By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Aug 02, 2022 at 5:56 PM

There's no problem a trip to Paris and France can't fix, right? Unfortunately, it turns out Netflix's "Emily in Paris" is a LIAR because even though "The Bachelorette" changed locales this week to the City of Love, Rachel's still not feeling any of it thanks to her doofy boys. 

But first, I was off last week on a relaxing vacation to that infamous haven of serenity and calm – you guessed it, Fenway Park in Boston – so I've got some plot developments to catch-up with from last week's episode. The main one: Who would've guessed it, but it turns out running a reality dating show with no plan or structure results in (*nuclear death cloud explosion*)!

Yes, after multiple men sit Gabby down to tell her how much they DEFINITELY don't want to date her and plan on dating her best friend instead – that may sound over-the-top awful, but several of the guys (namely Hayden and Dollar Store Fabio) somehow went about it even worse than that – Rachel and Gabby determine that they're going to force the guys to pick a side, giving out individual roses that will lock all the Jordans into one specific Bachelorette as opposed to dating them both. A seamless plan ... except during the ceremony, starting with Crypto Guy (BECAUSE OF COURSE CRYPTO GUY STARTS THE PROBLEMS!), multiple men awkwardly reject Rachel's roses because it turns out they're here for Gabby instead. What a disaster; now both women are crying this episode. IF ONLY THERE WAS A PRODUCER ON THIS GOD-FORSAKEN SEASON! Thankfully, things settle down and we have our two groups of guys for our two individual Bachelorettes – minus Alec, Dollar Store Fabio, Dogecoin Man and (*pours out a jar of Ragu in his honor*) Meatball.

Even more thankfully, it wasn't ALL tears and tense exchanges last week. Rachel actually had a very sweet date with Zach, going to a fake red carpet movie premiere (that guest star Karamo DEFINITELY made it sound like was going to be the real thing) and tearfully watching home movies together. I was a little concerned Zach was a little too quiet and aloof during the date at first, but he loosened up nicely, opening up and even sharing cute stories about watching planes take off and land as a child with his dad – which is what Rachel did too. It's nice! Almost makes up for getting emotionally juked out by Karamo! 

Gabby had a nice date too – which she needed after first getting ignored on a house visit, followed by the conga line of bro idiots coming to tell her that they don't like her. (Dollar Store Fabio even said that, if she was the only Bachelorette, he'd leave the show – I KNOW, HARD TO BELIEVE SUCH AN ARTICULATE AND THOUGHTFUL WORDSMITH WAS BOOTED OFF!) So, she treats herself to a lovely day with Erich ... and her Grandpa John, who comes along for a sound ceremony and energy cleaning (or, as Grandpa John understands it, nap time) as well as some much more enjoyable bowling. Grandpa John's just too gosh darn horny for them, though, so Gabby and Erich let him go pursue his own love journey while they go out to dinner, have an honest chat and cap off a lovely night with a makeout session. So all is not lost with these doofuses! (Doofi?) 

OK, now that we've all caught up there, on to Monday night's new episode where ... wait, why do I still smell Prego? WHAT'S MEATBALL STILL DOING HERE!? No, I didn't just forget something from last week's episode; it turns out that, off-camera, Rachel gave Meatball a second chance. Because when you have the chance to marry a meatball enthusiast named Meatball who occasionally dresses himself in tomato sauce, you don't squander it. Fine, Rachel, I'll allow it – though now I poured out a perfectly good jar of Ragu for NOTHING! (And on carpet too! It's fine; if I pour some boxed wine on it, no one will even notice.)

That's far from the most questionable decision Rachel made during that rose ceremony, though. Even at the time, giving her final rose to Hayden – a guy who told Gabby that he wasn't pursuing her because she was "rough around the edges" – felt like settling, like Rachel was giving him that final rose out of confidence that he'd say yes rather than any emotional connection. (Especially considering Rachel KNEW Hayden said those things to Gabby's face.) Well, if you thought that was just accidentally tactless phrasing on Hayden's part, he's here to make sure that everyone knows: No, he's just THAT big of a douchebag. After the mercy rose, Hayden spends the next day lounging around the mansion complaining in profane ways about the women, about how they're nowhere near as hot as his ex (can't imagine why you're not dating anymore) and about how he doesn't want to settle for one of them. Welp, it took four episodes – but we finally got ourselves a proper villain (besides ABC's lack of preparation). 

