diamonds to whatever schmuck is still standing—more than any of that, hometowns are my jam. There is literally nothing quite like them.
This is the moment where things stop being polite and start getting real (and by “real”, I mean the lead pretending they might move to a town that only just got a Walmart last year). This is the time in the season when we get to see where these guys hail from. The houses that built them, if you will. Some of these houses are beacons of light and domesticity, the likes of which make you wonder how a human being raised in such a setting could grow up to be this person wearing skinny jeans and promoting his tequila brand on Instagram. Then, there are other houses that are being held together with nothing but the fruits of the HomeGoods sales their mothers frequent in order to feel something. And hometown dates are so important to The Bachelorette process! How will you know if you’re truly ready for marriage unless you’ve witnessed firsthand the cycle of familial trauma that haunts these highly attractive, upper-middle class gene pools? How?
This season, we’ll be witnessing even more trauma than normal, because we’re getting double the hometowns. Gabby heads home with Jason, Johnny, and Erich; Rachel with Zach, Tyler, Tino, and Aven. I will do my very best to be as detailed and thorough as possible, so that when future generations are studying our culture in a million years, they can point to this and marvel at how intellectually inferior we were. Like we do with the cave men and their sad fire-starting sticks. Let’s get into it!
Hometown #1: Jason In New Orleans, Louisiana
First up is Gabby’s visit to Jason’s hometown of New Orleans. Imagine your hometown being New Orleans. Jesus Christ, no wonder Jason is so reserved. All this time I thought he just wasn’t that into Gabby, but it turns out he’s really seen some shit. At one point he says that he can’t wait to show Gabby what he loves about this town, and then the two proceed to throw beads at drunks and ask people on the street to strip. This is the thing he “loves” about this town. Berating drunks and mild nudity. The childhood this guy must have had.
JASON AS A CHILD ON THESE STREETS:
Gabby meets the family and they are surprisingly well adjusted. Booooo. The dad is especially heart-melting to watch, as he speaks more words in his three minutes of screen time than Jason has spoken in his entire tenure on this show. The rest of his family are fine, though Jason’s mom is doing some sort of Priscilla Presley cosplay that is especially unsettling to behold. Jason’s sister appears way too excited about having an F-list celebrity in the family. She’s like “it’s weird, but I’m ready for their wedding”, and you can practically see the sponsorship deals dancing in her head.
The most surprising moment comes at the end of the date, when Jason lets it slip that he’s not ready to get engaged… ever. EXCUSE ME? He doesn’t want to get engaged, but goes on a show where the sole purpose is to produce a marriage?? Is that what you’re telling me right now??
JASON: I don’t know if I’m ready to be engaged
Of course, Jason tells Gabby none of this. He whispers it secretly to his mother and her Bump It, hoping she’ll hold that secret as securely as her hairspray is holding that hair three inches above her head. Neither Gabby nor Jason says anything about falling in love with each other–a proclamation that typically occurs during hometowns after a suitor’s family doesn’t immediately unhinge their jaws and consume the interloper. As far as hometowns go, it’s downright platonic. Where is the drama? The high-octane emotions? She could be meeting Jason’s chiropractor for all the emotional depth Gabby has with him and his family. This lack of emotional connection doesn’t bode well for the rest of the hometowns…
Hometown #2: Zach In Mattel’s Headquarters
Up next is Rachel, and she visits the Mattel factory in which Zach and his family were forged. They’re part of a new line of Barbie, the Politically Neutral Barbie, that wears mostly denim and khaki, and comes complete with a Barbie backyard barbecue set bedecked in twinkle lights and last season’s farmhouse decor.
Here’s the thing: I don’t need to see any more of Zach. The most interesting thing about him is that he spells his name with a “ch” instead of just a “c.” Seriously, what do we even know about this guy aside from the home movies thing and the pilot fetish? That he’s family oriented? Who isn’t family oriented?? Who is going to be like “nah, fuck my family” on a show that contractually obligates you to sacrifice your family’s legacy for the sake of ABC’s ratings? Literally no one.
To their credit, Zach’s family does act the appropriate amount of scandalized that their son wants to marry a woman he only just met six weeks ago.
ZACH’S DAD TO RACHEL: I mean, you go to the most romantic places on Earth, and you’ll fall in love with a monkey.
Sir, don’t insult the monkeys.
As if to emphasize that there is nothing between these two beyond the sum of their own egos, ABC plays them ANOTHER home movie, this time of their love story. You guys, this is so, so, so, so dumb. And what’s worse? This highlights reel of their love story is longer than the “compelling” footage production could string together of the hometown. Zach’s date takes up a whopping seven minutes of our two-hour hometowns journey, and it’s about six minutes too long.
Hometown #3: Johnny In Palm Beach, Florida
Of course Johnny is from Florida. What little I know of this man is that he frequently wears acid wash jeans and felt right at home with a Dutch mistress licking hot wax off his happy trail. That he willingly claims Florida as his home suddenly makes so much sense, just like Gabby showing up in a corset top makes so much sense. She’s not just meeting any family; she’s meeting a Florida family. That is the appropriate attire for such an occasion.
Like Zach, Johnny’s hometown barely makes a dent in the episode’s narrative. The only thing I recall about his family is that his dad wore far too much Brooks Brothers for a man who raised a bunch of sons that look like wannabe band managers. Gabby connects with his family, but there’s no depth to that connection. Like Jason, Johnny also admits to being hesitant in taking the next step with Gabby. My god, does anyone want to propose to this woman?? You know, the thing they signed up to do??
