(Has my NICKname for Bachelor fans caught on yet? I am keeping my fingers crossed.)
Now, because some of you are diving into the Bachelor franchise for the first time this season, I want to make sure you’re privy to all of the details that make this show so special. Tonight, I’m going to try a two-pronged approach, so feel free to self-identify into one of of the below rose-themed groups and read the color commentary that best suits your needs.
Group 1: Budding Newbies
Group 2: Perennial Pros
Okay, let’s do this.
The Play by Play
When we last left each other, star of stage and screen Nick Viall made the easy decision to eliminate eight contestants to whom he had no emotional attachment. Now the fun can begin! Host Chris Harrison comes to the mansion for a morning gab session with the ladies and breaks the news that the week will involve two group dates and a one-on-one date … and not everyone will be seeing Nick before the next rose ceremony.
With classic words of Bachelor wisdom (“When you do get time, take advantage of it.”), he swiftly pulls the season’s first date card out of his pocket and leaves it on the coffee table so the ladies can start freaking out. Corinne, Vanessa, Sarah, Alexis, Hailey, Lacey, Brittany, Jasmine, Raven, Danielle L., and Elizabeth are summoned to the call of DATE ONE with the groan-inducing phrase, “always a bridesmaid…”
Budding Newbies: The date card is exactly what it sounds like … an index card with one or more names and a “cryptic” clue about the romantic (or not) activity that the Bachelor has chosen to pursue. The card is always read aloud, followed by joyful high-pitched screaming.
Perennial Pros: Let’s start keeping track of the handwriting styles on the date cards so we can determine how many ABC interns worked on the show this season.
The group daters run outside to find three matching blue convertibles and pile in. Is this the first time in show history that the contestants have been forced to drive themselves to a group date? Seems like a liability.
Eventually, they pull up to a beautiful empty mansion, run through said beautiful empty mansion (the doorways are conveniently large and open), and end up in a lush backyard with a photo shoot setup. Hugs with Nick all around. Alexis a.k.a. Dolph Sharkfin has to remind Nick who she is, because she’s not wearing a sea creature costume. But what exactly is her porpoise on the show? She dolphinately won’t be here for very long.
So, Nick, what are we doing today?
That’s right. There’s no better way to get to know the potential love of your life than by taking fake wedding photos with her. Each of the ladies is assigned a different character — ’80s bride, shotgun bride, princess bride (not The Princess Bride, unfortunately) — and the actor hired to play a professional photographer says that whoever has the best chemistry with Nick during the shoot gets a special surprise at the end. Oh, goodie!
Budding Newbies: Group dates are the ultimate opportunity to showcase your competitive side and stand out from the crowd.
Perennial Pros: Time for Nick to make out with as many women as possible.
Each pairing is remarkable in its own way, but once the themes shift from romantic to sexy, the trouble begins…
Nick is Adam, Brittany is Eve, and Corinne can’t handle it. “Brittany is half-naked, and that is freaking me out!” She declares her intention to suck Nick’s face. Next thing we know, Corinne’s in the pool as a beach bride. She immediately rips off Nick’s shirt, followed by her own bikini top.
“Nick held my boobs today.”
Of course Corinne is declared the “winner” of the group date, and everyone else is pissed. Nick admits to loving Corinne’s assertiveness. But the other women have started to question Nick’s taste and intentions. After the photo shoot, the girls vie for alone time with Nick.
Fresh off her victory, Corinne takes the opportunity to sabotage as many women’s conversations as possible. At one point, she approaches Alexis and simply says, “I’m interrupting you.” Leave nothing to interpretation, Corinne. After a double-steal situation (Corinne interrupts Taylor, Taylor comes back to interrupt Corinne), it’s time to hand out the date rose.
Guess who receives it?
And her victory speech? “I just put myself out there … I was just Corinne. XOXO, Gossip Girl.” Corinne, you are ridiculous, and I love it.
Budding Newbies: One of the oft-repeated phrases on the show, “here for the right reasons,” usually stands for a contestant’s desire to find love versus becoming, say, Twitter- or Instagram-famous. In a unique turn of events, we may find the phrase being used to question Nick’s motives if he continues to fall for the foxy Floridian.
