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The Bachelor Leaves A Lady In Lapland

But which one? I'm sure none of us has ANY idea. And then the Women Tell All.

Tonight, I take a deep breath, sigh heavily and say to my dog, "Okay, let's start this shitshow." Right away, Chris Harrison calls the next three hours of my life a "Bachelor event." I can only imagine he's using the word "event" in the same way that the public relations lackeys at the Centers For Disease Control refer to deadly outbreaks as "events." I guess tonight is the night when we finally find out if Nick gave Raven an orgasm. I wish I could go back in time to let the producers know that it's totally fine to never tell us the answer to that question.

Tonight ALMOST CERTAINLY has to be the night when Rachel goes home, right? Otherwise, how weird will the Women Tell All be if Rachel is one of the final two, and everyone will have to be like, "Well, so OBVIOUSLY Nick doesn't pick you, because you're the next Bachelorette, so…um…what are we even doing here again? Proving that existence is futile?" And speaking of the Women Tell All, it's going to be two hours of my punishment…er…assignment tonight. The actual episode is only an hour long. Because Nick is such a turd of a Bachelor.

Ugh, let the fun begin.

Raven's Orgasm

The episode proper begins with Raven saying, "I will say this. Nick is really good at what he does. So I'm pretty satisfied today." Then peppy pop music kicks in and Raven high-fives a stranger (or a production assistant) on the street, says hi to a dog, balances atop a rock wall, kisses a fake reindeer, makes a snow angel, skips past a rainbow sculpture, dances underneath a snowblower, plays peek-a-boo through a heart-shaped hole in a fence, sleds down a gentle incline, then gets on an elevator. But what does that all really tell us? If you remember, Raven was so candid last episode, where she called out that spending the night in the Fantasy Suite with Nick would mean having sex with him. And if you compare that to how coy Raven and the producers are so far in this episode, it casts some doubt as to what actually happened. So let's break it down.

  • "Nick is really good at what he does." -- It seems like Nick probably gave a little Powerpoint presentation to prove to Raven that after all of this time as a professional Bachelor contestant he still has earning potential as a software sales guy.
  • "I'm pretty satisfied today." -- After waking up from a nice night's sleep, Raven had a very hearty and delicious breakfast. Probably some toast with cream cheese, salmon, and red onions, plus a side of blueberries. Or perhaps even a little Laplander treat of sautéed reindeer.
  • Raven high fives a stranger -- Raven and Nick played a game together, likely Pandemic, or one of the other popular cooperative games. Raven and Nick won the game, thus the high five.
  • Says hi to a dog -- Nick is not actually that handsome, but he is loyal and house-trained. On the negative side, he does not smell very good when he is wet.
  • Balances atop a rock wall -- This evening could go either way. It's a delicate balance of emotions. Raven could "fall" and get hurt. And if she falls on the far side of the wall, she could not be discovered and could perish from hypothermia. Metaphorically speaking.
  • Kisses a fake reindeer -- Either Raven and Nick kissed politely for a few minutes, or this is an open apology to all reindeer for the sautéed reindeer Raven enjoyed for breakfast.
  • Makes a snow angel -- You might think this image implies that last night's Fantasy Suite included a shit-ton of blow, but that is not the case. It actually means that Raven and Nick exercised for at least thirty minutes.
  • Skips past a rainbow sculpture -- Only one thing a rainbow sculpture this large could possibly mean. After a few futile attempts at getting frisky, Nick finally admitted he was gay.
  • Dances underneath a snowblower -- And this is the part that indicates Raven did a shit-ton of blow. After all, once she figured out they weren't gonna get busy, she decided, why not just get fucking LIT UP. How much blow did Raven do? Well, look at the image. She's standing on a mountain covered in snow, with a giant machine blowing clouds of snow over her. In short, she was in Scarface-final-scene territory.
  • Plays peek-a-boo through a heart-shaped hole in a fence -- This could indicate that, despite everything, Raven still has a belief in the restorative power of love. Either that or all that cocaine literally created a hole in her heart.
  • Sleds down a gentle incline -- Raven is pictured in a tiny plastic toboggan, sliding down a snow-covered hill by herself. Obviously, the message is, if Nick's not gonna "sled down the hill" with her, she'll have to do the sledding herself.
  • Then gets on an elevator -- The curtains (door) close on Raven, signaling the end of her journey. As when she came into this world, Raven exits this montage (this life) alone. Alone in a country where she cannot understand a single word anyone is saying. And people eat something called Cloud Berries.

