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Four score and seven years ago, The Bachelorette‘s two night event began. I feel like I aged a lifetime in the amount of time it took to watch all four hours of Rachel’s journey to find
temporary love this week. Four hours is longer than I last at the weddings of people I actually know and I get free cake at those. It was rough. Plus, The Bachelorette tried to solve racism in America this week so that was fun. (No it wasn’t.)
Don’t worry, it wasn’t all a Civil War reenactment. These episodes also featured rappelling off a phallic ski jump, traveling to Scandinavia in the middle of winter, hot men in unitards, and a Viking reenactment that resulted in bloodshed.
Here are the top moments from this week’s episodes of The Bachelorette with gif reactions.
Last week, The Bachelorette ended on a cliffhanger, with Rachel confronting Kenny about Lee’s accusations that Kenny acted “aggressively” towards him. Kenny wasn’t having it. He asked Lee to speak to him outside but, as my boyfriend Peter said, there’s no talking to Lee. Lee sat with a smirk on his face, dismissing Kenny’s perspective and goading him into anger. Kenny was justifiably frustrated and angry, but I’ll admit that his whispered use of the word “bitch” to describe Lee, his choice to say Lee’s parents must be embarrassed of him, and his threat to “s**t in Lee’s cowboy boots” were unacceptable. Understandable, but unacceptable. Despite that fact, I don’t think that I would describe Kenny as aggressive, defensive maybe, but only in response to his character being called into question. Plus, Lee cuts notches into the hem of his jeans so that they’ll fit over his boots, so who cares.
I’ve been fuming over Lee for weeks so allow me to hop up on my soapbox and tell you something. This wasn’t a normal The Bachelorette cock fight. It was a cheap and offensive move by the show to knowingly use racism as a plot point. Racism isn’t entertainment, it’s dehumanizing. As Will explained to Lee later in the episode, calling a black man aggressive has historically racial connotations. Using that word to repeatedly describe Kenny was blatant micro-aggression and gaslighting. Quite frankly I don’t even think Lee realized he was being racist, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was being racist and the producers knew it.
Lest you think I’m being dramatic, Lee went on to say that Kenny is, “the guy who gets mad and plays the race card and tries to get away with everything he does, because he can’t control himself. I think that when it comes to Kenny and his view on the world, I just don’t understand it. I don’t understand the race card, but it got played apparently.” I already feel sorry for his future nieces and nephews at Thanksgiving dinner in 30 years. Their uncle is the worst.
I need to calm down, so let’s talk about Jack Stone’s awkward one-on-one date. Two lawyers from Dallas on a date in Bluffton, South Carolina have about as much sexual chemistry as you’d expect. None. Rachel did her best. She shoveled oysters down her throat like she was praying for the aphrodisiac to overwhelm her, but it just wasn’t happening. It was so bad that she turned her head when he tried to kiss her because she was “sick” but we all know she meant sick of him. I’m no expert, but I have a feeling that’s because Jack had this way of looking at her like he was considering how he’d feel wearing a suit made from her skin. I’m not saying that Jack is a serial killer, but he did tell her that his ideal date would be locking her in a room so they could lay in bed talking. Rachel immediately called someone to change her locks and sent him home.
There’s at least five men Rachel can barely tolerate left on this show so at some point she just needs to drop the hammer and get rid of some dudes. The big news at the first rose ceremony this week (brace yourself – there were three) was what Rachel was going to do about Lee. Obviously, it is beyond time for Lee to go home. The producers have gotten what they wanted with the racial tension and Rachel is starting to look foolish for keeping him around. The time to cut him loose is now. Oh wait, I forgot that the two-on-one date is due at any moment. Make room on your lapel, Lee, you’re getting the last rose.
Thanks to all of Lee’s hair product, they didn’t have room for extra baggage on the flight to Oslo, Norway, so Iggy and Jonathan/Tickle Monster were kicked off the show in South Carolina. After the remaining men failed to question the wisdom of visiting Scandinavia in the middle of winter, they met Rachel at a coffee shop where she invited Bryan on a one-on-one date. While the rest of her boyfriends were left to ponder why she keeps giving one-on-one dates to the white guys, she and Bryan headed to the top of an Olympic ski jump to take in the views of Oslo. Someone probably should have warned Rachel that she’d be rappelling off the tip of the ski jump in heels like some phallic Bachelorette exposition, but where’s the fun in that? Suggestive grunting noises played on our screens while Bryan
attacked her soft palate with his tongue kissed her in mid-air.
