Episode 2

Unfortunately the comments section has not been working over at Flare. Sorry about the technical difficulties! It's a site-wide issue that should hopefully be fixed soon.

 

 

"Sometimes people do a Jekyll and Hyde on you... you never know." —Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

 

FIRST GROUP DATE

I always love a kitschy competition of sorts, especially when there's nothing serious (like being allowed to attend the evening portion of the date) on the line. This "Husband Material" race was hilarious and it reminded me of Chris Soules' Group Date "Hoe-down Throw-down" from 2.5 years ago (wow, times flies). The celeb cameos are becoming more and more impressive with each passing season and I looooved Mila and Ashton's cute ITMs...

That said, didn't they meet on That 70s Show when she was, like, 14? And didn't they each have serious relationships (including a marriage) since meeting? Ehhh, the sentiment is still super sweet.

I laughed when, while Blake E was pointing out Lucas' cheating, all Dean seemed to care about was that his baby was properly changed...

Also note Rachel's expression above. She's just like, "Can we not?"

Other than a dark horse showing by Dean later in the evening (THAT KISS = he's jumped up to 3rd in my Top 4 list), the Group Date cocktail party mostly consists of terrible game. Eg: Jonathan: "So, one of the keys with changing a diaper is to minimize your wiping. You may not know this, but people wipe way too much and actually irritate the baby." This is a REAL SENTENCE from his 10-20 MINUTES of 1-on-1 time. I'm told he's a doctor, but that's still weak getting-to-know-you material. And I'd probably go easier on him if he hadn't tickled Rachel on first meet. 😑

There's also an excess of the Blake E vs Lucas show, where these words are actually uttered in this order...

Rachel has some 1-on-1 time with Kenny and a subsequent ITM about it, but first observe what an ITM from this Group Date looks like...

Based on the hair, makeup, outfit, and background (aka EVERYTHING) in the following ITM, it's obvious it's taken from an entirely different conversation with Kenny. After all, if it were meant as a Pick-up, she'd at least wear the same dress as above...

It's safe to say we'll be hearing more from Kenny regarding his daughter, most likely (based on his airtime so far) in the context of his own 1-on-1 date. Also note the furry pillow background; it was used for a Pick-up of Night One last week, and I'll point it out again later in this recap.

 

PETER'S 1-ON-1

This was a pretty great 1-on-1, but let's be honest about who the real star of the show was... (also note the epic Direct-Look-Into-Camera™!)

 CUTENESS OVERLOAD

CUTENESS OVERLOAD

My favorite part of this date was Rachel and Peter's conversation about their teeth gaps. It was a sweet thing to bond on, and on a deeper level served as a sort of metaphor for embracing one's natural, unique beauty. I had to make a .GIF of the following; Rachel is never remotely arrogant yet oh-so confident...

In a world full of possible "tweaks" to one's appearance and a culture of those tweaks being increasingly normalized, I am over the moon at this sentiment being expressed on national television. I've personally never understood the general public's interest in shoe-horning Bachelor/ette contestants into being role models. Not because they're not good people, but rather that what the general public gets to know of them is often so altered and limited, what America ultimately sees hardly represents them as a whole. But regardless of whether we see 50% or 95% of Rachel as a person, it's undeniable a) how beautiful and natural Rachel is, b) how completely self-assured and confident she is, and c) what excellent role model material the combination of a) and b) makes her, for any of the younger folks out there watching this.

And fun fact, my dad is a dentist and he would absolutely say what Rachel's dentist said to her, and he has his own character-full gap in his two front teeth. :)

Regarding Rachel and Peter, I personally like how level the playing field feels between these two. You don't get the feeling like Rachel's in full control over this relationship (as leads often are in every relationship). That said, I couldn't not point out how, on the first Group Date earlier in this episode, Rachel specifically said she likes when the guy makes the move. Yet, she clearly made the move when both hugging AND in her first kiss with Peter...

