Episode 5

“Winter is coming.” —Alexis, who is not getting nearly enough airtime.

 

 

LAST WEEK'S ROSE CEREMONY

We pick up with last week's Rose Ceremony because, well, that's apparently what happens now. I explained my perspective on this Taylor vs Corinne saga in my Flare recap so I'll save my breath here. We hear the other ladies chime in on the subject, including an interesting two cents from Kristina. Notice how the only words we see out of her mouth are "My view on that is..." I personally speculate that Kristina—who seems to be quite popular and sweet, and who happens to be the one other girl in the house we've seen on the receiving end of Corinne's wrath—did NOT say she'd have both Taylor and Corinne go home...

All words other than "my view on that is" could have been—and very likely were—taken from another time and another place altogether.

I was a little sad to see Sarah and Astrid go home. You could tell from the ladies' interactions that they were both well-liked in the house, thus I wish we'd gotten to see more of them both. And of course, it's not a real Bachelor episode if insult isn't added to injury in some way, this time forcing the ladies to stand in the freezing cold. Considering even the jacketed ladies were shivering, I felt SO bad for Sarah...

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... especially since Rose Ceremonies are never nearly as quick as they appear on TV. Brrrrr. 

 

NEW ORLEANS

We head to New Orleans and are shown shots of Nick exploring the city, describing it as the perfect place to fall in love (shocking), and appearing not NEARLY impressed enough by this adorable busker...

Um, he BEGINS TO WALK AWAY while half-assedly applauding a legitimate CHILD's perfect, airborne one-eighty, LANDED IN THE SPLITS. Not good enough for you, Nick??!!

 

RACHEL'S 1-ON-1

It's Rachel's long-awaited time to shine and I happen to agree with Nick and think these relaxed, everyday yet explorative dates are some of the best. There were several funny moments on this date, beginning with Nick's remark about treating Rachel right (as well as that passerby's expression)... 

Acrobatic Wunderkinder might not be his thing but it turns out one thing Nick DOES get excited about are beignets. In all seriousness though, this reaction made me laugh...

 I want. 

I want. 

Heading into their own mini-concert, I laughed when Nick prompted Rachel regarding the next activity and she was a bit too honest... 

In the evening, at "Mardi Gras World" and in a room already furnished with Mardi Gras floats but further decorated by someone with seriously questionable taste...

... Nick learns about Rachel's badass family...

I love how simply and decisively she says, "Yes." Like, you KNOW she's not exaggerating.

One of the joys of having a Chinese mother is that she has an incredibly astute Chinese proverb for just about every situation. (I swear I'm coming to a point here.) Over the holidays my mom introduced a new one to us and we were all struck by a) the fact that we’d never before heard this particular one, and b) how damn TRUE it is.

The proverb goes: A full bottle makes no sound, a half bottle sloshes around.

Rachel is a full bottle. Despite having one of the most impressive careers out of any of the women, she brings it up only when specifically asked about it, and even then, she ties it to the relevancy of this situation (eg. mentioning how, because she cannot be vulnerable in her day-to-day work life, she struggles with allowing herself to be vulnerable in her personal life). Rachel doesn’t need to be a braggart because her badassery inevitably and effortlessly reveals itself.

Not to prematurely bring up Corinne, and I don’t know the ins and outs of her/her family’s “multi-million dollar business”, but based on how adamantly and often she brings it up (the “sloshing around”), she’s this metaphor's half-full bottle. If she didn’t have something to prove—or didn’t behave in ways which seem to routinely lead to her defending the legitimacy of her claims—she’d likely make a hell of a lot less noise.

Anyway, back to Rachel, she nails the fine balance between being clearly uncomfortable in this situation while somehow NOT being awkward. This is much harder said than done as folks are usually either not awkward at all but a bit too (and in my opinion, unrelatably) comfortable, OR they're endearingly uncomfortable yet a bit painful to watch. Rachel is SO poised. If you can’t tell, I’m a fan.

 

GROUP DATE

I don't know a single viewer who enjoyed this date. Either if you believe in ghosts and this Group Date activity is a totally disrespectful theme park-like experience using them for entertainment's sake, or, à la Jasmine, you don't believe in ghosts yet are bullied into believing in them by having the shit mercilessly scared out of you. Speaking of Jasmine, she was this date's saving grace with her early dismissive hilarity...

