The Bachelor: S21, Ep 8
Today’s theme of this episode, at least for me is: too many Nicks. I’ve waited 7 episodes to tell you this, but my best friend is named Nick, my brother-in-law is named Nick, my brother-in-blood is named Nicholas, and my doctor’s name is, you guessed it, Randall.
Anyway, my point is that it’s hard to compartmentalize all these Nicks in my life because many, many are wonderful people. And then there’s Nick Viall.
I had some friends over to watch with me this week, and hit upon a fun game: we all bet on how many times Nick would cry this episode. I was VERY confident and said many times! But my friend, who is more intuitive than I am, had a startling insight: Nick only cries when it’s ABOUT HIM, so him crying while interacting with other people’s families and issues was not as likely. And he only cried twice this episode (and one of the times was about him). Post-spoiler spoiler alert.
We return to the women, still in full wailing mode, wondering if 4 women are going to get to bring Nick home, voluntarily. Also, it’s a surprise to me that Corinne drinks anything other than champagne.
Suddenly NICK ARRIVES with a fistful of roses! How soon will he cry and how many women will he save?
“Nick comes in with roses. I have no idea how many there are.” Corinne says. So here's what’s happening: these roses are either invisible and only I can see them (unlikely) or Corinne can’t count to 4 (unlikely) or drama is being set up (very likely).
“That was a tough one.” Nick vents to his 4 remaining girlfriends. The rest of the women love hearing about how hard it is for him to break up with your girlfriend because you just really like them still. What women wouldn’t?
So Nick has 4 roses, and he doesn’t want to invite himself anywhere he’s not welcome (contrary to his insistence on entering my living room every Monday night). Rather he wants to offer the women the roses now, rather than waiting for the pageant and splendor and arguably more interest of a rose ceremony. Thanks, Nick.
One by one, he offers the roses to Raven, Vanessa, Corinne, and Rachel. “I could not be more excited to meet Raquel.” Nick says, and for once we are in full agreement!
The scene is set: we see short shorts, we hear frogs, and a 4wheeler motor turns on. It must be Arkansas! Raven introduces Hoaxie, where she’s going to show him “a new side of me. A little fun, a little sassy, a little sexy side.”
Raven motors up to Nick on her little 4 wheeler, removes her bright pink helmet, regards Nick, and says “welcome to Hoaxie” and it’s probably the 5 most appealing seconds of this entire show. She orders Nick onto the 4 wheeler, and DUH, she's driving. Duh, Nick.
NOT to body shame, but these can’t be considered shorts by ANY definition. They are more like denim underwear (see above).
Raven describes her hometown: “To have fun in Hoaxie, you go mudding, you go frog digging, you go climb grain bins.” LOL. I lived in Arkansas for 3 years (mysterious past alert!) and I never did any of those things. My life is a failure, although I've never had to introduce my parents to Nick Viall, so in some ways I'm doing alright.
Raven takes Nick and says the following thing, which I’m SURE is just her fucking with him: “So in Hoaxie, whenever you have a meaningful conversation with someone you always find a grain bin. This is a sacred place.” Ha, sure Raven.
I also appreciate that Raven allowed herself to get so filthy on her date. Not a joke!
But no sooner have they climbed the sacred grain silo than they get BUSTED by the Hoaxie police force (I’m assuming the entire squad is just the one squad car. The population is less than 3k.).
“What are ya’all doing on a grain bin?” The cop demands. Are we about to see an ugly confrontation?
The show proceeds to do NO favors for Arkansas, a place people already believes is 100% inter-related, by quickly revealing that the police officer is....Raven’s brother! Told you she was just fucking with him! Also what is this official police fringe wear?
“He’s gonna know the dirty south today cause we’re about to get drrrrty.” Raven has some great one liners. If she gets kicked off soon I certainly hope it’s not the last we’ve seen of her.
We then proceed to! Total filth and degradation. Also poor Raven makes me feel sorry for her: “I’ve never dated an amazing man like Nick.”
