Had I been struck by a flying clog immediately after watching last week’s season premiere? Had I come down with basic-bitchface blindness? There has to be a reason I couldn’t remember a single ladytestant from last week. I couldn’t tell you how many Laurens were left. Honestly, if you replaced every single person on camera with one of those faceless Macy’s mannequins, I couldn’t tell the difference. Even the drama between Bibiana and Krystal seems to be motivated by Bibiana’s very real frustrations. None of the exits are over-the-top or awful. This is episode two! This is prime “Girl wearing a wedding dress gets in a screaming match with a potted plant, gets eliminated” territory. Who was in charge of making sure someone had an insufferable catchphrase?
Well, at least the episode starts with a majestic falcon. Why couldn’t someone bring a falcon? That would have been fun. Arie rides over to the mansion to pick up someone for a one-on-one date. The ladytestants are so excited when he arrives that someone literally chirps. Becca K. gets the first one-on-one date. She hops onto his bike and rides off into the sun. Krystal says that her dad was in a bad motorcycle accident and if Arie picked her, she would have told him. I don’t really have commentary for that. I think we all just need to acknowledge that was her first reaction.
Arie takes Becca K. to a secluded house in the California mountains. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS DATE. Was anyone else profoundly uncomfortable the entire time? First, there’s way too much seafood and it’s just been sitting out waiting for them to arrive. That shellfish is room temperature. That’s a lukewarm mussel. Don’t eat that seafood tower. Then Arie tells Becca K. that the day is all about her. Rachel Zoe comes out of a bedroom with a rolling rack of clothes. Becca gets to pick out her favorite dress while Arie watches her prance for him. He keeps saying that he picked Becca because she wouldn’t take this moment for granted. So, that’s all weird. Then he keeps revealing more and more expensive gifts. She gets all the dresses. She gets a pair of Louboutins. A Latino man in sunglasses walks out of the foothills and gives her a briefcase full of jewelry from Neil Lane.
It’s like Arie watched Pretty Woman and wanted to be Richard Gere. You’re not supposed to want to be Richard Gere. You’re supposed to want to be the plucky heroine, not the controlling lawyer. He likes to lavish gifts on women and then praise them for how humble they are. He literally tells her, “I wouldn’t want to sit across from somebody who had all these expectations.” Excuse me, sir? Are you that rich? That women have “expectations” of you?
Well, he can’t be rolling in money because when it comes time for the evening portion of the date, he makes sure to tell Becca K. that she’s only keeping the earrings. The necklace and the bracelet have to go back into the briefcase. Becca opens up about her father dying when she was younger and Arie’s response is “I like doing more stuff with my family and that’s fun.” He has the emotional range of one of those Macy’s faceless mannequins. His final surprise is to shower them with confetti, after all the other surprises. It’s a bit of a letdown. She gets the rose.
Up next, it’s time for Krystal’s one-on-one date. The date card shocks everyone and Krystal coos in her Marilyn Monroe–doing-an-ASMR-video voice about how excited she is while Chelsea glowers at her from a shadow.
I figured out that Krystal moves around the world with the wide-eyed tranquility of a Lifetime TV-movie heroine. So that means Chelsea comports herself like the mean-girl antagonist in the same movie, the one the heroine’s high-school boyfriend met when he moved to the big city and became an art dealer and turned away from the church. She even has a bun with way too many tendrils in her in-the-moment interview. Unfortunately for Chelsea, her character usually ends up standing on the stern of a yacht telling Brian if he doesn’t agree to come to the Hamptons right now, she’ll be gone forever and she’ll marry Donovan Rutherford like her father always wanted.
And Arie thinks he’s Donovan Rutherford. I think this metaphor has gotten away from me.