They part ways on chummy terms, like when you go long-distance with your camp boyfriend. The almost-sexually-gratifying hand stuff was fun while it lasted, but after a few pen pal letters written with your best Lisa Frank pens, it’s time to move on to the real thing.
Hometown #4: Tyler In His Boardwalk Empire
I should have known things would not go well during Tyler’s hometown when his first stop on the Tour of Tyler was to show Rachel the saddest beach boardwalk in existence. I don’t know much about Tyler’s hometown of Wildwood, NJ (I prefer my New Jersey beach towns to be actually civilized), but this boardwalk is haunting to behold. It looks like the kind of place where a body would be found in a Law & Order episode. And yet, Tyler is beaming. He is thriving in this ghost town, this coastal graveyard where the human spirit surely goes to die.
Despite not one (living) soul frequenting this boardwalk, every business is open, and the carnies all know Tyler. I’m starting to worry that Tyler’s bio line of “business owner” has been somewhat misleading. Here I thought “business owner” meant that he did real estate, or at the very least dabbled in Bitcoin. Now, I worry that his “business” is that he owns one of these boardwalk game stands. Is it really a business if you just pay rent on a Ms. Pac-Man, Ty? Hmm?
Rachel takes one look at his carnie beginnings and is immediately horrified. After an afternoon spent meeting Tyler’s friends, who run the off-brand Nathan’s Hotdog stand, she quietly excuses herself to cry in a Wildwood bathroom. This is bleak. This is not a chapter in your epic love story. This is a chapter in your therapist’s ever-growing file on your emotional traumas.
Rachel knows she has to break it off with him before she meets his family. She’s not in love with Tyler. They’re from two different worlds. She was raised in suburban Florida, and he was raised in a circus tent. It could never work.
She sits him down to have “the talk”, but Tyler can’t quite grasp that Rachel is actually breaking up with him. No, he thinks her intense crying is a sign of her intense feelings for him. Oh, sweetie. No. He proceeds to express every single emotion that has ever penetrated his soft boy body. He’s practically a human gusher, high fructose corn syrup leaking out of every heartfelt word. As he talks, Rachel stares, horrified, directly at the cameras, The Office-style. This is the first time I’ve ever genuinely thought ABC deserved an Emmy for their camera work.
In Tyler’s defense, he’s saying some incredibly nice things about a woman whose coat is stylistically offensive. Imagine getting dumped by this:
Tyler is still smiling even as he enters his family home alone. They’re like, “where is she, Ty??”, and their hopeful smiles will haunt me in the afterlife. This is low, even for ABC. It’s a level of emotional torture we rarely see on this show, and I’m sort of at a loss for words.
Hometown #5: Erich In Bedminster, New Jersey
As much as I hate rooting for this man and his silent “h”, I do think Erich and Gabby have the most chemistry. This feeling is only reinforced for me when Erich tells us that Gabby will be meeting his terminally ill father. Okay, I’m crying in the club.
This is maybe the heaviest hometown I’ve ever witnessed in all my years watching this godforsaken show. The focus isn’t even really on Gabby so much as this family trying to hold things together. This feels raw—almost too personal to be watching as I guzzle boxed wine and eat frozen pizza. I’m not emotionally equipped to deal with genuine human emotions on a Monday night. When Erich’s mom starts crying and saying that love is not giving up on each other, even my blackened heart is crying uncle.
Later, Erich tells Gabby that he’s falling in love with her, and she reciprocates. It’s all very sweet and romantic. I’m even willing to forgive Gabby when she promptly straddles his lap in the middle of the restaurant, in front of god and that man just trying to eat his calamari, to suck face. You get one of those, Gabby. Just one!
Hometown #6: Tino In Santa Clarita, California
Finally, my favorite baby back bitch is on screen again, and his family is already delivering. Tino’s hometown is like watching one of those Animal Planet videos. You know, the one where the predator plays with its food, giving well-placed strikes designed to produce maximum pain? Tino’s family is that apex predator.
From the moment they meet Rachel, the family is out for blood. They aren’t pulling any punches. Tino’s dad asks how they could possibly be ready for marriage after only knowing each other a short amount of time. His mom goes so far as to reduce their love story to playtime. I think her exact words are, “this isn’t real, call me when you get to the real world.” I screamed. Tino’s mom, you aren’t supposed to say the quiet part out loud!
But the worst of it comes when Rachel sits down with Tino’s dad. He spends their short interaction sautéing what little is left of Rachel’s self esteem. He demands that Rachel convince him that she knows his son. Sir, is that really fair? She might not know who his best friend is, or his darkest fear, or even his last name, but she does know stuff about him! Ask her what the ridge of his penis feels like semi-erect, or that thing his tongue does. Ask her! Go on!
Through it all, Rachel’s southern upbringing is working overtime to salvage the date. At the end of the night she even whispers, in the most submissive tone possible, “thank you for being so welcoming”, as she looks straight into the gaping maw of hell itself. Oh, bless your heart.
TINO: Well, I think they adored you.
HAHAHAHA. My god, men will say anything to get their dicks wet. “Adored” is not the word I would use to describe their feelings towards Rachel. “Mentally poisoning her spray tan formula” is perhaps a better interpretation of their feelings. I mean, the last time a family meet-and-greet went this well, a blood feud started in Verona.
