Thursday, June 13, 2024

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‘Marital Mayhem’: Nikki has an affair… with her brother?

Relationships, babies and marriage. The Bella fam took on some big challenges this week as JJ Garcia deals with the reality of “taking a break” from his wife and kid. On the flip side of the show, Daniel Bryan seems to be more keen on Brie’s pregnancy than she is – and even trades spots with her – yes, I’m serious. Let’s take a quick look at what happened on last night’s show.

Brie Bella & Daniel Bryan:

The pair are on their way to the hospital via car, and it seems that all Bryan can think about is timing the journey. As a first time parent he aims to make sure everything is perfect. So, timing the journey to the hospital seems like the right thing to do. When at the hospital, a scan of the soon-to-be child is seen, and the soon-to-be parents are in complete awe. Bryan sits down with the biggest grin on his face as he records the screen, and when he hits the confessional he even states that he wants to be the one that’s pregnant. Cue Brie’s internal eye-roll. As the hospital visit continues the questions keep coming – but it seems to only be from Daniel. With citations to books he’s read and things he’s noticed, Bryan keeps talking. And Brie is not okay with it, because “maybe the woman that’s having the child should have a couple questions here and there.” Don’t worry, Brie, we’re on your side here.

Later on, Brie is in her house figuring out how to decorate the nursery. And pretty soon Bryan comes in with a fake baby and a bunch of cloth diapers so that they can practise putting them on the baby. Brie isn’t a fan of the cloth diapers as they’re more of a hassle to clean and can easily stain, so she’d much rather use disposable ones. Bryan on the other hand is completely against the use of them as they’re terrible for the environment. He brings up the fact that 20 billion disposable diapers are thrown into the landfills every year, whereas cloth ones are reusable. But the mother-to-be wants to be fully comfortable with her first child’s life, so she isn’t budging!

Bryan then takes Brie to a landfill – something which Brie thinks is called a “land-field” to see the damage disposable diapers have on the environment. The couple see a huge pile of trash that will take 5 months to be full, whilst anything with plastic – like the disposable diapers – will take approximately 500 years to decompose. Yikes! Still going to use those diapers, Brie?

When Brie and her family go off on a trip, they eat dinner and discuss Bryan’s pregnancy obsession. Brie states that she hates the mansplaining. And, speak of the devil and he shall arrive. Bryan calls and tells the family that he thinks that they should name their child Branch. Following this, Nikki Bella – as a joke – says that Bryan should do a labour stimulator so that he can feel what Brie will feel when giving birth. And he says yes. Of course he does…

The next evening Bryan and JJ try the labour stimulator. JJ is full of pain, whereas Bryan is calm and collected. Dammit, Bryan! Now Brie has to act calm when she gives birth!

Brie does see this as good thing however, as she’s happy that Bryan cares so much about the pregnancy. At long as she has such a supportive man by her side, that’s all that matters!

Nikki Bella & JJ Garcia

JJ shows up at his sister’s villa that she moved into last week, as himself and Lauren Garcia are going through a rough patch of their marriage. And although she is all for it, Nikki is feeling a little nervous about the fact that she has to hide this information from her entire family. Crazy, right? Well JJ isn’t too fond of his family getting into his business, and as he needed to move somewhere, I guess he had to tell one person – and that’s Miss Nikki Bella!

As soon as the pair sit down, Nikki brings up the house rules. Ah, the life of living in the Cena-Bella house… Those were the days…

Anyway, Nikki tells her brother that they’re going to have a curfew – which he dismisses – and that they can’t drink alcohol everyday, including wine. JJ immediately disagrees and says that wine is healthy, and there is a reason that Jesus turned water into wine. Is he wrong? Probably not. But I want to see more of this conversation.

The conversation then moves onto therapy. Nikki tries to make JJ take relationship therapy – something that she and John Cena have done – but he denies. Instead of this, he’d rather talk to the Cenation leader about it. And what does Nikki have to say about this? Well, as someone that wants John to marry her, having another person vent to her wannabe husband will most likely derail any chances of a wedding ring in the near future. So, no talking about your problems to John, JJ!

