Episode 8

"I’m worried I’m the only one who hasn’t said I love him." —Raven

 

 

NO ROSE CEREMONY... AGAIN

Episode 8 starts off with the "ominous" music playing as the remaining 4 ladies speculate as to whether or not Nick's axing spree will continue before Hometowns. Nick returns (based on all their outfits and the fact that it's now dusk, this is presumably after he's sent Kristina home and likely after an ITM about it, meaning the ladies probably waited for at least an hour or two) with four roses. The ominous music continues with a voiceover of a worried Corinne saying she has "no idea" how many roses he has. I thought this was a bit fishy as 4 roses isn't exactly enough to not know the quantity at a glance, so I listened again, and indeed, this sentence was chopped up to milk the trepidation...

On the whole, despite my love for Rose Ceremony fashion and the fact that we haven't had a Rose Ceremony two weeks in a row, I thought this handing out of roses to be quite sweet and personal...

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OK! Off to the ladies' hometowns...

 

RAVEN'S HOMETOWN

Nick meets Raven in Hoxie and the two go mudding (I think it's mudding? Am I showing my Canadian-ness?) and as I mentioned in my Flare recap, it was ELECTRIC. I personally was starting to get friend-zone vibes from these two until this date, and honestly, since we know Rachel doesn't "win" and I have serious doubts about Corinne "winning", this come-from-behind action on Raven's part is necessary to give Vanessa a run for her money and keep us on our toes...

Oh, and before I forget, a shout out must be made for Raven's cop brother, Weston, who was actually a very decent actor. 

This Hometown had SO much heart in it, and what I especially loved was how it was truly about Raven and her family, with Nick and Raven being the distinct second priority. Seeing as how at this point Raven hadn't seen her family in about 6-7 weeks, and considering the developments on her father's health front, this focus was entirely appropriate and just so heartwarming.

Raven's been a critical thinker and has provided us with probably the best commentary all season, so it was apt when she combined the two in saying...

In her sit-down with her mom, her mom dropped a piece of MAJOR wisdom that I'm not embarrassed to say I plan on stealing...

There was a true wholesomeness to Raven's Hometown. Like, you can tell there is a TON of love in that house and that Raven and her brother were really well raised. I loved this date.

 

RACHEL'S HOMETOWN

Because the couple doesn't change outfits before the meet-the-parents portion of the Hometown, Nick ambles through a park toward Rachel in a dress shirt, but something about the billowing of this shirt with those fitted pants reminded me of a less extreme version of Seinfeld's pirate shirt...

In a voiceover, Nick calls his chemistry with Rachel "explosive" and if that sounds familiar, it's because that sound bite was recycled from Episode 5...

At Rachel's church, Nick is pretty hilarious to watch as he takes it all in. My favorite moment was his double-take of that unbelievably jolly man to the left...

 I'll have what he's having.

I'll have what he's having.

I was over the moon that they showed Rachel’s sister Constance saying…

… especially considering it was probably right around election time when this was filmed. I know this isn’t groundbreaking, but this show hasn’t really been known to comment on racism or politics, so just the airing of this sentence reveals a lot.

At dinner, we get a good taste of Nick's sense of humor when, at the assumption that he wouldn't recognize the food on his plate, he responds with... 

I laughed when Rachel’s brother-in-law Alex goofily narrated…

... but my favorite part of this day was when Rachel's mother came out and said it was sad the interracial aspect needed to be addressed at all...

 🙌🏼

🙌🏼

I honestly don't have much to say about this date because, as I mentioned over at Flare, while I am VERY GLAD race was addressed on this date, it was just taken too far for me. As always, I contribute this heavily to editing—I am SURE there were plenty of conversations that had nothing to do with it—and wish they'd just been a bit lighter-handed with it. 

 

CORINNE'S HOMETOWN

This date was LOADED with nooks and crannies to dissect. Before I get to those, I'll first point out how we got to see quite a bit of Nick's sense of humor, which is always nice...

There was some interesting out-of-order editing which supports my argument (over in Flare) that Corinne didn't pay for Nick's clothes. First up is the montage of entering stores to the voiceover of Nick describing Corinne as being on a first-name basis with the stores' salespeople. Note that during this, Corinne and Nick already have their Tomas Maier shopping bags but the name is blurred...

It's during this same montage that we first meet Corinne's Tomas Maier salesman...

 Note "Tomas Meier" on the window.

Note "Tomas Meier" on the window.

... yet it isn't until later that Corinne and Nick are actually shown entering the store...

Note how no other store names are shown, ever. Of course, after their shopping spree, there's another clear shot of the Tomas Maier store front...

... followed by NON-blurred shots of their shopping bags. 

With all that advertising, do you really think Tomas Maier charged Corinne for $3000+ worth of clothes? Very doubtful. Oh, also, to thicken this dumb little plot (perhaps the best evidence ever that I should get a life), the salesman says Corinne owes $3423.09...