At dinner that night Bryan tried to convince Rachel that he’s insecure too (no he’s not), but that he is falling in love with her (I doubt it). Rachel really likes Bryan. She likes that he’s older at 37, but mostly she takes a lot of comfort in his stability. He makes her feel wanted and safe. Her glittery gold eye shadow sparkled when she gave him the date rose and he went back to kissing her like Squints kissed Wendy Peffercorn.
As always, The Bachelorette strives to introduce its audience to local culture when they’re traveling, so the group date was dressing Adam, Dean, Anthony, Peter, Josiah, Eric, Matt, Will, and Alex in unitards for a game of handball. It’s like they’ve given up. I’d be annoyed, but one glance at Will in spandex and all was forgiven. According to a very stern man named Coach Tom, “handball is life” in Norway, but on The Bachelorette handball was mostly just a chance to make jokes about Donald Trump’s hands. Although I don’t think anyone would be mad to hear Peter say, “I’m gonna use my hands today. I’m gonna be real handsy,” again. This group date was ridiculous, but nothing was as ridiculous as teen heart throb Dean wearing his jockstrap on the outside of his uniform. I have a lot of conflicting feelings about that.
At the after date cocktail party that evening, Rachel continued to develop her relationships with the men. She and Will have something special, Alex makes her laugh, and Josiah completely refused to acknowledge her concerns about their relationship. But who cares about them? Let’s talk about Peter. Rachel lights up when she’s around Peter. They have a physical connection that is hot enough to warm up that hot tub they made out in, but he also has taken the time to get to know her. He said, “I just want to keep kissing you, but we have a lot of ground to cover.” To which Rachel replied, “Can we cover it in the hot tub?” I hope they were covering something in prophylactics because that scene was steamy. Rachel likes Peter almost as much as I do.
Peter and Rachel returned to the rest of the group date to catcalls and complaints that they’d been gone for hours. Slow clap for Peter. It seemed like a forgone conclusion that he would get the date rose, but Rachel gave it to Will. Will? Did Will find a random hot tub on a balcony for her? Did Will know that Rachel doesn’t have a poker face? Stop being being mean to Peter, Rachel! He’s sensitive and wonderful. Peter’s face dropped in disappointment as he confessed that he couldn’t help but question their relationship after her actions.
Every season the two-on-one date, in which two men go on a date with the bachelorette and only one returns, is guaranteed drama. This season is no exception since Lee and Kenny finally had their showdown. Unfortunately, this time the drama wasn’t entertaining in the least. It was shameful. Lee used his time with Rachel to call Kenny scary, aggressive, violent, and alluded to his having a “dark side” that comes out when he’s drinking. Yes, Kenny reacted immaturely, but quite frankly I don’t blame him. Black men have been called aggressive, violent, scary, and drunkards since their white slave owners ripped them from their families. It didn’t matter how calmly Kenny spoke. It didn’t matter what he said. To Lee, and to much of America, Kenny is inherently dangerous because of a bias (recognized or not) against the color of his skin. To make that internalized racism a casual plot point on a reality TV dating show was exploitative and wrong. Thankfully, but with no thanks to the show for putting her in this position, Rachel rightly determined that she couldn’t trust Lee. She sent him home, much to the relief of the men and everyone watching except the people at his Sons of the Confederacy viewing party*.
*I have no idea if that’s a real thing. Don’t sue me.
Go ahead and take a minute to stretch, we’ve finally reached the midpoint of the four hour extravaganza that was this week of The Bachelorette.
I have a working theory that Rachel wears sequins like armor. The more her gown sparkles, the more cut throat she’s about to be. At the second rose ceremony there were a lot of sequins in play when she sent overly confident Josiah, and kind Fulbright Scholar Anthony home. I’ve defended Josiah’s cockiness as funny in these recaps, but it wasn’t funny when he said, “Woman, you have some poor judgment,” in his exit interview.
