When we pick back up on The Bachelorette, DeMario is having the nerve to show his face at the Bachelorette mansion. But unlike her response to him last week, Rachel appears to be all ears, batting her flawless false lashes, looking gorgeous in a fur coat and teardrop-shaped chandelier earrings, as low-down, dirty DeMario pleads his case.
DeMario grovels for her trust back, saying, “I can't let you go.”
I’m physically nervous for her because if she lets him back in, this shows every dude in this house that she doesn't stand for anything. All the men are watching to see what her response is going to be. DeMario waxes on with some basic, Instagram-inspired inspirational quote, “Before you experience joy you experience pain.”
Much to my relief, Rachel still isn't having it. She explains her need for “a man who owns his mistakes,” and who is not a liar. I'm LIVING. Screeching like I did last week, I'm so proud when she lets him know that he was out there looking like a damn fool when he pretended not to know the woman who exposed him was his girlfriend.
She continues this dragging by saying that the guy in the gym yesterday was a boy, and she is looking for man. She even throws that stale fortune cookie back in his face, “The joy and the pain. I hope it gives you joy somewhere else.”
She basically told him to go “to the left.” Like a muffuckin boss.
So after Rachel completely snatched my wig, we realize that it is already episode three, and Blake E. is still bugging out over Whaboom. Both of them need to go. I think it’s pretty condescending that Blake doesn't have enough faith in Rachel’s judgment to get rid of this bozo, so that in itself is cause for concern. Then Whaboom cracks a homophobic joke about Blake hovering over his bed eating a banana. He clearly said, “None of this happened,” after Rachel asks if he is being facetious, but I’m not sure why Rachel didn't acknowledge that.
She confronts Blake E., but all he does is whine about Lucas’ motives. Like, I get being salty about it — and literally everyone hates Whaboom’s guts — but Blake needs to chill out.
Because we were left with a cliffhanger last episode, the schedule is shaken up, and there’s a rose ceremony at the beginning of this episode. Thanks be to God, Rachel decides to send both of their raggedy asses home. I’ve been so over their little feud. Pro tip: No woman wants to hear you gossiping about another man behind his back.
A verbal scuffle ensues during both of their exit interviews. For a minute, I really think Blake E. is going to use his fist to whaboom Whaboom right in his stupid face. Sadly, they are both all bark and no bite, and get sent home with their tails between their legs.
On To: Group Date Time!
Ellen Degeneres shows up — which is always a good time — and the boys have a “Magic Mike” moment, ripping off their shirts to thrust and gyrate in and out of the audience. This scene is the validation I have been waiting for to prove to my naysayers that Alex is “Daddy.”
He’s like the the biological love child of Joe Manganiello and Gaston. All beefcake.
I eventually regain consciousness in the wake of the striptease, when a game of “Never Have I Ever” takes place with Ellen as the host. There’s a question teetering on fetishizing about whether the men have thought about having sex with Rachel. Obviously she's gorgeous, but two of the men deny having thought about it. The game also revealed that Frederick has a taste for older women, and Alex has peed in the pool.
I appreciate Alex’s honesty, and I’m also very interested in those “classy nudes” he mentions when Ellen asks if any of the bachelors had ever sent nude pics.
After Ellen, there are more dates. Since I am not a longtime Bachelorette viewer, I’ll admit that I’m unsure about the show’s dating process, but from the outside looking in, I can't tell if I feel liberated or suspicious of the way that Rachel’s makeouts are being portrayed. Up until this point, there have been subtle pecks and the occasional French kiss. But on this episode, we see a montage of Rachel making out with several randoms, back-to-back-to-back. She all but straddles a few of the contestants, and I am here for it. However, I am curious if all of the Bachelorettes are given such agency for their sexuality on screen.
Following these kisses, we see the men telling each other about them. Everyone has had their moment except for Freddy. Side note: the kiss with Alex had ZERO sparks.
Fred Does Not Escape Boy-Not-Man Purgatory
Fred says he's been waiting to kiss her for twenty years. Poor Fred. But then Fred asks to kiss her, and there’s some awkwardness. And Fred was so excited. Combined with the dramatic music, my heart melts as Freddy appears so excited about their kiss, and we both think he’s finally going to get a shot at love.
But Rachel’s comments describing Fred as a “bad kid” or a “troubled youth” really bother me. She amplifies the narrative of misbehaving black kids, and poor Fred is never able to shake that perception from Rachel. Inevitably, that’s the root of his demise. It adds insult to injury that she holds up a rose, leading us to think that maybe she’s going to finally see the sweet, grown man the rest of us see.
Next, we see Anthony. They're having a romantic dinner discussing their upbringing. “I didn't grow up wealthy, but I grew up rich in love. I know the impact of having a great father in life,” he says.
I can't help but wonder if ABC is playing into these concepts of respectability. A lighter-complexioned Anthony with a suit and bald head waxes on poetically about his father figure, while wild child Freddy from a wayward home gets sent home.
Dancing under moonlight, Anthony returns triumphantly with a rose.
Tensions are beginning to swirl back at the house, as one of the bachelors announces the group date. Iggy and another Eric begin to bicker, and Iggy walks away. After an eventual limo ride, we pull up to a honkytonk saloon. This bar is filled with thirsty women. One shouts, “Lemme see your junk” and the other shouts, “Lemme see that butt,” while all of the men are suddenly topless and in their skivvies again.
Kenny's Profession Comes Into Play
Then Kenny, who is a professional wrestler, starts talking like a wrestler, barking and speaking in the third person. I would expect nothing less. The only thing that comes as a shocker is that Eric is allegedly not here for the right reasons. Fellow contestants from Nick's season of the Bachelor show up and are pretending to be Rachel’s besties. They are also there to determine where the men that are left stand with her and the other housemates.
Just when we think the sword fights are over with these men and their pissing contests, another conflict between Lee and Eric comes out of left field. Despite all of that, Eric ends up getting a rose for being open and honest with Rachel.
But here come more men worried about what another grown man’s intentions are with the Bachelorette! Things get fuzzy as Iggy approaches Rachel about Eric’s behavior. Then Iggy tells Eric he’s opinionated. Eric is sweet.
Let's face it: Lee is clearly a racist. Let's get that out in the open air. And so far, everyone who is antagonizing Eric isn't Black. I saw the conversation between Eric and Iggy, and it wasn't how Lee described it, as so loud and yelling to the point of startling and waking up the other housemates. But much like other racists, his inherent bias makes Eric appear to be a lot more dangerous and aggressive than he was likely even behaving.
“Don’t make this thing about me. Make this be about Rachel,” Eric pleads. This request came after Rachel had to pull him aside a third time in the episode to tell him that all these different people were talking about him. He lets everyone know to keep his name out of their mouths — and I can't disagree.
They’ve been pushing Eric to the point of no return, agitating him, and now they wanna act surprised when he wants to pop off.
Scenes from next week depict our racist calling a Black guy “aggressive,” and then the scenes from earlier, where ABC is painting Anthony as the cool, calm, collected, respectable Black man begin to make sense. We see him doing what is likely unpaid labor, consoling Lee’s feelings after another Black man has stood up to Lee’s disrespect.
Rachel is kind of a wild card. The scenes are not without her own tears, and there’s a promise from producers that this season's Bachelorette would “talk about race."
But this episode was kind of a snooze. The fact that they’re relying on “To Be Continued” strikes me as lazy, and also feels like they don't have faith that people will tune back in on their own accord.
But I certainly would... and will be there again next week.