Season 21 of The Bachelor is off and running! Each week, Terri — who has seen every episode of The Bachelor and the spinoffs — and Rachel — who is watching for the first time — will be recapping the latest episode of this epic season. Read the Episode 1 recap here.
Somehow, even though the previous evening's rose ceremony ended at dawn, the contestants look refreshed, rejuvenated, and positively frothing at the mouth at the very idea of Nick. Luckily, the episode holds the promise of two group dates and a one-on-one date. Liz, who never misses the chance to remind us — and maybe herself — that she and Nick boinked nine months ago at Jade and Tanner's wedding, is pinning every last hope on getting that one-on-one date so they can finally have ~a talk~. What a fun, sexy time for all.
As Liz practices her "I'm a chill girl" resting face, Chris Harrison arrives with his first date card. Josephine, wearing a top that is holding onto her shoulders for dear life, gets the honors of telling Corinne, Danielle, Sarah, Vanessa, Rachel, Raven, Danielle L., Taylor, Elizabeth W., Hayley, Brittany, and Alexis that they're going on the first group date of the season. Corinne gloats. Liz seethes.
Group Date #1
The lucky ladies careen down the Pacific Coast Highway in some not-at-all product-placed Buick convertibles to a new, different mansion where they run through the halls like this is a sorority recruitment video. (Then again, is it... not?) Nick greets them in his best short-sleeved button-up shirt, and the games begin.
Nick, seasoned pro that he is, explains the idea of group dates to the women and then says that "there’s nothing more appropriate on a first date than to see what your wedding photos would look like." Right. Sure. The ladies practice their best smizes, just as Tyra Banks intended, and prepare to be dressed as either a bridesmaid or a bride. They are also told that one person will get a "special surprise," aka extra time with Nick, after the photo shoots.
Costa, the photographer for the day, assigns the roles and costumes to all the women, including "shotgun bride" for Alexis, "'80s bride" for Vanessa, and the classic (??) "Adam and Eve bride" for Brittany (who??). Basically, Alexis gets to wear another costume (complete with a pregnant belly), poor Vanessa has to wear a mountain of crinoline and a side ponytail (she still looks great), and Brittany has the dubious distinction of wearing a fig leaf bikini bottom and no top (save for the grace of her own hair, à la Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon).
Costa gets decently fun photos out of everyone, and we're treated to a montage of Alexis shouting expletives at Nick in a southern accent while her legs are wrapped around his neck, Jasmine G. dressed as a bridesmaid and planting one right on Nick, and Nick’s blinding white shorts-tan successfully taking attention away from Brittany's bare chest during the Adam and Eve photo shoot. But Brittany still takes attention away from Corinne, which she won't stand for.
Jealous of the fact that Brittany gets to be topless while she's being forced to wear a full bikini (the horror!!), Corinne takes off her bikini top during her “beach wedding” photo shoot and quite literally places her bare breasts into Nick's bare hands, Janet Jackson-on-Rolling-Stone-style. (Nick, to his credit, makes a decent effort to act as gentlemanly as possible when dealing with this creeper.) The other women are not impressed by this move and quickly devolve into complaints of “That’s not wifey material.” While Corinne is The Worst, these women are out here acting like no man has ever married a woman who fucks on the first date. Team No One.
Despite the women's pearl clutching, and despite the fact that she acted like a brat for the entire day (at one point threatening to punch someone in the face!), the photographer picks Corinne as the "winner" of the photo shoot; her prize is some extra alone time with Nick. There is no justice in this world.
After everyone's gotten a chance to de-bride, Nick and his group daters reunite for an awkward cocktail party. Corinne gets white girl wasted, but maybe she's just drunk in love? She slurs that she's "already falling for Nick." Girl, you look like you haven't even taken a shower since you met him. You need to brush your hair, and then have a seat.
Corinne does neither of those things; instead, she makes herself public enemy number one by interrupting Nick’s time talking to Alexis... and then spends the entire time talking about the fact that she (Corinne) interrupted his time talking to Alexis. Later, she interrupts a meaningful conversation between Taylor and Nick to maul his face and make insipid small talk. Luckily, Taylor the psychology major who graduated in three years and has a fucking masters from Johns Hopkins, SEES RIGHT THROUGH CORINNE’S UNDERMINING TACTICS. She takes a moment to compose herself and vent to the other women, and then goes back and re-interrupts Corinne!!! Corinne responds like anyone self-respecting woman would — by calling herself "classy" and referring to herself strictly in third person. We are then treated to one of the highlights of the night:
In the midst of all of this, the women find out that sweet, soft-spoken Danielle M. is getting the one-on-one date. Liz's poker face is about to crack like a polar ice shelf, leading her to break down and confess her fling with Nick to Christen in a muffled, “secret” poolside conversation. Christen, who is a virgin, is understandably shocked — but not as surprised as she probably was when Liz underwent AT LEAST two outfit and location changes during the course of their conversation. To quote Christen, “Playa say what?” Ugh.
