‘The Bachelor’: Crash Course

The Bachelor
February 22, 2021

It’s time for the dreaded hometowns again … or “hometowns” as, like Tayshia’s season before this, all the dates will be held in the quarantine bubble at the resort which is NOT called Necronomicon despite my very best efforts to inadvertently rebrand it so by typing that every time I try to mention the proper name, which is “Nemacolin.”

Chris Harrison meets with the four remaining women to welcome to this new obstacle course, and to inform them who from their families will be meeting Matt James. And … so … a question: how does the quarantining work? Do the families come to the resort to quarantine, or do they quarantine at home? It has to be at home, right? Because if they are quarantining folks for 14 — or even 10 — days, you would have to quarantine every woman’s family who was still on the show two weeks ago, and two weeks ago, there were still eight women in the running. There’s no way they flew all eight families out to Necronomicon Nemacolin for quarantining, right?

These are the sorts of things I get distracted by, I’m afraid.

Queen Gambit’s mother, father, and her sister Talia are in town; Veronica from Riverdale‘s parents and sister, Trinity (big Matrix fans, I guess) are there; No Accent’s mom and dad have come; and First One’s mother, best friend, and newborn baby sister are all waiting to meet Matt James.

No Accent has the first date, and she muses that she is going to bring “little pieces of Minnesota” to Necronomicon Nemacolin for Matt James. To that end, they ride bikes for a while until they arrive at a theater that has been labeled, “Ms. No Accent’s Classroom.” Inside, on a large screen are a number of Ms. No Accent’s adorable students Zooming in to meet Matt James and see their beloved teacher again. The kids ask questions like, “Is that your boyfriend?” and “Have you kissed yet?” and “Are you going to have babies?” and “How many girlfriends do you have?” and I love all of them?

One girl reads an encouraging note Ms. No Accent wrote to her about how she can do anything that she puts her mind to and my goodness, I didn’t realize I could like Ms. No Accent even more than I already did, but here we are.


And a real quick side note: fuck all of those jackasses who are hating on teachers right now. I AM TALKING TO YOU, TUCKER CARLSON.

That evening, Matt James and No Accent go to what appears to be a suburban home? Wait … does Necronomicon Nemacolin have tract homes?

So, they go to a suburban home and meet No Accents’ perfectly adorable parents who are just sooooo mid-Western and delightful. Look at these sweet faces:

Seriously, though, ABC, give it some serious thought.

After telling her parents about being a late arrival on the series and she had an instant connection with Matt James, No Accent has a chat with her father. No Accent tells her dad that she’s impressed by who Matt James is as a person and with the work he does creating hydroponic gardens for inner-city kids (which, by the way, is more information about Matt James than we ever learned from the producers themselves) and that he has all the qualities she’s looking for in a husband.

Her father tells her he’s concerned about the whole “three other women” thing, before asking if she would accept Matt James’ proposal if he were to ask. When No Accent tells him that she would, Dad is like, “Well, OK then.”

Dad then has a sit-down with Matt James, where Matt James tells him that the things he admires about his daughter are her strong convictions and the way she carries herself. Dad asks if Matt James is in love with his daughter or not, and Matt James replies with some mealy-mouthed answer about how he hasn’t told her that yet, that it’s not something he says when he’s not ready, but that he is “falling” for her.

Dad then says in an interview that he and Mom will respect No Accent’s choice and decision making, and be supportive in whatever way they can. And can we just stop here for a hot minute and appreciate this whole moment? For years, when the Bachelor would go on hometowns, the expectation was that he would be asking the parents (the fathers) for their daughters’ hands in marriage, whether or not the Bachelor had any intention to propose, and whether or not the woman in question even felt it necessary since, you know, she was an adult woman in charge of her own decisions and not in need of anyone’s approval to make major life choices. In recent seasons, they seem to have done away with the whole “asking for the daughter’s hands in marriage” thing — which is a HUGE improvement — but this is one of the first fathers I have seen on this show explicitly say, “Hey, our daughter is a grown-up who can make her own choices, and we trust her to do so, so we’re cool with whatever she decides.” As a parent of a child who is technically an adult, I admire the self-confidence it takes in your parenting and your child to say, “Yes, my daughter has only known this man for a handful of weeks, but if she says she’s ready to marry him, I have to trust her because she’s an adult and I raised her to have a good head on her shoulders.” IT WOULD TAKE A LOT.

No Accent, meanwhile, tells her mother that she really likes Matt James. Her mother, reasonably, asks if all of this seems too fast, but No Accent assures her that she believes Matt James is getting there with her. Mom is like, “Well, you seem happy — and if he makes you happy, we’ll love him like he’s family.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what it looks like when you know you’ve done a good job as a parent.

They all play basketball out on the driveway — because, again, somehow we are in the suburbs and not at a resort? Once her parents go inside, Matt James tells No Accent that he now has a better understanding of why she is the way she is. INDEED. THEY’RE AWESOME, SHE’S AWESOME, AND SHE JUST CONFESSED SHE’S IN LOVE WITH HIM, so he should definitely propose instead to the low-key racist sorority girl whoops did I just spoil the whole season? MAYBE!

