The following is a recap of weeks 4 - 7 of The Bachelor. Next up: Hometowns and Fantasy Suites! Well, for us — presumably next up for Peter is utter despair and aerial-therapy which is kind of like equine-therapy, but with planes. Catch up on past Peter recaps here, and sign up for the TATBT newsletter!
It is my belief that there are no bad Bachelor seasons — only bad bachelors. And my goodness, folks, have we got ourselves a stinker.
I don’t think anyone has been this unexpectedly bad at something since I tried to play J.V. volleyball my freshman year of high school, sprained my elbow in the first practice, and spent the rest of the season running the scoreboard and fake-wearing a sling long after my arm had healed because I was too scared to have a ball flying at me again.
Much like any nonathletic 14-year-old, Peter has allowed his insecurity to overwhelm him. And his reaction to that fear seems to basically be… weaponizing his own ignorance?! It is wild how much power this man has been given with so little understanding of how to wield it.
I know, in my head (not my heart, which is where your feelings live, and also your intuition and unspoken desire to fuck a medical sales rep who keeps physically running away from you), that Peter must be a smart person: there are a lot of switches in an airplane cockpit and I bet that little nerd knows what each and every one of them does…
Nonetheless, this probably-intelligent man is a dummy of dangerous proportions. When you mainline nine hours of The Bachelor in one week like it's a heartwarming sports docu-series about superhuman cheerleaders and their fiercely level-headed coach, you notice a few consistencies. For example, the less a woman smiles, the more seriously Peter thinks she is taking this, and the more he will desire to keep her around…
If that woman cries like she has recently sprained her elbow in front of all the cool sophomores, it is undeniable proof that she cares about Peter as much as he cares about her…
And if that woman is rendered incapable of speaking, expressing thought and/or remaining in her chair because she's so distraught over the mere thought of Peter, then it’s game over for any other broad that simply likes the guy and thinks exploring a potential relationship with him sounds fun and not at all nauseating…
I don’t mean to be all "you'd be prettier if you smiled, girl" — these women couldn’t be prettier if they were FaceTuned by Kim Kardashian herself — but it is shocking how overall unhappy this cast is.
Although maybe it shouldn’t be such a surprise… the fish rots at the stitched-up head, after all.
Quite obviously, Peter equates anguish with effort. That mistake is not unique to him, but the circumstance of dating 30 women at once is, and this fundamental misunderstanding of human connection means that, given the opportunity to make the right decision on which relationships could possibly lead to longevity, Peter will always do the opposite.
And when breaking up with the women who might actually be able to commit to a life of family and travel (his only two requirements) with him, he will try so hard to deny the reality that it is impossible to please people 100 percent of the time that he will wind up being as hurtful as he possibly can…
In elementary school, when impressionable young children are learning the things that really stick — home row keys, multiplication tables, and how to sing the states in alphabetical order — why not throw in the valuable life lesson that, one day, when they find themselves in the position to break up with someone, to never, no matter how badly they want to, no matter how convinced they are that it will be reassuring or kind, say the words: "You're going to make someone so happy someday."
Peter. Pedro — may I call you Pedro? You are the person currently making Mykenna unhappy; why on earth would she trust you to asses her ability to make someone else happy when the one and only thing you’re telling her in this moment is that she can’t make you happy? Personally, I wouldn’t trust Peter’s ability to assess the difference between a human woman and a waffle. But he attempts to reassure these women over and over that he’s looked into their futures, and they’re going to be great, riiiiiight before he shoves them into a Suburban and heads back to his harem of very upset 24-year-olds.
God bless Victoria P for simply responding, “I know,” when Peter rolls out his signature “you’re going to make someone so happy one day line” shortly after informing her that he doesn’t see her as a wife in the middle of a random party…
The thing you might notice over and over again if you pay that guy from Bird Box to physically hold your eyes open so you can make it through nine hours of The Bachelor is that this man—this poor, doomed man—does not learn from his mistakes. Or rather, he doesn’t try to learn from his mistakes. Bad things happen; he makes a face so sad and pitiful that all the babies and puppies in the world come together to file a class action lawsuit against him for intellectual property theft; then someone offers him the slightest amount of validation, and he forgets the bad thing ever happened in the first place.
