The Bachelor Recap: Nick in Retrograde

The Bachelor

Week 6
Season 21 Episode 6
Editor’s Rating *****
Nick Viall. Photo: ABC

What the ever-loving hell is happening this week? No one is happy. Everything anyone says is ignored or misconstrued. Nick can’t stop crying or eliminating ladytestants. There’s only one explanation for this level of potent emotional turmoil: Mercury must be in retrograde.

Not only is the planet governing communication in retrograde, but Nick himself must be in retrograde. Between the dead-eyed stare he gives Danielle L. while she professes her love and fighting off Jasmine’s attempt to erotically asphyxiate him, he is miserable. He is just miserable. I’ve never seen a human man more miserable. And in his misery, he’s not entertaining. He’s being a dick, but he doesn’t even have the decency to be an entertaining dick. He’s just a sad boy who wants you to feel bad for him while he’s breaking up with you. Stop trying to make anyone feel bad for you, Nick. You haven’t sold software in years. Your full-time job is making out in the U.S. Virgin Islands. But we must get there first.

The episode opens in New Orleans, while everyone back at the hotel waits for the designated PA to ominously pick up one person’s luggage. The PA picks up Taylor’s luggage and everyone is completely shook. Only Josephine is excited for Corinne to be coming back. Meanwhile, Taylor clomps her way into Corinne and Nick’s after the two-on-one dinner date. Any dignity or moral superiority this mental-health professional once had is quickly dissipating. Also, calling Corinne a manipulative bitch doesn’t help your case. Taylor’s opening line as she interrupts their date? “You lied today.” Okay, girl. While Taylor takes Nick outside, Corinne chugs Champagne and talks to herself. Taylor wants Nick to open his eyeballs because Corinne lied to him. Taylor is really showing her age right now. This is a very 23-year-old conversation with a boy who just broke up with you for a more sexually liberated blonde. We’ve all been there. You gotta move on, Taylor. Calling this whole thing “an experience” doesn’t make you sound more mature. It makes you sound like you should be holding your heels, shivering outside Chi Omega house and arguing with Lunchbox (née Brett) while Rich Boy Danny watches. You’re gonna miss the last shuttle back to campus, Taylor.

It’s time for the cocktail party as the ladytestants roll up on another old giant house in New Orleans. Josephine muses that it’s so beautiful and “so old-fashioned Louisiana.” I wonder how many humans were owned here. Also, Whitney chimes in that she’s not getting enough time. Whitney. Who are you? LITERALLY. WHO IS YOU RIGHT NOW? You keep talking about your moments with Nick and the conversations you’ve had. Your connection. Bitch, I am going to need the receipts. I would like them on my desk by the end of the day.

This episode also features the slow unraveling of Jasmine. She succumbs to the same curse that took down the men of color on Kaitlyn’s season, but we’re not there quite yet because there isn’t going to be a cocktail party tonight. We’re going straight to the rose ceremony. Corinne chugs her Champagne and kisses her rose. Nick gives a long strange speech about his feelings and decisions and blah, blah, blah.

Kristina, Raven, Vanessa, Danielle L., Whitney (WHO? IS SHE A COMPOSITE HOLOGRAM CREATED BY ABC TO MAKE IT SEEM LIKE THERE ARE MORE THIN BRUNETTES?), Corinne apologist and collaboratrice Josephine, that shark-ass bitch, and Jaimi (who looks better than ever) are all sent home. Now it’s time for Nick to recite the language fed to him by the St. Thomas board of tourism! Woo!

As they all arrive in St. Thomas, everyone puts impossible pressure on themselves to fall in love as soon as possible. Nothing sets the mood like staring at yourself in the mirror and repeating “Fall. In. Love. You. Stupid. Idiot.” The ladytestants arrive on a dock as Nick is going to announce the first date of the week. It’s Kristina! Jasmine immediately bursts into tears and starts pulling her eyelashes out.

