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Total Bellas Season 3 Episode 6 Recap, Photos, Video

Nikki and Brie Bella are famous athletes, entrepreneurial businesswomen and, in the case of the former, one-half of a marquee celebrity couple. It’s a blessed life they lead, but on this week’s Total Bellas, they’re forced to once again reckon with the question of who exactly they’re living it for.

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As parents, Brie and Daniel Bryan have already made that choice, but they’re quickly reminded that hiring a nanny for some alone time doesn’t absolve them of outside influence on their lives. A gaggle of well-meaning if insistent fans follows them on their picnic; the animals at a “goat yoga” session clamber all over them and, of course, there’s E!’s Total Bellas cameras themselves, whose presence ensures they really will never get a minute to themselves. In a true Season-9-of-“The Office”-moment, Bryan and Brie ask the cameramen to take a hike so they can enjoy the botanical gardens; the producers, tellingly, get the shot they’re looking for from afar anyway.

That said, at least Brie and Bryan have found a way to give themselves some semblance of happiness in their lives, despite having long ago given up complete control of them. Nikki hasn’t. After she split with John Cena, The Fearless One had a reawakening that was so profound that she was able to re-set the terms of her relationship. Now that they’re back together, however, she finds she’s forced to surrender to outside influences once again when it comes to planning the wedding — particularly when it comes to deciding who will walk her down the aisle. The Bellas’ father, Kathy, JJ, and Brie, who Cena touts as the obvious choice, are all floated as options, and Nikki bristles at the notion that she will have to do what someone else wants on a day that should be all about her. A crisis seems to approach when she inadvertently gives John Laurinaitis the greenlight to walk her down the aisle, not in the least because she has to field more advice from well-meaning family members who urge her to rescind the offer as soon as possible.

It’s the story of Nikki Bella’s life in Season 3, compiled into one single decision. She wants to live a life that fulfills her, but she keeps having to make room for someone else. It’s doubly jarring because her personal growth always occurs in a vacuum — she reiterates this week that Cena is often away working, which makes their processes very different from Bryan and Brie’s — and she finds that the person she’s becoming doesn’t always match her situation. So, she lashes out. Her attempts to reclaim the narrative range from the slightly indelicate (she vocally sets a timeline for her pregnancy at a family dinner) to the snippy (she shuts down Nana Bella during the aisle debate at one point) to the exhausted (she openly admits she wishes she wasn’t getting married sometimes).

However, her response lands somewhere in the realm of defiance. Whereas Brie and Bryan, and even JJ and Lauren (who discover they’re expecting another daughter, despite his desire for a boy), can balance expectations and reality with ease and good humor, Nikki finds the idea of further compromise almost unbearable. So, she follows the same blueprint she has of late and takes matters into her own hands, opting to walk herself down the aisle. Brie’s spider-sense starts tingling, but no objections are raised, at least not in the moment. If nothing else, Nikki Bella has made it clear that she has no problem bending the situation to fit her. What she might not yet realize is that finding balance often means doing it the other way around.

New episodes of Total Bellas return Sunday, July 8, at 9/8 C on E!.

Categories Bella Twins Photos Bella Twins Video Total Bellas

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.