And not to be redundant with what I've said over at Flare, but my only concern about Peter is how next-level good-looking he is. Not to stereotype, but it's very possible he doesn't need to make the moves with women as they typically just come to him. I'd be happy to be proven wrong on this.

 

SECOND GROUP DATE

Heading into the basketball Group Date, DeMario expresses what every contestant feels after being held captive in a beautiful prison for several days...

Little did DeMario know he was walking into quite the trap. I absolutely get where Lexi was coming from, but I'm a big advocate in believing what people show you (rather than what they tell you) about themselves. Obviously everything she and DeMario had wasn't so meaningful if he had the ability to do what he did to her, so the best use of energy moving forward is getting over it and bettering oneself. But it's clear where Lexi's energy was focused...

No "I can't wait to have closure" or "I can't wait to clear this all up" or anything along those lines. This girl wanted 🔥 REVENGE 🔥. Again, it's easy to see where she's coming from and I totally get that she wanted to sabotage DeMario's success on this show since success on this show can lead to longer term success outside the show. But I still believe #happinessisthebestrevenge.

I don't have much to add here on the DeMario front that I didn't express over at Flare, except that apparently he was approached by the show and not vice versa. (Thank you Jillian for the link!) I know that doesn't make him innocent but there's a difference between an opportunity falling in your lap and you actively seeking out said opportunity. Also, a good number of all contestants end up back with their exes after filming the show (myself included!), so you have to wonder just how broken up a lot of these folks are when they go on the show in the first place. I'm not saying they're not broken up, but obviously some threads are still intact. Don't get me wrong: DeMario had absolutely spun a web of lies and ended up trapped in it. But I don't think we should assume that every other guy whose girlfriend/girl on the side/ex-girlfriend/friend with benefits who isn't as vengeful (and possibly interested in being on TV) as Lexi, is automatically an angel. AND THAT'S OKAY. Like Rachel said last week, it's about being open to what could happen.

And though Rachel was obviously (and rightfully) PISSED at DeMario, she harbored a lot of (understandable) anger towards production for their (huge) role in this. This is best shown in the following .GIF, where Rachel won't speak to Chris Harrison despite obviously being ushered towards him. (Believe me, Chris Harrison doesn't just hang out out in the open. If he appears, it's to speak or be spoken to. Note how ready to leave he is when she goes to the restroom.) Also note how, while Rachel enters the gymnasium, she has a female producer with her. But in the the next angle of her (from the camera behind Chris Harrison), the producer is none other than Elan Gale. Something tells me this episode of (again, understandable) anger lasted a long time and was heavily edited...

 Producer Watch™!

Producer Watch™!

Remember, it's not like Lexi found her way onto the show on her own. The puppeteers were just as involved as anyone in all this, yet the episode was edited as though her anger was directed 100% at DeMario. 

Later on in the Group Date, there's an old familiar friend in the form of a Pick-up ITM room. This is what an ITM from this Group Date evening portion looks like...

... making the following a textbook Pick-up...

The ITM room, her hair, and her makeup are identical to the cream sweater ITM above (re: Kenny and his daughter). This was one productive Pick-up sesh.

My longtime readers knew I couldn't not point out the Love Languages reference...

This would not be the first time they've been mentioned on this blog. Head to this recap to see more.

 

ROSE CEREMONY

Because there's no point in discussing DMario further since it was an unresolved cliffhanger of an ending, I'm just going to point out how smart Bryan is...

I joke with Andy that one of the reasons I'm marrying him is his good massage abilities. (I am one of those freaks who lives for massages and I have a massage loyalty card, like the punch card you'd get at a frozen yogurt chain.) SMART MAN, BRYAN.

 

 

BEST DRESSED

Peter takes the trophy yet again...

This outfit is deceptively risky. Not anyone can pull of an (often old fashioned-looking) double breasted jacket, especially with khakis. The overall ensemble is very country club chic. 👏 

 

 

WORST DRESSED

I get that Lucas has a schtick and that this suit coincides with that schtick, but that does not make him exempt from the Fashion Police's discriminating eye...

