What’s … what’s happening here? Like, I know that we are in episode four of a Bachelorette season where you get the first trip and a flameout of a villain. That’s where everything is happening, but what is happening? Am I the only one that feels wholly unmoored from this season and its typical Bachelorette tropes? We’re veering wildly between the institutional destruction of a nice pilot lady from Florida and men so attracted to a woman who has stolen Elizabeth Hurley’s ’90s wardrobe that they are willing to commit subterfuge to get close to her. Maybe this section of the season happening on a ship is fitting because there’s absolutely no stable ground beneath us.
What’s so INFURIATING about watching the show cut between Rachel bawling her eyes out on a couch in the Loose Cannon Social Club and men losing their minds over Gabby is it didn’t have to be this way!! We wouldn’t be in this position if they split men into teams right off the bat. By insisting to the men that it’s up to them to see whom they vibe with as much as the TWO BACHELORETTES, we’ve ended up in a bad situation where (some) of the men feel as if they’re there doing the women a favor instead of living in fear of being eliminated. Men should feel like they are allowed to exist at the generosity and benefaction of women instead of whatever the fuck this is.
I did not sign up to watch Logan, of all people, sit around in darkened bars with Jesse Palmer talking about how he just needs to tell Gabby that he has more chemistry with her. Have you considered that Gabby, at this point, might not be into you and has put you in that section of her brain that all good girlfriends have labeled “BEST FRIEND’S BOYFRIEND — DO NOT BANG”?? Because the last thing any good girlfriend wants to do is bang their friend’s crush. Dick is plentiful enough that you do not need to resort to stealing someone else’s resources. I imagine Logan will find this out soon enough, but I digress!!
Umm … Jesse Palmer speaks pretty good French???? (Full disclosure: The author of this recap was a French major and lived in France for a year in college and achieved something resembling French fluency. Do not ask her to speak or write in French unless it’s ordering viennoiserie.) Jesse did not appear to have learned his lines phonetically, and they had some complex sentence structures that I was so stunned that I didn’t write down everything he said despite being a French speaker myself. (Full disclosure: It’s crucial for her self-image that she can still “speak French,” but don’t ask her to do anything. It gets embarrassing for her really quickly. Please. Let’s just collectively let it go.)
The week opens with Hayden forgetting that his every utterance is filmed and those aren’t decorative sconces. Those are cameras, my dude. He’s going around saying things like, “That bitch can call herself ‘rough around the edges,’ but when I do it, it’s a problem? What the fuck?” YES! When you say things like that about yourself, it’s self-deprecation or self-reflection, but when you say it about someone else, you’re just being a dick. Also, anything a woman says right before crying about how she doesn’t know if she deserves love should be off-limits in your breakup speech. Meatball has become the Varys of the house, and he’s keeping track of everything Hayden has been saying: The Bachelorettes were overreacting, Hayden can’t trust those bitches, he’s comparing Rachel to his ex and his ex’s boobs. But before Meatball and his little birds can carry out his plan against Hayden, Jesse comes in to announce they’re going to FRANCE! NO OTHER DETAILS ARE NECESSARY! JUST THE WHOLE COUNTRY!
There are two amazing one-on-one dates in Paris a few days before everyone will be confined to a cruise ship and undoubtedly contract some sort of stomach virus, and those dates will be for Tino Ofrachel and Jason Ofgabby! My next note was just, “UGH, PARIS!!”
This is what we need! Rachel and Gabby strolling around the City of Lights under little umbrellas and giggling. Jason and Tino in cute li’l jackets sitting outside a café. Double-date energy that feels like at any moment it could turn into a foursome. The first Bachelor trips should always be to a European capital known for romance and creamy cheese. Rachel and Gabby are reeling from the last Rose Ceremony, and Rachel keeps going on about how this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to her, and Gabby just sits there nodding, going, “Yeah, rejection hurts.” Everything is riding on this date with Tino, and if it doesn’t go well, Rachel just might throw herself from the towers of Notre Dame. No pressure, Tino!
