A Belated 'Bachelor' Recap: We've Made a Huge Mistake

The season has ended! It was rough! So, let’s revisit a time when it was…just as rough, but not as close to being over, I guess!

Have any of the contestants on The Bachelor ever considered forming a union? Is there someone on LinkedIn or Twitter or, like, in an active picket line wearing a hard hat that I could refer Pieper and Abigail to get in touch with? Because the situation with Bachelor management has simply become untenable.

Around the time that producers brought Heather-from-Colton’s-season through the Nemacolin gates with a note pinned to her backpack, talmbout, “Hannah said I just had to meet Matt, so I went straight to Enterprise Rent-a-Car one week before Hometowns,” this season of The Bachelor officially switched from your average problematic race-to-the-altar gameshow, to something more along the lines of a psychological torture cage match. Thirty-nine people enter, absolutely no one leaves, the shells of their former selves now reside in the Nemacolin foliage forever now, I hope their families were able to say goodbye before shipping their daughters off to this nightmare dressed like an autumnal daydream.

Top to bottom, left to right, sea to shining sea, this season has been a disaster. And while a few of the women from season 25 were especially heinous—bong, bong—and while Matt hasn’t been the most engaging Bachelor we’ve ever met…the most epic missteps of this season are not the fault of season 25’s employees.

Matt was set up to fail by management. These women were set up to fail…by management. A demon wearing the skinsuit of a human whose personality is “posts their Orange Theory Splat Points on Instagram Stories everyday” named Victoria was set up with the perfect platform in which to wreak havoc…by management!

And those of us who watch The Bachelor are all passive recipients of those failures.

Which is to say that when The Bachelor spends seven straight episodes using every spare moment that isn’t taken up by a Peleton ad-placement, showcasing the bullying and belittling behaviors of a select group of women—that’s a choice. When The Bachelor casts women with clear examples of racially ignorant behavior in their past, or tolerates contestants who physically and verbally harass other contestants—that’s a choice!

When they choose the first ever Black Bachelor lead, cast a much more diverse group of contestants than ever before, and yet still center the petty antics of a handful of white women while relegating any indication of a personality for the women of color to final 30 seconds of each episode when the credits are rolling…

OH, THAT’S A BIG OL’ CHOICE. A choice the size of Nemacolin’s sprawling acreage! A choice the size of Matt James’ turtleneck collection! A choice the size of Chris Harrison’s [ed note: former :-)] salary!!!

It’s a choice so big and blatant that even the most passive of Bachelor viewer is finally taking notice. Something isn’t right here. And it’s made this season extremely uncomfortable to watch, only topped by the fact that, like Garrett Yrigoyen and Jed Wyatt before her, we know something about Rachael Kirkconnell—the woman who has been narratively positioned both on and off the show as the most likely winner of Matt’s season—that the lead doesn’t. Giving this season the distinct feeling of a horror film…

Y’know, if the horror film’s Final Girl had recently attended an antebellum party on a former plantation.

Because once again, ABC’s casting department seems unable to do a job that the members of Bachelor Reddit manage to do during their lunchbreak. Even though I’m confident @skidmarkmcgee472, @horneyforpizza12 and @TyrannosaurusSex over on r/bachelor are holding down fulltime jobs as bitcoin accountant or what have you, they can still manage to click around a little and discover which of the first Black Bachelor’s contestants are celebrating the Confederacy on their Instagram grid within the easily identified past.

Watching the lead be set up with women who couldn’t possibly be a match for him, in addition to watching said women be psychologically manipulated by Nemacolin’s giant revolving door that seems to work as a kind of vending machine for fresh hotties to newly torture the older, staler hotties each week…

…just isn’t entertaining! It isn’t even romantic. And if you had told me eight years ago, when TATBT was simply a Tumblr-twinkle in my fine-lineless eye, that one day I’d be calling for more romance on this show, I would have told you to shut up and pass me a Four Loko because I was 22 and alive, baby. [Ed. note: Much like Kit, the 21-year-old who we’re supposed to consider a serious contender to become Matt’s fiancé at the end of this, I’m SURE I was also planning to put off motherhood until a moderate-to-ancient age.]

But in the last eight years, my concept of what’s worth qualifying as entertainment has changed and adapted, while The Bachelor’s seems to have stayed exactly the same, they’ve just altered the optics a bit.

