Welcome back, Bachelorette Nation! After being left with another (nauseatingly trite)”to be continued”, we’re back to pick up the action in South Carolina. It’s a “2-night event”, so let’s not waste time and dive right into our recap.
Group Date Ending
We pick up the action with Lee and Kenny going at it on the balcony. Meanwhile, Bryan “the make out king” is having a sexy conversation with Rachel by the docks. It doesn’t take him long to start aggressively kissing her and I think I speak for the rest of #bachelorettenation when I say that I threw up in my mouth a little bit. Kenny and Lee continue to go at it – and it gets super uncomfortable for all the other guys. We close out the scene with Kenny whispering that Lee “is a bitch”. More to come here.
Jack Stone’s shucking date
It’s time to finally move on from the group date mess and into the last 1:1 of the week with Jack Stone. We’re in Bluffton South Carolina for their Oyster fest. Rachel starts hinting that there is something missing with Jack which is never a good sign. Meanwhile, poor Jack is talking about the spark he feels with Rachel during his interviews. They try out some dancing (Jack is horrible) and after, he goes in for a smooch which Rachel greets with uncomfortable laughter. On the list of reactions you don’t want to get from a woman after kissing her, laughter has to be towards the top. Yikes.
After another cutaway of Lee being super racist which I won’t honor with a recap, we go back to the conclusion of Jack and Rachel’s date. Rachel is visibly uncomfortable sitting next to him and I basically can’t wait for this date to end. Rachel picks up the rose and in cold blood, tells Jack that she can’t give it to him. Kind of rough, but she’s straight with him which you have to respect. We were overdue for both a failed 1:1 and Jack Stone to head home.
Rose Ceremony sans Cocktails
Rachel decides to skip the cocktail party – so you know she’s taking this seriously! A guy named Matt gets a rose and honestly at this point I have no idea who he is. He is definitely this season’s Whitney. Lee gets the last rose – which we knew because he was in every preview for a 2:1 with Kenny. Way to ruin the suspense, ABC. Seriously, these clowns ruin everything. We mercifully say goodbye to Iggy and his antics but we also say goodbye to Jonathan the “Tickle Monster”. In what has to be the greatest farewell ever, he gets one last tickle for the road. Rachel and the guys seem genuinely sad to see him go – I just wish we got to know him a little better.
After Iggy and Jonathan head to LAX, it’s time for the group to head to Oslo, Norway!
Every (Make out) King needs a Queen
The gang lands in Norway and wastes no time jumping into the first 1:1. Bryan “the make out king” gets the date and it turns out they are going to repel down some structure. Bryan being the animal that he is goes in for a kiss in midair while Rachel is freaking out.
We’re quickly off to their dinner and Rachel tells Bryan that she has some insecurities due to not always being “the pretty one”. Bryan shares that he was a bit of a “swan” as well and then drops the L bomb. The first “I’m falling in love with you” of the season belongs to Byran and it’s hard to think that after all of their canoodling and this proclamation of love, he doesn’t hang around until at least the hometowns. The Make Out King may have found his Queen – Bryan gets a date rose.
Handball Group Date
This date was surprisingly straight forward. They guys got together for a game of handball and just…played. It may have been the most sportsman-like match in Bachelorette history. Will was the clear MVP of the game while Peter’s strategy was to just get super handsy.
During the evening portion of the date, the guys took turns showing how vulnerable they are. Josiah, however, takes things a step further…maybe a step too far. He tells Rachel that she is the woman of his dreams and goes way over the top with his compliments. Rachel calls BS on his smooth lines so perhaps Josiah’s days in Scandinavia are numbered.
Peter’s alone time with Rachel involved jumping in a hot tub. They either shot the scene out of sequence or Rachel and Peter were in hair and makeup for quite some time before rejoining the group. Either way, Peter seems to be pretty safe in spite of Will snagging the group date rose.
2:1 Kenny + Lee
The ickiest 2:1 date ever is finally upon us between Kenny and Lee. The build up has been growing for a couple of weeks now and predictably, this will be dragged out for at least another episode given the late start to the action. Kenny is open with Rachel and lets her know what has been going on. Lee, our villain of the season, tells Rachel that Kenny was violent and aggressive. He piles on by adding that Kenny pulled him out of a van. Rachel clues him in as to what was said and we end the episode with Kenny walking towards Lee laughing.
Every season has a villain
We were excited for the season with Rachel and, as noted in our preview, were hopeful that the show would give her a fair edit and be a force for good. Perhaps this ridiculous reality television series could serve a greater purpose in the broader national discussion around race. The stakes were at an all-time high after ABC’s many, many, many public relations hits.
Let’s back up and take a broader view. Every season has its conflicts and villains that typically crescendo in a 2:1 date around the middle of the season. The beginning of the season is reserved for goofball antics that are more slapstick in nature. The middle is reserved for the “doesn’t play well with others” variety of antagonist that you can’t believe is still on the show. This person gets eventually booted in a 2:1 with their #rightreasons foil. After that, the business of finding love is back to being front and center and we move on.
In seasons past, we had 2:1’s like Chad vs Alex in the Pennsylvania woods. Corinne vs Taylor in the battle of “emotional intelligence” in a Louisiana swamp. Sometimes the villain gets sent home when their story arc of bickering runs its course (shout out to Tierra’s sparkle).
Lee should not be that villain
This season, the first with a woman of color in the lead role, and on a franchise with a checkered history with diversity (or lack of), we get Lee. It’s not just his tweets from before the show but his actions on it that are alarming. Drumming up a racial stereotype of aggression and violence to manipulate the cast should be evidence enough of his true colors. And yet, this is what ABC is choosing to spotlight as the big contestant drama this season.
Using dog whistle racism as the catalyst for conflict is gross. It’s truly a shame too because in spite of all of this garbage, our Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, has delivered the goods. I could argue that she is perhaps the greatest Bachelorette ever. She has brought wit, grace, and her authentic style to a series in desperate need of all of these things. Unfortunately, this is being overshadowed by ABC’s lazy and irresponsible manufactured drama.
I’m still hopeful that ABC pulls this season out of the nosedive it’s in. Not because I care about the show per se, but because Rachel deserves better.
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