'Amazing' Nick proceeds to mount her and force her into what is no doubt giardia-infested swamp waters. Also it may look like they boned in the swamp, but I’m (pretty) sure they didn’t.
Later! They are allowed to shower, and Raven is SO excited to introduce Nick to her family for some reason! But first, backstory alert! About a year and a half ago, Raven’s dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. She says it’s bringing a lot of happiness home to her parents because they weren’t even sure if Raven’s dad would live long enough to see her bring someone home. Well, I’m certainly glad Raven’s dad is ok, though I’m not sure he's so happy that he got to live only to then meet Nick.
Question: Raven’s parents look like they haven’t seen her in months. Where has she been staying during this time? Did they keep the families apart until Nick arrived? That seems cruel.
Raven’s mom, with the SAME exact accent as Raven, reveals she’s got something to say first: Raven’s dad is now cancer free. It's sweet and everyone is happy and emotional! Raven is crying, because she’s a compassionate and kind person. But Nick? Not crying. Hmmm. This might be the longest stretch I’ve ever seen him go without shedding a million tears. This would actually be a PERFECT time to cry.
Raven and her father retire outside to talk about how happy she is that he’s cancer free. Then Raven chats with her mother, and it becomes apparent that her mom must have seen Nick on previous iterations of this show. How odd must that be for a parent to see this scuzzy guy on the Bachelorette and SURPRISE! He’s your perfectly nice daughter’s new boyfriend! Raven’s mom “trusts her judgement,” which is sweet, but makes me question Raven’s mom’s judgement, unfortunately.
Then Raven’s dad is forced to talk to Nick. Nick wants to “run something by” her dad. Of course, this is the time on the show when men ask other men for permission to ask their daughter to marry them. This is so ridic. Why do you need to ask the dad’s permission? Raven is 25!!! She’s not a ward of the state!
Raven’s dad: “Don't take this wrong, but I didn’t expect to like you.” He says some other stuff after that, but I edited it to fit my own desires about how this episode should have gone.
Later, Raven takes Nick outside. She wants to tell him she loves him, but wisely says this instead: “I think I should tell you that, there’s no hesitation on my end of what becomes of this.” Good boundaries, Raven.
I suddenly have a THOUGHT: Raven and Luke - do we see it happening?
But we can’t ruminate on this for TOO long, because we’re off to DALLAS TEXAS, home of Rachel!
Let me tell you something: my parents currently live in Dallas, and once, while visiting them, I saw an overturned semi truck on the side of the freeway, and it was ON FIRE. It’s truly my biggest regret in life that I didn’t get a picture of it so that I could now show you.
Anyway. WTF is Nick wearing? Also can we fast forward to Rachel’s season?
“My chemistry with Rachel is probably the most explosive chemistry I have with any of the women.” Don’t let any of the other women hear that, Nick! Because you currently have FOUR girlfriends and FOUR chemistries in varying states of explosion to keep track of!
Rachel says they’re going to do something that Nick has never done before, but he’s “dressed perfectly for.” What? Go to a conference for nerds with odd proportions? ZING sort of!
Rachel takes Nick to church! And that’s not some metaphor for getting your life at a drag show - it’s an actual church! She grew up in it and it’s important to her, but she guesses (and really we all do) that it’s Nick’s first time in a black church.
Can you imagine what Nick’s Wisconsin church looks like?
“Is he going to be comfortable being in a predominantly black church?” Rachel asks the camera. Probably not!
The Pastor is very kind and welcomes Rachel back, while also saying: “Rachel brought her boyfriend Nick.” Stop encouraging this! One can't have 4 girlfriends on an ABC primetime show! Our country is too puritanical!
Nick looks so uncomfortable, although he then says: “I’m always feel the most myself comfortable with myself when I’m with Rachel.”
Nick assures Rachel: “I’m very comfortable in a place of worship.” That makes one of us, Nick. “Amen is Amen.” Ok, which producer fed him that line?
