I try to start these recaps with something fun. Maybe a story about a time I got dumped. (I was once dumped in a bar in front of ALL MY FRIENDS after the guy I was dating took a picture of all of us.) Maybe a long-winded and tenuous analogy comparing The Bachelor to a wild animal or Game of Thrones. (Which house would Nick belong to? Please speculate wildly in the comments.) Maybe a fantasy about the evil machinations of sex-hungry ABC executives. But this? What the hell am I supposed to do with this? What on Earth am I supposed to do with an Abercrombie & Fitch ad come to life, walking around with dead eyes and a dead soul? I feel like I’m on Chopped and I just opened my basket to find chicken in a can, regret, off-the-shoulder crop tops, and a painful lack of chemistry, and now I gotta make an entrée. Hey, look at that! I made an analogy.
It’s the morning after Nick unloaded all his emotional baggage onto the floor and the ladytestants are uncomfortable. Everyone is just sitting around, clutching throw pillows and staring into middle distance. Meanwhile, this stupid sad sack is waiting for Host Chris to come and snap him out of it because ABC has paid for two more resorts and they’ll be damned if they lose out on those deposits. Nick keeps talking about getting the rug pulled out from under him. Bruh, you’re the Bachelor right now. You are the rug. You could ask, “If I propose, will you say yes? Promise?” Just pick the one who says, “Promise.”
Nick strolls back into the ladies’ house to explain why he lost his damn mind the previous night. He starts explaining, but he’s stammering so much there’s a commercial break in between his thoughts. He finally explains that he sent D.Lo home because he felt much stronger about the other relationships. The ladytestants all breathe a sigh of relief and Nick tells them that they’re going to continue on their contractually obligated march toward despair in … BIMINI! A location I had to Google, but all the women are really excited to go there!
Once they arrive in Bimini, the ladytestants pose with their arms around each other, staring out into the sea. They’re imagining a world where Nick is happy; a world where things make sense and they don’t live under the constant fear of being dismissed. Did anyone else’s eyesight slightly dim along with their hope for the future? Just me?
Vanessa gets the first one-on-one date in Bimini, which, for the record, is in the Bahamas. Corinne descends into the emotional Charybdis that is Nick’s decision-making when she doesn’t get a one-on-one date card. She’s the only one who hasn’t gotten a one-on-one date and she wants something romantic, which to her is a boat ride, sushi, Champagne, and candles. Classic. It sounds like the lyrics to an unreleased Bruno Mars song.
Vanessa and Nick go on a boat. Who cares? Nick explains that he felt like he was forcing his relationship with Danielle. Vanessa is excited that she can feel her wall coming down again. They go snorkeling and make out in the water. These two love making out while floating, don’t they? Vanessa decides that she feels good enough to tell Nick that she’s falling in love with him. That was her mistake: feeling good. He responds with a meandering monologue about how he’s said “I love” before and he doesn’t want to take it back, but he’s looking for a greater love than he’s ever had and he’s dating multiple women and they’re taking it slow so he’s gonna say it when it feels like the first time. Vanessa just stares at him while her hair blows in the wind. What is she supposed to do with all of that?
Next, Nick takes Raven, Kristina, and Corinne on a group date to go snorkeling. Isn’t there anything else to do on this island? Corinne gets nervous that Nick is spending all his time doting on Kristina. After they swim with sharks, Nick gives Raven the group-date rose, meaning she’s the only woman who knows for sure she’s going on a hometown date. He whisks her away to a totally spontaneous concert by recording artist Adam Friedman. Meanwhile, Corinne is descending deeper and deeper into an unstable episode. She says she’s been waking up crying, and she’s referring to herself in the third person. This is not a good look for Corinne.
Nick takes Danielle on a date riding bikes around Bimini and they catch a pickup basketball game against some island youths. Danielle says she’s falling for Nick “150 bajillion percent,” so we all know how this is going to end because Nick has no respect for decency and the accepted rules of this television program. They head to their dinner after sitting in silence, staring at the ocean, and drinking beer out of bottles covered in baskets. Is this a Bahamas thing? It’s adorable. Nick gives a toast to a pleasant beach day and asks Danielle if the last person she took home was her fiancé. Danielle explains that the last person she was in love with actually died so she’s a little nervous to open up again, but she feels like she’s falling again for Nick. Well, damn. What do you say to that? If you’re America’s most heartless man, you respond by promptly dumping her. This dude is unreal.
Danielle returns to the house to pack her things and tries to say good-bye to the women, but breaks down in full-on sobs. Corinne decides that this is her moment to get some alone time with Nick, so she puts on her lowest-cut blouse and heads over to Nick’s hotel room. She says she wants to see if he’s doing okay and he pops some Champagne. They sit down on the couch and Nick does his one move where he holds the girl’s hand and pulls her in close while going, “Oh, hi,” or “What’s going on here?” and kisses her. Corinne thinks that sex is a substitute for emotional connection because someone failed her, so she takes Nick into the bedroom and tells him that he must keep two hands on her and never jiggle but give a slight massage. Nick comes to his senses and rejects the only thing that would bring him joy — albeit momentary joy — and tells Corinne to leave. Because Corinne believes that her worth is based on her sex appeal, she thinks that she’s obviously the one going home. She also doesn’t exit through an automatic door and chooses to go through the smaller manual door. She’s clearly rattled.
Nick ends his week of emotional mayhem by going on a date with Rachel, where they just sit at a bar surrounded by old men playing dominos and drink more beer covered in baskets. With Rachel, Nick finally brings up hometowns without talking about the intense pressure he’s put on himself and he also mentions that he might ask Rachel’s dad if he could have his daughter’s hand in marriage. Also, for possibly the first time in their relationship, Nick acknowledges that he and Rachel are different races. They finish the day making out on a fence and Rachel is the next Bachelorette and we have something to live for.
It’s time for the cocktail party and rose ceremony … or it would be if Nick respected the sanctity of The Bachelor. He decides that he’s going to take Kristina aside and break up with her in private because he likes her so much. Here’s the thing though. The whole point of The Bachelor is that it ritualizes and organizes the process of dating and falling in love. It turns an organic and free-form procedure into a romantic Stations of the Cross.
Every season is basically the same. Every episode is basically the same. The contestants sign up for that. They expect to be dismissed while wearing a cocktail dress in front of their peers, then hop into a black SUV and never be seen again. Nick seems to think that it’s more honorable and more respectful to completely piss on the accepted norms and rules of the situation. If you expect to be dismissed with little to no ceremony, but suddenly must endure a full breakup conversation with someone who is completely incapable of expressing his thoughts clearly and concisely, that is insulting and hellish. This isn’t nicer. It’s a tactic to assuage his own guilt so he can act how he wishes Andi and Kaitlyn might have acted with him. Again, he’s completely ignoring how this works and how the ladytestants might not want any part of whatever the hell he’s doing. He’s being completely selfish while acting as if he’s selfless and accommodating. He’s being the goddamn worst. When you completely abandon the accepted rules and norms, everyone is terrified because they don’t know what’s going to happen. And when people are terrified, they don’t tend to fall in love. It’s almost like Nick is unknowingly sabotaging himself. Oh, Christ, it’s going to be a long season, isn’t it?
Just let it be Rachel’s Bachelorette season already.