Episode 2

"Can you tell me? You literally— I would never say a word about it and they wouldn't even know that I knew." —Christen (to Liz), who forgot she was mic'ed, and who evidently later forgot she said this.

 

MANSION MOVE-IN

Episode 2 begins with the copy-and-paste formula of every Episode 2: a montage of ITMs and shots of the women talking about how hot they think the lead is and how he's all they can think about. I've always hated this tradition as it really supports the old school perception that this show features only crazy girls who are insta-obsessed with the lead...

 

FIRST GROUP DATE

The first Group Date is a photoshoot led by a photographer who seems to equate "engaging into character" with taking their clothes off. Nick once again breaks that 4th wall by straight-up coming out and saying what we've all been thinking for years...

The Corinne hilarity begins as she—the one assigned a BIKINI as her wedding dress—is somehow jealous of Brittany's outfit...

 Um, less is more?

Um, less is more?

My favorite shoot of the date was the 80s themed wedding. I mean, this is just adorable...

Despite my wondering if Corinne's poor sportsmanship was played up with editing, she proved me wrong with this petulant moment...

 

While the "photographer" is about to name his winner, there's the most butchered voiceover I think I've ever heard...

 

Corinne's "prize" is yet another photoshoot of kissing while her housemates are forced to watch on. Yeah, I know this was presumably followed by a bit of 1-on-1 time, but still. This prize—making out in plain sight of the other women—is typically the very transgression held against contestants and the lead for their lack of consideration...

At the Cocktail Party, Raven stands out to me in a good way. In general, she is frequently shown just observing, and frankly behaves in the way I imagine I would given any situation. She never over-emotes and she's never physically in the front of the pack seeking the spotlight. Also, she's analytical...

I totally understand what Raven's getting at here. Look, guys who are only assholes have never been my thing, but guys who speak their mind are. In fact, there are probably a few people on this planet who think Andy is an asshole; obviously I don't think so, but he's both opinionated and a brutal mind-speaker, and I can see a lot of people (especially those who don't agree with his opinions) being rubbed the wrong way and chalking that up to him being an asshole. (For the record, he is the most doting, understanding, and supportive partner I've ever had, and I've been with men who were a lot less "asshole"-ish than him.) A lot of women routinely go for the asshole but can't differentiate what the actual trait is that they keep being drawn to. Kudos to Raven for getting it.

Also, since a few of you have mentioned liking Andy's commentary, when Raven told Nick she'd walked in on her ex-boyfriend with another girl, Nick asked, "What did you learn from that?" From our sofa, Andy responded, "To not walk in on other girls getting boned by my boyfriend?” I thought this was pretty funny.

After all her interruptions (there has to be a better, more specific word for that), Corinne continues to be as popular as ever by giving an impressively condescending speech about why they're all there. My favorite part of this clip is Taylor's and Vanessa's facial expressions...

... but then I realized Vanessa wasn't even in this particular formation...

 I love Hailey.

I love Hailey.

... and I'm 99% sure that clip of her face was actually from this seating arrangement...

... so her face expression was probably in response to something or someone else? Oh well, I still loved it.

I spent both my The Morning After and Flare recaps discussing Corinne, so I don't think it's necessary to repeat myself, but I do have some additional thoughts. Some people have said that they think Nick could be drawn to Corinne because she's a strong personality like Andi and Kaitlyn. I do think there's something to that, but there's also a difference between being a strong, independent, opinionated woman and being antagonistic and aggressive, and when I think of Andi and Kaitlyn, I think of the former and not the latter. Like, Andi and Kaitlyn are both popular girls who have girlfriends—in real life and while on their respective Bachelor seasons. Also, a lot of my concerns have been over how SOON Corinne has so willingly become the villain. A commenter over at Flare named Max (who always has great comments, by the way) said the following:

"Yes, I agree Corinne's playing an archetype, but the fact that she's playing it this hard this fast makes me wonder if her storyline will become more than this over the course of the season. Perhaps she'll — gasp! — evolve?"

I couldn't agree more. Remember on Jojo's season, how Chad, before becoming so universally despised that guys were ratting him out to Jojo (and she ultimately sent him home), he began to develop some real feelings for her? They seemed to surprise even him. I suspect something similar may happen with Corinne. She's come out, guns blazing and super competitive, but if she gets a 1-on-1 (which I think we can all see happening since Nick has only rewarded her for her actions thus far), she may develop actual feelings beyond finding him "so hot" and end up on some personal journey of her own—IF Nick doesn't nip it in the bud by axing the villain (like so many leads have in the past). I think this has the potential to be great TV, but I do still think it's necessary for her to be at least somewhat likable for us to care about and root for her. 

 

DANIELLE M'S 1-ON-1

There's not much to say about the day portion of Danielle M's 1-on-1 because it was mostly hijacked by the Liz storyline. At the mansion, Liz’s “we had sex” (and the "I met Nick at Jade and Tanner's wedding", for that matter) is like an old, familiar friend...

 Clips of you cutting vegetables can and will be used against you. Also, interesting choice of nap location.

