You guys! This is my first recap in like, two years! I’ve missed you, my sweet, sweet Bachelor Babies. Admittedly, Becca’s garbage season broke me and I took a long hiatus from this brain-smoothing television franchise I love so much. But with Matt being a completely fresh Bachelor with no tie to a previous season I had blown off, I figured this was the perfect time to jump back in. Plus, you know, Matt James makes me feel things downstairs.
We kicked off this week’s episode with some immediate and not at all subtle Peloton-spon-con. I quickly regretted rolling my eyes though, because I nearly missed the close-up Matt showering footage. Is this going to become a weekly thing? Honestly, we just need this right now. Things are hard out there. We are a nation in tatters. Thank you, ABC, for letting us watch this man gratuitously clean his body.
As soon as I heard one of the women namedrop the resort and say, “it’s a beautiful place to fall in love,” it felt like I had never even left Bachelor Nation. I was immediately transported right back into the height of my fandom. I swear to you, I guarantee you can find at least three instances of a contestant saying that exact quote on each and every season of this show. It’s canonical, perhaps even compulsory at this point.
This week, we’ll have two one-on-one dates and a group date. There are still way too many contestants to get everyone on a date, so some of the girls just won’t get any time with Matt this week. Okay, I obviously love the dramz, why else would I watch this show, but I really hate how many contestants they put on each season. Manufacturing a time deficit is of course an easy way to raise the tension in the house, but it’s unnecessary! You’re already sleep depriving the women, emotionally manipulating them at every chance you get, and keeping an IV of white wine in their veins at all times. Just maybe shrink the cast down by like, five? We don’t need all this bloat! Anyway, the large group of women naturally drew several sorority comparisons, and I gotta say, I was feeling a little defensive about all the hate. I just so happen to cherish my lifelong sisterhood with the esteemed women of Tulane’s chapter of Pi Beta Phi. Is that okay with you, Victoria?!
Speaking of things Victoria is not okay with, Bri gets the first one-on-one date. Side note: This broad is straight up beautiful. Drop the skin care routine, Bri! Anyway, Victoria will not sit idly by while the other women respond to bad news with only mild disappointment. In Victoria’s mind, if you even feign happiness for Bri in an attempt to be polite, you simply just don’t want Matt enough. This sparks the very dumb drama that continues throughout the whole episode, and seemingly far into the next episode as well. Goody!
Meanwhile, Bri heads off for the first date of the season – four wheeling! This looks extremely fun. Matt asks her if she trusts him, then immediately sends her ass flying into the mud. I really hope ABC is going to compensate her for her ruined clothing cause those jeans were really cute. Either way though, worth it, because the next portion of the date is …… making out in a hot tub! They take special care to let us know that it’s a wood-fired hot tub, and of course the staff of the Nemacolin Resort couldn’t be bothered to leave any pre-chopped wood around for their use. You know what that means…… gratuitous shirtless wood chopping tiiiiiiiiiiiiime. That sound you hear is Bachelor Nation collectively slipping in its own puddle. After the hot tub action has concluded, we’re onto the dinner portion of the date. This is the unfortunate part of the Bachelor series where each contestant is coerced into revealing their deepest trauma on the first date in order to prove they’re serious about finding love. In Bri’s case, her mom got pregnant with her when she was 13, raised her on her own, and is pregnant again now that Bri’s all grown up, leaving her feeling very disconnected from her mom’s new family. Well shit, Bri. You may have gone first, but you’re already comfortably leading the Trauma Olympics. She’s rewarded for her efforts with some fireworks, another makeout sesh, and most importantly, a rose! Bri has “hometowns” written all over her – methinks she’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
The group date is up next and there are EIGHTEEN WOMEN ON THIS DATE. This is not okay. Why are we doing this? Anyway, Matt explains the group date by saying, “I don’t know what it’s like to have a healthy marriage, so today, I want to see what that looks like.” I’m sorry Matt, did you think 18 women fucking each other up in tattered, cake-smeared wedding gowns is what a healthy marriage looks like? Franco is there to take wedding photos of these complete strangers, and my god, is he weird. While directing Jessenia and Matt’s photoshoot, he yelled out to her, “DRINK HIM.” I’m sorry, what? Sir. What?! Victoria handles this challenge exactly as well as we thought she would, stumbling into the middle of Mari’s shoot and croaking, “Las Royal Wedding.” She’s a real thinker, folks. She also later refers to her team as “Queens” and the opposing team as “Gestures.” She may have struggled with the Spanish phrases earlier, but at least her English is on point.
Unfortunately, this is a pretty standard Bachelor group date and it always sucks. Forcing the women into these dresses is creepy, making them physically fight each other is exhausting, and then half of them end up walking their asses home covered in shit, having gotten zero time with Matt. I just feel bad for them! It’s easy to laugh at them for crying over something that seems trivial, but these women are deeply exhausted and Chris Harrison is constantly looking for new ways to torture them. He literally says to them, “The losing team will get to take their busted up, painted dresses, walk home, and spend the rest of the evening thinking, ‘I wonder who’s making out with Matt right now.’” Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable, Chris.
After the competition, half the women join Matt for a cocktail party. Lauren gets the group date rose and looks like she’ll be sticking around for the foreseeable future too. Victoria tried her hardest to compete in the Trauma Olympics, but her contribution was just “I hope I didn’t look fat today.” You’re not fat! Don’t say that about yourself! But….. if I’m being honest, literally everything else is a mess. Victoria. Girl. Honey. Sweetie. Invest in an eye cream. Burn that pink puffy-sleeved dress. Find a bra that won’t show in everything you wear. Try those little oil-absorbing papers; they really come in handy when your skin gets greasy after a long day of being a psychopath. See what I did there? I acted for a second like I wasn’t shallow, and then I hit ya with a truckload of appearance-based insults. I contain multitudes.
Next up is Sarah’s one-on-one date! My immediate thought was that she looks A Little Bit Alexis, and a cursory Google search revealed that I am absolutely not the first person to make this comparison. Sarah’s very cute, smart, and compassionate – she’ll go far. The poor thing had to reluctantly enter the Trauma Olympics despite correctly noting that it’s super weird to discuss this serious shit on a first date. But ya gotta hand it to her, she came through with a very impressive run, and like Bri, was rewarded with a rose and some smoochies.
The cocktail party Victoria-Marylynn drama was deeply exhausting. Victoria ran to Matt telling him that Marylynn is “toxic” with no explanation or evidence behind it, and Marylynn tried very hard to handle it maturely, but Icky Vicky wasn’t having it. This conflict is annoying and from the looks of next week’s preview, we’re not getting out of it any time soon. It looked for a minute like the rose ceremony might put an end to it, but then Sarah passed the fuck out! I know exactly what happened here – she locked her knees and stood for too long in those heels. Gotta bend those knees and keep the blood flowing or you will drop like a fly. Wanna know how I know this? From my time spent in a sorority. So take that, Victoria.