AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! WHYYYYY!!!!!! WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO US????!!!!! CAN’T WE HAVE ANYTHING NICE!!!!!!?????!!
Jesse Palmer opening the episode with a moment of silence (for the queen??) and saying a bunch of stuff we’ve all seen on Reddit by now was the most disorienting experience I’ve ever been through, AND I SAW CATS IN THEATERS. Both the musical and the movie. Jesse just starting the episode like “Y’all hear that Tino cheated?” I mean, technically, yes, but you’re supposed to slowly introduce these concepts to me because I SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO BE ON REDDIT OR ACTIVELY READING SPOILERS TO WATCH THE EPISODES. If you hadn’t been spoiled and you were watching live, did you know what on earth Jesse was talking about when his third line was, “Maybe Tino can convince Rachel that his indiscretions were a momentary lapse of judgment. Maybe Erich can explain away those damning text messages a few days before stepping out the limo night one.” Did that mean anything to you?
But whatever. This show will rake Erich over the coals for being in a relationship a couple weeks before he left for the show and being a kinda shitty boyfriend of one month, but it can excuse someone wearing blackface during the Obama administration. But yeah, let’s really dig into this one-month relationship that fell apart. We’re running a little long, so if something gets cut, it’s the pictures of blackface. Now that we cut that segment, we have time in hour three to ask the new Bachelor to play the game show sweeping the nation: Tell These Women Apart! So yeah, all of that is great.
This is all a fucking bummer because we actually have a Bachelorette who managed to get engaged to the guy she likes and they’re still together! To be very clear, I’m not happy for Gabby and Erich. I’m happy for Gabby. I want what’s best for her, and I want her to come in second on Dancing With the Stars to Wayne Brady. That’s the only scenario I will accept. If Erich is the vessel for Gabby’s happiness, then so be it!!
So let’s all watch a trailer for the episode we’re about to watch during the episode that we’re currently watching. Let’s get to it!
What is the best way to divide up this stupid fucking three-hour finale? So much happened, but also, in a way, absolutely nothing happened. Maybe let’s tackle it from worst to best.
Zach is our next Bachelor.
Did I like Zach when he was merely the nephew of America’s Sweetheart, Patrick Warburton? Yeah, I did. Did I like Zach when the only thing I knew about him was that his dad also liked to watch planes? Yeah, I guess I was fine with him. Do I like that Zach is the next Bachelor? No! I do not!
There was a moment when Jesse was trying to say that Zach was ripped and he said, mildly sarcastically, “Y’know, it’s going to be great that the Bachelor doesn’t look like me for once.” Everyone in the audience was completely silent because we had to think for a second … Is Zach Jesse’s son? He looks like him? I mean he really looks like him. Is it weird this has never come up before? That Zach is Jesse Palmer’s young son?
To liven up Zach’s intro segment where he robotically repeated, “I’m looking for my best friend,” they brought out five women whose names all started with B or C. Will the ladytestants only be introduced in alphabetical order from now on? I look forward to meeting Darlene through Zelda sometime in the future. There’s Brooklyn, who did not prepare a bit, Brianna, who is serving up BODY and takes a selfie with Zach, and Bailey, who tells Zach to remember her name by saying, “When you wake up in the morning, on the daily, I’m gonna be thinking of Bailey.” It’s a terrible mnemonic, and she gives him the worst hug I’ve ever seen in my life. These women were not told if they were allowed to hug him or where to walk once their segment was over. Up next is Cat, who has a LOT of confidence. We will determine at a later date if it’s earned or not. And finally, there’s Christina Mandrell, the only ladytestant to get a last name, who brings Zach little shots of Jack Daniels in her boots. When she takes her shot, she coos, “Mmm … tastes like home.” Oh, no. America (the Eastern and Central time zones) get to vote and award Brianna with America’s First Impression Rose. Yeah. Okay. Sure.
Up next from worst to best is Rachel’s story line.