I’m not saying I need these Bachelor relationships to last, I’m not a child. The romance can stay or go, we’re all just here to watch the human experience in heightened form—that’s what reality TV is, after all. But when the cost of that heightened reality is intentionally dangerous casting, ignoring women of color in favor of centering whiteness, and engaging in emotional torture practices…well, that is a price to high to pay! And if The Bachelor keeps making us pay it because they’re too ignorant to change…well babes, I guess I’ll be out.

But I can last just a little bit longer to see if they make Michelle the Bachelorette [Ed. note: Alright, they really called my bluff on that one, DONT FUCK IT UP, ABC!]

YOU’RE A MEAN GIRL, AND YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR

I honestly can’t believe I’m spending any more metaphorical breath on Victoria, but I simply have to tell you about the two worst things that have ever happened on The Bachelor, and they happened within minutes of one another…

And you better believe it was all because another woman wore a crown into this house that she didn’t have to buy at Party City.

Three weeks into this quarantined season where 32 women have been marooned on Nemacolin Island in order to fall in love with a piece of clip art from a pharmaceutical brochure named Matt, the Bachelor producers decide to shake things up by brining in five more women right before the fourth Rose Ceremony.

The remaining 20 original women welcome Michelle, Brittany, Ryan, Kim, and Catalina with open arms because, as women going through a similar experience themselves (sharing a boyfriend on television), they have enough empathy to understand that no woman in their right mind would tick a box on their Bachelor application that said, “check here if you’d like to spend more time quarantining and then have a bunch of Beckys give you the stink eye when you show up three weeks late.”

Just kidding, the original women blame the new women for showing up three weeks into their dating experience, saying it’s unfair that these new women are trying to come in and take Matt’s time now, when they’ve been waiting for weeks to get some of Matt’s time.

Excuse me, they’ve been waiting?! At least they’ve gotten to see Matt, and throw a little cleavage around to get his attention! Can they the original women really not understand that these new women applied for the exact same experience as them, and went through the exact same qualification process, but have been held back for three weeks simply to create drama?

This is unfair to the new women, and you don’t hear them complaining about it— you just see them trying to make the best of a bad situation (and definitely also throwing around a little extra cleavage for lost time).

It is the classic “born on third base and thought they hit a triple” kind of entitlement that thrives on this show. And no one in this cast is more entitled than Victoria, a woman so mediocre that even ASOS’s finest faux fur jacket cannot make her seem fun.

I haven’t heard the word “random” used this incorrectly, this many times since I nannied a sixth grader in 2011. Is there an episode of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina that re-popularized this word or something, like when The Office cursed us with suddenly calling everything “classy” for all of 2009? Is there really anything random about a show that creates entertainment out of many women dating one man, bringing in more women to date that man at the exact moment that it would create the most chaos? There is not!

There is certainly nothing random about one of the new women, Catalina, arriving in a crown that she’s actually earned as Miss Puerto Rico. Victoria has already snarked at the first new woman to arrive, Britney, “So you quarantined, and then just stayed in your room as backup, and now you’re coming in as, like, backup because some girls left?” To which Britney perfectly responds, “I guess they just wanted to save the best for last.”

Catalina, unfortunately, is far too kind-hearted to immediately size Victoria up as one of Cinderella’s evil stepsisters brought to life by a possessed cartoonist, so she makes the mistake of getting within arms’ length when Victoria coos at her to come closer like the witch in Hansel and Gretel. [Ed. note: Much like Matt, Victoria exclusively connotes cartoon characters, but as opposed to vaguely Christian cucumbers, hers are all over-the-top villains — but NOT the cool, horny ones like Ursula or Maleficent.]

I don’t mean to victim-blame poor Catalina for what’s coming; I just wish more than anything that Victoria had tried this with someone who wasn’t so generous as to assume that Victoria was “also a former Miss” when she demanded that Catalina come over to her smug perch on the couch.

Because, as we already know, Victoria is not another Miss — she’s just a bad person. And once Catalina comes over to her as requested, Victoria smirks, “Yeeeah, so I’m Victoria-like-the-queen, so I think I should have that crown actually.” AND THEN SHE TAKES THE CROWN OFF CATALINA’S HEAD.

