Matt James Episode 2 – The Queen’s Stupid Gambit

One benefit of this blog is that it serves to catalog our in-the-moment thoughts about a–shall we say–turbulent period of our history. Last week we noted that the President was calling a state elections official and pressuring him to “find” votes. Yes, it is a Bachelor blog, but bear with me. Had it not been for the show, I would have thought that happened 100 years ago (like six years before the Warnock-Ossoff sweep). I mean, that was back when the President was on Twitter and before America’s suckiest uncles tried to do a coup. So next week, we should get to write about the resolution to this week’s cliffhanger and I guess probably evidence of aliens and/or a nuclear first strike. 

The number of Twitter followers I have went down from 14 to 12 after the momentous events of this past week (I assumed that two of my favorite followers, MAGA1776_6969 and MostMasculinePresidentEver_6969, rage-quit Twitter). My hope is that by the time we find out whether Sarah survives her panic attack (spoiler alert: she probably did or we would have heard about it by now), I still need two hands to count the number of followers I have.

ABC wants us to forget about all the treason (for the moment) so it brings out the big guns: fall-foliage porn from Nemacolin and actual porn involving Matt James taking an outdoor shower. And It looks like He’s been prepping for these shots for the entire quarantine period. It pains me to admit but, yes, I must say that Matt James’s upper body is more sculpted than mine – I’m still holding out hope for the side-by-side lower-body comparison though. 

Bri One-on-one Date

Chris Harrison tells the gathered women that there will be two one-on-one dates and a group date featuring I guess the entire cast. The first date is with Bri – announced by a date card reading “Love is an Adventure.”

Bri, as you might remember, is a bi-racial child born of a Persian mother and a Black father. She works for a “high profile social media company” – and George surmised last week that she works for Parler. Since I operate on the premise of George always being right, I’m sending my thoughts out to Bri and hoping that the new Congress comes through with extended unemployment-insurance benefits.

The two are greeted by a pair of ATVs – and it seems that the adventure will come from riding around the enormous property. Matt is warming up the wheels and it seems that he’s into it. After they ride into the woods, Matt asks Bri to hop onto his ATV and then asks her whether she trusts him. She laughs and says yes, and then Matt does a few donuts before spinning out and flying off the ATV with Bri. Amy definitely said “that looks dangerous” right before they flipped the ATV. Which is a common way that people get seriously hurt in Minnesota. Alas, everything seemed okay, though I think they definitely re-enacted the recovery scene for the cameras because they seemed pretty calm about almost being crushed like a capitol police officer holding back a tide of lunatics. Oddly enough, those same lunatics would be furious on said officer’s behalf if you kneeled for the national anthem. OH RIGHT, I AM SUPPOSED TO TALK ABOUT THE BACHELOR

I gotta say, if a Leroi Moore situation had developed with either Bri or Matt, ABC would be in some trouble here. And if I were a lawyer for the production, this date would not have happened. That could have easily gone sideways, and instead, we get Matt apologizing in his ITM to Bri’s mom about endangering her daughter. PSA to my daughters: do not get on an ATV with someone on a first date. 

The two retreat to a wood fired outdoor spa, and, even though the spa is already heated up, Matt decides that he needs to chop some wood. And not only that, he needs to take off his shirt first in order to use the axe (If I looked like Matt James, I would not even own a shirt). Not only that – he must now also do his ITMs topless. I haven’t seen a thirst trap this bad since Stephen Miller’s IG account. No really, there is one. 

What’s much better than white-nationalist love is Matt and Bri connecting over dinner, with Bri revealing much about her family background. Whatever I was doing – I was not ready for this moment, when Bri told Matt (and us) about how old her mom was when got pregnant with Bri:

I know. Thirteen! That is very young to have a baby! When two of my favorite reality TV show worlds collide (Teen Mom and the Bachelor), my jaw dropped. If only we found out at that moment that Bri is actually from Iran and wanting to marry Matt for a green card – my brain would have exploded. 

I assume given Bri’s trajectory there is a good chance we will meet her mom. Who is younger than we are. And looks like this:

Bri’s mother, as we learned from Bri, was very devoted to Bri throughout her childhood at the expense of her own social life. Now Bri’s mother is with a new guy, pregnant, and planning to get married. So Bri expressed some very honest feelings about essentially realizing that her only family is going to be starting a new family. I suppose I can see how this would be difficult and difficult to discuss with Matt James and I guess America.

