As I mentioned last week, I’m currently on vacation!
I’ve been chipping away at this recap slowly but surely during my bits of downtime. I purposely went light on the fashion section to save time, not going down my usual sleuthing rabbit holes, so there are a few things missing. I’ve also axed my usual fashion commentary. Other than that this recap is (miraculously) normal. Thank you for your patience with this one!
“You were writing letters to guys because you thought you were going home?”
Fun fact: Letters are a thing among contestants when going home. Since you rarely know in advance if you’re getting eliminated, you rarely get to say a full goodbye. In some cases, your belongings are actually packed for you (when you aren’t sent home on a 1-on-1 or at a Rose Ceremony), so you don’t get to return to see your housemates. Therefore, the notes are either written in advance (à la Cam), or even smuggled to each other. On my season, I both received and sent notes via sneaking one into the pouch of a handbag (before it was packed up), and via a dress I had loaned a housemate. I remember crying reading and writing these notes, so heightened was my emotional state. It was all very dramatic.
GROUP DATE #1
In my opinion, this show starts to really get good at about the halfway mark, when you see everyone getting legitimately invested. That said, I still love me an early episode now and again, if only for the large Group Dates and their oftentimes absurd activities. The “labor simulator” is definitely up there in my books, providing some highly memorable and true LOL moments. John Paul Jones really delivered in this department (honestly, all of the guys’ reactions were funny but JPJ’s was .GIF-worthy). Also note Hannah’s Direct-Look-Into-Camera as she screams in pain from John Paul Jones’ iron grip on her hand…
In the evening, we get the beginnings of Cam’s rather irritating hypocrisy. Despite being the guy who crashed last week’s Group Date (and in doing so, whether he or not he meant to, took precious time with Hannah from other guys), he plays victim to justify his actions. He even goes so far as to insinuate that the other men’s time may not be as valuable as his given what he wants to discuss with Hannah.
So, in my humble opinion, this is horse shit. His “important topic” with Hannah was to lay on a guilt trip about how he quit his job to be there. (For the record, a good percentage of all contestants do this. Either that or they’re self-employed, freelance, or they have very understanding bosses. It is not rare for someone to have quit their job for the experience of going on this show.) Second, whether or not a producer encouraged him to crash last week’s date, he is in charge of his actions, therefore it bugs me that he’d demand the very respect he wouldn’t give the other men just days ago. And look, I actually don’t mind aggressive, I-go-after-what-I-want behavior (from an entertainment perspective) as long as the contestant just owns it, but Cam is an annoying mix of “Always Be Cam” (the guy who acts like the rules don’t apply to him), and Victim Cam (the guy with a chronic underdog mentality). You can’t have both, but Cam wants it all.
A little editing observation: Note how during the following Man Chat, Cam starts out with Tyler on his right and John Paul Jones guy on his left, but ends up at the end of the same sofa, with no one on his left…
It’s obvious the men were made to sit and talk with each other (about having time, about what they’d talk about with Hannah, about avoiding regrets, etc.) for quite some time, enough for the seating arrangement to have changed.
Also note how Kevin, one of the few guys who didn’t get time with Hannah last week because of Cam’s visit—and the guy most annoyed by it—also just so happens to be on this Group Date with Cam. Coincidence? Thankfully (and impressively), he controls himself.
Before I wrap this date, I want to introduce a new toy to All The Pretty Pandas that I’ve been wanting to add for awhile. We’re going to start playing Word Watch, where someone (anyone!) gets points for using a good word. Because it doesn’t happen enough. A Word Watch point goes to Mike for having said, during his 1-on-1 time with Hannah, “You know me as a jovial, energetic, enthusiastic, always positive type.” We don’t hear words like “jovial” every day here on The Bachelor/Bachelorette, so 👏🏼👏🏼 Mike! It goes without saying that if you feel I miss any Word Watch-worthy words, let me know in the comments!
CONNOR S’ 1-ON-1
As Connor S is summoned to Hannah’s apartment for his 1-on-1, the most adorable conversation ensues among the men back in the mansion’s kitchen. What I find cute about this is that it’s NOT (for once) a formal, prompted Man Chat. The guys are just hanging in the kitchen having a real conversation about how great it’d be to take care of a sick Hannah and to cuddle…
I love it when guys, among other men and when not prompted to talk gushier topics, can just admit to loving things like cuddling and wanting to spend time with a woman. On top of that, the above also shows that there’s a legitimate interest in Hannah, especially from Tyler, who I do believe is very into her.
There was a ton of cuteness throughout this episode, actually! I melted when Hannah read Connor’s message about having left notes around her apartment for her and she grins to herself in the sweetest way, along with a girlish Direct Look Into Camera…
I’ve mentioned over at Flare that Connor S and Hannah together feels super young and High School-ish to me (not in a bad or critical way, mind you), and the above REALLY feels that way to me. It’s like her crush left a cute note in her locker. Also, this will probably age me, but for some reason when I saw the above clip I immediately thought of a hilariously bad board game I used to play as a girl called Girl Talk. (Anyone else ever play that??)
Exhibit B of adorable High School-ishness is later in the evening, when Hannah attaches Connor S’ rose to his leather jacket. Just look at the way Connor S obediently stands still and looks straight ahead, occasionally stealing glances at Hannah, holding back grins…
CUTE CUTE CUTE.