We don't have time to unpack all of that, though, because the Jordans have to start packing for a trip to France – and, for two special guys, a bonus trip to Paris with Gabby and Rachel. Gabby selects Jason for their romantic Paris date while Rachel picks Tino. FINALLY! After the clear sparks on opening night, I've been waiting for these two to interact more – and after only six or seven hours of television, it finally happened. The date mostly lived up to my hopes, with the two smartly wandering their way into a chocolate shop then getting invited into a vendor's kitchen to make crepes. Don't know much about French law but SURE SEEMS LIKE A HEALTH CODE VIOLATION TO ME! That's fine; it's not like any global health concerns happening right now. Everything's very chill, very relaxed. Anyways, the two end their romantic day chatting about their dreams – which both include a family. RACHINO FOR THE WIN!

Meanwhile, on Gabby's side of Paris, she and Jason have a cute date shopping for a custom-fitted beret – which charming but it's not chocolate. Despite that, though, Gabby has a great time – though she'd love to crack through Jason's quiet, restrained shell and get to know him better and have some more in-depth conversations. And that's exactly what happens, as Jason opens up at dinner about how his childhood gave him self-confidence issues that still plague him today but that's why he goes to therapy. The date ends with a kiss – one that Gabby's definitely doing the work on, leaning in about 80 percent to Jason's 20, but one that's nice nevertheless. YAY FOR EVERYONE BEING HAPPY!

Of course, that can't last long. After getting situated on a mammoth cruise ship and having Palmer show off his French to them (he will do this MULTIPLE times this episode; Palmer very much wants everyone to know that he's been using Rosetta Stone) Gabby's fellas head off on a group date. And when you're in a romantic country like France, what else would you do on a date than go to a boxing ring and throw a fight night. After Gabby takes some swings, probably imagining Dollar Store Fabio's face on the punching pads the whole time, it's her guys' turn to enter the ring. 

Somehow, though, the real bruising takes place outside the ring. You see, Rachel decided that she'd not only stop by the date but she'd bring her boys over to watch as well, hopefully as some bonus conversation and connection time. Oh Rachel, did we learn nothing from Gabby's visit to the mansion last week? Never put in surprise extra effort for these guys: They will just end up bro-ing out and playing sports. Lo and behold, instead of taking advantage of bonus Rachel time or even just making the briefest of eye contact with her, the bros just hoot and holler at the boxing.

In fairness to the guys, Rachel, you did drop them in front of a spectacle of human strength and violence – where did you think their focus might go? That being said, SHE IS YOUR POTENTIAL FUTURE WIFE AND THE WHOLE REASON YOU'RE ON A TV SHOW RIGHT NOW! Guys on this franchise are too deferential to one another now. Years ago, the bros would constantly be trying to grab bonus time and steal the star away and, you know, date the Bachelorette. Now they're too afraid to be seen as a villain in the house. What happened to not coming here to make friends? We used to be a proper country ... 

Anyways, after a good cry, Rachel lets the fellas know that they sucked tonight and she felt unseen – literally, no one seemed to see she was even there at the ring. She even says that, even with how it ended, she felt more appreciated by The Unspoken One than she did by her crop of dudes – and when you're being unfavorably compared to The Unspoken One, YOU HAVE WHOOPSED TO A DEGREE FEW OTHERS HAVE EVER WHOOPSED BEFORE! So there is work to be done. 

Oh, by the way, Spencer wins Gabby's boxing tournament, and the two have dinner. But sorry, Spencer, the show could not care less. Maybe it's because they know he's not going far. Or maybe because he's not Nate – and it's VERY clear Nate is Gabby's number one at this point. 

Anyways, after getting a shot across the bow from Rachel the night before, her guys show up motivated for her group date the next day – and good timing because the date is a lesson in romance, hosted by a French couple who can't stop making out with each other in front of everyone. Meet Flora and Boris, who have special romance tests planned for the day – starting with flirting. Zach may have been smooth last week, but no so much this time around, trying to spin Rachel into a dance but instead doing his best "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell" impression and spinning her into a chokehold. Good for shadowy espionage, bad for ... just about any other human interaction. Floris does not approve. Somehow Ethan's sex bobcat impression is favorable to "The Le Havre Strangler" – a nickname I must give credit to the show's lower third. (The graphics have been on-point hilarious this season, so I guess we know where all the production effort went.)

The next romance test from Floris is ... French-kissing one's own fist. You know how ASMR involves sounds that satisfyingly please and almost tickle your brain? Yeah, dudes tongue-smacking their own finger folds is the opposite of that. Bit of a misstep from Floris, but that's OK because next is ... smelling armpits? As far as French-hosted adventures go, this one's about as romantic as the Normandy landing sequence from "Saving Private Ryan." Thankfully, things improve with the final test: love notes. What, not snail snorting!? COMMIT TO THE ANTI-ROMANTIC BIT, FLORIS! In the end, Tyler wins the tests and therefore an ACTUALLY romantic evening of conversation, hot-tub snogging and making Rachel feel much better about being the Bachelorette. 