Clips of you cutting vegetables can and will be used against you. Also, interesting choice of nap location.

Liz deems Christen the most trustworthy girl in the house—a testament to how careful you have to be with dirt while you film—and lays it all out there. I thought reusing clips was just an audio thing, but turns out they'll do it with reactions, too. Note Christen's arm positions before the second reaction...

Now about Danielle M's actual date, well, she's just lovely. And she and Nick seem lovely together. Her story about her ex-fiancé was brutal but while Danielle M seems so soft, you can tell she's really just quietly classy, confident, and strong. I particularly liked how she realized she was getting ahead of herself...

... which to me really shows how this show can get to you. Even someone as reasonable and on-planet-earth-seeming as Danielle M is swept off her feet, and she's aware enough to observe it happening. Love her.

 

SECOND GROUP DATE

Nick takes the ladies to some Museum of Broken Relationships (oh-kay) and, despite the nice sentiment behind what he's saying, shows he doesn't know what an adjective is...

Before I get to Liz, I have to first say Josephine's "break up" was hilarious...

I said in last week's The Morning After that I loved Josephine's kookiness and so far she's not letting me down.

Watching Liz's "break up" was SOOOOOOOO painful. I almost had to cover my eyes, I didn't want her to do it so badly. I do think she had no intention of doing that and actually wanted to lay low and have a quiet conversation with him. But our first tip that she was going to do something drastic was this moment, where she was so frustrated by his lack of engagement with her throughout the date, to the point of tears...

I definitely feel like she used her "break up" as the heart-to-heart she'd been wanting for days and she finally had his undivided attention. There is also no way a producer didn't either plant the idea in her head or encourage her to do it. Regardless, I get the logic behind it but it was still a TERRIBLE idea, especially since from the get-go Nick had a suspicion that all she wanted was attention and to be on TV.  And if a person, man or woman, ever makes this face while you're talking to them, it's beyond over...

As promised, here's my take on the Liz situation...

I think Nick in particular is very sensitive to people seeing him differently based on his favorable appearance on Bachelor in Paradise, when frankly he was the same person on that show that he was on the previous Bachelorette seasons. Remember, for 2+ years (and still to this day, really) this guy has gotten a LOT of hate. Yes, I know he put himself in a position to receive it, but the fact remains that he's been on the receiving end of enough flak to thicken even the toughest, most confident, most self-assured person's skin. Therefore, he doesn't have a ton of patience for people who suddenly treat him differently after he's gone from being that guy you made fun of for appearing on 3 seasons to suddenly The Bachelor himself and thus more famous, respectable, and/or "higher rung" in the Bachelor world. There have been folks in Bachelor nation who might not have cared one way or another to be his friend, but whom overnight became interested. In this regard, I can totally see his lack of sympathy for someone like Liz. After all, for the better part of a year she was only one degree of separation away from being able to contact him. And she got to know him outside of all this (for the most part, anyway). One night might not be a long time but it's long enough to decide whether you like a person and want to see him again. She got to know him personally, human to human, and should have been able to make her own judgment as to whether or not he was someone she'd want to date. She shouldn't have needed to wait for his flattering spin on BIP or his crowning as Bachelor to find him dateable.

Also, knowing Nick, I can see him have ZERO patience for a girl testing him right off the bat like Liz did with her limo entrance. She would have been FAR better off just coming out and laying it all out there. We know by now that some of Nick's favorite traits in a romantic interest are honesty and transparency; by keeping her cards to herself—needlessly—she killed any possibility here before she even set foot in that mansion.

I've heard people say that Nick shouldn't be one to talk since his existing relationship with Kaitlyn was one of the reasons he waltzed (late) onto that show. The difference is he was already an alum; he would have been allowed on Kaitlyn's season whether or not they had ever spoken, and especially since he was formerly a villain. Secondly, the amount of time Nick had to get to know Kaitlyn could never amount to 9 months' worth (more like a few weeks' worth) and he didn't have much time to pursue her before she was crowned Bachelorette. Also, Kaitlyn becoming Bachelorette didn't represent some change in his or the audience's perception of her. (Aka, she didn't go from hated to loved the way he has.) So, again, I do think Nick is ultra-sensitive to that change in perception and has very little tolerance for the folks whose behavior towards him changed on a dime. And whether or not Liz is actually one of those people, she automatically falls into that category in his eyes because, before he became popular on BIP, she had both the time and access to let him know she was interested.

And let's reverse the gender roles here for a moment. Let's say Nick was Tanner's Best Man and Liz was a two-time Bachelor alum mostly known for being despised and a villain. If Liz had wanted to get Nick's phone number after a drunken one night stand and Nick had said no, he would be a raging asshole. I don't personally think this whole thing stems from Nick being wounded by her refusing him (I personally think if he was truly intrigued by Liz he might have still tried to reached out to her himself) but it does highlight the double standard. Society says Liz saying no is just her being not interested, not ready, or a strong woman who can have sex like a man. Yet, Nick saying no would be just massively dirtbag-ish.

