‘The Bachelorette’: In Bruges

The Bachelorette
August 8, 2022

The Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady is on the move, cruising towards Bruges, Belgium for the next round of dates, and the ladies are feeling optimistic that things are on the upswing. So obviously it’s time for the Producers to through a wrench in the works.

The first date of the week is a Team Rachel group date: “Bob the Builder; Goose; Meatball; Turtle; Boardwalk Carny; Chick Magnet: How sweet it is to be loved by you.”

Chick Magnet notes that he has mixed feelings about being included on the date card, and the other men, not realizing that he actually wants to be on Team Gabby are like, “I know, right? I wish I were on the one-on-one date, too.” Dumb dummies.

Having dicked around for long enough, Chick Magnet heads to Rachel’s room right before the date to confess he no longer wants to date her and instead wants to date Gabby.

Rachel invites him in and Chick Magnet opens with how he’s never had the chance to tell her how honored he is that she has given him roses. “That feels really good to hear you say,” Rachel happily chirps.

Girl, wait.

“But,” Chick Magnet continues, “I want to explore the connection I have with Gabby, and am going to stop pursuing a relationship with you.”

(He actually says a lot more words here, but ain’t nobody got time for all that.)

Rachel is SHOCKED and points out that he accepted so many roses from her (3). Why didn’t he tell her this earlier? Chick Magnet argues that he wasn’t sure of his feelings until recently and that he was actually arguing with himself: look at Rachel! She’s amazing! He’s crazy to want to date someone else!

Rachel is like, “Alright, you don’t have to lay the bullshit on so thick, I get it. Godspeed.” With that, she walks him out and wishes him good luck and we promptly launch into this episode’s 25 Straight Minutes of Rachel Sobbing About How Nobody Likes Her.

And look. On the one hand, I get Rachel: it would suck to feel like you were constantly being dumped in favor of your best friend. On the other hand, I wish she would be a little stronger, and realize that 1. she has a number of men who are genuinely very interested in her and 2. it’s much better to weed out the guys who aren’t sincerely into in her now rather than down the road.

But on the THIRD hand, this is what was always going to happen when they decided to have two Bachelorettes: one woman was always going to feel less popular and slighted. When the show’s format was announced, many people were concerned that Gabby and Rachel were going to be pitted against one another, and the Producers were like, “THEY’RE NOT, WE SWEAR. DO WE HAVE A PLAN TO AVOID MAKING THIS A COMPETITION BETWEEN TWO WOMEN THAT WE CAN CLEARLY ARTICULATE TO YOU? NOT AT THIS TIME. BUT DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. FEMINISM!”

Rachel can’t win here: she’s been set up to fail, and then look like an asshole when does. And so I guess what I’m saying is that it’s easy to pile on her here and complain that this has quickly turned into the Rachel is Sobbing Again Show, but ultimately, that’s the show the Producers have decided to make.

ANYWAY. The other men head into Bruges for their group date and admire the waffles and chocolate and carriages and there are some men wrestling in chocolate which I am fairly certain is what they’ll be doing today.

Or what they would have been doing.

Because back on the Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady, Rachel has retreated to a robe and is in full meltdown about being rejected again, this time two weeks before hometowns.

Wait, it’s only two weeks until hometowns?

Jesse Palmer swings by her room, and Rachel sobs at him about no one liking her and how her walls are going back up. Jesse Palmer assures her that she can’t be the perfect Bachelorette. He wanted to be the perfect Bachelor (~incredulous chortle~), but there’s no playbook for this.


After encouraging her to do her best and trust her intuition, Jesse Palmer is like, “So your group date is already like halfway over and the men are wandering around aimlessly in Bruges; what do you want to do here?”

Cut to: Jesse Palmer meeting the men in Bruges and telling them to get their asses back on the boat. There will be no chocolate wrestling today. Rachel will see them that evening at the cocktail party.

Meanwhile, Chick Magnet. After staring pensively at himself in a bathroom mirror for a while, he goes by Gabby’s room. There, he tells her that he was “on fire” for her on that first group date night, but then Rachel gave him the date rose, and the next thing he knows, he’s on Team Rachel. While he’s had moments with Rachel, he finds himself thinking about Gabby. To that end, he told Rachel this morning that he was going to step away from dating her because he wants to be on Team Gabby.

Gabby’s first question is to ask how Rachel took this news, and Chick Magnet says that he thinks she understood but was obviously “frustrated.”


Gabby then reveals that Chick Magnet was the only man for whom there was any overlap between the two women. Gabby goes on to explain that when she found out he had kissed Rachel, too, that first group date night, she chose to back away. Gabby notes that this is her worst nightmare for how things would happen, and she needs to check in with Rachel, but that she’s glad they’ve had the chance to talk.

With his fate up in the air, Chick Magnet heads back to his room on Deck Team Rachel to pack his things and presumably hang out in what FBoy Island would call “Limbro.”

Finally, Rachel and Gabby talk it out. Rachel complains about Chick Magnet stringing her along, and she wonders if he was just seeing how far he could get. And to dump her right before a date! Gabby asks how the date went, and Rachel’s like, “Oh, I didn’t go on the date. How could I go on the date after being humiliated again?”

Rachel then asks Gabby how she feels about Chick Magnet, and Gabby tells her that she would like to explore things with him, but not if seeing Chick Magnet will be painful for Rachel. Rachel encourages Gabby to do what she wants, while at the same narrating that she doesn’t trust Chick Magnet as far as she can throw him.

That night, Rachel joins the group date men wearing this:


Whatever. Rachel shows up in her ugly-ass dress and first apologizes to the men for not having the date that day. She then tells the men that Chick Magnet will not be joining them because he’s A TRAITOR decided to try to join Team Gabby. Blah blah blah, she feels terrible and rejected, blah. AND SHE’LL SAY IT AGAIN: IF ANY OF THEM WANT TO LEAVE, DO IT NOW.

