Oh hi! I didn’t see you come in. I was just sitting on my couch thinking about what I’m doing with my life and how to maintain a sense of purpose in these final months of my education (…just kidding, I was watching Hawaii 5-0 on Netflix). But now that you’re here, I can get down to the important and meaningful work of writing about The Bachelor. Where did we leave off last week?
That’s right! Raven just told the world she’d never had an orgasm (with her ex-boyfriend, or, alternately, ever?), then toddled into the Fantasy Suite to share a night of passion with Nick. (Gross.)
This week’s episode begins with the happy couple on the morning after. “I just shared my first … meaningful ‘I love you,’” coos Raven, and I definitely thought she was taking that one in a different direction. After Nick kisses her goodbye, puts his hood up, and slinks off into the cold morning like a preteen sneaking out of the girls’ bunk at summer camp, Raven does a bunch of cutesy nonsense (dancing around street signs, giggling in elevators, etc.) that is designed to give us one impression: “Nick is good at what he does,” she sighs. “I am very satisfied.”
…I’m yet again struggling to write about this in a way that won’t forever soil the Google search results for my name, so I’ll leave it at this: I’m skeptical.
Next up, Rachel and Nick spend the day together cross-country skiing, and they are terrible at it. Are their skis not waxed? Or are they both wearing tight pants and can’t squat properly? In their defense, cross-country skiing is really hard. But it was kind of satisfying to see two very fit people struggle with something I learned to do as a baby. Surprise! I’m super petty. (…you aren’t surprised? That’s cool.)
Then, they go pet some reindeer.
My roommate: “I’ve eaten a reindeer. [pause] Don’t worry, not a whole one.”
Finally, they make it to the ~*~evening~*~ portion of the date. They spend much of it talking about Rachel’s emotions (she has them), why she hasn’t told Nick about her emotions (because she’s scared he won’t reciprocate), and what those emotions are (I’m gonna go out on a limb and say love? Just a guess). Nick keeps prompting her to take the plunge (“I like strong people, I like strong women, but I just always like knowing where I stand … like for me, I can’t do anything in a situation unless I know where I stand…”) and finally, after like five solid minutes of verbal gymnastics:
Nick: If you were to check your ego at the door, what would your heart say?
Rachel: That I’m falling in love with you.
They share a kiss that looks the most genuine of any we’ve seen this season (Roommate: “He doesn’t kiss Raven like that”) and Nick tells Rachel that he is “falling for you, 100%.”
Let’s take a pause here. Due to ABC’s baffling production decisions, we already know Rachel and Nick do not get engaged at the end of this journey. And yet we see him making the strongest declaration of love to her. Doesn’t it make him seem kind of cruel, to keep prompting her to say “I love you” when he’s planning to send her home? What could ABC be thinking? Why tell us so early and cast such a pall over this otherwise sweet date?! (“Because the show was so ****ing boring,” my friend’s mom is saying in our group chat. Touché, Sidney. Touché.)
My roommates and I theorize that something will go wrong in the Fantasy Suite (physical, emotional, or life choice incompatibility revealed during their precious off-camera time. It’s happened before, right? See: the implosion of Andi and Juan Pablo’s relationship). But no such thing! The next morning, they cook breakfast together while looking radiantly happy (and Rachel’s penguin onesie is amazing. It’s no shark costume, but it’s so freaking cute). Their goodbye is so much more passionate than the one Nick and Raven shared the previous morning! The world makes no sense to me.
Next up is Nick’s date with Vanessa. (Question: what has Vanessa been doing for the past three days? Now that there are no women left to interact with, is she allowed to read books and watch movies and, you know, have fun? Or is she just left to stew by herself in a hotel room, pacing a hole in the floor and cursing whatever gods got her into this mess?)
Anyway, Nick informs us of the day’s activity, quite clearly reading off a teleprompter: “Today we’re going to embrace the Finnish culture. Falling in love is a big leap of faith and certainly so is jumping in freaking cold water.” He’s like a soulless bearded robot with amazing abs.
Nick and Vanessa change into matching swimsuits (yikes) and then run back and forth between a sauna and an ice bath. Having grown up swimming in the hostile Atlantic waters off the coast of Maine, I thought this looked like amateur hour, but I’m sure N & V were very proud of themselves for staying in the ice bath for ten whole Mississippis. (I told you I was petty, right?)
Once they make it into the hot tub, they begin having a conversation about core values, what they’re willing (and unwilling) to compromise on, and where the hell they’re going to live after this show is over. It’s the kind of genuine conversation about relationships that regular people have to have all the time, but that we rarely (if ever?) see on this show. Honestly, it ends up feeling a little bit bicker-y: maybe it’s just that regular relationships are difficult and involve more work than ABC wants to show us, but Nick and Vanessa don’t seem all that happy together. And maybe the friendlier conversations have been edited out, but damn, when you’re arguing about whose home city receives the most snow, Montreal or Chicago, maybe just Google it, get to the Fantasy Suite, and call it a day?
Vanessa: And why is [moving to Canada] something you can’t picture yourself doing?
Nick: Not to sound really corny, but I’m… like… proud to be an American?
Vanessa: And I’m very proud to be a Canadian.
Nick: I’m not saying you’re not.
But, despite their apparent dislike for each other, Vanessa’s smitten: “Nick is everything I’ve been searching for. I had always envisioned having someone like Nick in my life, I just never thought it could be true.”
That’s funny, because I would rather be single forever than have to date Nick Viall. I can’t for the life of me figure out how these women end up having genuine feelings for this clown, and the best I can come up with is proximity affection: if you spend enough time with someone in close enough quarters (whether it’s weeks in the Bachelor mansion, your first summer at sleepaway camp, or that study abroad trip your junior year) you’re going to convince yourself of a connection that isn’t there. And that’s how you end up finding redeeming qualities in tools like Nick Viall.
Nick and Vanessa apparently share a night of passion, and then the day of the Rose Ceremony has arrived. And we finally — FINALLY! — get an actual rose ceremony at the end of the episode instead of another idiotic cliffhanger. To no one’s shock, Rachel is sent home. (I mean, I say “to no one’s shock,” but based on the content of the show I would not have expected her to be eliminated if I hadn’t known it was coming.)
She and Nick have a difficult goodbye, and she’s crying in the backseat of the limo: “It’s hard to hear how great you are and how much love somebody has for you but they still don’t choose you and I swear that’s like the story of my life. I know how great it could’ve been, but maybe I didn’t show all of that. Maybe he didn’t get that from me. I want someone to have that undeniable unconditional unexplainable love for me and I want to be able to feel it the same way for them and this is like, back to, you know, square one.”
If by “square one” Rachel means “the Bachelor Mansion,” then she’s totally right! (“Square One” would be a great moniker for the house. Other potential names: “Rock Bottom.” “House of Sadness and Fog.” “The House that Chris Built.” “Last Resort.” “Palace of Sadness.”)
Next Monday is the wow finish — stay safe out there, kittens, and make sure to have some fun. Until next week!