The Bachelor Recap: Kiss Off

The Bachelor

Week 5
Season 23 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating 5 stars

The Bachelor

Week 5
Season 23 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating 5 stars
Photo: ABC

It can be hard sometimes to imagine what it would have been like to live in the past. We can do our best to read the words of those who came before us and listen to their stories. There are museums dedicated to putting you in the shoes of people in the past. But I never thought that watching this episode, I would find myself sharing a spiritual link with a Roman emperor watching gladiatorial combat. This is the exact speed at which I like my Bachelor franchise, and it makes me feel powerful. I imagine this is how Commodus felt watching gladiators tear into each other. Watching a ladytestant eat some kind of weird meat for the second week in a row didn’t defeat me. No, it made me grow stronger. I will defiantly raise my thumb to the sky. You shall live another week, Colton. Let’s get to it.

We’re in Thailand, now? So you’re telling me we can skip stopping in Random Midsize U.S. City before heading overseas? My hope for this season is that the fantasy suite dates take place in Brainerd, Minnesota. Everyone is reminding us how romantic and steamy Thailand is and Colton is adding to the relative humidity by taking another outdoor shower. The first date card arrives and it’s for Heather! Maybe she’ll be able to lose her kissing virginity.

Both one-on-one dates this week are boat-based. Colton and Heather head out to a floating city for a classic walk around a market and sip a drink while staring at the horizon. Let’s chat about this whole “I’ve never kissed anyone and I’m 23” thing. Is there some religious sect that teaches that kissing is just the devil traveling in our spit? I don’t care how special and important sex is for you; kissing is not a big deal. No one is sitting around reassuring themselves that their future spouse is saving their lip cherry just for you. Of course, Colton and Heather find a way to spin the fact that she dated a dude for eight months without kissing him as evidence of moral fortitude. I desperately want to hear that dude’s side of the story.

Of course, this one-on-one date is just a setup for Heather to kiss Colton. I did not sign up for these close, lingering shots of Colton’s mouth while he eats noodles with a slippery sauce. They end up on the beach and suddenly there’s fireworks and Colton grabs Heather’s head and kisses her. Is the moment romantic? Yes. Does it look like a good kiss? Not at all. She does not need this moment on national television. It should have happened in Jimmy Kiel’s basement in eighth grade. Heather gets a rose.

It’s time for the arrival of the group date card. The ladytestants call in Elyse from her widow’s walk, where she’s been staring out into the sea wondering when her love will return from the war. Demi, Caelynn, Hannah B., Sydney, Tayshia, Kirpa, Onyeka, Hannah G., Nicole, and Elyse will all be going on the group date. Elyse decides that she cannot suffer another indignity, so that evening, she puts on her finest dressing gown, curls her hair, and heads over to Colton’s hotel suite to tell him … I’m not exactly sure what she tells him. I mean, she breaks up with him. That DEFINITELY happens.

Think about how much of a power move it is to get dressed up in a vaguely bridal gown and then BREAK UP with someone. This is a hot-bitch strategy. If this were the 1900s, she would have put her beloved’s picture in her pocket and walked into the ocean, but she doesn’t and that’s why Elyse is out here revolutionizing the game. She also arrives at Colton’s door and says, “Can I steal you for a minute?” MA’AM.

Elyse wishes she could ask Chris Harrison for all the one-on-one dates for the next year. I would hope a year from now, Chris Harrison still isn’t dictating your date nights. She says that they have a great connection, they’re attracted to each other, but she can’t stay. She hates competing with other women, but it’s not about jealousy and insecurity. Umm … sure. Her entire argument comes down to, “I couldn’t accept a proposal if I knew I had only had a few moments with you leading up to it.” Elyse, that’s the whole premise of the show. Also, once she actually leaves his hotel room, she immediately regrets her decision and calls herself stupid. She flew too close to the sun.

It’s group date time! Ugh. Another strange date in a foreign country where the women end up eating bugs. The most preposterous part is when Colton attempts to pass off a guy they hired for the episode to be their guide as his friend. The actual date part is a big ol’ nothing, with Demi, Hannah B., and Hannah G. bringing back burgers from a hotel near the jungle.

