SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the Jan 18. episode of “The Bachelor.”
Last week’s episode of “The Bachelor” ended on a dramatic cliffhanger, as Sarah Trott fainted mid-rose ceremony. She was whisked away by fellow contestant Bri Springs, and shortly joined by Matt James.
The action resumed with Matt comforting Sarah after her fall, including an additional sidebar between the two of them outside. While Sarah was “embarrassed” by the incident, the other women grew irritated of their time alone. The rose ceremony eventually re-started as well, and Matt handed out his remaining five roses, sending Marylynn Sienna, Alana Milne, Illeana Pennetto, Kristin Hopkins and Sydney Johnson home.
Marylynn was sent home after the conflict with season villain “Queen” Victoria Larson. After Victoria survived the rose ceremony, she pivoted her attacks to Sarah: “Marylynn’s gone and now Sarah needs to go,” she said.
The next day premiered a new slate of dates — the first of which was a 10-women group date outing. Matt prefaced that the date was organized by host Chris Harrison, with the theme of getting “uncomfortable being uncomfortable.” Rachael Kirkconnell, Lauren Maddox, Kit Keenan, Serena Chew, Khaylah Epps, Anna Redman, Kaili Anderson, Katie Thurston, Bri and Victoria attended.
The date kicked off with special guest and “Bachelor” alum Ashley Iaconetti reading excerpts of Harrison’s romantic novel, then challenged the women to write their own intimate story with Matt as the lead character. Each woman took turns sharing their excepts with the “live audience” made up of the other contestants who were not on the group date.
Matt’s story was the most PG of the group. The others were much more suggestive, with Katie — known for her sex-positive attitude after bringing a vibrator to the resort on night one — shared her exotic excerpt — and Victoria being the raciest. Victoria’s was mostly bleeped out, deemed unsuitable for TV.
While most of the women and the audience took the date in stride, Sarah started to unravel, expressing how difficult it was to hear about hypothetical situations between Matt and the other women.
Her stress levels came to fruition as she crashed the evening portion of the date. She arrived uninvited to the cocktail party, interrupting Katie and Matt’s conversation, to express her discomfort. She shared that she struggled with infidelity in the past and that the situation was hard for her to endure. Matt committed to comforting her, expressing his own feelings since their one-on-one date, and tells her to “not compare” their relationships with others.
In the other room, animosity brewed against Sarah from the other contestants. Several women were unable to speak to Matt during their date, for which they directly blamed her.
While Sarah came and apologized to the group, it was clear they had turned against her. The group all questioned her motives, and Katie and Victoria continued to interrogate her individually. The growing hostility against her forced Sarah to reevaluate her position on the show: “I’m really questioning if I can be here and if I can do this,” she said.
Matt ultimately handed the group date rose to Rachael.
The next morning, news of Sarah’s interruption spread to the remainder of the house. When Matt arrived to take Serena Pitt on her one-on-one date, he noted Sarah’s absence and went to go look for her.
He found her isolated in her bedroom, where she was napping away from the other contestants. His initiative only further agitated the women, but she took comfort in his attentiveness. He promised he’d comfort her “every day” and spent their conversation giving her affirmation. “After hearing that from him, I can’t leave,” she confessed to the cameras.
Despite the Sarah drama, Matt took Serena P. on their scheduled one-on-one. The two spent the afternoon horseback riding and enjoying a picnic together surrounded by horses and donkeys.
The two had plenty of lighthearted conversation, but also discussed their families and futures, as well as perceptions and expectations of others. Serena P. exposed her sense of humor and also revealed her depth during the night portion of the date. Matt shared how excited he was about their relationship, and demonstrated that with a rose.
Meanwhile, at the house, another date card arrived. Sarah emerged from her room for its reading, which the women used as an opportunity to attack her intentions and character. She apologized again for interrupting the group date and for isolating herself from the women, but none of the women had an interest in her excuses. They ganged up on her and told her that the remainder of her time at the resort would be uncomfortable.
Sarah — visibly upset — retreated again, until Katie reached out the next morning. Then, the two had an emotional discussion, specifically revolving around Sarah’s family and her dad’s terminal illness. Sarah shared her father’s diagnosis with ALS, and that it was a driving force for wanting to go home. While she had a sincere interest in Matt, the hostility in the house, paired with the need to return to her family, helped her make her decision — she would leave.
While Sarah packed her bags, Katie shared the news with the remained of the contestants, and some humility: “I want to remind everyone to stay classy in this process because we don’t know our stories,” Katie said. “What I don’t want is for her to think she was bullied out of here.”
Sarah then headed to Matt’s residence to share her decision with him. He attempted to convince her to stay, but despite his last-ditch efforts, she said she felt “called to go home.” The two said goodbye, wrapping the episode.
“The Bachelor” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.