The Bachelor recap: Deep cuts
The pool of potential wives gets a lot smaller as Matt sends five women home.
Wow, we're down to the final four, rose lovers! Boy, time sure flies when your Bachelor "journey" is being overshadowed by discussions of, and consequences for, racism and ignorance. (More on that later.)
Why, it's Heather Martin, silly! Don't you remember that we ended last week's episode with the surprise arrival of this random blonde from Colton's season? Now she's sitting with Matt, trying to explain why she crashed his party. Let's listen in…
Heather gives the Bachelor the whole spiel about Hannah B.'s visit, how she said that Matt would be a good match for her, and so on. Heather says that after that, she took it upon herself (LOL) to book a red-eye and come to Pennsylvania. "The more I thought about it," says Heather, "I was like, 'I have to meet this guy.'" As Matt and Heather talk, the ladies skulk outside the room and watch through the window. "Are they gonna make out?" one whispers. "I don't know, but I don't want to watch it," says Pieper, who then breaks down in tears. "I've never felt so invisible." (Pssst… could someone tell her she's literally being filmed at this very moment?)
So what is the Bachelor going to do? "I'm going to take some time to think about it," he says. "I don't want to leave this with any doubts." Okay Heather, it's time to leave Matt alone to deliberate — why don't you go take a seat with the other ladies?
Hmmm… looks like there's no room for you on that unnecessarily tiny couch. You'll just have to stand as the women hurl questions and insults in your general direction. "Oh, you're so late," sneers Jessenia. "You're just Bachelor-hopping," sniffs Pieper, who demands an apology from Heather for interrupting her time with Matt. But no amount of mea culpas will stop these women from hating on Heather.
And now Heather's crying. "It makes me really sad because this isn't what I want to do," she says pitifully. Serena C. literally waves her off and tells her to "talk about it in your interview, because I don't want to hear your tears right now."
Good Lord, some of these women are awful. Of course I understand why they're upset and frustrated about Heather's sudden arrival, but (a) you signed up for a reality TV dating show that thrives on drama, and (b) why not direct your anger at producers, who clearly sent Heather in there to cause said drama? The longer the women sit there, though, the more riled up they get about the possibility that Matt might let Heather stay. "How can he give her a rose over any of us?" says Rachael. "If he chooses her over me, then everything that he's said he's felt for me has been a lie, and I shouldn't be with someone like that." Kit agrees: "If Matt lets her into his process, then he doesn't value the time that I've spent with him over the past six weeks."
Please Matt, please just make a decision here so we can put this night behind us. Please.
"With where we're at, being this deep into the process, I don't know how it could work," Matt tells Heather. "I know it's not what you want to hear… I'm falling in love with women who are here, and I've just gotta follow my heart." Welp, you heard the man, Heather! Grab your minivan keys and kindly leave the premises, mmmkay?
Once Heather leaves, Matt walks back into the hotel and apologizes for the interruption/monumental waste of time. He also apologizes directly to Pieper for rudely cutting their conversation short and invites her to join him in the other room so they can finish chatting. And the ladies LOVE it. "That was so hot," purrs Chelsea. "I'm, like, more attracted than I've ever been to him in this moment," giggles Serena P.
Tink Tink Tink! Chris Harrison arrives with his Butterknife of Bad News to announce the rose ceremony. Who will join Michelle and Pieper in the Circle of Safety™? Rose ceremony roll call: Bri, Rachael, Serena P., Kit, Jessenia, and Abigail receive roses, which means we must say goodbye to Serena C. and Chelsea. I can live without the former, but Chelsea? Nooooo! Rose lovers, be sure to let Mike Fleiss know how great Chelsea would be as the next Bachelorette.
A new day dawns, and Harrison arrives to remind the eight remaining women that hometown dates are "right around the corner." Though Abigail and Jessenia are the only women left who haven't had a one-on-one date, the name on the date card is… Serena P.! Abigail looks so disappointed, I almost want to cry.
"It just feels like a slap in the face to give somebody that second one-on-one," she sighs. "I'm just trying to figure out where his head's at."
Apparently, Matt thinks he's in the friend zone with Serena, and he's hoping this date will bring them "that breakthrough moment" their relationship needs. But, dude, if you've already done a one-on-one with this woman and you're still friend-zoned, perhaps it's time to spend some more time with a person you actually do have chemistry with — Abigail! Nothing against Serena P. (she's definitely the better Serena of this bunch), but give our girl Abby some love!
