‘The Bachelor’: London Calling … via Zoom because it has Covid

The Bachelor
February 20, 2023

Hope everybody packed a scarf, umbrella, and raincoat, because the days of the balmy Bahamas are over and the show is headed to London for the week. To celebrate being in London, the women scream from the top of the Tower Bridge, demonstrate their terrible, terrible British accents over half-drunk pints of beer, and scream “ZACH!!!” from their hotel balcony.

I’m sure the United Kingdom is thrilled to meet them.

The women gush about how excited they are to be in London for this round of dates; Blackface Defender, in particular, is excited to have a one-on-one high tea date with Zach, which she is POSITIVE is going to happen because she knows that he knows how much she loves tea. So much so, she has a cup of tea tattooed on her wrist, you guys.

Yes, that little black blob is supposed to be a cup of tea.

Previously, Greer hadn’t understood why she, the woman who had received the First Impression Rose, hadn’t yet received a one-on-one date. But now she gets it: he was saving their one-on-one for a special tea-based date here in London.

So you can imagine her shock and disappointment when the first date card arrives and reads:

“Maple Syrup: You’re my queen. Zach.”

The arrival of the card is followed by a butler in a stupid bowler hat, who informs Maple Syrup that Zach — I’m sorry, “Zachary Shallcross” — will be waiting for her downstairs whenever she’s ready. Maple Syrup excitedly says her goodbyes to the other women, while Blackface Defender begins what will become a tedious episode-long whinge.

As for the date, once the butler arrived, those of us who have been watching this trash for any time at all immediately knew which date this would be: the shopping spree/fancy dress/Pretty Woman fantasy date designed entirely to drive the other women insane with jealousy.

Zach whisks Maple Syrup away in a Rolls Royce, and their first stop is at Floris, a 300-year-old perfumer for the royal family. Edward, the poor, put-upon perfumer, is forced to walk these dingdongs through the process of making their own scent, and let’s just say that his British stoicism is challenged by these two and their mindless prattle.

The producers clearly prompt Edward to ask Maple Syrup and Zach how they met, and instead of being like, “Look around, dude, we’re on a reality dating show,” Maple Syrup burbles about pouring maple syrup down his throat and how Zach gave her a single rose and told her he was her boyfriend now.

… I mean, that’s one version of the story …

Eventually, they craft their own scent, which they call “Zabi.” It stands for Zach + Gabi, in case you weren’t able to figure out that particular riddle.

Next, they go to some … private home? I’m not sure where they are, but they are greeted by Grant Harrold, a former royal butler to King Charles. As to why he’s a “former” butler and not currently in the service of His Royal Highness, we are not told. Butler Grant prepares for them Queen Elizabeth’s favorite cocktail before a stylist arrives to have them try on tiaras and fascinators. Zach and Maple Syrup then roll around on the floor with four corgis from the “royal line,” and enjoy tea and crumpets.


We finally get to the “Maple Syrup Tries on Dresses for Zach” montage, and there is kissing.

But, I ask you, what is the value of a Pretty Woman fantasy date, if the other women don’t know you’re on a Pretty Woman fantasy date? With that in mind, the producers send Maple Syrup back to the hotel with her arms overloaded with shopping bags. And apparently, she hasn’t even seen what’s in these shopping bags, because as she opens each bag and shows off the contents, she appears to be just as surprised as the other — DEVESTATINGLY JEALOUS — women.

But none are more jealous than Blackface Defender, and she becomes inconsolable when she learns that Maple Syrup and Zach HAD TEA. Blackface Defender storms out of the room.

Meanwhile, one of the dresses that Maple Syrup tried on is delivered to the room, with a note: “Maple Syrup: You really were my queen today. Seeing you in this dress gave me butterflies. See you tonight, Zach.”

Blackface Defender sobs to Love Charity in the hotel hallway that THIS WAS THE EXACT DATE THAT SHE WANTED. Love Charity, who has way too much patience for this childishness, assures Blackface Defender that everyone is feeling the same way, but Blackface Defender corrects her: SHE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND, BLACKFACE DEFENDER’S FAMILY DRINKS TEA. THIS DATE FIT HER PERSONALITY TO A TEE TEA.