It was time to leave Norway behind for the city of Copenhagen, Denmark for Rachel’s first one-on-one date with Eric. This was a really fun date, but then again, everything seems fun now that Lee is gone. Eric and Rachel drank wine on a boat, road rides at an amusement park, and got flashed by a strange Danish man at an outdoor hot tub. (Because nothing breeds love like being flashed by an unsolicited Scandinavian penis, that’s how Ikea got popular.) Rachel and Eric really hit it off. At dinner Eric told her that he had a loveless childhood, and that all he has ever really wanted was to be loved by his mom. Go ahead and tear my guts out, guys. Rachel, if you don’t give this man love, I’m going to personally register him for an okcupid account and learn to knit so he can have homemade Christmas gifts from a mom.
No trip to Scandinavia is complete without dressing six of your boyfriends in Viking costumes before “pillaging feelings” and “raiding hearts” at what was essentially a LARP meet-up. Dean, Kenny, Peter, Adam, Alex, and Bryan rowed a longboat and played traditional Viking games under the tutelage of two delightful men named Tom and Morton. For the record, if any live action role players in my neighborhood look like Peter did in his cosplay, call me.
In the end it came down to Kenny and Adam (I don’t know who he is either) in a final match-up that involved fake swords and shields. I don’t know, I wasn’t paying that much attention. Apparently Kenny won, because he’s a professional wrestler, but not before both men were left with blood streaming from their faces. That’s sad and all, but can we talk about that “flesh” colored band-aid Kenny was given? It’s clearly made for skin tones that lack melanin. Did they blow their bandage budget on Tom and Morton’s appearance fee? The accidental racism can be over any minute now, thanks.
That night Peter and his plaid pants got the group date rose, because he’s perfection on Earth, but something wasn’t right with Kenny. I don’t just mean the head injury; Kenny was homesick. With Lee out of the picture, he finally had the chance to consider if his relationship with Rachel had progressed to the point it needed to be before introducing her to his daughter at hometowns. He and Rachel talked things through in one of the most mature conversations I’ve seen on all the seasons of this show. They’re were mutually respectful and admiring, but in the end Rachel agreed that they weren’t going to be a perfect match. It was time for him to go home to the daughter he desperately missed. This was the edit that Kenny deserved. He isn’t scary. He isn’t violent. He’s a good dad and a really great person. He deserved better than what he got on The Bachelorette this season.
The last date of the week was one my fantasy league has been looking forward to. Will, 28, is a handsome, tall and intelligent sales manager from somewhere only white girls live. More on that later. Will and Rachel spent the day in Sweden. They played lawn games with the locals, swapped love stories with an older couple at a cafe, and stared blankly into the distance from the roof of a castle. On paper Rachel and Will should be perfect together. I have him firmly in my top four. Sadly, they had no physical chemistry at all. Rachel started to get self-conscious about how little he was touching her so she asked him what his type is. Will sat there and told her that his type is usually – wait for it – white women. Did someone in the editors room take a sociology class on racial reconciliation over the break or something? Rachel was obviously thrown off by this news, and immediately shut down her defenses. It was like her every insecurity came true, but not at the hand she expected it from. She sent Will home but her confidence had been shaken.
Rachel’s third and final rose ceremony of the week was an emotional one. I don’t know if it was the week catching up to her, or if the events of the night before were still hanging over her head, but she was barely holding it together. She told the remaining 7 men that this was the hardest goodbye she’d ever had and I was like, “really? There’s at least two men up there you’ve never spoken to.” Rachel left the room to compose herself, but when she returned she chose to send Alex, the bearded Russian swimmer with the man bun, home. She kept Matt with the male pattern baldness and Adam with the doll fetish, but got rid of super hot Alex?! I don’t get her.
The Bachelorette will not return until Monday, July 10th thanks to America’s birthday party. That should give us plenty of time to rehydrate and clear our minds of this mess. Rachel only has 6 boyfriends left and hometown dates are right around the corner so the rest of the season is going to fly by. But first we need to find out why my boyfriend Peter was crying in the trailer.
Let’s be honest, I have no idea what I’m doing anymore, but this top four seems obvious. Of the six remaining men the other two have barely made it on the show. My guess is that Eric and Peter will be in the final two because this season of The Bachelorette can’t help but put a white man up against a black man. I hope I’m wrong.
We did it! We made it through this crazy long recap together. Did I miss any of your favorite moments? Who do you think she’s going to pick? Why did she keep Adam and Matt instead of Alex? Let’s talk in the comments.
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