Welcome back to The Bachelor! It’s nice to know that, even as Earth burns down around us, some things in this tumultuous world remain constant: for example, by the fifth episode everyone’s roots are showing because they can’t get their hair dyed during taping, contestants start telling the Bachelor that they’re falling in love with him, and I’m getting bored but can’t look away as things start to unravel. Let’s dive in, shall we?
This episode opens with the continuation of previously cliff-hangered Corinne drama, as all episodes apparently do now (it’s so consistent that at this point you’ll turn on an unrelated show next week and the first scenes will be Corinne rolling her eyes at the camera, then passing out drunk in a cocktail dress).
For some reason that remains opaque to me, Taylor decided it was a good idea to try to have a conversation with Corinne, and they’re still going at it. The conversation itself isn’t particularly important or substantive, but in a stunning display of gaslighting, Corinne manages to take all the criticisms Taylor had had about Corinne and flips them around on Taylor. The conversation ended with a truly impressive exchange:
Corinne: I just hope the way you’re feeling right now is the way I felt yesterday — alone and sad.
Taylor: I’m not feeling either of those things.
Corinne: Well you should, because half the people in there think you’re here for the wrong reasons.
Corinne then runs to Nick to tell him that Taylor called her stupid. (Which she didn’t; Taylor said Corinne was lacking emotional intelligence, which is definitely true, but come on, Taylor, what was your endgame here? What was the good outcome?)
Half the women in the house have now complained to Nick about Corinne, but he doesn’t seem super perturbed. “These are mature women, and I think some of this stuff will work itself out,” he says. Shut up, Nick — no they aren’t, and no it won’t, at least not until ABC has squeezed as much screen time as humanly possible out of the drama.
The rose ceremony takes place shortly thereafter, and (to absolutely no one’s surprise) both Corinne and Taylor stick around. Sarah and Astrid go home. I don’t have a comment on this. Astrid and Sarah, we never really knew you.
The night is finally over, but not before Corinne complains about Taylor some more: “She thinks she’s, like, entitled to whatever she’s entitled to.” Somehow that’s not even the dumbest thing that’s ever been said on this show.
Whew. Off to New Orleans! Can’t wait to see how they mess this up.
The first (and only) one-on-one date of the episode goes to Rachel. Her date card reads, “Where have you beignet all my life?” She and Nick spend an afternoon wandering around the French Market, an open-air market in the French Quarter where Nick charmingly asks, “Do you want to go shopping, or should we just make out right here?”
They choose both, and they look they’re having a great time. Nick thoroughly dusts himself in powdered sugar during the inevitable trip to Cafe du Monde (where the beignets aren’t that good, in this humble recapper’s opinion). Nick and Rachel seem comfortable together, and Nick even tells her over dinner that “I might be breaking the rules here, but I’m super into you.” So things are going well!
(Although I did think it was odd that Rachel revealed on national television that her dad is a federal judge. If I were a federal judge and my child was going on The Bachelor, I would tell her that if my name ever crossed her lips I would hold her in contempt of court. That’s not how contempt works, you say? Nah man. We’re in a post-facts timeline. Rule of law is apparently now whatever you want it to be. Consider yourself contempted.)
Next, the group date card arrives at the women’s hotel suite. It includes the names of everyone but Taylor and Corinne, who then realize they will later be going on a two-on-one date (from which only one will return!). The ladies on the group date roll out to a “haunted house.” Quick note: This haunted house is a plantation. They say house, but no. It’s a former sugarcane plantation. Where wealthy white people owned other people as slaves. Slaves who lived through some of the most brutal treatment under the most inhumane conditions in history. ABC felt no need to mention that, but in case anyone at home was unclear: that’s what’s up.
The date is ostensibly about the women being stuck in a “haunted house” (ugh) overnight, and it is truly mind-numbing. It’s not that I don’t believe in ghosts, it’s just that I do believe the plantation was mechanically tricked out so that chandeliers fell, chairs rocked, candles flickered, etc. The freaking Ouija board couldn’t even conclusively answer questions. Even seven-year-olds can operate those things. Get it together, crew.
That said, maybe ghosts really do it for these people, because this is the night the declarations of love begin. “I can see myself falling in love with you,” Danielle L. informs Nick as though it’s the answer to a job interview question about where she sees herself in five years. Raven tells Nick that she fell in love the moment he sang “Kiss the Girl.” Okay, Raven, sure. Ultimately Danielle M. gets the group rose after they vacantly stare into each others’ eyes and repeat how much they like each other. I sincerely hope there was something more interesting edited out, because what little credibility Nick once had with me is eroding fast.
Next up is Corinne and Taylor’s two-on-one, for which Nick is taking them on a swamp tour. Swamp tours are great! You get to watch alligators slink around and perform tricks so the boat captains will throw them marshmallows, which are almost certainly not part of a balanced alligator diet. And the alligators are probably the best people on this terrible date.
I want to make it clear that both these women are awful. Corinne is a rude, childish, over-sexy nap monster, while Taylor is an elitist tool, sneering: “I don’t have a nanny. I have a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. So, Nick is picking between me, who has a higher level of emotional intelligence, and Corinne, who’s a manipulative *****.” Good Lord.
And then the three of them wander into what we are told is a voodoo ceremony. My roommates sum up the situation:
Roommate #1: Oh no. This looks offensive.
Roommate #2: Here comes the cultural appropriation component of your Bachelor episode.
Each lady then uses her final few minutes alone with Nick to trash the other one. Taylor also tries to mock Corinne by telling Nick, “She flat out asked me what emotional intelligence was!”, yet again demonstrating her terrible judgment. Taylor, how could you possibly think that’s the dumbest thing Nick has heard a woman say when he’s been on four seasons of this franchise? Honestly.
Unsurprisingly, Taylor’s strategy was ineffective, because Nick gives the rose to Corinne. They motor off into the swamp, leaving Taylor stranded in the bayou. But that’s not the last we’re going to see of her, because otherwise the producers would have to start Episode 6 with something other than Corinne drama, and then ABC would spontaneously combust. Ugh. Until next week, when hopefully this gets more interesting (unlikely) or I get my attitude right (even less likely!). See you then.