On this, the first part of a two-night event, we start off with what will be the driving narrative engine of the episode: Lee’s completely unnecessary antagonism of Kenny.
The two men are arguing on the balcony. Meanwhile, Bryan has Rachel literally sequestered on a boat. That is tied up to a dock. And has a spotlight trained on it. It’s hilarious and very crafty of him. He’s telling Rachel that he thinks they’re soulmates. It’s like grandma always said, “When life gives you a simmering race war in the house, make very noisy kissing sounds in a dingy.”
Kenny, God bless him, is trying his best to remain almost deathly calm. Lee is squirming and blustering, continuing to try to gaslight Kenny. Kenny’s like, snakes are going to snake. Lee says, “I’m totally in his head.” Kenny’s like, Uh, I speak Parseltongue.
Meanwhile, there is a reality show about a bunch of dudes falling in love with a woman going on. Remember that?
Rachel gives the group-date rose to Bryan. It’s like grandma always said, never underestimate the power of making out in a very small boat.
Rachel chooses Jack Stone. Spoiler alert: We all saw Jack in that airport picture of the Bachelor in Paradise cast so we already know this is going nowhere.
@1033ampradio The Bachelor in Paradise cast was sent home! I was with them in the Puerto Vallarta airport yesterday pic.twitter.com/ypEyvJHHc1
— Nicole R (@LucyinBoston) June 12, 2017
They shuck and eat oysters and then go dancing. Jack is literally always smiling. He has one of those faces that naturally reverts to a grin. I really wonder what that’s like, to have Resting Joy Face.
But a huge, slightly unsettling grin will only get you so far. He tells her he couldn’t concentrate on the dance lessons because he was beguiled by her. Then he leans in and kisses her and it’s obviously a mistake. She withdraws like, Oh, honey, no what is you doing. She says, “I’m sick so…” Jack Stone says, “I don’t mind,” which is adorably not the point. Later Jack says it’s been a long time since he’s had a first kiss that great, which may be true but is also delusional.
Jack says he can see himself with Rachel. To prove his point, he stares menacingly at the camera like a serial killer for a long time.
Back at the house, poor Will has to give Lee a Microaggressions 101 lesson. He tells Lee that the word “aggressive” is racially loaded. “Oh, [Kenny’s] the kind of guy who plays the race card,” Lee says, whilst holding a hand with five race cards and one bigot joker.
Jack is trying really hard in their dinner; going a mile a minute about their futures together. But, like grandma always said, “You can’t hurry love. And also, why are you smiling so much?”
Rachel tries to let Jack down easy, telling him that she doesn’t feel the way he does, and it’s suddenly hard and painful. He looks absolutely stricken, which makes me feel bad for talking about his grinning. But whatever, he’s in Mexico right now, staying out of controversy, so he’s fine.
They go right to the rose ceremony and, honestly, everyone looks exhausted and hungover. Which seems about right.
Deserved Their Rose: Eric, Peter, Adam (sure, why not?), Will, Alex (I still think he’s a sociopath, but he’s playing the game well and has nice hair), Josiah (although I heard those rumors that he’s too cocky), Kenny, Dean
Didn’t Deserve Their Rose: Matt (I really struggle to remember who he is), Anthony (I honestly thought he had been eliminated last week), Lee (This show is really trying it)
Iggy, the walking Burn Book of the Bachelorette, and Jonathan, who insists on defining himself by physically intrusive tickling, are sent home.
Iggy gets really tearful talking about how much he’s learned about himself during this journey. I’m glad for him but legit none of that made it on screen. So, if you’ve got some inner work to do, I guess maybe apply for the Bachelorette.
The cast travels to Oslo, Norway, which looks lush and green and beautiful. Rachel takes Bryan to Holmenkollbakken, a huge ski jump that was built for the Oslo Olympics. For some reason, they decide that a good thing to do would be to rappel off the side. They make it about halfway down before they start noisily making out again. What a mess.
