By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Jan 19, 2021 at 6:36 AM

We clearly live in deranged, unprecedented, just plain bizarre times because, for a decent stretch on Monday night's "Bachelor" episode, snotty villain Queen Victoria ... wasn't the worst. In fact, not only that, she ... made sense? WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?! Has my wine been drugged?! Has ten months of a pandemic truly broken my brain to this sad low!? Pretty cool that, in the year 2021, fate decided to hand over the keys and let a drunk Loki run everything. How else do you explain life plot twists like "Bean Dad was a national story," "the Cleveland Browns are good and competent" and "Victoria wasn't the most annoying person on 'The Bachelor'"? My brain, it hurts – and the only prescription is more pinot noir. 

We open Monday night with a future one-on-one date getting donkey-bombed. Great, because this show really needed more literal jackassery. Anyways, WHAT A FUN MOMENT THAT'S BEEN SPOILED! I don't understand this new trend of starting each episode with a little teaser of a moment to come later. You don't need to sell me on watching, show; I'm already here. Despite myself and my brain begging otherwise, I've tuned in. It's like if I went to see a movie and there was a trailer for the movie ... before said movie. I'm here. I bought the ticket and am sitting down. You don't need to worry about convincing me to watch anymore. What a waste of some seemingly adorable and great donkeys. 

Last we checked, though, we left off in the middle of a rose ceremony where Sarah, despite being safe, was struggling to handle the pressure of the night's drama and almost fainted while Matt was dishing out carnations. The medical staff checks her out – but what good is medical attention when the clear cure is Matt's attention? So the two of them go outside to get some air and calm her nerves – I don't know, maybe snag some bonus cute kisses, too – right in front of a window to the rest of the women, sitting and seething inside, waiting for the rest of the rose ceremony to continue. I see no way in which this could possibly cause drama or problems in the near future. 

Sarah eventually gets her feet back under her as she takes her place standing for the rose ceremony again – I don't know, I'd let her have a chair for the rest of the night; this is what happens when you let Matt take over the doctors' job. Speaking of Matt, he comes back and puts on his Serious Face to finish the rose ceremony. Remember the rose ceremony? With Marylynn and Victoria fighting over the final rose? Anyways, despite everyone on the show wanting Victoria to leave, she and her terrible poofy dress sleeves get the final rose while Marylynn gets the axe. YOU'RE TELLING ME THE SHOW KEPT THE OVERDRAMATIC PERSON OVER A BORING LADY?! She's gone along with Sydney, Kristin, Alana and Illeana – the final two Matt probably just got rid of because he couldn't tell their names apart and he's already dealing with two Serenas.

Speaking of Serena, while Victoria's bad dress hogged all the spotlight last week, we did not talk enough about Serena P.'s outfit, which appears to have been stolen from Ariana Grande's concert tour wardrobe department:

Big boots on SerenaX

Serious congratulations to her for pulling off that look – but how many disco balls had to die to make those moon boots?

After things settle down post-ceremony, Harrison arrives to bring tidings of a new date – and also to announce that, after a conversation between he and Matt, Harrison's now helping curate the dates. Hold on a second: HARRISON MIGHT HAVE SOME SAY IN WHAT HAPPENS ON THIS SHOW!? The twists never stop. Even more surprisingly, the first of these Harrison-created dates opens with a dramatic reading from a steamy romance novel ... written by Chris Harrison. Nice product placement, Harrison; I respect the hustle. Gotta boost those Barnes & Noble sales however one can. In related news, upon searching for Harrison's book online, I discovered that there's an unofficial "Bachelor" coloring book? It also comes with its own "Bachelor" drinking game, so I've obviously ordered seven of them.

After moderately special guest Ashley I. reads a sexy excerpt from Harrison's "The Perfect Letter" (on sale now starting at $16.99! BUY IT NOW!), the group date gets around to writing and performing their own steamy love stories starring themselves and Matt. Get ready to hear the words "quiver" and "writhe" a lot more than you'd prefer tonight! Matt kicks things off with a story that starts with chocolate cake, but quickly the plot turns into something even hotter than an oven. BUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CAKE, MATT!? That is the plot thread I was most entranced by.

