Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.
- Working theory of The Bachelor cliffhangers: The more the hyperbolic the drama teased, the lesser the drama will actually be. “The most epic two-on-one date in Bachelor history!” turns out to be the opposite of a game changer. Taylor essentially extends her goodbye, Corinne still gets the rose, and the ceremony happens—as usual these days—in the first 10 minutes of the episode. Will someone move into Taylor’s place as Corinne foil? Or will the show pull the strings to create drama elsewhere?
- The obvious contract-mandated publicity for Saint Thomas and the contestants’ hotel goes horribly wrong when hotel maid Lorna is made to serve Corinne, who compares her to her nanny, Raquel, back home. “Everyone needs a Lorna or a Raquel,” Corinne says. Maybe all the other women “ask” Lorna to “help them” with their wrinkled dresses, but Corinne really is a spoiled, whiny rich kid.
- And at the opposite spectrum is Kristina. Eating lipstick. Faced with prostitution. Leaving the orphanage and everything she knows for the U.S. (she says the choice was “kind of selfish but better for myself”). Kristina telling Nick about her childhood felt like the real depth of honesty and connection The Bachelor always strives for but almost never achieves. “She seems to have a mature grasp and appreciation for life,” Nick tells the camera. I’m surprised the show didn’t immediately cut to Corinne complaining about how hard her life is because Lorna makes cheesy pasta differently from Raquel, but good on them for giving Kristina some legitimate screen time and not interrupting her. It does, though, seem crazy for Nick to be seriously considering both Kristina and Corinne as a potential partner, so I’m just going to assume he’s not. Corinne’s here for the drama.
- Fuck volleyball! There is a moment when Rachel—angry with being forced to play a sport she doesn’t enjoy with women she’s forced to compete against—is venting her frustrations to the camera, or maybe the person behind the camera. “The fact that I have to go through the next few weeks with…” she says, appearing to teeter dangerously close to chewing out the producer and saying “you fuckers forcing us to play volleyball, which is apparently our breaking point.” But she sticks to the script and says “competing for his time” and all the other things the contestants are supposed to be angry about, without ever drawing the natural conclusion that the producers of The Bachelor are the ones putting these people into these shitty situations.
- It’s hard to care about Whitney when I did not remember who she was.
- Sweet, salty tears. There’s a cry-session that’s been teased this whole season: a scene where Nick says something and he cries and some of the women cry and they’re all shaking their heads and putting their hands to their faces. Turns out Nick is crying because he dumped Danielle L. and now he’s afraid he won’t actually find love on The Bachelor, a show so manipulative that volleyball reduces grown women to tears and a grown man to crying because he thinks a reality show might not give him a fairy-tale experience. “Right now I just feel terrified that’s not going to happen… so I don’t know if I can keep doing this.” Mic drop, exit left. He probably should’ve figured out what he wanted before telling the women he didn’t know if he could do this. But it makes for a great cliffhanger. Which brings us back to my working theory of cliffhangers: While that seems like a great dramatic premise, the harder the show teases the drama the more I expect Z’s.