Take for example, the first Cocktail Party after Peter has invited Alayah back on the show, when he arrives feeling 100 percent confident that he made the right decision…
And then he's informed that all 13 of his girlfriends feel disrespected and undervalued by his decision to take up yet another week full of dates with the exact same drama that's been distracting him all season…
So he kicks Alayah off for a second time using the exact same reason as the first time: that the drama surrounding her is too much for him to deal with…
And resolves to be more confident in his decisions moving forward, even though he was entirely confident in his original decision to bring Alayah back, a declaration he made mere hours ago in real-time, and mere inches above in recap-time, but has already forgotten about…
Because over and over again, Peter cannot seem to learn that confidence in decisions comes not from bold declarations or fortitude; it comes from knowing that you initially gave those decisions enough thought and care that you can stand behind them and trust that you're not just, I dunno, substituting the fleeting feeling of chased-down validation for actual growth and self-reflection.
Between Hannah Brown and the way his own season is going so far, I think Peter’s Bachelor franchise experience might be the major trauma of his life thus far — and our guy has no idea. Throughout weeks 4 – 7, he repeats the phrase, "I have preached that this process works," so many times to his dwindling sister-girlfriends that it becomes increasingly clear that this dude is not trying to convince them that they could fall in love with him during this fool-proof process…
He’s trying to convince himself.
Over and over he urges the women who he feels are less interested in him to lean in and trust the process, even though Peter’s personal experience thus far has been falling in love with a woman who fell in love with a man who was not in love with her. And Peter knows this. While declaring that this process works, he leans further and further into the fear that he will once again fall in love with someone who either doesn’t love him in the same way, or is actively misleading him. And with each dwindling rose he hands over to a crying 24-year-old, I can’t help but feel he’s moving further and further toward making that fear a reality.
But what do I know! I'm just hobnobbing with pseudo-psychology here, when I should really be dealing in the facts, which are:
Since I last left you after week 3, Peter and his beleaguered co-girlfriends have visited four news destinations: Costa Rica, Chile, Peru, and of course, Cleveland. They have accused each other of being alcoholics, and only being there for the hashtags, and being manipulative, and being manipulative, and being manipulative. For his part, over the course of weeks 4 – 7, Peter has gotten 22 stitches put in, papier-mâchéd, and taken out. And he’s whittled his once bountiful selection of 30 possible wives, down to a truly baffling final four as he heads into Hometowns.
There's Hannah Ann, a haunted doll that just, like, rocks a chair every once in while or writes “play with me” on the wall in red Crayon, she doesn’t lure kids into the woods or anything; there's Kelsey, a woman with a storyline so dynamic and a demeanor so simultaneously strong and fragile that I fear this might all end in a Dark Phoenix scenario; there's Madison, Peter's one true love who is, inconveniently, in love with her own fathers (heavenly and biological, as it were).
And then—oh, then—there's Victoria P, a sexy, sexy baby with colic so bad you might try to take her back to the hospital, but they won't take her because she is, in fact, technically an adult woman which you can tell by how quick her gate is when she runs away from Peter on every single one of their dates.
So let's go over just how well Peter is following this process that he trust so much as he cancels cocktail parties, gives group date roses to women who don’t even go here, and tells women not to worry as he actively puts them into harm's way (and I don’t just mean inside his itty bitty plane).
THE LAST STAND OF ALAYAH
It cannot be understated how much Peter boinked his entire season in the moment he invited Alayah back into the house and gave her the group date rose. And the boinking comes not in the actual invitation for Alayah to rejoin the house, but in having no idea how the other women would respond to that (badly), and how he would respond to their poor response (crippling insecurity that will plague him for the rest of the season, and perhaps the rest of his romantic life until he deals with it).
Last we saw Alayah, she was being dismissed by Peter, who didn't feel confident about his decision, but decided that the choice had already been made, so he needed to live with it.
Then he took his 13 remaining girlfriends on a giant group date where they were already worried about being able to get any of his time, forced them to play full-contact football for "fun" where only the winning team would get to advance to the nighttime portion of the date, eventually decided they could all advance when the two teams tied…then a 14th woman, Alayah showed up on the date.
