The ladies get Matt blushing with their erotic -- and at times extremely raunchy -- fiction writing (and reading).
It's not easy watching someone struggle emotionally on these shows, but this week's episode of "The Sarah Show" -- er, "The Bachelor" -- left us feeling as emotionally conflicted as Sarah.
As last week's two-hour "most dramatic" extravaganza came to an end, we saw Sarah collapsing during the Rose Ceremony. She already had a rose at this point, but was apparently overwhelmed by everything regardless.
At the time, we didn't fully realize just how overwhelmed she was. (Queen) Victoria said more than once that this isn't "The Sarah Show," but this week it pretty much was. Just like Victoria's over-the-top antics dominated last week's show, Sarah's emotional struggles took center stage this week.
But before we even had time to get frustrated with Sarah, we were still working through just how frustrated we've been with Victoria. She continued her mustache-twirling cartoon villain ways this week, showing zero compassion for anyone at all, and it all started off with her scoring a big victory.
Now, it may be a bad edit, but it certainly looked like Victoria's roommate Marylynn was not the monster Victoria made her out to be to Matt. She seemed very meek and demure, for the most part. But Victoria's lie worked, and Marylynn was out the door at the very top.
She was joined by Alana, Illeana, Kristin and Sydney, leaving Matt with his Top 19. And yes, we were extremely frustrated to see Victoria there -- if she's not a producer plant or paid actress, as some are speculating, she's definitely the one producers are going to force him to keep deep into the show for sheer entertainment value.
But it's not a positive kind of entertainment. And after Sarah's fainting monopolized even more time with Matt for the girl who'd already had a one-on-one, Victoria put Sarah in her sights as the next one who needed to go.
Sarah was clearly struggling with this whole process, but we're never impressed when someone decides that what they need to do is crash someone else's date to tell the Bachelor or Bachelorette how they feel.
No matter what they're going through emotionally, it's an extremely selfish move, dismissing both the other contestant(s) and even the Bachelor or Bachelorette themselves. And yet, as her insecurities rose up and took hold, Sarah did just that.
If she was feeling a bit of a mess at the Rose Ceremony, she was not ready for the very next Group Date. Now, Sarah wasn't even on the date, but she was invited -- along with the other girls not on it -- to be in the studio audience for the day portion.
That portion, as it turned out, involved the women on the date writing out their romantic, lurid, erotic and at times extremely x-rated sexual fantasies with one Matt James ... and then reading them aloud to everyone.
It's no surprise that both Katie and Victoria had everyone blushing and laughing at just how direct and crude they were willing to go. We can only speculate as to just how filthy it got because there were definitely more words beeped out than heard.
The whole thing was a lot of silly fun, and Matt was clearly enjoying himself, as were all the other girls. And then there was Sarah, who was just spiraling further and further.
Her spiral continued until she decided that despite her feelings for Matt and his for her -- she definitely felt like the front-runner at this point -- she could not take him pursuing other women at the same time.
Sarah is the only woman where he actually asked her what he could do to prove that he's worthy of her. That's an incredible amount of respect he was sending her way. They were definitely further along than anyone else.
But in her emotional spiral, she crashed the evening portion of the group date -- and Katie's time in particular -- to tell Matt she was thinking of leaving. He talked her out of it, but in the time it took to do so, some of the girls wound up with zero time.
Anna, of note, has had zero one-on-one time with Matt all season, and Sarah's monopolization of his time tonight cost her yet another chance. Several women wound up with no time, and as Sarah got time on her one-one-one and again when she fainted, the balance was definitely in her favor.
Later, before the week's one-on-one date, Sarah got even more time when she wasn't present with the other women, sending Matt up to check on her and try again to validate the realness of his feelings for her.
While we get that her emotional struggle was real, this was obviously only making her situation with the other women worse and worse and worse. Here she was again getting one-on-one time with him during someone else's one-on-one date! It really was "The Sarah Show!"
While Sarah continued to struggle, Matt moved on with his one-on-one with Serena P, who genuinely is just a delightful human. She is petite and adorable with the biggest smile and the most genuine laugh.
We also adored the absolute sincerity with which she approached her feelings for Matt. Admitting she does not do things quickly, she could only say she was falling in "like" with him, though she could see it becoming love.
Theirs is a very easy connection, and we also respected that both went into the date needing to see if it was just a bond of friendship or if there was a real spark of romance between them. By the end of the date, it was crystal clear.
By the middle of the date, it may have solidified earlier in the date had it not been for the continual interference of a bunch of donkeys who clearly did not like it when people were kissing in front of them.
Honestly, nothing really memorable or amazing happened in the date, but every bit of it was nevertheless very sweet and honest. It doesn't have to be mind-blowing to be real, and it really looks like this relationship is starting to blossom.
Really what the whole two hours was building up to was Sarah's ultimate decision about what she should do on the show. But first we got to see the ugly fallout of her attempt to apologize to the other women.
Another emotionally wrought moment, Sarah did her best to apologize but she had truly wronged them of this experience. Their frustration was real and they were right to be angry. She needed to be strong enough to take that on.
And it did get ugly, with heated and heightened emotions (built up over several days of Sarah hiding out in her room) leading to some really nasty comments lobbed Sarah's way. Probably most of the women would calm down and maybe even regret their comments later, but this was their truth now.
And right in the middle of it all, with her dispassionate monotone, was (Queen) Victoria, egging it all on and laying out some of the nastiest lines. If we didn't see her cry in next week's episode, we'd think she had no feelings about any of this at all, but rather was just enjoying stoking the flames.
Sarah, on the other hand, did not enjoy it at all. So she retreated again. And then Katie, who we'd considered as a possible villain alongside Victoria in the first episode, proved us totally wrong by being the only woman to go up and check in on Sarah.
It was at this point Sarah opened up about her father's terminal battle with ALS, which Katie absolutely connected with having already lost her father. But while she left a tearful Katie believing this was a big part of her decision, Matt got a different story.
Or maybe we got a different edit. To Matt, Sarah pulled a Victoria and started throwing the other girls under the bus, sharing how nasty they were to her. Now, they were. Was it justified? Maybe not to that extent, but they were definitely allowed to be miffed and express it.
Like we said, this is a complex situation because Sarah made it easy to pile on her with her monopolization of Matt's time, but we don't believe it was calculated and intentionally manipulative. We believe it was a genuine breakdown and her fumbling her way (poorly) through it.
In the end, Sarah self-eliminated despite Matt's protestations, and his reluctance to let her go and statement that he wouldn't stop thinking about her put truth to Katie's fear. She told Sarah that she didn't want to be his "backup plan" because Sarah left.
Can he truly let Sarah go from his heart or will her shadow loom over the rest of the season? Will he ultimately dump everyone and go running off to find her? He wouldn't be the first.