Speaking of, our next date is with Veronica from Riverdale, who arrives at the date driving one of those stupid Plymouth Prowlers — you know, the car that screams, “I divorced my first wife when I was in my 60s and now this is my attempt to look cool to younger women and to impress my grandkids who I am not allowed to see because my daughter has taken my wife’s side in the split!”

So embarrassing for everyone.

When she picks Matt James up, she blindfolds him and tests his sensitivity to motion sickness by driving him very quickly to an airstrip. There, she removes the blindfold and is like, “SURPRISE, WE ARE GOING SKYDIVING BECAUSE THIS IS DEFINITELY WHAT MY EVERYDAY LIFE IS LIKE: I ABSOLUTELY THROW MYSELF OUT OF A PERFECTLY GOOD AIRCRAFT FOR NO GOOD GODDAMNED REASON ON A DAILY BASIS!”

So, they get into a stupid small plane and strap themselves to what appears to be two of No Accent’s students …

… and then hurl themselves out of said stupid small plane for no good goddamned reason.

Matt James and his 12-year-old land safely, but Veronica on Riverdale

Matt James goes running over to make sure Veronica from Riverdale is OK, and after she has been examined by the production staff, the medics, and the ABC lawyers and has singed multiple waivers promising she won’t sue ABC, The Bachelor producers, or Necronomicon Nemacolin and been given the all-clear to return to filming, Matt James also confirms that she is fine while expressing his deep concern.

And just by doing the bare minimum expected of a human being — making sure the person he just did a dangerous activity with is alive — Matt James deeply impresses Veronica from Riverdale. “HE WAS THERE FOR ME AND THAT IS WHAT I WANT FROM A PARTNER.” Baby, I know you just had a near-death experience, but you need to raise your standards.

That night they go to the tract house where Veronica from Riverdale‘s parents and sister are staying and Veronica from Riverdale reveals to us that she hopes Matt James asks her father for her hand in marriage.

Seriously, I am going to start a Feminism for Dummies class and I’m going to only extend invitations to Bachelor contestants.

Veronica from Riverdale and Matt James reveal to her parents that she very nearly died that afternoon and instead of being alarmed, her mother pouts that she wishes she could have gone skydiving with them. So that’s weird.

In her conversation with her daughter, Veronica from Riverdale‘s mother asks her if she has noticed any red flags with Matt James and if she can really see spending her life with him. Veronica from Riverdale explains that her skydiving accident was really quite serious so thanks for the concern, Mom, and that the way Matt James took care of her impressed her deeply. If he were to propose, she would be confident in saying yes.

Meanwhile, Veronica from Riverdale‘s father is talking with Matt James and he seems highly skeptical, noting that ten weeks is not enough time to get to know someone well enough to marry them. Matt James politely disagrees and talks about trusting the process and all the other platitudes the producers fill these people’s heads with. Veronica from Riverdale‘s father still doesn’t like the part where there are three other women in the running and Matt James is like, “~shrug~, I don’t know what to tell you, man, it’s what your daughter signed up for.”

Veronica from Riverdale then sits with her dubious father and insists to him that Matt James is a good man with the qualities she’s been looking for in a husband, but her father grouses that he and her mother just want to make sure she is “being respected.” When she insists she is or she wouldn’t still be there, he begrudgingly growls that they will support her in whatever she wants to do. It comes off considerably less sincere than No Accent’s parents, you just have to trust me on this.

Once they are alone again, Matt James informs Veronica from Riverdale that he told her father that he’s falling in love with her, and notes that her father is understandably suspicious. And while he knows she wants him to ask her father for his blessing, he’s not going to do that when there are still four families in the mix. REASONABLE. I mean, I’m still anti-asking-for-permission-to-ask-an-adult-woman-to-make-a-decision-about-her-own-life, but if it is something that the family expects out of tradition and a sense of patriarchal respect and whathaveyou, the time to do that is not when he’s DATING THREE OTHER WOMEN.

Veronica from Riverdale:

I need to start drafting my Feminism for Dummies syllabus immediately.

Matt James’ third hometown at Necronomicon Nemacolin date is with First One Out of the Limo who arrives in a Jeep and tells him to hop in the passenger side: they’re going off-roading. It’s time for a little payback for trying to kill her on the ATV that one time. Fortunately, First One is a better driver than Matt James, and another hometown does not end with medics and lawyers swarming the date.

After driving around for a bit, Matt James and Frist One discuss who he’s going to meet that evening (her mother, her best friend, her baby sister) and she laments that she doesn’t have a conventional family with a mother and father and siblings her own age. And while I can sort of understand harboring some insecurities over having an unconventional family, at the same time, who does have a conventional family here in the year of our Lord 2021? What does a “conventional” family even look like? Matt James, for one, does not have one, and he assures her that what matters is that there are people in her life who love her and show up for her. That’s what family really is.


That night, they meet First One’s mother, friend, and her teeny tiny baby sister who is very cute, and Matt James goes through the same motions and the same clichés as he does with all the other families. 

