Episode 9

"I'm, like, really low-key annoyed." —Rachel (and I am totally stealing this line)

 

 

The boys remain in Dallas to be informed that they'll be meeting Rachel's parents there. Two things stuck out to me about this: First, this means that, post-Hometown, Dean was flown to Dallas for the Rose Ceremony only to twiddle his thumbs, get eliminated, and immediately flown home. Second, there's a delightful breaking of the 4th wall...

Not only does Rachel reference what is "normal" in this situation (that "normally", "just" two of her "boyfriends" would be meeting her family), she also reveals that the contestants are usually separated from Hometowns onwards. This is something we've discussed here before, but I don't think it's ever been openly admitted on the actual show.

 

PETER MEETS THE FAM

One of the joys of forcing the men to re-co-exist is the resulting forced Man Chats. I thought the following was interesting, as it really seems like Bryan did not hear this tidbit firsthand...

You would think if Peter told Bryan this gossip-worthy nugget in a Man Chat—something I have difficulty imagining as it's clear they don't care for each other—they would certainly have aired it... which begs the question, who told Bryan this? Also, this exchange (not to mention Eric's strong reaction) certainly serve as foreshadowing for Peter's major plot point throughout the episode (and presumably for the rest of the season).

And now, listen to a bit of the above clip:

I figure he probably said something more or less along the same lines, but that sentence has definitely been sliced and diced.

While the men are prodded to talk about Peter, it turns out Peter is INSANELY GOOD at meeting girlfriends' families...

I mean, Peter is clearly presentable, grounded, and well-spoken, so most families would probably be impressed, but this is artful. Rachel's a realist and a self-proclaimed skeptic, so it's obvious her family would be that way as well. Can you imagine a smarter thing to say to Rachel's (obviously shrewd) mother, given how her daughter is? I'm not saying this is strategic on Peter's part—I personally believe he's 100% sincere as he says this—it's just a great audience for him.

 

ERIC MEETS THE FAM

It's Eric's turn in this meet-the-Lindsays game of musical chairs, and once again, forcing the men to continue to live together is the gift that keeps on giving...

Eric impressed me on this "date". He remained himself and totally honest, despite the fact that some details of his upbringing and relationship history might not be flattering. As I said on The Morning After, this worked out as I feel like Rachel's family are the sort of people who recognize and appreciate that honesty, rather than getting hung up on the information that honesty provides and holding it against him (which A LOT of people would do).

 

BRYAN MEETS THE FAM

Heading into Bryan's turn in the musical chair, we're shown plenty of close-ups of Bryan's fancy watch. I LOVED Eric's lack of judgment towards Bryan regarding the watch, but how he rather focused on what Rachel having worn hers means (SO many people would just hate on Bryan in this situation). Eric is dead on...

Even without the previews suggesting Bryan's meet-the-Lindsays "date" doesn't go well, we could have predicted as much when we were shown Bryan sounding the teensiest bit too confident about it...

I think the above was chopped up, but it doesn't really matter as the point is that Bryan's confidence is being shown as climbing sky high, only to be brought down. If there's one thing we know, it's that a mini-arc of confidence and subsequent rug-being-pulled-out-from-underneath is a reality TV favorite. 

I really enjoyed their time with Rachel's girlfriends and it definitely speaks volumes that Bryan's the only one who got to meet them. I also laughed when Rachel confessed to thinking Bryan might've been a douchebag, but I personally find it suspect that we weren't shown those words coming out of her mouth...

And now for this episode's tour de force in fishy editing. We were shown preview after preview of Bryan excusing himself from the table in an uncomfortable-seeming moment. Obviously the scene we ultimately saw was hardly as tense, but even this tension felt super forced to me...

 If anyone can fill in this blank, please do! 

If anyone can fill in this blank, please do! 

First, Rachel's uncle Jeff's question (nor the pleasant way in which he asked it) was not remotely weird, so Rachel's frown combined with Bryan's stumbling makes me wonder if their responses were taken from a different moment. Either that or if her uncle's question was question #1,080,367 and they were just over being asked questions like this. Second, for someone as smooth and effusive as Bryan, I hardly think he'd have a hard time coming up with a few words to describe what Rachel brings out in him. (In other words, this is hardly advanced calculus.) Third, Bryan SO CLEARLY did not excuse himself from the table at this moment. And Rachel's tweet Monday night proves it:

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but in filmed group conversations, oftentimes producers will ask you to take a moment to say something that concludes the scene or leads into the next moment. For example, at the end of a Girl Chat, you could be prompted to say something vaguely conclusive, like, "Well, I guess only time will tell", or the pre-1-on-1 favorite, "Alright, I'd better go get ready for my date" (exit left). That moment where Bryan looks up and sort of goes, "Uh, ok" before excusing himself really feels that way to me. My suspicion is Bryan was prompted to excuse himself (without mentioning her father, since obviously her father "was not able to be there") and then that clip was copied and pasted in another moment to make it seem like he was excusing himself to escape.

 

ERIC'S SPAIN 1-ON-1

Eric gets the first 1-on-1 in Rioja, and I just had to capture the moment where Rachel says to put the champagne flutes down and Eric squeezes in that last, quick swig...

 We've all been there.

We've all been there.

This was the date where I felt Eric's roll slowed. Before I felt like he was very specific in how he felt about Rachel, describing how she made him feel, and what she brought out in him, almost as though he was coming to terms with those feelings himself. But the words exchanged on this date felt just like that: words. I mentioned this on The Morning After but I want to reiterate: 

Rachel: "I'm really curious, like, what did you learn about me, if anything? Did my Hometowns give you better insight into me? And if so, how?"
Eric: "Yeah, um. I learned that you're strong. You're independent. You don't really need much... but you need everything."
Rachel: (laughs) "Oooh, I sound like a complicated person!"
Eric: (laughs) "But, um, Rachel does her own thing."

