Rachel takes the men to South Carolina for some dancing, some spelling, and lots of arguing

By Samantha Highfill
June 19, 2017 at 10:01 PM EDT

The Bachelorette

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I know we’re all coming off a week away from rose ceremonies, ridiculous feuds, and Alex’s patterned clothing, so let me refresh your memory of where we left things: Men are children. More specifically, Lee keeps saying Eric’s name, and Eric is NOT having it. So Lee promises not to apologize and Eric promises not to talk to Lee ever. Who needs a mediator?! These two have it all figured out! And then, because he can’t help it, Lee gives us our first “I’m not here to make friends” of the season. (And hopefully our last.)

Lee then decides he needs more time with Rachel after having already talked to her once at this cocktail party, so he decides that it’d be a good idea to interrupt Kenny, who asks for 16 more seconds — oddly specific — which Lee takes incredibly literally, counting on his fingers — math is hard — until Kenny’s 16 seconds are up. Why did he need to speak to Rachel so badly, you ask? Well, you see, he has a sad story he wants to share, which he warns Rachel about ahead of time. Turns out, Lee’s grandfather got cancer and “it really bothered” Lee, so Lee has always kept his grandfather’s pocket knife, which he recently used to make something for Rachel, something he tells her he thinks “will mean something” to her. Dude, stop prefacing all your stories by telling Rachel how she’ll feel about them!

Lee then hands her a block of wood — every woman’s dream — with the word “enchanting” carved into it, because that’s apparently the one word he knows he’s decided sums up Rachel. Man, if only Kenny had seen that piece of wood he would’ve realized why Lee had to interrupt him, and then we never would’ve gotten this next part of the evening!

While Brady and Dean try to figure out the difference between corks, quirks, and quarks — an elementary participle/form of matter — Dean tells the producers that Lee’s “intolerance” is about to be on full display. And no, we’re not talking about an intolerance to Alex’s purple zebra-striped suit.

Meanwhile, Rachel sits down with Bryan, who comes right out and asks her to be vulnerable with him, to which she responds by telling him that she’s scared of how charming he is. She thinks it’s too good to be true. But Bryan promises that it’s 1000 percent real, a declaration that should be taken with a grain of salt considering he seems to believe he’s living in an actual fairytale. (What kind of fairytale involves 30 other men trying to steal your girlfriend?) But all in all, Rachel considers her chat with Bryan a breath of fresh air compared to what else is happening in the house tonight.

Speaking of which, Kenny asks to chat with Lee, where the wrestler tells Lee that he took advantage of their “friendship” in order to get more time with Rachel, but Lee promises he’d never do what he just did. Then Lee, who’s simply doing anything he can to get a rise out of Kenny, explains, “I knew what I was doing when I did what I was doing.” Got it?

As Rachel listens in from another room — simply because she can’t not — Kenny and Lee end the conversation with neither one of them understanding anything the other one has to say. As for Rachel, she’s fed up with the drama. Instead of trying to figure out what’s going on, she sits down with Peter, who decides that the best way to support her in this situation is to remind her that he doesn’t have to face all this crap but SHE DOES, and man, does he feel sorry for her. Feel better, Rach??

No doubt thanks to Peter’s comforting words, Rachel then heads to her interview, where she breaks down about the pressures that she feels as a black woman in the position she’s in. Anticipating the judgment from everyone watching, she gets emotional. After all, as Peter reminded her, she is the one who has to deal with all of it. (If you listen closely, you can hear Peter yell “AND YOU ALONE” in the background.)
(Next: The rose ceremony)

Talking to Harrison, Rachel decides to skip the rest of the cocktail party and head straight to the rose ceremony, which prompts Jack to declare that this night is “almost like going back to high school,” and suddenly I have a lot of questions about his high school experience. With Anthony, Eric, and Alex already safe, Rachel hands out roses to Will, Dean, Jonathan, Peter, Adam, Bryan, Matt, Josiah, Jack, Iggy, Kenny, and Lee.