He also adds: “I’m not colorblind, I know you’re black,” and I am relieved we won’t have to hear any of that "colorblind" nonsense that people who think race doesn’t matter like to spout.
We find out that Rachel’s dad, a freaking federal judge, can’t make it today due to work obligations AKA he doesn’t want ANY part of this. Smart move, Rachel’s dad! Also UGH! Rachel is so cute. I hate that she had to go through this to get her own show.
We get to meet Rachel’s family, which includes a little sister who looks JUST like her! How fun!
“In this family, you don’t need to have black skin, but you need to have thick skin.” Rachel you can quit you’ve got your own show already!
The family sits down to dinner, where Rachel’s little sister asks Nick if he “knows what everything is” on his plate.
“I’m not from Mars.” Nick says, which is unfortunate because I was holding out hope that an extraterrestrial parentage was the only thing left to make him interesting.
But they then make him identify everything on his plate anyway, which leads to this exchange:
Nick: “I have no idea what okra is.”
Rachel: “All you need to know is that it’s nasty.”
Nick: “I would believe you but you don’t like anything.”
Truly, this is the most believable, relationship-y exchange I’ve seen on this show the whole season.
Rachel's older sister, Constance and her (white) husband take Nick and Rachel off for some talk time. Nick compliments them: “You guys make us feel at home.”
Constance: “Why because y’all look like us?” LOL. I like it when Nick gets called out!
Constance’s husband then says to Nick: “I can’t help but notice, you are a white.” Nick’s all “aw shucks, yeah, thanks for noticing.”
Truthfully, this is sort of uncomfortable and awkward to watch, but I think it’s interesting and good that it’s happening on such a popular show, although I’m sure that there’s some racist uncle out there that’s convinced that by mentioning race on the Bachelor, they’re the ones making it a big deal. If so, he’s going to hate this next truthbomb:
“Right now, with this climate that we’re in, I feel like you’ve seen more racism come out, so he does need to be aware. It’s not something that you can just hide and ignore and you can live in your own bubble. And you have to know how you’re going to navigate that path in a relationship.” Constance says.
Then, it’s Rachel’s mom turn. She sits Nick down: “Elephant in the room, have you ever dated a black girl?”
“Uh, I’ve gone on DATES with black women before.” Nick stumbles through. Again Nick is all “we don’t pretend she’s not black,” which is frankly more than I expected of him! Keep your expectations low and you’ll be pleasantly surprised sometimes while watching this show!
Then, Rachel and her mom chat. She’s sweet, I’m glad we’ll be seeing her again.
Rachel’s mom says she was first attracted to Rachel’s dad because he was confident and knew where he was going in life, and that she sees that in Nick, too. Ha, no wonder her dad is not in the house because he didn’t want to be terribly INSULTED in his own home! Nick is a “software salesman” who hasn’t had a real job in 4 (?) years. I’m pretty sure Rachel’s dad, a FEDERAL JUDGE, is somewhat more accomplished. He’s probably sitting on the bench right now and just felt a wave of personal offense but isn’t quite sure why.
Finally, Nick and Rachel smooch, which apparently pisses Nick off, and then they part.
Rachel breaks my heart when she says she’s falling in love with Nick. NO NO NO NO NO RACHEL NOT YOU TOO!
NEXT! It’s MIAMI! Aka, Corinne’s town!
Corinne has brought Nick to “one of the most exclusive malls in Miami,” in a way HER church. I’m so tired of those malls that let just anyone in to shop!
Nick notes that Corinne is on a first name basis with everyone at the mall. “I always thought I had expensive tastes. And then I met Corinne.”
Thank god Corinne gets some champagne while Nick “pretty womans” it with a harrowing shopping montage. Corinne, however, is unending in her compliments!
Nick tries on “$800 sweatpants" and also a "$600 sweater." Everything looks either tacky or boring and have these people HEARD about the ever widening gulf between the classes? I'm guessing not.
Corinne is all “we’ll take it!” and gestures at everything Nick is wearing. She spends over 3K on him!!!