RACHEL & TINO @ TINO’S FAMILY:
And that’s all she wrote, folks! Next week, Aven rounds out the hometown dates before The Men Tell All. Also next week, we’ll (hopefully) find out who is making it to the fantasy suites, assuming Jesse Palmer isn’t too busy cracking himself up with these Bachelor ads to enforce any real rules. Until then!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (5)
Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! Once again, our Bachelorettes and the men who humble them are on a cruise ship bound for nowhere. The last time a ship that size was so tragically fated, Leo DiCaprio was gambling for a ticket onto the Titanic. Except in the case of The Bachelorette, humanity’s ruin isn’t at the expense of an iceberg, just a man named Logan.
Speaking of He Who Must Not Be Named, last week Logan made the very harrowing decision to switch teams and follow his hard-on—ack, sorry! I meant heart. He made the very harrowing decision to follow his heart. (It’s just coincidental that his penis is also the anatomical location of his moral center). Logan told Rachel that though he’s spent weeks getting to know everything about her and only moments getting to know the very surface level of Gabby, he would rather pursue a meaningful relationship with that surface. And they say all the good ones are gone!
Incredibly, Logan is barely a blip on the radar this episode. Why? Because next week the S.S. Fuckboy is setting sail for hometowns. That’s right: hometowns are on the horizon, and the stakes could not be higher for Gabby and Rachel. They’re about to meet these guys’ families, enter their childhood homes, see which one of them still has a crusty Playboy shoved under his mattress, and which one of them is a little too enthusiastic about kissing his mom hello.
If it feels like we barely know the guys, imagine how Gabby and Rachel must feel! Up until a few weeks ago, rose ceremonies were still operating like thinly-veiled orgies, and now they’re supposed to have “connected” enough with these guys to decide whose family is worth meeting?
As if to emphasize the direness of the ladies’ situation, the episode opens with shots of a totally barren cruise. It’s bone chilling to behold. This week, the gang is ending their Euro trip in Amsterdam. Personally, Amsterdam is not the place where I would want to decide who I take home to mom. It’s the place where I would want to decide which edible to take before noon, but that’s about it.
On that note, let’s get into the good, the bad, the sad, and some other things from the episode!
The Good: Rachel Is Allowed One Nice Thing
For most of this season, Rachel has been less focused on her journey to find love and more focused on the battle for her eternal soul. I’m not sure what Rachel did in a past life to offend ABC’s dark lords, but they are running her storyline like it’s a very specific ring of Hell. You know, the ring where the false prophets and sorcerers all congregate to languish for eternity. Except these prophets and sorcerers have names like Hayden and Logan, and their brand of torture is utilizing their working vocal cords.
But this week, Rachel must have made the appropriate human sacrifices, because production is finally, finally cutting her a break. For once, none of the men are rejecting her, embarrassing her, or using their dying dog for sympathy points. Truly a miracle.
Rachel’s peak has to be her one-on-one date with Zach. Remember, these two have already had a one-on-one date together (who could forget the fake red carpet and the saddest struggling actors in all of LA pretending to be “paparazzi”). Bonds were forged that day when they realized that at one point in their lives they were both children and have been near a plane. That bond strengthens during today’s date as they ride bikes and desecrate tulip fields.
This date is mostly just a waste of all of our time, as we know that Zach is definitely going to Hometowns. Very early on in the date, Rachel says that she would be “honored to meet the people that raised that man,” a phrase I’ve literally never said in my life. Honored to meet? More like “my therapist demands that I forgive the people that raised this man.”
Their date is exactly the format we’d expect with hometowns a week away. Rachel wears a dress that I don’t understand. Zach lets his trauma show during dinner—but the acceptable kind of trauma, not a red-flag kind of trauma. They make out. Rachel says she can’t wait to meet his family. She gives him the rose.
My problem with Rachel’s relationships is that she says things like “we can be goofy!!”, and then prompts Zach to take Polaroid pictures of her. Meanwhile in Gabby’s relationships, she’s having an existential crisis about motherhood (more on that later). Rachel’s journey is just so… one-dimensional. It makes it hard for me to root for her. Don’t get me wrong—I’m glad the men aren’t slicing into her self-esteem like it’s one of those delicate Dutch cheeses—but her dates have a decidedly animatronic feel to them. At least when she’s crying I see genuine human emotion from her. Sometimes when she’s on these “romantic” dates, carnival ride-clowns have more realistic facial expressions than what she plasters to her face.
RACHEL WHEN PRODUCTION TELLS HER TO ACT IN LOVE:
The Bad: Mistress Decides Who Meets The Mothers
How do you decide if you want to meet a guy’s mother? See which of them survives having a strange Dutch woman in head-to-toe leather tickle their feet and pour hot wax on their crotch without accidentally climaxing or involuntarily whispering “yes, mommy.” To each their own, I suppose.
Gabby’s group date is S&M-themed, which is fun because I’m pretty sure the kinkiest thing these guys have ever done is picked up their girlfriend’s copy of 50 Shades of Grey and used it as a coaster. Mistress Susie tells the men that she wants to get down and dirty. It’s time to talk about s-e-x. The reactions around the room are priceless. Erich and his mullet look absolutely petrified, Johnny is unsuccessfully trying to hide the bulge in his pants that grows every time Mistress cracks that whip, and Jason straight up says this is his worst nightmare. You and me both, buddy.
First question from Mistress: do they know how to treat a woman in the bedroom? I love that they all don’t immediately raise their hands. Honestly, Mistress, take a good look around you. That man has a mullet. Do you think he knows where a woman’s clit is?
Jesus Christ. No, he does not.