Anyway Liz tells Christen that she’s the only one that knows this information, and Christen looks like she was just given a sugar packet full of ricin. At this, ominous music swells as they cut to a partially deflated flamingo float in the pool. Strange things are afoot at the bachelor mansion.
The One-on-One Date
Danielle M.'s one-on-one date features the first helicopter ride of the season. The helicopter lands on a yacht, where the two Wisconsinites discover they have a nice, genuine connection. Later, over dinner, Danielle opens up in a big way. She tells Nick that she has actually been engaged before; her fiancé died of a drug overdose months into their engagement, and she was the one who found his body. Amazingly, Nick handles this information really, really well, listening to and consoling her, and making us briefly forget that he gave Corinne a date rose. This might be the closest thing we’ll see to a normal adult dating situation on this show.
Group Date #2
The sun dawns on a new day, and Christen, Josephine, Astrid, Jamie, Christina, and Liz are ready for their group date. They're carted off to the Museum of Broken Relationships, because who says Los Angeles doesn't have any culture? As they went inside, Terri guessed that Bachelor memorabilia makes up 90% of its contents, and was proved correct — Nick's final rose and engagement ring for Kaitlin were lovingly placed in a display case by a lowly PA for the ladies to ogle at and for Nick to cry at. How romantic.
Hark! What’s that? A couple fighting loudly?! The women and Nick follow the shouts through the museum and then “secretly” watch a “couple” “break up” at the museum of...break-ups. After the "couple" "storms off," a museum employee enters the scene and "reveals" that that "breakup" was, in fact, staged. (Christen seems legitimately shocked by this information. ) The woman then tells the contestants that their "date" will consist of each of them doing their own faux "break up" with Nick in front of everyone. Liz's eyes nearly pop out of her skull.
While it's obvious that no one in this situation has ever taken an improv class, and the exercise feels, at times, like the fourth hour of your company's team-building offsite that no one wants to be at, the women’s terrible acting was weirdly charming, and it was fun to see the reasons each came up with to break up with him. Dental hygienist Kristina breaks up with him for not flossing. Jami breaks up with him for not cleaning up after himself or doing his share of the chores, and Josephine slaps him and yells at him for being an alcoholic. Sure. All the fun and games screech to a halt, though, when Liz takes to the stage armed with written notes.
If you’ve ever taken an improv class, you’ll recognize Liz’s next move — where instead of taking the suggestion from the audience, your shitty scene partner performs a full Shakespearean monologue just to show off. Liz launches into an extremely nonsensical and awkward post-mortem on her and Nick’s history (which is still totally unknown at this point to all of the women except for Christen). She’s trying to be deep and serious, but what she’s saying DOESN'T EVEN SOUND LIKE A BREAKUP. It's just a word salad. Ugh. The women are understandably confused about why Liz didn't understand the incredibly simple assignment.
We can’t tell you exactly how Nick reacted during it, as we watched it through the gaps between our fingers. But Christen, who really has a way with words, says of this moment, “My jaw was dropped.”
Somehow, Nick recovers from this veritable ambush for the cocktail party. It has it all: Jami tells Nick she’s dated a girl (and, again, he reacts like an adult human man should react to learning this information), Kristen explains her Russian accent (she's...Russian), and Christen breaks her promise to Liz by spilling the beans straight into the coffee pot, so to speak!
That's right, Christen makes her one-on-one time with Nick all about someone else — Liz. She tells Nick Liz told her "everything," and Nick is PISSED. He yanks Liz out of the cocktail party like your dad did when you were misbehaving in church when you were a kid, and finally gives her the proper sit-down she's been waiting for.
Nick starts by being all, “Dude, Liz, yes we slept together, but can you, like, chill?” and he’s not even being an asshole about it — he’s basically saying what all of Bachelor Twitter has been shouting for the last 45 minutes. He says he thinks she’s just only interested in him because she wants to be on TV, and asks her why she didn't just ask Jade for his number if she wanted to talk to him. Which: reasonable. Liz sputters a few syllables in response, and tries to defend never calling him by saying she’s not really a phone person (OK, fair), but Nick tells her that her journey ends here and sends her home on the spot. In response, Liz stares blankly into the abyss. Nick!!!!
The episode ends on a Dallas-like cliffhanger: No rose ceremony, no aftermath of him telling the women about his fling with Liz, just a CRUEL look into next week's episode, which will definitely end in a bloodbath. We can't wait.
Rachel: This episode made me like Nick a lot; in the face of absolute preposterousness (this show is PREPOSTEROUS!), he acted like a pretty reasonable and shit-together adult man; the way he talks to/about women reminds me of a lot of the guys I know who are in their 30s, especially the single ones. He’s not perfect, but he’s more thoughtful and grown-up and just... Better At Relationshipping than I expected. I also don’t think it’s an accident that his strongest connections so far have been with the two oldest contestants.
Also, this episode needed more Vanessa. And Rachel. Also, literally please just cut everyone under the age of 26.
Terri: Everything Rachel said, plus, more Alexis, PLEASE, for the love of god. That post-episode scene where she and Nick celebrated her one-year boob job anniversary with cupcakes was everything to me.