“I’m red with anxiety. I have hives. This might be the most expensive outfit I’ve ever worn,” he says, while wearing a basic grey sweater and black pants. SWOON. It was worth every penny!
Corinne takes him to a restaurant, where she gets real serious: “Before we go meet my parents, there is something I want to tell you.” My friends and I were all talking loudly at this point, and my boyfriend shushed us: “Be quiet! Corinne is about to reveal something!”
And what she revealed is this!
“So, I realized how deep my feelings are for you I think. I really really fell for you, and I....love you.” This whole sentence takes about 2 minutes to say, and if you read between the lines like I did, it’s really just saying: “I’m trying to stay on this show long enough to make it to Bachelor in Paradise and continue appearing on Ellen and in magazines!” And I want you to have that, Corinne!
To her credit, Corinne knows Nick can’t say I love you back and is chill and cool with it. They walk away, making sure to get one last product placement in.
CUT TO! Corinne’s family are talking, pre-game. Corinne’s dad is listing Nick’s faults (mostly that he’s been on this show before): “Strike one, strike two, strike three, you’re usually out.”
Aw, Corinne’s sister is cute and looks just like Corinne!! Corinne enters with Nick, and her family is SO happy to see her. Again, where has she been hiding while Nick is off seeing his other girlfriends?!?!
While having dinner, Corinne tells her family how badly she was bullied for the simple crime of having a nanny (Corinne’s words, remember!) at the tender age of 24. Corinne’s mom defends Raquel’s place in the family: “Well Raquel’s been with us for 17 years, she’s part of the family. She’s their second mom. I couldn’t do a lot of things without her.” She says this last part as Raquel hands her a GIANT glass of wine. LOL. Good idea, Corinne’s mom, I couldn't do that without a nanny either.
But soon, Corinne’s dad says to Corinne: “We need to talk. Take your comically large wine glass and meet me on the bed in 5.”
Corinne tells her Dad that she told Nick she loves him, but it’s ok because “we’ve been dating a month and a half."
Corinne’s dad wisely notes: “That’s only 6 weeks!” He seems to really love her and they have a nice and open relationship. It’s hard to stay cynical in the face of this genuine familial love. But then Corinne says this thing which will make you smack your forehead in bewilderment!
“Nick is the kind of guy that I never pictured myself being worthy of having.” COME ON, Corinne! Pep yourself up. Make Corinne great again, platinum vagines, gold hearts, and so on. You're a hilarious catch!
Nick is then shown talking seriously to someone, and I just KNOW it’s going to be Raquel. Poor Raquel. She didn’t ask to be involved in this! Let her make Corinne’s cheesey pasta in peace.
Raquel basically just says that she loves Corinne like her own daughter, so don’t hurt her, ok?
Also, I’ve noticed that anytime anyone asks Nick a question that’s sort of pointed or uncomfortable, he always says “I appreciate you asking that question.” You’re not running for LOCAL SENATE, Nick. Just answer the question without your pointless narration.
Back to Corinne’s dad, he asks the hard and reasonable question: What the fuck is his job?
Corinne’s dad: “Nick’s going to be the at-home mom, raising the kids, are you going to be ok with that?"
Corinne: “Yes, I’m ok with being the breadwinner.”
But Corinne assures her dad that Nick can make a living, to which her dad is all:
LOOK at these hilarious wine “glasses.” What are they used for when not filled with wine? Storing shipping containers?
Then! It’s Nick and Corinne’s dad’s time! Also Corinne’s dad seems like a big teddy bear. It’s sweet, and I’m sorry that he too has to deal with Nick. Talk of financial obligation comes up, and Nick says that he hopes to be the breadwinner himself. Again, this show’s antiquated gender politics are so bonkers but they are presented as if they are totally normal and this is why we can’t have nice things, re: wage equality, etc.
Corinne has a sincere conversation with her mom about how she’ll be heartbroken if Nick choses one of the other women. Ugh. I’ll say it, I like Corinne! She’s hilarious and SEEMS not self aware but is aware of her brand at all times and I just want the best for her and her family!
