Episode 7

“I feel like [the accelerated pace] leaves you with no choice but to either buy in or don’t." —Matt, who I'm very annoyed we didn't get to see more of

 

 

BRYAN'S 1-ON-1

Rachel takes Bryan on the man equivalent of Leslie H's Pretty Woman date (Sean Lowe's season) and Jade's Cinderella date (Chris Soules' season), meaning he's given some serious swag and the show pretends Rachel is personally treating him. Amidst an onslaught of Breitling product placement, Bryan drops a cute comment...

Back at their Geneva hotel, Adam perfectly expresses how this show can really get under even its most level-headed contestants' skin. I like how he makes a point of saying he wasn't jealous before. It's more a matter of fairness, and giving one contestant (or three!) a second 1-on-1 before two contestants their first falls squarely in insult territory...

You can really feel the Man Chats ramp up in Week 7. There are just so few guys left, and in-house tensions are never higher than they are this week, so the Man Chats begin to veer on the side of shit talking (this almost always happens). Case in point, we discover Dean may be the teensiest judgmental about Bryan's age and the city in which he lives as a single man at said age...

Urgh, I'm sorry, I really, really like Dean but you guys know I'm going to come to Bryan's defense here. Even if you think Bryan is too smooth or disingenuous, I have a problem with him being judged for being single in his late 30s, living in Miami. OF COURSE I am biased on this topic as my husband-to-be was a single man (albeit with one engagement and several long term girlfriends under his belt) in New York City until we met when he was 42. And I can get on board with the fact that maybe Bryan's age and status could be suspect in a smaller town (or even a good-sized city) where the traditional norm is to marry your college sweetheart and start a family by 30. (Hell, most of my high school friends in Ottawa, not a small town by any means, went this route.) But the truth is that a single man in his late 30s in a city like Miami is not an anomaly, nor does it make him a professional "sweet-talker" with malicious intent. Sure, he's probably good with women and has game, but in that case, good for him. That doesn't automatically mean he's not sincere with them. And for this to be coming from a 26-year old, who in all likelihood is less ready and likely to settle down, he just isn't one to judge.

Do I think there's a possibility that Bryan and Dean (and potentially Peter, based on this deleted scene? Thanks, Lily!) simply don't get along? Absolutely. But to me that's a separate criticism and conversation.

 

 

DEAN'S 1-ON-1

Just when I find myself feeling slightly 😒  towards Dean, he goes and behaves like the most kind and thoughtful contestant and human when his 1-on-1 date card is read. So many people in his position could and would celebrate, but his instant reaction is consideration for the two guys who are proving screwed...

He's also got the BEST DANCE MOVES EVER (maybe save for Alex)...

During Dean's 1-on-1, Adam begins to (or is encouraged to) let his ego loose. I said in my The Morning After video (in response to @lolahensley's question about Adam's inflated confidence) that I felt it was a was just a defense mechanism and over-compensation for clearly being at the back of the pack. But on second watch (which doing these recaps often requires), I've realized that his commentary is not only overconfident, but incredibly narcissistic. It's all about him, all the time. Case in point...

What about HER? Doesn't he want to experience spending more time with HER? Wouldn't that be incredible? Maybe I'm being harsh, but this wording (and the fact that this isn't the only example... stay tuned) left a sour taste in my mouth.

We learned a lot about Dean on his date. Funny how everything (usually doubts about a contestant) comes out all at once, and Dean's began with one of the many Man Talks. The guys discussed how he avoids attention and talking feelings by using deflection and humor. I contemplated making .GIFs of his tooth fairy and dinosaur questions, but the smiles he used to deliver uncomfortable and painful information needed to be captured...

Although this evening portion was a clear struggle for him, it was interesting and satisfying television to watch him finally crack his veneer and show some vulnerability. Like I said over at Flare, I really enjoy watching him.

