The opening scene for this episode is HANDS DOWN my favorite 60 seconds of television that this show has ever produced, followed very closely by the swimming pigs scene in Hot Ben’s season, with the outtakes of JoJo trying to kill a wasp– again from Hot Ben’s season– in third place.

Remember how last episode was all about Raven’s Fantasy Suite date, particularly the great mystery of whether or not Nick would give her her very first Big O? Well, I think it’s safe to assume he did, because this is a direct quote from Raven:

“Nick is VERY good at what he does. I am really satisfied today.”

As soon as she said that, I chugged my full glass of wine, which could explain why my husband and I went through nearly two bottles last night and I’m not feeling so hot this morning.

Raven wraps herself in a fleece blanket she was wearing in the style of a post-coital bedsheet shawl and lets Nick burrow himself into her bosom upside down. It was among the strangest nuzzling styles I’ve ever seen, but to each his own.

raven nuzzle

After they part ways, and because she can now see the world in a whole new light after her…don’t make me say it, Raven starts skipping around town to a song that repeated “like a daisy” over and over. I’ve spend the last 15 minutes searching for it, and I’m pretty sure it was a version of this children’s ballet song:

She pets dogs, gives strangers high fives, goes sledding down a hill, makes snow angels, and exudes jovial youth as she basks in the glory of her satisfaction. It. Is. Hilarious. The entertainment factor was so high that I think my husband even started enjoying this show for once.

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While Raven frolics around town as a new woman, Nick wastes no time meeting up with his next bedmate: Rachel. Producers bought Rachel, Raven, and Vanessa matching hats in different colors. Raven’s was white, Rachel’s was red, and Vanessa’s was black. Anyone else notice that?

Anyway, Rachel is as bubbly as we’ve ever seen her, even during the worst date activity of all time: Cross country skiing. I’ve cross country skied and let me tell you– it’s the WORST. Rachel agrees with me, but keeps her happy face because love can overcome anything. Well, not anything. Not two other girls who your boyfriend loves more than he loves you. But it can overcome falling on your butt a lot while cross country skiing.

Finally they arrive at their destination and get to take off their skis. It’s time to feed some reindeer! Fun! Rachel calls one of the reindeer Donner, but he looked more like a Blitzen to me. We may never know which one it really was.

Rachel and Nick head inside what looked to be an outhouse, but luckily it was just a one room wooden “cabin” decked out with fire and tribal blankets, where they cuddled up to talk about how much they like each other. I was really hoping for some conversation that didn’t revolve around their relationship, a la Nick and Raven’s debate on steaming vs. ironing, but Rachel and Nick stay on script. They talk about being scared of rejection, throw out the word “reciprocity” even though half of the people who watch this show probably don’t know what that word means, and Rachel tells Nick she has walls up. Yawn.

I will say I really liked how when Rachel told Nick that he is different from most other guys, he said “I might be white, but I’m still a minority!” LOL Nick, why’s it always gotta be about race?

The Bashler and Bashlerette then hop on a sleigh that was pulled by Donner with no driver. Seemed a bit unsafe if you ask me.

reindeer sled

She asked him if he wants her to call him “St. Nick,” which gave me flashbacks to this good ole Bachelorette arrival:

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Sadly, Nick tells Rachel that, no, that would be weird…and it’s the beginning of the end. Apparently Nick is not into role play just like he’s not into choking. #vanilla

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That night, since it’s -15 degrees outside, Rachel naturally decides to wear a crop top. Nick wears something that looks like a mock turtleneck from certain angles, but I think it was just a really, really, really high V neck.

After a few more minutes of talking about being scared, Rachel tells Nick she’s falling in love with him. He responds with “Rachel, I’m falling for you 100%. That’s easy to say. How ’bout that?”

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And with that, he hands her the Fantasy Suite date card, and they scurry off to make out on the bed. Rachel tells the camera that “we’re going to go so much deeper than we’ve gone before,” which is the point when I open the second bottle of wine.

If anyone had any doubts about Rachel being an awesome Bachelorette, I hope your minds were put at ease when we got to see her making breakfast in a penguin onesie the next morning.

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There were just too many good visuals this episode to not share them with you all in .gif form.

Rachel is so confident that she’s going to meet Nick’s family that I almost forget she doesn’t have a shot of winning this show. Poor thing. But not poor thing because she’s about to have 25 guys pining after her while she makes millions on endorsements. Who needs to be a lawyer when you can make $15,000 just for showing up at a bar?

Next up: Vanessa.

Traditionally, the Bachelor puts his #1 girl on the last Fantasy Suite date so that she has *fewer* trust issues after they get engaged and inevitably fight about things that happen on the show. It’s bad to have sex with a guy who was just hooking up with two other women, but it’s WORSE to have sex with a guy you love, only for him to go have sex with two other women right after making you feel special.

I mean, neither is best case scenario, but it’s the price you pay for getting love and fame all at the same time.