You know? Like assault. Can you imagine if Catalina had done this to Victoria, the kind of victim tears we would have had to watch her cry?

The fact that the producers didn’t so much as reprimand Victoria for touching this woman of color who they had just put in the position to be antagonized, let alone that they allowed her to continue on the show calling Catalina and the other new women “hoes” “sluts” and “slores” told me everything I needed to know about this season and exactly what kind of changes the producers made after fans demanded action in June. (Spoiler alert: It’s none! No changes! Actually, things got worse!)

And yet, even understanding the depths to which we’ve sunk could not have prepared me for what came next.

See, there’s this woman named Anna. She’s like Hannah Brown’s midwestern tether. And unlike Victoria, she started the season off fine—just your average, over-caffeinated blonde woman slowly spiraling out of control the more time she spends at Nemacolin without getting to speak to her co-boyfriend. So when Matt finally does pull Anna to chat first on a group date, and she gets that time she’s been craving, how do you think Anna seizes this valuable opportunity to forge a connection?

Well, by talking about how she “grew up boating…water sports, obviously.” So, you can understand how Anna would be upset when one of the new girls, Brittany, interrupts this vulnerable, foundational conversation she’s having with Matt to try to forge her own connection. Anna spends a few more minutes with Matt, but she’s so distracted by Brittany loitering nearby that she can’t even get into kayaking, canoeing, let alone the life-changing experience she had on a Sea-Doo.

Eventually, Matt dismisses Anna, and she leaves fuming about how Brittany has disrespected her by interrupting her time with Matt precisely when the producers told her to. And we know that the producers told Brittany to interrupt Anna specifically, because this is also when we find out that Brittany and Anna are both from Chicago— and Anna apparently arrived at Nemacolin with a rumor about Brittany in her back pocket.

So, Anna makes perhaps the worst decision possible by confiding that rumor in Victoria. But to—well, actually to no one’s credit, just to my sad surprise, Victoria is not the one who takes the rumor and runs with it. Anna is. And she runs fast.

Anna pulls Victoria from the group and tells her that before she came on show, fellow Chicagoans were messaging her on Instagram, saying:

“Watch out for her how?!” Victoria gasps in a way that tells me she was definitely never an actor paid by producers to stir the pot, as some people suspected. Because Anna has clearly already told Victoria this rumor off-camera, and she’s doing a terrible job of acting like this is brand new information.

Basically, Anna says that she’s heard Brittany works as an escort for wealthy men in Chicago. Which should be absolutely fine. Because sex work is real work, and it should be decriminalized, not thrown around to suggest that “Brittany could be playing Matt if that’s what she’s used to doing with men to get what she wants,” as Victoria responds when she hears the news.

Which is such a fucking stupid response! Can you think of any more honest form of dating than a transactional one? Hello, I would like the company of a woman who would not otherwise be willing to give it to me, so I will earn the company by paying for it directly and establishing the rules beforehand. As opposed to actual DATING where no one ever knows what’s going on or who’s feeling what, especially on this show.

So, to prevent the possibility of—I guess—Brittany convincing Matt to pay her for a date, Victoria and Anna agree that it’s absolutely in Matt’s best interest (and this is only for Matt! all for Matt!_ to make sure that everyone knows this rumor.

And then Anna does the new worst thing I’ve ever seen on this show (this really is a record-breaking season): she waits until she doesn’t get the Group Date Rose, mentally confirming to herself that Brittany deserves this for interrupting her time, and then she confronts her about being an escort in front of all 10 women on the group date.

Brittany, who looks exactly like Manny Santos from Degrassi, has seemed like a kind of cool, tough chick to this point. But when Anna tells her that she’s been spreading a rumor that she’s an escort, Brittany completely deflates.

At which point, Anna weirdly apologizes mid-confrontation: “I think that’s an awful thing to say about someone and I want to apologize.”. But then she keeps saying the awful thing, shakily telling Brittany: “I want to kind of give you the space if you wanted to talk about why people were sending warnings about you when I literally have never met you.”

Oh why thank you Anna, for opening up this wonderful, judgment-free space for Brittany to have a dialogue about a rumor that you heard about her! HOW GENEROUS, ANNA!!!

