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Alright folks. The end of this season is in sight. After an incredibly dramatic (read: boring) week in exotic Ft. Lauderdale, Arie and his dwindling harem begin the international portion of their quest for love by jetting off to Paris.
Even though Paris is touted as the most romantic city in the world, I’ll be honest – I’m not a huge fan. There are approximately three things I like about Paris. In no particular order, this includes easy access to cheap Bordeaux wine and delicious cheeses, the ability to get ham, egg, and cheese crepes that are so salty you can actually feel the salt gritting between your teeth, and Les Refuge des Fondus, which is a hole-in-the-wall fondue joint where they serve you wine in baby bottles and encourage you to get real rowdy. Before you light up the comment section, yes, I know each of those things involve cheese, and no, I am I not embarrassed by that. Now that I’m thinking about it, I guess the Louvre was cool too.
This week’s episode brought us two one-on-one dates, a group date, and this season’s epic two-on-one date, so we’ve got a lot to unpack. Let’s break it down:
Twenty Minute Naptime One-on-One Date with Lauren B
After arriving in Paris, the ladies learn that their AirBNB fell through, so instead ABC puts them up on a luxury barge for the week. Sounds about right. As they’re unpacking their shit and having lingerie pillow fights or whatever it is they do off camera, Arie is met by Chris Harrison in a random park. They sit on a bench and have a riveting conversation.
“Arie, how are things going?” His Holiness Chris Harrison asks.
“Hey dude, things are going well,” Arie answers. “I like all the girls. They’re cool. Traveling is cool. Dates are fun. There are at least six of them I for sure want to smash.”
“You are truly an idiot and any relationship that springs from this season is destined for failure,” Lord Harrison whispers.
“What was that?” Arie asks, leaning in.
“I said that I’m excited things are going so well for you! Maybe you’ll fall in love in Paris! RIGHT REASONS!” Chris exclaims before standing up, turning around, and abruptly leaving. “See you at the Rose Ceremony,” he shouts over his shoulder.
After this exchange, we’re transported back to the ladies’ love barge, where the first date card arrives, reading “Tomber amoureaux à Paris…” and goes to Lauren B.
“Wait, what does that even mean?” Lauren B. asks the group.
“It means ‘Fall in love in Paris’ you uncultured swine,” Seinne informs her.
Arie arrives in short order and collects Lauren B. The two depart for their date in an antique boat and cruise the Seine taking in the sights. Whereas most dates on this show consist of a lot of conversations that I don’t give two shits about, Arie and Lauren B. spend the entirety of theirs not speaking to one another. They look longingly into each other’s eyes on the boat without an exchange of words. They stroll along the Seine in silence. They pass the Notre Dame and not a damn word is spoken. Talking is gone in the Tuileries Garden.
“I’m excited to see more and more of her personality,” Arie tells the camera. Spoiler alert, big dog – Lauren B. is the most boring contestant on The Bachelor since Lauren B. I’ve developed stronger relationships with Uber drivers on a ten minute trip home from the bar than they’ve been able to after knowing each other for weeks and spending all day alone together. In Lauren B.’s defense, she’s super hot, which is why she’s even here in the first place, so maybe not talking is working for her.
Arie finally notices that Lauren B. hasn’t spoken to him in over three hours. He tells the camera, “Maybe she’s not into me…” Ladies – if you’re considering a run on The Bachelor, here’s a pro tip: if the lead thinks you may not be into him, you’re doing it wrong.
Arie and Lauren B. sit on a bench in the Tuileries Garden, and Lauren finally breaks the vow of silence she took at her Catholic grade school when she was eight. “So, how’s everything been for you with everything that’s happened?” Holy shit guys, what a deep and probing question. The foundation of this relationship must be rock fucking solid.
The pleasantries continue for a few minutes before Arie makes a confession. “I have a crush on you,” he tells Lauren B. “And I think it would be pretty great if you liked me back too.” She giggles, but says nothing. This is going well.