Rachel's Date

Rachel greets him by giving Nick "The Bachelorette Handshake," which is when the woman wraps her legs around her man to greet him. She's the most excited she's ever been, she says. "We're going cross-country skiing," Nick tells her. "I don't even know what that means," Rachel says. Seriously? How complicated a concept is cross-country skiing. Certainly, she's come across the phrase "cross-country" before. And the concept of "skiing" can't be utterly alien to her. I would imagine she's smart enough to put those two things together to figure this brainteaser out. Eventually she does figure it out, and she and Nick ski to a reindeer farm. Romance, thy name is Reindeer Farm.

"One thing Nick and I don't struggle with just like having so much fun together," Rachel says. Part of that fun includes going into a hut that has a fire inside it and drinking some kind of booze out of hand-made mugs. Rachel admits to Nick that she's holding back still. She doesn't know whether to stay guarded or to put herself out there. "It's the inner struggle," she says. She tells Nick she's scared, because she didn't think she would end up feeling this way on this show. Nick marble-mouths an answer or two to Rachel, and I wonder if maybe he's addicted to novocaine? Is that a thing? Or is Nick maybe getting oral surgery, like, every single day of his life? Rachel says to Nick, "You're rare and refreshing. That's not normal." Nick says, "I might be white, but I'm still a minority."

After their breakthrough (?), Nick and Rachel go on a sled ride where they awkwardly lie down on the sled. It doesn't look comfortable at all, but it's on this show, so we all know it's totally romantic.

To their dinner, Rachel wears a midriff-exposing top. In Lapland. Like, seriously? I mean, I know she's got a sweater on over it, but it's fucking freezing there. Rachel says she's afraid to tell Nick that she's falling in love with him. And once they start chatting she struggles to tell Nick how she feels about him. "The only way to have this whole thing work is to get out of your head," Nick says. "Go with your heart, and be willing to have the strength to be a bit of a mess sometimes." So, it takes strength to be a bit of a mess? I'm sure that doesn't make sense. But it works on Rachel, who finally admits that she's falling in love with him. Nick says he's falling for her too, one hundred percent, or as Nick says it, "Wuhhunnerdprrseh." They kiss, then she accepts his invitation to the Fantasy Suite.

"Nick has completely erased all of my doubt. I'm so all-in," Rachel says. Instead of "I'm so all-in," the closed captioning claims Rachel said, "I'm so honored," which would have been awesome if only it were true. Sadly, she's just all-in instead of honored. "I know we're gonna go so much deeper than we've gone before," Rachel says, clearly indicating that she's going to let him go below the Arctic Circle! The next day, he leaves her in her room with her penguin onesie and her hopes that she can "seal the deal." But we know better, don't we, everybody?

Vanessa's Turn

Not to be outdone by Rachel, Vanessa also greets Nick with "The Bachelorette Handshake." Then Nick escorts Vanessa to their date, a spa of sorts where the two of them will hang out in a sauna, but then go take an icy plunge in an outdoor unheated pool. Then back to the sauna and back and forth. "Falling in love is a leap of faith and so is jumping into freezing cold water," says Nick. Sure, makes as much sense as anything else on this show. Vanessa isn't so sure. "I want to murder Nick," Vanessa says. I'm not falling for it. As much as I would like to see her make good on this threat, I know that’s just not in the cards.

Also, Vanessa is kind of excited about having another "first" with Nick. She says, "Nick and I have been through many firsts together. First time up in space. First time on a yacht." Um, hold the phone. And back up a bit. First time in space? You guys didn't go to space. You dressed up like astronauts, but you didn't go to space. You were in a regular plane. In the earth's atmosphere. Regular planes don't fly to the moon. I hope I'm not the first person to tell you this, but I fear that I might be.

