I do not remember these episodes all being 1h30 long. That is a lot of Jon Hamm ads. Alas, I am committed to delivering The Bachelor recaps to all 3 of my readers, and deliver them, I shall!
The last time we saw Sarah, she was crouching down and telling a producer she felt like she was going to faint. After consulting with a medic, Sarah and Matt go for some fresh air – in the middle of the rose ceremony. The fate of approximately 10 women is still up in the air, and the other contestants are not happy that the Marylynn vs. Victoria drama has been eclipsed by Sarah. The audience knows Sarah is dealing with a lot back home, and I can understand being overwhelmed when you are being filmed 24/7, have no access to friends or family or wifi, and are competing with more than 20 women for the attention of one man. The other contestants are not so understanding.
While the other women sit on the floor in their beautiful gowns, Matt delicately drapes his suit jacket over Sarah’s shoulders and she rests her forehead on his chest – in full view of everyone else. The two return after a few moments outside, and Sarah apologizes to everyone, claiming she’s never fainted before.
I know I said talking about the artist formerly known as Queen Victoria made me sad, but her nonchalant delivery of “I’ve definitely never fainted for attention before” is simultaneously hilarious and slowly making me think she is a paid actress.
Khaylah, Mari, MJ, Anna, and Kaili get roses. One rose remains, and in her non-confrontational, soft-spoken tone, Marylynn worries she will be going home. Victoria gets a rose. I’m officially angry at Matt and this whole charade. I wish Victoria had at least picked someone with a strong personality who could be a realistic bully, like a Kit or an Anna. Marylynn just seems like someone who would compliment your sweater, ask about your perfume, and always have an insanely good collection of teas in her kitchen. “I think Victoria is a really good actor,” she says in her exit interview. Me too!!!!
Now that Marylynn is gone, Victoria sets her sights on Sarah. Sigh.
The next morning, Chris tells the women that Matt has trouble being pushed out of his comfort zone. Thus, Chris will personally be curating experiences that will make Matt uncomfortable. I hope one of them involves making Matt eat a carb. This week there will be 2 group dates and one “unbelievably romantic” one-on-one date.
Rachael, Lauren, Kit, Bri, Serena C, Victoria, Khaylah, Anna, Kaili, Katie are going on the first group date. The women and Matt enter a performance hall, where Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise alum Ashley Iaconetti is reading a steamy (by ABC standards) passage from a romance novel.
It turns out the book she is reading from is authored by none other than OG BACH DADDY Chris Harrison! Myself and the ladies are shook that Chris knows more words than “journey” and “process”.
The women are tasked with writing a steamy scene about Matt, and reading it out loud to an audience. Ashley walks around asking for a sample from each contestant, and naturally, future Golden Globe nominee Victoria’s passage is almost entirely censored. She wants to stand out, and show Matt her depth. TAKE YOUR SAG CARD AND SMUT TO HBO WHERE IT BELONGS, QUEEN VIC!
The “studio audience” is comprised of the women who aren’t on the group date, for pandemic reasons. “You get to sit back and awkwardly enjoy it,” says Chris, summing up my experience with this season thus far.
Matt goes first, and he certainly makes a tremendous amount of weird eye contact for someone who is supposedly easily uncomfortable. Do we think Matt’s friends are killing themselves laughing in the group chat right now? Hope the gummy vitamin paycheques will be worth it.
Most of the contestants have relatively tame passages with lots of adjectives that don’t really say anything, which brings me back to my days of writing Supernatural fan fiction. I really toed that PG-13 line. It’s Katie’s turn, and I don’t think I need to remind you that she brought her special instrument on the first night. Katie really goes for it, and the other contestants spend a lot of time giggling nervously and covering their mouths and eyes and pretending they’ve never read or watched 50 shades of Grey after a few glasses of merlot to see what all the fuss was about.