So, naturally, that's gonna get screwed up – and indeed, storm clouds are on the horizon as Logan is falling in love with Gabby. Just one small problem: He accepted Rachel's rose last week and is currently committed to Team Rachel. Cool, great; surely the woman who's already been publicly rejected by three guys in favor of her bestie will love to add a fourth to that list. Even if he phrases this as tactfully and thoughtfully as possible, I got a feeling my man's gonna get choked out by his formal neck chain. 

We'll cross that attempted murder bridge when we get there though; right now we have a cocktail party to attend. So after Palmer tries to get you to audition for the show because your mom sucks at matchmaking (which ... pot calling kettle black, "Bachelor" franchise), we get to flirting – starting with Hayden talking about his dog Rambo, complete with a giant scrapbook and a story about how his puppo now has cancer. Considering this dude is in both women's doghouse (HA!) for his "rough around the edges" line last week and only got through on what felt like a safety rose, I honestly first thought this was a desperate sympathy play on Hayden's part, a work of prepared fiction complete with props – though it later becomes clear that the dog is VERY real and Hayden is VERY attached to him.

It's a moot point, though, because Rachel quickly has a bone to pick with Hayden. (GET IT! BECAUSE DOGS!) Remember at the very start of the episode when Hayden was The Worst? Well, Zombie Meatball does – and he makes the most of his second chance at "Bachelorette" life, breaking the bad news to Rachel that Hayden was insulting the two of them and unflatteringly comparing them to his ex. So Rachel snags Hayden for a private chat, and when she asks him why she might be talking to him now, Hayden guesses ... that she wants to hear more about Rambo? Yes, as it turns out, Hayden feels like the ACTUAL offended party, thinking Rachel didn't care enough about his dog. 

Anyways, she DEFINITELY doesn't care about the pupper now as Rachel gives Hayden a few chances to confess to being a gross jerkface and each time he lies – even though the show had even busted out flashbacks earlier to show that, yes, he totally said those things. WE LOVE A GOOD PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE EDITOR! Unlike The Unspoken One, Rachel trusts the trustworthy contestant over the known douche and makes Hayden walk the plank – unfortunately not literally. He does, however, leave the show damp because he's crying ... in joy because he'll get to be reunited with Rambo, who Hayden won't stop talking about and is apparently better than any human being who has ever existed. Yeah, so that dog's VERY real. The puppy dad in me can relate ... but on the other hand, I haven't seen a clown this self-destructively obsessed with a dog since "Air Bud." 

Rachel – sick of all the reality show drama happening on this dramatic reality show – is shaken once again, axing the rest of the cocktail party and jumping right to the rose ceremony. Wearing their finest fur frocks and giving real ritualistic sacrifice vibes – glamorous ritualistic sacrifice vibes, though! – Gabby and Rachel hand out their latest carnations while sending home Quincey and Coach Kirk. I want to make some final football reference in his honor, but honestly he barely made enough of an impression on the show to make it worth it so ... I don't know, something something fumble on the one-yard line. (*wipes hands, never thinks of again*)

The big story coming out of the rose ceremony, though, is Logan, who hoped to talk to Rachel about how he's actually into Gabby at the cocktail party but missed out thanks to Norman Snively. So should he accept Rachel's rose but under false pretenses? Or should he reject it but then not have a chance to explain himself and possibly pursue Gabby? Logan lands on the former because "fortune favors the bold." YEAH, ASK CRYPTO GUY AND MATT DAMON ABOUT HOW THAT'S GOING FOR THEM!

It's probably not going to end well for Logan – and it DEFINITELY seems like it's not going to end well for Rachel, who's really struggling this series thus far. While Gabby's certainly had her share of highs and lows, Rachel really seems to be struggling riding the emotional roller coaster of the show – understandably enough. Some of it is built into the show. (Contestants? Being duplicitous? WHY I NEVER!) But much of it this season, with its confusing formless chaos in the early weeks and surprise high-profile emotional rejections, has been especially taxing. There's been no shortage of our two Bachelorettes tearfully muttering about how they're done – to a degree that it seems an awful lot like foreshadowing. And with one more emotional blow unknowingly coming Rachel's way, all that foreshadowing might just come to a head next week. 

After all, what better place to wave the white flag than France!

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.