Matt and Bri bonded over having fathers that were not very active in their lives. In Bri’s father’s case, I think I understand? He was presumably 13 or so, definitely very young. If he was much older than Bri’s mother, he was a sexual predator and either in jail or on the run. At 13, I played a 162 game schedule that I manually created for RBI baseball on Nintendo and kept a notebook with all of my fake players’ stats. I was trying to win an MVP award in a pretend season for Glenn Davis. I was most definitely NOT in danger of impregnating anyone. But back to people with libidos: Bri and Matt.

The touching part of the conversation was when they both revealed that as a result of their single-parent households, they gravitated toward friends who had big families to find something they didn’t have. They both comment on the parallels and Matt obviously gives Bri the rose – i’ve got a feeling that Bri won’t be going back to Parler anytime soon because she’ll be on this show for a while yet. 

Eighteen Women on a Group Date

I started writing down names for this group date and just stopped because I couldn’t match names to faces at this point anyway and most everyone was on this date. What you need to know is that Victoria was on this date and in the interlude scenes during Bri’s date, we learned a lot about Victoria and none of it is good. 

She has been aggressively touting that she’s only here for Matt and is upset that she didn’t get the first date. She’s dismissing the other women as fake and singles out her roommate Marylynn as being mean because Marylynn had the audacity to say “I want to pick your brain so I can understand you better.” Geez, I wish everyone was as mean to me as Marylynn was to Victoria. For a proud member of the “F your feelings” crowd, Victoria seems to be a bit extra sensitive!

Notably Victoria moved out of the room she shared with Marylynn and was shown bunking down on a lobby couch. Which, truth be told, looked pretty comfortable and was probably fine in an empty resort.

The group date is a photo shoot with the resident Bachelor photographer Franco, and it’s a predictable trope – wedding photos in wedding dresses. The women race to pick out outfits, and then pose in turn with Matt. Victoria somehow cuts in line, drawing the ire of some of the women. But this date is not really about photos – because Chris Harrison appears out of nowhere and, as we suspected, is about to tell us that everything’s going to change. Indeed, we’re dividing up into two teams and apparently playing some game called “Capture the Heart” – which is a play on Capture the Flag – which is a game I’ve never played in my life.

Wait, you have never played Capture the Flag? Was there a different name for it in Texas? Don’t answer that. This game was not played under CTF rules, the paint-filled balloons and paint-dipped bouquets and wedding cakes were meant to cause maximum damage to the wedding dresses, and are limited to the wedding-dress variant. And it was not clear anyone understood that you won by grabbing the largely-undefended stuffed hearts and taking them back to your base. But I liked that the Gold Team took scissors and began cutting the dresses to make them more amenable to sprinting. Red-Team member Victoria claimed her team is “a bunch of queens” while the other team is “a bunch of gestures [sic].” 

The Red Team had a plan, but as the saying goes, “everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth with a bouquet dipped in paint.” That is not how the saying goes, but this game made no sense. Anyway, once everything went to shit Rachael made a valiant and unsupported charge for the Red Team’s heart, and ended up getting gang-tackled by the Red Team. Mari fought off the entire Red Team to defend the Gold Heart, but then let her guard down, allowing MJ (not the vibrator) to sprint in to get the Gold Heart and take it home for the win. 

Mari got an award for being “the most valuable bride” which is code for “Matt James has a thing for Mari.” He spent a good amount of time staring at her butt out of the limo, and getting Mari into the time-prize portion of the date is a way to avoid Matt James inviting all of the losers. I think that’s the most prestigious award I’ve heard since that NVP award that was awarded on Sunday.

For Mari’s sake, I hope her career trajectory on this season of the Bachelor is a bit better than Mitch’s in the playoffs. I’m sure the Bears are glad they didn’t spend that pick on Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson. Those guys don’t have an NVP! 

At the celebration with the Red Team (and Mari) Matt James sits down first with Lauren (one of the lawyers) and says he “saw a different side” of her. Umm… any side that is not getting out of a limo and walking up stairs is a different side of her to Matt James at this point. Lauren jumps right into discussing her Christian faith, which is also Matt James’s faith. Matt James confusingly says he does not “lead with” his faith in relationships, which is not what people who watched him say a prayer last week would have said. Lauren and Matt have ACC beef as she is a Tar Heel and he is a Demon Deacon. Also, “Demon Deacons” is kind of an odd mascot, though I am led to believe it was born from a victory over the Duke Blue Devils. I guess because normal Deacons can’t stop Devils if the Devils are Blue? The ACC is very confusing. Apparently Tar Heels is a reference to the making of pitch and rosin for shipbuilding, and was adopted by North Carolina soldiers in the Civil War as a nickname. Which side was North Carolina on again? Oh, yeah, the bad side. Anyway, glad to see Lauren got some time with Matt James and that I was able to stop myself before researching more school nicknames.