Rachel and Tino break off from Gabby and Jason to learn how to make a crêpe and when Rachel playfully says she doesn’t like him, he goes, “Well, I’m going to keep working at it, so good luck!” Tino has the absolute right attitude. They make out in a café. Meanwhile, Jason and Gabby are off getting their heads measured for berets, and they also make out in a café! Going into the night portion of the date, Gabby and Rachel meet up with their dates and say, “Let’s go to the bathroom.” They stop at the bar within eyesight of the men and just talk openly about them. Why not just let them head to video village and listen in on Tino and Jason talk about how great their days have been? Rachel and Gabby are also fully aware that some of this might just be the romantic and sexual power that Paris has over people. I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for one of them to pull a Kaitlyn Bristowe and say they didn’t want the night to end.
But it’s time for the evening portion of the dates. Rachel and Tino head to … a church? For dinner? And they have the Rachel Dinner Conversation, where she talks about how hard it is to be a pilot, and men don’t want to date her because they assume she’ll cheat and how they wouldn’t want to take care of the kids. Good Christ. I had no idea there were this many negative associations with pilots of any gender. I thought they were just benign figures who handed out wing pins to children. I thought Pilot Pete was an aberration and not the first thought. Tino says Rachel’s passion for her career lights him up inside, and he would totally take care of the kids for a day while she was gone. The bar for men is below hell. “Yeah, sure, I’d be totally down to make a meal for my children while you’re at your job.” But he talks about how he saw his father make sacrifices to be an engaged parent. They make out, and he says that he’d be willing to go to war for their love. Rachel, just pull a Clare and pick him now. It’s not going to get any better.
Gabby goes into her date with Jason knowing that he’s pretty reserved, so she’d like to see him show any personality or reveal any personal information. He says he grew up comparing himself to others and his friends and never felt good enough. He played tennis but hated the pressure to win, so he stopped playing. He didn’t speak up for himself and took things personally, so he decided to go to therapy. “I believe in and go to therapy” should be a filter on dating apps.
Gabby is interested. She is engaged. She is horny for therapy.
She begins the Gabby Dinner Conversation and talks to Jason about her estrangement from her mother and how she never learned to receive love, and how she worked through it in therapy. Jason asks her, “Have you heard of inner-child work?” and Gabby basically slides off her chair. She tells him about how Hayden called her rough around the edges, and Jason says, “That’s just him projecting his issues onto you.” A man who wants to talk shit about someone else using what he’s learned in therapy?!?!? BRING THE RING OUT NOW! It’s not going to get better than this!! Jason gets the rose, and they make out.
The rest of the contesticles have arrived on the Virgin Cruise Ship, the Luxurious Lady, or whatever the fuck. The show didn’t need to do an ad for the city of Paris, but they absolutely do one for this ship. The men have been separated into two living quarters, and everyone realizes that there are basically two seasons of The Bachelorette happening simultaneously. But before they can reconcile that, it’s time for Gabby’s group date!
Somehow, Gabby’s group date just ends up being another way to humiliate Rachel. These producers are working overtime. Did Rachel break up with one of them in high school or something? What is going on?? The men are learning the French art of boxing or savate, which I think is the same kind of boxing Batroc does in Captain America. That’s all I got. The actual “date” of this date doesn’t add up to much. The men beat the shit out of each other and profess their love to Gabby in some tortured metaphor about “fighting for her love.” Blah blah blah. Rachel brings her guys on a field trip, and no one goes over to talk to her. They just hang out and shadowbox each other. GUYS! What is happening?!? Have you learned nothing from anything? Did production tell them to stay away? Why is Logan trying to make intense eye contact with Gabby while hiding his boner? Spencer gets the belt and a date with Gabby, where they talk about the military. Again, WHO CARES!! Because Rachel decides she’s going to yell at her men for not coming to talk to her. And she should!
