This week’s episode of The Bachelor was a perfect case study in why the show is so fascinating, and so contradictory. On the one hand, it provided viewers with a powerful PSA about Rape Culture that aligns perfectly with the #MeToo Movement. On the other, there were catfights where women referred to each other as “the cancer of the house” between cocktails.
The episode started well. We enjoyed a setting shift, with Colton and the ladies traveling to Singapore. This sparked Hannah G’s query, “Where is Singapore?” And that begs an important question, has Hannah G. not seen Crazy Rich Asians? That movie is basically a love letter to Singapore. Hannah G needs to spend more time staying in touch with The Zeitgeist!
Tayshia received the episode’s first one-on-one outing. She and Colton went on the requisite “conquer your fear of heights date,” which takes place at least once a season. It was bungee jumping. There was much screaming followed by hugging and bonding over a shared experience cheating death.
Afterwards, things got more interesting when they headed to the beach. We saw something that I don’t think we’ve ever seen on this franchise before, a one-piece bathings suit! You guys, Tayshia totally wore a full0n one-piece! Is that even legal??? Isn’t there some sort of Bachelor Nation law decreeing women must only wear bikinis? Tayshia is a total rebel, and I’m digging it.
At dinner, Tayshia continued to impress when she revealed she’s divorced. Calm and collected, Tayshia discussed how, as a Christian, she’d assumed she’d never leave a marriage. However, she married her first ever boyfriend, and they turned out to be incompatible. When the situation became untenable, her happiness had to come first. Watching the scene, I was so damn happy for Tayshia that she had the strength to choose self-care over staying in an unfulfilling relationship.
For his part, Colton reacted admirably to the divorce reveal. On previous season of The Bachelor, divorce has oft been stigmatized, treated as taboo. By Bachelor standards, Colton’s reaction was super casual. He expressed approval for Tayshia’s decision and explained he would never judge a person for prioritizing their happiness over staying in their marriage. Colton is a pretty open-minded dude, guys! I’m getting more and more into him each week! He’s like a straight-edge millennial version of that “Feminist Ryan Gosling” meme.
The episode’s Group Date was definitely the most acrimonious outing. The premise was fun. The gang walked around Singapore, ate food and met a fortune teller. However, some of the ladies were decidedly not into it. For example, Hannah B. had to be cajoled by Colton into trying a fisheye, which I’m not sure she actually ate. Is my TV broken, or did it look like she just mimed picking up food with her chopsticks? My money is on the latter.
During her alone time with Colton, Hannah B. committed yet another faux pas when she referenced last week’s drama, AKA her mysterious feud with frenemy Caelynn. Once again, she failed to reveal how Caelynn had wronged her. And once again, Hannah had no idea Colton looks less into her each and every time she trash talks her pageant rival.
In a surprising twist of events, it was troublemaker Demi who took home the Group Date Rose. Colton was impressed with the interior decorator’s vulnerability when she revealed her mom was recently released from prison. He applauded Demi’s “optimism” in the face of adversity. Next, Colton treated her to a ton of kissing with tongue. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Colton this season, it’s that he really enjoys putting his tongue in other people’s mouths. I cannot wait to see how Colton reacts when he finds out Heather’s never been kissed! Will it be a turnoff, or will she basically be his white whale?
Not everyone was pleased with Demi’s Date Rose. Courtney and Demi’s rivalry reached its climax this week. To use a Jane Austen reference, they’re The Bachelor’s solution to Elizabeth Bennett and her antagonist Lady Catherine De Bourgh. If you have not read Pride and Prejudice, this reference may be lost on you, but I swear it’s accurate! If only I could decide who’s Elizabeth and who’s Lady Catherine in this equation…
It seems Courtney detests Demi because of her competitive approach to being a Bachelor contestant. And she does have legitimate grievances there; when Demi snuck in extra alone time with Colton at the post-date cocktail party, it admittedly came at Courtney’s expense (Courtney was the only lady who was never alone with our leading man). At the same time, Demi pointed out that Courtney could have been more aggressive. No one else was waiting around for Colton to notice them…
Before The Rose Ceremony. the Courtney Vs. Demi rivalry once again reared its well-coiffed head. Courtney referred to Demi as “immature,” and suggested she did not have the class to follow social graces. Not to be outdone, Demi referred to Courtney as “the cancer of the house.” This altercation was The Bachelor’s equivalent of The Red Wedding on Game of Thrones. Both women sought out Colton before the end of the episode, each explaining they felt the other wasn’t there for the proverbial Right Reasons. But it was Demi who lived to fight another day; Courtney sadly did not receive a rose…
Now, for something unorthodox: I want to finish this week’s recap by discussing the second one-on-one date of the episode. I know it’s customary for me to do my recaps in chronological order, but this week I’m going to break with tradition. That’s because I want to end on the most important part of the episode. Tonight, I was reminded of The Bachelor’s profound power to change the world. Scoff if you want, but the show has a platform. It is watched by millions of viewers around America. Most crucially, it’s popular with both the political Left and the Right. The Bachelor therefore has a unique opportunity to raise awareness about major social issues that don’t get a lot of airtime on Fox News.
This week, Caelynn used her one-on-one date to tell Colton about her experience with sexual assault. In university, she and her friends were drugged and gang rapped while at a party. With grace and courage, Caelynn detailed how this experience has been an obstacle to intimate relationships in the past. She recalled how, in the immediate aftermath, she felt triggered when a man even touched her shoulder. But happily, Caelynn revealed Colton makes her feel “safe.”
Colton’s sensitivity was a wonderful example of how men should react when a woman describes her history with sexual assault. First and foremost, he made it clear that he believed Caelynn. He listened attentively, and he held her when the whole ordeal was done. By the scene’s end, I understood why Caelynn feels so safe around Colton. Colton may be a virgin, but he appears to understand the effects of sexual assault far better than most people. I am grateful The Bachelor decided to provide this example of how to react when a partner discusses her history with sexual assault.
Judging by the Internet’s reaction, Caelynn’s story has struck a major chord with the show’s audience. This week, The Bachelor did meaningful work in support of The Me Too Movement. After all, we’ll never defeat Rape Culture without open and honest conversations about consent.
That’s it for this week…