Monsters and Critics columnist Liz Long recaps The Bachelor, Season 25, Episode 2, with a little help from a glass of pinot (or two) …
What happens when you mix 23 “sorority girls,” a perfect Bachelor with 12 abs, and 1 Drama Queen named Victoria? One helluva an episode of The Bachelor that’s what.
Yes my friends, the second installment of Matt’s journey to find love was not without its entertainment and drama. And let us not forget a nice pinch of that vulnerability we are all searching for.
Sorority Sisters and a Queen Victoria
We continue our story in the gorgeous chateau–or as it is now cleverly called, the “Matt-eau.”
Fall must be in the air because Matt, decked out in his perfect fall gear, is surrounded by perfect red, yellow, and orange leafy trees on a hilltop. Did I mention everything about Matt and his surroundings are perfect?
That is, until we get to our ladies. You see, there is one little thorn in the herd of sorority sisters named Victoria. A Queen in fact. And we know she is a “Queen” because her “job description” says so.
But who are we to nit-pick? Certainly none of our pretty little sorority gals would dream of picking a fight.
They play nice, don’t have an eyelash out of place, and cuddle under oversized blankets while wearing black leather jackets–you know, just casually off the shoulder. Victoria doesn’t do well with this crowd. So, naturally, she pushes against it.
The aggressive “Queen” would argue that telling the women she “can’t stand being around them” is just “keeping it real.” Meanwhile, all the girls are
shooting polite daggers at happy for Bri, because she got the first one-on-one! Yay, Bri!
Bri Gets the First One-on-One Date with Matt
Now I gotta say, I have gotten to know Bri this episode … and I’m a fan.
Sure, she looked picture-perfect-pretty like all the others, but the minute she showed she can turnover on an ATV like a champ, I knew there was something special about her. Throw in her “okay then” reaction to Matt taking off his shirt to turn into a lumberjack as well as her “edgy” look on their dinner date, and I’m liking her more and more.
Bri tells Matt she basically grew up without a dad (her mom had her when she was 13), and Matt connects with her because he, too, didn’t really have a “pops” growing up. No shocker here, Bri nabs a rose.
Meanwhile, all the girls surround … hang on, let me look up her name on my ABC cheat sheet real quick … ah yes, Illeana. She reads off the date card while dressed in a look that I presume took her hours to establish, but it’s one of those ones “I sit casually around the chateau in this” kind of looks …
Group Date Paint Wars
Oh, this group date. Let me count the ways I loved this group date. First, there was Franco–our “resident Bachelor photographer” (who I really didn’t know until Tayshia’s season, but he’s now apparently an established character).
Then we had that one dude from the ice bucket challenge serving as our sleepy ref. Finally, we had our Bachelor himself, sportingly going along with these crazy Bachelor “alum” and antics, and I’m just like, welcome to our world, Matt. Welcome.
As if wedding photos with Franco wasn’t enough, Harrison springs on the ladies (and I presume, really, Matt) that they will “fight”! for Matt’s heart.
This meant that the ladies would go deep into the woods and play some confusing game of capture the flag or heart, which no one really seemed to understand. I just picture the producer who brainstormed the visual of having a bunch of women cutting up each other’s dresses while slinging paint at one another.
Oh the shticks ABC and Harrison will do. Franco goes rogue and we have 18 sorority brides running around on what looks like a midsummer night’s dream set, throwing purses and paint at each other, while MJ our hero runs off with the win. God I love this show.
The group date wasn’t all slapstick, though. Lauren, who I noted was a standout on the premiere episode, got her time to finally shine when she shared a kiss with Matt.
She gave Matt a home run of an answer about how she will always put her faith first, and, yeah, you might argue this was a play on Matt’s prayer last episode, but no–these two definitely have their shared values going for them (and a cute little joke about how Lauren went to Carolina to boot). Of course, I wish Matt would have closed his eyes for this kiss, but I know when to pick my battles.
Queen Victoria stepped in to play her vulnerability card by telling Matt she has insecurities (to which Matt gave her nothing but grace), but the Queen’s Hail Mary wasn’t enough. Alas, Lauren wins the group date rose. (P.S. Classy move Matt, pulling Lauren off to the side for this as if it was the First Impression Rose!)
Sarah – Another One-on-One Homerun
As if we didn’t already have one great one-on-one with Bri, now Sarah has to come along and also be a sport AND show her vulnerability too.
These two board a by-plane and Sarah is all “If we go down, we’re going down together.” Matt is all, “I can live with that.” And I’m like, “Guys, not to be technical, but actually, Matt, you wouldn’t be able to live with that.”
At dinner, Sarah tells Matt she has been the caretaker for her dad, who suffers from ALS, and Matt genuinely listens, cares, and is honored that she is having dinner with him. (Seriously, guys, is he, like, perfect?)
After their perfect bodies get in the hot tub, Sarah is certain this is the start of something special. Line up, sister. Line up. This boy is good. Like real good.
Oh, would you look at that …
“I didn’t know he knew my name much less was thinking of me!” Marylynn gushes.
Not so fast, Marylynn. Victoria just woke up, and she is about to come out swinging. In fact, she’s going to tell Matt you’re “Toxic.”
Now, I’m not exactly sure what toxicity Marylynn has been spewing, and neither do any of the other girls, in fact. But the Queen is ready to “tell all,” and Matt, being the grace-giving dude he is … listens.
Matt, being the gentleman he is, tends to Sarah, but what is in store for next episode … well, that’s to be continued.
‘Til next week my Rose-Lovers! I’m off to join these ladies for a Bible study. We’ve all decided that Matt James is perfection visiting us Earthlings for only a short while, so time’s a tickin’ my friends. Times a-tickin.’
The Bachelor airs Monday nights at 8/7c on ABC.