... yet whatever invoice she signs is for $2419.27...

Obviously, none of this really matters. Whether Corinne paid for the clothes (which, trust me, she didn't—Tomas Maier just got the best advertising deal in this show's history) or how much the clothes were meant to have cost is not the point. The point is this Hometown's storyline is that Corinne is accustomed to a life of luxury and wealth, and whether or not Nick could support her expensive tastes is called into question. The day portion of this Hometown was just a setup for that being her family's meet-and-greet's main focal point. 

In their pre-family meet-and-greet chat, Corinne says she "loves" Nick and her hesitation to say so is downright painful to watch... 

She says she's "realized" how she feels about him. Right on schedule, right? Keep in mind, since Bimini, she's been with a producer, living in hotel(s), talking about her feelings for days. Something tells me she didn't come to this "realization" all on her own. And Nick of all people knows this.

Despite my doubts over whether or not Corinne came to this conclusion on her own, I do believe that in that world, her feelings are 100% real. Note how she interrupts her mom's assumption that what she's experiencing is fantasy...

She is NOT acting. One of the most commonly asked questions I get (and all Bachelor alums get) is, "Is it real?" All I can say is, at the time, yes. No alum will disagree with me on that. I liken the sensation to being in a sort of alternate reality where the feelings you feel are contained within that realm. Some alums stand by their feelings as being 100% real and in this realm. Either way, no one's calling the feelings fake or fantasy. 

I relished the fact that Corinne's dad was seated in front of a window during his heart-to-heart with Nick as there was no hiding how edited this conversation was. There were actually 4 examples of this but I made .GIFs of what I thought were the best two. Note the light outside...

... and especially the following, where we get THREE distinctly different shades of night...

My personal takeaway here is that editing reality shows must be mind-numbing. 

To actually discuss Corinne for a moment, I know I critiqued her behavior heavily in the early part of this season (based on her behavior early in the season, I do stand by all that), but I do give her credit for playing this show like a fiddle. If and when Corinne leaves this show, she will likely have legions of fans, be a social media force, and be able to demand the prettiest penny out of anyone to appear on Paradise ever. I also admire her unique ability to live a life seemingly free of consequence. This is nothing like me and if anything I tend to weigh consequences and scenarios too much, so there is something refreshing about a person who just does and says exactly what she wants and feels, with no concerns, filters, or censors. I still think this is a bad thing (possibly even a dangerous thing) when it surfaces in a negative, bully-ish light (as it did with Taylor), but the childlike, open, perpetually "yes" outlook she seems to live by is something that, even if I can't identify with, I can appreciate.

 

VANESSA'S HOMETOWN

In traditional Hometown episode form, we end with the rockiest date, the one with any semblance of drama. It begins beautifully, however, with a visit to Vanessa’s school (on a Sunday). I found her warm welcome VERY sweet, as well as the adorable drawing of her on her classroom door… 

I’m realizing that one of my favorite things about Vanessa and Nick together is the side she brings out in Nick, the side that notices and appreciates the “magic” of this moment…

Vanessa brings Nick to meet her mom’s side of the family and I for one love how HUGE her family is as it totally reminded me of Nick’s own Hometown dates of seasons past. 

With big family, however, comes big questions….

I have to admit I was shocked Nick and Vanessa didn’t have better planned answers to these concerns. It’s very possible Vanessa’s above shrug was taken from a completely different moment and context, but if not, I'm surprised she wouldn’t have even the barest of bones idea about what Nick planned on doing and where he planned on doing it.

Over at her dad’s, Vanessa shoots down the idea that what she’s been doing for the last 2 months has been one big vacation…

 Note Nick's grin. He knows.

Note Nick's grin. He knows.

I LOVE that Vanessa said this. It’s a bit of a peeve of mine that people assume that going on this show is a “vacation”, much less that that “vacation” is incentive to go on the show. There is NOTHING relaxing about being a contestant on The Bachelor, and you would be hard-pressed to visit some of those exotic locations and see LESS. Don’t get me wrong; you get to do incredible things that, if you visited on your own, you likely couldn’t do. But the day-to-day strolling, people-watching, exploring? No. Those ITMs and Girl Chats aren’t going to film themselves.

And finally, the tour de force of this Hometown episode, Vanessa’s father. I totally dug him. He was every bit the intimidating, frosty, protective father, and you could TELL not only doesn’t watch this show, but doesn’t care about it either. His concerns were totally valid and, and though (or because?) he had Nick sweating bullets, this was very entertaining television...

Their conversation reminded me of Nick’s playful, “Hey, I know I’m dating 3 other women, but… can I marry her?” from last week. As sincerely as he may ask, at the end of the day, his sentiments are diluted. There’s no disputing that. 

