This week’s episode opened with Rachel discussing her fear of vulnerability while playing with a dog, so I knew right from the jump that one of our contestants was not being “sincere,” as our host Chris Harrison puts it.
Speaking of Chris Harrison, I don’t know how I made it through last week’s review without mentioning how awful he is. He’s incredibly smarmy, and I don’t trust him to guide me and the rest of Bachelor Nation through Rachel’s journey!
As I mentioned in last week’s article, this is my first time watching The Bachelorette, so I’m still trying to get up to speed – is every episode 2 this crazy? Because so much – too much, I’d argue – happened last night.
The first portion of the episode follows one group of contestants in the season’s first competition, judged by Jackie and Kelso! The contestants race to complete various domestic duties, like vacuuming, clearing out a drain, changing diapers, and setting a table. First one to complete the challenge wins the honor of being “husband material.” Since apparently, all that’s required to be named ‘husband material’ is the ability to perform basic household tasks that any functioning adult human should know how to do.
I was relieved to find out that Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher watch this flaming vat of garbage, too. I fell in love with Kutcher a couple months ago, after I saw his impassioned speech to the Senate about sex trafficking, so it’s nice to know that someone who is doing such important work also likes to indulge in guilty pleasure TV. In the confessional, Kutcher admits that he doesn’t think that Rachel’s man is in this first group of guys, and he is correct, since neither Josiah or Peter are in the mix. Also, many thanks to Mila Kunis for mentioning that the season takes place over the course of six weeks. I was curious about how long ABC think it’s acceptable to cut people off from contact with the outside world.
After shoving Kenny, the pro wrestler, and running around wailing, “Get out of here, you son of a bitch,” Whaboom beat out Kenny and won the first challenge. Whaboom is the first of the guys to get one-on-one time with Rachel. He reads her a poem he wrote about her and tells her she inspired him to win the challenge – “All I was thinking was I gotta get to the finish line…because Rachel’s at the end of it.” This might’ve been romantic coming from one of the other guys, but coming from Whaboom just seems creepy. He’s like the adult version of that weird kid in your fourth-grade class who would randomly recite facts about dinosaurs and launch paper planes at the girls he liked.
Unlike Blake E., I was not surprised that Whaboom won the first challenge! Doesn’t he know that the producers need a screaming banshee to keep things interesting? If Whaboom weren’t winning challenges, there would be absolutely no reason Rachel would ever believably consider being with him. He isn’t great looking and all he does is yell. “This shit with Lucas ends tonight. The bridge is burning, but isn’t burning fast enough,” Blake E. declares. Not only does this statement barely make sense, but this is episode 2! How could there already be this much animosity between Blake and Whaboom? Blake E. goes on to waste his one-on-one time with Rachel and all of his confessional time during the episode bitching about how Whaboom is fame-obsessed and only concerned with “furthering his whaboom.” Is ‘whaboom’ The Bachelorette equivalent of Philadelphia’s catch-all ‘jawn?’ It’s worth considering. Blake E. also tells Rachel that Whaboom wears makeup “that he brought himself, so he could look good on TV” and is maybe living with an ex-girlfriend? I didn’t really understand what happened here, but there was definitely something about an ex-girlfriend!
When Blake E. gets out of his one-on-one with Rachel, he admits to Whaboom that he told her he thinks Whaboom’s only here to get famous, which inevitably starts drama between the two of them and leads to some of the episode’s best quotes. “I’m sorry you don’t have a whaboom,” Whaboom tells Blake E., before he ends the argument with “You’re dismissed.” I would be lying if I said I weren’t a little pro-Whaboom after seeing him own the hell out of Blake E.
Dean had the most successful one-on-one out of the first group of contestants. Dean made no impression on me last week, but in last night’s episode, he was super handsome and incredibly charming. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made it to the top five. I was swooning when he admitted he was nervous about initiating a kiss with Rachel because he didn’t want to disrespect her! His charm earns him the group date rose and Rachel’s first kiss of the episode. For the record: Dean looks like an amazing kisser.
