When I say last night’s episode of The Bachelor had it all, I mean it had it all. Where else could you see sexy swamp make outs, a semi-substantive conversation on race in America, a ludicrously expensive shopping spree, as well as a woman grossly confused about what show she was on, all in two hours? Nowhere, that’s where.
I never thought I'd say this, but thank you Chris Harrison.
For all the insanity it possessed, last night's episode actually began in a shockingly sweet way. With Kristina now departed (not dead, just gone), Nick opted to hold a private rose ceremony for the remaining women. He handed out roses to each of the four women before telling them how much they all mean to him and reassuring them before hometown dates. It was the first time all season I’ve actually liked Nick and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
The first hometown date sent Nick to meet Raven in rural Arkansas, though to be fair, all of Arkansas is rural Arkansas. To prove this point, Nick and Raven strap on helmets and go four-wheeling through a swamp before climbing to the top of a nearby grain silo. It's actually a miracle that no one died on this date. Four-wheeling with a helmet provides no real protection beyond the ability to have an open casket funeral and grain silos are so dangerous they actually have their own Wikipedia page.
Big steel killing machines.
Luckily a local police officer showed up before anyone died in the silo and immediately began scolding the couple for trespassing. At first, I thought it was odd for a local Arkansas cop to be patrolling random dirt roads, but then I remembered that Arkansas is basically one big dirt road. As it turns out, the cop was actually Raven's older brother pranking Nick. I'm not sure if the prank was, "Haha you thought you were going to get arrested!" or "Haha Raven's older brother is a cop who could make your life a living hell,if not end it all together, so make sure you never do anything to upset her." Either way, Nick was obviously uncomfortable.
Once Johnny Law left, Nick and Raven briefly returned to four-wheeling before deciding to strip down and make out in the swamp. The two grope each other in ankle deep muddy water before leaving the swamp, I assume, with leeches in their butts.
After cleaning themselves off (and hopefully taking care of the butt-leeches), Nick goes to visit Raven's family. The entire family was in a good mood due to Raven's father being recently declared cancer free, so there wasn't much Nick could do to ruin the date. After a brief meeting with both parents, Nick receives an ominous blessing from Raven's father, saying, "Alright, but I don't want no surprises." I’m not sure, but I think this was a threat for Nick to not get his daughter pregnant. Boy is he going to be upset when the fantasy suite rolls around next week.
Don't worry. The swamp water will prevent the pregnancy.
Putting Arkansas behind him, Nick travels to Dallas for his hometown date with Rachel. Not one to play games, Rachel immediately takes Nick to her predominately black church for a mid-day service. The logic here seems to be if he can hack it in a black church, he can hack it with a black girlfriend. To his credit, Nick actually does pretty well, although he looks like the Dave Chappelle version of a white guy the entire time.
After church, Rachel and Nick debrief about his experience and for the first time all season, Rachel brings up the fact that they are an interracial couple. I’m not saying the issue should have been brought up immediately, but the final week before she is likely sent home seems grossly late to have this discussion.
Then again, Nick responds by saying, “Well duh, I’m not colorblind,” while looking proud of himself. Maybe they weren’t ready to have this conversation after all.
"I understand the concept of race. What more could I possibly do?"
Nick then goes to meet Rachel’s family. Rachel’s sister, Constance, (who is also in an interracial relationship) pulls them aside to talk. Constance wants to ensure that both Nick and Rachel are ready for the inherent societal difficulties that come with being in an interracial relationship. Before she can speak, however, Constance’s white husband points at Nick and says, “So… you’re a white.” I’ll be honest, I didn’t hear the next minute of the show because I was laughing so hard.
Eventually, after I was able to calm down a little, Nick went on to speak to Rachel’s mom. Like the rest of the family, she expressed concern over neither Nick nor Rachel having seriously dated like this before. Nick tells her not to worry because he and Rachel haven’t even talked about it before today. After all, how big of a deal could it be if they haven’t even thought about it yet?
I’m not sure if it was a mother’s love or just general world weariness, but Rachel’s mom gave Nick her blessing to ask for her daughter’s hand in marriage.
"Fine. Take my blessing. At least Rachel won't be doing this shit ever again..."
