We take a break this week from the conventional “Bachelor” episode to enjoy the “Women Tell All” special, a time-honored tradition of calling all (or most) of the season’s rejected women back into the same room for another hour or two of fighting and crying.
This season — Season 25 starring Raleigh native Matt James — seemed especially combative (which is saying a lot), and has had more than its share of off-screen controversy (which we covered in recaps for Week 7 and Week 8).
Chris Harrison hosts Monday’s “Women Tell All” special, because it taped before any of the season’s controversy started. But it was announced this weekend that Emmanuel Acho, a former NFL linebacker and host of the online series “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,” will host the “After the Final Rose” special, which airs after the “Bachelor” finale in a couple of weeks.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This week it’s all about settling scores and airing grievances.
Women, tell us everything
We start with the women. Matt enters in the second half of the show.
The first woman we hear from is Khaylah Epps, a health care advocate from Durham. Chris Harrison asks her what it was like to meet Matt on the first night and she answers, “exhilarating.” The other women agree, and it’s the only time they all agree about something all night.
We then move right into a montage of Bachelor Fights Greatest Hits: the women — especially Victoria — going after one of Matt’s early favorites, Sarah; the attacks on the five new girls; and the big fight between Jessenia and MJ.
Chris goes through each spat, rehashing this and that, and then the attention focuses on Victoria, who suggests that the women offended by her name-calling and bullying were perhaps just being too “sensitive.” I mean, she was the subject of some rude internet memes and you don’t see her crying, do you? Actually, yes, you do.
Katie says rewatching these clips is difficult, and Victoria sort of apologizes to her, which is progress. Then Katie says that the fact that a lot of the women are getting “backlash” online is karma. Chelsea doesn’t care for the “karma” comment, and several of the women argue that Katie pointing out the toxic behavior in the house is what made the house toxic.
That time Anna called Brittany an ‘escort’
Next we dissect The Brittany-Anna Incident.
Brittany, from Chicago, was part of the group of five new women introduced to the house in Episode 4. Anna, also from Chicago, started a crazy rumor that Brittany was “sketchy” and a paid escort.
Several other women (Victoria) were into it, egging Anna on, until Katie let Matt know what was happening and he put an end to it by sending Anna home.
Brittany tells Chris how badly the experience “broke her down” and how it felt “defeating.” When you Google her name now, that’s what comes up, Brittany says. (Assuming all of this is Katie’s fault, since she told Matt about it?)
Anna is actually here (not sure I’d have been able to show my face!) and she calls her own behavior “awful,” and said after seeing the aftermath she’s “100 times more sorry.”
“It just sucks that I did that to someone else,” she said. “Everything I did in that situation sucks. I’m sorry.”
Brittany doubts her sincerity because she hasn’t tried to reach out to her before now. Anna said everything she did on the show was because of insecurities and anger, but she’s working on that. Brittany ultimately accepts her apology and said she doesn’t want people to direct more hate at Anna.
Pancakes, beer and a lost babe in the woods
Next we see some clips from filming that didn’t make it to television.
On one date, girls had to stick their hands into boxes of insects — roaches, worms, crickets — to fish out rings. Then we see a date where the women had to eat a ton of pancakes and then drink a bunch of beer. That didn’t go well.
Then there was a game of hide-and-seek where Kit wandered around in the woods looking for Matt while everyone else had already found him and they were all soaking in a hot tub.
From the boxing episode, we see the women drink (eat?) raw eggs without puking (for the most part).
Katie in the spotlight
Katie is called to the couch to discuss her “Bachelor” journey with Chris. She made a very memorable first impression, bringing a sex toy (which Chris calls her “magic wand”) to the house.
We see a bunch of clips of Matt and Katie kissing, Matt telling Katie how much he likes having her in the house, Matt telling Katie how much he likes her. Then we see their date when Matt tells her he can’t give her a rose, and sends her home.
Katie gets emotional watching the clips, saying she really thought she had a connection with Matt because she wasn’t paying attention to the other relationships in the house. She knows her personality is “a lot” and Matt seemed OK with that. She was hopeful! She was falling in love!
But when she was watching the show later from home, Katie said, “I get it.” She said seeing his dates with a couple of the other women, she saw that she “never had a chance.” She’s 30 years old now and she said she wonders if there’s someone out there for her. But she feels more confident now than she ever has and she’s ready to meet someone. (I’m gonna be honest with y’all because y’all my “Bachelor” peeps: reliable spoilers online indicate Katie will be the next “Bachelorette,” but that hasn’t been confirmed by ABC.)
This recap will update throughout the night.
More about ‘Bachelor’ Matt James
James, who made news this past summer when he was named ABC’s first Black “Bachelor,” is 28 years old and works with a real estate investment firm in New York City. He is also involved in a program in New York that helps children affected by homelessness.
He is a graduate of Sanderson High School in Raleigh and played football at Wake Forest University.
We will recap the show each week.
Catch up on our previous Matt James coverage:
How to watch ‘The Bachelor’
New episodes of “The Bachelor” air at 8 p.m. Mondays on ABC.
You can also stream “The Bachelor” the next day at abc.com/shows/the-bachelor or on Hulu.