Previously on Total Bellas: a very fake reality show got very real about mental health for a while and Artem bought a ring.
Was There Anything About Wrestling On This Week’s Episode Of Total Bellas?
No, and it’s kind of weird because we see Daniel Bryan come home with short hair and a short beard and no one mentions this is because of a wrestling angle! It looks like he just came home with a haircut his wife wasn’t crazy about. There is no mention of The Fiend whatsoever, which in my opinion, was a huge mistake on the show’s part. If anyone should be part of both WWE kayfabe and Total franchise kayfabe, it should be The Fiend. Just Brie saying “I know you’ve been going through some stuff with The Fiend, but I have to tell you something” before breaking her pregnancy suspicions would have gone a long way.
Baby Number One (Of Two)
This week’s episode, “The Proposal,” is almost entirely about The Proposal (of marriage) (delivered by Artem Chigvintsev to Nikki Bella), but once that’s wrapped up, there’s a huge development for Brie and Bryan in the last ten minutes. Brie starts experiencing just about every symptom of pregnancy and when she tells Bryan about this, he mentions that they tried to get pregnant after their marriage-healing trip to Sedona. Turns out it worked!
Brie explains to the camera and to Nikki that this pregnancy happened when she and Bryan “let go of so much” and it’s a symbolic thing in that way, but she also acknowledges that the same reasons she was sure she didn’t want to have another kid earlier in the season are true. Will she and Bryan getting along better make it easier to take care of two kids by herself most of the time? This could be more drama waiting to happen – or not, because Bryan’s been talking (in real life) about winding down his full-time wrestling career, which would probably go a long way in solving almost every problem they’ve had this season.
Proposal Number One (Of One)
The rest of this week’s show is dedicated to the Bellas’ and Artem’s families in France on a trip that meshes business, a birthday for the twins (the big three-six), and The Proposal, and it makes for the best and easiest to watch episode of the season. It’s a vacation episode that takes the viewer’s brain on a vacation. The plot isn’t low stakes, but it’s very low tension because anyone watching the show knows that Nikki and Artem are, in fact, engaged now. More than a drama on its own, this feels like an episode-long resolution to most of the Nikki/Artem conflicts and some of the internal Bella family problems this season.
Other Nikki/Artem storylines have been hurt by Artem looking like he feels tortured by being on a reality show and like he might not actually like Nikki, but here his happiness is believable. I still suspect he might be in massive engagement ring debt, but it’s also easy to be happy for him. The dude is reunited with family he rarely sees, embraced by his future mother-in-law, and knocks it out of the park with an elaborate proposal setup that fits perfectly for his girlfriend who, earlier this season, got excited about the idea of a Louis Vuitton pool cover. The biggest takeaways from the episode are what Nikki Bella thinks is “jockey vibes,” that she can protect her champagne flute while falling down the stairs, and a feeling of good for you, Artem! Go forth and be happy!
Russian Old Man Of The Week
The presence of Artem’s family brings out the underlying real-life elements of the proposal storyline and makes it a lot more charming. The Bellas (the twins, Kathy, JJ, and Lauren) and the Chigvintsevs (Artem, Vladimir, Anna, and Anton) all want to make good impressions on each other because they’re going to be related pretty soon. This makes for the rare reality TV episode in which everyone is on their best behavior (and extra careful about it because of the language barrier.)
The Bellas play things up for the cameras less, and the Chigvintsevs not at all. Artem’s parents don’t seem to really know how reality TV works; Artem has to kind of direct them in the scene where he’s going to ask Kathy for permission to marry Nikki. Also, Artem’s dad, Vladimir, at one point gives the camera a nod of acknowledgment like he doesn’t realize they’re not supposed to acknowledge their presence. Even if he does, that fourth-wall-breaking moment is so good I get why it was left in.