Krystal gets to go to Arie’s hometown: Scenic, historic Scottsdale, Arizona. Do we have to pretend like Scottsdale or even Arizona is a sophisticated and cosmopolitan place to live? Scottsdale is for people who think San Diego is too ethnic. Scottsdale is what would happen if you made My Super Sweet 16 into a town. Arie drives Krystal around and shows him the Pizza Hut he worked at and he says that his high-school experience was good. Never, ever trust anyone who says they had a good time in high school. But he said he wanted high school to be over so he could pursue his true passion: being a middling race-car driver. He shows her home videos, then takes her to meet his entire family. Oh no. This is not good. His younger brother says he liked watching Arie set and meet goals. Was Arie his older brother or his subordinate at State Farm?
Later, Arie tells Krystal that he wanted to bring her to meet his mom because Krystal would be a comfort for his mom. That it would be great for his mom to meet Krystal to make his mom feel like her son was gonna be okay because he’d be meeting a bunch of women just like Krystal. So, thanks for being a great example of what a beautiful woman would be like, Krystal. That might be something you think or even tell your mom, but you don’t tell the girl you’re dating as if it’s a compliment. There’s something really shallow and sinister about that. The show also really makes women feel bad for their parents divorcing. Y’know, a thing they had nothing to do with? Nothing like watching a woman be terrified to tell the guy she likes about who she is as a person. Krystal gets a rose and refuses to answer any questions from the other ladytestants about her date.
Fifteen ladies get ready for the group date. Imagine being the four bitches left off that group date card. The women are heading to a demolition derby and this is the first group date I would go on. Is this available for my 30th birthday? As they’re getting ready to get into the cars, Annaliese reveals that she has “bumper car trauma.” That’s right. Imagine a life so soft that your most traumatic experience was bumper cars. In recounting her trauma, she even sings that circus music. Unless you were bought by P.T. Barnum, you’re not allowed to have circus music featured in your trauma.
Sienne wins the demolition derby and Arie forces her to drink milk. Somewhere deep in the internet, someone connects this racing celebration with the weird guys who drank milk on Shia LaBoeuf’s art installation. Is Arie signaling the alt-right by pushing milk on Sienne? At the group-date cocktail party, Bibiana has a meltdown because she doesn’t get any time with Arie, which is her own fault. Also, the footage of Arie making out with Bekah takes so long that, at one point, I thought it must have been slowed down.
It’s time for the cocktail party. Krystal is lounging around and waving her rose at the other ladytestants as they pass her by. She doesn’t have to worry. She doesn’t even know what worries are anymore. She’s got a rose. She’s drunk on power and she’s going to spend as much time with Arie as possible, because fuck everyone else, right? After her meltdown the night before, Bibiana is not HAVING IT. Krystal goes to interrupt Bibiana after already getting time with him at the cocktail party. Bibiana does what everyone on this show needs to do and tells Krystal, “Actually, I do mind if you steal him away.” Why doesn’t anyone do that? Bibiana also seems to approach this in a reasonable way. She needs to know if she actually likes Arie because this is her description of him: “Six-foot-two, light eyes, genuine, authentic, and nice.” If you removed “light eyes,” that could be the description of vintage built-in cabinets.
Then Krystal sits down next to Bibiana and acts like she couldn’t possibly imagine why she’s pissed. Bibiana says she’s not going to fall for Krystal’s fake baby voice. Then she says, “There’s a lot of angry people here and I’m just the voice,” which I think was the subtext of every woman at the Golden Globes. I’m also here for Bibiana.
It’s time for the rose ceremony. Maquel, Jacqueline, Bekah, Jenna, Chelsea, Lauren S., Tia, Annaliese, Lauren B., Kendall, Brittany, Ashley, Marikh, Caroline, and Bibiana all get roses. There are still so many whos in there.
On her way out, Jenny doesn’t want to give Arie a hug and when he tries to comfort her, she tells him,“I’m not sad about you. I’m sad about leaving my friends.” What a goddamn delight. Then she says that she’s never been dumped before. Imagine being 25 years old and blonde. What a life that must be.