Ashley Iaconetti's ‘Bachelor’ Season 25, Episode 9 Recap: So Many Awkward Vibes

Because she’s been there and done that, literally, former Bachelor contestant/tear fountain Ashley Iaconetti is recapping this season of The Bachelor for Cosmopolitan. With insider insight as well as a clear eye for what’s going down both in front of and behind the cameras, she’s got a whole lot to say…and you’re gonna wanna hear it.

This post contains spoilers for last night’s (3/8/2021) episode of The Bachelor.

Throughout this season, Matt has spoken to the women he’s dating about how he wants to be a very different father and partner from his own dad. His dad was absent for much of his life and cheated on his mom. Matt says that in order to avoid making the same mistakes his father did, he needs to confront his dad, Manny, about the issues that have led to their flawed relationship. At first when discussing the infidelity that led to Matt’s mom leaving, Manny gets a bit defensive, saying that no one is perfect and that he himself grew up without a father after he died at a young age. Matt continues to articulate the pain that his father’s absence has inflicted on him and Manny apologizes for hurting him. The father and son emotionally embrace and establish that their relationship will be stronger in the future. Matt calls this conversation “a great starting place.”

Then Matt opens up to each of the women about the meeting with his dad during the fantasy suite dates, starting with Michelle. Matt and Michelle spend a part of the day at a Pennsylvania Dutch spa. I kept waiting for a massage therapist to walk into the room and give them some guidance as to what they should do to soothe their bodies with all that butter and oatmeal, but that moment never came. The thing is, I don’t think there’s actually protocol on what to do with this food in a spa atmosphere. After a quick five minute Google search, I can’t find any traditional Pennsylvania Dutch spas and the hotel spas I see in Lancaster, PA provide your basic oil body wraps and aromatherapy massages.

Last week, Michelle said she was falling in love with Matt. This week she rips the Band-Aid off and says, “I love you.” Question for all y’all who haven’t been on this show…are there actually two stages of the exchange of these precious words in IRL relationships? A few weeks in, do you say, “I’m falling in love with you” and then a few weeks after that declare that the falling is over and you’ve hit the love? This Bachelor norm feels silly to me.

Similarly to how Peter’s fantasy suite week was handled, Michelle comes back home beaming the next morning to regale Rachael and Bri with tales of how fulfilling her night was with Matt. Rachael is deeply affected by this interaction. I get how it can be entertaining to witness awkwardness without having to be part of it. I get the jealousy this situation stirs up. But damn, does it make fantasy suites feel dirtier. At least when they kept everyone separate during hometown weeks and beyond, you could pretend like you were the only person left that the lead was sleeping with. You didn’t have to see the face of the girl that your man’s penis was in two days prior. C’mon, I know I’m not the only one thinking that. That being said, as I always mention during this week of dates, I predict sex only happens in 50 percent or fewer fantasy suites (based on my insider knowledge).

Bri’s day date consisted of a hike and setting up a campsite, because, of course, it’s Bri’s date and it must be rugged and outdoors. We didn’t get a lot out of this scene, except the expected “pitching a tent” fantasy suite innuendo. Later at dinner, Bri and Matt bonded again over being raised by single moms without their dads always in the picture. Bri related to Matt’s need to have the conversation he had with his dad, saying that she too always wondered how her relationship with her dad would manifest in her romantic relationships in adulthood.

Bri didn’t hold back on the “L-Word.” Check out this quote: “I still feel 100 percent ready for an engagement after this,” she said. “And what I’m feeling is that I really am so in love with you, because it means the world to me that you can understand me. And it really just goes to show why I love you and the things that I love about you.” Reading that back after seeing her get eliminated in this episode makes me feel so deeply for her. She surrendered her heart and soul entirely to Matt. Her assertiveness and vulnerability is beautiful. It’s been obvious (IMO) for weeks now that Matt’s feelings were not on the same level as Bri’s and it was confirmed in this episode when he responded to that declaration saying, “It’s a great feeling.” While he said multiple times throughout the episode that he was falling in love with all the women, he never said that specifically towards Bri. It’s sad, but she’s a stunning girl with an open heart. Bachelor Nation is already shipping her with Brendan from Tayshia’s season in Paradise. I’m here for it!

Rachael starts out emo on her date. She’s worried that Matt’s feelings could have changed throughout the fantasy suites week, which is a valid concern. Pottery sculpting cannot be Ghost-level sexy while Rachael is radiating anxious vibes, so she pulls Matt aside to explain her concerns. It seems like every week Matt tells Rachael she’s the one, without saying she’s the one. (He was in on this TikTok trend before it was even a thing.) He said, “There’s no easy way to go about these next two weeks, but it’s necessary so that at the end of this you can have 100 percent assurance in where I’m at with you and us.” Matt reiterated the deep, emotional impact seeing Rachael take a hard landing during skydiving last week had on him. After this conversation, I imagine Rachael had the confidence in their relationship to hit play on Unchained Melody.

Was it just me or was it jarring that the show jumped from fireworks out of Matt and Rachael’s bedroom window to Michelle putting on lipstick for the rose ceremony? I believe the overnight portion Rachael and Matt’s fantasy suite date went so well that they couldn’t even show their morning cuddle session. I think the standard clip of the couple lying in bed or eating breakfast the next morning can often be telling. Maybe they were so blissful that showing it would convince viewers Matt ends up picking Rachael. I don’t know. I’m just hypothesizing about why that morning-after scene was missing. By the way, insider tidbit, the producers call you on the house phone to give you a 30-minute heads up to their arrival with the camera crew.

Next week we find out why Matt is crying on a curb and if he’s an engaged man or not. I’ll be back then with my finale report.

XOXO, Crying Girl

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