I will say, it is fun to watch a room full of men be tortured in a random Amsterdam basement. At one point, they’re all forced to lie in a circle, half-naked and blindfolded, as Gabby and Mistress defile their six-packs with hot wax and chocolate sauce. In any other context this would be a deleted scene from Taken, not ABC’s warped version of romantic foreplay.
The nudity extends into Rachel’s group date as well. She takes her guys on a stroll through the streets of Amsterdam. It’s all very casual and touristy until the men start leading her off into different secluded corners to make out with her in earnest. What must the locals think of these public displays of affection? One random guy after another walks off with her to various side streets and park benches and returns with his hair askew and bearing a satisfied smirk? What are they supposed to think is happening over there??
HOW RACHEL THINKS THIS DATE LOOKS:
HOW THE AMSTERDAM LOCALS THINK THIS DATE LOOKS:
Later, one of the locals makes the mistake of challenging Rachel’s men to feats of strength… with cheese. Boy, ABC is struggling to build compelling plotlines this season. Then, Rachel makes it even weirder by asking them all to strip. MY GOD, RACHEL. This isn’t a wet t-shirt contest, this is a family friendly square!! Look, I’m happy Rachel isn’t crying, but dear god this is a lot of nipple for 9PM on a Monday.
There is decidedly far too much chest for two group dates that are supposed to help these women decide whose family homes they’d like to enter. It’s like they’re trying to wring all the sex appeal out of these guys before their childhood traumas kill the vibe. It’s all fun and games until Tyler’s mom lets it slip that he breastfed until he was eight years old. (He looks the type, no?).
The Sad: Nate’s One-On-One Date
Nate has been a front runner so far, but the moment his name is announced for Gabby’s one-on-one date, I feel nothing but trepidation. She has a healthy relationship with her father, she doesn’t need his daddy energy. That said, Gabby does show up to the date dressed like she’s about to surprise her husband at the office with a quickie (seriously, is there anything underneath that coat?), so maybe that’s a good sign?
Almost immediately, Gabby breaks down and starts crying. How do you tell someone it’s not them, it’s their daughter? You can tell Gabby is really feeling Nate, but she really isn’t feeling being a mother. She’s only 31! She’s too young to be a teen mom.
In all seriousness, the conversation she has with Nate is heartbreaking. At one point she admits that she’s terrified of being a mother. These are the conversations that rivet me on The Bachelorette because they seem like an accident. The whole purpose of this franchise is to glamorize heterosexual matrimony in tired and contrived ways. That Gabby, a woman in her 30s, is speaking so candidly about not being into motherhood—a pillar of hetero societal norms—I’m just gob-smacked. Did the foundation beneath my feet just shake? A woman of childbearing years being happy with an empty womb? And admitting it on national television?? Yes, I think that’s the sound of ABC creating a new fault line in the Earth.
I’m sad to see Nate go, but I think Gabby did the right thing. She seriously considered how hometowns might affect his real life outside of this show. Rather than ignoring her fears, picking him, and having it go down in flames, she’s doing the mature thing by voicing her concerns—even if it means losing the guy in the process. There is a child at stake here, and no one gets that more than Gabby. I’m proud of her for being honest and, more importantly, realistic. There’s only so much therapy a growing girl can endure.
Randomest Cameo: Logan’s Covid
The last few episodes have been dominated by Logan propaganda, but Logan was suspiciously missing during the second half of the group date. Jesse Palmer tells us that this is because he tested positive for covid. AHAHAHA. You’re telling me, that the guy who treated the feelings of America’s most eligible women like his a goddamn slinky got covid and had to self-eliminate before Hometowns?? Karma, you ratchet bitch.
I do have a few questions though. After all, this is the first time since the pandemic began that covid has infiltrated production. First, why is everyone like “thank god only Logan has it!” Um, Gabby just licked chocolate off certain orifices of their bodies in an abandoned warehouse. I’m pretty sure that was exactly how the CDC said the virus spreads. Second, what are these quarantine timelines? Jesse makes a point to cancel the evening portion of the group date “just to be safe”, but eight hours later they can all go to the rose ceremony. I guess covid stops spreading after eight hours? Be honest, ABC. Does Logan have covid, or did production just want a break?
Best Breakdown: Tino
Here’s how I know Tino and Rachel are meant to be: they’re both the drama. If Nate was Gabby’s frontrunner, then Tino is Rachel’s. Anyone with working eyes and ears can tell it’s not even a close competition between Tino and the rest of the guys. And yet, when Rachel gives the group date rose to Tyler, Tino immediately starts spiraling. I don’t know why Tino is sweating it so bad. While the rest of the guys had to give their best sales pitch regarding their families, Tino merely had to exhale before Rachel pounced on him with her tongue. She wants you to say less. You’re good to go, kid.
But Tyler getting the group date rose really upends his whole reality. Immediately after the close of the cocktail party, he power walks off-stage, practically hissing at his producer. He’s like “I’m about to put Zach out, I’m about to put Aven out—anybody else who tries to fuck in these waters, you’re toast. Done. Let’s roll.” Anybody else who tries to fuck in these waters? What are you even saying, Tino!!
It’s scenes like these that solidify for me that man did not discover fire. There’s no way men had the biggest scientific eureka of an era when they barely have the tools to process basic human emotions. I simply won’t believe the lies!
