Welcome back to The Bachelorette, the show that makes you feel better about humanity’s rapidly approaching extinction.
Last week’s episode was non-existent due to America’s creepy obsession with sports but BOY did this week’s make up for it.
This week’s, like every week’s, episode was bad and long and marginally boring. I tuned in ten minutes late because I was finishing a five-year-old rerun of Real Housewives of New York (oh, you thought I might’ve been watching the glorious NYC sunset? That’s nice of you.), and when I turned on my television (lol nah, it’s a laptop) there was Kenny, screaming at the Rat King, Lee.
It’s hard to know whether the producers edited Lee to be a maniacal elf queen before or after news of his hateful Twitter broke, but it doesn’t really matter — this version of him feels like the truth. He fights the way my older siblings used to fight when they were ten and 11, respectively. My sister would provoke, a mischievous twinkle in her eye, and my brother, largely incapable of withholding his rage due to how we socialize men in this world, would lose his temper.
My sister was the real asshole in this situation, almost always, but it was my brother and his loud, angry self that would pay the price.
This is the situation Lee finds himself in repeatedly. He is my older sister at age ten, a budding sociopath in the body of a grown man.
There’s also an undeniable racial element to Lee’s interactions. He picks fights almost exclusively with the black men of the house — there’s even a scene where he’s sitting, drinking with two of the house’s white fellows, assuring them that he has “no problem with them” — and he repeatedly categorizes his opponents as “aggressive,” leaning into the age-old stereotype that black men are to be feared.
Rachel is a smart woman and, if this side of Lee isn’t apparent to her yet, it will eventually become obvious. I mean, the guy’s gotta have a Confederate flag tattoo in his tramp stamp spot, right?
This was also the first episode where Rachel really acknowledges the role that race plays in her journey to love, not just on the part of the diverse group of men pursuing her, but as a black woman herself. In a rare moment of totally uncanned confessional verse, Rachel tells the camera that everyone is going to judge her decisions as a black woman.
“I already know what they’re going to say,” says Rachel through tears.
I appreciate that the producers kept this part in because naming something takes away its teeth, at least a little bit. The hope is that there are at least a few viewers out there who hear this and are spurred to unpack their own judgments of Rachel and how those judgments might be influenced by the color of her skin.
Like, there’s gotta be one person out there who might do this, right?
Anyway, Rachel goes straight to the rose ceremony instead of indulging her suitors’ drama. Kenny and, unfathomably, Lee get to stay. Diggy goes. RIP Diggy. You were awesome.
The group heads to Hilton Head Island where White Boy Dean gets a one-on-one date. He and Rachel drink champagne on the hood of a Jeep, they get to hang out in a blimp, and they have dinner in a pretty place where Dean tells Rachel about the death of his mother and subsequent dismantling of his adolescence.
Dean is very attractive, and he’s got a humility that doesn’t seemed rehearsed (but probably is). He’s a fun fling for Rachel, but he’s six years younger than her and a “start-up recruiter” which might be, but shouldn’t be, a real job. He may make it to the top four and even become the next Bachelor, but there’s no way his future involves Rachel Lindsay as his girlfriend. Sorry, Dean. She’s a woman.
The next group date is immense and involves all of the men going on a yacht and having a rap battle. In a move that harkens back to Macklemore winning Best Rap Album over Kendrick Lamar, Peter is given the highest praise for his turn of phrase. Josiah is on some kind of high on this date — he says over and over that he is the sexiest man on the boat, which is true but, I don’t know, keep it to yourself.
It’s like how whoever doesn’t believe in the monster gets killed first in horror movies. Josiah is digging his own grave.
The men head from the boat to a spelling bee run by a trio of 12-year-old girls who are ordered to don earmuffs when Peter asks for a sentence containing the word “coitus.” He spells it wrong.
The men have to spell words like stunning, boutonniere, and squirt. Perhaps the most egregious misspelling came from Eric, who thought “façade” was spelled “physde.” Honestly, though, I get it. I once spelled “guidance” like “guidence” during a third grade spelling bee. Nobody is perfect.
Josiah wins by spelling “polyamorous” correctly, and I don’t usually care how good a speller a man is, but damn, seeing him spell that correctly was kind of a turn on. He gets a big, ol’ gold cup and bragging rights, which he really, really didn’t need.
That night at the alcohol party that always follows the group dates, Iggy tells Rachel that he thinks Josiah isn’t right for her. And Lee tells Rachel that Kenny isn’t right for her. And Josiah. Wait. Honestly, I have no idea who told what about who, specifically, but shit was talked and Lee + Iggy were the perpetrators.
“Lee is an alternative facts piece of shit,” says Kenny in the show’s only semi-acknowledgement up to this point that the American president is doing everything he can to destroy the freedom of press in this country.
The show ends on a gripping cliffhanger in which Kenny tells Lee the two of them are due for a “chat” aka FACE-BASHING.
Join me next week to find out whether Lee regrets having made an enemy out of a two-time professional WWE champion.