The Bachelor Season 21, Episode 2 Recap: Farewell, Dear Doula

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
When the sun rises on day two in the Bachelor mansion, 22 women remain. They toast with mimosas, champagne, and the faintly dry shampoo-flavored blood of their fallen enemies before Chris Harrison arrives. He announces there will be three dates this week: two group dates and one coveted one-on-one.

“It is physically impossible for all of you to have dates this week,” he explains, as if Newtonian physics is to blame for the arbitrary rules of this reality show.

Invited on the first group date are Corinne, Vanessa, Sarah, Alexis, Haley, Lacey, Brittany, Jasmine G., Raven, Danielle L., Taylor, and Elizabeth W. If you've already forgotten who all of those people are, don’t worry. At this point in the season, even the contestants’ families are double-checking the official ABC bios to remind themselves which Danielle is their daughter.

Those 12 women are divided among three convertibles, continuing the Bachelor franchise’s grand tradition of aggressive product placement (never forget Ben and Amanda’s romantic evening at McDonald’s) that leads into an actual commercial for Buick convertibles. Based on the number of H&R Block ads I saw tonight, there is a 30% chance that we’ll witness a let’s-do-our-taxes-together group date by season’s end.

Those luxurious Buicks led them to another mansion, one that suspiciously resembles the house they just came from. As much as I would like to believe that this is a backdoor pilot for an alternate-reality sci-fi spinoff, the women are actually here for a wedding photo shoot in the backyard.

Needless to say, these proceedings are taken bizarrely seriously, as if wearing a white dress in a picture constitutes a legally binding marriage contract. From a practical perspective, should none of Nick’s relationships work out this season, ABC can probably scrape together enough of this footage to SeinfeldVision themselves a primetime-ready dream wedding.

A photographer named Franco in a multicolored romper and mirrored shades — who is either a strong candidate for Bachelor 2018 or Sacha Baron Cohen — assigns each of the women a different character to play. In a cruel twist, some of them aren’t brides at all, but the second-class citizens that are bridesmaids. The themes include 1980s Wedding, Princess Wedding, and Biker Wedding. Alexis, having only just shed her dolphin-shark costume, learns the meaning of “shotgun wedding” when she’s forced to don a fake pregnant belly. “I thought I was going to be hot and sexy with guns,” she laments.

Brittany is tapped to play “Adam and Eve” bride (nope, not a thing), which means she and Nick must pose au naturel, with the exception of their matching skimpy bottoms. Despite the fact that Nick and Brittany’s attempts to eat an apple together somehow come out less erotic than the Lady and the Tramp spaghetti scene, Corinne — who would like to remind you that she was the first to kiss Nick, and who would also like to remind you that her name was first on the date card — is furiously jealous. She won’t allow herself to be upstaged. For her pool shoot with Nick, she removes her bikini top and instructs him to hold her boobs a la Janet Jackson’s 1993 Rolling Stone cover. (Fun fact: Did you know “handbra” has its own Wikipedia page?) The other women are collectively horrified, especially Haley, who, lest we forget, introduced herself to Nick by letting him know that she wasn’t wearing any underwear. (How does the saying go? Glass houses, stone boobs?) But Corinne’s breasts win the challenge, meaning they get the privilege of posing with Nick on top of a — you guessed it — Buick convertible, decked out with a “Just Married” sign and tin cans.

That night, Corinne bursts forth from her villain chrysalis and emerges as a fully unlikeable butterfly. At the compulsory post-group-date boozing sesh, she insists on intruding on the other women’s conversations with Nick, in classic franchise monster form. “If you can’t handle being interrupted, why did you come here?” she asks her increasingly unhappy castmates, as if they’d all enthusiastically signed up for an interrupting-centered reality show.

While Taylor’s discussing her master’s in mental health counseling from Johns Hopkins,

Corinne returns to seize Nick for a third time. But the “can I steal you?” arms race escalates to a new height when, a few minutes later, Taylor boldly takes him back.

“She re-interrupted me, which I think is very rude,” Corinne fumes, who can by this point go ahead and submit this entire episode as her personal Bachelor in Paradise audition tape. “There’s a way to go about things. The way to go about things is very classy and not directed toward a character in general. The way she did it was very directed toward Corinne.”