Oh for the love of all that's holy, are producers seriously dusting off the tacky tantric yoga date again? Yep.
Serena is also not super-psyched about all the "sex-based yoga positions" that the instructor is making them do. "Matt and I haven't taken that step in our relationship yet," she frets. "This is not for me. Not something I would have chosen for our date today." It's all very awkward, especially when Matt tries to smooch Serena and she pulls away. "Maybe he feels bonded by the experience," she says, "but I was very in my head the entire time, waiting for it to be over."
Serena does not hold back when Matt asks her how she liked the date. "I am not an overly affectionate person, especially in public," she says. "It just wasn't for me, if I'm being honest." The Bachelor understands her hesitancy, but he admits that he enjoyed gazing into her eyes during the final pose. "I don't need you tell me that everything's good," he says. "If something makes you feel uncomfortable, I want you to tell me." Privately though, he's starting to worry that they're on "different wavelengths when it comes to our relationship."
At dinner, the Bachelor thanks Serena again for being honest with him about hating the tantric yoga. "You being real and honest and open with me, like, that's what I'm attracted to about you," he says. But is Serena attracted to Matt? It's hard to tell if she's just slow to show affection or if she's truly not that into him. When Matt tells Serena he has "feelings" for her, she claims to be "falling for" him and wants him to meet her family. So I guess we have our answer? And look how happy she is to get the date rose!
Group date time! Though we see Pieper, Michelle, Rachael, Bri, Kit, and Abigail getting glammed up for the day portion of the date, it must have been really boring — because suddenly it's nighttime and they're all heading to the cocktail party. All of them know this is their last chance to make their case for a hometown date, and Matt urges them all to "leave everything out on the table."
Bri goes first, and she's got news. "A few days ago, I had to resign from my position [at work] to be here," she tells Matt. "I knew that was a decision I was going to have to make, but after weighing what this journey could mean for me… I thought it was worth it." And it only gets worse: "When I think about my mom being a single mom and she had to make a lot of sacrifices for me to have a better life than what she had, so my work wasn't just a job to me, it felt like a dream," Bri continues. "But being here with you makes it feel extremely worth it."
Reader, this was the point where I had to pause the TV and scream, "No! Nooooo! Nooooo!" into a pillow for about thirty seconds. Bri is a "communications manager" in San Francisco. I don't know what that is, exactly, but I do know it's painful to watch any woman let go of a "dream" job to gamble on a TV romance that will almost certainly not work out, even if she "wins"! Gah. Serenity now!
Anyhow, Matt LOVES it. "I've heard all I need to hear from Bri," he says. "She's here for me."
Pieper goes next, followed by Michelle. Abigail, who's been worrying nonstop that she and Matt are "stalled," uses her time with Matt to share how insecure she's feeling. "It's scary because I can see the possibility of a future with you — I just want to know, like, can you see that possibility with me, or…? I'd rather know now instead of…" Though she doesn't finish her sentences, Matt understands what she's getting at. So he whips out the Neil Lane ring he's been hiding in his leather jacket pocket and gets down on one knee. "Abigail, I'm sending all these other chicks home. Will you marry me?"
Okay, okay, fine — that's not what happened. The Bachelor does, in fact, understand what Abigail's asking him, and he gives her a truthful — if painful to hear — answer. "I was so comfortable in our relationship that I explored other relationships," he says. "My heart's pulling me in another direction, I apologize. The last thing I want to do is lead you on and lie to you. You deserve someone who's going to put you first."
Damn straight. But also, waaaaaaah! It's so sad to see Abigail go.
Hang in there, girl! You are fabulous and will no doubt have your pick of suitors out in the real world. (Or in Paradise.) Stay strong!
The Bachelor heads back to the party and announces that Abby is gone. The ladies are shooketh. "It just shows that none of us really know where his mind's at," says Rachael. "I love Matt, but if he's not feeling the same, I may not be here tomorrow."
Well, she has no reason to worry. After Rachael pours her heart out to Matt ("The only worry is that I just don't get you at the end of this"), he offers up some of those patented "words of affirmation" that he's so fond of: "When I'm not around you, I'm thinking about you. And you just make me smile."
Kit's up next, because Kit is still here. And Kit is still basically a child — as she explains to Matt, she wants a man who will understand that she still needs to finish school and travel and figure out her career path. "That means getting married and creating a family together will be pushed a little bit longer than probably most of the other women here," she says. "I wouldn't want to have kids until I'm 25, 26, so I'm a long-term investment."