Sensing that this situation has the potential to go up in flames like the Hindenburg, the producers decide to intervene and take this part of the date out behind the barn, tell it about the bunnies, and put it out of its misery.
We are fast-forwarded to dinner where we see Lauren slinking in wearing a saucy red number, looking like a snack. As they enter an upscale restaurant, Arie tells the camera, “Things this afternoon went great! The only problem is that Lauren didn’t really open up. Actually, she didn’t say anything. At all. For the entire afternoon. Turns out it’s really hard to build a relationship with a mute. I did learn the sign language for ‘Ask me about my wiener’ so maybe that will start moving this date along.”
Their dinner begins much in the same fashion as the daytime portion of the date: in total silence. After what seems like an eternity, Arie finally snaps. “Listen Lauren, you’re super hot and I’m very into you, but if you don’t speak I’m going to send you home.”
“Sorry,” Lauren replies. “I just have a hard time opening up. I’ve friendzoned every guy I ended up dating for like six months before we got together because I really like attention more than actually being with someone, so we’re kind of in that phase right now. You’re doing a pretty good job on the attention front, though. My only suggestion would be to focus less on literally everyone else and more on me, but other than that you’re doing well.”
“In case you hadn’t noticed,” Arie says, “Friendzoning me is probably not your strongest play at this point. Listen, I get it. This is difficult. But I need you to prove to me that you’re not a total soulless robot.”
Arie decides to lead by example. Since opening up is difficult for Lauren, he decides to share something from his past. With a deep breath, he begins by saying, “I think one of the most difficult times for me was in my last serious relationship. We were together for a few years and she was actually pregnant with my child.”
Given the fact that Arie doesn’t currently have a child, I’m sure that the story is going to have a horrific ending. I debate turning off the TV, putting my fingers in my ears and screaming loudly, or giving up on this bullshit altogether, but decide on refilling my wine glass to the absolute brim.
“I was traveling a lot for racing,” Arie continues. “I got a call from my girlfriend that she lost the baby and that when I got home she wouldn’t be there. And that was the end of it.”
Well that’s a real buzz kill. I didn’t sign up for this type of emotional roller coaster.
Lauren finally decides to be vulnerable as well. She tells Arie that she was engaged during her previous relationship; however, after she got the ring her fiancé started treating her like shit. They ended things and now she’s all fucked up from the experience, so she decided to go on The Bachelor to see if that would make things better. Probably not her best decision, but here we are. If her and Arie end up together, at least they’ll be able to continue their reality TV career on Couples’ Therapy, because it sounds like they both have shit they need to work through. Good God.
Despite all of this, Arie still decides to give her a rose. This won’t end poorly at all.
Moulin Rouge Group Date
The group date card arrives and is addressed to Becca K., Seinne, Pixie Tits, Dr. Queen Wiener, Chelsea, and Jenna, and reads, “Let’s get all dressed up.” Based on the group date card, the women assume that they’ll be participating in some sort of fashion show for their activity. The joke is on these bitches, because this isn’t Bachelor Fashion Week. Instead of strutting a runway in high fashion, they’re about to show their ass cheeks to total strangers. As the group saunters through the streets of Paris, they happen upon a familiar windmill. Old Becca makes the connection immediately, shouting “It’s the Moulin Rouge!”
Young Bekah looks confused, whispering “My parents said that I wasn’t old enough to watch that movie,” to Jenna.
Tia rolls her eyes. “Yeah, well you also didn’t tell your mom that you were going to work on a marijuana farm and she reported you as a missing person, so I don’t think you get to use that excuse anymore. Try again.”
As Arie & Co walk inside, they are greeted by a frumpy broad named Miss Janet who is the artistic director of the Moulin Rouge. She pulls them on stage and informs them her job will be to teach them some slutty choreography. Seinne grew up as a dancer, so she naturally picks up the moves very quickly. Chelsea does as well, because this may or may not be the first time in her life she’s had to resort to dancing to accomplish her goals in life. On the other hand, Tia is clearly not a dancer, so she spends most of this teaching session floundering around like a dying fish on the stage, which is not a particularly sexy look for her. To her credit, she owns it, telling the camera, “Yeah, I’m fucking horrible.” Her words, not mine.