OOF. There’s always been something simmering under the surface with Tino, who has seemed like he wanted to win more than he’s wanted to be with Rachel. If you look back, he was concerned about roses, looking good, and making sure the other guys were getting eliminated in a swift fashion. When it came to people there for the wrong reasons, we should have been looking at Angry Justin Trudeau there.
After Rachel and Tino get engaged and say a bunch of things imbued with dramatic irony, the audience claps for some reason, as if they forget that Jesse told us there are indiscretions involved! Jesse says that they looked so happy with that Neil Lane ring on her finger … What happened?
Okay, here’s the best I can piece it together in the smallest possible number of words. When the season started airing, Rachel was going through it and she needed some space and some time, which makes sense. She quickly found out that it wasn’t super-easy being engaged to Tino, and their relationship hit some rough patches. Then, at some point, Tino started to hint that maybe certain past relationships were reemerging and “things were coming to light.” (My interpretation of that: “I hadn’t told my exes I was going on the show, and my DMs were blowing up.”) Rachel finally got it out of Tino that he had cheated on her and kissed another woman. Once she found out that he had cheated on her, she realized that there was a lot that led up to the cheating and Rachel wanted some answers.
So Rachel dragged Tino to a happy couple visit to get some answers and to give him the opportunity to explain himself. As someone whose boyfriend cheated on her, called her on the phone, and because this was the year 2011, the phone dropped the call and he said, “Did you hear what I said? No? Oh, no. I have to say it again?!?!?” I can relate to exactly what Rachel was going through this entire time. Also, as a woman who gave a guy she was dating an assignment and a deadline to send her an email explaining why he suddenly wanted to change the terms of the relationship, I can safely tell her, “This meeting could have been an email.”
Rachel gets that B-roll of her pacing around the happy-couple-visit house holding her ring. She will be lit on her good side during this argument. THANK YOU. Gabby stops by the house first so we can get a rare moment of these two scheming and plotting. Gabby’s advice is, “Fuck him, kick him in the balls!” I agree!!
Also, before we go any further, let me just say: I have never seen a full episode of Friends because why would I, so I don’t know “We were on a break,” but it seems to be very important to a lot of people and marginally relevant to this episode. Please, feel free to discuss in the comments. I love cultural exchange!
Tino enters silently with his own notebook, and this is the moment I knew we were in for some mess. If a man has attempted to take notes?? He’s wrong. He did it. Whatever they say he did, he did it. Tino shuffles through his li’l notebook like a defendant on Judge Judy and says, “I had to go back to my journal” like he’s presenting Exhibit A. He did that shit, and he knows it! He starts reading a series of out-of-context quotes from Rachel where she kept saying she was in a bad place and didn’t know how the relationship was going to work out. As much as Tino says this isn’t to make Rachel look bad and blame her for his going out with another woman and kissing her, this is exactly what this shit is meant to do. Because this wasn’t a printout of all his texts to this other woman and the triangulation of the cell-phone towers. THAT’S what Rachel wants. She doesn’t want to know that you thought when she said, “I don’t think I want to spend the night with you,” that meant the relationship was over and you were free to hit up other hot singles in your area!
Thankfully Rachel comes alive when she gets the opportunity to shut a man down. She says that she was going through a hard time on her own and she never said she wanted to end the relationship. It seems like there was some argument about “just dating” and not being engaged, and Rachel said, “Well, if we’re just dating, I’m going to take my ring off,” but if you’re dating, you’re still in an exclusive relationship, Tino!!! Tino says he doesn’t want to keep circling on past stuff as he pulls out a ball of red yarn to connect the dots on a bulletin board.
He also says that he kissed the other woman and immediately realized, “Wait! I love Rachel! I want to be with her!” BULLSHIT. That’s never once happened in the history of mankind. No straight man on this Earth has had that thought. I would bet more straight men have thought, “I can never eat at the Irving Park Wingstop! I love the Cicero Wingstop!” while biting into a wing than have realized their commitment to their girlfriends mid-extramarital smooch.
