With all that's been happening in Bachelor Nation this past week plus not airing last week, The Bachelorette has been overshadowed. It's a shame that Bachelor in Paradise's cancellation is taking the focus off Rachel and her season, because Rachel continues to be one of the only bright spots for a franchise currently plagued by darkness. Rachel hasn't done anything for anyone to get mad about, which is almost unheard of for a Bachelor or Bachelorette. People were mad at Nick his whole season. But Rachel is kind and fun and irresistibly upbeat, and when she's not it's for a real reason, like she's feeling the pressure of being the first black Bachelorette.
Rachel has tried to make race as much a non-factor as it can be this season, but it came up this week, because Lee is a racist. Even Dean, who once said "I'm ready to go black and I'm not going back," noticed that Lee was only picking fights with black guys.
"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," Dean said during an interview. A producer asked him what he meant, and he answered "you know exactly what I mean when I say that."
Last week, Lee was beefing with Eric, and Eric got heated. This week he was beefing with Kenny, and Kenny got heated. Both times it was because Lee stirred up trouble and then badmouthed them to Rachel, and both times when Lee was confronted he just sat back and played dumb and then smirked in his confessional interviews about how he likes to cause drama. This week he actually even said he's Not Here To Make Friends.
Lee is a bad villain. He's not entertaining or interesting. He's just a passive-aggressive racist whose hair is too tall, and the show shouldn't have put him on in the first place. Last year he tweeted that Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization, which is an unacceptable position to hold. Chris Harrison said "of course" producers didn't know about Lee's offensive tweets before they cast him, but that's a half-truth at best, because the show is consciously portraying him as a racist. They knew that his bigotry would be a storyline. What they should have done was show Rachel some respect by only casting men who see her as fully human. It's possible to cast guys who'll start drama without giving the spotlight to someone like Lee.
Other than that, though, this was a nice episode! After a rose ceremony in which Diggy, Bryce and Brady were cut, it was time to leave the mansion and take the show on the road to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Dean got the first 1-on-1, and they went for a ride in the Goodyear blimp. They missed the opportunity to have the lights of the Goodyear blimp spell out "RACHEL'S A PIMP," which they definitely could have gotten the rights to do since Ice Cube is a friend of the show. Oh well. Dean seems okay, though. That "I'm ready to go black" comment was maybe just a lapse of judgement and he's actually a pretty good dude, as far as Bachelorette contestants go. His story about his mother dying was genuinely heartbreaking.
The group date was a boat party in which we were subjected to Peter's truly abysmal rapping followed by a spelling bee. The spelling bee was hilarious, and Josiah deserved to win because of his radio-DJ response to being given the word "polyamorous" — "I'm absolutely not interested in that. I want a relationship with you only. You and me and that's it."
Iggy, who like Lee is a "gossip queen" who uses his time with Rachel to talk about other guys, said Josiah was fake and then came back and told Josiah about it. But Josiah is apparently not someone to mess with, because in his confessional about the situation with Iggy he said "he does drugs, he shoots steroids into his nuts, he confessed to all of us." Damn, Josiah. Way to fight fire with fire.
The whole final quarter of the episode was given over to the building conflict between Lee and Kenny (who is a beautiful nice man who doesn't deserve to be treated like this) and Iggy and Josiah. Kenny called Lee an "alternative facts piece of trash," which is uncommonly topical for the franchise.
Next week there's going to be a 2-on-1 with Lee and Kenny. We're supposed to believe that Kenny's bleeding eyebrow is supposed to be due to a fight with Lee, but that's clearly a misdirect like it always is (remember when we were supposed to think Chad punched Evan in the face but really Evan just gets spontaneous nosebleeds?). Whatever really happens will probably be pretty good, though.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC, though there will be an episode next Tuesday, too.