After their dance lesson, Miss Janet instructs the ladies that they will be picking out burlesque outfits to wear while they perform for Arie. As they get decked out from head to toe in thongs, titty tassels, feathers and ornate headdresses, the women have a variety of reactions. Young Bekah tells the camera, “I love this costume so much! I never want to take it off for the rest of my life.” On the other end of the excitement spectrum, Old Becca tells the camera “I’ve never been in so much pain from wearing an outfit in my life.” This is the most perfect description of the dichotomy between being 22 and being 27 that I’ve ever encountered.
Once the women are totally decked out in outfits that would make their grandmothers cry, one by one they strut their stuff for Arie. Miss Janet tells them that the best dancer will get to perform in that evening’s show at the Moulin Rouge with Arie and win some extra time with him after the cocktail party. I’ll be honest, their little cat walk number was not super impressive. I secretly hoped that Lady Marmalade would start playing and Christina, Lil’ Kim, Mya, and Pink would drop from the rafters and redeem this shit; alas this dream did not come true.
Instead of declaring a winner after their performances, Arie invites all of the ladies to a cocktail party. He loves the participation ribbon move. He tells them that the winner of the rose, extra time with him, and the performance at the Moulin Rouge will actually not be rewarded based on their dancing ability, but on the overall quality of their connection. I love that we are watching a show where this has to be specified both to the audience and the contestants. What a world we live in.
During the cocktail party, Arie sucks face with Tia, Pixie Tits, and Seinne. They all had identical conversations with him, talking about how they had real feelings for each other and stupid shit like that. Arie ends up giving Pixie Tits the rose and while the two of them get into costume for their performance, the other five women go to a private box to watch from the audience.
The crew at the Moulin Rouge puts Pixie Tits into a blond wig and she actually looks pretty hot in it. On the other hand, Arie looks like a real dweeb after he gets dressed up in a circus ringmaster getup. Their special performance basically consists of them walking on stage, waving a few times, and then being ushered off stage immediately by people who have actual talent. Nevertheless, they celebrated backstage like they had just won a goddamn Oscar.
During the whole charade, the camera kept panning back to the box where the other women were sitting, and they were not having it. Jenna scowled as she put on her jacket folding her arms across her chest. “I mean,” she starts. “I’m going home. That’s pretty obvious. Might as well just get your shit together now.
After Arie and Pixie Tits return their costumes, they walk out in front of the Moulin Rouge to have one last make out sesh in front of the windmill. It must remind Arie of his Dutch roots. As Pixie Tits’s tongue gently flicks Arie’s uvula, we see a cut scene where Arie tells the camera that he’s falling in love with her. If I remember correctly, this is the first time this season that he’s said those words. As soon as that statement is out of his mouth, Chris Harrison looks down at his phone screen. A new message from Chris Hansen has popped up. “Fuck,” Lord Harrison says. “Somebody get HR on the phone.”
Two-on-One Date: Krystal versus Kendall
During the group date, Lauren B., Krystal, Kendall, and Jacqueline are left alone in the love prison barge. After keeping them in suspense all week, the producers subtly drop the next date card on a mantle for Krystal to find. Once she spots the envelope, she saunters into the main living area, grinning like the Cheshire Cat.
“HiiiiiiiiiIIIIIIIIiiiiiiii,” she says. “We’ve got a date card!” She licks her lips before continuing.
Opening the envelope, her grin widens. “Two girls, one rose. One stays, and one, like, goes.”
As those words are uttered, on a small island across the Atlantic, there is a stir. A gaunt figure appears at the mouth of a cave, holding a torch.
“Could it be?” the figure whispers, turning towards the wall of the cave. The wall of the cave is covered in tally marks, etched over a span of years, some carved into the stone, some marked in blood. “It is!” the figure exclaims. “It is time!”