Brittany takes this extremely safe space to say that, no, she is not an escort, and she manages to do so without belittling or shaming sex workers. I probably won’t cover the Women Tell All on TATBT because I’m pretty much all booked up taking screenshots of Formula 1: Drive to Survive to hang above my bed, but I do want to point out that at the WTA, Brittany makes sure to clarify that her shock toward Anna’s escort accusation simply came from the fact that it wasn’t true. She addressed “people in the sex work industry” specifically, saying that there’s no reason they should ever be torn down for their work: “I believe that everyone deserves love, and nobody’s life is worth more, or means less based on occupation.”

Oh, The Bachelor tried it, didn’t they?! They had the option to edit this storyline out given that, no matter how progressive Brittany’s views are, many people still view sex work as shameful, and that stigma could be very damaging to Brittany just because a stranger named Anna allegedly got a few DMs from other strangers. But they didn’t do that!

Oh, they tried to air this as just your average pre-show dirt, but too many people wouldn’t let them. Brittany wouldn’t let them shame her or anyone else. Katie wouldn’t let Anna, Victoria, MJ, and a few others in the house keep running their mouths about the new girls. And Matt wouldn’t stand for any truly shitty behavior once he heard that there was some truly shitty behavior going on.

So suck it, ABC!

After Anna has spread the rumor about Brittany… and Victoria has called Catalina “the dumbest hoe I’ve ever met”… and after MJ deeming the new women the “junior varsity” has become a persistent narrative… Katie has had enough.

At the end of a group date where the attendees spend the whole time complaining about the new women, Katie chases Matt down and tells him that the environment inside the haunted hotel where all his girlfriends live hasn’t been great. The new girls are being targeted, and there’s a rumor being spread about one of them that could “literally ruin her life.”

Upon receiving the news, Matt seems…tired. He definitely seems horrified, and like he wants to correct whatever’s going on, but I think this outside sales position he got hired for has ended up having a lot more managerial duties than he was expecting. To Matt’s immense credit, however, he shuts down the drama in the house much more successfully than most Bachelors who have come before him. And of course, his drama isn’t just two women who don’t like each other; his drama is that a select group of women are gleefully spreading an unsubstantiated rumor that one of his girlfriends is an escort. And also, that one specific woman won’t stop calling everyone she doesn’t like sluts and whores.

So Matt rolls into the next Cocktail Party, and is like, Listen up dummies! He says it was brought to his attention that the environment in the house has turned into a mob mentality, and become “a culture of bullying.” Yes, Matt! I don’t know where you learned your li’l terms baby, but in this one instance, they are correct! He tells the women that he’s also heard there’s a rumor floating around…

Oops! In her furious assurance that she needed to protect Matt from Brittany’s feminine wiles, Anna never stopped to wonder if Matt needed to be protected from her weaponized insecurity.

Anna owns up to what she did, repeatedly saying that it was “completely out of her character,” suggesting, perhaps, that someone else’s character possessed her body when she told everyone that Brittany was an escort? I have never once heard someone in my life talk about their own character, but the people on these shows do it all the time.

Anna breaks down, saying how upset she is with herself, and how she made such a huge a mistake. Matt tells her that he doesn’t think she’s a horrible person, and he’s also said things he wished he could take back. “But ultimately, I had to take responsibility for my words and my actions … and  right now, I have a responsibility to the women that are here, to Brittany, and to myself.”

It is the first of two times since getting to know Matt outside of Instagram that I’ve been ferociously attracted to him.  It is fleeting, but it was there. And the next time came moments later, after Matt had walked Anna to her shame limo, and invited Victoria into the hot seat. Victoria says she loved what he had to say earlier, so Matt tries to lead her toward confessing to any sort of bullying on her own, but she won’t do it. Then, simply the best exchange of the season happens:

MATT: “People’s words are so powerful, and when you said that Ryan was a hoe for being a dancer—”

VICTORIA: “That was taken completely out of context.”

MATT: “I’m just curious—in what context would calling someone a hoe be acceptable to be taken in?”

Oh, Matty, you’re driving me crazy with this levelheaded dismissal of harmful language!

Matt tells Victoria he has a lot to think about (less hot), and then cuts her loose at the Rose Ceremony, and when she tries to give him attitude and have a big dramatic moment on the way out, he just blinks at her (hot again).