And an already bad date went to true, true hell.
Peter dismisses poor Shiann who scored like 100 touchdowns at the football game and then got just enough time with Peter to tell him how sad she is about how little time they get together. Peter sits down with Alayah and she tells him that she's there to set the record straight about what was said about her, which for some reason means proving that she and Victoria P knew each other better than Victoria P let on, but not addressing Victoria P's main claim, which wasn't how well they knew each other, but that Alayah asked her to lie to producers about their previous relationship.
Naturally, Peter brings Victoria P directly to Alayah so that they can all three sit on a tiny couch and figure out the truth of this matter that really has very little to do with Peter's relationship with either woman. Because the depth of Alayah and Victoria P's existing relationship and whether they once went to Las Vegas together is not the reason Peter sent Alayah home. He sent her home because, when asked, multiple women told him it seemed like she was just there for the cameras. I maintain that being interested in the cameras and the Bachelor are not mutually exclusive agendas, but Peter has forgotten all about that conundrum. To him, there is a moral imperative to figure out if Alayah and Victoria P have spent more or less than three hours together so he can figure out which one is lying rather than, I dunno, recognizing that anyone who manually wipes away the tear of their opponent mid-battle might be capable of murder.
Do I think Victoria is lying about how well she knew Alayah? I don't know, do you think someone who says, "I felt like he deserved what I felt like was my truth in that moment," has a firm grasp of unmitigated honesty?
Of course not. But I also think it shouldn’t matter that Victoria P underplayed how well she knew Alayah when she was asked her opinion about her — it actually seems like it would be worse if she acted like she knew her better than she really did, and then trashed her???
The question at hand is if Peter wants to date someone who is such a lightning rod of drama among the rest of his girlfriends. But when it comes to hot women, Peter really prefers to look past the questions-at-hand and just move forward with blind-hope-at-the-beautiful-face.
So he invites Alayah to come back on the show, returns hand-in-hand with her to a room full of women he's been ignoring all night after they physically harmed themselves all day for his attention, and gives the group date rose to Alayah, a woman he previously sent home after asking for all of their opinions on her and saying he trusted them…
It might be the dumbest thing anyone has done on this show since Juan Pablo did…everything Juan Pablo did on this show. "I'm doing what I feel like I need to do to feel confident moving forward with all of this," Peter tells his now 14 girlfriends. "I hope you can understand that."
Reader, believe me when I tell you, they do not understand that.
And then Peter just departs, leaving chaos and fury in his wake, mostly directed at Alayah, which isn't totally fair, but also she's so frustrating it's difficult to extend her too much sympathy. Tension builds in the house — or rather, the Cincinnati hotel — as Alayah giddily shares all the juicy information she's gotten from the internet during her time away from captivity (more on said juiciness later), and by the time Peter walks into the Cleveland Cocktail Party, he might as well be walking into a den of hungry, contoured lions who have poured themselves into bandage dresses for a man who frequently doesn’t give their happiness a second thought.
This bozo walks enters a room full of women who have repeatedly expressed to him that he's given far too much time to the Alayah drama, and immediately asks to speak to Victoria P about the Alayah drama. In the split second it takes all of them to pop their eyes back into their sockets, Deandra cuts in—
She’s so beautiful! So thoughtful and well-spoken! Peter will cut her within the hour!
"I'm sorry, Peter, but I've never felt so under recognized by somebody in my life," Deandra says as all the women except Alayah nod dramatically and Peter's li'l face falls. As you'll recall, he walked into this Cocktail Party feeling "one hundred percent confident I know what I'm doing," and proudly announced to his girlfriends that he felt a lot of progress just moments before they all informed him that he's dumb and they can't stand him.
Deandra continues, telling him that they busted their asses at the football date they're all literally beaten and bruised from, "Then you come to the cocktail party and ignore us and walk in hand-in-hand with Alayah… it was like the biggest slap in the face, I couldn’t even look at you."
Peter audibly gulps a number of times, and apologizes to Deandra and Natasha, who were the two women to speak up, but not to Mykenna who's nodding so hard it looks like her head might fly off into the Cleveland abyss.
Peter, buddy—no one is expecting you to be perfect. That ship has sailed! We are merely expecting you to think about your decisions and how they affect your several dozen girlfriends.
