It’s week 2 of The Bachelor and things are heating up. And by “things," I mean wood-fired hot tubs and the taps of the many showers Bachelor Matt James is filmed taking. There are two one-on-one dates, one group date, and heaps of the inexplicable drama you can only get from an early week of this show.
The first date goes to Bri Springs, who Matt had a solid connection with in the premiere. They ride four wheelers. At one point he goofs off in a bunch of mud and gets them tossed off. That scary to me (a boring person? a worry-wart? a thirtysomething?), but they find it fun and flirty. Covered in mud, they arrive at a picnic set up with a hot tub. Matt promptly takes off his shirt to chop some wood. Matt and Bri chat and make out and enjoy champagne. This is a way nicer date than anything the contestants got to do in The Bachelorette's Palm Springs bubble. Way to go, Pennsylvania.
At night, Matt and Bri have dinner and she opens up about her family life. She was raised by a single mother, who got pregnant when she was 13, and she has “somewhat” of a relationship with her dad. Matt can relate, because his dad wasn’t around at times when he needed him. Bri seems very comfortable opening up to Matt. She gets a rose. They make out in front of a fireworks display.
Meanwhile, there’s drama back at the hotel. Some of the women say they’re happy for Bri getting the date, and Victoria, the one whose job title is “queen,” says, “I didn’t talk to Bri, so I don’t have that little friendship that you guys have.” She adds of the date, “I’m not jealous. I just, like, I want that.” That speaks for itself. Further staking her claim as the villain, Victoria is shown talking to a person wearing a mask, likely a producer, about how she’s already sick of everyone. As the evening goes on, Victoria says she doesn’t want a group date and that her roommate, Marylynn, is “psychologically disturbed.” We have seen no evidence to support this, but Marylynn does say something about wanting to get to know Victoria so she can understand why she’s the way she is. Victoria decides to sleep on a couch in protest.
The group date is next and it’s a wedding dress photo shoot that includes a whopping 18 contestants. About half of the women have their pictures taken, including Victoria who gives Matt a sloppy kiss and makes him remove her garter, but then Chris Harrison shows up. He says Matt is looking for someone who will “fight for his heart.” Yep, this isn’t just a photo shoot.
The women have to play a version of Capture the Flag that involves tagging opponents wedding dresses with paint. Chris says, "The rules are there are no rules,” and honestly, based on the confusing way this whole thing is described, there might as well not have been. There are a lot of paint filled water balloons and chaos. Eventually, MJ captures the yellow team’s giant heart, which means the red team wins and gets to spend the evening with Matt. Mari from the yellow team wins MVP, so she gets to go, as well.
That evening, Matt has a great conversation with Lauren, who tells him it’s important to her to be with a man of faith. Matt is happy to hear this, and explains that while he is Christian, he doesn’t lead with that part of himself because he worries it could be a turn-off. Matt does a good job of responding thoughtfully in all of his conversations and sharing part of himself, too, rather than just listening to the women spill their hearts out.
In Matt's conversation with Victoria, she tells him that sometimes she feels insecure, including worrying about her appearance. Matt says that he worries about wanting to come across like he has it all together when he doesn’t. At the end of their convo, Victoria asks for a kiss. Matt obliges, but as during the wedding photo shoot, it seems forced.
Lauren gets the group date rose. Victoria thinks she should have gotten it for “sharing my things.”
The second one-on-one goes to Sarah. We already know she’s getting the rose, because the teaser clip at the beginning of the episode shows her nearly passing out at the rose ceremony; she wouldn’t be there if she didn’t make it through the one-on-one. Sarah and Matt go for a ride in a biplane. That is terrifying! The tiny plane aspect of this show needs to end for good.
Once they land, they head to a cute little fire pit setup. Sarah is nervous because she takes a while to open up. That’s very normal, but a hindrance on The Bachelor. We get a lot of voiceover from Matt about how Sarah is clearly “struggling” with something and needs to be vulnerable. Contestant Who Is Scared to Open Up is such a Bachelor trope.
At dinner, Sarah tells Matt that her dad has ALS, and that she returned home and left her career in broadcasting to be a caregiver for him. It’s no wonder that Sarah was hesitant. She’s on national TV, and this is the most emotional thing she could possibly talk about. Matt says he’ll be praying for her “pops.” (He always calls dads “pops.” It’s cute.) He says that her strength is a quality that he’s looking for in a partner, and asks what he can do to show he’s someone she’d want to be with.
Applause for Matt! This is the second time this episode that he’s asked what he can do for one of the women. The first time was when he asked Jessenia what he could do to make her more comfortable during the process and she asked for a kiss. Fair enough! I appreciate Matt saying this, since the show is often just a competition for one dude with the dude not really being required to do anything.
In response to Matt’s question, Sarah says he should just be “as real as possible” because life is not usually plane rides and romantic dates. She says that the fact that she’s already so comfortable with Matt speaks volumes. Sarah gets the rose. They head to a hot tub to make out.
At the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party, Matt chats with all the ladies, and gives Marylynn an orchid because she wasn’t on any dates this week. He (or a producer) remembered that orchids are her favorite flower. Upon seeing that Marylynn received a special gift, Victoria decides to share information about Marylynn that she says she’s been withholding from Matt. In her confessional, Victoria says she can pick up on Marylynn’s “toxic” vibes. “I think that just goes back to me being an empath,” she says.
She tells Matt that Marylynn was her roommate, but she had to move out because Marylynn cries to manipulate situations. “Like, it was crazy,” she says. Matt says in his confessional that Victoria basically told him that Marylynn bullied her.
Victoria returns to the group: “Oh my god, I have to talk to you guys. I told him how awful Marylynn was to me … It was shocking when she was like that to me.” The other women are confused because they’ve never seen Marylynn do anything wrong. I’m confused because we don’t know what Marilyn supposedly said other than that, basically, she doesn’t understand her.
Matt pulls Marylynn aside and she denies being a bully. No surprise there.
Marylynn then pulls Victoria aside and apologizes for hurting her feelings. Victoria says, “I think we have very different realities of what occured.” I think us viewers at home do, too. Marylynn says, “I did not say those things!” and Victoria asks why she’s apologizing if she’s denying doing anything. What is happening here?
It’s time for the rose ceremony. Bri, Lauren, and Sarah already have roses. They’re joined by Pieper, Kit, Magi, Rachael, Abigail, Chelsea, Jessenia, Katie, Serena C… and that’s it for now, because Sarah feels faint. Bri helps her out of the room and a medic is called in. Sarah says she’s “seeing stars.”
Of course, the rest of the rose ceremony is left pending until next week. Judging by the trailer, it looks like Victoria sticks around and that everyone is upset about someone being manipulative, or dare I say, toxic. Whoever could it be?
Winner of the episode: Fall fashion! This show normally takes place in L.A., and the most recent season of The Bachelorette was in sweaty Palm Springs. I am here for all the sweaters and jackets, and would like to give a special award to Chelsea’s giant white shearling coat.
Loser of the episode: Victoria. A trend that is likely to continue until she’s given the boot.