And that’s when Maple Syrup and her armload of packages tries to get into her room, only to find Blackface Defender sobbing over goddamned leaf water in front of her door.

That evening, Maple Syrup in her Pretty Woman dress arrives at … some other place, who knows, where Zach is waiting for her in a tuxedo. There they have fake dinner, and Zach tells Maple Syrup that being with her feels very refreshing and natural. Maple Syrup says that the way Zach looked at her while she was trying on dresses made her feel beautiful. She goes on to talk about a previous relationship and how it destroyed her confidence.

And because this is the only date of the night, and we have to streeeeeeeeeeetch to fill up two hours (for reasons that will quickly become evident), we end up spending WAY too much time on this conversation which quickly becomes repetitive and mind-numbingly boring. He makes her feel safe, he wants her to know that she can be herself around him, she wants a best friend and a partner and a blah blah blah blah blah MY GOD GET ME OUT OF THIS DATE IT HAS BEEN 45 MINUTES ALREADY.

He gives her the rose; she accepts; they dance to UB40 as they play “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

Back at the hotel, Blackface Defender is still bitching about not receiving this date, but, she reminds herself, there’s still time for a one-on-one tea party with Zach. As long as she’s not on this group date card …

“Rodeo Girl, Julia Roberts, Someone Named Aly, Austin Nurse, Bored, Bullhorn, Glitter Bomb, Henry the Pig’s Mom, Blackface Defender: Let’s double up on love. Zach.”

This means Love Charity receives the coveted last one-on-one in London, and Blackface Defender’s dream of tea is dashed once again.

The next morning, the women decide they are going to have a good attitude about being on this group date, spend the day with Zach, and enjoy themselves. This burst of optimism is immediately dashed when, before they can even leave the hotel, they receive another card:

“Good morning, ladies. I have a great date planned for you. Unfortunately, I’m under the weather but I don’t want to ruin your time in London. Go and enjoy, and I’ll see you soon. Love, Zach.”

The women immediately begin to freak out and try to parse what “soon” means: does that mean he’ll be at the cocktail party? (No, it does not.)

Frustrated and filled with anxiety, the women are herded onto the top of a double-decker bus for a tour of London. There’s a bagpiper for some reason. It rains on them.

The “date” in an image:

Back at the hotel, Zach explains that he started feeling jet lagged and run down and nurses himself with a cup of tea in bed.

Back on the “date,” the women pop into a pub, The Grapes at Limehouse, a pub that has been around since the 1800s, on a site that has been a pub since the 1500s. Which is cool! And never explained in the episode. There, they are greeted by a brassy barmaid who, like the audience, can scarcely believe all of these women are moping over some man. (And this is without her ever having met him.)

After a couple of pints, the women’s moods seem to improve, and they take selfies in a phone booth, and they harass some fake King’s Guard standing in front of a chippery, and they drive past Big Ben and over the Tower Bridge. Frankly, it looks like a good time — a much better time than they would have had while fighting over that heavy-browed thumb knuckle.

That evening, the women are still hopeful that Zach will be able to join them for the afterparty, and the producers allow them to get all gussied up for an event that they know perfectly well will not take place. In fact, the producers go so far as to take the women to the afterparty location only to have another butler arrive to deliver another card from “Zachary”:

“Ladies, I hope you had an amazing day seeing London. I wish I could have been there. Unfortunately, I’m not feeling well enough to be there. I’m sorry. I really do hope to see you soon. Zach.”

And these women, they literally start crying, and saying that Zach “stood them up.”

After they decide to each take a petal from the date rose, the women return to the hotel where they complain again to Love Charity and Maple Syrup that Zach “stood [them] up.”


The next day, the women talk about how they hope that Zach is feeling better so that he can “make it up to us.”

Meanwhile, Love Charity waits to be picked up for her one-on-one, heart filled with hope that whatever this man was sick with yesterday is not some sort of contagious respiratory virus whose symptoms typically last a week or two.

“Positive thoughts only!” chirps Glitter Bomb.

Which is when Jesse Palmer arrives to deliver the news that we all suspected, that the women should have known, and that the producers would have known within 15 minutes of Zach taking a test yesterday: He has tested positive for Covid.

The women are disappointed, both for themselves and for Love Charity, and finally express some concern for Zach and his health.