That means we’re saying goodbye to Bryce, Brady — whom Lee makes a date with post-show — and Diggy, who gets emotional admitting that he’s going to miss “seeing Rachel” and “talking to Rachel.” So, in other words, he’s going to miss Rachel. At the end of the night, Rachel raises a glass to leaving the negativity and drama behind, which might sound like a toast but is more like an order. GET IT TOGETHER, GUYS.

The next day, everyone flies to South Carolina, where a flirty golfer waves at the guys RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER HUSBAND and Dean lands the first one-on-one date of the week. And you know what? He’s pumped… and a little nerdy. Today, Dean is determined to prove that he’s “more than just a smiley guy,” he says as he laughs.

Together, Dean and Rachel head to Bluffton, South Carolina, for a picnic that consists of them sitting on the hood of a Jeep and drinking champagne, so let’s just say Rachel shouldn’t put “planning picnics” on her list of talents. But just when you think this is going to be a normal date, a blimp shows up.

On the one hand, Rachel’s so excited that she spills the champagne. On the other, Dean is scared of heights, and the poor kid looks like he’s going to vomit. (And if he does, Rachel will not hold his puke bag. So if we’re basing this on Nick’s season, Dean’s not the one, because we all saw what happened when Vanessa threw up. Reminder: Nick still kissed her.)

Dean’s so flustered he declares that it would be “romantic” if this were their first and their last date, meaning that if they died today, he’d consider it “romantic.”

But Dean calms down once he sits in the pilot’s seat (and drinks some more champagne). In the back of the blimp, he and Rachel make out while the blimp flies by the resort where the rest of the men are staying just to remind them that the woman they like is currently hanging out with a hot, younger guy. However, Dean’s age — he’s 25 — is the one thing the guys think will work against him. All I have to say is that the blimp throws shade better than any of the guys in the house when it reads “Rachel and Dean 4 Eva.”

That night, Dean redefines tighty whities with the world’s tightest white jeans as he and Rachel talk about their strict, religious upbringings over dinner. But as for Dean’s age, the guys will be bummed to hear that he completely sidesteps that battle by proving his maturity when he tells Rachel the story of his mother’s death. He lost his mother when he was only 15, after which his siblings moved out and his dad wasn’t around very often, so Dean was left to himself from age 15 to age 18. Now, his experience makes him want a close-knit family more than ever, and that’s the kind of outlook Rachel wants in a partner, so Dean not only gets a rose but also an incredibly uncomfortable concert!

Rachel and Dean head to see Russell Dickerson, where they’re left to stand on a platform in the middle of a crowd and dance while Russell continually calls them out. They don’t want to talk to you, Russell! Let them have a moment!

At the end of the day, Dean declares it was the best day of his entire — very short, because he’s a baby — life, and Rachel claims she could see a future with Dean.
(Next: The Bachelor Nation Spelling Bee)

Cut to the next day, where Rachel gets to navigate her biggest group date so far with Alex, Anthony, Peter, Bryan, Jonathan, Adam, Matt, Kenny, Lee, Iggy, Eric, Will, and Josiah. And things don’t get off to a great start when the men literally race to her — I’m talking full-out sprints — which, based on Rachel’s face, reminds her of just how mature these men seem to be.

Heading out for a fun day on a boat, they kick things off with some dancing — “go tickle” is easily one of the worst chants I’ve ever heard — which then transitions into a shirtless pushup contest after Josiah declares himself the sexiest guy on this boat and reveals that he can’t really flex his pecks. Once the pushups are done, there’s only one thing left to do to decide which man is the one true match for Rachel: rap. Kenny, a self-declared “virtuoso” at rap, freestyles first, but it’s Peter who steals the show simply by trying.

But if the men thought that this day was nothing but fun, well, they’re in for a rude awakening. Chris Harrison welcomes them to the Bachelor Nation Spelling Bee, where Iggy declares he needs to perform “fantasticaly” with one “l.” So this should go well.

