SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the Jan 11. episode of “The Bachelor.”
With 24 women remaining during the first week of Matt James’ season of “The Bachelor,” in an attempt to narrow down his suitors, he hosted three dates: two one-on-ones and a group date.
Before the dates got started, the women moved into their new home at the Nemacolin resort in Pennsylvania. The women settled in — well, all except for Victoria Larson, who vocally opposed the “sisterhood.” While the rest of the contestants rallied around Bri Springs after her invitation to the first one-on-one, Victoria responded by complaining to a producer.
“I hate this girl power bullshit,” Victoria said. “You guys are either lying or fake or fucking losers. Then get off the show. This is not a sorority.”
While Victoria continued to complain, Bri went off on the first date, where she and Matt spent the day riding ATVs. The date was light-hearted and playful, even after Matt accidentally flipped the ATV. (“The first thing I’m thinking in my head is ‘Bri’s mom is going to kill me,’” he joked.) They also spent the afternoon in the hot tub, and Bri admired Matt shirtless as he chopped wood for fuel.
During dinner, the two continued to connect as Bri revealed that she — like Matt — was raised in a single-parent household. Her mother became pregnant when she was 13-years-old and devoted her teenage and adult life to raising her daughter.
They related about their absent fathers and how their upbringings forced them to gravitate to friends with big families. They both shared their hopes for the future, and that they would also contain a large family experience. The two celebrated the end of their evening with a rose and fireworks.
After Bri solidified herself as a frontrunner, 18 women headed to the first group date. They all dressed in wedding dresses to pose with Matt in a wedding photoshoot before host Chris Harrison arrived with a change of plans. Instead of a picturesque photoshoot, he invited them to “fight for love.”
Throughout the date, Victoria continued to throw slights at the other women, emphasizing that she was only there “for Matt.”
The fight for love was realized in a game of “Capture the Heart” — a “Bachelor”-version of capture the flag. The group was divvied into two teams; the objective was to retrieve the other’s “heart.” The women stayed in their wedding dresses and were challenged to run/jump/tackle throughout the forest obstacle course. They were also prepared with paint as ammunition in lieu of traditional flags.
The red team was victorious and was rewarded with additional time with Matt. While they got to celebrate with a cocktail party that evening, the other team headed home defeated and tired. During the cocktail party, Lauren Maddox emerged as a favorite. Despite not talking to Matt during the first night at the mansion, Lauren caught his attention during the group date and was rewarded with a rose.
The last date of the week went to Sarah Trott, the broadcast journalist-turned-caregiver. She and Matt spent the day flying above the resort before sharing an intimate afternoon chatting in the forest.
While Sarah was initially hesitant to open up, she spent the dinner sharing her family background, including her dad’s diagnosis with ALS. She revealed the emotional journey of leaving her job to come and care for her father, as she watched his health deteriorate. Her anecdotes were emotional and raw and showed the closeness of her family since the diagnosis.
Matt — obviously touched by her vulnerability — was moved that she chose to spend her time with him on the show. “It was an honor,” he said. He thanked her for her sacrifices and sealed his appreciation with a rose.
While Bri, Lauren and Sarah were safe from elimination, the other women fought for time during the next day’s cocktail party. While most women spent the time with Matt having constructive conversations, Victoria continued her streak of negativity by falsifying stories of her roommate Marylynn Sienna.
Victoria painted herself as a victim of bullying, and Matt was disturbed by her anecdotes. He pulled Marylynn aside to confront her about the accusations, by which she was blindsided. While Matt discussed the situation with Marylynn, Victoria received continued pushback from the other women: Despite her reports that Marylynn was “toxic” and “negative,” nearly all the women disagreed with her assessment.
Going into the rose ceremony, Matt was conflicted on who to trust. However, his decision was interrupted as mid-ceremony, Sarah collapsed from standing in line and had to be assisted off set by Bri.
Matt ran to the side to comfort her and was met with a medic arriving and a “To Be Continued…” title card.
“The Bachelor” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.