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The Bachelor Fantasy League, week 10: we were supposed to have this week off

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What the heck, ABC

ABC / The Bachelor

Love’s a game and this year we’re playing. For the full rules and intellectual justification of The Verge Bachelor Fantasy League please see this explanatory post. For a little background on why this is poised to be the best-ever season of The Bachelor, see this essay by culture editor Chris Plante:

Lizzie Plaugic: Welcome back to Bachelor Fantasy League, for Fantasy Suite Night Round 2. And Round 3. Last week we left off with a nail-biter: will Raven, the first to experience Nick’s personal fantasy suite this season (+5), have an orgasm? This week, for the sake of true love, we were forced to conclude yes (+15). The producers choose to illustrate Raven’s sexual milestone with a montage of Raven skipping through snow, jumping for joy, and winking through a heart-shaped cut-out. Thank gosh for that, because if the producers hadn’t made it very obvious that Nick was capable of bringing a woman to orgasm, we’d be forced to worry about it for his next two dates.

We knew that this week would bring Nick to his final two Bachelor-testants, and even though the rose ceremony actually took place at the end of the episode this time, there was never any suspense about this week’s loser. ABC’s decision to name Rachel as the next Bachelorette three weeks ago meant the writing was on the steamy fantasy suite wall the entire time.

FANTASY SUITE DATE SCORING SYSTEM:

Obviously Hooks Up: +15

Stays Overnight: +5

Does Not Stay Overnight: -10

Kaitlyn: “Nick is really good at what he does,” according to Raven, who isn’t winking at the time but pretty much is. I’m happy for her!

On his Fantasy Suite date with Rachel, Nick continues this theme of revealing deeply personal information about himself. For example, according to Nick, “I’m white, but I’m also a minority.” If he explained this comment, I missed it, and in his defense I got up four separate times to eat cinnamon raisin bread. In my defense, we were supposed to have gotten through all the fantasy suite dates last week and taken a bye this week. I made plans.

Nick and Rachel spend their Finland date doing cross-country skiing and meeting reindeer (+5), which seems genuinely fun. In fact, Rachel has gotten most of the bearable dates this season, and she also got to wear penguin onesie pajamas in the fantasy suite.

Also, she gets to not marry Nick and be the new Bachelorette. This adds some dramatic irony to the proceedings of her night in the fantasy suite, which is just one way in which this whole affair is remarkably similar to a Shakespearean tragedy, Lifetime’s JonBenet Ramsey biopic, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, and all horror movie sequels. Nick, who has swapped last week’s turtleneck for another turtleneck, this one borrowed from the closet of Jeff Goldblum, asks Rachel what her single biggest fear is. “Rejection,” she says, as 10 million Americans let out a guttural death moan.

Later, Nick tells Rachel “I’m falling for you, 100 percent, that’s easy to say” and he’s telling the truth because that is easy to say, as it doesn’t really mean anything. After their night together (+5), Rachel doesn’t dish any dirt about sleeping with Nick but we’re safe to assume whatever we want based on their leg tangle (+15) and the fact that all her fears have now been tamed. “I feel good,” she says, looking out at the Finnish tundra in her jammies, “I feel confident, I feel loved.”

It’s clear that the editors of this show (presumably building this storyline before the “Rachel as Bachelorette” revelation) were setting America up for a gut-punch at the rose ceremony by making it seem as though this overnight date was far and away the best. They didn’t get to knock the wind out of us, but they did get to make us physically uncomfortable for half an hour, so I guess we can still chalk this up as a W for the ol’ psychopaths at ABC.

I’ve always assumed The Bachelor knows who he will send home the week of the fantasy suite. How strange must it be knowing you’re about to break up with someone, but sleeping with them on network television anyway? In Nick’s case, it’s even stranger because he has previously thrown the very same sticky situation back in the face of a woman he used to date.