Tino keeps getting up (??) while they’re talking and going into the backyard to talk to his producer and putting his hand over his mic as if no one will be able to hear him. He’s not just a scumbag; he’s also stupid. Tino says that he tried to forgive himself and she should get over something so tiny. He’s not trying to minimize what happened or her feelings; it’s just that what happened was small. I changed my mind. This is very funny. I love Tino’s dumb ass again.
Rachel heads outside at one point to try to pull Tino back inside and he’s on the phone??? WHO THE FUCK IS HE ON THE PHONE WITH??? This is simply the most baffling breakup in Bachelor Nation history, and I never want it to end. Tino keeps saying that he panicked and that’s why he told Rachel, and them at their lowest is better than anyone else at their highest. Anytime Rachel says something to him, it looks like his brain is buffering. Rachel finally gets up and says she’s done. She hands him the ring back.
Once Tino leaves, Rachel stands around and says, “Am I crazy? I actually feel crazy? What just happened?” For everyone watching at home, that was gaslighting.
It’s time for Tino to join Rachel in the hot seat, and oh boy, it doesn’t get better.
I absolutely do not have to do this, but I’ll say it: It seems like Tino just had no idea how to support a long-distance partner who was clearly going through a mental-health crisis. That’s a very, very hard thing to do! Rachel and Tino keep alluding to “other things” that Tino shouldn’t bring up because it would be embarrassing for both of them. It’s VERY possible that was more cheating or cheating-adjacent things from Tino, or maybe Tino demanding some answers from Rachel that she didn’t want to share on live TV. But it could also be whatever the two of them had to do to get back on the same page after whatever issues emerged. It could be therapy, it could have been intense fights, it could have been a period of an open relationship — we don’t know! And if you aren’t equipped to deal with the real issues that can come up in an engagement, you’re gonna freak out and do something stupid. Does this excuse Tino’s behavior? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But could it explain it? Yeah, maybe. Tino kept saying he felt insecure and his ego took over. Maybe that’s what he was trying to say in the absolute worst way possible, but combined with him telling Rachel (over the phone) that he was worried about his reputation and how he looked on the show? Fuck him. He just cared about winning and getting to do whatever he wanted to do without consequences.
When Tino comes out, it’s more of the same bullshit. Rachel will say something and Tino will just say “Rachel” and then hang his mouth open for 10 to 15 seconds while he tries to come up with a sentence that will only get him in a little trouble. He’ll make a claim and Rachel goes, “That’s not true, Ellen.” When Rachel says, “If we weren’t engaged anymore, wouldn’t I have to tell my family it was over? Do you remember doing that? If we broke up, we would have gotten reengaged? Please speak up so the jury can hear your answer,” it was over for the biggest, doofiest boy. He also keeps saying he doesn’t want to panic?? That’s either the mark of a guy who is STRESSED OUT and trying to navigate serious relationship problems for the first time, or what a fuckboi says when HE JUST NEEDS TIME TO THINK TO GIVE YOU AN ANSWER THAT MAKES SENSE. HE CAN ANSWER YOU IF YOU JUST GIVE HIM TIME TO THINK!! FUCK!!!
Suddenly, A WILD AVEN APPEARS. This is incredible. Tino is fucking pissed. Aven looks amazing. He gets a standing ovation. He asks Rachel if she would like to catch up, and she says, “I would love nothing more,” and they run offstage. In the din of the applause, you can hear Tino asking, “Am I good? Am I done?” DELICIOUS!!!!! TEN OUTTA MOTHERFUCKING TEN NO NOTES. I hoped when they cut to them backstage, they would just be hardcore fucking.
So I guess before we go, let’s just give a moment to our girl, Gabby. Again. I do not like Erich, but Gabby is happy and Erich seems to have told her about this ex-girlfriend situation before the news came out on social media, so they’re good. It seems like Gabby was able to achieve a higher level of self-actualization and self-love going through this process, and I’m glad she got what she wanted and who she wanted, even if he has an impossibly weird haircut. Please, Gabby. Make him get a new haircut. Jesse asks three Bachelorettes who are not with the men that proposed to them to give Gabby advice. Great job everyone! We did it!
See you next week for Paradise!! The torment will never end!!!!