Nick next rounded off his tour of terrible places in America by flying to Miami for a hometown date with Corinne. No sooner had he landed than Corinne dragged him off to a high-end retailer for a day of shopping. Nick was less than excited until he realized they were shopping for him and his eyes lit up. He tried on a handful of outfits before deciding on $3,000 worth of clothes he already has.
Oh, he also bought $800 sweatpants.
I cannot believe this is the same man who was worshiping in a black church mere hours ago and four-wheeling in a swamp hours before that. Nick is either a sociopath or the last true Renaissance Man. Take your pick.
That evening, Nick met Corinne’s family and nanny Raquel. After an uneventful dinner, Corinne and her father go into a bedroom to talk. The two lay on a bed drinking wine and talking about boys, which is something no father and daughter have ever done, should do, or will ever do again in the future. Good lord that was awkward to watch.
Meanwhile, Nick talks to the woman who raised Corinne. No, not her mother, but Raquel the nanny. Raquel had nothing but good things to say about Corinne, though to be fair, her employment depended on it.
Nick then talks to Corinne’s dad who has some concerns about Nick’s ability to make money. Specifically, he wonders if Nick would be ok not being the breadwinner in the relationship. Nick is taken aback by this, not only because it’s 2017 and of course it’s fine for a woman to be the breadwinner in a relationship, but also because Corinne’s dad is drinking 15 year old, single malt scotch with fucking ice in it. Seriously, both of these are making me mad and I’m not sure which is more infuriating.
The date ends with Corinne’s family watching her and Nick leave from the window of their high-rise condo while Raquel clears the table by herself. Wow, Corinne was right. Raquel is just like a mom.
I'm positive this woman will qualify for sainthood.
Finally we come to the final date of the season with Vanessa’s family in Montreal. They visit Vanessa’s school and adult special education class. The students are all ecstatic to see Vanessa but maintain a healthy skepticism of Nick. Me too, guys. Me too.
After receiving a scrapbook made by her students, Vanessa takes Nick to meet her parents. Because her parents are divorced, Nick is forced to meet them individually. First they head to Vanessa’s mom’s house for dinner with 15 of her closest friends and family. Vanessa warns Nick that this is a big Italian dinner and it could be a little intense. Luckily for Nick, the family is Italian-Canadian, so they’re loud but also incredibly polite.
Vanessa’s older sister did most of the talking during the dinner, repeatedly saying that she was concerned Vanessa and Nick haven’t thought this through. “Where are you going to live?” she asks, “What is he going to do after the show?” In what would become a running theme of the date, Vanessa says she hadn’t actually thought about that yet.
"Wait. We have to keep dating after this show?"
The couple then heads to Vanessa’s father’s house. After some awkward small talk, Nick asks for her father’s blessing and is immediately denied. Vanessa’s father refuses to give his blessing if Nick has also asked for blessings from the other women’s fathers, which he has. Nick is obviously taken aback by this and conversationally flails about saying that he really cares for Vanessa and that The Bachelor can be a confusing place. It made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.
It must have made some sense to Vanessa’s father, however, who immediately recants and gives Nick his blessing. What the shit was that? Is there some unspoken Canadian law that disallows you from saying no more than once? Some clip must have been left on the editing room floor, because that turn of events made no sense at all.
Vanessa is initially ecstatic when her father tells her that he gave Nick his blessing. That fades quickly, however, when Vanessa finds out that Nick has also received blessings from the other fathers on the show. In fact, Vanessa is so upset she no longer knows if she wants to be with Nick if he’s simultaneously dating other women. I’m not sure if Vanessa lacks object permanence and forgot about the other women once they were no longer sharing a house, or if she never really understood how the show worked in the first place. Either way, Vanessa’s reaction is deeply confusing.
Even Vanessa doesn't understand her own reactions.
With the final hometown date completed, Nick returns to New York City for the final Rose Ceremony. As he finishes preparing, he answers a knock at his hotel room door to find none other than former Bachelorette and love interest, Andi Dorfman. Smart money says that Andi is there to give Nick advice before the ceremony. I, however, am hoping against hope that she’s there to remind him of his past failures on the show, and to harass him by graphically describing Josh Murray’s penis.