No one does, and instead, all of the men are super gentle and sweet with her during their time alone with her.

Although. That said.

Bob the Builder does raise a red flag with me when he bitches to her that he felt “hurt” and “unseen” when she canceled the date. Sir. It’s not all about you. She had a shitty day.

Boardwalk Carny, meanwhile, spins her around in a fun-house mirrored room, and Goose invites her to do a primal scream with him, and even Turtle gets a little make-out session.

But in the end, Rachel gives the date rose to Bob the Builder because he was “extremely vulnerable” with her. Or “self-centered and entitled.” Potato-potatoh.

As for Gabby’s group date, the men in attendance are Girl Dad; Mullet; Muggle; Awkward Kiss; and Mr. Thoughtful. Vanilla Ice has received this week’s one-on-one date, and Chick Magnet, for the time being, remains in Limbro.FBoy Island

As for the date itself, they just play in Bruges. They ride on a boat; they eat waffles; they play soccer with a bunch of kids; they play a rock-paper-scissors game with a giant Belgian that involves being slapped in the face with a fish; this happens:

All in all, it’s a fun, very Gabby kind of date.

That evening, while they wait for Gabby to join them for the cocktail party they discuss the date and what a great group dynamic they’ve got going.

And that’s when they joined … by Chick Magnet.

Chick Magnet explains that while Rachel seemed to think there was a connection between them, he didn’t feel the same. He met with Rachel and told her that he no longer is interested in pursuing her because he wants to be on Team Gabby. And today he received word that Gabby will allow it.

The other men are not amused.

Gabby finally joins the group, acknowledges the Chick Magnet in the room, and makes a toast to the men, which is received with a lot of TENSION.

Individually, the men try to straddle the line between expressing their irritation at the addition of another man to their ranks while also being not TOO negative, and reminding Gabby that they’ve been there for her all along.

As for Chick Magnet, he thanks her for having difficult conversations and making difficult decisions, and she replies that this is all about listening to one’s heart and acting with integrity, which she feels he did.

In the end, she gives Girl Dad the date rose.

Alright, so, the one-on-one dates. Rachel takes Junior into Bruges to do more of the same Bruges stuff: they take a carriage ride, they eat chocolates, they meet some lace makers, Rachel tries on a veil, they go to the top of some tower and make out.

That night at “dinner,” Junior opens up about his childhood, revealing that his parents were never together and that at ten, he was forced to move in with his father, and he didn’t get to see his mother very often. As he became older, he grew closer to his mother, and she made him a “good luck” bracelet. Junior then gives it to Rachel “to hold on to for a little bit” — SO DON’T PLAN ON KEEPING IT, RACHEL — to help her turn her luck around. Listen, she needs all the help she can get at this point. Rachel offers him the rose.

As for Gabby’s one-on-one date, she and Vanilla Ice wander into the woods where they find a brewery, because you can’t keep Colorado girls from their beer. After a beer tasting, they go into a back room, strip down to their bathing suits and then soak in a tub full of beer?

And they drink the beer in the tub? WHILE THEY ARE SITTING IN IT?

They also spank each other with hops:

And do a little Salt Bae role play:

That night at dinner, Vanilla Ice opens up about his difficulties in relationships, how he feels like they always end soon after he starts being himself. Vanilla Ice calls himself “the least confident person ever” and says that he knows he should talk to someone about it. (Yes, he should.) He also admits to struggling with depression and feeling bad about himself as a person. (PLEASE GO TALK TO SOMEONE.) Gabby tells him that she can relate and offers him the date rose.

And then back on the boat, it’s Rose Ceremony time, though for some reason, we’re only going to focus on Gabby’s interactions. (Maybe because the first half of the episode was devoted to watching Rachel sob hysterically. Again.)

Gabby visits with Girl Dad, where she gives him some Belgian chocolate to take back to his daughter. It’s very sweet and thoughtful.

Gabby also plays a little soccer with Muggle, and Awkward Kiss shows off that he’s wearing his First Impression Rose suit that night. Gabby also makes out with Mr. Thoughtful, Mullet, and Motherboy.

Finally, she chats with Chick Magnet, who the Producers forced to brings along face-slapping fish since he missed out on the group date. After a few rounds of rock, paper, scissors, Gabby fish-slaps Chick Magnet across the face multiple times, and really, it’s a shame she didn’t invite Rachel in on the action.

After making sure his face is now covered in fish oil, Gabby actually makes out with this man.

Alright, dummies, line up, it’s Rose time.

Gabby Rose #1: Motherboy
Rachel Rose #1: Goose

Gabby Rose #2: Mr. Thoughtful
Rachel Rose #2: Boardwalk Carny

Gabby Rose #3: Mullet
Rachel Rose #3: Turtle

Gabby Rose #4: Chick Magnet

Which means the men who must go away now are: Muggle, who said maybe five words this entire time; Awkward Kiss, despite receiving Gabby’s First Impression Rose; and the delightful Meatball. Oh, Meatball. We will always have Ragú. I can’t wait for you to try the albondigas in Paradise.

The Men Who Are Soon Going to be Dumped by Gabby:

The Men Who Are Soon Going to be Dumped by Rachel:

The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Gabby:

The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Rachel:

The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Gabby and Rachel:

The Bachelorette airs on ABC on Tuesdays at 7/8 p.m.

One thought on “‘The Bachelorette’: In Bruges

  1. I’m very sad that (1) you didn’t count the number of times Gabby said “yeah” during her conversation with Chick Magnet, and (2) you didn’t spend more time on the fish-slapping game because it was honestly the best thing to ever happen in the history of this franchise.

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