Bachelor Matt James Hometown Dates
Bachelor Matt James Hometown Dates |
This week on The Bachelor is traditionally titled “Hometown Dates.” However, since all of the families have to quarantine at the Neapolitan due to COVID, the remaining contestants call this week “Home Visits.”
Much like they did during Tayshia’s season, showrunners gather the women in Conference Room B and ask them to fill out a form that depicts all of the cool things they would normally do, should Matt James actually visit her hometown. The ABC Intern gathers the papers, hands them over to the set department, and we have the pleasure of using our imaginations, pretending to smell the fresh scent of number two pencils and feeling the brisk temperature of wintery Canada.
We also get to hypothesize the sound of bone crunching as our face crashes into a lush grassy knoll over by the golf course, but I’ll get to that story in a minute.
The following information you are about to read is of personal opinion. However, if you or someone you follow on TikTok happens to know, sort of know personally, or is friends with the local Starbucks barista who’s obsessed with Bridgerton and looks exactly like one of the contestants on the show — none of this is personal. I’m sure they are all lovely people.
MICHELLE HOME VISIT
If Matt James visited Michelle in Missouri, they would first call ahead to make sure they both wore an outfit that matched. Michelle notices their jinx moment mid-Jump & Straddle™ delighted by the fact that he too is sporting black pants and a lavender top.
When riding bikes through the resort, I notice Matt James’ underwear peeking over his waistline is a shade of hot pink that would make Barbie proud. Odds are Michelle’s undergarments are just as rosy.
Michelle eventually leads Matt James into a lecture hall. (The Neapolitan does have everything a flourishing society could ever need, am I right?) A childlike sign on the door reads, “Ms. Young’s Class,” and viewers are enchanted by a gaggle of students whose parents have no problem signing a waiver so their children can ask embarrassing questions on national television through the power of Zoom.
The giggly ones ask silly questions. Is that her boyfriend? Have you kissed yet? Are you going to have babies? Major Props to my man Tyler who proudly sports a deep navy “TEAM MS. YOUNG” t-shirt. He also has no problem asking Matt James if he plans on marrying Ms. Young. Our bachelor promises Tyler that he will be the first call should the ring end up on her finger.
But it’s an ethereal one named Elise who first reads an encouraging note she once received from Ms. Young before asking how her teacher has inspired Matt James to be a better person. Matt James melts right into the floor as Michelle silently weeps sweet tears.
The ABC Intern packs the pair a brown paper sack lunch, complete with a juice box, and sends them out to the playground. How long do you think it took him to erect that massive swing set? And who did they call to haul in that Little House on the Prairie one-room schoolhouse beside it? Do you think the part where they made candles and churned butter was too boring to end up in the final production?
Later that evening, Matt James whips by the Neapolitan gift shop to snag some magnets and tumblers for Michelle’s parents. He steals one of the flower arrangements in the lobby and heads over to meet the Youngs.
These people are gold. I’m telling you. Mama Young is lovely and engaged and likes that Matt James wants to make a difference in the world. Sweet Ephraim is ready to support his daughter any way he can. He trusts her judgment.
When Ephraim asks the bachelor if he loves his daughter, Matt James admits that he hasn’t told Michelle that he’s in love, but he’s definitely falling for her. And he would be willing to move to Minnesota if it meant being with the woman he loves.
Then they all go outside and play basketball. Thank goodness the ABC Intern had the wherewithal to purchase a goal when shopping at Costco for the swing set.
Matt James finally leads Michelle to the pondering bench. She admits that she is falling in love with him, and he responds with a passionate kiss. He does NOT say it back.
Michelle is amazing. It’s too bad she’s not going to win.
RACHAEL HOME VISIT
Rachael borrows Mike Fleiss’ fancy car, blindfolds Matt James, and drives him to the airstrip behind the Neapolitan. This isn’t weird at all. What’s weird is that Rachael chooses to wear a pink and white tie-dyed shirt that moths have clearly attacked.
Matt James isn’t a bit nervous about sky diving. Rachael seems pretty stoked as well. Both click into the harness of their sky diving dude, and both seem thrilled to hoist themselves from the opening of an airplane, plummetting to the ground below. In normal circumstances, the parachute opens, you fly around for a bit, make faces at the GoPro camera, and land in a plop on your butt near the eighth hole.
Rarely does your fellow sky diving dude accidentally slam the face of one of the prettiest people on the show, let alone the planet, into the plush lawn near the eighth hole.
Seriously. She landed face first.
Matt James watched the entire thing in horror. He runs over to pick up the pieces of his beloved, only to find her with a mouthful of putting green. A mangled mass of hair full of grass and leaves and perhaps a little blood around her nostrils strike fear in Matt James. Miraculously in the next shot, Rachael is sitting up, hair glossy and feathering in the wind, smiling as Matt James recalls her untimely connection with the ground merely moments before.
For real. It is a MIRACLE Rachael did not need medical attention. What kind of deal has she made with the devil for her features to remain supple and smooth when her face made direct contact with the earth?
I get it. The makeup department can cover all sorts of bruising and raspberries procured by any means of injury. But I remind you again that Rachael landed on her face. Shouldn’t there be a bulging bump? A deep scratch? A gaping mark that can’t be concealed by the magic of foundation and an airbrush?
Rachael and Matt James stand in front of the door that will lead them to her parents. He’s nervous. She is glassy-eyed. At first, I thought it was because she was so emotional to see her mom and dad, but now I’m confident homegirl was hopped up on some major pain meds. She floats into the room, grateful that she’s not feeling anything, including her feet.