... and her later 4th wall breakage...

The "speaking with Mae" moment with Vanessa and Danielle M was sweet in that it felt sincere and respectful...

Speaking of Danielle M, she is lovely, soft-spoken, and drama free. But, despite her getting this Group Date rose, I'm personally starting to feel like her chemistry with Nick isn't up to par with some of the other girls'. In their 1-on-1 time I found his body language to be a bit distant (her curled up towards him and him facing out with his arms crossed), save for one very strange, contextless, more-goofy-than-romantic ass grab during her voiceover...

I'm all about being able to goof off with each other, but even when it came to their real kiss, it ended up as more of an observation about how kissing each other felt good rather than, well, just KISSING EACH OTHER. I love Danielle M but at this point am seriously doubting her being Nick's last lady standing.

I often roll my eyes at contestants who profess their "love" so early on (cough, Robby, cough), but I actually appreciated Raven's ILY because a) it was obviously accidental, and b) she totally recognized it was too early and fully owned it...

When Danielle M got the Group Date rose, I noticed something in Raven's comment about not getting it. Note what she's wearing...

Not only was Raven not wearing this dress on this date (her white top is in the .GIF above this one), it's the same dress she wore at the Episode 2 Rose Ceremony...

Three things are possible here...

  • Scenario #1 is that the above ITM is from the Episode 2 Rose Ceremony but doubled as a Pick-up for that episode's Group Date (where Raven also didn't get the rose). In my opinion, this is the least likely scenario and, also, I don't recognize the background as being in the mansion (where they still were for the Episode 2 Rose Ceremony).
  • Scenario #2 is that the above began as a Pick-up for the Episode 2 Rose Ceremony, and then, instead of changing, she also did a Pick-Up for this Episode 5 Group Date in the same dress.
  • Scenario #3 is that Raven wears this dress again and that comment is from a future situation (contextually, a Group Date makes the most sense).

I don't know the answer, it's just food for thought. :) My point is Raven didn't say the above line during or directly following this Episode 5 Group Date.

 

CORINNE AND TAYLOR'S 2-ON-1

My oh my. As I said in my The Morning After video, this date caused me actual anxiety. Like, I felt my heart race watching it. This 2-on-1 was the sort of moment that made me long for the days before I went on this show, when I used to watch this show casually and could forget about it immediately afterwards.

I'm realizing there are a ton of people warming to Corinne and, honestly, that's totally fine. As I've long been saying in these recaps, one of the major reasons I write them IS to humanize the contestants. No person on this show is a terrible person and should certainly not be treated, harassed, or cyber-bullied as such. 

My issue is really that those agreeing with Corinne in all this (I'll get to my thoughts on her in a bit) is their tendency to actively and aggressively identify as anti-Taylor. This is a problem. Like, you can value Corinne's entertainment factor and the fact that you find her "real", but that doesn't automatically make Taylor the antagonist. In fact, the case against Taylor is seriously weak, with the only evidence being she was maybe (and again, this is subjective) a bit condescending in her use and definition of "emotional intelligence", and that she allegedly referenced her Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling as a reason she could be considered more mature than Corinne (who, at age 24, is vocal about and proud of being completely dependent on a nanny). And I say "allegedly" in that sentence because we never SAW Taylor's degree reference come out of her mouth. For all we know, that clip about her Master's degree could have been from her Hometown Package, or at the very least an entirely different context. Before shitting all over Taylor, it's very important to realize this. Having seen my own words—and many others'—taken and rearranged like puzzle pieces as voiceovers, I take everything that I don't see on this show with a grain of salt (and hopefully you do too, by now). But we've SEEN Corinne brag about her nanny (we know her nanny by name, after all), we've SEEN her proudly claim to not know how to do her own laundry, we've SEEN her claim "medical emergencies" as reasons for sitting out required group activities. Maybe you find that stuff amusing and don't see the harm. That's fine, but don't then hold it against other women when they question Corinne's motives for being on a show where the goal is to end up engaged to a 36-year old man.

