This week’s episode of Total Divas made me… well, I suppose the most accurate verb is weep. And before you judge me, only a monster could have made it through this episode without getting a little choked up, because this is the episode during which an otherwise lighthearted luxury drinking trip to Mexico is interrupted by the news that Dusty Rhodes has passed away.
The Divas get the news while they’re riding some kind of trolley to the Mayan ruins they’re about to tour, and by the time they get off the trolley everyone is crying and dabbing at eye makeup. Nattie has a full-on breakdown talking about how Dusty was the only person who supported Tyson Kidd early on.
“He just believed in people when nobody else did,” she sobs.
But it’s Paige who really cranks up the emotion, telling the girls about how when she first arrived at FCW, some of the leadership wanted her to change up her look. But Dusty wasn’t having it, telling her: “Nah, f–k that, baby. You stand out. You’s my girl with the dragon tattoo.”
In a talking head, Paige gets more raw.
“I find it really hard to talk about Dusty … If you were, like, a perfect toy, he didn’t want to play with you. But if you were a broken toy who had some kind of issues or wasn’t the full package, he wanted to fix you, shine you up and send you on your way. He was the most amazing human being you could ever meet.”
This is the downer moment in an otherwise appropriately ridiculous trip to Mexico, where Nikki has rented a mansion with a private chef, private bartender, private pool and private beach.
“When you’re Nikki Bella, you have to do it large,” she explains. This mostly means jumping into the pool fully clothed and sexually harassing the bartender.
Nikki has been learning Spanish in an attempt to get in touch with the Garcia side of her heritage. (Longtime Total Divas viewers will recall that the Bella Twins have a deeply fractured relationship with their dad.) She wants to use the trip in part to celebrate her Mexican roots. Brie, meanwhile, is still stinging from being blocked on Instagram by Papa Garcia, especially after some investigation reveals that he and his new wife are expecting a baby and have neglected to mention this fact to any of his existing children. So she doesn’t want to tour any Mayan ruins or learn any Spanish or really do anything remotely cultural that reminds her of how their dad used to bring them on trips to Mexico. Brie wants to drink. But then the news about Dusty gets everyone thinking about Cody and Dustin and how sad they must be, and Daniel Bryan Danielson provides a telephonic reminder that fathers don’t live forever but regret does, so that makes Brie feel badly enough about hating her dad that she hires some traditional Mayan dancers for Nikki. (This all makes sense somehow in the course of the episode.)
There are a few other plotlines running through the episode — Jimmy Uso thinks New Naomi is too sexy, twerking videos are uploaded to Instagram, Paige tries to make the Bellas think Trinity and Alicia Fox got kicked out of Mexico. Nattie spends so much time complaining about feeling like a third wheel in TJ’s bromance with his tag team partner, Cesaro (“I’m afraid that my sex life is going to turn into TJ bringing a Swiss flag into the bedroom”) that Paige comes right out and asks if she thinks TJ is gay, at which point Nattie calls TJ to tattle and he cluelessly plays right into the joke.
“Of course I like Cesaro,” he says as the rest of the Divas drunkenly cackle. “Cesaro’s strong. Nat, Cesaro can clean and jerk 135 with one arm. That’s just, like, to show off. I don’t know what his actual max is.” When he literally describes Cesaro as “the best I’ve ever had,” the room just falls completely apart.
“Ask him if he pounds him,” Paige blurts.
Oh, yes — Paige. Remember how she’s getting married and really super excited about it? Well, at least the rest of the Divas are really super excited about it, throwing her a celebratory dinner in Mexico.
“When in Mexico, if someone’s engaged, you gotta do it bachelorette style,” Nikki explains.
I’m not sure what “bachelorette style” means beyond a lot of drinking, talking about shopping for wedding dresses with black sashes, and Brie toasting “Here’s to one penis for the rest of your life.” All of which just heightens Paige’s absolute ambivalence about her engagement.
“This is my cage. This is my wedding cage,” Paige deadpans as the rest of the Divas drape her in a veil.
At one point, Foxy — who is immediately suspicious of the entire engagement — urges Paige not to let Kevin pressure her into marriage. Paige insists she’s in Love with Kevin (with a capital L).
“Lust also starts with an L,” Alicia points out.
But after a vacation brunch turns into a wedding planning meeting, Paige starts to freak out and pulls Foxy aside for a private convo.
“I lied to you,” Paige says, holding her face in her hands. “I really said yes because I don’t want to lose Kevin. I don’t want to get married.”
SHOCKER. I can’t believe her total lack of enthusiasm and obvious fear of long-term commitment were really concealing a complete disinterest in getting married anytime soon.
Next week, the season finale! Will Paige manage to break off her reluctant engagement? What misfortune will next befall the Braniels? And why are we just now getting to the much-teased Dolph Ziggler-Nikki Bella-John Cena love triangle?