The Little Engine That Couldn't
I'd like to begin with a threadbare car metaphor, because, you know why...
Imagine if you will, a crusty old jalopy cruising along the highway with no tires. How is that possible? How can such an old, busted car with no wheels continue to move forward? What is propelling it? Something very strong, indeed. Stronger than gravity, stronger than all of Newtonian physics…. By sheer grit and determination, Krystal of The Bowling Alley managed to get us through this SLOG of an episode.
I wasn’t sure if it was my generous pour of pinot- or something more complicated like entering a space-time continuum- but no it wasn’t, and no we didn’t. The episode wasn't 7 hours long. It was just really, really, bad. And if it weren’t for triggered, sorry-not-sorry, self-investing Krystal- we’d still be watching episode 5 right now.
We begin in exotic, West Lake Tahoe— I mean, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. After all, Ft. Lauderdale is considered by most to be the Scottsdale of Florida.
Now, before we continue- there’s something I need to address that I’ve avoided for far too long. Arie’s tattoos. What are they? Why are they? How are they on his person? So far I’ve clocked a giant indistinguishable side-torso monstrosity, a large wing of some kind on his lower bicep, and the most puzzling of all, the “2-4-6-0-1” Les Mis tattoo on his hand. To quote another mega musical- “Why, God, Why?”. (3:06-3:09, is all you need, really.)
Here's my theory: Arie said early on in the season that he was attracted to Chelsea’s mysterious vibe. Maybe Arie thought by getting three of the most bizarre tattoos possible, it would render people mystified by his life-long body art choices. In that case, touché Arie, touché.
Speaking of Mamma Chelsea- it’s finally her one-on-one date! They spend the day on a yacht, they make out on a jet ski, and finally end up where else- but a car museum. Funny, I don’t remember Rachel having dinner in a courthouse, or Nick Viall spending an afternoon at a Men’s Warehouse photoshoot. And yet, they won’t let us forget for 15 seconds that Arie used to be/is/was/was he actually(?) a race car driver.
Chelsea shares the “my biggest flaw is that I work too hard” version of a Sad Story- wherein she explains how her life is best described by the “Love Don’t Cost A Thing” music video.
Sidenote: When Arie says he realizes how important Chelsea’s time is because of what she’s left behind, i.e. little 3 year old “Sammy”, he does realize, this is WEEK 5, right?? What’s Chelsea been doing since her first impression rose? A whole lotta this, if I had to take a guess:
Lastly, after their intimate car museum dinner date, Chelsea and Arie are serenaded by Tenille Arts (that’s a name?) singing her new "hit single", “Moment of Weakness”. The lyrics are basically a 2018 version of “It’s Cold Outside”, i.e. creepy AF. The lyrics are actually outstanding in their completely BACKWARDS romantic set-up. I thought we would all just ignore the strangeness of slow-dancing to a song wherein the woman sings,
“I let your kiss turn down my defenses/
Now I’m not strong enough to care/
I didn’t mean to fall in love/
Or tell you any of my secrets/
But you caught me in a moment of weakness”.
But this is THE BACHELOR, so Chelsea ACTUALLY REFERENCES how PERFECTLY the song captures her feelings in the moment. Girrrrrrrlllll, being vulnerable is not the same thing as being weak. A moment of weakness is not a good thing, it’s like, the opposite of strength, ya know? Imagine those wedding vows- “Arie, you caught me in a moment of weakness and I’ve been too manipulated to leave ever since. Love you, I think?”
Anyway, female empowerment/shemale empowerment, nothing matters, let’s move on.
Next- to be filed under things I never needed to see- Arie licks a bowling ball, and we’re into the group date. Things I learned on this date- bowling lighting takes no prisoners, Arie’s spray tan canister needs a refill, and if you lose a competitive bowling match, go talk smack in a utility closet until your shared boyfriend makes it better.
Ok, so Krystal is not happy because of Bowling Alley Gate, and we learn that off-camera she is especially displeased that Arie let the losing team come to the rest of the date. You know the producers have the audio of this- but I appreciate them keeping it from us- letting Krystal’s wrath be the monster in our mind…
Krystal’s mad at Arie for breaking his “premise”- I mean “promise”. Kendall is mad at Krystal because she spoke ill of Dear Leader Luyendyk. She told Krystal and the group that, “kindness is one of the most important things to me, and that did not exhibit kindness.” Note: Kendall will later tell Arie that if given the chance, she would eat human meat.
The girls say they’re mad at Krystal for saying rude things about Arie on the van, but I think they just can't stand Krystal and are so happy to have a reason to tell Arie something that could lead to Krystal leaving the show. I get it. Even without sharing a boyfriend with 15 other girls, (that I’m aware of), I’ve never understood something so well in my life.
Everyone but Chelsea, Tia, and Hurricane Krystal go upstairs/downstairs/wherever to meet Arie. ANYONE ELSE EXTREMELY BOTHERED BY THE “I’ll go UP to see her” but then we watch Arie go DOWN the stairs? That drives me nuts! But I’m usually super Type B, so… anyway…
Ok, I don’t want to transcribe the whole Krystal-Arie discussion, but basically Krystal's wrong for thinking that she can have any kind of reaction to anything Arie does other than, “yes, please I’d like some more” while on the show. Those are the rules- there is no space for criticism. You don’t like it, there are 15 other people who will pretend not to care. And don’t get me wrong, she’s a complete psycho for freaking out about Arie changing his mind. But even if she had a valid reason to be upset with him, there’s no way for her to express that and "succeed".
Now as for Arie- his measure of relationship intimacy is busted. He said that Krystal knows more about him then anyone because she saw his hometown and met his parents and watched goofy home videos. Arie says he doesn’t want to lose what they have because she’s already so far ahead of the other girls. By that measure- I should be married to my brother. He knows my parents really well, he lived in my childhood house, and he’s IN my home videos!
Anyway- my favorite exchange is when Krystal in a moment of attempted reconciliation says, “this could be our first fight”, and Arie says, “yeah, or it could be our last.” BURN!
Blah blah, next Tia and Arie go on their one on one. Arie continues to see Tia as a one-dimensional “country girl” and subsequently takes her on a boat right through the everglades complete with alligators, the future set of Season 4 of True Detective, and the Deliverance-style guy who built/inhabits it.
They eat fried frogs legs (duh!) and Tia continues to be an utter delight. She is so far the first and only real contender for The Bachelorette next season. Go, Tia!
And we’re on to the cocktail ceremony where Krystal decides to once again make her case with the group, though she fears “opening up” will just lead to her being "attacked". Basically none of this is important because Krystal’s point of view can be summed up thusly, “sorry, not sorry”. Can we move on?
I actually do feel sorry for Krystal. She has a lot of issues and I hope she starts to see a therapist who could help her better understand the negative patterns of behavior she exhibits. And maybe that therapist could connect her to a speech therapist who could help her learn how to use her vocal cords and not just make the sound of rice crispies floating quietly down a river of air.
In the end, Arie continues to trim the non-existent literal, but still plentiful proverbial fat from the lady pool. Narnia, Ashlee, and Marikh all go home.
Here's to a better tomorrow, and a better episode...