Victoria hilariously says that she brought so much joy to the house, and everyone will be so upset that she’s gone—a sentiment that MJ weirdly mirrors when she’s dismissed for her ugly behavior later. And it just really makes you wonder what the shared mentality is there, and why that mentality is called textbook narcissism, hmmm???

I hope to never see or hear from Victoria ever again.

BREAK THEIR HEARTS, BREAK THEIR SPIRIT

After all that, everyone is tired. Jessenia and MJ get into it because Jessenia told Matt that MJ was the one who kept calling the new girls the “junior varsity.” Which is true, but MJ thinks there’s no reason to tell Matt because everyone knows she “leads by example” and “preaches peace and harmony.” As someone who uses a lot of words that don’t really mean anything, I recognize another bullshitter when I see her!

Needless to say, MJ does not deserve her amazing hair. While arguing ahead of their awkward two-on-one sit-down, Jessenia pointedly calls MJ “Meredith,” and it is briefly amazing. Jessenia does deserve her perfect American Girl doll face.

Katie and Serena C also get into it because Serena thinks none of this would be happening if Katie had just kept her mouth shut about how the five new women in the house were being psychologically tortured and having their literal crowns stolen off their literal heads.

Now, these are the arguments we’re used to in Bachelor Nation—less fueled by actual hate and harm, and entirely fueled by knowing that Matt doesn’t like you as much as he likes Timberly L, and you have absolutely no control over it. So, the only way to make yourself feel like you have any control is to lash out and blame your misfortune on someone else (to be clear, the misfortune is a kind of goofy man not wanting to open-eyed-kiss you as much he wants to open-eyed-kiss McKayla M, and also maybe his best friend, Tyler C).

But deep down, women like MJ and Serena C know that there are really only two entities that could be at fault for what an awful time they’re having on this alleged fairytale, and it’s not Katie or Jessenia. It’s Bachelor production or Matt. And those aren’t blaming options for anyone who wants to stay on the show…

Still, if there was ever going to be a season when the contestants absolutely rose up and revolted against management, I really thought it could be this one. Because these women were being done wrong left, right, and sideways.

After saying goodbye to some real gems (goodbye Magi, I loved you even though I hardly knew you; goodbye Lauren, you’re one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen; goodbye Catalina, I am just now seeing on Instagram that you are a lawyer, and I fully support you suing Victoria’s ass; goodbye Ryan, you’re absolutely not a hoe, and you were so sweet, and you do deserve your amazing hair!), there are 10-ish women still left to fight it out in the two weeks before Hometowns.

Now, these are women who have already had to physically fight one another; they have had to endure Victoria calling them sluts and whores and losers and “gestures”; these are women who have been emotionally manipulated time and time again. And most recently, these are women who had to go on one of those awful dates where only the winning bowling team gets to spend time with Matt. When all is said and bowled, the losing team is despondent because they’re potentially about to introduce this walking yardstick to their families, and now they have to walk back to Nemacolin to weep sadly in a room together instead of spending more time with him.

But wouldn’t you know it, Chris Harrison shows up and tells them that Matt felt terrible about their date getting cut short, so after letting them feel terrible for a while, they’re now invited back on the date! But as an extra fun twist, no one will be telling the winning team, so now they can feel terrible when the losing team shows back up, taking away the additional time they thought they’d won through—checks notes—BOWLING!

It is genuinely upsetting to watch how terrible everyone must be made to feel in order to get a brief moment of happiness.

Because all those tears actually were for something, Rachael—they were to break your spirit! They were to cultivate a scarcity mindset around your ability to access Matt; they were to make you so paranoid and anxious that you might, I don’t know…

Make some blonde lady who thought she was being fun and spontaneous regret the day she was born, the day she first signed up for The Bachelor, the day she ever let Hannah Brown into her home, and especially, the day she second signed up (er, showed up) for The Bachelor.

Heather-from-Colton’s-season arrives outside the gates of Nemacolin five weeks into Matt’s season, allegedly because her friend Hannah Brown came to visit and told her about a this guy named Matt that she’d be perfect with. The only catch?

He’s the least single man in America right now. In fact, Heather, this man you’re perfect for will have 19 girlfriends on the day you set sail for Pennsylvania. And by the time you’ve stormed the gates of Nemacolin in a minivan, asked to be let inside, Chris Harrison has mustered every bit of improv training in his past to screech, “Heather, what are you DOING here?!?!?!” and you’ve quarantined for what was definitely not 10-14 days, this man will still have 10 whole girlfriends. And Heather, all 10 of those women will be sitting as close to the entrance as possible when you walk through the revolving door to try and steal their boyfriend.