So, who’s going to hometowns? It’s less dramatic than you might think. Next week, Gabby will head to Erich, Jason, and Johnny’s hometowns, while Rachel heads to Zach, Tyler, Tino, and Aven’s. I personally can’t wait to meet the lunatics who decided to spell the most basic white guy name known to man with a silent “h.” The monsters!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (4)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! Last week, we got a taste of how this season would play out—and let me tell you, there were far too many milky white thighs involved for my comfort level. ‘Tis my cross to bear, I suppose…
But this week the ladies are refocused. After a rocky rose ceremony where they banished a man who dared to have opinions about their sex lives beyond “I will worship the lint between your toes if it means you might breathe in my direction some day,” they’re feeling pretty good about themselves. They have all the control. They hold all the power.
ABC PRODUCERS WATCHING THIS EXCHANGE FROM AFAR:
Ladies, ladies, ladies. That isn’t how this show works! Female empowerment doesn’t inspire higher ratings; misogyny and mild nudity does! Get with the program.
As if to illustrate this point, the cameras cut to the men, who are discussing which of the women make them feel tingly down there. No, no, no, NO. You do not get a say in this. Your job is to sit there and look pretty. Nothing else. Once they open their mouths, the fantasy is ruined.
The problem is the men are starting to realize they have options. Have you ever read If You Give A Mouse A Cookie? The cautionary tale of giving lesser species (in the book’s case, rodents; in the show’s case, men) a modicum of choice and control. Do you know how that book ends? With the mouse making grabby hands at every shiny object in sight. The men are doing something similar here. Instead of considering Gabby and Rachel’s feelings, they’re focused entirely on who *they* want to be with. I’m sorry, but if I wanted to listen to a man named Meatball wax poetic about who makes his nipples hard, I would interact with the comments section of a Barstool article. You never give the
Meatball mouse a cookie. You get that asshole a rat trap.
Sparks Are Flyin’
Before I get to the doom and gloom of the episode, let’s talk about the high points: the one-on-one dates. Rachel in particular struggled with her one-on-one date last week and ended up sending the pore-less Jordan home. He and his skin care routine will be missed.
This week things go a bit smoother for her. She invites Zach on her date, which is quickly crashed by Queer Eye’s Karamo. Wow, I definitely thought Queer Eye paid better than this. Karamo says that he just had to be a part of the fun—he loves Rachel so much! I would believe him more if he didn’t direct those statements to a random mannequin instead of Rachel. I don’t know what kind of Real World blackmail ABC has on that man, but if he’s gracing our television screens tonight then it can’t be anything good.
Karamo sends them to “an exclusive movie premiere” but not before styling Rachel like Oscar the Grouch first. (Seriously, that outfit was so mean of them). The “exclusive movie premiere” is not, as I guessed, a private screening of He’s Just Not That Into You (ABC clearly doesn’t understand comedic timing). The movie they’re attending is not even a movie so much as a cinematic scrapbook of their childhoods. Home movies on a first date should be illegal. Footage of me during a time in my life when I had unsupervised access to a hair crimper and body glitter? That’s not romantic, that’s a war crime.
^^12 year old me treating my shopping trip to Claire’s like a religious experience
Though watching home movies is a specific ring of hell for me, Rachel and Zach seem into it—and into each other. The two find out that they have so much in common: they were both once children and have watched a plane before (I paraphrase). Dare I say… they’re cute?
But not as cute as Gabby’s three-on-one date with Grandpa John and Erich. When I say I screamed at the sight of that old man and his knitwear. I have never been so happy in my life to see a man return to this show. I can’t wait to watch Grandpa John’s look of abject horror at learning how Erich spells his name.
Speaking of Erich, I can’t get a good read on him. He’s polite and engaging with Gabby and her grandpa, but does he seem to like Gabby particularly? I can’t tell. This becomes especially apparent during their alone time together. Erich is all for feeling Gabby up during the bowling excursion (hands, Erich!! Grandpa John is right there!!), but he struggles to comfort Gabby when she shows more complicated emotions.
During the dinner portion of the evening, she tells him a little about being estranged from her mother. At one point she even says that lack of maternal love has broken her in some way. Erich’s response? To stare longingly at his dinner plate in the hopes that it might transport him to an alternate dimension where he doesn’t have to deal with a woman and her emotions. Jesus Christ, Erich. I know you thought you’d end dinner with some light groping, but the human condition is a little messier than the condition tenting your pants rn. Have a heart, not a hard-on!
I will say, Gabby has never been more relatable than when she abandons the dinner table to cry in a corner with her white wine. That doesn’t make watching Gabby’s breakdown any easier. She’s been struggling this whole episode. She doesn’t think she’s deserving of being the Bachelorette and wonders if Rachel is more of a natural fit for the role. This is expressly what I did not want to see this season. They need to stop comparing themselves to each other (there’s no logic to that) and start comparing the men to the shit on their shoes (there is logic in that).
Erich eventually comforts Gabby—but only after she’s guzzled another bottle of wine and prophesied a future wherein she dies alone with only her dog to find her rotting remains. What I’m saying is, he waited far too long to get his ass in gear. He handles the whole thing very politely. But that’s just it: it’s polite, not genuine. I’ve seen Delta representatives show more compassion than what Erich’s giving me right now.
Erich, I’m watching you…
Men Do Not Deserve To Have Brains
This next part of the recap is a section I like to call: “Strong Evidence Against Men Being Allowed To Have Brains.” And let me tell you, the science is compelling! As I mentioned earlier, the men are starting to think this season is all about them. If there’s one thing I don’t want to see on my Monday night, it’s men exercising their rights. In fact, I would be totally fine with ABC keeping the men corralled in a pit underground, only to be brought out for dates and aesthetic purposes. But of course this franchise is not interested in my wants and needs. They’d much rather play a game of Jenga with the women’s emotional states. After all, who wants to watch strong, capable women navigate their emotional depths when you can watch production sauté their self-esteem so a guy with a man bun can feel like the biggest stud in the room?
