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Total Bellas Season 3 Episode 5: Recap, Photos, Videos

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This season of Total Bellas has devoted a lot of time to examining how Nikki Bella ended up compromising herself and her relationship by her innate desire to please everybody around her at her own expense. Now that she’s single, however, her only allegiance is to herself, and this week’s episode tackles the obvious question that stems from that: What does Nikki Bella want? Kids? A career? A new man?

Or, is it all of the above? The notion of a working woman being able to “have it all” can sometimes veer into the realm of cliché (even for reality TV), but Nikki has thrown herself so ferociously into all of her post-breakup endeavors that she’s convinced herself she can juggle motherhood and business by sheer force of will. This places her in stark contrast to Brie Bella, who is starting to lose her grip on her personal and professional affairs while she focuses on being a full-time mom.

Brie, as the resident realist of the twins, has bought into the notion that there’s little room for anything else in her life besides her daughter. Nikki, as the resident idealist, respects it, but she thinks, respectfully, that her sister might be wrong. So, when Brie leaves Birdie Joe with Nikki so she and Daniel Bryan can pack up their Phoenix home — their first extended stint apart from Birdie — Nikki decides to put her theory to the test. The Fearless One balances personal and business errands with Birdie’s feeding schedule and naptime and even crucially enlists the help of a nanny to help her get everything done — something she’s been trying to convince Brie to do for a long time.

As JJ is quick to point out, Nikki is oversimplifying things just a bit. The family is on hand to help, and Nikki isn’t really playing mom long enough to get the full scope of curveballs and minor emergencies that come with a new baby. But Brie buys into Nikki’s enthusiasm nonetheless and agrees to the nanny idea (Bryan even admits it would make life easier for her career). The dry run is such a success that Nikki is more convinced than ever she could pull off the working mother balance.

Of course, there’s one last bit of unfinished business. John Cena remains just out of view, only popping up to remind Nikki from afar that their relationship doesn’t have to be over via a vague “We’re working on it” talk show interview. In previous weeks (and seasons), Nikki would have seen that as a glimmer of hope that she could have the life she wanted with the man she loved. Now, however, she believes that life doesn’t necessarily have to be with Cena.

All of which leads to a dinner where Cena asks Nikki to lay her cards on the table. Does she just want kids, or is she no longer in love with him? It’s the former. And, in a remarkable bit of role reversal, it’s Cena who makes the concession, agreeing to start a family with Nikki if it means getting to keep her in his life. In short, they’re back together, and in a week that is ostensibly about moving on, the Bellas end on starkly different notes. Brie and Bryan bid a healthy goodbye to their old house, opting to leave the memories behind to start a necessary new chapter for their family. Painful as it is, it’s the best thing for everybody. Nikki takes her first steps into a brave new world, then uses her newfound confidence to double back and take another swing at having it all. She gets what she wants — though, perhaps, not what she needs.

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Brie’s bachelorette party vs. Nikki’s bachelorette party – Total Bellas Exclusive

While reminiscing about her own bachelorette party, Brie talks about all the fun things she did compared to her twin’s. Meanwhile, Nikki thinks her party is just perfect for her own taste. Subscribe to The Bella Twins on YouTube – http://bit.ly/2xdJky5

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Total Bellas Season 3 Episode 7 Recap, Photos, Videos, Previews

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Season 3 of Total Bellas has been largely a story of expectations vs. reality for Nikki Bella. She walked away from a relationship when she saw it wasn’t going where she wanted, then got back into it when she felt she’d undergone enough personal growth to get her life where she wanted it to be. But there’s nothing to take away your empowerment quite as ruthlessly as wedding planning, and this week’s episode keeps chipping away at her in the same way the last one did.

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To Nikki, putting the ceremony together is like staring the rest of her life in the face, which is very daunting considering she wasn’t even sure she still wanted this life only a few weeks ago. She’s also doing this without John Cena (he’s away for work and unseen this week), which bums her out because she always thought she’d be planning her wedding with her husband. Brie Bella is still suspicious that Nikki’s harboring some hesitation about the wedding that she’s keeping to herself, but she’s a constant supportive presence in solving the episode’s central problem — Nikki has generously if overzealously invited all of her girlfriends to be bridesmaids — and trying to guide her sister through the existential thicket so she can get to the altar in one piece. (The wedding dress shopping is a big pick-me-up, and the prep’s only unmitigated success.) Brie inevitably takes a firmer hand, but she realizes her role here is a supporting one, and her interaction with Nikki is a nice reminder of how well the Bellas work together in times of need.

It’s also a reminder that Brie can’t help but yearn for the finer things in life the way Nikki often does. Much like Nikki is trying to navigate a life that didn’t quite turn out how she expected, Brie finds herself wistful for her days as a New York art patron and amateur painter. Feeling like she’s strayed too far from that path, Brie decides to splurge on some antiques and artwork, culminating in a sizable purchase from a local painter that leaves Daniel Bryan gob-smacked. He’d prefer she make something herself or at least spend a little more wisely, and Brie can’t argue too heavily with that.

Speaking of Bryan, the episode touches on his own expectation-vs.-reality struggles, as he’s very close to getting cleared to get back in the ring, though it’s only briefly mentioned. But his main action this week is a delightful side jaunt with mother-in-law Kathy. Mama Bella’s anxiety is starting to make car rides with son JJ and husband John Laurinaitis somewhat insufferable, which they respond to by installing a driver’s-ed style brake in the passenger side that they slam on constantly to try to convey the sensation of having her in the car. Bryan, who’s a bit more sympathetic, divulges his own struggles with anxiety to Kathy, and they take on a mutually shared fear of heights by going to an indoor skydiving class.

The whole take-the-leap metaphor might be a little on-the-nose given what’s going on with Nikki, but the car is an oddly apt one. She still feels like she’s along for the ride as the wedding approaches, and it takes a nudge from Brie to help her get control: After asking Nikki to tell her exactly what she wants from her wedding, Brie somewhat indelicately forces a conversation between Nikki and her friends where The Fearless One reveals she won’t be having bridesmaids. The ladies are all fine with it, but they’re wondering why she didn’t just come out and say that in the first place.

Of course, it isn’t quite that easy for Nikki. Having felt like a passenger for so long, she is clearly still coming to terms with the idea of being in control of her own destiny. For all her growth and confidence, she hasn’t quite realized the implications of her independence. She could turn the car wherever she so chooses. She could even stop it altogether.

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