Except, of course, for the one who is closest to her breaking point—she’ll be with Matt when the producers send you in to interrupt.

That’s the steep hill that Heather knows she’ll be climbing when she decides to show up to Matt’s season six weeks late. What couldn’t have anticipated…

Is that she’s actually arriving to an already overflowing vat of boiling oil, and she is the bag of the frozen french fries that will light the whole house on fire.

But the producers anticipated it! Oh you better believe the producers anticpated it—because they’re the ones that cranked the heat up to high while Heather was quarantined in her hotel room doing embarrassing Rapunzel skits. I mean, the women are rude to Heather, but no one is ruder than these editors:

Woof.

Anyway, all hell breaks loose when Heather comes sashaying through the Nemacolin revolving-door-to-hell: her dress, presumptuously white; her hair…more presumptuously white. Almost all of the women are physically spinning around in circles trying to figure out if Matt is going to accept a new woman into their harem when they’ve already been building relationships with him for six weeks, and there’s only one week left until Hometown decisions…

Of course, if they had any faith in Matt, or any reason to trust the ecosystem in which they’re living, they would know that Matt starting to date a new woman now is an impossibility. And rather than having an existential crisis as he talks to Heather about her Enterprise Plus Points in another room, they could just wait patiently, if not a little nervously, for their boyfriend to come out and tell them that he’s not taking on a new girlfriend when he’s already told a handful of them that he’s falling in love with them.

But these women don’t have that kind of faith in Matt or the franchise. And, why would they? They’ve spent a median time of a few hours with this man over the last six weeks, and in that experience, everything that they thought was to be expected has been ripped out from under them. They thought they were dating a guy with 31 other girlfriends—nope, now they’re dating a guy with 36 other girlfriends. They thought they would get time with Matt on a Chris-Harrison-sanctioned group date—nope, now they’re being sent home in tears because they didn’t go to enough bowling birthday parties as a child.

These women have been destabilized. Their hysterics are a natural response to repeated manipulation…and unfortunately, Heather will reap what The Bachelor has sowed.

It’s quite awful to watch as they all berate her for daring to show up at their haunted hotel! And once again, it’s all for nothing. Matt tells Heather thanks for stopping by, but she can’t stay because he’s already too far into his other relationships to make more room in his heart, or whatever.

He does, of course, do this while intimately holding Heather’s hands in her crotch area, despite having 10 other girlfriends — but that just seems to be Matt’s natural resting state, like how my shoulders are always touching my earlobes unless a third party instructs me to unclench them.

Anyway, these absolute assholes make Heather drive herself away in her own stupid minivan. It is…the worst!

THE CULLING

After Heather has been dismissed, Matt really gets a taste for blood. He cuts Katie on a one-on-one with his bestie Tyler C, probably because he realizes that he would much rather be kissing Tyler than Katie, because Matt and Katie are the platonic kind of friends, but Matt and Tyler are the kissing kind of friends.

Matt also sends Jessenia home on a one-on-one date by waiting for her to say she’s falling in love, dramatically picking up the rose, waving it in front of her face, and then telling her that he doesn’t feel the same way and she needs to leave now.

Chelsea gets sent home in a run-of-the-mill Rose Ceremony after Matt has repeatedly assured her that she wouldn’t be there if he didn’t really like her. I guess the inverse of that is: you’ll know I don’t really like you when you’re not here anymore. There’s kind of just…no kind way to be the Bachelor, I guess.

But no one is done dirtier than Abigail, who got Matt’s First Impression Rose in the premiere, and then proceeded to wait seven weeks for a one-on-one date, only to see Serena P get a second one-on-one date before she did.

And Matt’s plan was to just… send her home at a Rose Ceremony with no explanation, I guess? Luckily, Abigail brought the topic up herself on a group date, like, Hey, it’s weird how it seemed how you really liked me and then barely spoke to me ever again.

Unfortunately, I doubt it brought her much closure to hear Matt’s explanation: he just felt so comfortable with his connection to her that he pursued other relationships and then forgot about their connection altogether. Fun! In the limo leaving the date Abigail quietly cries, “I just feel like I’m constantly the person that makes men realize what they want next, but they never wanna be with me.” On my couch at home, I cry violent, heaving sobs.