But here's the crux: I personally think Liz wanted to be pursued, and actively. She may very well have liked Nick a lot but didn't want to be that clingy one night stand girl who thinks a fun night means something more than it does. And in wanting to not seem like that girl, she went in the opposite direction and shut him down—a defense mechanism of sorts to protect herself from getting shut down down the road. I sadly get the feeling that this stems from a deeper insecurity on her part, like the assumption that a man she has a one night stand with would only ask for her number to be nice, and those guys need to be weeded out from the ones who genuinely want to see her again. In my humble opinion, the following clip sums this up painfully well... 

Note how instead of singing last week's tune of pretending to like the "mystery" of his not remembering her, this intimate moment with a girlfriend (where I doubt she thought a camera was on her) reveals her real reason for not giving her number: All those months ago, she probably was interested (interested enough to sleep with him, after all), but she was more afraid of being some guy's sympathy case. I think her pride got the best of her.

More problematically, Liz couldn't properly explain herself when Nick confronted her. She mostly got defensive and made very little sense. She first said that she knew he was "off shooting Paradise", but then when he said that was just for one month, she jumped to saying she doesn't like phone conversations. (??) For all her talk about wanting to have a conversation, that conversation mostly involved Nick expressing his reservations and then her getting defensive. It was crucial, especially since she'd had all the time in the world to mull through the different scenarios of this conversation, that she articulate her reasoning and take responsibility in this moment. She did neither.

Unfortunately for Liz, her appearance on this season looks bad no matter how you slice it. If she did like Nick, she screwed that up 9 months prior. If she wanted some sort of adventure (I mentioned in my The Morning After video that very few contestants go on this show SOLELY for love, because frankly that would be insane), fine, but that translates on this show to wanting to be on TV. And if she actually just wanted to be on TV, well... I guess she got a taste of it.

I can't blame Nick for being wary of Liz; every one of her actions wrote this outcome on the walls. And after she told another girl in the house, turning whatever bit of their history might have been salvageable into gossip fodder, it practically forced him to send her home. Nonetheless, I strongly suspect Liz was prodded into making a lot of mistakes. As longtime reader (and much appreciated typo-spotter) Sara J Henry emailed to me:

"I can almost hear producers whispering to her, Don't let him know you know him, see if he recognizes you! ... Yes, maybe you should confide in someone. ... Go ahead, spill details in your fake break-up scene!

No producer can make you do anything and it's surely no excuse, but don't underestimate their abilities to get in one's head and ultimately cause them to behave in a way they never otherwise would. I suppose I have a little soft spot for Liz because, aside from her getting really flustered and defensive when Nick confronted her, she really was otherwise mostly drama-free. When he sent her home, she didn't even put up a fight; you could tell she felt embarrassed and just wanted out. There is no need to rake her over the coals now; I have no doubt if she could go back in time, she would do many things differently.

 

As always, my Top 4 frontrunners can be found over at Flare, here!

 

BEST DRESSED

One of you asked me to ID Lacy's lovely blue necklace...

Lacey's blue opal hamsa hand necklace was a gift from a friend, but there's a near-identical one selling HERE (gold filled). *** UPDATE 01.13.17: The previous solid gold option (pictured above) I linked out sold out, but there's another listing HERE

I have two second runners-up for Best Dressed! First is Taylor in her Group Date cocktail party dress...

Simple, floral goodness. I also like the unique color palette and her upper arm cuff. She just looks so feminine and I love it. Taylor's dress is from Forever 21, but while it's sold out, there's a similar one selling HERE.

I also dug Brittany's two-piece dress from the same cocktail party...

Subdued nude, a bodycon fit balanced by maxi length, and interest in the form of knotting and draping. This is a simple yet ultra cool set. Brittany's exact set is by Clothes Envy but she said it's old; I sadly wasn't able to find it anywhere but there's a very similar one selling (for only $51!) HERE. There's also a similar-ish, really fabulous set where the top is draped, HERE.

My runner-up for Best Dressed is Vanessa in her dress from the same Cocktail Party...

We didn't see nearly enough of this dress. It is so elegant and ladylike but still undeniably sexy. My favorite thing about this dress is that it looks expensive—I could totally see this on the rack at Reiss for over $300—but it's not. Vanessa's dress is by Boohoo, comes in 4 (!) colors, and sells (for only $37!) HERE.

Best Dressed this week was none other than Danielle M in her badass backless jumpsuit...

Two weeks in a row for Danielle M! The top is edgy in leather, while the pants are flowy and feminine. This piece is just so unique and cool; I have never seen ANYTHING like it before. It also looked fantastic on her. Danielle's jumpsuit is by Nashville designer Cavanagh Baker and is no longer available, but I found a super similar one (sans the leather) selling HERE. Since it's $415, though, I've put my top picks in all prices ranges on the carousel below...

 

WORST DRESSED

Nothing offended me enough (including Liz's floral romper) to warrant a spot here. No Worst Dressed!

 

 

Until next week, fellow pandas!