Which brings me to my working hypothesis: men should not be allowed to have brains. I’m not convinced they entirely have them in the first place, but they definitely shouldn’t be allowed access to whatever sad synapses that do manage to fire off. Let’s look at the evidence:
Exhibit A: Bromance > Romance
During Rachel’s date with Zach, Gabby heads to the house for a casual hang. First of all, I could have told her that nothing good comes of a casual hang. The last time I got conned into one of those, it ended with him asking for my Snapchat handle and Venmoing me for half the six-pack he picked up.
Do the men take advantage of the extra alone time with their Bachelorette? Lol, as if! No, they would prefer to spend the day playing slap and tickle with each other.
It’s just… sad to watch. Gabby is doing her best to pretend like their disinterest isn’t bothering her, but there’s only so many times a girl can yell “nice fumble!!” before she slips into a catatonic state. I give her props for lasting as long as she did.
Exhibit B: Blood In The Water
Things only get worse for Gabby during the group date, when a large faction of the men give her the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech. In fact, it feels like almost every guy on the group date (and there are 19 of them!!) are not interested in dating Gabby. First of all, it’s week three. You’ve known Gabby and Rachel for less time than it takes me to do a load of laundry. You don’t know either of these women enough to write one of them off. YOU FUCKERS.
Not only are they not interested in Gabby, but they also vocalize these feelings with about as much sensitivity as an atomic bomb. I’ve seen sharks play with their food in more humane ways than what’s happening on my screen rn.
The worst offenders by far are Hayden and Jacob. Hayden tells Gabby that she’s more “rough around the edges” than he’d like for a wife, insinuating that Rachel is somehow “better” than Gabby. Then Jacob tells her that even if she was the last woman on Earth he would not compete for her attention. He’s like, “yeah even if you were my only option on this show, I wouldn’t want to date you.” Jacob, you look like you masturbate to your own headshots. Are you really one to talk about options?
Gabby spends the rest of the date crying off-camera. She doesn’t give out a rose. In fact, she looks like she would rather live the rest of her life in a bunker than interact with any of these men for a second longer. I can’t say I blame her.
Exhibit C: The Men Go Rogue
But perhaps where we really see the wheels come off is when the men simply don’t understand the assignment during the rose ceremony. In response to the group date, the women decide to have two separate journeys from here on out. There will be a set group of guys for Gabby and a set group of guys for Rachel. The women will be handing out roses to their guys, and the guys will only get to date the woman whose rose they accept. This is what should have happened from the beginning, but I get the sense that ABC didn’t want to have to do double the filming. The result is this farce of a season.
As the rose ceremony begins, Gabby looks like she is bracing herself for combat. Meanwhile, Rachel is confident in a way that makes me think production is about to screw her. At first, everything is fine. They both hand out a few roses without being rejected. The only downside is that the rose receivers start calling themselves “the winner’s circle.” That tells me everything I need to know about how serious these guys are about marriage. They’re like, air humping each other with their roses, for Christ’s sake. I’m sickened.
But still, at least the women’s dignity is intact… until it isn’t. Overly confident Rachel is the first to watch shit crumble. Termayne says he can’t accept Rachel’s rose when he’s really here for Gabby. That in itself is shocking. She’s getting rejected in public, in front of men she’s still trying to date. Then Jesse Palmer materializes like the bridge troll he is, only instead of accepting his payment in riddles, he strips Rachel of her roses. That’s right. Not only does Rachel get rejected, but they’re taking her roses from her. They’re punishing her for the men’s insolence. It gets worse. Alec turns Rachel down, followed by Meatball. Let me emphasize: Meatball turned a human woman down. Meatball!!!
This is so fucked. I’m seething. What kind of misogynistic hell realm have we fallen into where humiliating women on national television is supposed to be good wholesome fun? I hate ABC for doing this to us. I hate myself for not having enough rosé to dull this edge.
By the end of the episode we have our camps: Team Gabby vs. Team Rachel. The line-up looks like this:
Team Gabby: Nate, Johnny, Spencer, Jason, Mario, Kirk, Quincey, Michael, Erich
Team Rachel: Tino, Logan, Tyler, Ethan, Jordan, Hayden, Aven, Zach
We’ll have to wait until next week to see if the men are any more well-behaved… I think hell might freeze over first. Until then!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (3)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! Last week, ABC debuted a new kind of love story for us Bachelor Nation plebs. Instead of watching one woman survive a wasteland of overly-groomed men (I paraphrase), this season we get to watch two best friends on their journey to find love! Two best friends, or at least two individuals who are contractually obligated to promote the same products on Instagram for the next 6-12 months. You get the gist.
For a season that promised big drama and even bigger love stories, the season opener left me unimpressed. But perhaps I just had unreasonably high hopes. The Bachelorette is, after all, my favorite ABC abomination. Why? Because the women seemingly have some control over the narrative. You want to fuck a guy in a windmill? Fine. You want to abandon your season after 10 days to run away with a Party City model? Also fine. Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine. This season, NOTHING IS FINE. There are simply no rules—just ask Jesse Palmer! Oh, wait. You can’t. At all times, he is silent and stone-faced in the background, watching as Gabby and Rachel essentially descend into that scene from The Lion King where Scar’s hyenas catcall Simba on his way to Pride Rock. He emphasizes that this is Gabby and Rachel’s thing, and he’s just here for support. What kind of support? Well, he can gesture vaguely in the direction of the open bar.