The next day, Rachel and Peter go on the first solo date to Bark Fest with Rachel’s dog, Copper. If every episode of this show is this filled with so many gorgeous men and cute puppies, I can totally understand why it’s now in its thirteenth season. Peter nailed his first date with Rachel by being hot and paying lots of attention to her dog. My knees went weak when he remarked, “I think I’ll be a good dad to Copper,” in the confessional. After the doggie festival, Rachel and Peter have dinner. Rachel arrives in this fantastic gray, lace dress, so I know she’s as enamored with Peter as I am. They discuss their gap teeth and how they both went to therapy after having their hearts broken. The date closes with a kiss, prompting Rachel to admit, “I am such a smitten kitten over Peter.” How could she not be? I’m going soft. The Bachelorette is making a romantic out of me.
I thought the episode’s primary conflict was relegated to the beef between Blake E. and Whaboom, but boy was I wrong! The real drama comes when Rachel finds out that DeMario is still involved with a woman back home named Lexie, thus proving that, no, not all of the contestants are as sincere as Chris Harrison hoped at the beginning of the episode. I didn’t think too much about DeMario until he passed a comment in the episode about how he and Rachel are going to live in a house that looks like The Bachelorette mansion once they’re married. I don’t know why that would be anyone’s ideal situation, since the mansion appears to be made of Styrofoam, but to each his own.
The revelation about DeMario and Lexie comes after the boys compete in a basketball game. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar showed up and laid out why basketball is romantic and relevant to The Bachelorette –it allows you to see how someone works as an individual and how they work with others. Aw. Thanks, Mr. Abdul-Jabbar, I finally understand the appeal of sports now. Abdul-Jabbar also gave Rachel some sage advice about finding love; making me wish I could call him up the next time I have boy trouble. His appearance on last night’s episode is noteworthy since he critiqued The Bachelor franchise for its treatment of their Black contestants in an essay for the Hollywood Reporter earlier this year. Apparently, he agreed to appear on the show because he admired Rachel’s maturity during her time on The Bachelor, and felt that a sports competition would help her assess the contestants’ characters.
And it certainly did! DeMario is exposed as a liar after Lexie tells Rachel that DeMario randomly began ignoring her and she had no idea where he was until, “I turned on my TV and he was on it,” referring to DeMario’s spot on After the Final Rose. Naturally, Rachel is upset and confused by what Lexie tells her and decides that the two of them should confront DeMario. “Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it, DeMario?” Lexie says, as Demario walks out. Immediately, he attempts to act like he doesn’t know who Lexie is, before admitting that the two of them have had “sexual intercourse.” What exactly happened between DeMario and Lexie is left unclear, but it was enough for Rachel to tell DeMario that he needs to leave the show. This scene is immediately followed by footage of Rachel and DeMario separately walking around, shaking their heads at the camera, while lamenting how crazy what just happened was. This montage is laughably long. Rachel goes on to tearfully address the rest of the guys, pleading with them to leave if they are not being honest with her.
This scene genuinely made me feel bad for Rachel. I always thought the women on these shows were completely deluded, but I think Rachel might actually be here to find love and it sucks that some of the contestants are trying to take advantage of that.
The episode ends with Rachel meeting with each of the guys individually before the rose ceremony. Rachel and Eric discuss their “love languages”; Rachel says hers is quality time and physical touch. Me, too, probably. I don’t really know what the love languages are, but I feel like it’s got something to do with a book I’ve seen wine moms on the brink of divorce pick up at my neighborhood Target.
Sexy Chiropractor Bryan, who was noticeably absent for the majority of the episode, makes a splash by greeting Rachel with a kiss. He winds up giving her a massage, in hopes of making her forget all about DeMario. The boy’s got moves. But just when it looks like Rachel is starting to feel better after her emotional ordeal, DeMario shows up at the mansion gates asking to speak with Rachel!
For those of you counting at home, Rachel has kissed six of the guys by the end of this episode. I don’t really have any predictions for next week’s rose ceremony, but I will say that I don’t think DeMario will be going home just yet. I don’t see why the producers would allow him to come back to the mansion if he wasn’t going to stay at the mansion. I hope I’m wrong, though. Rachel deserves more than whatever BS DeMario is pedaling.
Until next week, Bachelor Nation!