Peter at Kelsey’s home, just before trying crab rangoon for the first time.
Wow. Here we are, friends. We made it to Bachelor hometowns. Think back, for a moment, to just a few short weeks ago. Things were so different then. It was early January 2020, a time of hope and possibility. Roughly 500 women had entered the Bachelor mansion to vie for the affection of Peter Weber, a sweet commercial-airline pilot who had his heart broken on national TV after Doing It in a windmill four times. Now, only four women are left — Hannah Ann, Kelsey, Madison, and Victoria F. — and Peter has gone from a wholesome airman to a scarred scoundrel whose insatiable appetite for chaos and toxicity has made me reluctant to ever board a plane again in my life.
Anyway. Producers seem to have ranked the visits by least-to-most interesting, and allocated time accordingly. Without further ado, let’s jump in.
Peter’s first visit is to Knoxville, Hannah Ann’s hometown. Hannah Ann is the one who was once a Sonic Drive-In model, and who gave Peter a letter last week that listed all the reasons she loved him. When she greets him, she’s wearing bootcut jeans, which I guess are making a comeback, and I’ll have to sort out my feelings about that in my own time.
Hannah Ann tells Peter that to impress her dad, a forester she calls Ranger Rick, Peter will have to have “good character” and also “be a tough man.” To assess whether he has these qualities, she takes him to an ax-throwing bar. Handing Peter an ax seems like a risky move given that just a few weeks ago, he slashed open his own face on a cocktail glass. Fortunately, both of them make it out of the bar intact, mostly because they’re both pretty bad.
At least no golf carts were involved.
Afterwards, Peter reciprocates Hannah Ann’s letter from last week, by reading her a letter he wrote of all the reasons he’s falling in love with her. One of them is that he loves “how you have a name for every dress that you’ve worn.” What? We haven’t heard about these names at all, and I would love to know what they are.
At Hannah Ann’s house that night, her dad, Ranger Rick, seems thoroughly unimpressed with Peter. Hannah Ann’s sister says one thing Peter could do to impress Rick is to go into the yard and name all the trees, and I agree – that would rule. Sadly, Peter is lame and doesn’t do that. He just talks to Hannah Ann’s parents instead, and doesn’t mention trees once. Ranger Rick can barely disguise his disdain for Peter, and when Peter tells him he plans on telling Hannah Ann that he loves her, Ranger Rick says he’d rather Peter not, unless he’s really serious (you can tell Ranger Rick doesn’t think Peter is really serious; Peter didn’t even try to name a single kind of tree).
Peter nods and says “I hear you,” and then, on the family’s enormous front porch, tells Hannah Ann that he loves her anyway.
The first enormous porch of the evening.
Now, Peter’s off to Des Moines to see Champagne Kelsey, Iowa’s second-most dramatic institution after the caucuses. They go to a winery to stomp grapes together and make out loudly and wetly directly into their microphones. All in all, it’s a very sound-heavy, slurp-forward date. Kelsey tells Peter she loves him, and he says he’s “happy to hear that.” He doesn’t say he loves her back.
Slurp, squish, slurp, squish.
At Kelsey’s house, Peter tries crab rangoon for the first time, and makes a big deal about it. Apparently he and Kelsey had talked about it before, in one of the brief moments when she wasn’t sobbing. Kelsey’s mom says she’s surprised Kelsey brought Peter home, and that it shows he’s a “very special person,” even though, really, he was the only option on this show.
Kelsey’s family also has an enormous porch, and after dinner, Kelsey and Peter go to make out on it. Peter says it was an amazing day, but still doesn’t tell Kelsey he loves her.
The second enormous porch of the evening.
Next, to Auburn, Alabama, where Peter goes to meet up with Madison, the first girl he said he was falling love with. She takes him to the Auburn Arena basketball court, because her dad coaches basketball there. On the screens, there’s a video message for them from Charles Barkley, who played basketball at Auburn in the 80s, which is cool. Auburn’s basketball coach, Bruce Pearl, comes out and has Madison and Peter do basketball drills. Madison is very good, and Peter is very bad, although he does make a decent three-pointer.
That night, Peter goes to Madison’s house, and we learn that her father, in addition to being a basketball coach, appears to moonlight as a Demetri Martin impersonator. Her mom appears to be a high-ranking witch.
The family gathers for dinner, and Madison gets the “special plate,” a family tradition wherein everyone goes around and compliments whoever has the plate that night. (Madison’s mom says she likes that Madison’s “tough,” Peter says she inspires him.)
The rest of the night is, unfortunately, spent discussing Madison’s virginity. She’s saving herself for marriage, but she hasn’t told Peter yet. Peter tells Madison’s dad that he loves Madison, and Madison’s dad says “She’s so pure,” but he doesn’t pull out a flip board and draw a punny cartoon to illustrate his point, so I guess his Demetri Martin bit still needs some work.
On the family’s huge porch afterwards, Madison doesn’t tell Peter that she’s saving herself, or that she loves him. I really can’t believe how big these porches are. Are these really the families’ homes, or are they model homes the Bachelor rented out? Is having a family with a big porch that’s well suited to dramatic declarations of love a requirement for going on the Bachelor? Please email me if you know the answer.
Another enormous porch!
Finally, the main event. Peter goes to see Victoria F. in her hometown of Virginia Beach. She has a surprise for him, which turns out to be another country concert like the one Peter brought her to in Cleveland, only this time, she never dated the singer (Hunter Hayes). There’s still ex drama, though. As Peter and Victoria are leaving the concert, Peter gets pulled aside by a woman named Marissa, who apparently sold him a leather jacket at the Guess store on Rodeo drive in 2012. Her face is blurred, and who warns him to watch out for Victoria, because “there’s been many relationships broken up because of her.” Peter looks confused.
Peter, ignoring red flags.
Marissa, it turns out, dated Peter for five months in 2012 (I wonder if she got him a discount on that Guess jacket). She told Us Weekly that she and Victoria started hanging out in the same social circles when Marissa moved back to Virginia Beach from L.A. “Our first encounter was that she told me she was going to slash my tires because I was hanging out with one of her ex-boyfriends,” Marissa said of Victoria. Yikes!
Peter, of course, is undeterred by red flags, no matter how many there are. That night, he goes to Victoria’s house, and before they go inside to meet her family, tells her about Marissa’s warning. Victoria loses it. She starts sobbing, gets angry at Peter, and says a lot of stuff about being “over it,” and how she’s “ready to just not.” It’s very difficult to keep track of any actual arguments she’s making. She doesn’t really defend herself against Marissa’s accusations, she just gets mad at Peter for bringing them up. Peter leaves without going inside to meet Victoria’s family, probably because they don’t have a porch.
Victoria’s house (no porch).
The next day, Peter looks pensive in his Virginia Beach hotel. Victoria comes to apologize to him says that she’s falling in love with him, and Peter eats it up because he loves drama.
And after all of that, despite Victoria’s toxic, troublesome behavior, Peter gives her a rose during the rose ceremony! Remember how Victoria modeled for that brand that used white supremacist slogans on their clothes? She got a rose! Hannah Ann and Madison also got roses, and Champagne Kelsey was sent home to Iowa.
Tune in next week, for Fantasy Suites, when we’re all going to talk about Madison’s virginity again, and it looks like Peter has sex with someone in a shower.