The lack of rules and structure bleeds into their dates, and the amount of effort the men are putting into said dates. They’re starting to understand that they can reasonably date two women at once. In fact, it’s encouraged! Why intimately get to know one woman when you can make surface level small talk and maybe get to make out with two?
It doesn’t help that Gabby and Rachel’s approach to everything is to act cool girl casual at all times. The way they’ve set up the dates feels less romantic and formal, and more like a frat party gone awry. There aren’t even enough beds in the house for everyone! Within the first few minutes of the episode, we’re told that the housing accommodations are something akin to the Fyre Festival’s. The cameras pan to a slew of bunk beds that could double as set pieces from Orange is the New Black. I would not be surprised if production enacted some sort of Hunger Games-style cornucopia where the guys battle it out for linens and toothpaste.
While the season hasn’t totally gone off the rails yet, it’s getting there. You can see the strain in Gabby and Rachel’s relationship with each other (they’re still acting tentative about who they like and if it’s okay to like the same guys) and with the men. And on that very foreboding note (can’t wait to tell my old creative writing professor that, SEE, I do know how to write tension), let’s get into the episode!
The Group Date: There Are Some Things Your Eyes Can’t Unsee
You know that thing I said about there being no structure, and how that anarchy was fueling the format of the dates? That starts with the group date. Normally, group dates serve two purposes: to humiliate the contestants and simultaneously restore my faith in justice and the universe. Group dates are also structured like my friend’s baby’s playdates: everybody pretends to be on their best behavior, or else they won’t get a little treat afterwards. There’s usually an activity and then some sort of afterparty. A rose is given out to the most well-behaved good boy. This group date is all of those things and none of those things. Instead of the group date revolving around a structured activity, it’s more of a clothing-optional hang.
Gabby and Rachel invite the men to compete in a “pageant.” I’m using that term very loosely here, because “pageant” implies we will witness a modicum of talent, and not a man known only by the name of “meatball” lasciviously pouring meat sauce down his hairy chest like he’s Paris Hilton in a Hardee’s commercial.
To be fair, the ladies did only give the men 28 minutes to prep their acts, 26 of which were used to apply an obscene amount of body oil, and the last two reserved for calling their mommies to remind them what special boys they are. The amount of preparation shows. There are just some things my eyes can’t unsee. At one point my roommate, who watches this show only after I’ve bribed her with wine and cheese, but who always leaves an hour into every episode, gasps and says “are they allowed to show this many little penises?” Yes. In fact, I think that’s entirely the point. And there are so many penises. That little black bar is working harder than ABC’s producers for its holiday bonus.
Where is Jesse Palmer during this showcasing of fragile masculinity? Mentally, he’s doing push-ups at the sight of all those exposed pecs. In actuality, he is telling us that the winners of this “pageant” will get invited to an exclusive afterparty. The way he says “afterparty” has the same vibe as the guy who drove the party bus at my friend’s 30th birthday party. He also invited us to his timeshare in Florida after handing us his album Girls Kissing Girls.
JESSE: The winners will be invited to an exclusive afterparty!
JESSE PALMER IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THAT STATEMENT:
The “pageant” is about as horrific as you might expect. One guy does the worm and pretends his ballsack didn’t just slip out of his speedo. A lot of guys—too many guys—are into juggling. Tino wishes he didn’t skip leg day. Jacob, the guy who looks like a housewife’s mid-life crisis, straddles a chair (again, why is no one concerned about what may or may not fall out of their speedo) and goes through a Powerpoint on fixed-rate mortgages. Chris commits a crime against my eardrums and starts singing. How Gabby and Rachel are supposed to pick winners from this shocking display of talent, I do not know.
In the end they do pick winners—six of them—and Aven, Logan, Brandan, Jason, Johnny, and Colin are all invited to the afterparty. Do not ask me to elaborate on details such as what their talents were, or even how to describe their physical builds. As of right now, they are all still faceless mannequins to me.
While Gabby seems to hit it off with a few people, Rachel really struggles through the cocktail party. After some truly titillating conversations about *checks notes* how many American states she’s visited and what Harry Potter house she would be sorted into, Rachel is wondering where the nearest interstate is so she can walk straight into oncoming traffic. The feeling intensifies when Jason tells her he’s only into Gabby, and then immediately after that conversation she stumbles upon Gabby making out with Johnny (a guy she already called dibs on).
JASON: I’m actually here for… Gabby 😬
RACHEL: hahahahahahahahaha!!! Omg that’s totally fine!!! hahahahahahaha!!!!
Rachel’s experience on this date—a dinner party where there is minimal alcohol and you are constantly rejected—is definitely an outer ring of hell. So, it’s no wonder that by the night’s end she has strong-armed the last guy at the afterparty into a guest bedroom. Goddamnit, she wants to get felt up by a potted plant just like every other Bachelorette on this franchise! Logan says all the right things. He tells her she’s brave for coming on the show and that she inspired him during the “pageant” (reminder: his talent was the doing the worm). This would all be fun and cute (especially after they go to town making out on that guest bed!) if not for the fact that Logan has that exact same conversation with Gabby… and also makes out with her.