Nick and Kristina take a seaplane to a mountainside and just stare into each other’s eyes. Willing romance into the world. Nick asks Kristina about her family and her siblings and she has a little problem giving him an accurate count because she has a sister back in Russia, but she was adopted when she was 12. On the dinner portion of their date, she launches into her life story and it is a doozy. She was kicked out of her house by her mother when she was 5 years old and spent the next seven years of her life in an orphanage. She says a worker at the orphanage told her that life in America would be in color, but if she stayed in Russia, her life would always be in black and white. Then Nick says she brings color to his world. This man has no idea how to appropriately respond to other people’s stories of trauma. She gets the rose.

Up next is the group date with Rachel, Raven, Vanessa, Corinne, Danielle M., and Jasmine. That means Danielle L. and the woman whose name is allegedly Whitney are going on a two-on-one date. It’s time for the group date! Nick and the ladytestants ride on a boat and then play some corn hole and a beach-volleyball game. Snooze fest.

I have a theory about the dates this season. Everyone knows that Nick banged someone too early and got in trouble, so now all his dates are super boring because he can’t do anything sexy. All the dates have to be chaste. Think about it: There’s been no tango lessons or tantric yoga. It’s been cookie-decorating and watching youth soccer. You end up with a bunch of dates where Nick doesn’t feel any chemistry and the ladytestants feel like they’re constantly in competition with each other because they’re literally playing beach volleyball while Nick keeps score.

So everyone flips out. By the end of the game, everyone is either asleep or crying on the beach wrapped in their towels and Nick … well, he doesn’t know what to do. The cocktail portion of the group date doesn’t go much better. Rachel tells him she feels ready to leave. Meanwhile, Jasmine talks herself into a rambling mess of insecurity. She figures Nick must not be interested in her, so she’s going to try to spark some interest by saying she wants to straddle and strangle him. Okay.

As I said earlier, Jasmine reminds me of the contesticles of color from Kaitlyn’s season, who each had their own meltdowns about not getting enough time. Neither of them offered sexual strangling, but y’know. The moment felt familiar. Nick feels uncomfortable about the whole auto-erotic strangulation thing, so he sends Jasmine home. We don’t even see Raven get the group-date rose because things are not okay and everyone has to go home and sleep.

It’s time for the two-on-one date and all the ladytestants are lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. Danielle L. and “Whitney” hop in a helicopter with Nick. He’s gonna have some fun today, God damn it. He keeps whispering, “Have fun, you stupid bitch,” to himself. He takes each of them aside and Whitney lies about having spoken to Nick before, while Danielle L. says she could take him home to meet her parents. Nick immediately gets up to send Whitney home. She tells him that he’s making a mistake, but then again, WHO. ARE. YOU. WHITNEY. SHOW. YOUR. TRUE. FORM. Nick and Danielle get in a helicopter, leaving Whitney behind on the island where she remains as much of a cypher as she ever was.

Nick takes Danielle L. on a little dinner date in an old jail and they just talk about other dates they’ve been on and reassure each other that they do like each other. That’s a bad sign. If the only thing you have to talk about is the fact that you’ve gone out before, it ain’t working. D.Lo (her nickname in the house, apparently) says that she’s falling in love and Nick looks absolutely miserable. He looks like someone told him he’d have to return to a normal life, a life that doesn’t allow for regular appearances in the Bachelor franchise. So he tells Danielle L. that he’s just not feeling it. He ends his breakup speech with, “I hope I’m not making a mistake,” because that’s what every woman wants to hear.

The ladytestants have already watched Whitney’s luggage get dragged out, so when another PA comes to take D.Lo’s luggage, their faces CRACK. Nick sent three people home before the rose ceremony for no real reason. It is the shock heard round the world. He comes into their hotel room and rambles a speech about his fear that this whole process might not work, that he’s doing everything wrong, and, at any moment, that he might fall out of love with any of them. And then he just leaves. Okay, good night!

I’m calling it now: Someone will have to sleep with Nick to get his spirits up. I know just the person up for the job …

The Bachelor Recap: Nick in Retrograde