Oh boy. This week’s episode checks basically every box you could have on a Bachelor bingo card: a helicopter, wedding dresses, full-on boobs, “not here to make friends,” questioning motives, a slap across the face, a contestant getting booted early, and a to-be-continued instead of a rose ceremony.
The episode begins with a date card that says “Always a bridesmaid.” What a great way for the ladies to head into the date feeling insecure and inadequate! Naturally, the activity is a wedding photoshoot series with each of the twelve participants dressed up as a different kind of bride (or bridesmaid). There’s an 80s wedding, a Las Vegas wedding, a biker wedding, a shotgun wedding (our favorite aspiring dolphin trainer Alexis is tricked out with a fake pregnancy belly. “I had no idea what a shotgun wedding was!” she cheerfully announces, as she waves a literal shotgun), and, of course, an Adam and Eve wedding. The “dress?” Leaf-covered bikini bottoms and breast-length hair extensions. I think it says a lot about the personal journey I’ve been on with this program that I wasn’t fazed at all by that particular development. It now seems totally normal to be required to show sideboob on national television to win over a man ten years your senior.
This sideboob unveiling triggered a particularly strong reaction in Corinne, the season’s anointed 24-year-old villain. “That outfit is more me, like, more sex appeal, so I don’t know how well [the other contestant]’s going to do with that,” Corinne pouts to the camera. She handles the situation by trying to one-up the other girls: when she climbs into the pool for her “beach wedding,” she cuts out the middleman and takes her own top off, covering her bare chest with Nick’s hands. Afterward, she slurs that “Nick held my boobs today, like, he held my boobs, okay? No one else has held my boobs like that … and no one ever will.”
Maybe Corinne isn’t as good at hiding her paralyzing self-doubt and crippling desire for approval as past “villains” have been, or maybe it’s that I’m suddenly feeling my age, but when I look at her I can’t help but see an insecure kid who’s just trying to prove her own worth (to herself as much as anybody else). I mean, I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a Bachelor Mansion with her, but I’m struggling to take her seriously as an antagonist. Isn’t she every contestant stereotype taken to the extreme, just as Nick Viall was in his own day?
Nick himself gives this theory some credence when he awards her the group date rose. The other women were looking to see Corinne put in her place (that is, punished for being forward and not staying within the parameters the show’s “nice girls” usually adhere to). “If Nick likes someone who is just leading with her sexuality,” sighs Raven, “no wonder it’s his fourth time. It’s really mean, but it’s true.” Excellent point, Raven! You might wonder whether Nick is picking based on his heart or based on who’s playing the game the best, but this is the guy who would sneak out to Andi’s hotel room or leave her love notes when he was a contestant; maybe the person who plays the game the best is the person who’s most suited for him.
As for Corinne, she announces to the entire group that she’s really glad she got the rose, refers to herself in the third person several times, and then says (out loud! To other people!) “XOXO, Gossip Girl.” Which…doesn’t actually make sense in the context of the conversation, but was still pretty hilarious for those of us watching at home. The saddest moment (for me personally and, I suspect, Corinne in her real life) is when she says, “Dad would be proud. Even though I was naked, he would be proud.” Let that comment percolate.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Danielle M. gets the invite to the first one-on-one date. Danielle M., a sweet-as-pie neo-natal nurse, is getting the Nice Girl edit and will probably go really far. Unsurprisingly, it was really boring date. They helicoptered onto a yacht, where they hopped into a hot tub (on a yacht in the ocean in California, which, okay, it’s water in a boat on other water, which seems kind of redundant to me, but I’m wearing a flannel in a basement cavepartment, so what the hell do I know?), and then on a dinner date. Which goes well, I guess, as long as we’re conflating “revealing personal secrets” with genuine intimacy (this is The Bachelor, so of course we are). I don’t want to sound insensitive but it was kind of a snooze.
While Nick and Danielle M. are looking into each other’s eyes and pretending to eat pasta, Liz decides to take Christen into her confidence and dish about her one-night stand with Nick. This was a really weird segment in that there were clearly several conversations cobbled together. Both Liz and Christen have three different outfits and hairstyles; at one point, the image quality on their faces is quite different, and it seems likely that Liz was talking to someone else (possibly a producer?) and Christen’s reaction shots were lifted from a different scene entirely. Liz was definitely dishing, but we don’t really know to whom, when, or why. Not that any of this matters; I just prefer to know when ABC is trying to put one over on us, and that’s definitely what they were up to here.
The last date of the night is a group trip to Los Angeles’s Museum of Broken Relationships. I don’t know why this is a thing, and I kind of assumed it was fake until I Googled it (it isn’t fake, but it probably should be). For some reason, this “museum” happens to be holding a festival featuring staged breakups that very day! So each of our lucky contestants gets to publicly break up with Nick in whatever way she chooses. And everyone goes for comedy (including Josephine, who slapped Nick a good one across the face) except for Liz, who takes this opportunity to relate the tale of their failed romance but vaguely and impersonally, leaving the other women very confused.
It gets worse when Christen confronts Nick with everything Liz told her about their past entanglement. This is more than Nick can handle; in addition to totally icing Christen’s chances (…which were probably low to begin with?), it results in Nick pulling Liz aside to tell her he’s eliminating her from the show.
I mean, okay, sure. That was the only way this little plotline would end, and that’s fine. Nick feels compelled to tell everyone not only that he knew Liz, but that they had sex (which, also, he could have just implied it; I think if you told them “we got acquainted at a wedding” they would know exactly what you meant). The episode cuts off there without a rose ceremony, presumably to strike fear into our hearts that these women will suddenly turn their backs on Nick because he had known the touch of a woman before meeting them (a woman other than Andi … and Kaitlyn … and that other lady on Bachelor in Paradise. Sorry, was anyone expecting him to wear white to his wedding?).
Arguably the best part of the episode was the B-roll footage playing over the end credits. My favorite nut, Alexis, celebrated her boob-day (the one year anniversary of her boob job, obviously) by bringing Nick two vanilla cupcakes with cherries on top. The episode ends with Nick and Alexis singing “Happy Boob-day” to the cupcakes. Sounds like two people living their best lives. Happy boob-day to us all.