Matt James Bachelor Episode 1 Recap: “We Gotta Find Out Who Miss James Is”

Yesterday, 2021 treated us all to the new season of the Bachelor with Matt James. As a long-time, but low-key fan of the franchise, I am excited to see a new season. And honestly glad to not be watching the La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs anymore. It is also refreshing to finally have a lead who is relatively brand-new to the Bachelor franchise. I say relatively, because, we know he is BFFs with Tyler Cameron from Hannah Brown’s season. 

The season starts with Chris Harrison telling us that “Never before in the history of The Bachelor….” has there been such intense interest about someone as a lead. I feel like maybe CH has said those words before. 🤔

We get a quick background of Matt and his life in NYC. And then, three minutes into the episode, an airplane! Matt flies over the resort  (Nemacolin) in an open cockpit biplane – I think this 1931 Pitcarin? I’m guessing he came from PA88.

Matt’s pilot lands the beautiful old tailwheel and off he goes, driving a nice Mercedes through the countryside to the beautiful and modern Mystic Falls estate. 

Sidenote about Nemacolin: The resort – and the airplane – was on the Bach before, which explains how producers knew about it. I JoJo Fletcher’s 2016 season stopped by Nemacolin – and she famously dumped Bad Chad Johnson there. Watching this tonight, I didn’t remember the resort by name. Probably because production only gives the resort a very brief mention. Peter Weber and Kelley Flanagan also visited Nemacolin a few months ago (I assume while this season was filming). Their Youtube recap from September 3rd (and their “Pilot Pete & Kelley” channel) already doesn’t age well. I wonder if they’ll be featured on an upcoming episode.

Back to Matt’s season. With the beautiful background of Nemacolin Matt gives his background story on his early years, complete with lots of photos from growing up. Mom shows up to chat about being vulnerable and asks “When do you think you were last vulnerable?” They laugh – neither of them can remember. 

We see Matt on the Peloton and in the gym, and he talks about what he wants and how much hope he has. He’s ready! More scenic shots of the resort, and then the camera cuts to the limo full of excited women. 

Meeting the Women

After a commercial break, Chris is back on the resort steps predicting drama, tears, and love, and we get the first introduction to the women. The masks and quarantine talk in the B-roll make the show so obviously 2020. 

The first girl we meet is Alicia, 24, a ballerina and ballet teacher who strives to be perfect.

Then we meet Abigail, 25, a Client Financial Manager from Beaverton, OR. 

After that, Kristin, 27, an attorney from New Jersey, and Magi, 32, (@magitareke) the Pharmacist. 

After that, we meet Anna, 24, a copywriter from Chicago, who loves room service and caffeine (can’t blame her). Cue the jumping on the bed shot (I guess there is only so many things to film in hotel rooms?)

After Anna, there’s Sarah Trott, 24, (@thesarahtrott), from San Diego (yeah!) a Broadcast Journalist who worked in Palm Springs but now takes care of her terminally ill dad. 

Just based on first impressions, I think Matt will like Kristin and Magi. They both seem very motivated with their careers. Kristin is close to NYC. Magi says she came from Ethiopia but it’s not clear where she is doing pharmacist things.

After Matt talks about how he can’t put into words how he feels about possibly meeting the woman he will spend the rest of his life with, he hops in the limo, and Chris Harrison is on the resort red carpet, again. 

Matt shows up, and keeps the ladies waiting as he heads into the resort to have a fireside chat with Chris. Chris says the most important thing is coming out of this with joy, peace, and love. 

Finally, they get started. Matt goes outside to meet the women. The first two ladies are both brunettes, both 24, and both wearing green dresses. We meet Bri, 24, and then Rachel, 24.

We see some more women, Sarah from San Diego looks great in her sparkly dress. Matt meets Jessenia, 27, from San Antonio, and Chelsea, 28, from Brooklyn, with a dress that cannot be forgotten.

Next out of the limo is Mari, 24 from Maryland.

Matt seems to really like Mari. I’m putting her in the top 4.