Austin Nurse takes her concern to another level, however, and makes a care basket for him filled with I don’t even know what, shit she bought at the hotel gift shop, I suppose. Austin Nurse brings the care basket to his room, and the two spend a while chatting through his door. This provides the producers an opportunity to streeeeeetch for time by adding scenes from when they met on the first night and from their museum date, like this was a cheap sitcom clip show. Eventually, Austin Nurse says her goodbyes, and Zach yoinks the basket into his room.

So what are we going to do about a Rose Ceremony and cocktail party? If we’ve collectively taken one lesson away from the Covid pandemic, it’s that we should all look out for one another and make small sacrifices like getting vaccinated and wearing masks in public to keep our most vulnerable populations safe and alive pretty much everything can be done remotely. And to this end, Zach sets up microphones and cameras in his hotel room, while Jesse Palmer informs the women that they will be going on iPad dates with him. Because everyone loves socializing via Zoom.

Love Charity, having been denied her one-on-one, is the first at the “virtual cocktail party” which amounts to a hotel room with an iPad left on the couch. They’ve turned off the FaceTime window which allows you to see yourself while talking, which leaves Love Charity — and all of the other women — flustered, having no idea if they have a double chin or whether the camera is shooting directly up their nostrils. I get why the producers did it, but it’s a dirty move.

Zach apologizes to Love Charity for missing their one-on-one, and she waves it off, insisting that his health takes priority. SEE, LADIES? IT’S NOT THAT HARD. He then presents her with a gift — a crystal Big Ben clock that someone has hidden in the sofa cushions, and which definitely was not regifted from Austin Nurse’s care basket. They then blow kisses to each other through the iPad, and Love Charity gushes about how good she feels after this “date.”

Next to FaceTime with Zach is Julia Roberts who informs Zach that she’s picked up some “fancy English words” this week; namely “snogging” which means kissing — or, she wonders, is it “snugging?”

OH HONEY. First of all, “snogging” or “to snog” is the literal opposite of a “fancy English word,” but second of all, never say “snugging” again, my God.

The two of them proceed to “snog” over the iPad, and I feel like I am losing my mind.

Bullhorn tells Zach that he needs to get better soon because she’s tired of “dreaming of his kisses” (GAG); Rodeo Girl apparently stole the hat off that fake King’s Guard; and Someone Named Aly brings in an orange with which she makes out for some reason.

And then there’s Blackface Defender. She goes into the Zoom meeting and, like all the other women, freaks out when she realizes she can’t see herself on the screen, before making small talk about her day in London. She does not mention tea.

Then, trying to empathize with Zach and his Covid diagnosis, Blackface Defender tells him that she works in sales, and that she got Covid right at the end of the year, just as she was trying to make her sales goals, so she understands his frustration and disappointment. Zach, for some reason, takes offense to this. Zach snips that he works in sales, too, and he just doesn’t think trying to reach your end-of-quarter sales goals is comparable to looking for one’s life partner. His pissiness is palpable (and genuinely confusing) and leaves Blackface Defender in tears again, worried that she offended him so deeply that he is going to send her home.

But seriously, Bruh, calm down. This is a reality dating show; you’re the only one taking it that seriously.

Jesse Palmer chats with Zach about the upcoming Rose Ceremony, and Zach gets all verklempt at the idea of sending people home via Skype.

And with that, they roll in a giant TV screen, and place in front of it a stand with roses on it.

Zach appears on the screen and starts calling out names:

Rose #1: Austin Nurse
Rose #2: Love Charity
Rose #3: Someone Named Aly
Rose #4: Julia Roberts
Rose #5: Rodeo Girl
Rose #6: Glitter Bomb
Rose #7: Bored
Rose #8: Blackface Defender

Every woman upon receiving picking up her own rose:

Which means we say goodbye to Henry the Pig’s Mom and Bullhorn, neither of which is a surprise, frankly.

Bye, ladies! Y’all we’re cute but we barely knew you. Maybe if you’d kept Henry on the show?


Here are the ladies who have been eliminated along with their very not good nicknames:

Here are the women along with their dumb nicknames who are still “dating” Zach:

The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC at 7/8 p.m and streams on Hulu.

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