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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It doesn’t take Queen Victoria long to start stoking The Bachelor drama

The Bachelor season 25 episode 2
Photo: ABC/Craig Sjodin
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Yes, we have returned for another Bachelor review! I guess, like all the women on this show, Matt James really sold me last week. Unlike your usual lunkhead Bachelor types, Matt seems genuinely kind, caring, and sympathetic. While his date with Sarah aired tonight and she talked about becoming a caretaker for her her dad who has ALS, he tweeted out how to donate to the cause. He and Bri had an open, candid conversation about their similar childhoods. The orchid gesture with Marylynne was supersweet, before Victoria sent everything straight into hell. Most importantly, Matt keeps asking the women what he can do for them to make their journeys easier, which seems like such a valuable element in a partner you want to spend the rest of your life with. Does my husband ask what he can do for me to make the dishes easier? Sadly, he does not. That’s what several years of marriage will do to you, I guess.


Anyway, this episode was a lot; I feel like we’re all watching two different shows. There’s Matt on his actual dates, where he seems to have true bonds with both Bri and Sarah on both adventure-fueled outings. Even his shy flirting with girls at the cocktail party like Lauren the glamorous attorney: totally on board. I really hope that Matt is the rare Bachelor who actually does find love in this whole process. It’s only week two, what is happening to me?

Lest we get too warm and fuzzy, there was also the task on the group date, which was like a cruel microcosm of the show itself. A large (18!) group of women dress up in wedding gowns so that they can picture themselves with the man of their dreams. But to get him, they are reduced to turning on each other, throwing things and tackling, destroying their picture-perfect images in the process. I know that the men obviously were supposed to think this task was hilarious, but I thought it as pretty gross, especially when viewing how demoralized the women were afterwards.

Speaking of demoralizing, away from Matt, we have the Victoria show. Yes, yes, I understand that every Bachelor needs a villain (I used to review UnREAL), so that the producers were probably thanking their lucky stars in the early interviews every time Victoria talked and a whole load of self-centered bullshit came out. But wouldn’t a villain be more effective if she was—oh, I don’t know—slightly subtle? Like Kit (sorry, I had her name as Kat at first)—Kit’s the type who could shoot one of these nice girls a dirty look and they’d probably crumble right into dust. Victoria is about as subtle as a Mack truck; I don’t understand who she even finds to talk to, since she’s already told all the girls she doesn’t like them. And yet, many of them seem so actually benevolent—like MJ, Rachael, Chelsea, and yes, MaryLynne—without Victoria, would they just cheer each other on on their dates, and all the drama would dissipate? I guess if you’re a Bachelor producer, you just can’t have that; like on the group date task, everyone wants to see the contestants turn on each other. But while Matt was handing out roses, prior to Sarah’s collapse, I was thinking how downright revolutionary it would be if Matt was the rare Bachelor with a backbone who saw Victoria for what she really was and sent her home straightaway. This is why I am not a reality TV executive.

Because obviously, Victoria isn’t going anywhere for awhile, even though when Matt is with her, it’s hard for him to hide that he’d rather be anywhere else. But his first major misstep in the game is automatically believing Victoria, just because these are words that have come out of her mouth. She also said she was a Queen, too, remember Matt? She’s wearing some unflattering puffy-sleeved dress that looks like it’s been stretched out from 6x to adult size, telling him absolute falsehoods that he believes with no proof whatsoever. Matt, I don’t know what kind of bullshit coaching you’re getting on the sidelines (although I can imagine), but you know better, I’m sure you do. I really hope Marylynne doesn’t get sent home next week; she was about a million times nicer to Victoria than I would have been, treating her like an actual person instead of a reptilian demon god sent to the show to create mischief.

Victoria is the kind of contestant that people either hate or love; she inspires no mild feelings. But there was a glimmer of hope when the other girls confronted her over stoking so much drama in week two. Maybe seeing Victoria get her eventual comeuppance is worth her sticking around for a few more episodes? Let’s hope the takedown starts next week, while Matt’s surprisingly effective romances continue.


Stray observations

  • The Peleton product placement is so blatant. How long was the camera on that logo? Five seconds?
  • “Katie, you are silent, and that’s not normal.”
  • I bet Matt’s eyes were open the whole time he was kissing Victoria.
  • Can’t leave us all on a cliffhanger; I’ll be back next week to watch Victoria get her dang rose!

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.