First, a hot take: The Bachelor franchise is in real trouble and everything is dovetailing to make it feel like it's the beginning of the end. There was an awkward pall over last night's hometown episode as the show's multiple missteps and controversies created a bizarre and somewhat unsettling viewing experience.
Now, some lighter fare.
When they showed Rachael's skydiving accident, both my wife and I shrieked in surprise and concern. Because we knew from the previews that someone had hit the ground hard. But not, like, that hard.
Here's the segment in question, which begins with the two lovebirds comforting each other and neither noticing that the female frontrunner is strapped to early Something Corporate Andrew McMahon or Ansel Elgort's little brother in time to pivot.
The moment of truth takes place around the 2:30 mark as Rachael and her instructor come in incredibly hot and unfortunately sideways. It is not hyperbole to suggest they could have been maimed or worse.
Seriously, were fans of the show prepared for just how violent this incident was? More importantly, did anyone associated with the show take any pause to reckon with the fact that a contestant and guy who recently celebrated his 21st birthday with a bunch of Girl Scout shots nearly escaped death? My guess is no, based on the immediate nonchalant reaction to the impact.
Matt does a cursory jog over like someone chasing their loose dog through the street who isn't too concerned and gives far-from-max effort checking in on her status. She diagnoses a jacked-up back and laments swallowing a bunch of grass. Someone from the crew helpfully, almost absent-mindedly, tries to brush the Earth out of her hair.
The whole sequence is wildly understated and a stark departure from normal reality television, where a team of EMS professionals are summoned for the tamest of hangnails. Or if the most dramatic contestant feels dizzy for half a second.
It stands to reason that part of the reason for this is the producers' understanding that playing down the accident is in their best interests. It's probably not good for business if a bunch of people with eyes point out the obvious — that this was a real close call — on otherwise snarky blog posts. That would simply be the worst.
Things did make a bit more sense as the episode progressed and viewers met Rachael's parents. There has never been a clearer case of the show openly showing its disdain for a person than Rachael's dad. The man simply got one of the worst edits in franchise history. And considering all that's come out about his daughter and how the title wants to clean its own reputation, one can see the one-to-one connection.
So here we are some 12 hours after this aired and the footage has only gotten more spectacular with passing time. It's tough to imagine thinking about anything else for the next few hours or days. Apologies in advance.
If I have to live like that, so do you.