The seafoam green... the matching handkerchief... the somewhat-matching-but-not-really socks... The look is way too used-car-salesman for my tastes. Sorry, Lucas. :(

 

RACHEL'S LOOKS

Alex asked about Rachel's top from a People magazine photoshoot...

Rachel's top is actually a bodysuit and it's by Indah Penny and sells HERE. There's a great look-for-less HERE. Her crepe shorts with slits are by Ramy Brook and sell (half price!) HERE.

For Rachel's first Group Date she wore a unique floral dress...

I do like the ladylikeness of this dress and I generally love structure and florals together, but something about the positioning of the black bands on this dress doesn't speak to me. Nonetheless, she looks great in it. I particularly liked her bracelet stack which added a lot of interest to this look overall. Rachel's dress is by Self Portrait and sells HERE. Her bracelets are by Stella & Dot and sell (from top to bottom as pictured) HERE, HERE, and HERE.

In the evening Rachel wore a unique LBD...

I like this dress in theory but I don't love the execution. I always like adjustability and the concept of zippers defining the neckline and slit is right up my alley. However, something about the way the material falls and ruches looks a tiny bit cheap to me. Like, I would rather a slinkier, more drapey material. If you disagree with me, Rachel's dress is by Michelle Mason and is selling (on sale!) HERE.

For her 1-on-1 with Peter...

This was one of my favorite looks of the week. I love the twist (!) on the usual T-shirt-and-jeans combo, and it was sexy, edgy, and just different. The color of that tee is a knockout. Rachel's T by Alexander Wang twist front tee is (on sale!) HERE. If the price is still too steep and you're open to other colors, there's an identically cut look-for-less in grey selling HERE, and a good look-for-less in pretty much every color but red HERE. Her druzy necklace is by Brooklyn Designs and sells HERE (use code PRETTYPANDAS for 20% off!), and her wrap bangle is by Stella & Dot and sells HERE.

In the evening Rachel brought the sex appeal with her mini dress...

This dress is super feminine and sweet. It shows off her body but is still in great taste, the perfect date night dress. Rachel's dress is the "Maya" by Saylor and currently sells HERE and HERE. In my search I found the same lace print but as a cold shoulder romper by the same brand, HERE. Her jewelry is by fine jewelry line—and Bachelorette favorite—The Woods and the pieces aren't available, but I found a dupe for Rachel's hoops HERE, and her pavé knuckle ring HERE and HERE. Her Stuart Weitzman "Nudist" heels (also a favorite of Jojo's) sell HERE and there's a look-for-less HERE.

For the basketball Group Date...

I pretty much want everything she wore here, and I'm thisclose to picking up that bomber jacket for myself. Easy, functional, and sleek, this look was a head to toe win for me. A e Rachel's Lululemon mesh leggings sell HERE. Rachel's chiffon bomber is by Trouvé and sells HERE. Her Air Jordans sell HERE.

In the evening...

This was my favorite dressy look of the week. Her makeup was spectacular and the dress was both a statement-maker and also barely there at the same time. I love swingy dresses like this and it looked fabulous on her. My ONLY wish is that, with those skinny straps and so much exposed shoulder, she'd worn her hair back in some way. But I'm being picky. Rachel's MLV beaded dress is sadly sold out in her exact color (HERE), but it's still available (and very on sale!) in both pink (HERE) and black (HERE). I couldn't find her exact triple band pavé ring but there's a very similar one selling HERE.

At the Rose Ceremony...

This is a quintessential, ultra-glam Bachelorette gown (indeed, it's by Bachelorette favorite MacDuggal) and Rachel really does carry it well. I love how she chose to wear her hair slicked back and down and the overall effect is very red carpet. Rachel's MacDuggal gown sells HERE. Her Suzanne Kalan earrings would set you back a pretty penny (HERE) but there are some looks-for-less (obviously they're just approximate as it's hard to compete with $38,000 earring) HERE and HERE.

 

Until next week, fellow pandas!