It’s only been two weeks since the last episode of The Bachelorette, but it feels more like two years: We’re right back in the middle of the Eric-Lee-Iggy fight.
Lee “didn’t come here to make friends,” so check off a square on your reality show bingo card.
He interrupts Kenny and Rachel mid-conversation, despite the fact that he’s already had time with her tonight. What was it that couldn’t wait? Using his grandfather’s knife, Lee has carved the word “enchanting” into a cheap-looking block of wood as a gift for Rachel. Hmm. Well, nothing ever comes out looking quite like it did on Pinterest, does it?
For his part, Dean thinks Lee is an “idiot” and a “bitch” and another contextless bleeped word I can’t even guess at. But more to the point, he thinks Lee’s a racist. A one-act play:
DEAN: The only people that I’ve seen Lee pick fights with have been...not the people that he’s used to seeing on a daily basis. From a cultural perspective.
PRODUCER (off-camera): What do you mean?
DEAN: You know exactly what I mean when I say that.
Kenny is chafed that Lee, his supposed friend, would take advantage and “snake” him for more time with Rachel. Lee, in turn, responds by being so wildly dismissive and passive-aggressive that I find this encounter difficult to watch. “I get tickled when I smile and an angry man gets angrier,” Lee tells the camera with undisguised glee.
The cocktail party’s bad vibes rub off on poor Rachel, who calls the evening a “nightmare.” She’s having a rough time, she says. “The pressures that I feel about being a black woman… I already know what people are going to say about me and judge me for the decisions that I’m making.” And now presenting another one-act play:
RACHEL: You have no idea what it’s like to be in this position.
PRODUCER (off-camera): I don’t. I don’t at all.
RACHEL: I’m not talking anymore.
At the rose ceremony, the final rose is down to Bryce (bleh), Brady (eh), Diggy (aww), and Lee (lol). Our Bachelorette chooses… Lee. What a world. (My read on why Rachel was so upset, in retrospect, is that she knew the producers wanted her to keep Lee, in order to achieve maximum drama—and despite the fact that picking him is far, far, far from a good look. But moving on!)
Next thing we know, Rachel is on a boat, in South Carolina’s beautiful, alarmingly alligator-heavy (I’m just going by the B-roll, folks) Hilton Head Island. There, the week’s first one-on-one date goes to Dean.
He and Rachel are drinking champagne on the hood of a Jeep when a Goodyear blimp just happens to fly over, real casual-like. Dean, of course, is afraid of heights. Nevertheless, they climb aboard, because love, like Fear Factor, is apparently about doing things that terrify you. In the sky, Dean is borderline physically ill. Rachel takes a turn at the controls, and with a lot of encouragement, he gives it a try, too. (Not to be rude, but what are the odds that the joystick they’re messing with is actually hooked up to anything?)
At 26, Dean is a relative baby, the youngest guy in the house. Thirty-one-year-old Rachel is worried he’s not as ready as marriage as she is. But over dinner, they bond as they never have before. Normally sunny Dean recounts in heartbreaking detail how his beloved mom passed away when he was only 15. Now, he says, he can’t wait to have a family of his own — and Rachel is the first person he’s ever opened up to about this. Rose offered, rose accepted. Then, as is Bachelor tradition, they attend a live musical performance by a country artist I’ve never heard of. Russell Dickerson? I hardly know her son. (I’m so sorry.) Anyway, I’m still staunchly Team Peter, but Dean has made great strides tonight.
Alex, Anthony, Peter, Bryan, Jonathan, Adam, Matt, Kenny, Lee, Iggy, Eric, Will, and Josiah are summoned for the biggest group date yet — meaning Jack Stone has a one-on-one date with his name on it. (His name is Jack Stone.) On yet another boat, the men start dancing to impress Rachel, which soon devolves into shirtless dancing to impress Rachel, which soon devolves into a push-up content to impress Rachel, which soon devolves into a rap contest to impress Rachel. Peter’s attempt at freestyling gives us this timeless couplet:
I could tell you something real from my heart
Or I could tell you something fake like a fart
Rachel wants brain as well as brawn, so the date pivots in a very different direction: the first-ever Bachelor National Spelling Bee. (Let the record reflect that this is the only time I have ever felt like I might excel in a challenge on the Bachelor franchise.)
Some of the on-brand words tested include “squirt, “passion,” “caress,” and “champagne.” Among the more challenging highlights: Iggy spells “boudoir” like “Bordeaux.” Eric spells “facade” as “physde.” And Peter spells “coitus” as “qui—cui…” Peter, honey. No.
When Josiah gets the word “stunning,” he asks if he can use it in a sentence himself: “Out of all the women out here tonight, Rachel Lindsay is by far the most stunning.” A consummate ham, he works the crowd like a pro, then eventually takes the win on “polyamorous.” Josiah earns a trophy for his trouble, which — as any reasonable person would — he spends the rest of the night drinking booze out of.
While we were otherwise distracted, Iggy has decided that he is ready once again to board the Pointless Drama Express. For reasons that I wish I could explain to you, but I can’t, because I don’t understand them, Iggy tells Rachel that Josiah has a “false sense of bravado” and that he’s a “pariah” among the men.
Josiah isn’t exactly thrilled. “With all due respect, Iggy’s a bitch,” he tells the camera. “...He does drugs. He shoots steroids in his nuts. He confessed to all of us.” (Are we really not going to follow up on this revelation? I would like to know more, please.)
Meanwhile, human snake emoji Lee tells Rachel that Kenny, who “screamed” at him, is “aggressive.” Oh, don’t mind those flashing lights and that horrible ah-oo-ga sound; that’s just your coded racism alarm going off.
Kenny is more than dismayed when he hears this from Rachel — especially because it seems to him that she believes Lee (who Kenny calls an “alternative facts piece of garbage” and, for good measure, a “reptilian piece of garbage”), which seems odd, given that Lee is otherwise universally disliked.
The tension between the two men is on the verge of boiling over. In the last moments of the episode, Kenny takes Lee outside — are they going to come to blows? Based on Kenny’s bloodied eye in the preview for next week, it seems like a real possibility.