I would just The Bitchery to know that I am postponing reading House of Flame and Shadow to recap this.
That’s how much I love you all.
We open with Joey (who is a tennis coach) playing tennis with Jesse.
Much to my surprise, neither of them are shirtless.
We start with a group date and it’s the same stupid date we get every single season where the women dress up like brides.
Could we get any less original?
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Maria, who is wearing a very typical white sleeveless lace dress says, “I feel like the mom that goes to the wedding and gets drunk and hits on all the men.”
I now desperately want to know what weddings Maria’s been at where the mom shows up in a bridal gown to hit on men. I kinda want to go to that wedding.
(Ed. note: if you check out JustNoMIL on Reddit, there are…many stories like that.)
Joey tells the nine women, “We’re going to pretend that we all just got married.”
I guess he’s going to have a fake wedding reception with nine brides?
Erika says she’s never been to a wedding before which seems odd to me, but whatever.
Then there’s a competition to have the “first dance” with Joey that’s basically musical chairs to Pachelbel’s Canon. Evalin literally leaps over the table and lands on top of Lauren.
Lauren is emotional because her dad passed away recently and she’s thinking about the fact that he won’t be at her real wedding.
Jess kisses Joey and this pisses off Taylor, who has already been established as Jess’s nemesis.
The winner of the date is Rachel, and she gets to slow dance with Joey.
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Michael Bolton serenades them. Not even making that up.
Lauren stares like she wants to commit murder. I’m assuming it’s aimed at Rachel, but she could have beef with Michael Bolton. We don’t know her story.
During the cocktail hour Maria tells Joey she can’t breathe in her dress and she wants to put on something more comfortable. She comes out in a bra, and black lace skirt and shrug.
They make out. Loudly.
Here’s the thing, when actors in movies and TV kiss they aren’t mic’d because kissing is wet and noisy and honestly gross to listen to if you’re not involved. These people are mic’d all the time so the sounds are…
Well, the rescue I volunteer at had a cat who liked to drown his sparkle ball toy in the water dish then noisily chew on it, so like that really.
Jess pulls Joey aside and says her last relationship left her really fragile and vulnerable.
So wait, you felt like your last relationship really broke you and you thought the obvious next step to healing was The Bachelor?
Lauren tells Joey about her dad’s passing seven months ago.
The date rose goes to Jess. Cut to Taylor scowling.
The first one-on-one date goes to Daisy. She’s got a cochlear implant and she’s worried about how Joey will react. There’s this weird ableist element to the show where if the women are different in any way, they act like the Bachelor might dismiss them immediately. I have this theory that this show is so imbedded with themes of patriarchal heteronormativity that there’s an aspect where the women are being chosen as future mothers, to the point where’s almost freakily like picking the best genetic candidate. It’s gross.
They take a helicopter (helicopter budget!) to The Beach Life Ranch. During dinner Daisy tells him that at age eleven she started having seizures and would get really sick whenever she caught something. She started losing her hearing at seventeen and was later diagnosed with Lyme disease. She received treatment in Germany, but her hearing kept getting worse and she got a cochlear implant.
She tells him that she’s still adjusting to the implant and relies on lip reading a lot.
Joey is impressed with her resilience. They kiss and she gets the date rose.
Then the next morning we get the shirtless workout shot.
Two former Bachelor contestants Demi and Jubilee are there to put 10 of the women through a bootcamp. It’s a lot of burpees and flipping tires. Then there’s a paint battle. It’s all very boring.
The blue team wins, but finds out only one of them will be spending time with Joey. Gasp!
Edwina, who admittedly was a badass in the battle, gets the date. Everyone else is peeved.
During the date, Edwina tells him she’s originally from Liberia. As the oldest daughter she acted like a second mother and housekeeper and the expectations on her were high.
She gets the date rose.
Meanwhile Madina worries about being 31 years old (the oldest in the house). Maria talks about Madina’s age with some other women.
The next morning it’s a “is Maria talking shit” gossip fest. It becomes the topic of conversation at the pre Dreaded Rose Ceremony cocktail hour, and Maria approaches Madina and says she doesn’t know why Madina is upset about her age.
Madina walks away and then Maria asks the entire group if someone told Madina that she commented on her age.
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So then Maria says that she thinks Madina is super hot and her age doesn’t matter and she should own it, and she never meant anything bad about Madina.
“This is the stupidest fight on Bachelor history,” Maria says.
It is not, actually. There have been much, much stupider fights.
Lauren is getting more and more upset that she hasn’t talked to Joey yet. She says she wants to leave.
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So then Joey goes to talk to Lauren and she tells him she’s in a bad mood because everyone else went already. She says she wants to go home.
“I wish I could say or do something, but I can you’ve gotten to a point where you’re over it, which is okay,” he says, respecting her choice.
“I’m sorry it had to happen like this,” she says, then a crew member shows up holding a cake. Lauren had planned the whole cake thing to be a redo of their wedding date. “There’s my cake. There’s my cake!” she says. Then she’s mad that the cake isn’t red velvet.
She eats a handful of cake and then throws it into the bushes where a grateful raccoon will find it later.
Allison cries because her sister who was her support system (and also dating the same man at the same time) is leaving.
Then it’s time for The Dreaded Rose Ceremony. Erika, Taylor and Marlena go home.
That’s it. Are you watching?