It appears Victoria has read 50 Shades, or at least some erotica, because almost her entire performance is censored, much to Matt’s amusement. It appears the ladies are laughing with Victoria and not at her, and for once there doesn’t seem to be much tension. Annnnnnnddddd…. cut to Sarah, who looks bewildered and explains that hearing other women talking about fake erotic scenarios with Matt was like a knife to her heart. Sarah says she knew Matt would be with other women, but she wasn’t prepared for how much it would hurt. Um, yes Sarah. This show has capitalized on emotional torture since 2003. I sympathize, but Matt has only kissed like 4 people – this journey isn’t about to get any easier.
Why is Jon Hamm’s assistant his only friend in the Skip the Dishes ads? Especially on his birthday? Something doesn’t seem right. Is this a Misery-type situation? Blink twice if you’re in trouble, Jon Hamm’s assistant.
Back at the house, Sarah is in tears over the stories she heard on the group date. Sarah went from the closed off girl next door edit to the clinger edit real fast.
On the group date, Rachael is getting a lot of confessional time – I predict she will be getting the rose. She tells Matt she’s falling hard and fast, but she’s taking that as a good sign. Meanwhile, is Katie getting the America’s Best Friend edit?! She is proud of the other ladies for opening up about their sexual desires, and thinks acknowledging those desires allows healthy partnerships to thrive. It is nice and it makes me miss hanging out with my friends.
Serena P gets a one-on-one date card at the mansion, but the moment is marred with tension as the girls discuss how Sarah has yet to emerge from her room. This is hilariously represented by a shot of Sarah sitting alone by the fire, behind an empty couch.
I simply cannot get over this choice of shot. Does Sarah have a fireplace in her room? Is she just in another common area, overhearing everything the other ladies are saying? Feeling emotionally exhausted, Sarah walks away from the mansion. She explains she has dealt with infidelity and betrayal in the past, and all these emotions are creeping back to the surface. and oh honey do not head to the group date do not head to the group date do not ….. oh she’s at the group date, cameraman in tow.
Sarah interrupts Katie’s time with Matt, and both are shocked to see her. Katie reports back to the other contestants while Sarah has extra one-on-one time with Matt. Victoria is uncharacteristically silent. She is likely gobsmacked that someone has now overshadowed her antics twice. She encourages Katie to return and take her time back, which she does, and Sarah has the audacity to ask for 5 more minutes. Sarah, I defended you so hard last episode! Why must you do this to me?!
I cannot make this up: Katie lingers in the corner of the room while Sarah and Matt wrap things up. The producers aren’t even looking at the monitors anymore, they’re just swiping through Pennsylvania Tinder and letting the drama unfold without any prodding or work on their behalf.
Matt agrees to walk Sarah out, and they begin making out. On a date she was never supposed to be on.
Sarah begins to worry about how the other women will perceive her actions, and decides to go apologize to the rest of the group. She mumbles her way through a vague explanation, and tells them she wants to be the bigger person and let them know so they don’t hear it from anyone else, but she is met with a lot of mean girl energy. I’m not saying Sarah did the right thing, but the other women are not very forgiving.
In a shocking display of maturity, Victoria follows Sarah outside and lets her know that she understands Sarah wanted one-on-one time with Matt, but it’s not acceptable that she did it on someone else’s precious time. Sarah is clearly distraught, and Katie swoops in so she can finally get the vague explanation she was not privy to.
Sarah feels guilty, and Katie gently scolds her for being selfish, because, truth be told, she could have at least waited until the group date was over to go speak to Matt. It’s not like sneaking into the bachelor’s private quarters hasn’t been done before on this franchise. Katie is annoyed and exhausted and I feel for her, but I also am concerned that NONE OF THE WOMEN HAVE SEEN THIS SHOW BEFORE?!
Rachael gets the date rose. Allow me to transport us back to a time 8 paragraphs ago, when I predicted this outcome. Thank you for indulging me.
Some of the women didn’t get time with Matt on the group date because of Sarah’s interruption, and they are quite upset. The mood in the mansion is tense overall due to everyone’s anger with Sarah’s emotional flip flopping, and Sarah’s tendency to isolate herself is not helping.
BAM! ABRUPT TONE CHANGE as Serena P. gets ready for her one-on-one with Matt. Matt enters the mansion and sits among the women. He gets into his motivational speech position, seemingly ready to tackle last night’s drama, when he suddenly realizes Sarah is not present. He asks Serena P. if he can be excused and she says yes, astutely stating that this is not the best omen for a first one-on-one date. She is correct. I know Matt is new here, but this is inappropriate and rude. Sarah will still be around when you return from frolicking in a meadow with Serena P.