In the evening portion of the date, Onyeka confers with Demi, practiced strategist, that the best plan of action is to confront Colton about Nicole’s “behavior.” I mean, Demi confronted Colton and Courtney went home. In 100 percent of their experiments so far, this tactic has worked. Onyeka wants to tell Colton that Elyse told her that Nicole told Elyse that Nicole is only on The Bachelor to get out of Miami. Onyeka insists that it’s not a rumor because Elyse told her. Anyone who watches Judge Judy knows she doesn’t want to know what someone told you.

Also on this group-date cocktail party, Hannah B. tells Colton that she’s falling in love with him. She has eaten a fish eye and a worm for this man. This bitch is crazy and she has now been given the skills to survive in the elements outside Colton’s house. She ain’t going anywhere.

Meanwhile, the ladytestants are sitting around while Nicole and Onyeka go back and forth when Tayshia just says, “Nicole didn’t say that. I was there for that conversation and she didn’t say that.” Onyeka has not calculated more than one step ahead in this brilliant plan. Tayshia takes Nicole aside to calm her down and Onyeka starts the next level of her spin: “Elyse told me that deep down, that’s how she thought Nicole meant it.” Oh, girl.

Hannah B. gets the group-date rose.

It’s time for Cassie and Colton’s one-on-one date. They get on a boat and ride out to a “private island” (read: a sand dune in the middle of the ocean with no trees). Colton and Cassie make out for three hours in the ocean. Meanwhile, the ladytestants sit at home, freaking out about how Colton acts around Cassie. Everyone can tell they’re just fighting for second place.

When Colton and Cassie head to the evening portion of the date, she decides to open up to him about the biggest struggle in her life: not being a virgin.
I don’t need to hear about the status of each of these women’s hymens. This is beginning to feel like some ancient mating ritual where the women in the village wear variably dirty garments to signify the statuses of their flowers. Cassie somehow believes that her personal life is now going to be a topic of national conversation and her community will find out she’s not a virgin. In what community do your neighbors care if you’re a virgin or not? If you find out that your neighbors are keeping track of who’s a virgin and who isn’t, you need to get them on a watchlist.

We’re just getting hours and hours of footage of women in the year 2019 stressing out about their virginity-statuses and whether or not people will accept them because of them. As much as this show wants to claim that these women are independent and empowered and whatever else, their feelings of self-worth come down to whether or not they’ve fucked. Colton tells Cassie he would never judge her. He doesn’t say that her virginity or lack thereof is her business and her business alone, or tell her that virginity is an abstract concept that was most likely created to better control women as a form of currency. (Colton probably doesn’t tell her all that because he would have to reconcile that a major part of his identity and draw is his own virginity.)

They end up in bed together at Colton’s hotel suite. I really wanted Cassie to stay the night and walk back in while all the other ladytestants were eating breakfast. She gets the one-on-one-date rose.

It’s time for the cocktail party and there’s nothing happening aside from the feud between Onyeka and Nicole. Nicole tells Colton that Onyeka has been bullying her and belittling her. Onyeka has been going around telling everyone that Nicole is unstable. From what it looks like, Nicole is just an easy crier, and I can relate. I will cry at any movie or TV show with a wedding or a baby and I will burst into tears during any conversation that is even remotely emotional. Colton says he can’t have a bully in the house and it makes him sick.

He takes Onyeka aside and tells her that Nicole has made these accusations about her. Onyeka’s first reaction is to roll her eyes and go, “She’s a LIAR.” No, bitch. You’re the liar. That’s exactly how an actual bully would react when confronted. Whoever edited this episode should win an Emmy, because this is perfectly paired with a confessional interview in which Onyeka is blatantly contradicting herself.

“I would never call someone mentally unstable.” (“She’s literally a psycho.”)
“I don’t want to come into this talking about Nicole.” (“I can say things to tear you down.”)

Onyeka goes off to find Nicole and sits down with her, going, “Name one time I called you mentally unstable. LIES. YOU LIED TO HIM.” I never noticed this before, but Onyeka has the eyebrows of a girl who would have created a Burn Book in middle school. Nicole and Onyeka start talking over each other while Colton is talking to Katie. When their voices become noticeable, you can see the moment his last remaining care about this situation is sucked out of his body as if by a Dementor. He sits down with them and he looks like a field hockey coach trying to break up an argument at state finals. It doesn’t work.

Colton storms off and Onyeka and Nicole both try to calm him down. Colton looks for a fence to jump but there isn’t one.


The Bachelor Recap: Kiss Off