The Bachelor Recap: The Countdown to Hometowns Is On

This week brought a new type of drama for Bachelor fans, one we have to address before we get into the details of this episode.

The Bachelor has, unfortunately, had its fair share of problematic contestants through the years, and the latest one is Rachael Kirkconnell. Numerous racially insensitive actions from Rachael's past have come to light, and Rachael posted an apology on Instagram last week.

The rest of the contestants on season 25 of The Bachelor released a joint statement "to make it clear that we denounce any defense of racism" (see the full statement on Bri's Instagram here). 

Image by ABC Press/Craig Sjodin

At the same time, former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay Abasolo discussed Rachael's problematic history with Chris Harrison in an Extra interview. In their conversation, Chris actually defended Rachael, and he promptly received a ton of well-deserved criticism

Rachel, who was the first Bachelorette back in 2017, opened up about the incident and her frustration with Chris on her podcast, Higher Learning with Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay. The full episode should be required listening for all Bachelor fans who want to fully understand the gravity of this situation, Chris Harrison's actions, and the ongoing racially insensitive issues that have plagued the franchise.

Chris later apologized for defending Rachael, and this weekend he announced he is “stepping aside” from the entire Bachelor franchise. This is the man who has been the face of The Bachelor since the very beginning, so his departure in the wake of this controversy is a huge deal.

It's unclear who will replace Chris as the host of The Bachelor, and how this will impact Matt's season. While the events of the last week or so do not directly relate to Matt’s journey, it’s impossible to ignore since both Chris and Rachael appear in this episode.

So, now that we've covered what's happening in the present-day Bachelor world, let's get to the latest episode.

We start off with Heather Martin’s "shocking" arrival. Heather wants a shot at love with Matt, so she enters the cocktail party and interrupts Matt's conversation with Pieper to speak with him. After hearing her explanation, Matt needs to decide if Heather can join the season.

In the meantime, Heather tries to chat with the current contestants and it was so painfully awkward to watch! Let’s just say they’re not happy to see her–and they fully go on the attack. A few of the quotes lobbed in Heather’s direction: “you’re just Bachelor hopping” “Bitch, what are you doing?” and “I don’t want to hear your tears.”

In the end, Matt decides to send Heather home, much to the joy of the other contestants. Heather's rather confusing white minivan from last week is back–she drove herself away from the resort in it! I still don’t understand who gave her the van. And why?!

Once Heather departs, it’s time for the rose ceremony. Michelle and Pieper already have roses from their dates, and they're joined by Bri, Rachael, Serena P., Kit, Jessenia, and Abigail.

Our first date of the episode is Matt's one-on-one with Serena P. To those keeping score, take note: this is Serena’s second one-on-one date, and it's happening before Jessenia and Abigail get their first solo date.

Serena and Matt’s date involves tantric yoga, which is INTIMATE! Serena seemed like she was into it, but as soon as it's over she reveals that this date really wasn’t “for her." Serena then proceeds to mention how much she hates tantric yoga multiple times. 

Matt appreciated that Serena was honest with her thoughts and feelings regarding the date–she was uncomfortable with tantric yoga as a whole. And then the big reminder: hometown dates are next week! That’s a huge moment in the Bachelor journey. Serena and Matt talked about how her family might feel if they meet Matt next week. It honestly felt like a sure thing, which makes sense: Matt gives Serena the rose after their sweet conversation.

This date is quickly followed by a group date, with Rachael, Kit, Bri, Michelle, and Abigail. That means Jessenia has the one-on-one date, and she’s ecstatic! Abigail, on the other hand, is in need of some reassurance–she’s now the only contestant without a one-on-one and she's feeling unsure about Matt.

Image by ABC Press/Craig Sjodin

This is a low-key group date. It kind of seems like they’re all just chatting as a group, which feels like a downgrade from the usual Bachelor-level dates of fireworks and helicopter rides. All of the contestants are concerned that hometowns are so soon. It’s all fun and games when you’re just dating a guy, but when your family is going to meet them?! That causes a new level of panic.

Matt has various private conversations during the group date. All of the ladies tell Matt some variation of “I’m falling for you” one at a time. It almost feels...scripted, if we’re being honest.

And finally, Matt talks to Abigail. Abigail is honest about how she’s feeling, and Matt admits that his relationships with other contestants are further along than theirs. "You deserve someone who’s going to put you first,” Matt said to Abigail. TOO TRUE! And Matt, we all appreciate your honesty. Abigail goes home, but I hope there are big things to come from her. She is amazing and kept her cool during their entire conversation and breakup!

The date continues after Abigail leaves, and the first person Matt talks to is Rachael. He asks Rachael if her mom will “grill” him when they meet next week–that, to me, is Matt basically spilling that Rachael makes it to the next round. There was 0 doubt in his voice. Um, Matt, can you not spoil your own show?!

Image by ABC Press/Craig Sjodin

Kit and Matt also had a pretty epic conversation where Kit laid out her 5-year plan. After all, as Kit told Matt, she is a long-term investment. Matt’s response is hilarious because he does not have a five-year plan, but he also wasn’t phased by Kit’s.

Kit left their convo feeling confident, but that changed in about .5 seconds. Matt gave the group date to Rachael, and then they awkwardly left the group and went to a private Aloe Blacc concert. I feel like the rest of the ladies got cheated because their date seemed lame, and now Rachael gets a private concert! 

Kit is not thrilled with Rachael's victory. After the date is over, Kit decides to speak with Matt privately. She explains that she's not sure about their relationship and, since hometowns are next week and he could potentially meet her family, this is not the time to figure it out. Matt seems genuinely upset that she's leaving, but it's clear that Kit's mind is 100% made up. "I’m unwavering in this," she said. Props to Kit for knowing when to cut loose! 

Image by ABC Press/Craig Sjodin

I almost forgot we have one more date to cover this week after Kit leaves: Jessenia's long-awaited one-on-one is here! She and Matt are learning how to “drift” in some sort of race car for their date. I don’t know what drifting is, but it seems incredibly unsafe–and I'm speaking as a comically bad driver.

I feel like Tyler Cameron should come back now because this seems like a guy’s dream date? But Jessenia is down, so I guess I will be too. Jessenia and Matt finish the date making out on the hood of the car Again, Jessenia is into it and I so love that journey for her.

For the romantic nighttime portion of their date, Matt is wearing a hoodie. Considering he’s been dressed to the nines every day, I’m confused by this hoodie. Don’t get me wrong, he still looks handsome. I mean, he would look good in literally a garbage bag. But is this hoodie his way of sending a subtle sign?!

It's not just the hoodie: Jessenia and Matt had a sort of brutal conversation. Jessenia said “I’m falling in love with you” and Matt’s response was “thank you for sharing that with me.” That. Is. TOUGH!

It's safe to say nobody is surprised when Matt sends Jessenia home moments later. So yes, in conclusion, even though Matt looked cute in the hoodie, it was a sign: he just wasn't that into her.

This episode was jam-packed with eliminations, so we’re ending with one more rose ceremony. Only four women are moving on to hometown dates! Serena P., Rachael, Bri, and Michelle get roses, while Pieper is sent home. 

Once the parents and siblings come in during hometown dates, there’s no turning back, so this is where the relationships get REAL! We’re counting down the days until we can see it all go down! Until next time….

Main Image by ABC Press/Craig Sjodin; Bracket design by Sydney Mastrandrea