Episode 2

 

As I mentioned in my Flare recap, I joined Emma Gray and Claire Fallon on Huffington Post’s Bachelor/ette recap podcast, Here to Make Friends! You can listen to it HERE.

 

"It was like if the Care Bears surrounded you and told you they were gonna kick your ass." —Chad

The season's officially kicked off with the arrival of Chris Harrison, who as per routine trades in a Date Card for a fat paycheck. (Best. Trade. Ever.) Robby laid pretty low first episode but immediately stood out to me when I spied his appropriate Date Card reaction:

GROUP DATE #1

The first Group Date of the season kicks off and unsurprisingly involves the men proving how buff they are and there's an extremely tenuous reference to that somehow reflecting their trustworthiness...

 FAIR RATIONALIZATION.

FAIR RATIONALIZATION.

Daniel, despite my face-palming over the fact that he's this season's Canadian, provides a textbook joke where the punchline is really his own expression and not the joke itself:

Back at the house, led by James Taylor, the guys serenade Jojo from afar with the most creative of song lyrics. This segment CRACKED ME UP. Something about the assemblage of 8-packs, exceptional enthusiasm, and the cheesiest of sing-alongs...

The above is a true testament to how uneventful the mansion is by day. 

Back on the date, Wells completely wins me over. As I said on Here To Make Friends, so many men in his position—the position of obviously not excelling at the task at hand—would immediately become defensive and call the activity stupid or beneath them. Instead, Wells was endearingly self-deprecating and was a great sport:

Evening rolls around and Grant basks in his hard-won 1-on-1 time. I like Grant and would let this slide if he hadn't done it last week in his limo exit. But, I can't not make fun of his tendency to speak in the future simple tense, which would be bad enough if they were simply dating in real life and there weren't 19 other guys in the mix...

There has never been a single mom on The Bachelor whose children haven't been a major focal point of her storyline, so to have Evan's fatherhood royally glossed over like this, in the middle of another guy's voiceover...

... makes me wonder if a) Evan didn't want his kids to be a major focal point, or b) Evan isn't a major player (which doesn't add up based on screen time and considering past contestants; even non-major players' kids are brought up more thoroughly). I just CANNOT imagine the above happening with a mother on this show, where there's always build-up to the big reveal. Just food for thought.

Oh, and last but not least for this Group Date, Luke is bringing back Man Hand Watch...

 ✋🏼😍

✋🏼😍

DEREK'S ONE-ON-ONE

The only thing more tenuous than saying a guy's ability to put out fires reflects his trustworthiness, is saying that a day spent "choosing" between "Sea" and "Air" (and "North" and "South") reflects a couple's ability to make decisions...

Luckily, I happen to adore Derek so the flimsy reasoning behind the date activity didn't bother me too much. To me, Derek is sincere without being gushy or too easy a sell (which is common in this franchise). His expression before and while he says "It doesn't happen with everybody" says it all...

Back at the mansion, Chad tries his hand at comedy with the only guy who will listen, Daniel. (This friendship surprised me but it wouldn't be the first time two contestants became fast friends simply by virtue of them both being ostracized.) I've re-watched this protein shake "joke" too many times now and am still scratching my head with regards to the analogy, the point he's making, and where exactly the punchline is located...

 Don't quit your day job, chad.

Don't quit your day job, chad.

Jojo reminds us why we fell in love with her last season by dropping another truth bomb...

It always bugs me when people sum up their past relationships as mistakes or no-go zones in conversation. Past relationships are THE best tool and resource for figuring out what you do and don't want. Why wouldn't you want to talk about them?!

 

GROUP DATE #2

On the ESPN Group Date, Jojo reiterates what she said last season, that she requires Words of Affirmation to feel love...

I also said this both in my Flare recap, it's a massive peeve of mine when people (especially partners) are reticent to share what they like or love about their loved ones. I know it's harder for some people than others (my ex was British and we discovered a cultural chasm in that department) but when the person clearly needs it, at the end of the day, words cost you nothing. I'm not saying anyone (including Chad) should say anything they don't mean, but there are too many people who think kind words ranging from compliments to professions of love are something they should keep close to the vest.

It just so happens I'm a bit of a Max Kellerman fan. Andy's a huge boxing fan so we watch fights all the time, and Max is my favorite post-fight interviewer. I LOVED when he, just barely straight-faced, asks the question we all knew was coming; the throw-one-of-guys-you-live-with-under-the-bus question:

Note Jojo's fantastic reaction to that question.

In the evening Chad, being the real man he is, mocks Alex's height. But what really struck me was HOW and WHY a giant chair just happened to be there...

That giant chair is almost—almost—as convenient a prop as Olivia's giant cake last season on the Las Vegas Group Date.

Chad's villain storyline suddenly became a whole lot more interesting when Mr. Reticence himself admitted to really liking Jojo...

Notice how his admitting to not having taken the process seriously already makes his admission of feelings more credible. Say what you want about Chad, THIS is an interesting twist for me as a viewer. In the past, when a villain was just stringing someone along (Bentley on Ashley Hebert's season is what immediately comes to mind), it was just uncomfortable to watch. But a contestant who's critical of the whole process + a villain + a guy who develops real feelings = My interest is piqued.

