The Bachelor was dark this week. Six women (seven, if you include Taylor's delayed departure from last week) were sent home, and an astonishing three of those dismissals were during dates, not rose ceremonies. There were lots of tears from everyone, including our dude Nick Viall. Even the date that went well had tears. And it ended with Nick not even sure if he could go on after his relationship with Danielle L. fizzled out.
There were two bright spots this week. This episode was the lightest on Corinne in weeks, which was a breath of fresh air. Corinne's dominance of the show was becoming oppressive, and her taking a backseat this week allowed other women to make an impression, especially Kristina, the petite, adorable Russian with a tragic backstory. Kristina's story about her mother abandoning her and her leaving her makeshift family at the orphanage to come to America legitimately had me in tears. I don't think Kristina is going to win The Bachelor, but she's a winner to me.
And we got to know Jasmine TOO well before she went home.
The episode began with the anticlimactic conclusion of Taylor and Corinne's two-on-one, followed by a rose ceremony where Jaimi, Josephine and Alexis the Dolphin were eliminated. Alexis leaving is a tragedy. She didn't get nearly enough attention. Let's start Bachelor In Paradise early so Alexis can still be on TV.
Then it was off to the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, where Kristina had her one-on-one, Nick took the girls on a disastrous group date, and Whitney and Danielle L. were both eliminated during the second two-on-one in as many episodes. At the end Nick tearfully came to the women's suite and told them that he's scared that he's not going to fall in love with any of them. It was rough.
Before we get to the awkward moments, I want to apologize for some of the things I said about Taylor last week. I wrote about Taylor like she's a villain, and she's not. I think she came into The Bachelor thinking she could outsmart the show, and she couldn't. Instead she got manipulated into making herself look bad. And this must be really hard on Taylor. Olivia Caridi, last season's villain, has said she felt suicidal when her season was airing and everyone hated her. Taylor seems similarly sensitive. And Corinne was unnecessarily mean. It's easy to forget that this are real people, not just characters. So Taylor, if you reading this, I'm sorry.
*Nick Viall voice* Ok. Let's get to the awkward moments.
7. Taylor's goodbye
The most awkward part of this is that we had to wait a week to see nothing happen. Corinne and Taylor barely interacted when Taylor interrupted Nick and Corinne's date to tell him that Corinne was a liar. The show teased a confrontation that never materialized. And it's still pretty awkward that Taylor thought that coming back to continue to talk bad about Corinne was a good idea. She was put up to it, but still. Bad idea. Corinne didn't react like she was supposed to react. It seems like now that Taylor's gone, nobody else really has beef with Corinne, so now she's just going to be drunk, not nasty. Speaking of which, Corinne's GIANT glass of champagne was pretty awkward.
Whitney, who had spoken maybe five sentences all season, suddenly played a pivotal role this week. She spoke more this week in the leadup to the rose ceremony than she had all season long put together. And she got the spotlight just so the show could give us just the tiniest bit of personality to relate to when she got sent home. Womp womp. They probably left her on the island and didn't notice.
5. Vanessa's history lesson
This was a very small moment, but one that I loved. As part of the product placement for St. Thomas, Vanessa told the other girls that she learned that St. Thomas was a Danish colony until the early 20th century and this year is the 100th anniversary of when the island became an American territory. The response was an embarrassingly tepid "very cool," and then silence. These ladies don't care about history. Did Nick sign the Treaty of the Danish West Indies? No? Then who cares? Though I like to imagine Vanessa was actually cared. She seems like she might be interested in that kind of stuff.
Interestingly, Raven and Rachel, the two leading candidates for Bachelorette, each said the franchise's product placement catchphrase, "[This Place] is the perfect place to fall in love." Subtle audition, perhaps?
4. Another two-on-one
The most awkward part of the second two-on-one was how out of the blue it felt. They're usually reserved for two contestants who are in conflict, but Danielle L. and Whitney got along fine. It was mostly just to speed up the elimination process, which it did. JoJo's season of The Bachelorette was the first season to have two two-on-ones, and the franchise is starting to abuse the format now. It should amp up existing drama, not create it out of thin air.
3. D.Lo? More like D.No!
Danielle L. — who the other girls call D.Lo, which, hmm — getting eliminated during the two-on-one was a surprise. Nick had already said goodbye to Whitney when Danielle said she was falling in love with him, and he couldn't reciprocate. After all the other eliminations this episode, this one felt like an extra blow. It was like when Glenn died on The Walking Dead.
2. The unhappiest group date
The group date in St. Thomas was, on paper, pretty good: hang out at the beach, drink, and play volleyball. But the women on the date didn't want to play volleyball. They wanted to talk to Nick. But Nick wanted to play volleyball. So everybody got cranky. Even level-headed Rachel quit in a huff. Jasmine, who was stressed from not getting a group date, really started her downward spiral here, playing too rough and shoving Corinne to the ground.
This happens every season, where there's a miserable group date where the contestants act like they need a nap and the lead has no idea that things are falling apart until it's too late. Last year it was Ben's swim with the pigs in Mexico, which was also the sixth episode.
During the cocktail party, Jasmine started to unravel, jabbering about how Nick doesn't notice her until she finally got her moment to shine...
1. The Chokey
Jasmine at long last got her alone time with Nick, and she blew it in truly spectacular fashion.
In the midst of crying and telling him how much she likes him, she said the lack of attention he was giving her upset her and she wanted to choke him. She meant it in a playful, sexy way, but it came off sort of deranged, and Nick was not into it as much as anyone can not be into it. He said "Ok" and smiled the fake smile he does when he's uncomfortable.
But she kept going, telling him she wanted to put him in "the chokey" and grabbed his throat. He hated it.
"Want me to show you?" she asked.
"No, not even a little," he replied.
"You've never gotten a chokey before?" she asked. She should not have been surprised because I think she made term up. Urban Dictionary has two results for "chokey," and neither of them are sexual, which is the only time that's ever happened in the history of Urban Dictionary. It ain't a thing. Unless this whole kinky exchange was very subtle product placement for 50 Shades Darker.
The chokey is really what did Jasmine in. She got sent home moments after she went for Nick's throat.
The three date eliminations this week brought the total of non-rose ceremony eliminations this season to six, after Liz, Dominique and Taylor. That has to be a record.
Things are getting really real.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.