I miss one episode -- one episode
-- of The Bachelorette
because of a show conflict, and all hell breaks loose. Toss in a week off to celebrate America's birthday, and I can barely remember what's going on with Rachel's quest for love in season 13.
Not only did she drop croon me a racist Lee like a bag of hot trash, but she literally cut the field of potential Mr. Lindsays in half, including both
of my pre-season favorites.
Josiah with the intense backstory and very serious understander Anthony (who somberly accepted her decision) weren't surprising, nor was Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny after it became clear he was more interested in telling short-stack Lee that Jeebus doesn't love him.
I was excited for favorite Will Urkel's one-on-one date, but he screwed the pooch with his answer to Rachel's question regarding his dating history. The dude basically responded, "Lots of sex with white girls." On a first date. When asked to describe his "normal" relationship. Who does that?
I asked my wife what she would have thought if, on our first date, over dinner, she queried as to my dating trends, and I lobbed a hearty, "I bang of lot of black chicks," her way. "I'd wonder why the hell you were at a restaurant with me," she theorized before speculating that perhaps Will had intentionally sabotaged his chances.
The last elimination was during the rose ceremony, when other favorite vacuuming meathead Alex was abruptly sent packing. He had a couple eye roll-worthy moments, for sure, but he seemed to make her laugh with his goofy tendencies. It marks the first time my early picks were all gone by the top six.
Considering the clan of remaining suitors includes penguin Matt and dummy Adam Sr. (and only Adam Sr.), I don't see any scenario in which hometown dates don't go to dancin' Eric, fancy-socked Wisconsinite Peter, backbreaking bad boy Bryan and black-and-back Dean. But, hey, at least you know Matt's parents are still together -- unless one of them got eaten by a seal.
The Geneva Convention
The gang of seven flies to Switzerland, where four roses will be handed on a trio of solo dates and one three-for-all. Adam and Matt get about 10 seconds of screen time each to kick things off, equaling their combined total for the season thus far.
But, alas, the first gent in the spotlight may not be a gent at all. Rachel and too-good-to-be-true Bryan
take in the lavish culture of the city, hitching a ride in a luxury auto (I'm assuming that's what the Swiss call them) to a world-renowned watch shop. There,
ABC gifts them a pair of opulent Swatches, and Bryan shows his gratitude with his lips. My wife: "Don't thank her! Go kiss Chris Harrison!"
The evening venue is the Victoria Concert Hall, where Bryan opens up about his hot-and-heavy previous relationship. Things started to fall apart at a wedding in Colombia, where it became clear that she wasn't willing to compromise and dumped him over his mother. Gee, no red flags there. But instead of questioning what the hell su madre did in South America, she forks over a rose and announces that she's falling deeper.
F is for Family
The next date card -- "Put on your Sunday best" -- goes to Dean, who is nervous at the prospect of introducing her to his relatives since he doesn't have a good relationship with them. If you recall, his mother lost her breast cancer battle, and her death tore the family apart.
They enjoy a Catholic Mass (in French), chat it up with some old married couples at a post-church reception, dance on two left feet to the music of a street musician who also has a cat and take in some gorgeous views overlooking the city. Still, he spends the day awkwardly deflecting, attempting to hide behind his sense of humor in order to mask his growing anxiety. He does not do this well.
Her demand for intimacy bubbles over at dinner, and his facade cracks as he describes his fractured family. He wishes she could see the dynamic he grew up with, instead of the loved ones who abandoned him when he needed them the most. She restores his confidence with a rose, eager to meet those who shaped him and willing to experience the highs and lows together instead of one-sided introductions.
Touch My Peter
The final solo date -- "We're at the peak of our relationship" -- goes to Peter, and Eric is understandably bummed to be grouped with the nobodies.
The couple flies over the Swiss Alps in a helicopter before touching down atop Glacier 3000, where they travel via dog sled to the middle of a desolate snow bank for some hot chocolate. How romantic. And cold. Again, my wife points out that Pete Pete Beats His Meat is not nearly as excited as he should be to meet some pooches.
Rachel took Peter on the first and now the last one-on-one date, but the fact that they haven't spent quality time together in a while has led, at times, to him considering self-elimination. She appreciates the honesty, though it might be tough to hear, and it's a rose for him as well.
PS: A slow clap to ABC for the fancy deceptive editing. The promo showed Peter telling Rachel that he is considering leaving, followed by her crying, followed by Peter saying, "She's got tears streaming down her face ... and I blame myself for that." But in reality, he's describing the breakup with his most recent ex.
Last and certainly least is the dreaded three-on-one date --
let's have a terrible time "Tomorrow will be difficult. I don't know what else to say" -- with Adam, Eric and Matt. Eric's confidence is bolstered because he's the only one who had a solo date, though Adam believes he has the strongest relationship of the three, even though we have no idea who he is.
They board a boat to France and hang out at an ancient castle, where the guys each put their best foot forward during tense private time shared under the guise of feigned positivity. There is a noticeable lack of animosity despite the circumstances, and the men are all supportive in their attempts to prop up Rachel while also partially resigned to the inevitable outcome.
She tearfully parts ways with Matt, who heads back to the arctic and the unenviable task of guarding the unhatched eggs, and it's on to the evening part of the date sans flightless dead weight.
Another Predictable Result
Adam expresses his combination of excitement and skepticism because he knows there are stronger connections yet has hope there's something there worth exploring.
Meanwhile, Eric opens up about living in Baltimore, where he's seen friends deal drugs and go to prison, family members get high, and abusive relationships. He's also never seen his parents together in his life -- or brought home a girl.
It's an honest portrait of how he grew up and what he rose above, but it's not the situation in which Rachel was raised. And that's a difficult dynamic to marry into.
In the end, Eric gets the posie, and Adam says goodbye while urging her not to worry or wonder, "What if I'd kept Adam?" She's like, yeah, I'm cool.
The Fearsome Foursome
And just like that, Rachel is down to her final four. There are concerns about each man, with Bryan's perceived insincerity and potentially crazy mom, Eric's lack of fundamentally sound relationship experience and Dean's family issues (it turns out his dad, previously described as "eccentric," actually resembles Princess Jasmine's father).
Peter has to be considered the frontrunner, with his quasi-normal, relatively drama-free lifestyle and history. His "hesitations" could easily be contrived, and I guess not every dude has to freak out and greet every pup he sees. Plus, they talk about pooping during the credits scene -- and everyone knows that the most basic building block of a solid relationship is the ability to discuss (and laugh about) poop.
Who do you think is the favorite and who do you hope Rachel ends up with? Which uncomfortable hometown experience will be the most explosive and how important is a laid-back and welcoming family? Finally, how much potential do the upcoming dates have to sway Rachel's feelings towards each individual man, particularly under these circumstances? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.