But it gets more serious: we've SEEN Corinne become verbally aggressive with multiple women (including but not limited to Taylor, Sarah, and Kristina), and most importantly, we've SEEN these words come out of her mouth...

 These aren't even all the examples. Scary.

These aren't even all the examples. Scary.

Objectively, I of course see the appeal of Corinne as a character on television. She's got great comedic timing, says what she thinks, and plays the sexpot, all while having other facets including sweetness (how she is with Nick; she has tender moments with the girls, too), the obvious manipulation, the vindictive "I'm-smarter-than-I-look" wiles. But it's important to separate a person's entertainment value from his/her actual words and actions. (I firmly believe this also can and should be applied to real life friendships and romantic interests.) Corinne isn't a television character, and even if anyone (including her) claims she's playing up her villainy for television (which you could argue is fake, the very thing she accused Taylor of being, but I digress), remember TAYLOR isn't a character. This is scary stuff to be saying about another real, live person on national television, and it's insane that despite these words (which, again, WE CAN SEE), she has the gumption to call Taylor the bully. Believe me, if there were good evidence of Taylor saying things like this or mistreating Corinne, we'd have seen at least some of it. And if Corinne's words and actions towards Taylor over the last two episodes haven't been textbook bully behavior, I honestly don't know what is.

Even if you don't care for Taylor, you can't claim she "started it". She never used language even close to along these lines. She herself may not have liked Corinne, but she never tried to tear down Corinne's self-worth and confidence by claiming other women in the house didn't like her. When Nick broached the Corinne topic with Taylor, though she may not have dealt with it as well as she could or should have (more on that in a bit), she wasn't the one to run to him first, PREPARED on how to paint her opponent or how to defend herself.

I'm not saying Taylor is 100% innocent here. She shouldn't have engaged, shouldn't have continued to use the term "emotional intelligence" when clearly it became a sore spot for Corinne (not the meaning of "emotional intelligence" but rather the fact that Taylor defining it—in Corinne's mind—came to represent Taylor calling her "stupid"). Above all, she most definitely shouldn't have told Nick what it is that he needs in a woman (according to her, a woman with more emotional intelligence than Corinne), particularly since I don't think she knew him well enough to know. (Certainly, she didn't know him well enough to know he would be sending her home over Corinne.) But while Taylor may not have behaved perfectly, her questionable words and actions have all been in response to and in her defense against Corinne's goading and provocation. In fact, Taylor repeatedly tried to rise above all this...

 Again, not the only example of this.

Again, not the only example of this.

Since this episode airing, Taylor has been treated horribly (not by all, but many) for behaving only imperfectly. (Of course, I say this based on and leading up to Episode 5; I haven't seen Episode 6 yet and can't speak for what she says and does in her return.) As always, and again, my hope in writing these is to humanize the contestants—both contestants. If one "loves" Corinne, that's fine, but that doesn't make "hating" Taylor acceptable, and vice versa. And entertainment aside, Corinne's hypocrisy must be at least acknowledged and her nasty words condemned.

Lastly, I've heard some people say that Taylor's and the ladies' issue with Corinne is because they're "jealous" Nick evidently likes her. In my personal opinion, HELL NO. I'm reminded a bit of my exhaustive WTA recap from Chris' season when I wrote:

"The asinine argument that a woman wouldn't like Britt out of insecurity alone degrades women far more than a woman disliking her for actual reasons; it dismisses all perception and compatibility (or lack thereof), leaving nothing but a simple Mean Girl-esque battle of who's prettier or more popular. Plus, I'm a firm believer that beauty draws people in, not the opposite. It's no coincidence that the most popular girls in any given high school tend to be the most conventionally "pretty". Please. This isn't about jealousy. It's critical thinking versus Koolaid-drinking."

To disregard Corinne's abrasive behavior among the ladies and the fact that they've been living together (and I mean living together) for weeks, only to make this solely about Nick's response to her is both overly simplistic and demeaning. It makes it all about the man and the prize, diminishing the women's (incredibly valid) interpretations of and responses to their living situation and its social dynamics. Sure, some handle it better than others and are more easy-going and/or unaffected, but those who don't aren't automatically driven by jealousy. This is about personalities clashing in a tried-and-true environment designed to have them clash, and as explosively as possible.

