There’s this card game called Marrying Mr. Darcy. (Yes, I own it; I am also very bad at it.) There are many paths to “winning” Marrying Mr. Darcy, and most of them don’t actually involve Mr. Darcy. There are other Misters, for starters. There’s also a zombie expansion pack, but that’s another matter. Anywho, one of the trickiest but most satisfying paths to victory is this: You become an Old Maid. Not all Old Maids win the game, just like not all Smug Marrieds win the game. But it’s possible to seal the ultimate victory by, essentially, rejecting the premise. You win on your own terms.
All that is to say that the real winner of this season—or at the very worst, one of its winners—is Dildo Katie.
Katie and her vibrator, the size and shape of which Matt inexplicably compared to a cactus in this episode, somehow managed to take one of the dreaded “wacky” entrances and turn it into one of the best reality-show edits of recent memory, certainly in this franchise. Tyler Cameron, who appears in this episode, had a storyline better than Katie’s, but he was the runner-up of that season! Katie had barely any time with Matt, as this episode reminds us; it must also be said that the two had about as much chemistry as Heather Martin and the security guard for the Nemacolin Love Palace With 24-Hour Check-In So Anyone Can Just Roll Up In Her Minivan. Despite all that, Katie’s only real competitors for the show’s available oxygen were Queen Victoria and Matt James. You know, the Actual Bachelor, a ripped dude who may or may not be a Republican who kisses with his eyes open and who, despite all the chaos inherent in that description, is also somehow pretty boring television.
Katie didn’t eat food this week, but somewhere, she’s drinking from the keg of glory. Let’s get to it.
Did The Bachelor actually eat food this week?
Maybe? There’s a scene with cotton candy in which he appears to be chewing, but who knows. It’s really close. He’s chewing and he returns a piece of cotton candy to the bag. Does he eat it on camera? No, but he’s eating and there’s a food in his hands. So, let’s call it a yes even though it’s kind of a no.
Cotton candy? Really?
My benevolent editor at this fine establishment, the dame who heard my pitch for a series where I write about The Bachelor by focusing on all the food they don’t eat and somehow said yes, is an expert on the world of candies and confections. She’s an authority. Marnie Shure is to candy what Neil Lane is to engagement rings for doomed engagements. Who better to weigh in on this issue than Marnie, who, until the moment she read this sentence in my draft, had no idea I was about to make such a request? (For Marnie, “the moment she read this sentence” was just a second ago. Hi, Marnie!)
So, here goes! Marnie, what does Matt James’s willingness to be seen eating or appearing to eat cotton candy on camera say about who he is as a person? Go ahead and answer below. Take your time, I’ll be feeding my cat.
Marnie says: I have little patience for the fakeness of TV stars eating on screen, but with cotton candy, I get it: it’s not a food so much as melty flypaper you apply to the perimeter of your mouth. If Matt was falsely “chewing” in an attempt to convey “cotton candy eating,” this is the one food for which I’d understand that decision. But the decision to eat it during any sort of heart-to-heart is what’s baffling. It is not a serious food, nor is it a sexy food. It’s a “leave me alone and let me have this moment to commune with my childhood” type of food. I would’ve gone with Goobers.
Thanks for your perspective, Marnie! Anyway, Matt James, lover of cotton candy, takes Pieper on a surprise mystery date in the middle of some pitch-black woods. Reader, don’t ever take someone on a surprise mystery first date that involves driving them into the darkness and then saying, “Do you trust me?” This is not a you-jump-I-jump-Jack situation. If your date’s first guess for the planned activity is “mauled by a bear,” you have really screwed up.
The “surprise” is a carnival in the pitch-black woods, and no one else is there. More on the rest of said date to come.
What didn’t The Bachelor eat this week?
Whatever Meredith was serving, plush pineapples with faces and other carnival foods, grilled chicken on a bed of farro with cartoon carrots, pizza and wings from the 7-11 near Nemacolin, coconut-scented body oil, whatever Matt didn’t eat while setting Katie up for a great exit, and Heather Martin’s empty pizza box.
Whatever Meredith was serving
Before Pieper went to her not-at-all scary isolated nighttime carnival, we reached the end of the brief, satisfying saga of M.J. and Jessenia. And really, Jessenia won this battle last week, and so decisively that she looked directly into the camera in triumph. The outcome is no surprise. What is surprising is that Jessenia, having already won this battle, still came back for more, and called M.J. “Meredith.” Deliciously, and appropriately, petulant. Later, Meredith.
Jessenia gets the “group date” rose. Then there’s a rose ceremony and some people get eliminated, among them poor Brittany and our beloved Magi, who was too good for this show anyway.