Oh, also: I am a huge fan of the way Dean speaks. Dean has a fantastic vocabulary and says things like, "[My father] is not a person that has any bearing on my emotional experience." His words are clearly, consciously chosen (“unreceptive”, “looming”, “adamant”, “eccentric”, just to name a few... those might not sound special but most people would default to simpler, less specific words) but never sound affected, like he's trying to use "big words" (à la Kelsey).

 

PETER'S 1-ON-1

While I still feel like Rachel's relationship with Bryan is more established—which makes sense, since his 1-on-1s were Week 5 and Week 7, which is a hell of a lot more natural a progression than Week 2 followed by Week 7—Peter made quite the showing this week. He is SO sane and reasonable and honest, confessing having thought about leaving, and he even began initiating in the physical affection department...

 CUTE.

CUTE.

His date activity was hands-down the most badass of the season (so far, anyway)...

Back at the hotel, a date card arrives for the most barrel of laughs-sounding 3-on-1 ever...

... and yet another Man Chat is forced ensues. Adam says something that once again sounds arrogant and narcissistic to me...

At first when he said "shining", I thought he meant them shining as a couple. And it's not an opportunity to enjoy her company, or move their relationship forward, but for HIM to shine?? Urrrghhhh. 

Rachel unsurprisingly gives Peter the 1-on-1 rose, and it is an incredibly sweet and sincere moment. There's a slow (well, slow for this show and for a clear frontrunner) build between them that I really like and feels believable. Most of all, I really appreciate Peter's resistance to use the L-word word, despite the fact that we all know that word is and has likely been heavily encouraged...

His emphasizing the above definitely feels like, if and when he does use/feel/reveal it, we'll believe it.

Lastly, the editing of this storyline really embraced the fact that Peter considered leaving. There was very much an arc of "I've been in my head and thinking about leaving" and "Maybe Peter will eliminate himself", to a climactic "I never say love but we're headed in that direction" resolution. With that in mind, listen to Rachel's "relief"...

"I have to admit I was a little nervous starting out / that he wouldn't accept the rose / but I'm so glad / he did."

Sure, it's possible she actually did feel this way, but what's important is that she didn't say it. Again, not a concern in this context, but you can imagine how scarily creative that liberal copying/pasting could (and can) get. 

 

THE 3-ON-1 TURNED 2-ON-1

You guys, I love Eric. In contrast to Adam, listen (well, read) his use of "me" and "I"...

It's introspective, reflective, and ties in Rachel and what she does to and for him. There's no tone of him wanting to shine, to show her how incredible time with him is, of him doing her some favor. I'm reminded of Evan Bass' excellent Hollywood Reporter piece defending Bachelor in Paradise and its producers. In it he wrote: "The cast members who get the most out of the experience are the ones who treat it as therapy... Generally speaking, the contestants who gripe are the ones who can't/won't internalize their experience." I could not agree more and I think Eric is this season's poster child for this. Above all, I love how vocal he is about it. 

Aaaaaaand, Exhibit B...

Again, it's not about what THEY built. Nope.

I was astounded by the picture Eric painted of his home life and growing up. I'm really impressed by how he's done everything in his power to make the best of his lot while staying remarkably positive. The follow (in passing!) sentence simultaneously blew my mind and broke my heart...

Despite the episode-long efforts to show Adam's confidence that he'd be getting that Hometown, Eric obviously gets the rose. It's absurd to imagine either Matt or Adam would have, considering their lack of both 1-on-1s and airtime. We'd never meet the family of contestants we've gotten to know as little as them.

Lastly, I couldn't live with myself without capturing the following...

 

BEST DRESSED

I'm a sucker for a man in stripes (it took me months to wrap Andy's mind around wearing the striped sweater he now calls his "mime shirt"... as in, "Should I go mime tonight?") so Peter's perfect sweater did not go unnoticed...