Another limo full of screaming women. Matt meets Magi the pharmacist, who looks radiant in her red dress. Next up is Carolyn, 30, a journalist from LA, who doesn’t even get a limo step-out. The camera cuts to her talking about her mom, and the calming lavender from her garden. We meet Sydney, 28, (@sydney_alexa), from Nashville, who also does not get a limo step-out shot. She tells Matt he’s the hottest human being she’s ever met.

We see quick shots of Kristin the attorney from New Jersey, and Anna, the copywriter from Chicago, has a bachelor survival kit for Matt, complete with little red flags.

We meet Khaylah, 28, from North Carolina, who brought her pickup truck. I hope they get to go drive it during the season.

A few more women, and a growing group inside the resort watches through a window. Some more icebreaker gimmicks, Saneh, 25, from Colorado, with GOAT slippers, and someone else with a step-stool. Alana, 26, from Toronto, has a Lady and the Tramp icebreaker that lands her a quick kiss.

Someone who couldn’t figure out what to wear shows up wearing lingerie with a dress rack and two options. Matt says he appreciates the gesture.

We have another limo of screaming women. Abigail from Oregon gets out and meets Matt, explains her cochlear implant, and compliments Matt on his lips.

We very briefly meet Corrine, 22, from CT, Marylynn, 28, from Studio City, CA, Emani, 25, from Albuquerque, NM, Lauren, 29, from Miami. Then Pieper James, 23, (@pieper_james) from Happy Valley, OR, who says she will be keeping her last name.

MJ, 23, (@m.j.snyder) from Ohio, shows up driving in a Pizza car, and delivers a pizza 🍕. And then shows up Katie (@ventwithkatiee), a TikTok creator/Bank marketing manager, who brings something from home. And all I can think is how embarrassed she might be by this in the future. Yikes. It only gets creepier when she continues carrying around her “friend” the rest of the evening. This thing got way more attention than many of the 25 women.

Some odd ice breakers follow, a nursing student riding a bicycle for two, a stuffed fish that is not explained, and then Illeana, 25, from New York, with a giant meatball.

Next arrives Kit, 21, (@kitkeenan), from New York. She says the limo gives her a rideshare vibe, and shows up in a Bentley in her own car. She tells him KIT stands for “Keep in Touch” and then says she loves being the center of attention.

After Kit, Queen Victoria, 27, (@victorialarson_), from Los Angeles, is carried in by 4 men. She says she’s confident and fun introduces herself to the other women as “Victoria like the Queen.” Kit is not impressed and says she’s president, king, and CEO.

Katie makes a toast to the long and hard night with her purple wand, and finally, the cocktail party gets started. Chris briefs Matt on the first impression rose. Matt gives his opening speech and leads a prayer.

We see him sit down with Sarah (from San Diego!). Mari from Maryland, who is originally from Puerto Rico, gives Matt a boarding pass to Flight 143, before being interrupted by Katie and her purple massage wand. Someone makes a comment, “talk about a Buzzkill.” Well played. Matt says that thing was a lot to take in. Katie is interrupted by MJ, and goes inside to talk about her vibe, and letting women borrow it. Yikes.

Khaylah and Matt get a quiet moment in her pickup truck. After this, I’m putting Khaylah in my Top 4.

Kit sits down with Matt and gives him a snow globe. They are immediately interrupted by Queen Victoria. I predict a two-on-one date, or at least a big fight, later with Kit, Victoria, and Matt. Victoria calls some of the other women idiots.

Matt gives the first impression rose to Abigail. And a kiss!

Shortly after, Chris Harrison announces the upcoming rose ceremony, and mild panic ensues.

Roses are handed out, and tearful hugs follow. Eight of the 25 women are sent home, including Alicia the ballerina and ballet teacher, who is so prominently featured in the promos, is sent home. I didn’t catch who all else went home, as some of them I don’t even think we met.

We see previews for the rest of the season, complete with lots of beautiful backdrops, romantic chemistry, and emotional conflict. And Chris Harrison foreshadows some later season arrivals who will stir things up (including Heather from Colton’s season), and an ambulance. I look forward to the rest of the season, and seeing what happens! Will Matt propose? What is he looking for in a wife? Time will tell!

Top 4 Predictions: Mari, Khaylah, Magi, Chelsea? I’m not really sure. I didn’t see Abigail as a standout (to Matt) but she got the first impression rose! 🌹

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