Perennial Pros: I think Nick is H.F.T.R.R., but he’s currently experiencing sensory overload. Reboot, Nick! Reboot!
It’s a new day, so let’s erase the awkwardness from our minds and check in on the winner of the one-on-one date, Danielle M. “Our relationship is about to take off,” said the date card, and as per usual this is meant literally. First helicopter ride of the season! And they’re landing on a yacht! Pour some bubbly and watch the conversation flow.
“Help yourself to some cheese,” says one Wisconsinite to the other. Danielle tells Nick that she doesn’t know much about him, so he recaps his previous appearances on the show and explains the value of being open and vulnerable when you’re in love. Danielle pours her heart out with a gut-wrenching story about her last serious relationship — her fiancé died of a drug overdose. Let’s take a moment to compose ourselves; that was legitimately sad. At the end of the date, Nick describes Danielle as endearing, lovable, and a “woman with incredible strength,” praising the intensity of their connection.
Budding Newbies: Another common Bachelor phrase, “qualities I’m looking for in a wife,” makes an appearance on this date. Notice how none of those characteristics were mentioned when Nick was talking about Corinne.
Perennial Pros: I’m getting “final four” vibes from this one! Go, Danielle, go!
Meanwhile, back at the house, Liz decides she can no longer deal with holding in the secret of her previous sex romp with Nick, so she spills the gory details of that fateful night to Christen. And because there’s value in making group activities as awkward as possible, a date card that reads, “We need to talk” goes to Christen, Josephine, Astrid, Jaimi, Kristina, and Liz! The ladies head over to the Museum of Broken Relationships in Hollywood where they peruse relics of love gone sour.
Everything from a dog brush to journals to A DRIED-UP ROSE AND KAITLYN BRISTOWE’S REJECTED ENGAGEMENT RING, as donated by Nick himself. Whaaaaaaaaat? Nick describes his breakup with Kaitlyn in fond terms, saying it reminds him of “hope.” This little nugget serves as a segue into the next activity — participation in an “art of the breakup” symposium. Yes, each of the women has to act out how she would hypothetically break up with Nick, in front of an audience of strangers. It goes as well as you’d expect.
And when it’s time for Liz to take the floor, Nick knows he’s in trouble. Liz decides to perform her breakup as the reading of a diary entry, effectively telling the entire tale of having previously met Nick. Our Bachelor is sweating bullets, and the only other person who knows that Liz is telling a true story is Christen. The other contestants are none the wiser, though they praise Liz for her dedication to her, uh, character. “Liz really went into detail with her story line,” muses Jaimi.
Nick, on the other hand, is not so impressed.
“I’m living my nightmare,” he says, completely distracted trying to hold conversations with the other women. He’s paranoid that the other contestants know about his history with Liz and doesn’t want them to feel like he’s keeping a secret from them. Sorry boy, but you brought this upon yourself with that ridiculous choice of a group date activity!
Eventually, Christen confesses to Nick that she knew Liz’s performance was based in reality, and it sets our Bachelor on a mission to do some damage control. He pulls Liz aside to try and understand her motives, still bothered by the fact that if she wanted to get in touch with him at any point between the time they slept together and the time the show started taping, it would have been easy to do so. The conversation is less than enlightening (“The more I talk to Liz, the less she makes sense.”), and Liz feigns shock at Nick’s accusations that she isn’t actually interested in dating him.
Nick has had enough. “I just don’t think we have a future,” he admits and with that … SHE GONE. Good riddance, Liz! Take that Cheshire Cat grin and go find another Bachelor alumni wedding to crash.
Kiss From a Rose
Let’s not forget, Nick is still on a group date with a couch full of women, and it’s time for him to be honest and explain to them why he sent Liz home. “I have to tell the women everything,” he says, and we are teased with a quick montage of reaction shots as Nick breaks the news. It’s the most. Shocking. Revelation. Ever!
Budding Newbies: Yet another classic Bachelor theme being introduced early in the season — the dreaded “To be continued…” sign-off! We are left without a rose ceremony and more questions than answers!
Perennial Pros: The worst thing about TBC episodes? Less Chris Harrison screen time.
Corinne cries. Taylor psychoanalyzes. And Vanessa asks a million-dollar question.
Heather Kaplan is a copywriter by day and a photographer by night. She tweets, infrequently.