So I tuned in for episode 2 and it surprised me with its deep connections and affirmations of hope.
But first, the things that stood out to me.
First, Faith was miffed that she didn’t get invited on the first date with Gerry which tracks with the red flag I raised last week when I noted she showed up with 2 props (motorcycle and guitar). She received the very first rose of the season and she’s already complaining that she isn’t the 24/7 center of his attention. Hey Faith: it’s a dating competition. Pace yourself. The previews for episode 3 seem to indicate she walks out of the show because she doesn’t get all the attention she wants. We’ll see.
I owe an apology to Linda because last week I noted that she seemed to be giving off “rabbit in a pot” (henceforth RIAP) vibes, but this week we see she’s just straightforward and really funny. I can relate to that.
And Susan is the person who does everyone’s hair and makeup (and has also been feeding everyone) and is just a delight. I hope she gets more time with Gerry.
So the first date card goes to Theresa, she of the birthday suit stunt, and Gerry picks her up in a vintage Corvette convertible…with non-functioning headlights. He’s also never driven on a California freeway before and says he can’t see the lane markings or read the signs. Awesome. And so much for Theresa’s carefully coiffed hair.
They end up a 1950s-themed diner for fries and a shake, and the date ends with a flash mob dancing to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”. I found that cloying and clunky. The interesting part is where they share their experiences as people who lost the spouses that they thought they’d spend the rest of their lives with. It’s such an easy staring place for all of the widowed folks to connect, and Gerry says that talking about his loss with Theresa in this context doesn’t make him want to cry. There’s a power in a simple, heartfelt conversation, and it’s the highlight of their date.
The next day there’s a group date and most of them are going to wear costumes and shoot a romance novel cover with Gerry. It’s a fun activity, except for Leslie’s RIAP fit when another woman takes the costume she wanted. Let it go, girl—you’re on camera, remember? After the shoot she spends time with Gerry and lets him know that she too wears hearing aids (normally hidden by her hairstyle). Gerry thinks that’s awesome, so there you are.
One of the women, Nancy, got upset when she saw herself in her wedding dress costume, as she hadn’t worn one since her own wedding (she is a widow). After the shoot Gerry comes by to talk to her because he notices that she is different around him that day. And since they too have the bond of a happy marriage and the death of their partner, they bond too. Gerry tells her he got caught by the smell of cinnamon which reminded him of his wife’s holiday baking. Nancy gets the group date rose and says she didn’t expect to connect with him like she did, but I think it’s only to be expected that people who have felt that level of sorrow and loss would connect with others in the same place.
Later the women have a “surprise” birthday party for Gerry and he ends up in a top bunk in one of the bedrooms talking to Joan about how difficult birthdays can be when you have lost your love. They too are able to bond through their loss, but Joan talks about the difficulty she’s having adjusting to her loss and frankly I’m not sure that the competition is the best place for her right now.
Gerry sits down with the bubbly Ellen and gives her a present: a framed portrait of the 2 of them from their photo shoot. He tells her how much he loves her personality and it didn’t seem like a backhanded compliment. Later Ellen talks about how Gerry makes her feel special and how she didn’t think she would ever feel that way again. It was a lovely moment of discovery for her. I think she feels much less exhausting to be around than some of the other women.
Oh, and before I forget, April is delightful and unique and she was the person that Nancy originally opened up to. April is a therapist and says she wants to open everyone’s heart and she walks her talk.
Gerry can barely get through the rose ceremony because it’s so hard to send some of the women home. Because this is a Bachelor franchise I am inclined to distrust him and his “aw shucks” personality. We’ll see. Faith complains she didn’t get one of the first roses, and then women go home: a blonde woman I could not tell you a single thing about as I don’t think she had any speaking time, Natascha (and I have no idea why), and Jeanie who says that she was OK because she had kind of given up on having hope, and now she had hope again. It was just another reminder to the rest of us that life does still go on, and that joy and hope still abide. I’m glad I’m watching this season.
Here’s a song for Gerry’s faulty car: