The final three women have been chosen, so you know what that means: it’s time for The Bachelor fantasy suites. Matt’s choosing between Michelle, a woman whose personality we only get to see in the kicker at the end of the episode; Rachael, a woman who has since had to apologize for past racism; and Bri, a woman who was thrown off of a four-wheeler and has been plotting revenge ever since.
But before the dates kick off, Matt meets up with his father. Matt is “harboring negativity” over his dad not being around after he and his mom broke up. “I guard my heart and I guard my feelings and emotions because of what I’ve been through with you,” Matt tells his dad. He says his dad was unfaithful and started another family. “I need to know where your head was at, so I don’t make that same mistake.”
Matt’s dad says that if his son came to him in the past, they could’ve had this conversation. Matt says there was never a time because he wasn’t around. Things get heated. "I came home one day and your mom was gone," Matt's dad says. "For good reason," he responds. "Who wants to be with someone who's not faithful to them?"
Matt's dad seems caught off guard that this conversation is the reason why he's on the show. He says he’s there to celebrate Matt. “This isn't a celebration, this is a journey that I’m going on," Matt says. “If you wanted to go celebrate, we can go to Chuck E. Cheese.” Woo, that is a line.
In the end, Matt’s dad says he’s sorry he hurt him. Matt says he’s not holding grudges. It’s clear that he just wanted to feel heard by his dad and — as he will repeat throughout the episode — wanted to reassure himself that he is not the same as his father.
Look, this conversation did not need to happen so publicly on The Bachelor, but it did give us some insight into who Matt is. So, as far as the show goes, this would have been better utilized at the beginning of the season. As far as real-world Matt and his dad go, this may have been better off not happening on a reality TV show.
And with that complicated, long-standing family trauma out of the way, it’s time for the first date, which is with Michelle. They start with “a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch spa day.” This means they put their feet in oatmeal, rub butter on each other, and take a milk bath. They’re just as confused as we all are, but more than willing to make out in a tub of milk.
Afterward — presumably after taking a shower in Dawn soap — they chat about their potential future, and Matt admits that he was the most comfortable with her family out of all the hometown dates.
At dinner, Matt opens up about his conversation with his dad. This actually does make things seem more real. We always hear these people talk about things from their past, but this felt like a real couple having a conversation about something serious that just happened.
Michelle tells Matt she wants to spend the rest of her life with him. He doesn’t say anything, but pulls the fantasy suite card out from under his dinner plate. That's a new move.
In the fantasy suite, Michelle tells Matt she loves him, and he kisses her. I guess that is better than a “positive smile.”
The next morning, Michelle asks how happy Matt is on a scale of one to ten. He says 11. That’s a good sign and actual verbal communication! In his confessional, Matt says, “It’s not hard to see a life with her” and “where we went last night was incredible.” Not totally sure what he means by that, but it sounds positive.
Michelle meets back up with the other women. The contestants seeing each other during fantasy suites week has happened in the last couple cycles of the show, and it’s so, so awkward. Bri and Rachael hate thinking about Matt being with someone else, but there she is right in front of them. Please let this show go back to keeping the contestants separate at this point in the season. Please.
Bri’s date is next and they have to hike through the woods and pitch a tent. Bri and I immediately worry that her fantasy suite is the tent. Fortunately, it's not.
At dinner — indoors — Bri asks what Matt thinks about the possibility of an engagement. Matt shares about his conversation with his dad, and how it played a role in him feeling like he wants to move forward in his journey. Bri opens up about her relationship with her own dad, who hasn’t been a big part of her life. She and Matt have a connection in this way, and it leads into her big reveal: She’s in love with Matt. He kisses her, pulls out the fantasy suite card, and gives a confessional about how he could see this woman as his wife. Sound familiar? Yeah, we’re not really getting any surprise twists with Matt’s fantasy suites.
In the morning, Bri rubs her hands all over Matt’s chest, giving the producers that clip they kept playing in the previews. Thank you, Bri, what an absolutely taxing sacrifice you had to make for the benefit of this show. They cook breakfast together. All the Bachelor/ette fantasy suites should involve cooking breakfast. It's always a cute activity.
Wrapping up their date, Matt walks Bri outside while wearing a T-shirt, capri pants, a navy suit jacket, and hotel slippers. I just think we should all take a moment for this outfit. Is it Zoom-chic? Is it a matter of being 6’5” and needing to go outside on a chilly morning? Is it whatever clothes were closest to him? Doesn’t matter. I love it.
Rachael’s date is next. She is very stressed about the fact that the other women had their fantasy suite dates before her. This is visually indicated by her walking slowly to Matt instead of doing the traditional Bachelor run-and-jump.
Their date is a ceramics class. The instructor makes a dumb, but very Bachelor analogy about how making ceramics is like a relationship, because you need a strong foundation and don’t know how it’s going to end up. In a truly shocking moment of editing, a voiceover of Rachael talking about Matt being in fantasy suites with the other women mere days ago, is followed by the instructor saying, “Your fingers are going to go inside the hole and you’re going to gently...” as we see a close up of Matt’s hands. Hey, I'm just the messenger. This was a clear choice that needed to be pointed out.
After the class, it seems like Rachael might just self-eliminate. She tells Matt that the week has been “unbearable.” She understands that he has to explore all the relationships, but it has messed with her confidence. Matt tells her how much he cares about her by bringing up her parachute accident from their hometown date, and how scared it made him of losing her. She tells him she loves him. He doesn’t respond now, but he previously returned her feelings and said he was “falling” in love. Rachael is the only person we’ve seen Matt say that to. Their complications out of the way, they make out with clay all over themselves. Butter? Milk? Clay? Where does it end?
That evening, Matt tells Rachael about the dad convo, too. She reassures him that he’s his own person. That might sound obvious, but this is clearly — and understandably — something Matt has needed to hear for god knows how long. She also tells him she’s ready for a proposal and has been for weeks.
This time, Matt pulls out the fantasy suite card from under a charcuterie board. I really hope this hidden fantasy card thing was his idea. Rachael’s fantasy suite has fireworks. What does it mean?! We also don’t get a “next morning” clip with Rachael. What does that mean?
Going into the rose ceremony, I would say Rachael is the front-runner, since Matt has already told her he is “falling in love.” Between Michelle and Bri, things feels about even.
Michelle gets the first rose. Rachael gets the second. Bri is sent home.
Matt tells Bri that there isn’t one reason he can point to for why he’s sending her home. “It’s just a feeling you have when you’re with somebody,” he says. He’s following his heart. “I can’t be upset or I can’t be angry, but I can be really sad and disappointed and hurt,” Bri says. “But I don’t know if that’s at you.”
She drives away in tears. Two things are clear: One, she’s going home to receive plenty of support from her mom. As her mom said during hometowns, “Worst case scenario, we are mending a broken heart together.” Two, Bri would make a great bachelorette.
Next week: Matt continues leading and participating in his own family therapy session. Everyone cries.
Winner of the episode: Matt. Not because three women were in love with him, but because he got to the other side of a major internal roadblock. Regardless of what happens with his journey on the show, the revelation he experienced in regards to his dad isn’t going to change.
Also, he hid the fantasy suite cards under dishes and seemed to really get a kick out of that. It was cute.
Loser of the episode: All three women for being forced to hang out together during fantasy suites week. It's gotta stop.