We soon catch up with the pair and JJ goes for a quick shower. Nikki then picks up a Facetime from her mother Kathy Colace – and she really wants to see the house. Bella shows her mother around but when they get inside, a mysterious figure in a towel walks past. Kathy is not impressed – and she knows that no crew member will walk around in a towel. Nikki thinks that it’s a good idea to pretend that she didn’t see anything, and her mother pretends to buy it. So the storm is brewing… We just have to wait and see.

Nikki tells JJ off about being in a towel when his mother’s on the phone, but JJ acts defensive – as JJ does – and walks off in a huff.

JJ then catches up with John and the two have a meal together. Throughout the meal the two discuss – against Nikki’s knowledge – JJ’s relationship drama. Fortunately for JJ, John is receptive. He tells him that his life isn’t the same as it was prior to the birth of his child, so things will change and he needs to tough through it.

Meanwhile, Nikki shows up at Brie’s house and the storm takes it first step. Brie brings up the fact that Kathy believes that Nikki is cheating on John. Nikki is taken aback by it, but refuses to tell Brie the truth. At least, that’s what she wanted to do. She quickly reveals the truth about Lauren and JJ’s separation, and Brie is far from taking JJ’s side. Something tells me that things are going to explode later on.

The next night, Nikki and Cena are backstage at SmackDown Live. Bella brings up Cena and JJ’s trip, and expresses her thoughts about JJ sharing his issues with her boyfriend. John, on the other hand, insists that the conversation has no impact on him. And in fact, Nikki should be more supportive of her brother as he’s going through something tough and needs support. Ah, so it’s the plot twist we needed after all, that I didn’t really expect.

At another point, Kathy brings up the lack of Lauren in recent events. She admits that the “cheating” thing was just a way to get her daughters to fess up. And it works! Nikki quickly reveals the truth and Kathy is immediately sad for Lauren. Brie takes this opportunity to announce – yet again – how infuriated she is at JJ for this choice. And when JJ returns… the truth comes out yet again.

JJ finds out about his family’s new knowledge and he insists that he doesn’t want to hear their opinion. Brie calls him out for his decision but JJ refuses to communicate with her about it. Regardless of their input, JJ gets angry and sticks by his decision to not properly discuss his marriage with them.

The next evening the family meet up for some antics – and JJ and Lauren are acting perfectly fine. Brie quickly realizes that it’s because Lola has no idea that the group knows; so it’s “Happy Family” from here… Until next time!

Thoughts: This season of Total Bellas feels a lot different than the last. Last season came across as very manufactured. We saw the group in environments that weren’t their own and they were forced to interact in ways that never felt quite so organic. This time around, it’s different.

It’s great that the family aren’t forced to live in the same house anymore, because let’s be honest, we’re all aware of how different Nena and Braniel live. There’s no point trying to make it anything other than what it really is!

What’s especially interesting is that JJ is getting quite the spotlight so early on. Everything that happens on this week’s episode manages to involve him. Even when Bryan and Brie are discussing diapers, JJ finds his way into the story. I appreciate the show trying to give the other characters more of a spotlight too, because as much as I love the Bellas, we do need to get familiar with the supporting cast.

If the show is to continue for a while, we need to care about the Bella family outside of the twins. We need to worry about JJ’s wellbeing, we need to understand Lauren’s relation to the cast, and we need to genuinely want to see them. So starting the season off this way was perfect; we’re seeing the Bellas interact with JJ’s problems without the story being entirely about the twins. So this way we’re enticed because of the involvement of the Bellas, but we stay as we want to find out more about JJ.

Seeing Bryan so infatuated by the pregnancy is definitely my favorite part, however. The relationship between him and Brie is so, so adorable and I love how involved Bryan is with the pregnancy.

The lightheartedness of the story is especially what makes it so engaging.  Usually there’s some form of drama that puts the mother in a stressful situation, whilst the father soon apologizes and the two find a “middle ground.” However here we have a really calm and humorous story – it’s really refreshing to see it on reality TV.

We also see some hints at John and Nikki’s inevitable proposal. In previous episodes of this show and its predecessor, John has typically shut down all conversations about marriage. But when talking to JJ, he almost immediately says how happy he is to do it with Nikki. The season finale can’t come soon enough!

What did you think of this episode? Are you excited to get to know JJ more? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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