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Vanessa and Nick do their ice-bath-to-sauna-and-back deal over and over again. Vanessa ends up kind of digging it. Nick, not so much. Eventually, they end up at a nice-looking outdoor hot tub, where they debrief about her hometown visit. And they get into a conversation about "core values." The conversation sounds like it's on the edge of turning into a major fight. And at one point, she leans back into him, looking more like a dead person than a lady having a good time with her man in a hot tub.

I just want to take a moment here to recap the dates. Raven got a helicopter ride and then a fun afternoon in a Finnish pub. Vanessa got to hang out in a sauna and a hot tub. And Rachel got to ski to a reindeer farm. Rachel has really gotten the shitty dates over and over again, like back a few episodes when Vanessa got to go snorkeling by a shipwreck and Rachel got to have beers at an empty oceanside bar.

Nick and Vanessa work their shit out in the Laplander version of a teepee. I mean, they sort of do. Nick never really gives a very good answer to any question floated his way. They finally talk about the whole "living in different cities/countries" issue. Nick flat-out admits he doesn't want to move to Canada because he's "proud to be an American." I can't believe they're finally talking about the moving issue. And as soon as I think that, they table it almost as quickly as they bring it up. Conversations between Nick and Vanessa always seem like neither one actually likes the other, yet at the end of this one, Vanessa tells Nick that she loves him and she accepts his invitation to the Fantasy Suite. "Nick is everything I've been searching for," she says. "I know in my heart that this is it for me. Wishes do come true."

Rose Ceremony

Rachel chooses to be the harbinger of dramatic irony by saying, "I can visualize a future with Nick. I see it, I feel it, it's within reach. And to be so close and to lose it, it would be devastating to me." Only I bet it's not devastating. Something tells me it might be pretty lucrative! Vanessa's insecurities come up before the ceremony, and she cries thinking of Nick having feelings for either of the other ladies.

The three finalists assemble, and Nick comes in, his eyes already primed with tears. He says, "Look, I boned all three of you. And it was awesome, to bone you three ladies in succession. Especially you three. Man, how cool was that. The boning, that is. Pretty great, I think we all have to agree." I may be paraphrasing, but that's the gist, I think. Look, it's late, in this season and in the evening.

In a moment totally unrelated to Vanessa's admission of insecurity, Nick gives the first rose to Raven. Then he gives his rose to Vanessa, FINALLY sending Rachel ho-- er, "on to become the Bachelorette." The two of them cry a lot as Nick tells her how amazing she is. Then he walks her out…without her coat. Sorry, Rachel. Coats are for closers!

It's weird how sincere Rachel seems in her limo ride, how normal. But can those things really be true? Can she be that and also be returning to this franchise? Seems unlikely. Her limo takes her into the Finnish wilderness, where she will cover herself in a cocoon before transforming into beautiful butterfly known as The Bachelorette.

The Women Tell All

"It's an unbelievable Women Tell All!" Chris Harrison threatens. I can tell you right now that you will completely believe every one of the one hundred and twenty minutes of this "event." One of the fun things to do when watching this annual tradition is to look for the men in the audience. Normally, there are but one or two, however this time I see maybe as many as ten men in the crowd. Can that be true? Also, is there a guy in a MAGA hat? Or is it just the hat version of the Make America Corinne Again T-shirts a lot of the women wear.

Nick and Chris crash some Bachelor parties, including the Backstreet Boys having a fake watching party. So funny, guys! Then the NOT CREEPY AT ALL visit to a sorority house watch party, a regular fixture of the WTA. Totally cool for a THIRTY-SIX-YEAR-OLD MAN and his forty-five-year-old pimp to hang out with a bunch of nineteen-year-olds. Totally cool.