Once again, Josiah’s the most confident, because, as he puts it, “My vocabulary is such on another level.” However, Peter thinks we’re looking at a good competition considering Will reads “like six books a day,” Anthony is a secret genius, and Jonathan is a DOCTOR?! I’m sorry, he’s a doctor and yet they put “tickle monster” as his occupation?? (Just please don’t tell me he’s a pediatrician.)

Kenny is the first man sent to detention after he fails to spell “champagne” correctly (and misses a prime opportunity to blame his mistake on the champagne). Iggy, Adam, and Eric aren’t far behind before host Chris Harrison has to ask the judges — 12-year-old girls who are smarter than these men — to put on literal earmuffs so that Peter can spell “coitus.” And yet they can hear well enough to tell him he got it wrong.

In the end, it comes down to Will and Josiah, but when Will gets “physiological” wrong, Josiah takes his sweet time spelling “polyamorous” for the win. All it really earns him is a horrible trophy, but he loves it so much, he kisses it more than he’s kissed Rachel so far.

That evening, the “loquacious,” “articulate” Josiah — who’s clearly running with this whole “being the smartest guy” thing — is ready to drink out of his trophy and really not pay that much attention to Rachel, who kicks things off with Peter. After she tells him that his freestyle rap was the biggest surprise of the day, they talk about their willingness to move for the person they love. And not to get too ahead of herself, but Rachel does tell Peter that she’s licensed to practice law in Wisconsin, so…

Next up, Eric continues his chain of asking for and then giving incredibly uncomfortable hugs while he and Rachel compare their “typical days.” Leave it to Iggy to start the drama, though. Tonight, Iggy decides that he’s done with Lee and instead wants to go after Josiah. After calling Rachel “sweetie” and ensuring that he’s never escaping the friend zone, Iggy explains that his latest desire to be “protective” of her means he has to tell her that he doesn’t think Josiah is right for her.
(Next: Lee versus Kenny, Part 2)

Iggy then returns to the men and immediately tells Josiah about the conversation. Iggy feels that Josiah’s personality is different “when the lights are on” — come again? — but at this point, it’s looking more and more like Iggy just likes to start things. And, according to Josiah, Iggy does drugs and shoots steroids into his nuts, and we all know that steroids + genitals = a love of gossip.

From one questionable guy to another, Lee sits down with Rachel and talks about his greatest burden: He’s just so positive and so genuine that sometimes he comes off as disingenuous. Can you imagine?! Rachel asks him about the Kenny fight, and after he calls her ma’am — making her feel old and ensuring HE will never leave the friend zone — he tells her that Kenny’s “aggressive” side came out that night when he “berated” Lee for NO reason for half an hour.

With Lee’s side of the story, Rachel finds Kenny, and after he’s finished yet another freestyle rap — we get it, rapping’s your thing! Spelling’s not! — he gives her his side of things. Kenny explains that he felt Lee was using their friendship as a way to get more time with Rachel, and when Kenny confronted Lee about it, Lee was “super disingenuous.” In the end, Kenny doesn’t think he was “aggressive” because in his mind, that involves taking action of some sort, but he does admit he didn’t handle the situation perfectly.

But if he and Lee “shook hands” once all was said and done, then why is Lee still calling Kenny aggressive? As Kenny tells Rachel, “because maybe Lee doesn’t necessarily tell the truth.” What he does do, however, is catch hairs out of thin air, and don’t you want that in a husband, Rachel?!

Once Bryan steals Rachel away from Kenny, he’s left with a sour taste in his mouth. He feels like Rachel’s body language put her firmly in Lee’s corner, despite the fact that Lee “lives on alternative facts.” So, Kenny once again asks Lee if the two of them can chat, and that’s where we leave it.

Next week, we get a two-night event out of all of this, so if you all need me before then, I’ll be buying enough champagne so that when the time comes to watch these men argue some more, I, like Kenny, will be spelling it “champange.”

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The Bachelorette

Chris Harrison hosts the romantic reality competition series in which one single woman searches for her future husband amid a sea of studs. Will you accept this rose?
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