Somewhere in a luxury hotel suite, an ABC executive lights a cigarette in a satisfied postcoital glow. “You can’t smoke in hotel rooms anymore,” her young companion says, pulling his shirt over his taut abs. The ABC executive sucks on her cigarette and blows the smoke in his face. His face is beautiful in the way that young, dumb faces are beautiful. “I’m not paying you to tell me hotel rules and regulations,” she sneers. “I’ve got the room for the rest of the night and I might head down to the bar and pick up someone else to keep me entertained.”
“Why don’t you leave the other young men of the Burbank metropolitan area alone and just watch some TV?” As much as he hates her, hates himself, he can’t bring himself to leave. The pleasure, the pain. Oh, the pain. As he’s about to turn around to beg for her attention, he hears the TV switch on and he knows she’s not thinking about him anymore. The ABC executive turns on FX and catches a marathon of American Horror Story: Coven right from the beginning. This could be interesting, she thinks.
This episode of The Bachelor is an affront to history and human dignity. This episode should be forced to make a public apology. This episode got me all the way fucked up. There were very many things I definitely enjoyed, but way too much of it centered around the useless feud between Corinne and Taylor that ended in a “To Be Continued …” and the reveal that they both might go home. (My boyfriend immediately asked, “Do I get the points for what she did this week?”) Plus, it’s centered around a PLANTATION with GHOSTS and vague “voodoo” rituals lead by white ladies in bucket hats — and then there’s a baffling Beauty and the Beast tie-in with Josh Gad and Luke Evans. Seriously, Disney? You couldn’t get some The Princess and the Frog tie-ins? Or are you pretending like that movie doesn’t exist, even though it’s perfection and a true feminist masterpiece? But I digress.
The episode begins with Corinne and Taylor still at each other’s throats when Corinne decides she’s had enough of Taylor calling her stupid and being condescending. (To be fair, Taylor was being pretty condescending. She just kept repeating “emotional intelligence,” over and over.) So Corinne turns on her expert manipulation skills and starts telling Taylor that all the other ladytestants think she’s rude because she doesn’t greet everyone. For a brief moment, you could see the light leave Taylor’s eyes. The conversation isn’t about how Corinne isn’t a good match for Nick, but about how Taylor is a bad person. Corinne did this so swiftly and so deftly, I couldn’t even catch where the seed of doubt was planted. She did a freakin’ inception on Taylor. Then Corinne whines on Nick’s shoulder and makes out with him, cementing her rose for the next week. This bitch is good.
It’s time for the rose ceremony. Whitney gets the first rose. WHO IS WHITNEY? I will give someone $100 if they can tell me one interesting or notable thing Whitney has done. I’m not sure she’s a real person or just a projection of Nick’s type. By the end of the rose ceremony, Sarah and Astrid are sent home. Auf wiedersehen, ladies! It’s time for a trip to New Orleans.
The first date card arrives and it soothes Rachel’s anxieties because she gets the one-on-one date. It also features an unforgivable pun: “Where have you beignet all my life?” As a French major, that one hurt me. Rachel and Nick have another “walk-around” date, which doesn’t make for great television, but actually feels like two people getting to know one another. They get the fun little surprise of joining a second line and having dinner in a Mardi Gras parade float garage. It’s also really wonderful to see Nick fawn over Rachel; he clearly likes a woman who brings way more to the table than him. It means a lot to see a black woman on television loved and appreciated for who she is in all her complexity (well, as complex as you can be in a reality show).
And to everyone in the comments who gets upset that I’m #TeamWomenOfColor and #TeamBlackGirl … too damn bad. She gets the one-on-one date rose.
There’s also a strange trend of people telling Nick their parents are still together, then following it up with “THAT’S RARE!” I mean, is it? If you believe that half of marriages end in divorce stat, it’s not that rare when your parents stay together. It’s one of only two options. They do have a cute conversation about what he’s supposed to call Rachel’s dad, and he says he’s only going to call him “sir” until he hears otherwise. Nick, as someone with a little experience with intimidating black fathers, you’re going to call him “sir” for the rest of your sad white little life.
Next is the group date. This is where The Bachelor got me fucked up. How are you gonna have a date on a PLANTATION, never once mention slavery, and act like it’s a romantic and beautiful locale? Then to cap it all off, they play up this fun little ghost routine and pin it all on Jasmine touching a hat! The whole evening at the PLANTATION, everyone keeps chastising Jasmine for “provoking the ghost.” How dare you even make Jasmine step foot in that horrible place! How many magic shops did the producers have to visit before they found the right possessed rocking horse?
I googled this PLANTATION to find out a little more and they do weddings at this plantation?!?!? I know it’s become a bit common to talk about plantation weddings, but WHY would you want to have your wedding WHERE PEOPLE USED TO OWN OTHER PEOPLE? This country is wild.
The ladytestants ask the ghost to reveal who will get the group date rose that’s under a Beauty and the Beast–branded cloche. Like that ghost even knows what’s happening. Do you think an 8-year-old ghost from the antebellum era knows what The Bachelor is? No, she’s wondering why she doesn’t have any slaves in heaven. Nick gives the group date rose to Danielle M. even though, when he kisses her, he immediately turns his head away. I don’t like his kissing style.
Meanwhile, Corinne and Taylor have been prepping for their two-on-one date. Corinne is taking a bubble bath with a face mask while she drinks champagne and mutters incoherent ramblings about her multimillion-dollar company. Taylor is surrounded by a circle of candles and offers herself as a sacrifice to her copy of the DSM-V. They both pack their bags and head into the bayou.
They’re walking through the woods with Nick when they pass a human spine. It looks like someone took apart an eighth-grade science classroom skeleton and just dropped it on their path. There’s a group of people all dressed in white, chanting and singing around a fire with various African artifacts surrounding them. A random white woman approaches them and says she’s a voodoo priestess. Seriously, ABC? Voodoo is a West African cultural and spiritual practice brought to the U.S. by slaves, but yeah, this white lady in a bucket hat is a priestess.
On to the tarot reading for Corinne and Taylor that uses a purely shade-based deck. Taylor gets her reading first and sits down and goes, “I’M A WATER SIGN.” Thanks for that info, Taylor. Her reading tells her that someone is naturally intuitive and someone is nasty, so watch out. While Taylor is getting her cards read, Corinne tells Nick that Taylor is a big, bad bully who only knows one mental-health term. Never doubt the power of a pretty blonde’s tears to get what she wants. Corinne sits down with the tarot reader, who tells her, “You have a beautiful butt that doesn’t belong in the swamp.” Nick immediately asks Taylor about her bullying Corinne. See? Now the conversation is about Taylor’s bad behavior and any criticism of Corinne will seem like Taylor bullying her. Damn, that bitch is very good.
At the end of the date, Nick gives Corinne the rose and leaves Taylor to be eaten by the gators. She dives in, purifies herself, and swims through the bayou to rise from the water. To break up the dinner date between Nick and Corinne. May the spirit of Marie Laveau soar through you, Taylor.