Nick takes Vanessa to an ice hole and tells her they’re going to jump in. I, too, have jumped in an ice hole in -15 degree weather. It was actually right after I spent a week cross country skiing and dogsledding. I feel very in tune with the things happening in this episode. Anyway, if I had to choose, I’d jump in the ice hole again over cross country skiing again. That’s how much I hate cross country skiing.

But back to Nick and Vanessa. She doesn’t seem thrilled about Nick telling her she’s going to plunge into freezing waters, and I want to tell her that it could be worse! They put on matching electric blue swimsuits that highlight the fact that they both have PERFECT bodies and it makes me so sick. I literally paused the screen when Vanessa’s butt was facing us to point out to my husband that that’s what I hope to look like by this summer. He said he’d be okay with that, then cautiously threw in that he loves me the way I am blahblahblah. What a man.

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Actually it’s unclear if Nick’s getup was even a swimsuit, but it doesn’t matter. It was the perfect attire.

Vanessa ends up really loving the challenge of staying in the ice hole, outlasting Nick every time. This could be because she’s a badass, or also could be because she doesn’t have balls.

Finally, they get into a hot tub, where they have a pretty intense conversation about how similar they are as far as being stubborn, but different they are when it comes to their family life. Nick points out that this could be a bad combo. But who cares about all that when you’re so physically attracted to each other, amirite??

Well, Vanessa cares. She tells the camera that she firmly believes it takes more than just love to make a relationship last. Millennials across America cock their heads in a confused manner. Wait, relationships require practicality and good communication?

Vanessa tells Nick that there are certain things she won’t compromise on, like Sunday lunches with her family. Based on his reaction, you would’ve thought she just told him she wouldn’t compromise on having less than 17 children. She is confused and so am I. Does he really hate her family that much?

That night, he clarifies that he’s just not used to big families that have traditions like Sunday lunches. Also, he doesn’t want to live in Canada, so that might make Sunday lunches with the Grimaldi’s a wee bit inconvenient. She asks him why he doesn’t want to live in Canada, and he says he’s proud to be an American.

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Also, how can he do Dancing with the Stars if he’s in Quebec?

Vanessa tells him she’s very proud to be Canadian, too, so this whole living-in-separate-countries issue might need to be revisited. But for now, I just want you to know I’m in love with you!

Her proclamation of love really lightens the mood, so they head off to their cozy Fantasy Suite cabin. We’ll deal with practicality and good communication later. What happened to needing more than just love, Vanessa??

The next morning, Vanessa says “I love you” a few times as they lay entangled in bed, neither of them wearing a shirt. I miss Rachel’s onesie. Vanessa tells the camera that Nick is her other half, but they still need to figure out where they’ll live. That’d probably be good.

They have a rose ceremony, which is the first time there’s been a rose ceremony this late in the game since Farmer Chris. Nick must’ve used up all his non-rose ceremony goodbyes early on in the season. He starts crying before he even hands out the roses to:

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Rachel’s exit was every bit as classy as you’d think. She doesn’t even know she’s going to be the Bachelorette (okay, she probably had an inkling), but she still handles things really well. Silent tears stream down her cheeks as Nick sits her down to tell her she’s wonderful before sending her away. He even tries to give her the “let’s be friends” talk, to which she doesn’t respond because WHAT AN IDIOT. As she drives away, she tells the camera that she’s tired of men telling her how awesome she is, only to not want to be with her. I know that pain. That’s why I used to think I had a chip missing. We all know Rachel will be A-OK, though, so I wasn’t as mad at Nick for sending her home as I would’ve been otherwise.

My prediction for the ending is that he chooses Vanessa, but doesn’t propose. We’ll find out next week during yet another THREE HOUR event!

I’m just going to give you some highlights of Women Tell All, because a) I was kind of drunk by the time it came on, so I didn’t feel like taking notes, b) Chris Harrison lost all control of the women and it was simply too chaotic to fully recap.

  • Taylor and Corinne still hate each other.
  • The girls aren’t mad that Corinne took her top off. They’re mad that she took so many naps.
  • But Taylor has a shirt that says Nap Queen, so she’s a hypocrite.
  • Whitney talks A LOT– at least 4x more than her entire time on the actual show. Perhaps vying for an invitation to Paradise?
  • Elaceybeth dyed their hair different colors so people could tell them apart, but they went from being forgettable to both being really annoying and talking more than they should have.
  • Except when one of them called Corinne a Slob-Kebab. That’s my new favorite term.
  • The girls can agree on one thing: They really love Rachel and Kristina. And Liz.
  • Liz is the new spokeswomen for not being defined by her sexuality. She wants everyone to know she’s done more with her life than just have sex with Nick.
  • Hailey tells everyone that Liz builds wells for children in Africa, so we should stop talking about her sex life.
  • But isn’t her sex life why she went on the show?
  • It’s okay Liz, you’re still awesome.
  • Corinne is Gaston and Josephine is LeFou.
  • Why is Josephine wearing black lipstick?
  • Josephine’s real name is Leah. Don’t ask me how I know that. I just do. No, it wasn’t on Women Tell All. This last bullet is Shannon Tells All.

See ya next week. Three. More. Hours.