Other than hurting Abigail’s feelings (an absolutely unforgivable sin), and other than not being ready for marriage (which is the conceit of the show), I think Matt’s been about as thoughtful as someone in the position to break up with 37 people can be. Even so, when you’ve watched someone break heart after heart, it is always fun to see them get a little comeuppance…

Which is why it’s extra delicious when Kit is trying to get Matt to break up with her by talking about how many goals she wants to achieve before she gets married or starts a family…only to realize that actually makes Matt like her more because this dude is not ready to learn what an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage is, or whatever it means to be a real adult.

So before the next Rose Ceremony, Kit has to show up at Matt’s house and be like: Babe, I’m 21-years-old, very obviously I am not going to entertain the idea of getting engaged in two weeks, and since you’re contractually not allowed to confirm that you have the exact same sentiment, I’m going back home to see my mom, fashion designer Cynthia Rowley.

Finally, there are only five women left before Hometowns, which means only one person won’t get a rose. That person is Pieper, and she is mad. I love when they’re mad. They should be mad! They signed up for their 1-in-37 shot at falling in love, only to realize that they’re the 36-in-37 getting dumped. So when Pieper marched out to the limo without holding Matt’s hand, yanked the door open herself, and got inside without a word—yeah, that’s amore.

THE FINAL 4

Now, either because of editing, or because they are genuinely nice people — or more likely, a little bit of both — there are four people we don’t hear a peep from during almost all of the drama that I’ve been recapping: Bri, Rachael, Serena P, and my personal idol and hero, Michelle.

Michelle arrived with the new batch of five women, but even the worst of the mean girls knew not to go knocking any crowns off her head. Michelle is an elementary school teacher, and if you try to come for her, she will flex her Michelle Obama arms at you, then hand you a bottle of paste and some construction paper and tell you to work those feelings out in the arts-and-crafts corner.

She doesn’t have time for drama or appeasing the insecure O.G.’s—she’s too busy being hilarious and charming and adorable, and having all of that hilarity and charm and adorableness relegated to the last 30 seconds of each episode, like when she trolls Matt for doing push-ups before his shirtless scenes:

Michelle got a one-on-one date the moment she arrived, and is the one and only woman with whom Matt has displayed a single ounce of notable chemistry.  

The inverse of Michelle is Serena P, who I also love, but who could not have any less chemistry with Matt…

And Matt could not be any more clueless about that fact.

Serena is the one who got an unexpected second one-on-one because Matt felt like he’d fallen into the friend zone with her—on his own show! And then when that second one-on-one date winds up being tantric yoga, Serena stone-cold tells Matt she had a terrible time being intimate like that with him. And this Homer Simpson doofus loves it. He loves that Serena can be honest with him so much that he fails to notice she’s honestly telling him she’s just not that into it. Onward to Hometowns!

Then we have Bri—oh beautiful, fashionable, above-this-show Bri—who, in the final episode before Hometowns, reveals that she quit her job (allegedly at Facebook — it’s the reverse-Ali-Fedotowsky!) in order to be able to stay on the show and keep dating Matt.

Bri looks better in green than any other human I’ve ever seen, but she will always be known as the girl who didn’t go to Paris. And the girl who, after telling Matt she didn’t go to Paris for him, still lost out on the group date rose to Rachael :(

And speaking of Rachael — she is also headed to Hometowns. And yes, it is incredibly dark to watch Matt fall in love with her while we know so much information that he doesn’t.

It’s darker than the Victoria stuff, darker than the Heather stuff, darker than the mean bowling date. In retrospect, the only thing comparable to what’s headed our way in the final run of this season—the only harbinger of the darkness to come—is the moment during the credits when sweet Magi asked Matt if he liked to dance, and he told her that he did like to dance…

And then proceeded to perform an entire TikTok routine for her in complete silence, while she watched on in slowly dawning horror.

Chilling shit. See you back here for a brief final wrap-up of, I think the most socially detrimental Bachelor season on record! Until then, watch Formula 1: Drive to Surviveon Netflix, an absolute pool of future Bachelor candidates — y’know, if the show manages to survive itself :) :) :)

Loading more posts…