SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the “Women Tell All” March 1 episode of “The Bachelor.”
Chris Harrison has been the source of tension throughout the “Bachelor” franchise after his remarks defending Rachael Kirkconnell’s problematic past, and he has since been temporarily relieved of hosting duty (Emmanuel Acho has been tapped to host the post-finale episode), but his presence was still felt during this season’s pre-taped “Women Tell All” special episode.
The program started with a disclaimer that the episode was “Previously recorded on February 4, 2021,” less than a week before Harrison’s interview with Rachel Lindsay aired.
The episode included 15 women from Matt James‘ season, with Sarah Trott (whose self-elimination early during the season was a primary source of drama) notably absent.
It began with a recap of events before Harrison peppered each woman with questions. The bulk of the season was filled with drama and negativity, but many contestants used their platform during the “Women Tell All” special as an opportunity for image-rehab. Their evening contained an excess of gratitude for the experience, including many apologies made throughout.
At the top, they briefly referenced the feud between MJ Snyder and Jessenia Cruz, before they made amends. Ryan Claytor started talked about the toxicity in the house, sourcing Victoria Larson as a major player in name-calling. It was the first of many conversations around in-house bullying, and Victoria used the opportunity to redirect blame on others.
Katie Thurston was brought into the mix, as her initial comments to Matt made him aware of the problematic behavior among the contestants. Katie defended her behavior as well-meant, but many of the women questioned her motivation. She dug her heels in about right verse wrong and blamed the women for the negative comments that she felt warranted discussion with Matt.
Chelsea Vaughn rejected those ideas, and the conversation pivoted to a larger discussion of bullying and toxicity. She spoke about the online hate that she was getting and that her actions on the show never warranted that type of response.
Brittany Galvin was the first person brought on stage in the “hot seat.” During the season, Brittany was the victim of false accusations of being an escort by fellow-contestant Anna Redman. During her interview with Harrison, she reiterated how devastating the rumor was, and how it took a toll on her emotional health during the show and since the episodes have aired. Anna was eventually sent home for starting the rumor and used her time during “The Women Tell All” to take accountability and apologize to Brittany directly.
Katie was also given an individual interview, where she gave an emotional recall of her experience on the show. Pieper James was also given space to talk about her abrupt elimination before hometowns, where she spoke about how she was in love with Matt.
Abigail Heringer’s one-on-one stood out, as she addressed how her appearance on the show impacted the Deaf community (Abigail was born Deaf and uses cochlear implants).
“I think people view the hearing community and then the Deaf community with a capital ‘D’ as kind of black and white,” she said. “I’m kind of that grey space in the middle that hasn’t had a lot of light shone on.”
She spoke of the spectrum of hearing loss, her use of implants and ability to communicate vocally instead of ASL, and the supportive reception from viewers of “Bachelor Nation.”
“Disability isn’t always romanticized,” she said.
The last individual interview went to Serena Pitt, who self-eliminated after her hometown date with Matt. She responded emotionally after seeing the recap for the first time, but still felt confident in her decision and thought it would be a “disservice” to Matt to stay being so uncertain.
After the women had their individual moments, Matt joined the group. They teased him about his new beard, and he joked that he grew it from becoming “wiser.”
His appearance on stage was mostly filled with being thanked by the women for the experience. While he was surprised by some of the events in the house that came to light during airing, he said he didn’t want to hold any of the women to an “unrealistic standard” and always wanted to consider the environment and the “million different factors.”
He defended the women and said that he knew them and their characters better than the viewers at home watching TV.
Victoria was often the subject of audience critique. Despite problematic behavior during the show, she broke down in tears saying that she acted out in her “fear of rejection.” She said it was difficult to hear Matt’s comments about her while watching the episodes, despite her dramatic behavior on set.
After the sympathy tour ended, the events wrapped with the traditional bloopers. In addition, the episode shared several group dates that never made it to air, including a “what’s in the box” challenge, two eating competitions and a game of hide-and-seek where Kit Keenan got lost in the woods.
Next week, Matt returns for fantasy suites with his three finalists: Rachael, Michelle Young and Bri Springs.
“The Bachelor” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.