Unfortunately… that ship seems to have also sailed. Peter says he gave Alayah the rose he should have given her at the last Rose Ceremony, but he felt like he was "influenced" and made a decision that wasn't honest to himself. Hmmm, I wonder who he felt dishonestly influenced by that he just threw under the bus in front of all her friends, and is now asking to speak to privately…
Victoria P has an epic run where she hisses, "I don’t really want to talk to you right now, Peter," and then starts incessantly talking at him…and then when he asks her to sit down, she hisses, "No, I've been sitting all week," and then immediately sits down. It's amazing.
Listen, I know Victoria P is shady as hell in the way she always seems to be evading blame for drama that she started, but…I just love her and how mad she gets at Peter who deserves to be on the receiving end of some anger. She's like Clare Crawley, except she remembers to pretend to be chill sometimes. This is not one of those times…
Victoria P says she's tired of Peter saying he trusts her, but then questioning the intel that he asked her for. She says that Alayah is trying to manipulate both of them, and if he wants to know what she's capable of, he should talk to Victoria F about what happened with Alayah yesterday. "What happened yesterday?" Peter asks, all the blood draining from his face, and all the confidence draining from between the walnuts rattling around up where his brain should be.
"Not my story to tell," Victoria P quips back.
Back inside, Victoria F tells Peter how Alayah was spreading stories about her from the outside world [ed. note: it's not even the worst story, but we'll get there soon], and Sydney tells him that he knows nothing about her because he been so tied up in this drama. So Peter pulls Alayah aside, and asks her why the other women don't like her, which is, historically, a very productive question for these two.
She doesn’t know, and Peter doesn't know either because he hasn't been listening, so he walks around whatever haunted Cleveland aquarium they’re in, staring into shark tanks and saying he's worried that all of the women are just going to leave because they're so disappointed in him.
"I don’t care what anyone in there says, I know you have an amazing heart and are a good person," Peter tells Alayah when he sits back down with her. "I think that…just with everything that's happened, this is a little too much." I'd say that Alayah leaves fairly graciously considering that this is now the second time Peter has told her that he's kicking her out because he definitely likes her, but nobody else does, and he can’t handle that.
But Peter has now made his decision — the same one he made a week ago, but this time, in a much worse position — and he walks back into the room full of furious women like he's walking to his execution. He apologizes and says he knows it may not look like he knows what he wants, but he promises he does, and he now knows Alayah wasn't it. He now knows that…after asking everyone's opinion on her, sending her home, receiving her back, asking Victoria P's opinion of her again, ignoring that opinion, inviting Alayah back on the show, hearing more opinions, and then sending her home again.
And now, you guys—now Peter is back to being 100 percent confident that this is going to work for him.
The delusion is actually heartbreaking.
I don't doubt that Peter believes he wants certain things, but I very much doubt he'll be able to match those things with the reality of his present situation in a matter of seven weeks. Case-in-point…
SIX FLAGS OVER EXES
I have very obviously been avoiding Victoria F’s whole… deal, because I simply do not know what to say. Possessing no feminine wiles of my own, and finding it a generally sexist notion, I've never actually seen them at play. But there's an exception to every rule, and Victoria F is just that; she could be using her ability control men with a mere whisper and batting of her teary eyelashes to do something useful like, I dunno, steal money from billionaires to give to Planned Parenthood, but instead she's using it to expose herself for filth on ABC and allegedly have affairs with her friends' husbands [ed. note: yes, that was a PLURAL possessive apostrophe!] in Virgina Beach.
We'll get to those rumors during Hometowns, because for now, we don’t need to deal in rumors when we’ve got hot, juicy facts.
In certainly the most deranged thing the producers have ever done, they arranged for country singer Chase Rise to perform on Peter and Victoria F's date…knowing full well that Victoria F used to "date" country singer Chase Rice.
After having fun on their theme park date where Victoria F whispers into her hand that she's nervous 100 times, and then confidently makes this wow-wow-wee-wah-red-flag toast — “here's to our sons having hot moms and successful dads” [ed. note: SONS! multiple hot moms! many successful dads! wow wow wee wah!] — it's time for the two lovebirds to dance on a platform in front of a crowd as lovebirds are wont to do…
The moment Victoria F hears the music, she knows it's Chase Rice and begins, to put it lightly: freak the fuck out.