So, I don't disagree with any of the above. I do think Rachel is strong and independent. But to me those adjectives in this context feel like stock answers and don't feel in response to her question. Next, the way Eric professed his love felt like some of the same...

Don't get me wrong: This is very sweet and I believe he believes he loves her. But the words just don't feel specific to her or them as a couple, and in my opinion end up feeling a bit like stock statements, an X, Y, and Z of what one says when they're "in love". As Andy said after Eric said the above: "And in conclusion, I am in love with you." Again, I believe Eric here. It's just that I think the bubble moved faster than his ability to articulate WHY he's officially in love with her.

Oh, also: The lack of thrill in Rachel as she receives this profession of love is a DEAD GIVEAWAY that she's not picking him.

 

PETER'S RIOJA 1-ON-1

Rachel takes Peter on a cool winery date and we get a glimpse of Peter's rarely shown goofy side...

I spent most of my Flare recap discussing the engagement/marriage debacle so I'll refrain from repeating myself here, but what stood out to me that I had to capture as a .GIF was THIS BODY LANGUAGE...

She has TEARS IN HER EYES and is clearly very upset and speechless, yet he seems completely unfazed. I totally believe that Peter really, really likes Rachel, and he certainly tells her as much (he confessed to falling in love with her before they headed into his meet-and-greet with her family), but you guys know I'm a big proponent of showing, not telling. In this moment, I don't feel Peter is showing Rachel he's falling in love with her. Of course, I'm the first person to point out that this is just one moment of many, and perhaps it's just an unflattering one. But I still feel like he should be cradling her face or wiping away her tears, not just sitting back and watching her be sad. 

 

As always, my predictions based on this episode are over at Flare!

 

BEST DRESSED

Peter was this week's Best Dressed but it was a repeat!

 

WORST DRESSED

Peter can usually do no wrong in the fashion department but he had his first ever fail this week... 

Andy, upon seeing this shirt: "Oh my god, I can't see his pocket!" It turns out even Peter can't pull off a camo pocket. 

 

REQUESTS

Risa asked about my necklaces and Mary asked about my dress, both from this week's The Morning After video...

My choker set is by Baublebar and sells HERE. I picked up my Wilfred leopard dress at Aritzia a few weeks ago (majorly on sale - very pleased about this) and there are still a few sizes left HERE.

 

RACHEL'S LOOKS

For her Dallas B-rolls and Peter's family meet-and-greet date...

This is a fabulous look. I love the pairing of that funky statement skirt with a plain white tee, and the shoes complement (rather than match) the look. She looks edgy yet relaxed. Rachel's Self Portrait mini skirt sells HERE, but if you're a 2 you're in luck as it's on eBay for way less, HERE. Her Shoe Dazzle peep toe booties sell HERE. Her necklace and ring are by Robyn Rhodes and sell HERE and HERE, respectively - and you know by now you can get 20% off with code PANDAS20.

For Bryan's version of the same date...

At a glance this look doesn't stand out, but the subdued details make it special. I love the subtly sexy tie-sides on that sweater, and the wine color of those booties is a fabulous detail. Rachel's Elizabeth and James side tie sweater sells HERE and there's a near-identical look-for-less selling (in many colors and on sale) HERE. Her Fidelity jeans (which she also wore on her first 1-on-1 with Bryan) sell HERE. Her Rachel Zoe booties sell (super on sale!) HERE. You may remember her The Woods necklace from Episode 7 - she's got it on a double chain this time. The closest pendant I could find by the same designer is HERE. If you're okay with a beaded (as opposed to chain) necklace, there's a really gorgeous look-for-less HERE.

For her Rioja B-rolls...

The word that comes to mind when I see this look is "doable". It's not particularly edgy or fashion-forward, but it's simple and polished and very accessible. Rachel's Ramy Brook cold shoulder top is sadly sold out (HERE) but it's still available there in two other colors, and there's a red look-for-less HERE. Her wedges are by Stuart Weitzman and sell (super on sale!) HERE. Her Robyn Rhodes ring sells HERE.

For Eric's Rioja 1-on-1...

I like but don't love this look. It's certainly easy and wearable, but it's too basic for TV, in my humble opinion. I'd like some factor, like a cool necklace or belt, which makes it remarkable. I wasn't able to find Rachel's exact chambray shirt but there's a very similar one selling HERE. Her jeans are the same Fidelity pair as above. Her peep toe bootie is by Shoe Dazzle and sells HERE. Her necklace is by Robyn Rhodes and sells HERE (you know the drill with the promo code).

For Peter's 1-on-1...

This look has exactly what the above look doesn't. Sure, it's still easy and wearable, but there's interest. That dress is just charming, the booties are wonderfully Western, and that choker is unique. Rachel's Faherty dress sells HERE and also comes in white and navy, HERE, and solid pale blue, HERE. Her Frye boots sell (in two colors and on sale) HERE. Her choker is by The Woods but there are look-for-less options HERE and HERE.

In the evening...

I'm annoyed we hardly saw this sexpot look as I think it'd like it if I were able to actually see it. Rachel's dress is by Bebe and is sadly sold out (HERE), but I found lots of excellent alternatives: A cool maxi-length version (HERE) and an off-the-shoulder version (HERE), both by the same brand, as well as a fantastic look-for-less in white (HERE). 

 

Until next week, fellow pandas!