Episode 9

A bunch of things, dear readers!

Two fashion-related things...
1) In case you missed it (which is likely since I did no tweet or mailing list shout out for it), I did a fashion round-up for this week's Women Tell All episode. If you had any fashion requests for WTA, that's where they'll be!
2) If you've been requesting my own looks from The Morning After videos, I've been adding those to the Shop Hub section.

Two singing-related things...
1) I'm normally pretty private about sharing this stuff with Bachelor world (you might've heard me mention this on Kaitlyn Bristowe's Off The Vine podcast), but a lot of you have been asking for more singing stuff and I swear I'm trying to get better about it. I posted a little clip from La Bohème to Instagram, and the full aria is HERE. (For some reason this feels relevant to you, my Pretty Pandas readers, since that gig is where I've been writing about most of this season from.)
2) Many of you have also inquired about where I'm singing next. Opera isn't exactly like a tour where I'm definitely coming to a city near you, but my calendar can be viewed HERE. (St. Louis, MO is next!) I am flattered you guys care—thank you!


Onto Episode 9...



"Today of all days!"

Becca, bemoaning the completely coincidental timing of Ross' post-Overnight date visit





I'll be frank: I thought this was the slowest episode of the season so far. If that reflects in this recap, consider that my excuse. *yawn*



Fantasy Suite week kicks off with Kendall's date, on which she and Arie go sand buggying and sand surfing. Side note: I once went buggying in the desert in Marrakech and it was seriously one of the coolest things I've done, so I had major nostalgia and envy watching this. We also got some funny moments...


There's a crucial ITM of Kendall's where she expressly says that, if Arie were to propose at that point, she wouldn't say yes. My interest in this clip is how it shows textbook producer/contestant dialogue in an ITM. Her producer likely asked her something along the lines of how she felt the relationships with the other two women were progressing and whether or not they were more "ready" than she. Then, note how the camera cuts away while her producer likely followed up with something like, "And you? Would you say yes if Arie proposed today?" Remember that ITMs require answering in full sentences...


... as evidenced by the sentences beginning with "The other two women here..." and "If Arie were to propose to me today..."



Lauren's date opens with something that ties into my "falling in love" rant from Flare a few weeks ago...


Now, remember, I fully blame this thought process (and my annoyance with it) on the contestant experience and thus (as much as I love them), the show and producers who create that experience. Remember, Lauren's being prodded at every turn for her status of how far along the "falling" love scale she is. In that sense, you can understand the pressure to quantify seeing Arie being great with your family as the catalyst to nudge you from "falling" into "fallen" in love. Nonetheless, the above drives me crazy and, as I said in that aforementioned rant, strikes me as incredibly unrealistic. 

I continue to marvel at Lauren's non-emotiveness...


... and find it very compelling. If her eyes watering up didn't give her away, she could come off as very cold and non-reciprocal in these feelings, and that's precisely what's interesting to watch. The battle between her maintaining her self-preservational stoicism versus just letting her herself go and be happy is plain for us to see. I agree that the footage of this relationship (and perhaps the relationship itself) frustratingly focuses only on the heavy stuff, but I don't think that warrants a personal attack on Lauren. People are all too willing to jump to the conclusion that Lauren is "boring" when to me she's clearly just careful. That might not make her entertaining reality TV in the traditional sense, but it in no way makes her "boring". 

Finally, behold Arie throws caution to the wind and tells Lauren he loves her...


I found the above sweet and moving at the time, but later, seeing him do the exact same thing with Becca, it just makes me uncomfortable. More on this in a bit.



It's Becca's turn and Arie takes her on a catamaran. A strange conversation ensues where Becca's reactions and responses are obviously taken from a different moment (and thus conversation). Notice how she goes back and forth between rested on his chest and propped on her hand...


This also means that "I don't know, it's just right with you" was in response to something else. Nothing really huge here (it's very possible they just didn't have a good angle to get her face expressions while she was on his chest), but it still stood out as patchy to me.

I personally thought Arie seemed a little colder in the first part of this date, like he was still in Lauren mode. For example, look at his expression when Becca says he feels like part of the family...


To me, the above expression screams guilt. Yet, nonetheless, hours later, he seems to have crossed the threshold into Becca mode...


I hate repeating myself after I went on about this in this week's Flare recap, but I do think it's possible Arie's feelings of love are sincere, or that he thinks they're sincere (it's not the first time a lead would claim to loving two people at the same time). My issue is the lack of restraint in telling both women this. I get that he was likely him just saying what he was feeling in the moment and that it felt good for both parties. But ultimately, it's a selfish thing to have done given how much worse it'll be for the woman he doesn't choose after he got her confidence to an all-time high with a profession of love. It just feels short-sighted and careless to me.



