I'm sorry for the increasing delays doing these! I've found that being out of town for an opera was actually better, not worse, for my recaps' punctuality because my love and social lives ranged from pathetic to nonexistent. Now that I'm back home, it's been tough to find that groove again. Plus, this week in particular I got majorly bogged down by the fashion section. 🙄 Thank you for your understanding!
In case you still haven't had enough Bachelor, I was this week's guest on HuffPost's Here To Make Friends podcast with Claire Fallon and Emma Gray. Also, as a head's up, I'll be next week's guest on the one and only Reality Steve's podcast.
Not much to say here. A commenter over at Flare, deebee, made the great point that Raven "traipsing" (SUCH a good word) through Finland after her Fantasy Suite reminded her more of Paradise than The Bachelor. I'm inclined to agree.
I thought about making a .GIF of Raven's Direct-Look-Into-Camera™ during her I-supposedly-just-had-my-first-orgasm montage but the kitsch of the whole thing negates the entire point of my Direct-Looks-Into-Camera™. I personally question a) (though it's not any of my business, but just based on the hype of this very weak storyline) whether or not Raven actually had an orgasm, and b) whether she knew how exploited that storyline would become, to the point where I wonder if during filming she thought she was just doing cutesy post-Fantasy Suite B-rolls and not an I-supposedly-just-had-my-first-orgasm montage. NEXT.
Thankfully, the episode picks up from there. Rachel is suitably enamored with Lapland and goes so far as to describe it as Narnia...
... which made me like Rachel even more than I already did. I TOTALLY make The Chronicles of Narnia references all the time and am apparently not alone!
Anyway, Rachel meets Nick for their cross-country skiing date, and their bewilderment at cross-country skis makes me feel very, very Canadian.
In a chalet festooned with numerous reindeer parts, there's a very weird bit of editing as Nick is shown to feel up Rachel's leg OUT OF NOWHERE and it mostly comes off a bit creepy...
... and the two make their way from their daytime chalet to their nighttime chalet, on a sleigh covered in reindeer pelts yet pulled by a still-living reindeer...
As Claire put it on the Here to Make Friends podcast, "Those reindeer are here to serve us in every way!"
It honestly amazes me how many people still don't take to Nick. I've heard that people think he seems insincere and disinterested, and I can see how one could jump to that conclusion because, as I've said before, Nick does have a tendency to come off guarded and borderline stoic. But truthfully I see those very traits as evidence of just how NOT performer-y he is and if anything, it makes him more sincere in my eyes. (I admittedly have an instant-suspicion for anyone who seems too "on", as on-ness in this franchise can very often mean fake, and fake can very often mean calculated. #WRONGREASONS) Nick is and was never not fully engaged with his final 6 or so women—yes, he probably wasn't 100% focused on all of this season's women, but how many Bachelors are?—and has seemed pretty authentically emotional about sending each one home.
Oh and I also think his sense of humor is underrated. His thirst-quenched "Ahhhh" after the long, long post-toast silence? I laughed out loud...
So many of his dry jokes poke fun at the show itself, and yes, I'm including his "I may be white but I'm still a minority" line. (If you hated this line, Claire and Emma agree with you.) After a Hometown overly focused on them being interracial, I for one appreciated it being addressed lightheartedly.
On Vanessa's 1-on-1, Nick once again uses a Bachelor trope (twisting the activity at hand into a tenuous metaphor for falling in love) in a very knowing way...
He says it so dryly, not even pretending that this wasn't prompted.
We get the adorable-est Direct-Look-Into-Camera from Vanessa™ as she descends into the icy pool...
... and perhaps most notably in this entire episode (and I'll go ahead and include last week's also-hourlong episode), when Nick talks about his and Vanessa's future, he speaks in Future, not in Conditional...
I spoke to a few friends who (in my opinion, strangely) came to not like Vanessa as much this episode. They told me they found her a too argumentative and antagonistic towards Nick but I couldn't disagree more. I saw her insistence on sharing her core values and proudly sticking to her guns as very strong—perhaps a bit uncharacteristically strong, for this show—traits and they made me like her even more. I LOVE that she responded to Nick's reluctance to say he'd move to Montreal ("I'm proud to be American") with an every-bit-as-valid "And I'm proud to be Canadian."
I don't like that they'll have to solve this major issue while likely having rumors splashed across tabloids, but what I DO like is that it's being discussed. Not only is this a very "real life" issue that many can relate to (believe me, while I love New York, I think about making Canada home again all the time, especially lately), it's showing much more equality between the genders on a show not known for it. It's possible some final couples are examples of the Bachelor moving to where their fiancée is (I can't think of any but am sure you can!), but those are the exception, not the rule, and it's just refreshing to see it DISCUSSED. Even if, in the end, Vanessa does pack up and leave her family, their Sunday tradition, and her job behind, it's about time that on national television it's not assumed that she would.