Lizzie: Rachel’s date was so favorably edited I was pretty convinced by the end of it that she was going to win this somehow. Vanessa’s date, on the other hand, seemed uncomfortable in every way possible. Before the fantasy suite, Nick and Vanessa’s date consisted of experimenting with extremes in body temperature. They ran from a sauna into an ice tub (+5), then back into the sauna, and then the ice tub again. Vanessa kept screaming the number of seconds they spent in the ice tub into Nick’s face and Nick seemed to hate it.

Later, Nick and Vanessa have one of their classic convos about logistics, which would make sense for a couple who were actually dating but is mind-numbing to watch on television. Nick makes a point of reminding Vanessa that her family is “traditional,” which he describes as “having traditions that are passed down.” Nick is not traditional, probably because his Dancing with the Stars contract forbids it.

Vanessa says “relationships are about compromise” and also, (I’m paraphrasing here), “I won’t compromise about having lunch every Sunday with my family in the country of Canada.” Nick says, and I’m also paraphrasing here, “I don’t want to move to a new country with you because I barely know who you are, and my Dancing with the Stars contract forbids it.”

Then, probably, they have sex (+15)!

Vanessa says this is the best relationship she’s ever had, momentarily blocking out the fact that Nick hasn’t actually decided if he wants to be in a relationship with her yet, and the fact that all of her interactions with Nick are unpleasant.

Kaitlyn: The rose ceremony is — you guessed it! — at the end of the episode, as is to be expected for a TV show with a fixed structure it hasn’t been serially straying from for no reason for the last 10 weeks.

Rachel goes home (-10). Before this happens, Vanessa cries (+5). We also get lots of slow pans of Nick’s final three ladies all dressed in black and looking honestly, like they should start a cool girl band or vigilante ring instead of doing any of this.

Please recall the moment in the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line in which Joaquin Phoenix, dressed all in black as the Man in Black, is told that he looks like he’s going to a funeral and then says “... Maybe I am.” That, along with Reese Witherspoon’s Oscar, is the coolest part of the movie. And this moment, the funeral for Nick’s career as a famous dater (let’s hope!), is the coolest part of The Bachelor. I felt for several fleeting, beautiful seconds that Raven, Vanessa, and Rachel were actually using this penultimate episode as a backdoor pilot for their reality show about successful professional women who also perform witchcraft.

Alas, no. They were just waiting for one of them to be dismissed from the love contest.

In bidding goodbye to Rachel, Nick compels her to walk out to a limo in the snow without her jacket. She was wearing it when she walked in, but I guess it covered up too much of her body to make sense as part of the last moment of him seeing her. As he tucks her into the door, Nick says “this won’t be goodbye forever,” which is a nice way of reminding us all that in two minutes there will be a two-hour reunion special at which everyone who has appeared on this show can yell stuff at each other. Folks, I watched more than half of it and I’m confident saying there’s nothing worth reporting back to you except: “Make America Corrine Again” hats and shirts exist. The hats, from far away, are hard to read. Honestly, think about it before you buy a red baseball cap that says anything, because from far away — it’s hard to read.

Lizzie: The biggest blessing this season of The Bachelor has given us is that next week is the finale. Nick will choose between Vanessa and Raven, after which everyone who doesn’t follow the couple on Instagram will mostly stop thinking about them. I have to assume the winner is going to be Raven, because of Canada and Vanessa’s personality. But I’ve been wrong before: remember when I thought Corrine was going to win? As in sports, The Bachelor is only predictable to a point — after that, it’s all a matter of weather, hometown advantage, and who will be more supportive of Nick’s future dancing career.

Kaitlyn: Lizzie, I think you’re underestimating the likelihood that ABC will turn the finale of The Bachelor into a six-part miniseries, but other than that I agree with you: soon I will stop thinking about this.

The Points

Chris Plante: Vanessa (+62)

League total: 335

Loren Grush: Raven (+27)

League total: 333

Lizzie Plaugic: Vanessa (+62)

League total: 307

Kara Verlaney: Raven (+27)

League total: 302

Kaitlyn Tiffany: 0

League total: 267

Jake Kastrenakes: 0

League total: 198