The rest of the girls take their turn as well, all having a good giggle and laugh at one another's increasingly sexual stories. And while, yes, it's funny to compare this extremely dirty, bleep-exhausting date to two weeks ago when everyone was like, "I just love that he prayed with us; praying is my favorite," yay for ladies talking openly about sexual desires and being sex positive. And for being honestly impressive writers! I mean, can you imagine if the guys had a night like this? It would be like the "40-Year-Old Virgin" scene where Steve Carell tries and fails to describe what a boob feels like – except an hour long and unintentionally funny. Vibrator Lady unsurprising has a great, fun and flirty story – and even Queen Victoria's erotic tale kills the room, a saga of royal bedroom rumblings that would make even "Bridgerton" blush.

Unfortunately, not everyone is having a blast as Sarah looks like she might faint again. She's discovering that she's not in love with dating a guy who's dating two-dozen other people – aka FAMOUSLY THE PREMISE OF THE SHOW! She thought she and Matt had a special connection; add in her history of dating unfaithful and untrustworthy people, and she's feeling funky about the entire situation. Again, if you think you might have an issue dating a guy who's dating a bunch of other women at the same time, then don't go on the show about dating a guy who's dating a bunch of other women at the same time. Seems like an avoidable problem! I had worries that she might bail on the show early – and it appears I may be proven right. 

So Sarah decides to tell Matt her increasingly complicated feelings during the group date. There's just one problem: She's not on the group date. Yes, she dive-bombs Katie and company's time so she can essentially snag some bonus time with Matt. Because apparently that just happens at least once every season now. HAVE YOU PEOPLE NO RESPECT FOR THE RULES OF THE PROCESS!? You think you can do anything just because you look like Alexis from "Schitt's Creek," Sarah?!

And this is where things get really weird because I start ... liking Queen Victoria? Is that possible? WHAT IS HAPPENING!? 2021! (*shakes fist at sky*)

Vibrator Lady Katie is the one who gets most screwed over by Sarah's sneak attack, getting interrupted mid-conversation with Matt by somebody who doesn't even go here. But Victoria weirdly ... makes a lot of sense, harrumphing about Sarah's decision and encouraging Katie to interrupt her right back since she has more of a right to this time than her anyways. And she tries, but Sarah shooes her away for a few minutes longer, then has Matt walk her out before Katie gets her time back – all the while Victoria and the other women are seething. And rightly so!

Sarah, reading the room like a champion, decides it'd be a good time to apologize to them after hijacking their night, but as it turns out, asking for forgiveness isn't as easy as asking for permission as Victoria calls her out for being rude, selfish and manipulative – all accurately so, especially since Sarah refuses to explain what was SOOO important that she needed to hog their time. Victoria eggs her on multiple times to explain herself, but each time, Sarah squirms out some vague nonsense about how her heart needed to discuss things or some full nothingness.

In the end, Sarah notes that "I feel like I have a target on my back." Well, if you don't want a target on you, don't paint red circles on yourself. Easy solution. I can't believe Sarah found a way to make Victoria relatable and the voice of perturbed reason. YOU KNOW HOW ANNOYING YOU HAVE TO BE TO DO THAT!? Oh, and also Rachael gets the rose, but nobody cares. Matt could do a striptease and the whole group date would remain a circle of sulky faces. 

Of course, that's not the end of this. Back at the hotel, the rest of the women hear about Sarah's hijacking – and Sarah's not there to defend herself because she's sulkily locked away in her room, avoiding everyone. It becomes such a thing that, when Matt arrives to snag Serena P. (a person who's technically been on this show this entire time) for a one-on-one date, he bails for a second to check on her, abandoning his supposed date for several minutes. 

Now, MJ says Matt's not doing anything wrong here. Fact check: YES HE IS! He is not some passive member of the show; he is the star and literal namesake of the program! I know the show almost certainly tells its Bachelors and Bachelorettes not to get in the way of these dramas, but it always just makes them look rude and oblivious in the process. A good person, when interrupted during a conversation with a date (especially by someone who isn't even supposed to be there), would say, "Hey, I'm with someone right now; I'll find you when we've had our time," or something like that. But instead, the show just has them let the women walk all over each other AS IF THEY DON'T HAVE THE ABILITY TO TURN DOWN THE RUDENESS AND NOT ENABLE BAD BEHAVIOR! And then ditching your date to comfort your other girlfriend? Good job making Serena feel special, my dude. And sure, Sarah's possibly being manipulative – but Matt could always choose not to indulge it. He's being just as rude as Sarah here, pushing others aside. 

