Bonjour! This week Arie and the harem aren’t missing from the Bachelor mansion, they’re merely on the road in Paris. First off, we wondered: How is Kendall surviving overseas travel without her emotional-support taxidermy?! Second, we realized: Kendall is the emotional-support peacock this franchise has been waiting for.
Was Michelle Obama secretly producing this episode? Because for a show that usually goes low, this episode went high. On his one-on-one with Lauren, Arie lets viewers in on details from his past relationship struggles. At a group date at Moulin Rouge, instead of freaking out over her lack of dance skills and flashing back to childhood dance trauma, Tia saunters through it with a smile. On a two-on-one date at a French chateau, Kendall responds to Krystal’s bullying not by stooping to her level but by rising above. And when Jacqueline expresses a desire to continue her education, worrying that an additional six years of schooling might make a serious relationship impossible, Arie decides not to set her free but to keep her around to see where their connection might go.
The best moment: Kendall’s mature response to Krystal’s bullying
Kendall for ambassador to Bachelor Nation! Who knew that the woman who can serenade a seal also has the power to defuse a Bachelor bully?
Well, Kendall does.
Here she is, on a two-on-one with the season’s villain, Krystal, who tells Arie that Kendall isn’t ready for marriage. The traditional Bachelor insult. When Arie asks Kendall what she thinks about commitment, she affirms that she is ready. And she politely declines the bait right in front of her. Rather than lash out at her competitor, Kendall tells viewers: “I’m not really focused on Krystal and my’s relationship. I’m more focused on Arie and my’s relationship.”
Refusing to be dragged into Krystal’s bullying, Kendall shows enough empathy to impress Taylor Nolan, the Queen of Emotional Intelligence from Nick Viall’s season. Kendall calmly tells Krystal that she knows her barbs come from her own pain, but says so in the kindest way possible: “I feel like you have so much beauty in you,” Kendall says, adding that sometimes just letting it out in a messy moment is the best way to really connect with someone.
Krystal’s response? “I have no words.”
After Kendall gets the rose, she and Arie share a kiss atop the Eiffel Tower, while the other women pop Champagne bottles over Krystal’s luggage being wheeled away. Au revoir!
The worst moments: ‘Wow!’
In the words of Lauren B. during her one-on-one with Arie: “Wow.” There’s a lot to love this week, which makes it hard to pick worst moments. But here are our three mini-cringes.
First: Chris Harrison’s welcoming, “Bonjour!” Between Madonna pretending to be British, and Real Housewives developing accents because they’re friends with Boy George, Europeans have enough reason to turn up their noses at American impersonations. Next time, Chris, a simple “hi” is enough.
Second: “Wow,” the conversational crutch from everyone’s favorite over-thinker, Lauren B., displayed in subtitles at the bottom of the screen. SNL, take note.
Third: “Is a French kiss in France just a kiss?” Leave it to Arie to take Bekah M’s sparkling conversation and turn it into a poorly delivered dad joke. After being accused of essentially being the Melba toast of Bachelors, you’d think someone would be able to feed him a better line. C’est la vie.
The weirdest moment: I see London, I see France
Because the ladies are in Paris, let’s take them to one of the two places they know about the city. Those are: 1.) the Eiffel Tower; and 2.) the Moulin Rouge. First up is the latter: Arie announces that this date at the famed cabaret is for the benefit of the women on the show. Except, um, the date involves them wearing barely any clothing.
“The outfits are thongs,” says Tia, looking mighty uncomfortable. “Um, yeah.”
After a little can-can show, it’s time for the ladies to learn some choreography. Quickly, it becomes obvious: Poor Tia has no rhythm. The director of the Moulin Rouge sizes her up in an extremely French way, pursing her lips and saying, “We have a certain amount of work to do there,” while shooting a judgmental glance in Tia’s direction.
So, let’s play dress up! Tia is again extremely unenthused, saying “I feel butt-a — naked” of her showgirl ensemble. The other ladies live out their Baz Luhrman fantasies, showing off their assets. Tia, bless her, traipses out there looking about as comfortable as a dog wearing boots. To her credit, other women would have had a meltdown about the vulnerable position this ridiculous date puts them in. But Tia just rolls with it.
But the winner is determined by the ladies’ connection with Arie during the cocktail party, not by how well they dance. (Sienne, a trained dancer, was robbed here, and she knows it.) And it’s baby Bekah — who recently was thisclose to being a child on the back of a milk carton — who seals the deal with her spidery eyelashes and cameo brooch.
Back at the Moulin Rouge, Bekah has put on a frothy costume the color of Listerine and a blond bobbed wig. She looks adorable. The other women file into the cabaret; they look furious. Arie puts on a baby-blue cape; he looks like the Phantom of the Opera at a casual beach wedding.
If you, like us, are watching “RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars” concurrently with “The Bachelor,” this is probably the point at which you shouted at your TV: “LIP SYNCH FOR YOUR LIFE.” Bekah, shantay you stay. Arie, sashay away.
Bekah, as we have been saying since Episode 1, looks like Amelie, and we’re pretty sure the producers think so too. They kiss in front of the Moulin Rouge, a location for the film “Amelie,” and the third cinematic reference point this season, after last week’s “Big Lebowski” moment and the previous week’s “Best in Show” date. What will it be next week, “Roman Holiday”?