The cliffhanger last week was that Sarah felt sick in the middle of Matt handing out his roses. So, of course, we begin with a couple of the women — Anna and Victoria, specifically — questioning whether Sarah was fainting in order to get extra attention. (They hadn’t even seen Bridgerton yet!) Sarah’s physically fine, by the way, she was just extremely overwhelmed.
With the rose ceremony incomplete, this meant the other cliffhanger was whether Victoria or Marylynn would be sent home due to their cocktail party drama. Here’s how things shook out: Pieper, Kit, Magi, Rachael, Abigail, Chelsea, Jessenia, Katie, Serena C, Khaylah, Mari, MJ, Anna, Kaili, and — yep— Victoria all get roses, and join Sarah, Lauren, and Bri, who already have them. Marylynn, Alana, Illeana, Kristin, and Sydney are sent home. Exiting, Marylynn says of Victoria, “I do have to admit she’s a good actor.” The thing is, she’s not. But Matt, whether by his own accord or through the influence of producers, still keeps her around.
Starting a fresh week, a group date is up first. Matt says Chris Harrison planned this one, and he has no idea what’s going to happen. He and ten of the women head to a dark room where Ashley Iaconetti is reading a sex scene from Chris’ romance novel. Yes, Chris “planned” a date that promotes his book that came out six years ago.
The women have to write their own “steamy” love scene to Matt and then read in front of everyone, including the women not on the date. The contestants are nervous that they have to expose how they fantasize about sex, and yeah, this is definitely a date that makes you never want to end up on this show.
Matt reads his story first. It involves a woman showing up at her home and smelling something coming from the kitchen. “Mmm.” Matt pauses. “Chocolate cake.” And then a guy makes out with her. It isn't that risque, but his reading is hilarious.
The women’s stories end up being really funny. Anna’s has a great Bachelor-themed punchline: “He whispers, ‘No one else is here. You're the only one.’ She immediately comes!” Khaylah, Katie, and Victoria’s stories are so dirty that most of their words are bleeped out. It seems like everyone has a blast, cracking up at all the readings — especially when Rachael uses the extremely unsexy word “groin.” They all seem to agree that it was really empowering, too, which is awesome.
That evening, Matt has great convos with Bri and Rachael… and then Sarah shows up. She’s having a hard time, because, well, it's hard to like a guy and then not get to see him for days at a time while he goes on dates with the 20 other women you temporarily live with.
Naturally, the other women are upset. All the contestants are in the same boat, and Sarah already had a one-on-one. Katie, who Sarah interrupted, interrupts her back, twice, pointing out that this is her date. Eventually, Sarah leaves, but instead of going back to her room, she apologizes to the other women on the date for taking up their time. They point out that she’s asking for forgiveness after already doing it, rather than talking to them in the first place.
After she leaves, Victoria and Katie confront Sarah outside, and it’s a very real-world, reasonable confrontation — yes, even with Victoria. Sarah says she’s not sure she can continue with the show and needed to talk to Matt about her insecurities. Victoria and Katie are upset, but tell Sarah she needs to figure out her shit quick, because she’s screwing everyone else over. It’s not a yelling match, it’s just a stern, get-a-grip chat.
Back inside, Rachael gets the group date rose. Some of the other women think it could have been them if they actually got time with Matt. I regret to inform them that Rachael has been a front-runner since day one.
The next day’s one-on-one goes to Serena P. Matt arrives to pick her up and wants to talk to the group about Sarah’s interruption… except she’s not there; she’s sulking in her room. So, Matt finds her and tackles her. “Your bed’s comfy!” he says. Matt! That is not the tone we're going for.
Downstairs, Victoria makes a joke about Sarah going home and the women laugh. She seems to have really won people over by providing commentary on their new common enemy, and I have to admit, it’s pretty entertaining. (At first, at least.) MJ says that Sarah is manipulating Matt for making him feel bad about connecting with other women.
Sarah tells Matt through tears that she was thinking of going home that morning, and he reassures her that he wants her there. He says he’ll drop by and reassure her everyday if that’s what it takes. God, that would literally be the worst thing for the others to hear him say.
Matt finally has his date with Serena P. They ride horses and have a picnic. Serena tells Matt that her dad wasn’t supportive of her coming on the show, because he lived a very traditional life compared to hers. Matt shares that as he went through his life and graduated college, he started to feel like he was living “someone else’s dream.” They toast to “unconventional living and breaking the norm.” At one point they talk about pets, and Matt says he had a turtle as a child. “Were you a weird kid?” Serena asks. It’s nice to hear these people sometimes talk about light topics instead of their varied tragic pasts.
Back at the hotel: Sarah won’t come out of her room. The other women wonder if she ever will.
At dinner, Serena and Matt talk about past relationships. She had one serious relationship; he thought he was in love once, but now knows he wasn’t. Serena says this very Bachelor sentence: “I could see myself moving forward potentially falling in love with you.” She gets a rose. They have champagne in a hot tub and she makes fun of his turtle swimsuit. “I knew it!” he says. “I knew you were going to say something! I was serious about my turtles.”
Back at the hotel: Sarah apologizes again to the other women for taking their time. She says she was actually going to leave the show, so she really needed to talk to Matt about that. Honestly, I get it — especially since she was probably encouraged by a producer. A few of the women — Victoria, Serena C., and Kit, among them — don’t accept her apology, and it’s not a great look. Being annoyed is one thing, but this lady is clearly going through it. Victoria seems to be relishing in the fact that she’s no longer the target. Kit goes so far as to say she hopes Sarah’s connection with Matt is great because “the rest of your living situation here is going to be horrible.” That’s just mean.
In these situations, it’s always a good idea to look for those who aren’t speaking up, because they tend to make it further in the show. Rachael and Bri, for instance, have been frontrunners since night one. You don’t hear a word from them during this drama.
Katie decides to talk to Sarah alone. “For me, that was hard to watch,” she says of the situation. “I did not like that.” If this episode has taught us anything, it’s that Katie is a reasonable straight-shooter. Sarah tells Katie that she has decided to go home, in part because her dad has a terminal illness. “My dad passed away in 2012, so I 100 percent encourage you to be with him,” Katie says. “I understand that more than I would like to.” They cry together and hug before Sarah ultimately leaves.
Katie returns to the group and tells them Sarah went home. “I want to remind everyone to stay classy in this process because we don’t know our stories,” Katie tells them, explaining only that Sarah has a “really big family thing.” She also reminds the women that “this does end in an engagement.” I sort of want Katie to withdraw from the competition and apply for Chris Harrison’s job.
Finally, Sarah tells Matt goodbye. He wants her to stick around, but this time, the goodbye is for real.
Next week: Five new women show up. Anna and Victoria gossip about someone supposedly being a former escort. That sounds like something that shouldn’t warrant gossip, so this should be predictably problematic.
Winner of the episode: Katie. It’s possible no one on this show has ever handled conflict as well as her. She’ll get sassy if she needs to, but there’s a high level of empathy there.
Loser of the episode: Kit. That line about Sarah’s time in the house being “horrible” if she stays won this for her alone. Oof.
The super special one-time-only rollercoaster award: Sarah and Victoria. Victoria nearly won me over this episode, because her ridiculousness started out being so much lighter this week. But then the stuff with Sarah got so much more intense and she kept piling on. As for Sarah, she went from seeming like she might actually be manipulative to just being a confused, stressed, emotional person who missed her family.