 

My frontrunners, as well as this week's The Morning After video (where I discuss my quick takeaways), can be read and viewed over HERE.

 

BEST DRESSED

One of you wrote me asking about Astrid that she wore both at this week's Rose Ceremony and on the farm Group Date last week...

Her suede moto jacket is from Express and right now happens to be on sale right now ($80 for a real suede jacket? Um, yes), HERE.

Danielle M's antler necklace caught my eye this week...

Danielle M has such effortless style but with really neat pieces that I find myself wanting. (I still think her black leather jumpsuit might be the outfit of the season thus far.) Her antler necklace is subtle but downright cool, and she showed us with this outfit, it layers really well. There's an identical necklace selling (gold-plated) HERE and (gold-filled) HERE.

We hardly saw it, but Jasmine's Rose Ceremony dress was a winner...

I always love a LBD with interest, and this is just that. A tiny flash of skin, the knotting in the front, the asymmetrical hemline... Jasmine's Elle Lain dress is unfortunately sold out (HERE) but there's a similar one (sadly sans the neat knot detail) selling HERE.

Next up is Taylor with the floral maxi dress she wore to explore New Orleans...

Taylor, the Forever 21 Whisperer, lived up to her name with this dress. While I can picture it at Forever 21, I can also picture it at Intermix for $400+. The open back adds a pinch of sex appeal but the overall look is very sweet and feminine. Sadly Taylor's exact dress is no longer available but during my hunt I saved my favorite alternatives and they're on the carousel below...

I dug Rachel's evening look from her 1-on-1...

Okay, so this dress isn't reinventing the wheel, but it's sexy, flattering, and ultra feminine. I like the interesting back and she just looked hot in it. I couldn't find Rachel's Ark & Co dress online but there are lovely similar ones selling HEREHERE, and HERE.

My second runner-up for Best Dressed is Corinne with her exploring-New Orleans ensemble...

I love this look, particularly the pairing of an ultra-casual, oversized tee with high, block-heeled booties. The effect is vaguely tomboyish, looks low-effort, yet is anything but boring and packs a serious "personal style" punch. Corinne's tee reminds me very much of a camo tee I've been eyeing but that I think is horribly overpriced (THIS one), so I am absolutely picking this one up for myself. Her tee is from Lulu's and sells HERE. I'm 99.9% sure her booties are Zara but they're old; there are two very similar styles selling HERE and HERE.

I have two first runners-up, once again with Corinne in her coppery-blush duster coat...

This is something that I'm surprised I don't already have in my wardrobe. It marries two major trends du jour, the duster lengths and the wearable silk robes. I couldn't even really see the dress she wore this over and I didn't care; this duster stole the show. Corinne's House of CB duster coat was apparently made famous by Khloe Kardashian, is coincidentally (?) named the "Coryn", and sells HERE. There are two really solid looks-for-less HERE (which I'm seriously considering in black, HERE), and HERE.

Sarah's freezing wasn't for naught as she's my other runner-up for Best Dressed...

I'm the first to admit I'm predictable and this is a total Sharleen dress. (Third person, ugh!) I LOVE the high neckline and how deceptively "covered-up" this dress is. (It actually reminds me a lot of my own AFR dress.) Oh and 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 for the perfectly styled and paired updo! Sarah's Nightcap dress sells HERE (a similar style but in mini-length by the same designer is on sale for a great price HERE) and her Kendra Scott earrings sell HERE.

Drumroll, please.... Best Dressed is Rachel in her stunning Rose Ceremony dress...

I've mentioned before that I love it when contestants bring it in the fashion department, and that's just what Rachel did. This dress is dazzling while managing to not be pageant-y (a risk with bedazzled numbers) and could really pass for a Bachelorette dress. My ONLY wish is that she'd matched the drama of the dress with some sort of a low chignon, but I'm admittedly being picky. Rachel's Scala dress sells HERE and happens to come in a total of five colors (though I'm partial to Rachel's color). They're all on the carousel below...

 

WORST DRESSED

Nothing stood out to me as terrible and you know I hate forcing this section. No Worst Dressed this week!

 

Until next week, fellow pandas!