As always, Chris Harrison said this would be the most dramatic season of “The Bachelor” yet. For once, he wasn’t wrong.
But it’s not the on-screen drama that’s been so explosive. On social media, a movement has errupted within Bachelor Nation that’s questioning the purpose and necessity of “The Bachelor” itself.
Harrison has temporarily stepped down from hosting the show after excusing the racist actions of contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, in an interview with Rachel Lindsay.
“By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term ‘woke police,’ which is unacceptable,” Harrison, 49, wrote in an Instagram post on Saturday. “I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was wrong. I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time”
Harrison was addressing his treatment of former “Bachelorette” Lindsay during an interview with her about one-time “Bachelor” frontrunner Kirkconnell, who has faced accusations of racism, including partaking in an event that glorified the Antebellum era. Kirkconnell also released a statement of her own, calling her ignorance “racist.”
So, it’s been a bombshell week for the franchise, with many of the usual viewers — and even its current stars — opting out of watching Monday night’s episode in solidarity with the mistreated castmates of color.
In light of everything going on, no I will not be watching tonight’s episode. I encourage those who do choose to watch to consider the lens in which each woman is being portrayed. Stay safe and stay well 🖤— Pieper James (@pieper_jamess) February 16, 2021
But this episode served to distract from these calls. Because most of the season has been filmed, Harrison’s removal won’t be noticed on-screen until the “After the Final Rose” special, during the finale. I expected ABC to start the show with a statement from them or Harrison, acknowledging his remorse for the pain he’s caused to the full broadcast audience.
Spoiler alert: Major reveals from the episode follow.
Instead, everything was normal. And though this episode was was wild — half the remaining women were sent home — it was hard to give into the show’s twists and turns, knowing so much more is going on in Bachelor Nation that actually matters.
But nonetheless, here’s what went down on Epsiode 7.
The cocktail party
Newcomer Heather Martin introduced herself to Matt. Though he was delighted to see her, he didn’t feel right bringing her on so late into the game. So back to her minivan she went. Guess all the quarantine was for nothing.
In her short time on the show, she did get a taste of what this season is like: pissed that she dare try to come for their man, most of the gals went on the attack and berated Heather. I’m sure she was happy with Matt’s decision.
The rose ceremony
Chelsea, who was my favorite, got sent home, as did Serena C. And then there were eight.
The first one-on-one
Though Abigail and Jessenia both expected to get the solo outing, as they were the only ones left who hadn’t recieved the honor, Matt picked Serena P. to spend the day alone with him. On her first one-on-one during the third episode, Serena and Matt rode horses and had a romantic picnic.
This time around, they had to do tantric yoga. The couple was forced into sex position-style stretches. Serena was visably uncomfortable and told Matt so. It’s a shame she was put into this position as a form of entertainment for others. Still, she put on a brave face, and her and Matt bonded over their discomfort.
During dinner he gave her a rose, meaning Matt will be meeting her family during next week’s hometown episodes.
The group date
Abigail, Kit, Rachael, Michelle, Pieper and Bri — the last group date of the season. ABC
Pieper, Michelle, Rachael, Bri, Kit and Abigail were invited to a venting session with Matt. Instead of some inoucuous, silly activity, he asked the women to get everything they needed to tell him off their chests.
Bri pulled him aside to let him know that she had to quit her job as a communications manager to continue her journey with Matt. Michelle told him that she’s absoultely commited to their relationship. Rachael confirmed that she and Matt feel the same about each other.
Abigail, armed with the knowledge she won’t be getting a full solo date with him, went all in. After a speech about how much she sees a future with him, she asked Matt where they stand. “I was so comfortable in our relationship that I explored other relationships, and in exploring those relationships with other women… I did grow strong feelings for them,” he told her. “My hearts going in another direction, I apologize.” He walked her out, and she left.
Kit told Matt that she needs a partner who will support her career ambitions, and would be ok waiting to start a family until she’s done so. Matt promised her he would be there for her.
But, he gave the date’s rose to Rachael.
After the date
Knowing that she could be getting engaged in a few short weeks, Kit decided to pay Matt a visit. She knows he deserves someone absolutely sure about their intentions going into hometowns, and she’s just not there yet. “I still do have seeds of doubt,” Kit said, while saying goodbye.
Vroom vroom. ABC
The second one-on-one
It was finally Jessenia’s turn with Matt. They learned how to do some cool car tricks. But amid a sea of twinkly lights and dinner, the two tried to release their spark.
Jessenia told Matt she was falling in love with him, but Matt wasn’t there yet. “Knowing that you deserve unwavering love and respect, knowing that I can’t give you that love right now, I can’t give you this rose,” he told her, sending her home.
The rose ceremony
This left Bri, Michelle, Pieper, Rachael and Serena P., with Serena and Rachael definetly going into next week. Only two others would recieve flowers.
Matt chose Bri and Michelle, sending Pieper home. She was in love with Matt, and couldn’t even say goodbye to him.
I want ABC to know that we’re expecting them to do more than give Chris Harrison a vacation and push this scandal under the rug. They need to bring it forward and tackle it head on, or they’ll lose the fanbase that’s made “The Bachelor” what it is.
I hope next week’s episode follow’s suit, with at least some sort of acknowledgment of the current state of affairs. It’s the bare minimum the producers can do.