While others may have been watching a rivalry between a Big Ten school and an SEC school on another network, the more exciting action involves a lukewarm rivalry being hashed out on the Bachelor. If you know, you know. 

Jessenia tells Matt James that she has “dealt with a lot of infidelity” before getting emotional talking about what she is looking for from a man. Matt James tells Jessenia he would not “put her through” infidelity. Well, except that he is currently dating 23 other people. Jessenia overlooks this detail and they kiss.

Victoria tells Matt James that she wants Matt James to know she is still human and has some insecurities. Actually that was quite obvious. Matt James tells Victoria she looked great. Victoria asks Matt James for a kiss. Then gushes about the depth of her relationship with Matt James. 

Presumably Matt James talked to the other women from the Red Team and to Mari, but the edit only showed us these three conversations. The date rose goes to Lauren, much to the chagrin of the other women on the date. 

While sitting around after the date, Victoria tells everyone that she’s upset that she didn’t get the group date rose because she shared so much with Matt. Umm – what? I’m guessing social awareness was not a course taught during queen school. 

Sarah One-on-one Date

There are five women who did not get a date yet, so when the date card is read off four of them are pretty disappointed. Sarah gets the date, meaning that Anna, Magi, Marylynn (who has a single room now), and Alana are not going to get a date this week. I think it was those four, but it is early in the season so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

This date involves a biplane. I don’t think Sarah knows what a biplane is, because Matt James asks if she has ever been in a biplane while their ride circled overhead and Sarah says “not one that small, no.” She’s been in larger biplanes? Or does she just think he said “have you been in a plane?” Sarah seems generally uncomfortable with heights but the views are very pretty. 

Sarah tells Matt James that her family is important to her. You would be surprised how many people state this to the lead on the Bachelor. But in Sarah’s case, her devotion to her family will also be the topic of conversation at dinner. Sarah tells Matt James that her father has ALS, which she says “is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” Sarah tells Matt this is the same disease Stephen Hawking had, and that the life expectancy is three to five years and Sarah’s father was diagnosed five years ago. It is presumably not exactly the same as Stephen Hawking’s ALS, which is rare in how slowly it progressed, but it’s a helpful comp for Matt James who might have a sense of the limitations ALS imposed on Stephen Hawking. Lou Gehrig, OTOH, was diagnosed with ALS on his 36th birthday, retired from baseball, and was dead within two years. Sarah tells Matt James that she quit her job to be a caregiver and he tells her that he will pray for her father and her family. 

I’m glad that Matt turned down the other option the producers gave him: take off his shirt and dump an ice-water bucket over his head. Instead, he went with the much more measured approach of tweeting a link for donations. Apparently, Matt’s Twitter still works. He must not have been using his feed to push an avalanche of horsecrap allegations of election “fraud” and stoking violence. 

Sarah tells Matt James that she wasn’t sure she should come on the show but that her father wanted her to go out and find love. It is unlikely we will meet Sarah’s father at Nemacolin even if she makes it to hometowns, as travel during a pandemic seems like a really bad idea for him and any of his caregivers. Matt James, proving that he is remarkably good at saying the right thing, asks Sarah what he could do to show her that he was someone she could be with. “Dump your other girlfriends” might be an answer here, but Sarah asks Matt James to “be as real as possible.” Matt James gives Sarah the date rose, which… I mean, he would have to be a monster not to. He also gives her a kiss. 

Then they get into what appears to be a very warm pool. Matt James is a hot-tub-friendly Bachelor and I suppose in the interest of equal opportunity we should note that Sarah would, if she so chose and if she were chosen, be a very hot-tub-friendly Bachelorette. They are super good looking, is what I mean.

Cocktail Party

Matt James drives up to the cocktail party in a small classic Porsche (don’t fact check me, I’m not a car guy so that is just a guess). Matt James checks in with Abigail, recipient of his first-impression rose. Abigail and Matt James agree to a signal where they can touch their ears to surreptitiously signal each other. Like a blown kiss. This is a good signal because Matt James will probably scratch his ears a lot. It is a pretty common tic for him, just behind taking off his shirt.

