overnights

The Bachelor Recap: Free-falling

The Bachelor

Week 8
Season 23 Episode 8
Editor’s Rating *****

The Bachelor

Week 8
Season 23 Episode 8
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: ABC

As Colton takes another long and decadent shower with no soap, I find myself thinking about a quote I read in Oprah magazine once. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this quote before, but I think of it all the time because when I read it, it hit me with a force that was so powerful that it made me gasp aloud at the hairdresser’s. My soul was shaken with such a force that it made the hairdryer helmet rattle. It was a quote about relationships and it said, “We choose people who are not worthy because we don’t want a permanent witness to our flaws.” BITCH. That quote ruined me. I have followed my hairdresser to two salons since reading that goddamn quote, it’s stayed with me that long.

Colton reminds me of that quote because that’s clearly what he’s doing here. Over and over, he’s sent someone home after they’ve expressed sincere feelings for him. You can argue that Hannah B.’s eyes turned black like a shark’s when she said she was falling for him, but I don’t doubt that she really felt something deep in her soul for him. Demi attempted adult communication and put on her best lip gloss to tell Colton how she felt. What did he do? Sent both of them home.

Colton certainly isn’t obligated to return the feelings of every woman who says she’s falling in love with him, but for a man who claims his biggest fear is picking someone who isn’t ready for marriage or doesn’t love him, his rose choices are questionable. He’s self-sabotaging. If you believe the logic of The Quote, he’s picking people who aren’t worthy of him or people who are unstable, so when they leave, he can say it was their fault. They left because that’s what they do, that’s the kind of people they are. Instead of maybe having to deal with the fact that there’s something going on with him that causes relationships to fail. Or even worse, someone sticks around, they’ll see his flaws, day in and day out, and then what? He has to grow? He has to become a fully-realized person? He needs to get highlights and read an Oprah magazine and teach himself about himself.

All this to say: that must be why Colton continues to pick Cassie. Let’s get to it.

Beyond Cassie and Caelynn’s bizarre whispers to each other, was there anything interesting happening on these hometown visits? I mean, besides Hannah G. attempting to rap.

Okay, you got me. Let’s start there. That was the beige cardigan of rap. That was the unseasoned chicken of rap. That was the plain La Croix of rap. There’s never been a black person in that house. Hannah G.’s family said, “Oh, she hasn’t rapped for you yet,” as if that was something to be proud of. Hannah G. also said, “I’ve been rapping for years.” Imagine doing something for years and still being that shitty at it. Then her dad, who probably thought Green Book deserved the Academy Award for Best Picture, decided he should beatbox. When it was all over, he held up his water glass, crossed his arms like he’s seen those hippity-hoppers do, and said “WORD.” What word? Fiduciary? Hannah G. made Sugar Hill Gang look like Wu-Tang Clan.

The first hometown visit is Caelynn. This stone-cold bitch. This woman’s heart is made of ice and I wish I could see her. She needs to be middle Elsa who has made the snow gown but doesn’t feel bad about it yet. She’s showing off Fredericksburg, Virginia. It’s a city with some vague Revolutionary War connections, but the best Caelynn can do is have them ride around in a horse-drawn carriage. The most interesting thing she can show off is where her mom used to draw people’s blood. They sit quietly in a wood and talk about Caelynn’s family. She goes to great lengths to explain what a stepfather is. Yeah, man. We get it.

Caelynn’s parents manage to gather like 20 of their closest friends and family and set up more than one deep fryer in the backyard. John, Caelynn’s stepdad, watches Colton feed Caelynn a bit of a fried Oreo. He’s seething.
Caelynn sits down with her sister, who is wearing a sweater, to talk about everything that Caelynn has gone through and how everyone in their family is protective of her. John is very skeptical of Colton and Caelynn’s relationship and Caelynn doesn’t reassure him by talking about her bond with Colton, but she talks almost exclusively about how John was an amazing stepdad. I don’t know if this was a deliberate strategy, but I’ll be damned, it works. Does your dad not like your new boyfriend? Make him cry. Next thing you know, John is giving Colton his permission to propose to Caelynn.

Let’s talk about this shit, too. Clearly, Colton is someone who subscribes to rigid and stupid gender roles. He takes a lot of time to ask almost every father for their “permission” for their daughter’s “hand” in marriage (is he scared of Tayshia’s dad or did she warn him not to do some dumb shit like say “permission for your daughter’s hand?”) Colton, most of these women are under 25. They need their father’s permission to rent a car. What’s really frustrating is that Colton has already defended his 16th-century approach to marriage on Twitter by saying its his values and beliefs. So what, bitch? Women are no longer something to be traded from father to husband. Just because something is in your values doesn’t mean it’s appropriate or reasonable. It’s 2019. You should be asking the women I’m in a group chat with about your ass and my Pinterest board for permission. And if you mean “blessing” or just “a heads up,” just say that. Words mean things.

