The Bachelor In Context is a close reading by someone who thinks The Bachelor is a documentary, not a game show.

What if no one was watching The Bachelor? Sure, society would fray and disintegrate like an old carpet under SpaceX rocket at liftoff. But, first, the money would dry up and they’d cancel the show. This is an important question to ask, because it tees up a far less obvious question: What if it just continued? What if this was just a thing that happened? What if The Bachelor was a documentary, not a game show?

Putting a camera in front of something does not make it normal. Apparently, the producers of The Bach do not believe this, because if you took away the cameras and the reality TV juggernaut conventions, The Bachelor becomes a cult-like ordeal.

With this in mind, let’s recap what happened in Week 3.

Our magical temporary billionaire bachelor, Colton, plucked one woman from his harem in Beverly Hills and took her to a San Diego amusement park via helicopter. There he his date Elyse played with twenty or so children of unknown origin, fed them ice cream, and discussed her personal tragedy. They wrapped up the date by dancing to surprise live music before a crowd of adult strangers and then returned home to the harem.

This is only one of many strange happenings this week. Magic Colton took many of the women he keeps in his mansion on a “group date”, or in this case, forced fitness activities guided by an equally captive Terry Crews.

At another point in the episode, the group dressed up as pirates and fought each other for Colton’s amusement. Colton was amused, and gathered an audience to watch his two fiercest women in conflict.

Within the pirate fight-date, a particularly strong rivalry emerged between two of the women, Hannah B. and Caelynn (their surnames are removed to strip away identity and family ties). The story goes that the two have a shadowy beef from a time when both were Miss USA contestants. Though the details remain murky, Hannah B. intimated that Caelynn is not who she seems, setting our minds free to wander.

What other secrets line the walls of the harem mansion? What masks and trinkets of artifice are stowed away behind false walls and loose Spanish tiles? In the weeks to come, perhaps they will unlock their chambers of secrets and reveal their dark past together. Colton will undoubtedly be most amused, sparing them the final punishment: expulsion into the hills, where they will be stalked in their sequined gowns by hungry, wildfire-singed coyotes.

Colton capped off the week by expelling four women without warning, withholding his flowers and forcing them out of the mansion. This struck fear and relief in the hearts of the remaining women, tightening Colton’s evil grasp on them.

TLDR; In context, The Bachelor is just a rich sociopath who is hosting an emotional Battle Royale for aspiring nurses, influencers and pageant queens. Check back in next week for more “this isn’t normal” coverage of The Bachelor In Context.