Recently-dumped Taylor, whose name derives from the Latin word taliare, “to cut”, crashes Corinne’s victory dinner to retaliate (from the Latin word retaliare, “cut her again”). Nick steps outside to re-dump Taylor. How Corinne reacts will completely determine her fate. If she’s pissed he talked to Taylor, both women go home. If she plays it cool, maybe gets a little shut eye while they talk, she’s got at least another week. Outside, Taylor tells Nick that she is not a bully. He says (out loud) I didn’t think you were, and (in his head) I dumped you because you don’t put Reddi Wip on your boobs. Taylor, an emotional savant, realizes that she can’t compete with Corinne, so tries to bring in someone who can. “Vanessa literally told you that she would give you back her rose if this is what you were looking for.” Ah, but she didn’t give it back, did she? Nick says goodbye to Taylor, stays the (dessert) course with Corinne, and pledges to remind the contestants of who cuts whom.
The next day, Chris Harrison informs the women there will be no Cocktail Party before the Rose Ceremony because Nick knows exactly which nine women he wants to date. Who’s the boss? Nick’s the boss! Corinne, Danielles, Rachel, Kristina, Raven, Vanessa, Jasmine and Whitney (more like Who-tney, amiright?) stay, and dolphin admirer Alexis, raw hot dog Josephine, and noseballs Jaimi go home. We’re running low on nicknamed contestants; things are about to get serious.
Nick flies his top nine to Saint Thomas, “The perfect place to send people home,” according to Raven. He picks Kristina for the 1 on 1 date. A seaplane takes them to the dark corners of her soul, where she confides that she left a dysfunctional home in rural Russia at age 5 or 6, lived in an orphanage for another 7 or 8 years, then chose adoption by a big American family over getting turned onto the streets at 16. She has 8 American siblings, a birth sister in Russia she sort of knows, and mourns losing touch with her orphanage family. They cry together, listen to Ave Maria on steel drums, and everyone shipping Nick and Corinne feels a deep stab of shame.
That must include at least one producer, because they decide to send Lorna to the hotel, an older black woman that offers nanny-like services in order to bait Corinne. Corinne loves bait, but the other contestants just toss her back like a fish that’s too small to fry. Their hearts aren’t in it any more. When the Group Date comes, Rachel, Raven, Vanessa, Corinne, Danielle Blonde, and Jasmine are in bad shape. Vanessa (doppelgänger to Saved By The Bell’s Tori) only communicates in shouts. Jasmine speaks at double speed about being overlooked by Nick. Everyone resents having to play beach volleyball. This lazily assembled date collapses and Nick tries to pick up the pieces over the evening cocktail hour. To his dismay, Rachel tells him she considered leaving the competition. To my dismay, Raven wears a sheer neon yellow jumpsuit/dress that doesn’t bode well for her career as a boutique owner. It’s Jasmine, however, who will no longer be ignored. She, a professional dancer, quietly withstood losing a dance off to Danielle Brunette. She milked cows without complaining. She was terrorized by cheap haunted house gimmicks into believing in ghosts and by the time he finally invites her to spend time with him, she is at peak heroine in a Gothic novel. Speaking at an unnatural speed, Jasmine’s frustration at being ignored tumbles into threats to choke Nick, which she softens into more romantic offers to choke Nick. He politely declines, then shows Jasmine the door. Sometimes they offer to walk you out just to see with their own eyes that you’ve left the property.
The next group demoralizer comes as a 2 on 1 date between relative unknown, Whitney, and Danielle Brunette, who thought two dates worth of agreeing with Nick was enough to keep her safe. Nick tries for instant chemistry with Whitney, but nothing magical happens when he calls her beautiful and strokes her leg. In his alone time with Danielle, who is pissed to be here but knows better than to express emotion, Nick asks her if she likes him. She, of course, says yes. He charges out to dump Whitney, who pushes back fairly (we haven’t spent time together) then unfairly (Danielle isn’t ready to date you). That last bit of pettiness convinces Nick he made the right choice, and he and Danielle Brunette chopper off to a “Congratulations, I didn’t dump you” dinner. Danielle forces Nick to acknowledge what talking to her is like by only saying words one might have painted on a rock at summer camp. Love. Trust. Friendship. When Danielle says she’s falling in love, he starts anxiously stroking her arms. Nick tells Danielle if he could pick just on looks, it would be her.
After cutting her loose, Nick unnerves the remaining contestants with a surprise visit to their hotel room. He tells his girlfriends he dumped the hot one and it’s really shaken him. What if he’s blowing it and dies alone? Should he have gone with a more traditional ranking system? Is there possibly a last chance kitchen going on? Why did I dump the dolphin girl??? The women worry about his outburst, but Corinne declares this is a problem only her vagina can solve. Help us Corinne’s sunomono, you’re our only hope.