Corinne’s dad seems to have come around to Nick: “I think Corinne is the lid to Nick’s pot. I really do!” Aw!
Nick then says goodbye to Corinne’s family, which does NOT involve a lot of tongue kissing, and then to Corinne, which DOES. They are next to Nick’s waiting car, while Corinne’s family is in their highrise, spying on them below.
Corinne’s mom: “Look how cute they look!”
NEXT UP! Vanessa’s overbearing family is a bitter digestif after Corinne’s my big fat Greek family entree!
OH, look, they are in CANADA, a fact the show highlights with Oh, Canada playing while filming the Canadian flag. This show is as subtle as it is dramatically romantic.
First things first: Vanessa takes Nick to visit her students, French and English special needs adults. They are waiting for her with roses. Many are crying because they are so happy to see her. It’s sweet and it’s clear that they love and respect her and vice versa.
“It’s very touching seeing Vanessa interact with her students.” Nick says WHILE NOT crying. “It’s hard for me not get emotional.” He says while AGAIN NOT being emotional! This man cries if a sudden breeze startles him!
Vanessa and her students get down to making a scrapbook of her time with Nick, which is sweet until you see the many pictures of them making out and of her in a bikini. If my teacher asked me to put together a scrapbook of her in varying states of sexual activity and undress, I’d feel uncomfortable. Honestly!
Vanessa punishes Nick with a visit to her mom’s side of the family. “My family’s approval is VERY important to me.” She warns us.
They settle into a big Italian dinner, where It comes out that Nick and Vanessa haven’t “exactly” really at all discussed where they’d live should Vanessa win Nick’s heart and an engagement ring. This goes over....not very well!
Vanessa’s Mom takes Nick away. She looks good, by the way. How is she the mother of a 29 year old woman?
It’s a natural law that one can only keep one’s creepiness at bay for so long, and unfortunately Vanessa’s mom is on the receiving end of Nick's relapse. She asks why Nick likes Vanessa. His response? “Oh, because she’s a terrific person that I admire and respect.”
Oh wait, that’s how a NORMAL person would respond when asked that question by a MOM. Instead, this is how Nick chose to answer that, out of ALL the possible words in the world:
“When she got out of the limo, I liked your daughter RIGHT AWAY.”
After this, Nick deserves to have to sit for a chat with Vanessa’s “big, overprotective” sister. She is VERY concerned and VERY protective of Vanessa, who is a literal adult woman, they know that, right?
“Have you guys spoken about real things?” Vanessa’s sister gets right to the point. Because Vanessa’s family is Canadian, they haven’t bought into the FANTASY of true love on The Bachelor (presumably). So hence they ask boring and non-romantic questions like “hey, where will you live when/if you get engaged?”
Vanessa’s sister starts crying almost immediately, and look! Nick is tearing up, too! But it’s likely that he’s just deeply uncomfortable with being posed real world questions, as he’s lived in the land of roses, fantasy suites, deepening relationships, Jade and Tanner’s weddings, and open hearts for the last 4 years or so.
“I’ll hate you if you break her heart.” Vanessa’s sister threatens Nick. More tears.
Vanessa’s brother, who is having a AHEM tough time with puberty, takes her aside. Why is his accent so much more Italian than his sisters? We never find out.
Vanessa talks about the possibility of uprooting her life for Nick. Why can’t HE move to Montreal? He doesn’t have anything going on, and it’s a much nicer city than Chicago (that’s my opinion people!).
“Honestly, in my heart, you’re the greatest person in my life.” Vanessa’s brother says, and it’s sweet, but weird. He cries, Vanessa cries. Honestly, Nick should fit in GREAT with this family because every 3rd word out of their mouths is a sob.
Also, why is Vanessa’s brother so invested in her winding up with the right romantic partner? THEORY ALERT: Is he one of the kids from Back to the Future and his continuing existence depends on it? That's the only scenario that would explain how upset he is over his sibling’s choices about love.