If only Bri could have talked to Kit before resigning from her job, perhaps she'd have thought twice about tossing her priorities to the wind. As for Matt, he assures Kit that he has no "five-year growth trajectory" set out for his life. "I just want to be living life and progressing forward with the right person," he says. "Like yourself." Oh, I'm sure Kit is the right person for someone… but for Matt? No.
And the date rose goes to… Rachael! Matt has "something special" planned for the two of them, so he bids everyone goodnight takes Rachael to a ballroom, where a nice-looking man named Aloe Blacc is singing. Back in the holding pen, the women sit under a cloud of misery. "I feel like I could rip my stomach out right now," says Bri, wiping away tears. "This feels like a dagger to the chest," says Kit. "I don't know how much longer I can go through this."
The next thing we know, Kit's knocking on Matt's door later that night. She's got a whole speech prepared, but here's the tl;dr version: She's not ready to get engaged. "You deserve someone who's 100 percent sure [about] you getting down on one knee tomorrow," says Kit. "And that's not me."
Hallelujah, girl! Go do that growing-up thing — you have years, if not a full decade, before you even need to think about marriage and kids.
Our final date of the week goes to Jessenia. An SUV picks her up out front and drives her to… an empty parking lot! "What is happening?" she wonders. Suddenly, the squeal of tires on the asphalt pierces the air, and a crimson hot rod roars into the parking lot, spewing purple smoke for some reason. (I don't understand cars.) It's not Matt behind the wheel but professional stunt driver Tony Angelo, who's there to teach the happy couple how to drift. As in, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo style.
Jessenia hops into the driver's seat first, and Matt can barely contain his panic. (Women drivers, amirite?) He's clutching the grab handle above the door like my mom did when I got my learner's permit — and Jessenia is a way better driver than I am.
When it's Matt's turn to drive, he smashes through the piles of cardboard boxes arranged around the course as obstacles. And Jessenia LOVES it. "If this is a glimpse into what life could be like with Matt," she says, "I couldn't ask for anything more." They make out for a bit on the hood of the car, and then it's time for dinner in a room full of twinkle lights.
Talk inevitably turns to hometowns and family. Jessenia predicts that her parents would be happy to see her with Matt. "I would expect them to welcome you with open arms," she says. As she talks, gushing to Matt about how "amazing" it's been to get to know him over the last six weeks, the Bachelor looks uncomfortable and keeps licking his lips nervously. When Jessenia drops the "I'm falling in love with you" bomb, he manages a weak smile and says, "Thank you for sharing that with me."
"There needs to be that intangible love and connection that's driving us towards an engagement," he says. "And I don't think I'm there yet." Jessenia handles it gracefully, telling Matt that she's "grateful" for his honesty, but in reality, she feels "blindsided." Still, Jessenia knows that she deserves love, and her guy is out there somewhere. (Perhaps even in Paradise? Man, producers have so many options!)
Huh, looks like we're skipping the cocktail party and heading right for the rose ceremony. Rachael and Serena have already secured their spot in the final four, so it's moment of truth time for Bri, Michelle, and Pieper. "I'm a little conflicted," Matt tells Harrison. "I've got real feelings for these women." But he's determined, as always, to follow his heart. Rose ceremony roll call: Bri and (drumroll, please) Michelle earn the final two hometown dates. Camera one, please push in on Pieper's devastation!
She's so hurt, in fact, that she doesn't say a word to Matt as he walks her out to the Reject SUV. They don't even stop at the Bye-Bye Bench production placed outside the entrance! Once inside the car, though, Pieper lets her feelings out. "I put my weakness and my happiness on the table for literally nothing," she says tearfully. "For a big waste of time." Buck up, honey, at least you won that stuffed dragon thing on your carnival date! Also, you're 23 years old — it's gonna be okay.
Welp, rose lovers, it's almost time for stay-at-hometowns! Before we part ways for the night, I just wanted to say that I have a lot of thoughts on the whole Rachael K./Rachel L./Chris Harrison situation. I'm still sorting through all of them, which is why I didn't get into it in tonight's recap. But I think there are a two takeaways we can all agree on (God willing): Racism should not be tolerated or defended. And one more: John 8:7.
That said, I need your hot takes on tonight's episode. Can you believe that Matt sent Chelsea and Abigail home, but Kit was the one who self-eliminated? (HOW???) Which of Matt's ladies do you want to see on Paradise (if it happens)? And why are we just finding out now how much fun Michelle is? I swear, this show loves to edit around every contestant's personality. See you next week, friends.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.