Meanwhile, back in Paris, Krystal continues. “The ladies on the date are Kendall…and…meeEEEeeeee!” As the reality of the situations sinks in, Jacqueline pretends that she isn’t secretly ecstatic that she isn’t about to Battle Royale with Krystal while Lauren B. takes a more practical approach, simply giving Kendall a hug and whispering, “It’s been fun getting to know you! Let’s hang out when this is over, unless of course I win, because then I’ll be totally done with you bitches.”
For their date, Arie takes Kendall and Krystal to a French chateau, where they sip wine and pretend that they don’t actually want to kill each other for a shot at that Neil Lane ring. Instead of continuing to force the women to play nice, Arie mercifully separates them for some one-on-one time.
He speaks with Krystal first. She greets him excitedly by aggressively massaging his shoulders and saying “HiiiiiiiiIIIIIIIIIiiiiii baaaaabyyyyyyyy!” while blowing in his ear. He doesn’t look super enthusiastic.
Instead of pretending like nothing is bothering him, Arie brings up the events from the previous week. “It bothered me that after the bowling date you had so many issues with what happened, and instead of talking to me about them, you lost your mind in the limo and bitched to the other women. And that’s not even the worst part! Oh, what’s the worst part? You did all that shit off camera. That footage is lost forever. We don’t get to enjoy it. Think of all the people you hurt with your careless, selfish actions.” That last part may have been me projecting, but you get the picture.
As Arie speaks, Krystal just says “Mmhmm, mmhmm, mmhmm” sounding like McConaughey with his jaw wired shut. When Arie pauses to take a breath, Krystal seizes her opportunity to speak.
“HiiiiiiiiIIIIIIIIiiiiiiii,” she starts. “You know, I think that in situations like these, it’s just like, really important to remember, like where we came from, but like also, where we’re going. We have such a strong connection, like, which is, like, based on giving and receiving, as well as having and sharing, you know? And this connection that we give and have is both shared and received, and through this having and giving and sharing and receiving, we too can share that connection and love, and have…and receive.”
Krystal smiles at Arie after delivering her monologue. “I don’t know what to say,” he tells her. “I mean, seriously, what the fuck was that?”
“ArieeeeEEEEeeee,” she replies. “I just think that it would be a waste to throw away the color, the depth, and the texture of our relationship.” I realize I make up a lot of things, but those are actual words that came out of her mouth. Sensing that Arie wasn’t buying this metric tonne of horse shit she was peddling, Krystal goes for the Hail Mary. “Also Kendall, like, totally isn’t ready to be married. I don’t even know why she’s here. It’s definitely, like, not for the right reasons.”
Arie ponders this while he swaps Krystal out for Kendall. Instead of having a normal conversation with Kendall, he launches right into the Parisian version of the Spanish Inquisition.
“So,” he begins. “I hear from Krystal that you’re not ready to get married. What are you intentions with me?”
Kendall is taken aback, since other than today she hasn’t spoken to Krystal since Lake Tahoe. “Well, it’s true that I haven’t been in love, but that’s what I want. I want to find someone to share my life with! I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t serious about finding love. Do you have any idea how many new pieces of taxidermy I could have had if I wasn’t here? Do you have any idea what is happening to my taxidermy collection at home while I’m gone? No one can care for those animals like me. NO ONE.” This was apparently all Arie cared about, as he proceeded to make out with Kendall for a while before sending her back to speak with Krystal.
While she waiting for Kendall’s conversation to be over, Krystal sipped champagne on a couch outside the chateau. She spots Kendall from a distance, and a rogue tumbleweed blows past between them as they stare one another down. This is it. This is going to be the showdown. Krystal finishes her champagne in a single, slow pull before tapping the flute on the edge of the couch just hard enough to break the base off and leave the stem as a dagger. “Try me, bitch,” Krystal whispers.
Kendall sits down. “Krystal, I need to talk to you,” she says.