Back at the house, Eric tells Anthony he’s concerned that Rachel isn’t into black guys because Anthony is the only black guy who’s gotten a one-on-one date. Anthony gives her the benefit of the doubt, pointing out that Rachel sees them all as individuals, not as their races. This is a particularly beautiful and nuanced conversation between two men of color and it stands in stark contrast to the terrible race-baiting that this show has been trafficking in this season. Case in point, at every commercial break they promote the rest of this two-part episode with footage of a needling bigot and a bleeding black man. This is absolutely unacceptable and we deserve better.
Anyway, Rachel and Bryan continue to exist in a different, more traditional Bachelorette world. At their one-on-one dinner, Rachel is wearing glimmering gold eye shadow that is simply stunning. Bryan inches closer to her and hunches his body in her direction in a way that says every molecule of his being wants to be in her orbit. He tells her that he’s falling in love with her and outside of my window fireworks go off because my neighbors have great timing and also are rude people.
Rachel invites all of the guys but Kenny and Lee to play handball, which is kind of like rugby meets soccer except the team is made up of literal giants.
Delightfully, they all have to wear singlets to play it, which it honestly the best thing that has happened this episode.
Adam Jr.: Lovable mascot or creepy totem of fear? You decide! #TheBachelorette pic.twitter.com/6uoHGFgBlX
— The Bachelorette (@BacheloretteABC) June 27, 2017
Best looking in the singlet: Alex — his pecs, lats and traps are basically made for being barely contained by straps of lycra.
Also, I think Dean is wearing an athletic supporter outside of his singlet, which is a very perplexing choice that I need more information about. Good for him for keeping the jewels safe, though. I see you, Dean.
But, it’s like grandma always said, what difference does it make if you protect your wang if you get out-dunked by Will? He impresses Rachel with his handball abilities, gets the first one-on-one at the after-party and, eventually, gets the group-date rose. It’s also worth noting that he has grown a light beard. Is this confidence hair? Or did he just leave his razor in America?
Josiah goes out on a limb and tells Rachel that he wants to grow old with her. She challenges him in a really interesting way by pointing out that he knows a lot about her but he doesn’t ask questions when they talk. He doesn’t have a good rebound for this, instead saying, “You’re amazing.” And then smiles blankly and thanks her. It’s a little creepy, tbh.
Perhaps best of all, Peter and Rachel have a 3.5 hour one-on-one (What time is it by now?) in which they finally kiss again! Rachel’s like, “It took you long enough.” She wants to keep smooching but Peter demurs, saying they have so much ground to cover. This man is in it to win it. Rachel decides that they can cover this ground in the hot tub. I love her.
Rachel, bless her, convincingly tells us that her two-on-one date with Lee and Kenny is about clarity. Give this woman an Emmy for selling what is clearly a stunt the producers have put her up to.
The three of them ride a helicopter together to the middle of the Norwegian wilderness. This is a great set-up for a Lars von Trier movie, honestly.
Rachel one-on-ones with Kenny first and then Lee. Lee, insanely, ups the ante by spinning a tale about Kenny confessing a secret dark side to Lee that only comes out when he drinks, like he’s Tyler Durden or something. This has got to be annoying for Rachel, a trained lawyer who didn’t come here for story time.
She pulls Kenny away to cross-examine. It’s interesting that Rachel and Kenny are wearing coats and still shivering while Lee is in a hoodie shirt and seems perfectly comfortable. It’s like grandma always said, the devil brings his own heater.
Rachel, clearly at the request of the producers, tells Kenny the lies Lee told her and then “has to go,” leaving the two men out in the middle of the Norwegian wilderness next to a lake that is ready to hold murderous secrets. Kenny comes ambling down the hill, cackling, and we cut to a “To Be Continued.” Honestly, Lars von Trier deserves an Oscar for this. But the producers should be tried at the Hague.
Let’s deliberate in the comments!