Nevertheless, it’s Corinne who gets the group-date rose, an announcement that seems to suck the air right out of the room — and considering this scene is shot outdoors, that’s an awful lot of air. The other women look like they’re prepared to write impassioned letters to electors. “XOXO, Gossip Girl,” Corinne says aloud, to no one in particular. (Are we 100% positive that she and Chad aren’t related? If not, should they date?)

The one-on-one date goes to sweet neonatal nurse Danielle M. Given that helicopters are probably the fifth most common object seen on The Bachelor (coming in behind roses, wine glasses, curling irons, and hot tubs), I’ll leave it up to you to figure out the means of transportation by which she and Nick find themselves landing on a yacht anchored off Newport Beach. Nick, who is as good at pouring champagne as he is at convincing women to marry him on television, hands Danielle a flute full of froth and they bond over their shared Wisconsin heritage.

Meanwhile, back at the mansion, Liz (that is, Liz who slept with Nick at Jade and Tanner’s wedding Liz) decides that she needs to tell someone her story. How about to Christen, who is almost definitely the product of a Bachelor Contestant Name Generator?

“I would never say a word about it, and they wouldn’t even know that I knew,” Christen says when she realizes Liz has a secret, invoking the universal reality TV code for “I will not only tell every single person I have ever met, but also tattoo this information onto my skin Memento-style.”

After some quality time in (what else?) a hot tub, Nick and Danielle M. decamp to Balboa Island, making this an egregious missed opportunity for an Arrested Development date. There are always roses in the banana stand. Danielle bears her soul and reveals that she was engaged, but that her fiancé died of a drug overdose — and that she was the person who found him. Then, naturally, the producers have Danielle M. and Nick smooch on a Ferris wheel, a perfect palate cleanser after discussing heartbreaking tragedy. Let’s all chip in and buy a Match.com subscription for Danielle, a nice person who surely deserves better than this.

Christen, Josephine, Astrid, Jamie, Christina, and Liz are summoned for the second group date. “We need to talk…” reads the date card, a message that Liz can’t help but take personally.

This date brings them to L.A.’s Museum of Broken Relationships, where they take in the relics of lost loves (a dog brush, a cheerleader uniform, the would-have-been engagement ring Nick picked out for Kaitlyn) on display. The museum director enlists them to pseudo-dump Nick in front of a live audience, just like your grandparents did on their first date.

Astrid — who seems lovely, but who I honestly forgot existed — snaps a rose over her knee. Dental hygienist Kristina chews Nick out for not flossing. Josephine produces what is probably the best Bachelor slap since Chantal walloped Brad Womack straight out of the limo in 2010. Then there is Liz. Oh, Liz.

Liz reads from prepared notes that refer to how she and Nick met at the wedding, which — without any context or explanation — probably come off to the other women like very specific, ill-timed fanfiction. “I know that this is the end of a chapter for us, but I really hope that it’s a beautiful beginning for you,” she tells him, leading everyone to wonder, I’m sorry, did she actually just break up with him, or? No one is more confused than Nick, who is so desperate to avoid eye contact that he angles his entire head away from her as if he were a sunflower and literally everything but Liz was the sun.

His discomfort permeates the latter half of the group date, to the point that I’m surprised he even registers when Jamie tells Nick she previously dated a woman (hey Jamie!). “I’m living my nightmare,” he tells the camera, because apparently being a straight cis white dude in America means that your worst-case scenario is a night of social awkwardness arising on the TV show about beautiful women competing to sleep with you.

Once Christen, who is truly the Fredo of Bachelor 21, snitches, Nick finally takes Liz aside for an overdue conversation. You never contacted me, he says. Because you were going to be on Paradise, she says. But that was only for a month, he says. But I don’t like to talk on the phone, she says. Uh, okay, America says.

And with that, Nick asks her to leave. But that was the easy part. In the final moments of the episode, he sits down with the other women on the group date and tells them the truth about Liz. Astrid clasps a hand over her mouth in shock — and, based on next week’s preview, sobbing, chaos, and unrest will soon ensue at the mansion. Has paradise fallen?

All that drama leaves no time for a rose ceremony, but I’m happy to report that a pretty satisfactory consolation prize rolls under the credits: Alexis shares a pair of cupcakes with Nick to celebrate her “boob birthday,” that is, the first anniversary of her breast augmentation. At least we all have one more holiday to look forward to in 2017.


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