 

ROSE CEREMONY

At the Rose Ceremony, there’s a rare shot of camera people the first (but not last) time Alex confronts Chad. Notice how they’re filming something else but clearly get the memo (via headset) to get out of the shot; the next time you see Chad they’re nowhere to be seen.

Chad also provides an epic Direct Look Into Camera™ upon dropping a hunk of meat onto the carpet...

As always, my Top 4 picks can be found over on my Flare recap.

 

BEST DRESSED

There were a LOT of solid fashion choices this week. Seriously, I had 6 looks noted for this section but had to skim down because these recaps get out of hand enough as it is. 

Honorable mention goes to Robby with his

I give credit where credit is due, and any man who can pull off a basic crew neck shirt under a blazer with a silk flower pin and sockless loafers AND A BRACELET while still appearing masculine and somehow not like a try-hard deserves an approving nod. Respect, Robby.

Runner-up for Best Dressed is Jordan with his Rose Ceremony getup...

Note the masterful pattern-mixing and how the colors coordinate but aren’t too matchy-matchy. The look is dapper and shows care and taste. Well done, Jordan.

Robby killed it this week. He’s my Best Dressed for Episode 2…

Once again, this look is NOT easy to pull off without looking caricature-like, and Robby not only pulls it off but looks damn good. The bow tie is reminiscent of some of Marquel's and Nick Viall’s past (winning) outfits and hints at being tuxedo-like while the bow tie keeps things casual (yet still makes a statement). He looks sophisticated and like he has a personality you'd want to get to know. What more could you want from a suit than that? 👏🏼

 

WORST DRESSED

I feel bad singling out Vinny only in the Worst Dressed section...

… but I loathe this tie. It’s not fair, really. His suit appears to fit him great but all I can see is a shiny, patterned bubblegum pink tie and too-matchy pocket square. This offense isn’t the worst—we've certainly seen worse, and at least he’s made an effort—but, yeah, that tie has got to go. 

 

JOJO'S LOOKS

First up is Jojo’s evening outfit from the first Group Date…

This was by far my favorite look of the episode. The high neck and long sleeves balanced by those small cutouts and slits... This look is perfection. She looks sexy yet sophisticated while managing to keep plenty to the imagination. Jojo's two-piece dress is by Jonathan Simkhai and sells HERE (top) and HERE (skirt). There's a similar-ish top for $17 selling HERE. Her suede Vince jacket sells HERE, and her (perfect!) minimalist sandals are by Stuart Weitzman and sell HERE. Her ring is by The Woods but there is an identical one selling HERE, and a similar-ish one for $45 selling HERE. Wallet-friendlier alternatives for all of these pieces are above!

For her tough decision-making 1-on-1 she kept it casual but cute...

Something about where that long necklace falls on that tie-detail tank, plus where the jeans cut off and meet those tie-up sandals… I don’t know. There’s a lot going on here and I would personally pare it down. However, I do love each piece individually. Jojo's tank is by Alice & Olivia and sells HERE, but if, like me, you think $220 for a tank top is utterly insane, there are less ridiculously-priced options above. Her Free People knit cardigan is still available and on sale (a rare combo) and sells HERE. Her jeans are Paige and sell HERE. Her sandals (also on sale!) are Dolce Vita and sell HERE.

As for jewelry, her delicate necklace is by Kendra Scott and sells HERE, and her Gold & Gray beaded spike pendant necklace sells HERE. As always, price-conscious alternatives are on the carousel above.

For her evening with Derek, Jojo went glam...

I love this look. I often find sequins can easily go awry and quickly become too heavy, but the short hemline combined with long sleeves keeps that from happening. She looks so vibrant in this dress. Could I have gone for a fresh ponytail? Um, yes. But that’s the only gripe here. Jojo's Dress The Population mini dress sells HERE. I happen to think it's very reasonably priced for what it is, but there are cheaper alternatives above nonetheless. Jojo didn't know who her shoes were by and I couldn't get an up-close enough shot of them to try to narrow it down, but the most similar options I could hunt down are above.

For her second Group Date...

I respect the mixing of ladylike and edgy here, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Again, I like these pieces separately but not together. (I would have paired that blouse with leather leggings and simple pumps, or worn those jeans with a white racerback camisole.) Luckily, Jojo would look good in a paper bag. Her blouse is by Self Portrait and is sadly sold out (HERE and HERE), but the same top in Lilac still available HERE. Her zipper leggings are Zara and sold out everywhere, but there are near-identical alternatives above. Her suede knee-high boots are Aldo and unfortunately sold out (HERE and HERE), though there are a couple of sizes left HERE.

For the evening portion of the same date...

Alas, I don’t dig this bulky sweater. I get the statement it’s making and that it was likely chilly out, but I feel like it would make even the daintiest of women look like a linebacker. I have no issue with the styling, however, and love those leather pants. Jojo's fringe sweater is by 3.1 Phillip Lim and sells HERE. Her leather pants are by Rag & Bone and sell HERE

For the Rose Ceremony...

I like this dress—the color is sublime and it fits her like a glove—but it just feels a bit predictable. I sometimes feel like there’s a sequined and/or beaded Mac Duggal gown quota to fill every Bachelorette season. Again, Jojo could truly pull of anything, so in my eyes she’s to credit for looking great here and not the dress. If you disagree with me and love this dress, however, you can find it HERE.

 

Until next week, fellow pandas!