Again, Victoria's upset about Sarah's hijacking of the show – and again, I drink in stunned silence because I'm agreeing with the self-appointed Queen that Sarah's being annoying and rude. 

As for the almost ruined date, Serena and Matt salvage the day with some horse riding and picnicking, complete with teaching Matt how to make a cheese board. (Pro tip: You put cheese on a board.) It's around now when a surprise jackass cuts into the date – no, neither Victoria nor Sarah, but some literal jackasses. WHAT A WHIMSICAL SURPRISE THAT GOT RUINED AN HOUR AGO! I don't know what "The Bachelor" has against providing its viewers surprises and fun this season, but I hope they change their minds! Anyways, while I was concerned at first about Serena being a solo date elimination – there's always one person who gets axed during one-on-one time, and it's not like Matt got things off on the most promising foot by bailing for Sarah at the start – the date turns out cute as the two have honest conversations about their past relationships and Matt's sweetly dorky love of turtles before making out in a hot tub. (Shirtless Matt shot: Take a drink!)

Back at the hotel, the next date card has arrived – but that's not the reveal the ladies are bothered about. No, that would be Sarah, who ends her strange Howard Hughes phase of self-isolation and busts in with an "oops hi everyone" cringe face to hear the date card. Surprising no one but herself, it goes poorly for Sarah. She tries to apologize, but the women all team up to say that what she's been doing is rude and manipulative, and Sarah refuses to explain why she's been a recluse or why she NEEDED to drop into the group date she wasn't invited to. And they're right ... though leave it to Queen Victoria to probably take things too far as she and Kit basically threaten her by saying that she's going to have a bad time living with them from here on out. OK, I'm as annoyed by Sarah as anyone, but maybe we don't ACTUALLY threaten her – especially Victoria, who I'm not 100 percent convinced wouldn't straight-up poison someone's mimosa. 

And then, a hero arrives. Amid all this talk of royalty and queens, an actually royal human being does something worthy of a crown. And her name ... is Vibrator Girl. But after this, I think we can ditch the nickname and give her full-on name privileges: Katie. 

You see, as the rest of the girls turn their backs on Sarah – again, at least somewhat deservedly – Katie goes to give her a visit. And when Sarah reveals that she's decided to leave, Katie actually tries to convince her to stay, saying that if she and Matt have a real connection, they owe it to themselves to pursue it – and to the rest of the women because, even if Katie were to end up winning, there would always be a part of her wondering if she only won because Sarah bailed and she was Matt's second choice. Katie's rooting for actual love to be found here – whether it's with her, Sarah or someone else. And that's actually really sweet!

Sarah then notes that she's leaving not only because of the mental strain of the "Bachelor" process and the other women; she's also leaving because of her sick dad, not wanting to be away from him right now. Katie cries and says that she gets it because her dad died several years ago, and the two legitimately bond together. It's a lovely moment ... though hey, Sarah, quick question: Why didn't you tell everyone else that? I think "I'm preoccupied with being away from my struggling father" would be a pretty decent and relatable excuse – certainly better than her "I'm feeling a lot of feelings, and my heart said that I needed to talk with Matt at this very moment" nonsense. I guess when given a choice between "be honest about a very normal human struggle" or "be vague and rude," you've just gotta choose the latter. 

In the end, Sarah still decides to leave, telling Matt that she just hates being away from her father right now ... and oh, by the way, the women in the house are cruel bullies. (*pulls pin on grenade, throws into room*) BYEEEEEEEE! So at least she's building those bridges on the way out, huh?

And really ... we don't think she's gone for good, do we? I'd be shocked if this was the last Sarah sighting we got this season. Then again, I found myself rooting for Queen Victoria at points tonight, so more shocking things have happened. 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.