She’s got Kelly Kapoor’s personality in Kelly LeBrock’s body. The idea that she was created by two teenage boys with a computer program and an ’80s fitness Barbie is not far-fetched at this point. Never before have I seen someone who was so sure of their cleverness and been so completely wrong. Other people’s emotions confuse and infuriate her. She’s such a terrific reality-TV villain that I expect her to be offered a position in Trump’s Cabinet any minute as the secretary of Just Feeling So Attacked Right Now.
Let’s be real: Is there anything else worth discussing here other than Krystal’s manipulations and meltdowns? Let’s try to touch on everything else so I don’t just wax poetic about Krystal and her affectations and her bathrobe. Who am I kidding? I’m still going to talk about the bathrobe.
We’re off to sexy Fort Lauderdale! It’s just like Miami, for moms! We’re about halfway through this journey and it feels like we’ve been here for months. If you told me this was episode 12, I’d believe you. The first date of the week is Chelsea. Arie shows up at the ladytestants’ hotel suite to pick her up. Chelsea is excited to show him she’s not just a mom, but to show him she’s a hot mom. They get on a yacht named Paradise. Perhaps a nod to where she’s going to end up instead of walking down the aisle with Arie? She mentions “all of the amenities” on the yacht. Are any of these women capable of talking like real people and not a tourism brochure?
While Chelsea is on her date, Maquel returns and she’s still 23 years old.
The other ladytestants gather around a telescope and try to find Chelsea and Arie on their yacht and watch them make out. Everyone gets those wires that hold your eyes open and is forced to peer upon a middle-aged, washed-up race-car driver kiss a single mom. When it comes to the evening portion of the date, Chelsea and Arie head to a vintage car warehouse. They’re not even trying to pretend that they’re eating on these dates anymore. There is no kitchen in this warehouse. None of this is up to code. Arie tells Chelsea that he’s really impressed with her because he has no other way to relate to women than by communicating how much they please him. He also says in his in-the-moment interview that he has to treat Chelsea a different way because she’s a mom. I know what he’s trying to say, but this man is so inarticulate and unable to thoughtfully express emotion, it sounds like Chelsea is an exotic animal that is easily startled. Chelsea’s sight is based on movement and that makes her different than all the other women. Chelsea talks about her previous relationship with her child’s father and says that he was an older man who was successful and he tried to mold her into what he wanted. Chelsea?
You in trouble, girl.
After a performance from Tennis Arm, Chelsea gets a rose.
Back at the hotel, the next date card arrives and it’s a group date for Maquel, Krystal, Becca K., Bekah, Jenna, Seinne, Kendall, Ashley, Marikh, Jacqueline, and Lauren B., who are all heading to a bowling alley. When they arrive, Arie is doing a The Big Lebowski parody. He licks a bowling ball in a public bowling alley, which should be enough of a reason for the women to recoil, but the whole thing gets worse when you realize he’s imitating the John Turturro character. Jesus. The pedophile. If you watch The Big Lebowski, the second line spoken about Jesus is that he had to go door to door introducing himself as a registered sex offender. Not a good look for Arie right about now. Also, who is this for? Which fans of The Big Lebowski are they hoping to wrangle in with a Jesus reference? Is this supposed to impress the women in their early 20s by referencing such a cool vintage movie?
After a few warm-up rounds, Arie has the girls split up into two teams and bowl for his affection. The winners will get a cocktail party and the losers will go back to the hotel. After the team with Krystal wins, Arie suddenly changes his mind and sits all the women down and gives everyone a participation trophy.
There’s one shot of Krystal when Arie says that all the ladytestants get to go to a cocktail party and you can see the exact moment when her eyes go dark and the connections in her brain snap like so many rubber bands. This will not stand. This causes Krystal to lose her damn mind. She can’t believe that Arie would go back on his word like this. They all head back to the hotel to change for the cocktail party and Krystal just storms around in her bra, while all the women say in their in-the-moment interviews that Krystal was ranting and raving that Arie was a liar. All the other ladytestants are ready to go when Krystal emerges from her room in a bathrobe. Every great diva has an iconic moment in a bathrobe and, by God, this is Krystal’s Divas Live.
She’s going to be performing all the hits: “My Stuff Is Packed” and “He Was Disrespectful” and “I’m Not (Going Downstairs).”
Everyone just wants this bitch to go home and that’s a fantastic sign of a reality villain. ABC doesn’t give a single solitary fuck because they showed her in a promo for the next episode in the middle of this episode. I, for one, welcome our new overlord.
Arie sits down at the cocktail party for the group date and says, “We’re all here,” and the ladytestants have to tell him that they’re not. I hope someone told Krystal that Arie didn’t know she was missing. Arie heads down to Krystal’s hotel room to see her and comfort her. She’s still in her bathrobe. I hope she wears that thing to the rose ceremony. Krystal tries to explain that Arie’s changing his mind is the biggest sin he could have committed. Krystal is also making the classic villain mistake in thinking that the lead has to impress her. That’s not how this works, dear. The best part of this interaction is when Arie tries to comfort her by saying, “It’s just bowling,” and Krystal goes, “You know it’s not.” It’s never just bowling, Arie.
Arie heads back up to the cocktail party and while he’s spending some time with the other ladies, Krystal puts on her eye makeup and puts on a strapless dress because she cannot be stopped. She leaves before Arie manages to see her. It’s not about him. It’s about intimidation.
Lauren B. gets the group date rose.
Tia gets the second one-on-one date and they go on a country-themed date. So far, Tia’s personality is “from the South” and “has been frogging once.” They get on a fan boat and taunt some alligators. They also hang out at some old Everglades man’s house. Again, this is a moment where my black ass would have been out of there. They head to a nautical-themed antique store with no functional kitchen and have dinner. Tia tells Arie that she’s falling in love with him. She gets the rose.
It’s time for the rose ceremony and Krystal is ready to tell everyone that she’s been having a hard week and expects them all to deal with that. First example of White Lady Emotional Manipulation: Expect everyone to do your emotional labor. She offers to take everyone aside one by one and explain herself. Second example of WLEM: Isolate the people you’re harming. She ignores everyone else’s pain by focusing on her pain. Third example of WLEM: Center yourself in every conflict. And she deflects any criticism by saying that she was hurt. Fourth example of WLEM: Weaponize your emotions to silence critics. This bitch is good.
When she sits down with Arie, she says her reaction was because her mom worked in a bowling alley. I just. Y’all. I’m done. Everything has been taken from me and I’ve got nothing left.
Bekah, Seinne, Kendall, Becca K., Jacqueline, Jenna, and Krystal get roses. Imagine being Maquel and returning just to get cut. You could have told her not to come back after her grandfather’s funeral. She could be on vacation right now.
Krystal unhinges her jaw and eats her rose.