GROUP DATE #2
The second Group Date is the requisite movie plug, this time for The Secret Life Of Pets 2 (I confess I didn’t even know there was an original 🤷🏻♀️). Demi is brought back yet again to “snoop” on the men, and I was amused by her use of air quotes for “hired”. Like, of course we know she didn’t do any planning here (much less hiring!) so it was refreshing to have her subtly admit to that…
There was a quick peek behind the curtain as Hannah and Demi spied on Luke P’s conversation with his makeup artist. He casually reveals one of the biggest factors in how emotions unfold on this show: being trapped in what is essentially a beautiful prison…
The evening portion of this Group Date heavily revolves around an already unraveling Luke P. I appreciated Hannah’s following point on the matter…
I love the above because it is SO TRUE. It’s incredible how someone is attractive until they’re suddenly not, and how fine that line really can be. You want to be pursued but not too hard. You want effort but not too much. You want assertion but not aggression, confidence but not arrogance, comedy but not schtick. It’s amazing how delicate and fickle one’s intrigue can be, and how a slight misstep, especially today in a world of disposable dating, can be fatal. The above really encapsulates early stages dating to me and is one of those deceptively simple Hannah-isms that I’m coming to really appreciate about her.
Luke P is an interesting character. On one hand, when the guys first ask why he seems upset, he straight up tells them that Hannah had given him a talking to. He was honest and showed cards he didn’t have to. I was impressed and felt for a moment that I’d underestimated him. And then, just when I was feeling like I had had him all wrong, at a Man Chat later that same evening, he drops this doozy…
Just, ugh. What a textbook narcissist’s reaction. But given his willingness to declare the L-word (or the beginnings of the L-word) just last week, I guess it’s not surprising that he’d just as willingly retract it to save his precious ego. Easy come, easy go.
On to more feel-good pastures: Peter. I reeeeally like Hannah and Peter together. I loved this first kiss so much. (Yes, their FIRST KISS—that’s on the slower side for this show and I was all about it). What I like here is the transition from conversation to kiss. All too often, I find the kisses (especially the first kisses) on this show to be robotic, with a “We shall kiss now” feeling, like they go from talking to kissing without a segue. Here, you can FEEL the chemistry, the attraction, the electricity. There’s reciprocation for days—they both know the kiss is coming—and then as they’re lips are meeting, he says, “I’m super happy”. It’s just really romantic and to me is by far most natural build-up to a kiss I’ve seen this season…
I guess the fact that I deem clips like the above .GIF-worthy is a giveaway that I’m a gushy romantic at heart. :)
That said, I also deem thinking-better-of-an-ass-grab moments .GIF-worthy, so who the hell knows…
Later on, before Hannah hands out the Group Date rose, she pulls Luke P aside, rose in hand. And here Joey shows how unfamiliar with this show he is…
Gotta love Garrett’s subtle reaction to the prospect of Luke P receiving the rose. It’s so funny seeing the guys in these early stages, before they’re all completely at their wit’s end with each other. They’re still trying their darnedest to be respectful and well-behaved.
TAILGATE PARTY/ROSE CEREMONY
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think Cam is remotely popular and I wouldn’t be surprised if John Paul Jones’ expression was in fact in reaction to something Cam said, but it wasn’t to this thing Cam said. One of countless reminders of how reactions are inserted whenever and wherever needed.
I laughed out loud at the wrap-up of Cam’s long-winded speech about how he might be sent home and how Mike—after the perfect amount of silence for comedic and dramatic effect—called BS, followed by a fantastic Direct-Look-Into-Camera…
What was annoying about Cam’s Man Chat moment here is that it was a speech about wanting something from the guys (being left alone with Hannah, or having his time with her “respected”), thinly veiled as a speech about most likely going home. He was using a brotherly farewell as a tool to get his way, when “his way” in this context is the complete opposite of what he had proven to do for others.
Now, before you think I’m being too harsh on Cam, I’ll say this: IF Cam’s story really were so tragic, it would have been shown. (I did mention this over on The Morning After but I think it’s worth having in writing.) The show is always pretty respectful of sob stories. They very well may exploit those sob stories, but they do air them in a fair, more or less accurate (if not complete) way, and with appropriately sensitive music. Even Chad from Jojo’s season, one of the most villainous villains of recent memory, got his sob story shown. My point is, I have a strong feeling Cam’s story was as not heart-wrenching as it was shown to be. I’m not saying one needs a sob story to be taken seriously or liked on this show, but if you’re going to use it as a tool with which to play victim or to stay on the show longer or to generally get your way, it better as hell be good.
Everything about Cam reads as calculated—in a way that I suspect bleeds beyond the confines of this show—and it is A CRYING SHAME. I say that because it’s clear Cam is intelligent and a thinker. I said in my premiere recap that I want to like him so bad because he’s different than your typical Bachelorette bro. It troubles me that he tries so much harder than he needs to. Dude needs to chill and BE HIMSELF. Here’s hoping that, if he graces us with his presence on Paradise, he does just that.
As always, my frontrunners and initial takeaways for this episode can be found over at Flare!
Hannah’s ML Monique Lhuillier sequin romper sells HERE.
Hannah’s Chaser Sparkle thermal cropped tank sells (on sale!) HERE.
Hannah’s MacDuggal 4811L dress (the “Flash” collection) doesn’t appear to sell online, but you can search for retailers HERE.
I’m saving a bit of vacay time and not doing Best Dressed this week.
Worst Dressed, however, was easy…
Until next week, fellow pandas!