While I was definitely sad to see Rachel sad, I was moreso relieved to see her go. Knowing she's Bachelorette definitely put a damper on my ability to enjoy or even remotely invest in her and Nick's chemistry and instead just had me in a sort of Countdown-to-Rachel's-departure mode. I am super excited to watch her next season, but her time here was definitely over. On to bigger and better things!
As always, my predictions for the Finale are, too, over at Flare!
As always, I'll start with requests. Liz asked about Nick's outerwear from his daytime 1-on-1 with Vanessa...
I couldn't find Vanessa's exact Forever 21 sweater but there's a very similar one (also by Forever 21) HERE. Her ring is her grandmother's but there's a very similar wallet-friendly (gold-plated) option selling HERE, and two similar vintage pieces (both in solid gold), HERE and HERE.
Two of you asked about Vanessa's parka from her 1-on-1...
Vanessa's parka is by Woolrich and sells in Vanessa's navy HERE (if you're an L you're in luck as it's half price HERE), in green HERE, and in black (on sale!) HERE. In my search I learned the exact coat but in a very cool muted red color was a J. Crew exclusive but since it's sold out (HERE), I found an M on eBay (at a great price) HERE.
Now for this week's Best Dressed! First up is an Honorable Mention, Rachel's fabulous batwing cardigan...
I loved this sweater so much. It was so cozy looking yet so totally unique. Like, if she told me her grandmother knit it I'd believe her, yet it's cool. Unfortunately Rachel's off the grid so I couldn't get her to ID the brand, and despite some serious hunting, I couldn't find her exact cardigan anywhere. However, I did find two decent alternatives, HERE and HERE, and a near-identical silhouette but in a solid color, HERE.
My other Honorable Mention goes to Raven with her Rose Ceremony dress...
You know by now that I believe if you're going to show skin (like considerable cleavage), it's best to balance it with a high neck and long sleeves. Raven's dress is undeniably sexy but still in good taste. It pains me a bit that she wore tights (which resulted in her looking way more casually dressed than Rachel and Vanessa) but that seemed like a climate choice rather than a fashion choice. Raven's Stone Cold Fox dress sells (super on sale!) HERE, and also comes in white (which is really striking) HERE and in a print HERE. In my search I found two very similar options but with a twist: cold shoulder (HERE) and flowier (HERE).
Second Runner-up for Best Dressed is Vanessa with her Rose Ceremony dress...
You've heard me reference Jessica Rabbit in the fashion section before and I'm totally doing it again. If this dress were red she WOULD be Jessica Rabbit. Or Julia Roberts in the opera scene in Pretty Woman. This dress is super sexy and va-va-voom, but in no ways seems trashy or trying too hard. Vanessa's dress is by Boohoo but is sadly no longer availalbe. There's a great alternative (also a strapless, plunge sweetheart neckline maxi) by the same brand selling HERE, but if you really want that exact silhouette Vanessa has, Boohoo also has a identical neckline to Vanessa's on a bodysuit (HERE) which could be paired with a flared maxi (HERE).
Runner-up for Best Dressed is Rachel in her Rose Ceremony dress...
There's something so warrior-goddess about this dress and I do love that she really brought the drama. It fit her like a glove and she just looked red red carpet-ready. (Also note what a good choice it was that, with all that embellishment around her neck, she wore her hair back!) Rachel's Madison James dress sells HERE, and also comes in purple (HERE) and teal (HERE). Since you guys like these, in my search I found a very cool, less formal version (HERE), as well as a very slick, high neck but embellishment-free (and open back!) option (HERE). The latter is the item of the week that I'm coveting for myself. (If my size were still available I would have already bought it by now.)
This week's Best Dressed is a bit unexpected as I usually do dresses and more formalwear. However, I loved this coat so much and it's my blog and I can do what I want, so Best Dressed goes to Vanessa with her belted wool coat! 😍
I'm obsessed with this coat. It's the perfect marriage of elegance and function, and I also get the feeling it might be decently versatile. I love that this coat looks so expensive, like something you'd see in the fancy designer sections of Saks for $2000+, but it really isn't offensively priced for a coat. Vanessa's coat is by Woolrich and sells (in all sizes) HERE and (on sale but limited sizes) HERE.
Nothing offended me this week. No Worst Dressed!
Until next week, fellow pandas!