Rachael’s dad behaves like all the other dads we’ve come to know on hometown dates. He can’t see why she has to be in a rush to get married. How in the world could she know this guy’s character in such a short about of time? There’s no way they could have falling in love with each other. PS: He’s still dating three other women. How is this okay?
Rachael gives her dad a fresh serving of gin and tonic and leads Matt James away to sit on the pondering bench. Matt James tells Rach that he didn’t ask her dad for his blessing because he doesn’t want to do that with four families. He only wants to do it once, so he will make a call when the time comes.
As a viewer, with the knowledge that he didn’t have this conversation with any other contestant (that we saw), this gives Rachael the edge. In Rachael’s mind, she has no idea that he didn’t have the blessing talk with the other women on the pondering bench. She leaves deflated. Or maybe it’s time for her next round of hydrocodone. Either is plausible.
BRI HOME VISIT
If you visit Bri’s hometown, the first thing you do is go off-roading in a Jeep. In your black leather pants and crop top. Funsies. Then you have a picnic in a field and talk about how your family isn’t traditional.
Remember, Bri’s mom had her when she was thirteen-years-old. So Bri and her mom have a Lorelai and Rory Gilmore relationship. Pay no attention to the crying baby Lorelai birthed weeks ago. This visit is about Matt James and how he can make Bri happy.
Lorelai grills him in front of a campfire. She wants to know if Matt James is in love with her daughter. Matt James’ answer? “I’m falling for her.”
Clearly, this is not the assurance Lorelai is looking for, but she’s happy to maintain her realist mindset. She also knows that she will be able to tell what Bri is thinking the minute she gets alone time with her.
And what Bri is thinking is that she’s scared. Lorelai tells Bri that the fear is normal, but she has to be honest and vulnerable if she’s ever going to know if this thing will work. Worst case scenario? He breaks her heart. And if he does, Lorelai will be there to help pick up the pieces.
This is why, when Bri sits on the pondering bench with Matt James at the end of the night, she tells him that she is falling in love with him and wants more time.
SERENA HOME VISIT
O Canada. This visit is all about maple syrup, poutine, and some light trivia about Serena’s home country. The ABC Intern struggled with this date set and thanked the good Lord he remembered to bring his passport and a negative COVID test so he could drive the six hours to Toronto to snag a few dozen Canadian flags, a map of the region, and several stuffed moose.
Serena’s parents are fine. Matt James has nothing to worry about. It’s her sister who shuts this relationship down using only three sentences. After Serena admits that Matt James ticks every single one of her boxes and loves his playful attitude and extreme affection for her, she does wonder if something is missing.
Sister: “You don’t seem smitten. I think it’s because you’re not. There’s no ‘it’ factor.”
Serena stares at her sister as if this is brand new information. Her sister continues to lay it on thick by adding, “I think you’re talking yourself into this.”
Poor Serena falls into her mother’s arms, questioning the revelation her sister just slapped on her. The doubts are creeping in, and she looks to her mom to calm her fractured nerves. Her mother does nothing but hold her crying daughter.
The writing is on the wall as Matt James eyes an uncomfortable Serena on the pondering bench. He listens as she claims she doesn’t know what she’s feeling and that she’s bummed that there’s a time limit on this process. Matt James scrambles, offering her all the time he can give her, which is regrettably the equivalent of the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice.
That may not be enough time for Serena.
Our Host Chris Harrison finds Matt James brooding on some fine wicker furniture in the woods. It’s the setting Some Guy in Austin refers to as the “nice shelter for the vagabonds who might be traveling through the outskirts of Pennsylvania in need of a soft place to sit and puzzle through life.”
Matt James explains that the four family visits unfolded in four very different directions. Michelle’s family fully supports what’s going on. Rachael’s father is entirely against this silly exercise. Bri is finally willing to let her walls down, and her mom will be there to help should things go south. And Serena may not even be in this for all he knows.
Harrison picks up on Matt James’ panic and asks if Serena is worth fighting for? The answer is a big fat YES because we see Matt James hopping into a black SUV, which takes him to Serena’s end of the resort.
In her favorite cropped sweatshirt and mom jeans, he finds her sans makeup, thinking about life, love, and other mysteries. She’s shocked to see him waltz into her room and feels the dread weighing down on her shoulders. She knows what she must do.
Serena peppers Matt James with compliments then hits him with the “I thought my struggles were from fear, but it’s more than that.”
Serena then tells Matt James that he is not her person. He is not her lobster. No one has imprinted. He is not her mate.
For the first time since Sarah left him in week two, Matt James’ throat bobs. He’s working to control the tears and the pain. But he understands. It sucks, but he understands. Then Serena walks him out to what is now a rejection SUV and waves as he heads back to his suite to work out some anger with his virtual Peleton trainer.
The rose ceremony is uneventful, excluding the raised eyebrows from the three remaining women who whisper urgently to each other, “Where’s Serena?”
One question remains. Would Matt James have kept Serena should she not have opted out herself? And if so, who would have been the one heading home just weeks away from an Uncle Neil diamond on a significant finger?
In my bracket with Last Night’s Game, I picked Serena to leave, only because I thought he didn’t really like her as much as the others. But now I’m not so sure. Was Matt James so upset in his own rejection SUV because he loved Serena? Or was it rejection in and of itself?
If he did love her, was it Bri going home? Or Michelle? What do you think? Sound off in the comments!