Caelynn ends their time together by showing him baby videos and telling him that she’s fully in love with him.

Up next is Hannah G. in Birmingham, Alabama. She says that Colton has to learn to be a Southern Gentleman™ in order to impress her parents. We don’t have enough time to talk about how the whole concept of Southern gentility was created and enabled by a system of human chattel slavery, BECAUSE WHAT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT is the etiquette teacher telling Colton he has a confident gait. Like he’s a proud horse.

After teaching him how to eat bread, she explains a metaphor that I’m sure is rooted in some patriarchal Christian folktale about the woman’s parents handing her future husband the umbrella that protects her. To tell him this, she also explains what an umbrella is. Do people not think Colton knows what stuff is?

Hannah G. and Colton head off to her parents’ house and Hannah G.’s mom is intense for literally 30 seconds. She’s easily convinced after Hannah says that Colton makes her feel safe. She says that Hannah left as a mama’s girl and returned as a woman in love. Cool. Hannah tells him that he’s falling in love with him and Colton tells her that he’s falling in love with her too. These two blonde pine cones deserve each other.

Up next is Tayshia. Tayshia and Colton are locked in a game of emotional chicken with each date being more intimidating and thrill-seeking than the last. She starts the day by blindfolding him, throwing him into a car she can’t drive, and banging his head against the windows. Colton starts screaming about how she’s violating their sacred trust built over six weeks. They’re going skydiving. Colton says, “If I survive this fall, I still have to lose my virginity.” I think that’s the tagline for the new National Lampoon’s Air Force Bone.

This interaction with Colton and Tayshia’s dad is actually how these “permission” conversations should go. Colton sits down with her dad and asks for his “blessing” and her dad is like, “Who is this Caucasian man in my home,” goes over to Tayshia, asks how she feels about the situation, then sits down with the both of them and gives his blessing. Tayshia’s dad also tells Colton not to use the word “love” around him because that’s creating a web. This man is cryptic as hell. Colton and Tayshia have already said they’re falling for each other so it’s on to Huntington Beach, California, the spawning place for girls named Cassie.

Cassie is waiting on the beach in a bikini for Colton because of course she is. She teaches Colton to surf. Colton says it’s the relationship with the strongest attraction and she’s the perfect balance of sexy and cute. Colton asks her where she’s at in their relationship and she sits in silence for 15 seconds and says, “I don’t know.” She knows that he’s falling in love with her but she won’t say it unless she really means it. Fortunately for her, Colton doesn’t really give a fuck and will continue to choose her for no good reason.

Cassie’s home is filled with no fewer than six women with the exact same face and Cosmo-Tai blowouts from Drybar. Cassie’s dad is very hard to impress and his initial assessment of Colton is that he’s a guy. Colton spends the entire time at Cassie’s house with both of his hands wrapped around one of her body parts. I’m surprised the camera never cuts to him with his hand down her jumpsuit. Everyone in her family is like, “They have chemistry.” Cassie’s sister tells her that there are hundreds of guys out there so maybe she shouldn’t settle for less. Her father compares marrying Colton to buying a car. They are NOT FEELING this dude, so much so that Colton asks for her dad’s permission and he goes, “That would be premature. Does that answer your question?” It also seems that Cassie isn’t feeling Colton when he asks her how she’s feeling and she says, “I don’t want it to be over,” instead of saying, “I’m falling for you” so Colton can say it back. Colton is AGGRESSIVELY BUMMED.

Let’s get this week over with and get to the fence-jump. It’s time for the rose ceremony in L.A. Cassie is wearing an outfit that can be only described as 2002. Caelynn doesn’t get a rose. She says, “This is some bullshit” to Cassie when they’re the final two left and whispers to Cassie, “Get engaged,” once Cassie gets a rose. A warning? An omen? A strategic move so Cassie is unavailable to be the next Bachelorette? Caelynn cries in Colton’s arms and says she’s been blindsided. She says she doesn’t know what’s next but she hopes it’s a call from Chris Harrison to be the Bachelorette.

Next week is the Fantasy Suites and Colton immediately takes Chris Harrison aside to ask him how they work again. See you next Monday AND Tuesday for the fence-jump and Women Tell All!

The Bachelor Recap: Free-falling