This season of the Bachelor has really pulled the old bait n’ switch. The producers pulled up to us on the sidewalk in a white unmarked van and were like, “Hey, want this candy?! Come on in!” (The candy being the first Black bachelor, a more diverse cast, and poignant conversations on polarizing but important topics like the achievement gap.) We were very excited about the candy!! And then we get shoved into the van and what do we find? We’re inside a clown car littered with Confederate Flags, Chris Harrison “apology” notes, Sexy Native American costumes and Heather’s COVID q-tip swabs. In the corner, Anna sits rocking back and forth lisp-ering “She’s entertaining men for money” on repeat. LET US OUT!! Silly kids, did you actually think ABC would risk its conservative viewership for social justice reform?
Anyway, with all the offscreen Bachelor controversy this week, I completely forgot about Heather. She struts in with all the confidence and grace of a chicken who just made free-range. Serena P. is rageful. Pieper chugs wine. Jessenia berates Heather for thinking she could build a relationship with Matt the week before hometowns, even though she herself has not had a one-on-one date with Matt. Michelle is awfully quiet. Didn’t the other “new women” come on two weeks ago? Wasn’t Jessenia the Miss Congeniality who called out the other women for treating the newcomers with disrespect? My how the turn tables. Look, I get it. Once again, the producers are placing a steaming pile of bullshit onto the women’s laps, this time in the form of Heather. But once again, this feels like misdirected anger. And maybe wait to see if she stays before completely losing your shit.
Matt looks fucking stoked that Heather’s arrived even though ~oBviOusLy~ they’ve never met before. Of course, if he gives a rose to Heather, it’s a big ole bitchslap to the group of women he’s been calling his potential wives for the past six weeks. On the other hand, “she rented a freakin’ minivan.” What greater romantic gesture could one hope for? I think if Heather had been allowed to arrive earlier, she coulda been a contender. But even Producer Pet Matt knows that if he allows this, the women WILL mutiny. He gently lets her down and Heather realizes that she just got got. They close out her humiliation by making her get back into the minivan and drive herself away and it’s honestly just pitiable. Do I believe Heather is dumb enough to really see this as a chance to end up with her soulmate? Yes, yes I do.
This is the week where we transition from last minute producer arrivals to asking people’s parents for their hand in marriage. We are now at like half a bouquet of roses and Abigail is somehow on the chopping block. I’m erasing myself from this narrative. Jessenia stays over Chelsea, even though the only conversation we’ve seen between her and Matt was entirely focused on analyzing the big energy of a woman with big hoops. As a consolation prize to me, Serena C. also goes home.
It’s time for the date card. Abigail and Jessenia are the only remaining contestants that have not had one-on-ones, so obviously it will go to someone who has already had one, in this case Serena P. Honestly if I were Abigail right now I would be out for blood. I would be marching outside the Producers’ hotel rooms chanting “FIRST IMPRESSION INSURRECTION” carrying a picket sign that says, “Are you FIR-real?” and burning rose petals in front of the window. Has there ever been a first impression rose winner (such a promising one at that) who has never gotten a one-on-one before? I am livid, and demand to see the precedent.
Serena and Matt do tantric yoga, another recycled date that’s previously been used to comprise an awkward sexual dynamic for the contestant that will feel the least comfortable with it. Their yoga instructor yells “Groin together!” which seems to imply they should sit on each other and try to fuse their groins into one with the power of positive thought. Matt tries to eat Serena’s face. She is unenthused. Weird, Serena, you mean your ideal second date isn’t dry humping in front of a stranger and ten cameras?
Matt: *does yoga once* “I look for the real and seek the authentic”
I give major props to Serena for being honest about the situation without turning it into a big dramatic thing. Particularly in an environment where contestants are expected to constantly gush about how grateful they are for the super duper wonderful time they’re having. She explains that she’s not that into public displays of affection, and at the end of the day it just wasn’t her thing. Of course, this needs to be turned into questioning Matt and Serena’s relationship, because apparently two people can’t have a difference of opinion on something as all-important as tantric yoga.
Matt to Serena: I love that you disagreed with me
Matt to the camera: Serena is dead to me. If we don’t both love being filmed doing a hyper-sexualized version of yoga, what do we even have?