First One’s mother — who, again, is I believe a solid decade younger than me, horribly enough — takes Matt James aside for some mild grilling: how does he feel about her daughter? Is he in love with her? Are they on the same page with their relationship? Does he see her in his life? Matt James insists that he’s falling for her daughter and that he “absolutely” can see a future with her.

First One then spends some time with her mom, where she promises that she has a connection with Matt James, there’s something special there. Her mother offers some motherly advice: that First One needs to be vulnerable and honest with Matt James, and promises that if the worst-case scenario happens, if he breaks her heart, Mom will be there for her, and they’ll get through it together.

Hey, First One’s Mom?

As she walks him out, First One decides now is the time to confess that she is in love with him, and this guy responds with: “Thank you for sharing that with me.”

Mom, time to start stocking up on wine, ice cream, and Kleenex, this isn’t going to end well. Also, First One? You might want to reach out to your old job, honey. See if they’ve filled your spot yet.

Finally, Matt James’ date with Queen’s Gambit. Like No Accent, Queen’s Gambit chooses to try to make this “hometown” date actually about to her day-to-day life, instead of indulging in some sort of adventure fantasy. To that end, she brings him to a room decorated in cheap Canadian flag decorations and gives him a crash-course on her home country.

She quizzes him on Canadian geography, lingo, and symbols, including the Canadian flag; introduces Matt James to some Canadian delicacies like poutine and peameal bacon; and then takes him out to the ice rink where she schools him on hockey.

That evening, Matt James meets Queen’s Gambit’s parents and sister Talia, and he first chats with her mother, Rasna, first. She wants to know why Queen’s Gambit has made it this far, and he explains that she’s smart and beautiful and doesn’t take crap from anyone. And Momma Rosna is like, “Yeah, I bet you say that about all the girls.” (And he kinda does, tbh.)

Queen’s Gambit visits with her sister Talia, who straight-up asks if Queen’s Gambit is in love, and she replies that he “checks all the boxes” and they “get along so well.” Her sister is like, “Objection, non-responsive. I will repeat the question for the witness: Are you in love with Matt James?” When Queen’s Gambit makes a bunch more non-committal noises, her sister is like, “Yeah, I’m not seeing it.”

Queen’s Gambit then has a similar conversation with her father and mother, and slowly comes to the realization that she’s maybe not that into Matt James after all. Queen’s Gambit notes that she had been quite confident about her relationship with him, but now that she’s talking to other adults who haven’t been trapped for two months in a resort enduring ego-death at the hands of reality TV producers, she’s beginning to question her feelings and has a lot to figure out.

Outside with Matt James, Queen’s Gambit admits that she’s having some doubts and is worried about the time limitations on this process. He encourages her to trust him and just focus on where they are now, but she’s clearly not convinced.

The next day ahead of the rose ceremony, Matt James has a conversation with Chris Harrison about where all of his relationships stand and notes that Queen’s Gambit seems to have some hesitations. Chris Harrison is like, “Well, if you are invested in her, you need to go talk to her before you start handing out roses, you dingdong.”

And so, while the other women are getting ready for the rose ceremony, he does just that, and finds Queen’s Gambit dressed like Jason Sudeikis at the Golden Globes.


Matt James sits Queen’s Gambit down and is like, “look, you’re the person I’ve spent the most time with here, and that’s intentional. I can see a future with you, you are someone I could share a life with.”

Queen’s Gambit:

Queen’s Gambit replies that it is important they have an honest conversation, and acknowledges that they did have chemistry and a connection. However, she has had moments where she has struggled in this process and if she’s being honest with herself it’s more than just fear — it just comes down to the fact that she doesn’t think Matt James is “[her] person.”

Matt James is stunned, and admits that this is not where he expected this conversation to go, but lets her off the hook by assuring her that she doesn’t need to say anything more to him, he gets it. She then walks him out to his car and watches him take the drive down Rejection Boulevard.

Bye, Queen’s Gambit! You made the right choice, girl! I’m not saying that Matt James isn’t a good guy, but if you’re not feeling it, better to get out now than five months from now on the cover of People Magazine trying to explain why y’all broke up!

So then we have the least suspenseful rose ceremony of the season. The three remaining women arrive, note that Queen’s Gambit doesn’t seem to be joining them, whisper amongst themselves about it until Matt James arrives and is like, “It’s true, Queen’s Gambit decided I’m not marriage material and went home. So think long and hard about whether or not you want to accept this rose, because clearly, you don’t have to.”

They all happily accept their roses:

Rose #1: No Accent
Rose #2: Veronica from Riverdale
Rose #3: First One

Next up: “The Women Scream All At Each Other for Two Hours.” Fun.

Here are the ladies who were eliminated along with their very not good nicknames:

Here are the women along with their dumb nicknames who are still “dating” Matt and whose nicknames could change as the show goes on, I dunno:

Here are the women along with their dumb nicknames who are still “dating” Matt:

The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC at 7/8 p.m.

2 thoughts on “‘The Bachelor’: Crash Course

Leave a Reply