She starts by saying, “As you can see, I’m pretty upset.” Power move, incredible. Can they see you’re pretty upset because you just arrived? She reiterates that they’re on a game show, and some of these guys we have barely heard talk on-camera. Ethan, Meatball … I wanna say Jorbin? You should not be resting on your laurels right now. No one has any laurels.
It’s time for Rachel’s group date, and she’s going to try her best to put on a brave face, and the men line up to greet her with a lot of enthusiasm. That, I’m sure, is all genuine.
This date. Y’all. I don’t even wanna talk about it. I just can’t. From opening with two middle-age French people sucking face to smelling armpits, this is not what romance is about. Whatever Ethan is doing is not romance. Meatball’s armpits almost make Rachel gag. Logan writes her a poem despite not being into her at all. Why did everyone’s letters rhyme? No. No. I’m fining the show for making me witness a bunch of grown men kissing their own fists like they’re sixth-graders trying to get their 10,000 hours of making out in before a boy-girl party. The show owes me money. Tyler wins the special after-date dinner because he wrote Rachel a poem last night. I hated every second of this. Moving on.
It’s time for the cocktail party! The men gather in one of the many lounges on the Bad Bitch of the Sea, or whatever this boat is called. Hayden sits down with Rachel to tell him about his dog Rambo and how Rambo has a brain tumor and only a few months to live, but he’s choosing to spend time with Rachel. Listen, I don’t want to discount anyone’s emotions, but … this felt incredibly manufactured, right? I don’t doubt that Hayden has a dog, and his dog is sick, and he loves his dog very much, but ending this information with “I wouldn’t be here if my intentions weren’t to further our relationship” is sus. This feels like a man who made a spreadsheet of all the information in his life and ranked them on how many tears it could illicit from the audience and Rachel. I’m not saying he did that for sure, but I’m not saying he didn’t do that. Because his reaction to Rachel being stolen away by Tino is that Rachel didn’t tell Tino, “Can I have a minute?” Hayden says it will be hard for him to not feel uncomfortable after that. Dude, you’re on The Bachelorette. You just kissed your own fist for Rachel’s amusement. We left “personal discomfort” back in Le Havre.
Meatball unleashes the info about Hayden, saying Rachel has a cute face but, like, okay tits, and Rachel is UPSET. Rachel is at her best when she’s enraged. She’s at her best when she gets to go “HMM” at full volume. She says she trusts Meatball. Okay … and she’s off to find Hayden. When she finally tracks him down, she says, “Do you know why I called you into my office” and he says, “To continue to talk about Rambo.” We’ve said all we can say about Rambo. Hayden isn’t even a fun villain to take down because he just denies he said anything negative or that he’s ever said anything at all. He’s never spoken a word in his life, and the only word he does know how to say is “Rambo.” Rachel tells him she’s had too many roadblocks and he can’t own up to what he’s said, so she’s going to walk him out. THEN HE HAS TO WALK DOWN THE GANGWAY ON THE SHIP!! IS THAT A GANGWAY!? AMAZING!!
He sits on the dock and says he can’t wait to get back to Rambo and he’s looking for someone who loves him the way Rambo does. We better not see his ass in Paradise if his dog is so important.
The rest of the cocktail party is canceled. Right to the Rose Ceremony! Rachel and Gabby are both wearing elaborate fur robes.
Gabby gives her roses to Nate, Erich, Johnny, Micahel, and Mario, and Quincey and some white man I’ve truly never seen before are going home. Rachel gives her roses to Aven, Meatball, Zach, Ethan, and … Logan. I think that’s Jorbin who goes home.
Logan asks, “Should I accept this rose knowing I’m more attracted to Gabby?” Well, he fully does and says he’ll accept a rose if it means he can talk to Gabby next week. He says he feels like the bad guy. Oh, I think this is more than a feeling, Logan.
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