DeMario is back looking fashionably flustered and almost post-coital with one too many buttons undone on his dress shirt, no tie, a sloppy pocket square, and an overall guilty, nervous energy. DeMario offers his hand. Rachel shakes it. She makes direct, steady eye contact with him and stands tall with her shoulders wrapped in a black, fur shrug while waiting for him to finish groveling. Bryan, on the other hand, has the perfect solo button undone on his shirt (see above), and he is pissed that DeMario is on the property. He and the guys are loitering, leaning in, trying to overhear DeMario’s desperate attempts at slapping a band-aid on a bullet wound. DeMario takes this TV moment to share one of his favorite quotes with Rachel:
“In order to experience joy, you need pain.”
Rachel ascends all stereotypical, caddy, “girlish”, reality TV behavior as she calmly, yet strongly, explains that she’s looking for a man, not a boy. She needs someone who is capable of having challenging conversations; someone who can own his mistakes. She appreciates that he has learned a life lesson from this experience, but the way forward is not back into the mansion. Let this flawless execution of eloquently communicating what you want, what’s important to you, and who you are without swearing, name calling, or anger be a lesson to everyone everywhere.
The guys ask, is he coming back?
– Rachel Lindsay
There’s an overall consensus from the suitors that Rachel is a woman of her word. Dean admits that he is very impressed as the guys sit around in suits waiting for their turn to charm Rachel and score one more week at Camp Bachelor. I live for the moments that simply can’t be curated to push some agenda, that aren’t spliced and diced to create a certain persona, just real, human moments. As Dean shares how he feels about Rachel’s ability to slay he is sitting on a couch next to Lee. For a split second we see Dean has his arm up on the back of the couch around Lee’s shoulders. Now, I fucking hate Lee, but I really love this moment of two guys just hanging out and no one is afraid of legs touching. Men are people too. But seriously, fuck Lee.
The rest of this Rose Ceremony consists of Jonathan donning giant hands (but why?), Alex almost completing a rubix cube, Kenny sharing photos of his ten year old, Will dunking on a little tykes bball hoop, and Whaboom weaving some old wives tale about how Blake was standing over Whaboom’s bed watching him sleep whilst slowing peeling and eating a banana. Blake promptly squashes this allegation by telling Rachel, that of course he doesn’t eat carbs, so how could this story be true? Honestly, these two morons are meant for each other. Blake literally thinks he is the boy who lived, heading up Dumbledore’s army, fighting Volderboom. This is not good versus evil; it’s dumb and dumber. Blake is shaking with rage as he realizes that both he and Whaboom are now in the same category: those cast aside. Yup. These guys are 86’d. It’s awesome that Rachel pulled a power move and eliminated both Blake and Whaboom, but the only reason she was able to get away with this is because there are other wells of drama to draw from, unfortunately…
Group Date #1
Date Card: Lights, camera, action! Come join me on the set of Ellen.
Featuring: Bryan, Jonathan, Peter, Alex, Will, Fred
Live TV within reality TV. Pure magic. Before they go live, Rachel gives Ellen the low down on the guys, and Ellen is not into Jonathan’s Tickle Monster persona. She hates it so much that she immediately tickles him the second she meets him backstage. Payback, snitches. The audience for the Ellen show squeals with delight as Rachel walks onto the stage. Everyone’s on their feet, and white girls are seen making hearts with their hands and mouthing “love, love, love.” Fair.
The guys are shitting bricks trying to imagine what Ellen is going to make them do. Bryan sets himself apart as he confidently dance walks out to the front of the stage like Justin Timberlake with the rest of the crew/NSYNC on either side. Before you know it, Ellen has the guys taking their shirts off and dancing like Magic Mike for the lucky live audience. This is definitely not in the Tickle Monster’s wheelhouse. Alex the Russian is full on twerking, ass in grandma’s face, bumpin’ and grindin’ for the dolla billz. Bryan’s just standing there with a self-satisfied side grin, hands in the air, not dancing, just tilting his hips forward so women can shove singles into the waist of his pants without him actually working for the money. After getting down to Ginuwine’s Pony, the guys throw their shirts back on for a little game of Never Have I Ever with Ellen. We learn that yes, Alex has peed in the mansion pool; yes, Fred has slept with someone twice his age; and “no,” Peter, the winner of this season of The Bachelorette, has never thought about having sex with Rachel. Interesting!
Fred is sick and tired of Rachel looking at him like he’s some mischievous little kid. He’s a man, and he wants to show her what he’s made of. He asks Rachel if he can kiss her when they finally get some alone time after Ellen. Rachel wants a man who just goes for it, and she feels awkward as hell that Fred isn’t just making moves. He kisses her and warns her that she might feel something….Well…She doesn’t. The second Fred’s lips touch Rachel’s all of his childhood fantasies start to come true and visions of their wedding flashes before his eyes. He’s been waiting for this shit for 20 years. Rachel takes this opportunity to let him know that she’s just not feeling anything. Bye, Fred. Nice try.
Alex is wearing purple pants. He notes that Rachel is making eye contact left eye to left eye when speaking to him. This means that she is truly opening up, because the left eye is connected to the emotional side of the brain. Hit me with some knowledge! YES. But Alex, I want more passion from those kisses, especially now that I know how you dance, boy. Alex still/obviously snagged the group date rose.
