I’m angry that I have to spend the bulk of this review talking about The Bachelorette’s resident racist, Lee. I would have much rather spent this review trying to figure out why Alex wore that God-awful purple zebra-print blazer last night. But as I said in my last review, after Lee’s actions this week, it is worth reiterating: this man should have never been a contestant. He is a hazard to Rachel and to the men of color in the house.
The episode begins with Lee interrupting a conversation between Rachel and Kenny before the rose ceremony. Kenny asks to have one more minute with Rachel while Lee hovers near them, counting the seconds on his fingers. Inevitably, this leads to an argument between Lee and Kenny. What starts as Kenny trying to respectfully explain to Lee why he was bothered by his actions ends with Lee laughing in Kenny’s face. Lee openly admits during his time in the confessional that he gets off on aggravating other guys. As my new favorite Dean pointed out, Lee especially likes to start problems with people of color – “The longer Lee sticks around, the more aware everyone will become of his intolerance.”
As Lee and Kenny argue in the background, Rachel begins to cry in the confessional. She acknowledges that, as a Black woman – let alone the first Black Bachelorette – she is under an immense amount of pressure. Rachel’s confession is powerful, albeit confused. Rachel does not say what specifically is the cause of her tears, just stating that she knows people will judge her no matter what she does. I’m assuming this scene was poorly edited, because Rachel’s tears only made her actions during the rose ceremony all the more confusing. Rachel sends Diggy, Bryce, and Brady with the Perfect Nose home.
Somehow, Lee and his stupid hair are still here.
Rachel and the guys travel to Hilton Head Island “to get away from it all,” in one of the most blatant cases of product placement I’ve ever seen. The guys continually bring up in a totally natural and definitely not forced (!!!) way how Hilton Head makes the perfect romantic getaway. Cool.
Anyway, Dean is awarded the solo date. He and Rachel go on a “picnic,” which is really just a sweet way of saying that they sit on the hood of a truck drinking champagne. Then a blimp shows up! And Rachel and Dean are going to ride in it! Apparently, Rachel was very into blimps as a kid, so my girl is pumped about this part of the date. Poor Dean, on the other hand, is afraid of heights. Dean is a good sport, though, and he and Rachel take turns assisting the pilot.
When their blimp ride is over, Rachel and Dean head to a Romantic DinnerTM. Dean opens up to Rachel about his mother’s death, admitting that she is the first person he’s every talked about it with. Dean tears up and women’s panties hit the floor all over America. This was definitely the show’s most emotionally impactful moment thus far and practically guarantees Dean a spot among the final three.
Back at the house, the guys try to invent reasons why Dean and Rachel could never work out. 37-year-old Bryan the Sexy Chiropractor claims that there is too much of an age gap between Rachel (32) and Dean (25) for things to ever work out. Though Bryan cites Dean’s immaturity (which he has yet to display…) as the cause for his rationale, this argument still has a twinge of sexism in it. Bryan doesn’t seem worried about the five-year age gap between he and Rachel, but for some reason, considers the seven-year gap between Rachel and Dean insurmountable. Of course, Rachel and Bryan are both in their thirties and, whatever, I’m nineteen, so what the hell do I know about finding a life partner? But still. This comment reeks of insecurity on Bryan’s part. It is also obviously a reaction to Rachel’s conversation with him before the rose ceremony. Rachel spoke on behalf of all of Bachelor Nation and admitted that she was afraid of how charming Bryan is, saying it seems too good to be true. Of course, it is. Bryan is the Don Juan of the season, speaking only in gushy-gooey compliments. We know absolutely nothing about his background, other than the fact he is Columbian. If he wants to stick around and get Rachel to trust him, Bryan is going to have to follow Dean’s lead and open up about his past.
Time for the group date! And it’s the largest yet with Alex, Anthony (whoever that is), Bryan, Adam, Matt, Kenny, Lee, Iggy, Will, Josiah, Peter, Eric, and Jonathan aboard the boat with Rachel. We’re four episodes in and I have no idea how I’ve made it this long without mentioning the fact that Jonathan looks like a Great White. I find the resemblance genuinely distracting. I would also like to mention that this is the only situation where the idea of a woman being alone on a boat with a hoard of drunk men isn’t absolutely terrifying.
Anyway, the boat leads the group to a Spelling Bee. The men talk about how this is going to be some grand display of their intelligence, as if it’s the GRE or the LSATs or something. Dumbass Lee is predictably nervous about the contest meant to be an indicator of their “intellects.”
Bryan is up first and his word is “squirt.” I died. What a way to start the contest! Also, “squirt” is my favorite word, so this felt like a shoutout. Thankfully, he spells it correctly.
Man, I hope these men were wasted because Eric spelled “façade” as “phsyde”. And Rachel’s one true love Peter spelled “coitus” as “quicui”! What the hell?!
Josiah wins the Spelling Bee with “polyamorous.” He goes onto use his giant trophy as a wine glass, proving that, if I were a contestant on this show, I would be Josiah.
Men who think women are catty gossips have obviously never watched The Bacherlorette. Iggy proves, once again, that he is a bitch and decides to talk shit on Josiah to Rachel in the name of “feeling protective” of her. Sure? This is obviously a thinly veiled way of admitting that he is a control freak who doesn’t think Rachel is capable as a judge of character.
Immediately after talking to Rachel, Iggy goes out to Josiah and admits that he told Rachel he thinks Josiah is being disingenuous – a word the contestants struggled for last night, instead saying “disingenuine” multiple times. Do straight men really admit when they talk about each other behind their backs? Or is this something the producers put in play? Either way, it’s making everyone involved seem foolish.
Lee and his stupid hair opt to back Iggy. He goes onto play on harmful stereotypes about Black men and tells Rachel that Kenny is “aggressive.” We have to wait until next week’s two-night special to find out what happens to Kenny and Lee.
Given that it’s pretty obvious the producers allowed Lee on the show knowing he’s a racist, coupled with the recent allegations of sexual misconduct surrounding Bachelor in Paradise, I think it is important to remember the participants are real people and that that the events that occur in reality TV shows – regardless of whether they are set in motion by producers – have very real ramifications for all involved. I love indulging in mindless television, but there is a moral discussion that needs to be had about the lengths producers are willing to go in the name of creating “good television.” This is especially unfair to Rachel, who has had her time wasted by a racist and has been denied the same treatment of every Bachelorette before her.