“HiiiiiiiiIIIIIIIIiiiiiiii,” Krystal answers.
“Yes, hello Krystal. We’re the only ones here.” Kendall responds. “I wanted to tell you that it upset me that you felt the need to tell Arie that I wasn’t ready to get married.”
“Mmhmm,” Krystal murmurs, nonplussed.
“Krystal, I think you are truly a beautiful person…” Kendall continues.
“mmHMMMMM” Krystal nods.
“…but I know people like you. I’ve dated people like you. This is about winning for you. And when you feel that you’re backed into a corner, you cut people down so that you can win. The sad thing is, you don’t really win in those situations, you just hurt other people. I think you’re amazing and you’ve been through a lot, and I can see where you’re coming from. But you don’t have to keep doing this, Krystal. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
There are a lot of way this conversation could have gone, but never in Bachelor franchise history has it seemed like one contestant has given so much of a shit about another contestant as Kendall does about Krystal right now. So much of this show is staged and contrived, but I think here we get a genuine glimpse of a good person trying to be nice to another human being. Good for you Glen Coco Kendall. Good for you.
After this tender moment, Arie returns and picks up the rose. As soon as its petals leave the table, the gaunt figure from before finally emerges from the cave. Even though there is dirt smudged on her face and her ombre has grown out beyond recognition, her toothy smile is unmistakable. It’s Olivia “O Face” Caridi, banished to the Isle of Rejected Two-on-Ones eons (okay, two seasons) ago.
Opening her giant trap, she screams to the heavens. “FINALLY! Another to join me and my eternal misery!”
However, much to O Face’s and my dismay, Arie informs the women that he hasn’t made up his mind yet.
“Listen,” he tells them. “You’re both amazing and this is a really hard decision. It’s just so hard. I’m so hard right now. It’s like a diamond down there. I’m going to go snap one off to clear my head, so I’ll see you at dinner.”
That evening, the women reconvene at a restaurant overlooking the Eiffel Tower. The last time I was at the Eiffel Tower (or la Tour Eiffel if you’re an asshole), my friends and I had just finished sunset river cruise along the Seine where we each downed a bottle of wine while taking in the sight of Paris, including some dude bending over and giving us the goat from the riverbank. As we docked near the Eiffel Tower, one of the evening light shows had just finished, and with our wine buzz going strong we decided to camp out on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower and wait for the next one.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe in letting a good wine buzz go to waste. As we lounged on the lawn, we noticed some individuals carrying around plastic buckets filled with bottles of wine. Fortunately, our group was large enough that we had two of these blessed merchants approach us at once, offering to sell us a bottle of gas station quality wine for 20 Euro. Instead of telling them to fuck off, we managed to pit them against each other, creating a bidding turf war to see who got to sell booze to dumb, drunk Americans. Our boy Marco prevailed with an offer of 2 bottles of wine for 10 Euro, which is actually quite a steal given the utter convenience. In theory, this was a great accomplishment, until we proceeded to take advantage of this deal approximately 7 more times, switching to champagne somewhere along the way, meaning between 8 of us, were roughly 22 bottles deep by the end of the night. For me, things went dark somewhere between the second and third light show of the evening, right around the time that I decided to rap Superbass in its entirety.
As Kendall and Krystal sit down, they realize that one of them, like everyone near us that fateful Parisian evening, is about to have their whole evening ruined.
“I feel like I’m going to throw up,” Kendall and I both say as we sit down, her at a table across from Krystal and me on the Metro. We both remain poised, Kendall looking stately, and me by stating I need a bag. Kendall sips her wine; I proceed to hook the handles of said plastic grocery bag around my ears like a horse’s feeding trough and fill it with wine in a manner later described to me as “playing slap the bag, but in reverse.”
Arie enters and asks to speak to Kendall, and we don’t see any of their conversation, but when they return, he picks up the rose once again.
With her ear to a giant conch, O Face hears Arie’s fateful decision and prepares to summon his reject to her Caribbean purgatory.