Luckily, this plot is entirely for manufactured drama and Matt gives Serena a Hometown Rose. Back at the house, Abigail is going on a group date because life is meaningless and love is dead. The women get ready for the date. Rachael picks between foundations – is tonight a “Ghost-of-the-Civil-War White” or a “Sat-on-the-Wrap-Around-Porch-of-my-Plantation-too-long Bronze?” Last date Rachael got a whole new designer wardrobe and this date she will get to…sit around a couch, I guess. There’s too much fat to trim tonight to have the women beat the shit out of each other in a meaningless competition. Figurative fat, of course. I don’t think any one of these women have ever been able to squeeze their belly fat together and make it talk. They’re really missing out on life.
Bri tells Matt that she resigned from her dream job to be here. Matt cannot contain his glee that this woman gave up her career for a one in seven shot with him. This was certainly a questionable move, but don’t worry Bri, we gotchu on Insta. Abigail tells Matt that this week has been really hard, and he has the audacity to respond with “Why do you say that?” Are you fucking kidding me bro? Matt tells Abigail that he was so comfortable with her that he explored other relationships. This sounds like a fuckboy excuse if I’ve ever heard one. My only solace is that he didn’t blame the relationship’s demise on her. Abigail leaves and seems pretty frustrated but also okay. I might be taking this harder than her.
Kit tells Matt she’s a long-term investment because she doesn’t want to have kids until she’s 25, so like four years from now. Hahaha. Throwback to when I thought I’d be married with 2 kids by next year. Never say never? Matt is like “LOL you kooky life-planner, I don’t have a crazy trajectory for things like you do.” How nice not to have to abide by a biological clock, sir. Kit thinks opening up about this will score her the group date rose. But Matt’s hard-on for Rachael continues and he tells the other women that he has something special planned for the two of them for the rest of the evening so toodles! Enjoy sitting here in silence steeping in your own rage!
Matt and Rachael have a private concert with….ALOE BLACC! YOU GUYS! I HAVE HEARD OF HIM! THIS IS A MONUMENTAL OCCASION. See everyone? ABC can’t be racist! Instead of showing a White country artist for the umpteempth time they one time showed a man whose (stage) last name is literally “Black!” What more could you want? Meanwhile Kit has realized that she is not the frontrunner, and she is a number one or bust type of girl. At this point she has racked up enough Instagram followers to supplement her mother’s name and jumpstart her career as a “fashion designer.” She tells Matt she’s out with all the emotion of the crumpled up twenty she used as a tissue for her fake tears.
Jessenia has the obligatory one-on-one with Matt that is way too late in the game to make any difference. They go “drifting” I think and make out on top of the car hood like they are Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. (I’ve never seen a Fast and the Furious movie so I’m just assuming that’s what happens.) Jessenia tells Matt she is falling in love with him. Matt thanks her for sharing that with him.
Matt tells Jessenia that they are missing compatibility, which is a nice way of saying he’s been keeping her around as another number for the past several weeks. Jessenia’s smile says she understands, but her eyes say that she will hunt down everyone he has ever loved and kill them. Jessenia gets in the limo and I shout to her through my TV, “Cry no tears over this man!” She hears me, and stops that shit at the duct. The women back at the house watch as the production intern takes Jessenia’s suitcase away, covering their mouths to hide their pure, unadulterated joy.
Despite the episode’s already insanely high kill count, it’s rose ceremony time. The women look like they are headed to an early grave. Lingering questions I have – do you think you wear your ugliest dress on the week where you already have a rose going in? What percentage of “The Good Doctor” viewers are Bach Nation in a comatose state? It’s obviously Pieper going home, right? The last is shortly answered and another one bites the dust. Matt asks to walk Pieper out. He keeps doing that but then saying absolutely nothing on the walk out. This is where you start giving explanations to the people you brutally blindside, Matty. But Pieper wasn’t having any anyway. She shuns him and the silence is golden. Pieper then tells us that she feels like her “entire soul was stomped on.” That’s the melodramatic wrath I am seeking, Pipes! The four remaining contestants are three non-controversial women of color, and one with thousands of news articles devoted to her racist past. Who will he choose?