The gentlemen eventually patch things up, Nick gets some version of a blessing, and all is right again with the world. I did laugh a bit when Nick professed his love about Vanessa and her father responded with a gruff, “Okay. Sounds good."...

The episode closes with Vanessa having major reservations since she knows Nick also asked the other fathers for their blessing. Personally, while I totally agree that it lessens the meaningfulness of Nick asking her dad, I do think this is one of those Bachelor things where one must take it with a grain of salt. Like, along with seeing the guy you’re “dating” kiss other women and having your roommate get a Group Date rose over you. It all has some sort of meaning only because of that fabricated alternate reality, but a lot of it also doesn’t necessarily mean diddly. A Group Date rose, or any rose for that matter, is just as likely to be handed out for dramatic plot purposes as for romantic reasons, just as asking every father for his “blessing” could be (in fact, is likely done) specifically to throw everyone—contestants and viewers alike—off the scent. This show is generally made up of one (hopefully) good love story, plus 100 times its weight in smoke and mirrors.

 

As always, my The Morning After video and list of frontrunners can be found over on my Flare recap!

 

BEST DRESSED

I'll begin with your requests! Katie asked about Kristina's black and white shirt from last week...

This really is a fantastic shirt. It looks like something you might find at Rag & Bone for $250+. Kristina's top is from H&M and while her exact shirt is sold out, they have a newer version (sans pockets) selling HERE. If you need the pockets, there's a similar shirt (in a smaller plaid) HERE, and in my search I found a very cool hi-low cropped version, HERE.

Jacquelyn asked about Nick's Group Date shirt from last week...

Nick's exact shirt is by Oro and sells HERE but there's a near-identical look-for-less option selling (for less than half the price!) HERE.

Over in the comments on Flare, Ivy asked about my sweater and necklace from my (horribly blurry—sorry!) The Morning After video...

My sweater is from Express and sells HERE. In terms of sizing, always debate between XS and S with Express but went for a Small in this one as it looked way more relaxed. My Urban Outfitters lariat necklace sells HERE.

Now onto this week's fashion! Honorable Mention goes to Nick with the Fair Isle cardigan he wore on Vanessa's Hometown...

I am obsessed with this sweater and am seriously considering it for Andy. It took me at least 6 months to convince him to wear cardigans, though, so something tells me a Fair Isle pattern might take a few more months. Nick looks cozy and every bit the casual gentleman in this. His Scotch & Soda cardigan is still available and sells HERE, but if you're a Large it's your lucky day as there's one left crazy on sale, over HERE.

Another Honorable Mention goes to Corinne with her necklace layering, most notably that COOL chunky single pearl choker...

I love the combo of a lone, ladylike pearl, but with a bold curbed chain. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that marriage before. There's an identical choker to Corinne's selling HERE, and if you like the concept but don't like white pearls, you can select different colors HERE. In my search I also found a super dainty version in gold fill that I love, HERE.

Second runner-up is Vanessa with her black coat from her Hometown...

Um, a black wool coat but with leather and moto details? YES. There’s not really anything to say here; it’s an obviously fabulous and unique piece. It’s like the centaur of black outerwear and Vanessa just looks like such a badass in it. Vanessa's coat is from Zara but sadly, like so many Zara items, is long gone. There are, however, a few selling on sites like eBay and Poshmark: a Medium is available HERE and HERE, and a Large HERE. By the way, her faux fur vest from this date is also from Zara and sells HERE!

Runner-up is Rachel with her very cool white vest...

I love how she didn't wear this as a cold shoulder piece but just went simpler, wearing it as a basic vest. In my opinion, it looks much more chic than the cold shoulder way, but the "sleeves" add a really neat bit of interest to the back (at first I thought they were a storm flap, like on a trench coat). This vest instantly elevates her otherwise basic LBD and the result is sophisticated and chic. Rachel's Love Culture vest is unfortunately sold out in white (HERE), but there are identical ones still available in black (HERE) and a lovely nude/khaki (HERE). If white is non-negotiable, there's a good lookalike at a great price HERE.

This week’s Best Dressed isn’t totally fair as this dress was clearly meant for next week, but seeing as how I’m a traditionalist who believes Rose Ceremonies should reside at the end and not the beginning of episodes, I’m counting Vanessa’s incredible gown…

You know I love it when contestants just go for it and bring the glam, so such a fabulous, va-va-voom piece must be rewarded! I love the muted, taupe-y color on the pizzazz of such a unique combination of cuts and draping. It’s possible that when I see it without the coat I’ll wish she’d worn her hair up, but for now I’m just gaga over this look. Vanessa's House of CB dress is still available (yay!), is super reasonably priced for a legit gown, and sells HERE.

 

WORST DRESSED

No Worst Dressed this week! Unless I can count Miami Soccer Dad…

 

Until next week, fellow pandas!