There’s a 90% chance that a basketball fan of our generation would have gone with the Jeff Hornacek facewipe.

We see Matt James getting a lot of positive attention from the women. Then Marylynn sits down with him and tells him she is very nervous that he doesn’t like her or remember her. Matt James surprises her with an orchid, because she told him that it was her favorite flower the first night. That is clutch, Matt James. Too bad roses weren’t her favorite. Or bitcoins. 

Not giving Marylynn an orchid: Queen Victoria. She goes to Matt James to tell him how much she hates Marylynn, her former roommate who Victoria says “manipulates situations and is straight-up toxic.” Victoria is wearing a kinda-insane dress, not in a good way, and a bra that really isn’t right for the dress. Victoria says Marylynn is “toxic” and the house is “toxic.” Matt James says he is concerned that Marylynn is “bullying” Victoria, and Matt James says “that is whack.” Matt James is pretty corny. “Orchids are not for bullies” he doesn’t add.

Victoria tells the other women that she told Matt James “how awful Marylynn is.” MJ immediately says “I haven’t seen that at all.” Marylynn defends herself to Matt James while the rest of the women defend Marylynn to Victoria. This seems like a gambit that will be hard to pull off. I mean, all of the courts have rejected Victoria’s baseless challenges to Marylynn! 

Marylynn tries to talk to Victoria in the way Joe Biden tried to debate Donald Trump. Marylynn says “I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings and…” and Victoria interrupts, saying “thank you, I accept your apology.” Marylynn tries again, saying “I acknowledge that you feel this way and regardless of what happened…” and Victoria interrupts again with “if it didn’t happen why are you apologizing?” It is… brilliant? Like, the Colbert Report and Cecily Strong’s SNL character “Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With” had a baby, and then that baby had too many drinks. At the end Victoria said “we are like oil and… vinegar.” I assume she meant oil and water, but it is possible that together they are just delicious on salads. It is an all-time sequence on this show.

Seriously, it is worth losing a minute and five IQ points to watch the below:

The other women criticize Victoria for disrupting the night, and then Chris Harrison shows up to cut off the cocktail party. Yet again, not everyone got time with Matt James, who is still trying to wrap his head around the fact that Marylynn has orchestrated a fraud that only affects Victoria and Marylynn didn’t even pick up seats in the House or win the North Carolina or Maine Senate races.

Rose Ceremony (Part One)

Already with a rose are: 

  1. Bri with the barely-teen mom
  2. Lauren the Tar-Heel lawyer 
  3. Sarah whose dad has ALS. 

Matt James tells Chris Harrison that he will “follow his gut.” People who say that should have some support for the idea that their gut is good at making decisions. And Matt James’s gut does not seem to have that track record.

Also, and this is a departure from our normal RRR protocols, but if you don’t watch the show I think I should say that to me it appears there are 23 people on this show who are so beautiful that if you saw them in person you would assume they were on television, and then one person named Victoria who is just run-of-the-mill attractive. Also (and believe me, I live in a very fragile glass house here), 23 of the women are wearing very nice dresses and are meticulously made up and Victoria seems to have chosen a puffy-sleeved quasi-princess dress from the discount rack at Forever 21 that does not work with the bra she insisted on wearing. Again, I am very ugly and wearing sweatpants right now, just like I have for nine straight months, but… it helps to explain that Victoria very much stands out in more ways than just her terrible personality.

I’m not going to depart from the RRR protocol, but I will say that you might find Victoria to be run-of-the-mill attractive in the same way that you might find Josh Hawley to be run-of-the-mill attractive, if you didn’t know anything else about him. 

The ceremony starts with roses going to:

4. Pieper (grad student from Oregon)

5. Kit (the very-young one with the famous mom)

6. Magi (from Ethiopia)

7. Rachael (one of his favorites from week one who had a quiet episode)

8. Abigail (she has a cochlear implant)

9. Chelsea (the runway model)

10. Jessenia (former Ms. El Paso)

11. Katie (has a vibrator named MJ)

12. Serena C (the flight attendant)

AND there’s a break in the action, because Sarah appears to pass out. Matt James abandons the rose podium to check on Sarah, who seems to have provided our cliffhanger, or at least given the producers to draw out the rose ceremony to a second episode. There are more roses, but we don’t know how many. Tune in next week to find out who else gets roses and if Sarah is okay.




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