Honestly, Rachel laying in Peter’s arms whispering “I’m not going to get up.” I’ll just leave this here…
Date Card: Meet me at the rodeo.
Anthony has had essentially zero screen time until this 1:1, so it was interesting to get to know him on this date. Rachel and Anthony rode horses down Rodeo drive, and INTO stores on Rodeo drive. They trotted by school buses of screaming fans and snapchatting tourists and saddled up to a store to check out some authentic western swag. Rachel is definitely about to launch a trend of red cowboy booties with embroidered flowers. Anthony picked out the closest thing the store had to Jordans: black and red midcalf cowboy boots. He’s from Chicago after all. Gotta rep the color scheme of the Bulls. They also popped into a chintzy athleisure store after grabbing some cupcakes for the horses from the Sprinkles ATM. This store features bedazzled t-shirts that say: Too Glam To Give A Damn. One of the horses took a giant shit in the middle of said store.
Over dinner al fresco with the LA skyline in the background, Anthony shares that he is an old soul, a big brother, and he grew up in a family that was rich in love. The date wraps up with some slow dancing to a live jazz quartet after Rachel hands Anthony a rose, securing his spot for another week. I mean…he’s better than Lee, so let’s call this a win.
Group Date #2
Date Card: Sometimes in relationships the women have to take charge.
Featuring: Brady, Dean, Adam, Kenny, Bryce, Lee, Jack, Eric
The squad rolls through to support their girl and plan this group date. We’ve got dolphin loving Alexis, choke master Jasmine, platinum vagine Corrine, and runner-up Raven here to sus out this crop of men. On the bus on the way to the main event, conniving Raven cuts right to the chase. She is serious about weeding out the posers. She’s also serious with a bottle of fireball between her thighs. Raven leans over and asks Bryce who is here for the wrong reasons. She then turns to her left and asks Lee the same question. She got the same answer both times: ERIC….
Of course, this date is a mud wrestling competition, and the mud looks like actual shit. Dean is displeased about the activity but he is so damn cute and does it anyway. The squad throws on some see through rain/mud jackets and sips their vodka sodas as they cheer on the men. Brady is actually early 2000s Paris Hilton with that full body, orange, fake tan, and his hair is very Bachelorette Season 12. Bryce the firefighter shone on this date with his adorable pole dancing on the bus and his ultimate defeat of Kenny the professional wrestler. These guys look like walking talking Pompeii ruins when this is all over. Rachel checks in with her girls before meeting back up with the guys. The squad is Team Dean, but they are feeling apprehensive about Eric…
After his big loss Rachel connects with Kenny where he reveals that he is in fact a former Chippendales dancer. It all makes sense. Rachel and Adam (sans Adam Jr.) chatted for a bit, and Adam asked her to describe her ideal man in one word. Without skipping a beat she answers: SECURE. Yeah, man. Her answering the question and you getting shut down.
Eric was feeling particularly sorry for himself before this group date. He feels emotionally available, but he’s getting the vibe that Rachel isn’t eager to open up and connect with him. Eric chooses to run his mouth and accuse her of putting up a façade and playing games. Are you seeing the same woman we are seeing? Iggy jumped in to defend Rachel, which only set Eric off. It sucks not getting validated every waking moment of the day, but Eric is proving to be a whiny, needy, pot stirrer. And it’s too bad, because he can smell Lee’s bullshit and he knows that Lee is putting some shady, devious energy out there. Eric gets a chance to talk to Rachel post-mud wrestling and let her know that he doesn’t feel like she’s feeling it. She expertly manages this by saying that she doesn’t want to rush things, that she is committed to getting to know him, and that she’s happy he’s here. Rachel does let him know that her girls went to work and they got some intel from Bryce and Lee that he might not be here for the right reasons. Obviously Eric confronts Bryce and Lee about this. Lee tries to mansplain love to Eric. He argues that because Eric has never been in a relationship he is not a strong contender, but not to worry because Lee still thinks Eric is an amazing individual and loves him very much.
“Lee has a snake in his DNA.”
We know that Rachel values honest, real conversations, even if they are difficult, so she gifts Eric the group rose. Lee admits in the confession cam that he knows there are better guys out there for her, and that it’s suspicious that Rachel explicitly went against the feedback she was given from her girls. See quote above. At the Rose Ceremony Iggy inserts himself into Eric’s emotional unraveling yet again and offers some feedback for personal development.
“An opportunity for growth for you is to listen more.”
This guy clearly manages millenials in his day job. That “everyone” is talking about Eric or to Eric is driving Eric up a wall.
You know, this competition is not just about dating the Bachelorette, it’s about dating every single man in that house. Are you someone who can operate with kindness and empathy in a competitive environment? Do you rise above the fuckery? There’s a reason most of the winners are lone wolfs. They separate themselves from the bullshit. There’s also a reason why the contestants we love are often ones that build a strong network of sisterhood/brotherhood among their fellow contestants. We want lovers not fighters.
All this back and forth with Eric is exhausting. Iggy leaks to Rachel that Eric questioned her character. Rachel confronts Eric, and he flat out denies it TO HER FACE. Eric almost has a good argument: Yes, if I’m gonna fail, just let me fail. Don’t worry about me, just worry about you. I totally agree. But instead of screaming and yelling about it, the better thing to do, my man, would be to actually practice what you preach. Oh, and the whole basis of the show is that people talk about each other constantly, so maybe calm the fuck down?
Cheers to being suited and booted,