Then, Vanessa and her sister retire to a bed to talk about her relationship with Nick and drink lots of wine. Vanessa’s sister, who sort of rubs me the wrong way for reasons I can’t quite articulate, still brings up many good points, like, oh, say, how can you say you love this person after just a few weeks?
“You have a life here, he has a life....wherever he is.” She says, which is an ace insult. She also asks Vanessa about WHAT is he going to do after the Bachelor franchise is all over, because surely America won’t stand for a FIFTH year of this nonsense?
Vanessa is upset to admit that she doesn’t know the answers to any of these questions.
Then Vanessa and her mom get together and cry. Also I just find it impossible to believe that Vanessa has such a hard time finding love. Maybe.........it’s her difficult family? Just a thought.
Also, HA, is Nick leaving with leftovers? LOL.
Next, it’s Vanessa’s father. Nick hopes things go a little smoother. Ok, Nick. I almost feel bad for you.
At Vanessa’s dad’s house, they nosh on a very French cheese plate, but soon Vanessa’s dad drags Nick away. He asks Nick what he sees in Vanessa, and Nick must have learned his lesson after talking to her mom, because he talks about her vibe, rather than her banging body.
Vanessa's dad has a stone face that would be very hard to have such a ridiculous conversation with.
Nick: I respect your daughter immensely.
V’s Dad: Hold on didn’t you also just visit your other 3 girlfriends?
Nick: Lol. BUSTED!
Nick asks Vanessa's dad about his hypothetical blessing. He ponders this.
“I can’t give you my blessing just like this.” He then asks if Nick ALSO asked the father’s of his other 3 girlfriends for their blessing.
Nick, such a bullshit artist, bullshits him: “In a way, I ran it by them.”
“What do you mean you ran it by them? It’s yes or no.” I’m not sure if this is being made clear, but Vanessa’s family is NOT receptive to Nick’s bullshit.
I’d like to remind America that this whole awkward conversation could have been avoided if people realized that you don’t need to ask a father for permission to do anything with her daughter, if that daughter is of legal age and sound mind and body!
Vanessa’s dad eventually relents for no real reason and gives his blessing.
Vanessa’s dad and Vanessa chat, where her Dad, a real gossip, says that Nick asked for his blessing. Vanessa is SO pleased, talking about how brave it is to walk into someone’s home and ask for their daughter’s hand. NOT SO FAST, her dad says, because did you know he also asked his OTHER girlfriend’s father’s for their blessings?
Vanessa is very sad. I can see why she is sad, but she also HAS seen this show, right? Also she HAS met Nick, right?
Outside, it’s RAINING, both literally and metaphorically. They say goodbye, where this creep exchanged is creeped:
Nick: “Stay out of your head, ok?”
Vanessa: “See you at rose ceremony.”
Nick is such a creep. He might as well have said DON”T THINK TOO HARD ABOUT HOW MUCH BETTER YOU ARE THAN ME!
The camera pans on a puddle as Vanessa cries. Not a joke.
Suddenly! We’re in NYC! New York is Nick’s favorite city in the world, which kind of upsets and grosses me out, because I live here. Anyway! Nick has to make a decision tonight! He’s dumping one of his girlfriends!
Aw, Raven is here! I’d love to get some shots of her wandering around the city! I bet she’d take to it!
Corinne is also here, all “you know how much I spent on Nick?!”
Rachel arrives in a cute little leather jacket! She’s in LOVE with Nick, but let’s not really dwell on that, ok?
Vanessa is here in a BONKERS dress. Just look at it, it makes no sense! Was something lost in translation, or did not all of it make it past US customs?
She realizes that Nick cares for other women and it makes her sad.
BUT! Suddenly, someone from NICK’S PAST arrives! She (spoiler alert) knocks on the door, and it’s ANDI! I only know that because I watched this ep with someone who watched her season, she certainly wasn’t properly announced.
TO BE CONTINUED!
The credits scenes will never be as fun without Alexis, and this one is just Vanessa mocking Nick for not speaking Italian (basically).
See you next week!