Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Matt James’ Bachelor season limps along toward the finale

Illustration for article titled Matt James’ Bachelor season limps along toward the finale
Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC

We’re almost there, friends. Matt James has narrowed a field of thirty-plus women to three: one who is the clear favorite, one who would still be fine, and one who is terrible. If you’re me, you’re used to your Bachelor/Bachelorettes never picking the person you’re pulling for… but Michelle is perfect, Matt! C’mon!

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As their Pennsylvania Dutch spa date would attest. But first… we meet Matt’s dad in a revealing—maybe too revealing—conversation addressing his status as an absentee parent and how that upbringing may affect Matt’s (presumably near-)future plans to marry and start a family. While Matt confronting his dad over not being there for him while he was growing up was certainly effective—one of those rare honest moments that people watch reality TV for—it also had the feeling of a conversation that maybe no one else should be hearing, let alone millions of people. Matt James certainly has given up a lot for this dang show.

The conversation helped to explain why Matt appears to be more closed-off than some of the women he’s courting, when Michelle and Bri were both able to open up and tell Matt that they were in love with him tonight, and he didn’t/couldn’t respond. If he doesn’t feel the same way, why are they still around? What’s worse is that he has been able to voice his feelings in the past to Rachael, who acted like a toddler tonight by sulking throughout their date. There are three people left, Rachael, you are not more important than anyone else! She says she’s a “happier, better person” when she’s with him, but honestly that person appears to be pretty petulant.

Which just makes next week filled with even more trepidation, as tonight Bri got sent home and now Rachael is in the top two. Hard to believe Matt went with someone who could barely pull it together to get through her fantasy suite date with him. But even though Matt was exceedingly patient with Rachel (yet again), overall, didn’t it seem like… he wasn’t super-into any of them? These fantasy suite dates didn’t really offer the Super Bowl of romance, which is what people tune into—or at least, used to tune into—The Bachelor for. (Who among us could forget Pilot Pete and his five times with Hannah Brown in the windmill, even though we’ve tried our hardest?) Probably the sweetest moment was Michelle and Matt blowing kisses at each other after their date: They always seem the closest to an actual couple, like we could be watching a pair of besotted newlyweds on their honeymoon. But even fireworks didn’t offset Rachael’s cranky personality, and while Bri is flat-out stunning, her date just seemed to focus on the fact that she didn’t like being outdoors that much? And Matt didn’t even tell Rachael that he loved her back tonight, a possible sign that he’s overwhelmed by this whole process and, likely, in over his head.

The dad conversation, as painful as it was, offered a valuable window into Matt’s psyche about why he may not actually be in a place where he’s going to spend the rest of his life with someone after only a few weeks. Again, he seems to be very thoughtful and methodical, realizing that one talk with his dad can’t fix everything, but at least opens up the possibilities of more valuable communication. But that just doesn’t sound like someone who’s ready to propose on national TV. Guess we’ll find out next week.

Stray observations

  • It’s so creepy how the key-to-the-fantasy-suites letter is signed by Chris Harrison.
  • Gawd, Michelle is so nice, she even tried to console Bri and Rachael for being upset after her date.
  • Rachael was literally pouting while Bri was talking about her date, her lower lip stuck out about a mile. Just the worst.
  • Also, Bri almost had to sleep on the ground, but Rachael gets fireworks, which both of the other girls can see. Whatever, show.
  • Oh man, I forgot that Bri actually quit her job for this.
  • Next week: Am actually looking much more forward to the After The Final Rose special than the finale, since Rachael is still in the running in the final two. Now that Matt has come out and spoken out against the entire Bachelor franchise, and Chris Harrison won’t even be there, I am really interested in what Matt—and host Emmanuel Acho—will have to say about The Bachelor’s issues with race.
    And will Katie then actually be announced as the next Bachelorette? (That’s what they pulled with Hannah Brown, remember, and even had some early suitors come out.) That would actually be promising, so will I still keep watching this show like an idiot? Yeah, probably, although I am really looking forward to viewing it again with my friends with some cans of rosé at the ready. So I am grateful for your comments; you’re as close as I get to a group watch right now! See you next week.
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Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.