Finally, in a segment that I think was supposed to be all serious and dramatic but was actually hilarious, Becca's ex, Ross makes an appearance.

First, there was a TON of frankenbiting this episode, but this was the one funny enough to capture...

"I open the door and / my initial reaction was just confusion / I was like, 'Why is hotel management here?' / I didn't know who Ross was."

Note how the 1st and 3rd clips sound like they're from the same ITM (they could actually be the same sentence), as do the 2nd and 4th clips.

I laughed out loud when Ross claimed the following with a completely straight face...


The above is our first clue of what Becca later accuses him of, which is that he lives his life like he's in a movie. Like, who says they'd have swam to Peru if they'd had to? (Especially given that they were presumably in same state for the whole previous year.) It's very "grand gesture" and all, and I can see a lot of women swooning over such grand gestures, but to me it's clear that it's Ross likes this dramatic (potential) love story. He thinks about and likes how it sounds to say he'd have swam to Peru if necessary (note the pauses both before and after he says it).

Don't mistake my criticism for skepticism; I don't not believe Ross when he says he wants Becca back. (I don't, for example, think he just wanted to be on TV for 5 minutes.) But I think he's laying it on WAY too thick (again, especially since it's not like he and Becca were kept captive from each other for the last year) and that, as I always say, he should just show and not tell. He's already shown his intent by having flown there (never mind that it was on ABC's dime, he probably very suddenly needed Becca knowing she could've found happiness with someone else, and producers probably filled him with hope that Becca might reciprocate his feelings). Let the actions speak louder than words. The extra cheese is not necessary.

I laughed out loud when Becca, having assessed what was going on, threw her head back and swore...


There was also some great 4th wall breakage when Becca was shown asking a producer if they could sit on the steps...


Clips like the above remind me of Peanuts. I imagine the contestants as the kids and the producers are the adults. It's like, "Can we sit on those stairs?" was replied with, "WAH WAH WAH." 

Finally, note the cameraperson's legs behind Becca to capture Ross, yet note how there's no hallway behind them...


Meaning, at some point, he or she had to pause the conversation to set up shop behind Becca.



As much as I like Kendall, the happenings at (and result of) this Rose Ceremony didn't surprise me (or probably anyone, really). I did laugh at the following exchange between the remaining ladies...


I also thought it was a kind move on Arie's part to pull Kendall aside and give her a real conversation and breakup.

Finally, as a farewell to Kendall, the following HAD to be captured in .GIF form...



We'll miss you, Kendall!

As always, my predictions for the Finale can be found over at Flare!




A few of you asked about Lauren's lip gloss she applied during a B-roll of her getting ready for her date...


Lauren's lip gloss is the Too Faced Sweet Peach, available HERE. She couldn't remember the exact color but based on Sephora's website, I'd say it's either the "Papa Don't Peach" or the "Peach-Sicle".

A couple of you also asked about Becca's Rose Ceremony dress...


Becca's Winona "Jane" maxi dress sells HERE, and there's a look-for-less option HERE.

Best Dressed

This was a very quiet week for the fashion section. There weren't a ton of major fashion revelations (or requests, for that matter).

I did like Becca's daytime look...


I envy leggy girls who can look so good wearing such casual, ripped-shorts-and-flat-sandals looks. This feels so effortless, like she really owns these pieces and just threw them together (making the outfit realistic). Vibe-wise, it reminds me of Becca's first date look, back in Episode 2. Becca's American Eagle shirt is sadly sold out and I couldn't find anything precisely like it. (The closest alternatives I could find are HERE and HERE) Her exact Abercrombie boyfriend shorts are sold out but there's a super similar pair by the same brand HERE. Many of you asked about her sandals—they're an older model of Rebels, but there's a near-identical option selling HERE. In my search I also found a pair that subs gold for the white, HERE, and a non-ankle strap option (with the white and tan reversed), HERE.

My runner-up for Best Dressed is Kendall with her evening jumpsuit...


I found red very striking on Kendall and this more modern look was a refreshing departure from her usually boho-esque style. Kendall's Guess jumpsuit is sadly older and no longer available, but there's a secondhand size 2 available HERE, and a 4 HERE.

Finally, Best Dressed is Lauren with her Little Red Dress...


I mean, she was just so stunning in this piece. The dress is simple and sexy—business in the front, party in the back—and overall looks WAY more expensive than it is. As I said last week, I prefer it when the women BRING IT in the fashion department this far along in the season, and this is pretty standard Rose Ceremony fare (I would not say IT was BROUGHT), but this was nonetheless my favorite piece of the week (I'm a sucker for all things backless—so sue me). Lauren's Lulus "Hey Honey" bodycon dress sells HERE.


Worst Dressed

No Worst Dressed this week!


Until next week, fellow pandas!