Then, the women come out and immediately start bitching about each other. There's a solid two minutes of everyone speaking at once, angrily discussing Corinne's decision to take her top off and later taking a nap. There's a lot of this that shows up in the closed captioning as "[all speaking at once]." Jasmine says, "Babies take naps." Corinne counters with "Abraham Lincoln took a nap." Touché. And Josephine again proves herself Corinne's biggest defender. When describing Taylor's behavior, Josephine says Taylor is often "unnecessarily condescending," which calls to mind a concept of necessary condescension. Josephine's lipstick is such a terrifying shade of sooty red that even the characters from Monster High are like, "Wow, tone it down, girl."

Liz takes her place in the hot seat. So first we have to see a recap of her "journey." Which means we get to hear more fucking mentions of Jade and Tanner's wedding. Liz totally looks drunk. She goes back through her bullshit excuse of what brought her to the show, and it still doesn’t hold water. While using the word "literally" A LOT, she posits herself as sort of an example of female empowerment. Which the other women support. Sure. Why not.

Next it's Taylor's turn to revisit her journey. Her personality does NOT age well, guys. She's even more annoying this time around. But thank god she's put on the hot seat where she can be raised above the studio floor to be used like a piñata by the other girls. That's part of this time-honored process, after all: the further shaming of the shameless. We hear the phrase "emotional intelligence" a dozen more times, accompanied by a shot of a woman in the audience wearing an "Emotional Intelligence Is My Jam" T-shirt. Look, this Taylor-Corinne battle was boring the first time around. Rehashing it doesn't make it any more interesting. Nor does the "spontaneous" moment when Corinne walks offstage to go fetch a glass of champagne.

Taylor and Corinne each try to win this battle, but guess what, they're both annoying. Yay! So that's finally put to rest, right? Wrong. Now it's Corinne's turn in the hot seat. Of course, after the requisite flashback to her "journey." Ugh, and then there's more fucking talk about her naps, both the controversial ones and the theoretical ones. Oh my god, they're fucking yelling at each other about naps. Taylor admits that she took naps too, but HERS WERE DIFFERENT! Good point, Taylor. Here's another good point: Who cares about the taxonomy of naps? There's a shot during this of Alexis, the dolphin enthusiast, looking offstage, bored out of her fucking mind. It's a quick reminder of how awesome Alexis was.

Then Josephine stands up for Corinne, claiming that everyone's problem with Corinne was because they were jealous. Mmm-oookay, so maybe Josephine is in love with Corinne? Sorry, honey, that's Lesbian Jami Nose Balls's storyline. You're gonna have to pick another lane. Overall, they spend thirty minutes on this boring fight. Chris Harrison tries to get them to bury the hatchet, which they sort of do. And the audience applauds. Underneath the applause, Jasmine sums it up perfectly by saying, "Let's move on. Enough of that! Woo!" God bless you, you weird choking enthusiast.

Corinne talks some more about Raquel. She explains that Raquel is more than a nanny. And somehow she reframes the whole "nanny" issue to make people feel sorry for her and to apologize for making fun of the nanny thing. Like Liz's reframing of why she showed up on the show, this also doesn't hold water. But she makes it all better by giving everyone "cheese pasta!" Kristina takes the hot seat too. It's emotional, I guess. I wish she had become the next Bachelorette and that every man who didn't earn a rose was "disappeared."

Finally, Nick comes out to be grilled by the ladies, which means more focus on Corinne. Holy fucking shit, producers, I'm so done with Corinne. Aren't we all? It can't be just me. Unless it is. Then, fine. Kristina grills Nick with the professionalism of a spy, WHICH SHE TOTALLY IS NOT. That said, she turns the screws on him like a woman who has turned literal screws on someone before. Then there's the embarrassing "bloopers." In short, Taylor farted, Final Danielle was terrified of a moth, and Vanessa fell out of a hammock.

And finally it's time to introduce The Bachelorette, that amazing woman we've known about for the last month. Chris Harrison takes a moment to position Rachel as the Jackie Robinson of this franchise. Then Nick comes back out to help hype the next season.

Verdict

Let's end this season already, right? Just two more hours to go, everyone. I believe in us. We can do it. We can! We can finally rid ourselves of Nick Viall. Wait, what's that, ABC? He's gonna be on Dancing With The Stars? Oh for fuck's sake.

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