“Kendall,” Arie says. “Will you accept this rose?”
O Face pauses. “Wait….” She murmurs to herself. “If Kendall is staying, that means…that means my companion is…is….Krystal.”
O Face begins pacing. “Krystal. But what if….No. No. She wouldn’t. She can’t. This is my island. MY HOME. I am in charge. Everything the light touches is mine. Or Simba’s. I can’t remember.”
She reaches a decision, looking at the cameraman who has also been filming her for the past two years. “We’re good. Tell Chris Harrison to cancel that helicopter. We’ll see who gets cut next year. Another year here by myself is totally cool.”
The date ends as Arie and Kendall make out atop the Eiffel Tour and Krystal talks about what total bullshit this is. For once, I agree with her. Without Krystal, this season is nothing. Can’t wait for her to fuck shit up on Paradise.
One-on-One Date with Jacqueline
I wish I had to say more about Jacqueline’s date, because I think she is genuinely an interesting person. But ABC invested six minutes and eighteen seconds into airing Arie’s time with her.
Arie comes to pick Jacqueline up at the barge and the two of them depart in an antique red convertible, which proceeds to break down approximately 10 feet from where they started. They laugh about how this is what a real date would be like. It’s so funny – The Bachelor is so realistic, you guys. Wow. Eventually their Uber arrives allowing them to go shopping along Champs-Élysées. They giggle about the odd articles of clothing they find and ABC springs for Jacqueline to throw on little black dress instead of the floral maxi she was sporting.
The thing that I like most about Jacqueline is that she’s very realistic, and she also brings out a pragmatic side in Arie. She tells the camera that she’s afraid she’s going to be sent home, which is totally fair given that up until now, Annaliese’s childhood trauma flashbacks have gotten more screen time than her.
The majority of what we see on this date is their time at dinner. Arie confesses that he waited so long to ask Jacqueline on a one-on-one because he was intimidated by her intelligence; at least we’re all on the same page that Arie isn’t playing with a full deck here. She tries to laugh it off, but then tells him she’s can’t move anywhere for six years since she’s pursuing her Ph.D.
“Wait,” Arie interjects. “How do you even spell Ph.D.?”
I think that of all the contestants, if Jacqueline and Arie had met organically outside of the environment of The Bachelor franchise, they would have a real shot at making it as a couple. They have a lot of physical chemistry and seem to be at ease around one another.
When it comes time for Arie to talk, he starts by telling Jacqueline that he would never ask her to give up her schooling for him.
“That’s so nice of you,” she replies. “Not that I was going to, but that’s sweet.”
He basically continues by listing reasons why their relationship wouldn’t work, but then offers her a rose despite this. It’s oddly sweet, even though she’s probably going to get sent home next week anyway. She’s got a rocking body, but I don’t think she’s Hometown Date material.
Baby LoLo 2.0, Pixie Tits, Kendall, and Jacqueline all have roses. The remaining five women simultaneously shit their dresses as they enter the rose ceremony to see just three roses resting on the dais. Jenna rolls her eyes. She’s already wheeling her bag behind her and has her airport LuLuLemon leggings on underneath her dress because she knows what about to happen. Before the ceremony even starts, she hugs her friends, telling them, “I had a good run! See you in Paradise, bitches!”
Arie walks in, takes a deep breath, and begins, giving the three remaining roses to:
1. Tia – Doctor Queen Weiner
2. Seinne – Still too smart to be here
3. Becca K – Low key expecting her to win at this point
That means that in addition to Krystal and Jenna, we’ll be saying goodbye to Chelsea. She may have gotten the First Impression Rose, but apparently her mysterious appeal did not continue to enchant the Kissing Bandit and he has banished her from a life of dancing at the Moulin Rouge to changing diapers, packing lunches, and cleaning drool off of every surface of her home, or whatever it is that people with children do.
Next week, the dwindling harem travels to Tuscany for the final international date before Hometowns, so we can expect to cut three more women loose. Shit’s getting real, folks. See you then..