Peter's fashion choices are just insanely spot on. (The only reason he's not here more is because there are often repeats.) Even the pairing of this sweater with those rust-colored pants, while unexpected, is very sophisticated. His style is classic but with a twist, to the point where I've even eyed a simple white T-shirt on him and wondered where he got it. Peter's striped sweater sells HERE.

 

WORST DRESSED

No disasters this week!

 

RACHEL'S LOOKS

Rachel's fashion has been great all season but this week was the best yet. For her Geneva B-rolls...

I liked this look a lot. Each piece has a bit of interest (the unexpected shade of that moto jacket, the lace-up detail on that skirt) but there's still a low-effort-seeming simplicity to the overall look. Rachel's jacket is by All Saints and sells (on sale) HERE, but there's also a good look-for-less HERE. Her Paige skirt sells HERE, but since it's on the pricey side for what it is, I found a fantastic look-for-less HERE

One of my THREE favorite looks of the week was what she wore for her day with Bryan...

She looked SO striking in this, wow. When she walked in I wanted it all. I love how loose and drapey the pieces are but how her waist is still highlighted so the look is flattering. This is hands-down something I would wear and I am legitimately eyeing each piece. Rachel's Tibi sweater sells (on sale) HERE. I wasn't able to find a good look-for-less but in my search I found a hi-low white knit dress that I'm eyeing, HERE. Her Ramy Brook trousers sell (also on sale) HERE, and there's a look-for-less HERE. Her incredible necklace is by Nan Fusco (meaning pricey and unavailable)—the best looks-for-less I could find (it was tough finding a tassel made of chain as opposed to beads or thread) sell HERE and HERE.

In the evening...

This was #2 in my list of favorite looks. The color and details on that dress are gorgeous and I want it BAD. I think Rachel's a master at not showing a ton of skin while looking like a total sexpot. Rachel's Cushnie et Ochs dress sells HERE. Her JL by Judith Leiber shoes (which you may remember from the Oslo Rose Ceremony) sell (on sale) HERE. She wore the same Nan Fusco earrings in week 5 and I'll include the same look-for-less option I provided then, HERE.

For her date with Dean...

Another head-to-toe win. I like the dress a lot, but the showstopper to me is that unique robin's egg blue coat. The look was both church and date-appropriate and overall, oh so ladylike. Rachel's white knit dress is by 3.1 Philip Lim and sells HERE—if you're a M you're in luck as there's one selling on eBay HERE. There's a midi-length look-for-less selling HERE. Her Zara coat is tragically sold out (HERE), but if you must have it, there are a few sizes on eBay HERE.

In the evening...

This was #3 of my favorites. There's great balance of covered-up-ness and flow up top, with a mini length hem and legs for days. Even the height of the bootie is a well thought-out, balanced choice. As with the white ensemble and the asymmetrical dress, I find myself wanting every single piece. Rachel's cape sleeve dress is by Solace London and is sadly sold out (HERE) but it's available for rent HERE. (In my search I found a similar silhouette but with a cool print, HERE, and with a bell sleeve in a casual grey jersey, HERE.) Her badass Jerome Rousseau booties sell HERE but I'm afraid I couldn't find a wallet-friendlier alternative. I couldn't find her exact The Woods necklace but there's a similar-ish one HERE.

In the evening of her 1-on-1 with Peter...

This might be surprising as I'm an open back girl, but I didn't love this dress. The satin trim feels a little fussy to me, like it's trying too hard to be different, and the result looks a little amateur, crafty, and student-y to me. The body chain, however, is a win, as is wearing it backwards like that to highlight the open back. (I pull this trick all the time!) Her dress is once again by Randi Rahm (good thing I didn't want it anyway), and her bodychain sells HERE. (I got to this look late—just before posting this recap—so I will reach out to Jesse and Co to see if I can get a promo code for you guys.) If you like the look but, like me, tend to prefer gold-filled body chains so that they're beach/pool-resilient, there's a super similar gold-filled one selling HERE.

 

Until next week, fellow pandas!