After coaxing Sarah out of bed, Matt essentially begs her to stay and reassures her yet again that his feelings for her are valid. MJ tells the other contestants Matt hasn’t done anything wrong (yes he has), and the women worry he is being manipulated. I’m not sure if that’s what’s going on – Sarah does seem awfully fragile – but Matt tells her he will return to her room every day to let her know about his feelings if that’s what it takes. Then he smooches her some more. Oh MJ, Matt may not have done something overtly wrong, but he is certainly not being considerate to the PERSON HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE ON A DATE WITH.
This show is so stupid.
I love it.
Matt returns to the other women, and justifies his actions by saying he would have done the same for any one who was feeling that way, because at the end of the day “we are all human”. What’s that, I hear? The echoes of MARYLYNN’S EMOTIONAL VULNERABILITY IN THE DISTANCE?
Matt and Serena P. set off for their horseback riding date. Over charcuterie boards, Serena reveals her father does not approve of her being on the show. Her first kiss with Matt is interrupted by a nearby donkey. Later on at dinner, the two discuss past relationships. Serena asks him if he has been in love before, and Matt says he hasn’t. They both seem excited about their future. She gets a rose.
Back at the house, the girls are still talking about Sarah. MJ seems to be the angriest (seemingly out of nowhere?), especially when the date card arrives and Sarah, who has been hiding in her room for days, emerges and slides onto the couch. Sarah, more steady this time around, lets the women know how sorry she is and that she realizes her timing was bad. She was confused, and was considering going home. She uses the fact that the other contestants know who she is as a defence, to which Victoria replies that nobody actually knows her.
The next part makes me feel terrible, and essentially makes every contestant look terrible. I remember when I thought recapping this show would be a fun pandemic hobby. So innocent.
One by one, women take turns putting Sarah down – they call her toxic and manipulative, lash out at her for something she’s apologized for at least 10 times now, and tell her her life in the mansion will be hell from this moment forward – just to name a few. Sarah is breaking down in front of them, and no one does anything to stop the bully circle. Afterwards, Sarah tries to speak with MJ one-on-one, but MJ runs off saying she needs to cool down (the next day, MJ complains that Sarah never tried to talk to anyone). Sarah made some mistakes and acted selfishly, yes. She wanted Matt’s attention, yes. But I don’t think anyone needs all of their flaws pointed out to them 1) by 18 other people and 2) in front of 4.5 million viewers.
The next morning, Katie, who feels guilty about last night’s events, goes to check up on Sarah. The two have a heart to heart, and Sarah tells her about her dad. Katie reveals her dad passed away in 2012, and she would give anything to get more time with him. She encourages Sarah to take the time she didn’t get, and Sarah makes the decision to leave the house. It’s a nice moment, and it’s sweet to see someone in the house coming to Sarah’s defence. When Katie returns to meet the other women, she lets them know Sarah has decided to leave because she is dealing with a complicated family matter, and that the women should move forward without judging each other.
Interestingly, Katie mentions that Sarah didn’t leave because she felt forced out, but when Sarah pulls up to Matt’s apartment, she tells him the other women were so cruel to her, she no longer felt welcome in the house. Matt accepts her decision to leave, and tells her he learned a lot from her. Sarah ultimately leaves the show in true Bach style – sobbing in the back of an SUV and questioning all her decisions.
COMING UP ON THE BACHELOR… 5 new contestants are introduced, and you can bet they are not greeted very warmly. HOW and WHY did the show cast so many people during a global pandemic ?!
It appears some of the contestants did not appreciate this episode’s edit, because since it has aired, they have been publicly apologizing to Sarah for how they treated her. My post-show research has revealed rumours that Sarah may not have joined the show for the right reasons, but I still don’t think that excuses how much cruelty she was faced with. Again, I know this franchise is not known for equality or feminism or even basic kindness, but I am still a bit stunned that people can just quantify this as “drama”.