See, this is why I’m advocating for more structure and rules. Logan is getting way too comfortable about dating two women at once. He is literally rinsing and repeating his conversations.
Gabby, for the most part, is having fun. She seems to be genuinely enjoying the process, while Rachel worries constantly about finding “the one.” The only time things get weird is when Rachel reveals she made out with Logan and Gabby has to pretend she’s happy about that. She lets Rachel choose Logan for her group date rose, while Gabby chooses Johnny.
The One-On-One Dates
The one-on-one dates prove equally challenging for Rachel. She chooses Jordan, the race car driver from Georgia, to go on a zero-gravity plane ride. I have a few comments. First, I’d just like to know what Jordan’s skin care routine is because damn that boy is fresh-faced. My god, does he even have any pores? Second, I need more logistics about what a zero-gravity date entails. I looked it up, and in order to hit zero gravity they have to be flying through that layer of ether thingie right before space (“layer of ether thingie” is the technical term). How is it legal for two people who are not astronauts to just take a spin in the ether? How many holes are they creating in the ozone layer so Rachel can straddle him mid-air?
I will say, Rachel looks great. This whole zero-gravity thing is like a hair commercial for her.
But when they land, gravity hits hard. Don’t get me wrong, Jordan does everything he’s supposed to. He talks about how their lifestyles align (pilots and race car drivers are notoriously very similar professions in that they… both require a license?). He even brings up his parents’ divorce and appropriately dramatizes the split so it mirrors the PTSD of a Vietnam war vet. But none of it works for Rachel. She’s just not feeling it. She asks the producers if she can send him home, and I would genuinely like to know the answer to that question. What if Gabby was into him? Does she have to run her decision by Gabby? Who gets the final say over cutting a guy loose?
The answer to these questions is apparently “WHO CARES about Gabby, and I’m sending this guy home.” Rachel tells Jordan that she won’t give him the rose, but she does want to know what nighttime moisturizer he uses. Or is that just me? I’m actually astounded he’s just allowed to walk off the premise without Gabby having a say in any of this. Again… what! are! the! rules!
Meanwhile, Gabby’s one-on-one date goes a bit better. For her date she chooses Nate, the girl dad who wears more accessories than a Claire’s clearance rack. This is not a dig at Nate. Nate is hot and Nate stood up for the ladies when Chris was slut shaming them for sex acts they have yet to complete (more on that later). Nate seems very in touch with his feelings, as evidenced by the fact that he can’t stop crying (okay, I’ll admit that part was a bit of a drag). He also seems very in touch with his tongue down the back of Gabby’s throat.
The energy between them feels natural and easy. I mean, yes, Gabby does have a private helicopter pick them up like it’s a goddamn Uber, but for the most part their date is super normal. I’m rooting for these two. For now…
Worst Storyline: Chris As A Villain
Chris started off the episode by declaring himself a triple threat: a sports enthusiast, a music man, and a leader. Somewhere in a dance studio in LA, Beyoncé just stumbled during her choreo. Then, impossibly, Chris got even worse: he sang. Well, it was less singing and more tunelessly stringing together random words, but the overall effect will haunt my nightmares until my dying day. But the singing could have been forgiven had I only had enough wine to find it tolerable (my box ran out). What really sealed Chris’ fate for me was when he started running his mouth about the fantasy suites.
Why was Chris talking about the fantasy suites during week two? Why does a man offer any opinion unprompted? Why does a bear shit in the woods? Because they simply cannot control themselves. Chris says that when—not if—he goes to fantasy suites, he has a few deal breakers for the girls. Namely, that they not be intimate with anyone else.
CHRIS: If the female has sex with someone else, I wouldn’t be interested in that person being the person I’m with.
Slut shaming? In this economy, Christopher??
Chris is already trying to control the sexual choices these women make, and he hasn’t even so much as breathed in their direction this season. The audacity straight, mediocre men have is astounding.
I will say that it’s nice to see the other men quickly jump to Gabby and Rachel’s defenses. Nate gives an impassioned speech where he says that Chris needs to have more respect for these women. They could be their queens or the mothers of their children! Y’all. He called Gabby and Rachel queens!! The last time a guy called me anything it was by the wrong name, and as he was asking if I could buy him another Bud Light. So, yes, I am crying in the club right now.
During the rose ceremony, some of the guys tell Rachel about Chris’ presumptions. She keeps nodding her head but you can tell she has no idea who this “Chris” is. I’m glad she was able to block out his singing. I have not been so fortunate.
Gabby and Rachel confront Chris who looks as if women giving opinions is something he’s never encountered before. He’s like “no, no, no you misunderstood. I said it exactly that way but that’s only because I start a relationship at the ending and then work backwards from there!” He works his way backwards?? What does that even mean?? I do love when a man starts our relationship by immediately telling me the theoretical ways I’ll betray him in the future and how I should start making up for it. It does wonders for my blood pressure.
But Gabby and Rachel are having none of it. They’ve been entertaining an entire fleet of men for 10 days straight. They’re exhausted, and they can’t keep anyone’s names straight anymore. They especially don’t have time for Chris and his fan fiction. He can tap dance his way home.
This Week’s Body Count (Who Goes Home):
And finally, this week’s body count. Here’s who Gabby and Rachel kicked to the curb:
- Race car Jordan (one-on-one date)
- Music Man Chris (cocktail party/rose ceremony)
- Boston Ryan (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named Brandon (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named Colin (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named Matt (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named Justin (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named John (rose ceremony elimination)
And that’s all she wrote for this week! Until we meet again!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (6)