The Bachelor, as you very likely know at this point, is a reality show.
But watching Season 25 suddenly feels like one is living inside of an alternative reality, considering ALL the chaos that is surrounding the franchise off-screen these days.
Most notably, of course, Chris Harrison announced he's stepping back as host due to the way he has handled a race-base scandal involving front-runner Rachael Kirkconnell.
Except... Season 25 was filmed months ago, so Harrison remains very much front and center on these installment.
It's weird, and there are far bigger issues at play at the moment than to whom James a rose each week suddenly -- and yet, here we are.
A new episode did air on Monday night and it's our job to wriite about it.
So let's do it, shall we?
First, Matt had to decide whether Heather Martin -- a close pal of Hannah Brown's who crashed the series last week -- would be allowed to stick around.
"The more I thought about it, the more I learned about who you are and your heart, I was like, 'I have to meet this guy,'" Heather told Matt early on, adding:
"It would kill me if I didn't try. I booked a red-eye on my own."
This, naturally, is ridiculous and entirely scripted -- Brown and James are great friends, Hannah could have introduced them ages ago if Heather had interest in James.
Matt gave Heather a warm hug and said he had a lot to contemplate, prior to Martin going over to receive an icy welcome from the other women.
"You're just Bachelor hopping," Pieper said to her.
But it's Matt's opinion that matters and this is what he told Martin:
"Hannah wouldn't send you here without knowing that you could be someone that I could be with.
"And that's why this is hard for me because with where we're at, being this deep in the process, I don't know how it could work."
With that, James sent Martin packing, making this a giant and very dumb waste of time.
From there, Matt apologized to his remaining suitors while they sat before him on a sofa.
"I was just [as] caught off guard as y'all were about that. There's not going to be anyone joining this journey that's not on that couch.
"My heart's here. You all give me energy and again, I wanted to apologize to you all for taking that time away from you all tonight. Pieper, I apologize.
"We were in the middle of a conversation and that was extremely rude and I'm sorry about that."
Eventually, the time came for Matt to hand out roses and send even more contestants packing.
Michelle and Pieper entered the rose ceremony with roses already, and Matt then selected Bri, Rachael, Serena P., Kit, Jessenia and Abigail to stick around for the final week before hometowns.
This meant that Chelsea and Serena C. were the odd ladies out.
The other Serena, however, was rewarded with her second one-on-one date, a tantric yoga session with The Bachelor.
And she hated it.
James, though, said he "felt naked" and "loved" it and wondered if the pair's contrasting views meant he and Serena were "on different wavelengths in terms of our relationship."
This concern didn't last long, however.
"I am falling for you and I am wanting you to meet my family," Serena said about going on a future hometown date. "It is bizarre, but I'm ready to have you meet them. I would want that."
James offered Serena a rose and they ended the night ice skating.
"The more I've gotten to know about her, I could 100 percent see myself falling in love with Serena," he told the cameras.
At a subsequent group date/cocktail party, Pieper, Michelle, Rachael, Bri, Kit and Abigail were asked to open up like never before to Matt.
Bri went first, admitting that she quit her job to come on the show... which seems TOTALLY INSANE.
James appreciate the TOTALLY INSANE gesture, saying in a confessional: "I've heard all I need to hear from Bri. She's here for me."
Pieper. meanwhile, told James she was "falling in love with you," while Michelle said "I'm 100 percent committed to you."
Abigail, however, didn't feel as certain.
"I think we want a lot of the same things. We kind of share a really similar perspective on life and I'm just really excited about you," she told Matt.
"I was kind of thinking about it the other day of, you know, when you kind of have had the picture in your head of, okay this is what I want.
"You're like, okay, I want to be married, I want to have a family. I've just kind of started picturing you in that and it's scary because I can see the possibility of a future with you.
"I just want to know, can you see that possibility with me?"
Nope, Matt replied, he could not.
"It was a no-brainer that I'd give you the first impression rose and I was so comfortable in our relationship that I explored other relationships," he responded.
"And in exploring those relationships with other women and going on those one-on-ones, I did grow strong feelings for them. And being honest with you and following my heart, my heart's pulling me in another direction.
"I apologize. The last thing I want to do is lead you on and lie to you."
So that was it for a fan favorite, which led to a conversation between Matt and his alleged favorite, based on all The Bachelor spoilers out there.
"I feel like I've been searching for what feels like my whole life for this and now I feel like I finally found it," Rachael told Matt.
"But I don't know if I'm going to get it. The only worry is that I just don't get you at the end of this."
James comforted her as follows:
"Where I'm at with you is, when I'm not around you, I'm thinking about you. And you just make me smile."
As for Kit, who is just 21 years old?
She confessed to Matt that she wasn't ready to settle down with a family just yet.
"I don't have this five-year growth trajectory of where I want to be," James responded. "I just want to be living life and progressing forward with the right person."
Following all of the candid chats, Matt gave a rose to Rachael and the two attended a private concernt.
"I am head over heels in love," Rachael said in an on-camera interview. "Get on one knee right now. It's a done deal."
After this romantic evening out, Matt was surprised by a knock on his door. From Kit.
"After our one-on-one I said that I could see myself falling in love with you and I never thought I could let my guard down as much as I have with you and in such a short time," she began to Matt.
"And I thought I would have the clarity I needed going into hometowns but hometowns isn't a figure-it-out sort of a situation. It's a rest-of-your-life sort of situation.
"And you deserve somebody who is 100 percent sure about you getting down on one knee tomorrow and that's not me."
Matt tried to convince Kit to stay, but her mind was made up.
"I am unwavering in this because I know what you deserve and I know that it's the right thing for both of us," she insisted, prior to heading to the exit car.
Finally, during the evening portion of their solo date with James, Jessenia opened up to Matt about her feelings.
"As I told you night one, I came here for you and I want to be a rock for you. And with it being so close to hometowns, definitely makes it hit a little different," she said, adding:
"I do want you to know that I am falling in love with you."
Sadly, Matt didn't reciprocate.
"There needs to be that intangible love and connection that's driving us towards an engagement and I don't think I'm there yet," he told Jessenia.
"And knowing that you deserve unwavering love and respect and knowing that I can't give you that love right now, I can't give you this rose."
Jessenia said she fel "blindsided" by the elimination.
With Jessenia gone and Rachael and Serena having already received flowers, this left two more spots for hometown dates.
At the rose ceremony, Matt gave them to Michelle and Bri, sending Pieper packing.
The Bachelor airs Mondays 8/7c on ABC.