Plush pineapples with faces and other carnival foods
If my choices were cotton candy or a fake pineapple wearing sunglasses, I would choose the cotton candy, too. But surely Matt and Pieper bypassed a funnel cake somewhere. Cotton candy?!
Chicken on farro with cartoon carrots
Maybe that’s what it is? And Matt’s appears to be a pile of rib tips with no sauce. Anyway, Pieper, too, is “falling in love with Matt,” something she tells him is hard to say because her family doesn’t really do that sort of thing. It made me sad. Like that chicken made, and makes, me sad. Pieper gets the rose.
Pizza and wings from the 7-11 near Nemacolin
Yum? Also fries, “nachos,” and raw veggies. No one eats the food, as far as I can tell, on this group bowling date, which threatens to be kind of chill and fun until Chris Harrison strolls in and breaks the group into two teams, who then compete to win an after-party with Matt. Abigail, who still rules yet only really gets screentime when she talks to the camera about how she’s not getting enough time with Matt, throws a gutterball in a pivotal moment and her team loses. They go back to the hotel lobby where all the ladies hang out, cry some, and then get a request to come to the after party anyway. Chelsea is mad, but—this will be shocking, brace yourself—she doesn’t pitch a giant fit and instead just goes with it, like an adult human being.
Michelle, your other non-Rachael frontrunner, gets the group date rose.
Scented body oil and whatever Matt didn’t eat while setting Katie up for a great exit
a segment all to herself before arriving at a “shock” exit, thus setting her up to become the Bachelorette or at minimum a major player in this dumb franchise moving forward the second one-on-one. As mentioned above, these two have no chemistry—in fact, Katie and Tyler have more chemistry, and all they did was shake hands—so her exit should not actually come as a shock. And if you would have been shocked before learning the nature of the date, the revelation that they were going to a spa to punk someone with a creepy massage should have tipped you off. Welcome to this luxurious spa! Let’s head into the weird security office and pretend we’re on Impractical Jokers. The body oil was probably scented, and Katie did not eat it. Neither did Matt, but more importantly, Katie, the actual star of this season, did not.
Don’t feel bad for Katie. f you’re going to go for an Old Maid win in Marrying Mr. Darcy, you have to appear to lose out on some other interesting prospects. Getting eliminated in a rose ceremony is small potatoes compared to getting eliminated during a one-on-one date, and not just because of camera time. You may not come out with a ring, but you have a chance to come out with a great story, and that’s potentially even more valuable.
All the pieces were in place for Katie to get such a story, should the show want to give her one. And it seems they did. She got one more chance to call bullshit on bullshit, thanks to Serena C.; she got a one-on-one with not one but two seemingly romantic fake-outs; most importantly, she also got to make a bunch of declarative “this is who I am and what I deserve” statements. Those make for great footage in a retrospective montage. And what was the rest of her story this season? Shutting down toxic behavior. That’s where Katie really managed to shoot the moon (and so, albeit more briefly, did Jessenia): She succeeded in making some great TV by stirring up drama, but the drama she stirred up was about the existence of some especially abhorrent drama. You have to feed the beast, so Katie fed the beast, and came out of it without tarnishing herself in any way. She played the game and acted like a decent human being at the same time.
All that is to say that when Matt picked up that rose and then said BUT, it wasn’t so much Katie being eliminated as Matt setting up a backdoor pilot for whatever the Katie show might be going forward. She was already in great shape, and then he gave her—intentionally or otherwise—an origin story. I’d be willing to bet money that he was directed to pick up that rose, and either didn’t realize that it would be perceived as cruel or didn’t care because ultimately it’s going to work in her favor. I’m guessing the latter; he’s not very practiced at this reality show stuff but he’s also not an idiot and has to know that’s a dick move.
They didn’t eat a scallop and some potato skins. Don’t revolt about Katie’s exit. She’s doing fine. Next.
Heather Martin’s empty pizza box
This poor doofus. Did Heather Martin, the “never been kissed” contestant from Colton’s season, actually drive to Nemacolin without an invitation from the show? I mean, maybe, but I doubt it. Chris Harrison just happened to be all mic’d and makeuped? They were fine with Heather being pretty damn close to that security guard without a mask? Sure. But even if she had just shown up uninvited, The Bachelor wouldn’t put her on camera, much less in quarantine, if they didn’t want her to be there.
Expect her to be out the door in the first 20 minutes of next week’s episode, but also expect the other women to unionize before that happens. Thanks, Heather, for two things:
1) Giving me the chance to make the “strike” pun in the headline for this story, since you made all the other ladies, as Serena P. put it, “rageful.”
2) Getting stuck in that revolving door.
Who most deserves a plate full of macaroni and cheese or a huge piece of cake that says LEARN TO KISS WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED on it or something?
I mean, she made her own bed, but come on:
See you next week.