Thank God for Jasmine, because this episode was otherwise almost as boring as being abandoned on an island with two girls who bought their personalities from a mall barista. Oh wait, the entire second hour was EXACTLY THAT. Despite the solid efforts of trainwrecks like Platinum Vagina Business Lady (PVBL) Corinne, and actual human beings like Rachel, this season has been an endless slew of boring, indiscernible women named Astrid. They’re all named Astrid because who cares to learn their real names. If they can’t bother to develop a personality in 25 years on this planet, I’m not learning their name for a few weeks. So, this week was one hour of Jasmine saving the day, and one hour of pure Astrid nonsense.
The episode started with the producers stretching the PVBL/Taylor plotline so thin that when it snapped back, it killed half of the women. Seriously, there are now half as many women because ABC smothered them and us so hard with the Taylor/Corinne subplot. The rose ceremony, which they apparently have just officially moved to the beginning of the show now, was uneventful. A few Astrids went home and Nick finally sent Jaimi home, giving my nightmares a much needed reprieve. At her elimination, she looked like the Lollipop Guild had gotten into the drug game. It was the worst, she was the worst, and now she’s gone.
After the girls were sent home, the show went to its first acceptable locale: St Thomas. After Waukesha and New Orleans, these girls were beginning to think they were actually on Fear Factor, so it was nice of them to transport them to “INSERT RANDOM BIKINI DESTINATION HERE” as ABC probably has written on their plot board. The first date was a one-on-one with Kristina, and it turns out the endless over-the-top Russian jokes we’ve all been making about Kristina were actually not over-the-top enough. Short of being the spawn of Putin and a hungry wolf, her story could not have been more Russian.
On their date, Kristina casually revealed that she grew up so poor she had to eat lipstick. Or as Russian viewers probably thought, “Oh, she can afford lipstick? Must be nice to be upper middle class.” And then her mother threw her out of the house for complaining about being hungry… when she was SIX GODDAMN YEARS OLD. If I had been kicked out of my house at 6 years old, I would have died at 6 years old, about ten feet from my house, in a set of poop-stained Urkel pajamas. But nope, Kristina went to an orphanage, and I’m sure that Russian orphanages in the 90s were a real spa day. “Here at orphanage we do not hog the lipstick, as everyone must eat.”
As Kristina is revealing all of this to a 36 year old who still isn’t even 6 himself, she also said that someone at the orphanage, probably the sweat shop shift supervisor, told her that, “Life in Russia is black and white, and if you go to America, your life will be in color.” And based on how Kristina described her life, that may have been literal. Her childhood may have actually been in black and white.
Her choices, according to Kristina, were go to America or become a prostitute at age 16. Nick, being the world’s worst human being as he is, then used this life anecdote as a pick-up line for a quick make out. He really did that. Because he’s Nick. He said that, “When I’m with you my world is in color.” Way to go, Nick – you used a quote about how she escaped prostitution as a chance to tongue fence her. Nick is a class act.
The second date, which wasn’t a compilation of the worst parts of Dr. Zhivago, was a group date. This was the producers’ chance at their annual, “Dammit, we need some absurd premise to get these girls drunk in bikinis.” Last season it was when they gave the girls a bucket of hot dogs and had them throw the hot dogs at pigs. This date was even more poorly planned, and it was just “play beach volleyball and do shots.” And these poor girls looked like they were playing volleyball at gunpoint, which is really the only way to play beach volleyball with Nick Viall.
As is predictable when you put a gaggle of mentally unstable walking quarter life crises on an island of liquor, all of the women ended up crying. Rachel and Vanessa, on top of crying, also slowly began their journey to realizing how much better they are than Nick. Rachel was so close to the self-realization of saying, “Wait, I’m a lawyer in my 30s, and he’s a nearly-40 year old professional reality show silver medalist who just used some girl’s Tolstoy childhood to try to get laid.” I’m hoping that Rachel actually becomes so self-aware that she starts her season of The Bachelorette while still actively on Nick’s season of The Bachelor. Also, Jasmine actually went insane. Not “haha, that girl is quirky” insane, but more “I’m gonna threaten to choke fuck you” insane.
Jasmine, after a day of being subjected to drunk beach volleyball with Corinne, had enough of… nobody acknowledging how great she is at walking into rooms. That seemed to be the root of her frustration, as she repeatedly mentioned, “You notice me when I’m in a room. You see me in rooms. When I am filling a physical space in an observed location, people are aware of my presence.” I’m not sure why that made her so angry but it made her angry enough to almost perform an erotic homicide on Nick. But in her defense, she’s better at walking into the room than some people. Nobody notices when Whitney walks into a room. Not even Whitney.
Nick and Jasmine talked privately, which was a poor decision for Nick because all the cameraman could do was record footage for the murder trial. Jasmine continued to mention how when she is present at locations, she is noticeably present at locations. Nick was confused, so she clarified that, “Have you ever had choke sex? I’m gonna strangle bang you.” Then she used the phrase, “Give you the chokie,” and that, children, is how a restraining order is born. Despite offering Nick autoerotic asphyxiation with the volleyball net, Jasmine was sent home. And six hours later the limo driver was found dead, blue and blown. I’m very proud of that joke about Jasmine’s Jack The Ripper-esque sex life.
The final date was a 2-on-1 with Whitney and Danielle L, which from a mental standpoint, is basically solitary confinement. For purposes of making it easier, these talking Ugg boots will be referred to as Astrid, because learning one of their names is enough for the season. Astrid and Astrid talked about their feelings with Nick, and it had all the substance of a boiling tea kettle. I’ve had more in-depth conversations with my dog, and my dog is dumb even by dog standards. Nick then sent Whitney Astrid home, and rather than leaving she just kinda blended into the furniture and was forgotten.
Now that Astrid 1 was sent home, Nick went on a date with Astrid 2. Here’s a sample of the conversation:
“Hi, I’m Nick and I’m the worst.”
“Tee hee. Shoes.”
Even someone as vapid as Nick has his limits. Even Nick Viall, a sentient Pac Sun mannequin, had more personality than Astrid 2. It was so bad that he sent her home, or at least I think he did, because I was so bored by the end of that date that I had entered a dream within a dream. The Astrids were so boring that they induced inception, except instead of a cool ending like the movie, I just woke up three days later in a boredom coma. So, combining the rose ceremony, filing charges against Jasmine, and the great Astridpocolypse, the number of girls was cut in half. Or as Kristina calls it when half the girls suddenly disappear, a slow Tuesday at the orphanage.
The best way to end this recap is with Nick’s description of the two words he would use to best describe how what he wants in a relationship. Surprisingly, the answer wasn’t “cameras and decorative scarfs.” Whatever Astrid he was talking with at this point probably said that she wanted, “Starbucks and… Starbucks.” Nick, however, is no longer Shitty Nick from all those other times. He’s changed. He’s mature. He’s closer to AARP than he is to these girls’ age. So Nick said that he wanted a relationship that was, “Raw and adventurous.” Which isn’t really words that describe a marriage so much as how you describe your ideal evening to Mistress Jasmine. Never forget: Nick is the worst.