Most notable about this truly insane moment where Victoria F has to dance in front of a man she formerly dated with a man she's currently dating on national television, is not how Victoria first reacts, which is visibly shaken, or how Chase Rice reacts, which seems mildly chagrinned, but how Peter reacts…
Nothing. Not a thing! Peter doesn't realize for one single second that Victoria F is crawling out of her skin when just moments before she was totally relaxed and having a good time, and toasting to how hot she's going to be when she has all of Peter's successful sons (and quietly throws their daughters into rivers so they won’t steal her beauty or whatever).
Sure, there’s no way Peter could have guessed that Victoria once dated the man serenading them, but perhaps he could have notice that all the life drained from her eyes…
But no! Peter is having the time of his life, and wow, is the level of emotional intelligence on display embarrassing!
Victoria F absolutely makes this situation as bad as it could be by building up the mere presence of a former lover into a much bigger deal than it is. Especially considering that while this specific Bachelor-world circumstance has obviously been coordinated within an inch of its life by producers, it’s actually very common in real life. You run into an ex while with a new boyfriend, what do you do? Tell your current boyfriend, and then either avoid or acknowledge the ex. What do you not do? Decide that your current boyfriend is without a doubt going to dump you the moment he finds out you’ve dated another person before him, and work yourself into a frenzied lather, delaying telling him for hours, and allowing him to say things like, “Hey, maybe Chase Rice could play at our wedding!”
Something is fishy about how worked up Victoria gets about telling Peter that she has a history with Chase. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, it's that she's concerned Peter is going to see her as a fame-chaser like (barf) Jed. Not giving her that benefit, there's something more that she's hiding behind referring to Chase as her "ex-boyfriend," while Chase refers to Victoria as "one night in Charlotte" who "seems like a cool girl.”
Either way, once again this season, the Bachelor producers work hard, but there's simply no way they could have expected just how hard the rest of this cast would also work to make Peter's life miserable — and Victoria F is out for ultimate destruction. After awkwardly dancing her way through the Chase Rice song, Victoria evacuates the premises, watches Peter chat with Chase and give him his phone number from afar, and finally, Victoria speaks to Chase herself who kindly but without making eye contact advises her to just do what's best for her.
Without fail, Victoria F consistently feels what’s best for her is to freak the fuck out in response to nothing-scenarios she has created in her own head.
I assure you, bb — Peter wouldn’t even know your names if Chris Harrison didn’t whisper them into his ear at Rose Ceremonies, he certainly is not going to intuit that you slept with the guitar player.
At the dinner portion of the date, Victoria has worked up the nerve to tell Peter the truth which she does by telling him she's scared over and over, and after he's nice and scared too, simply saying: "I used to date Chase."
Oh, it is delicious.
It is in these moments that I love Peter.
When his constant state of befuddlement is topped only by the state of the woman across from him…
Because there is space for no one else to be overwhelmed when Victoria F is in the room — she has the proprietary patent on being overwhelmed.
After telling Peter that she dated Chase, and answering yes, the singer Chase, and yes, the guy from the concert who Peter talked to, Victoria declares that she’s entirely too overwhelmed by this situation that Peter is reacting totally calmly to, and rushes offset sobbing…
Does Peter read Victoria acting like this simple conversation is an unmanageable disaster as suspicious, or perhaps an overreaction to distract from something else that she’s actually not telling him? No he does not! Does he think it's odd that Victoria keeps choking out "I don’t know how to explain this," when the explanation should be as simple as, I used to date that guy, Chase.
Yes, I dated him.
Yes, isn't that crazy? Things ended totally amicably and now I really like you—let's you and I have SONS and be respectively successful and hot together forever!
But no…I believe that Victoria F understands that if she acts upset enough about the idea that she could lose Peter over this, then he will be desperate to keep her. And she plays his ass like a California fiddle. Peter rushes after her, insisting that it's not her fault (it is, for the record, not her fault, but the fact that Peter continues to trust the producers after this just tells you everything you need to know about his malleability). Victoria sobs into his shoulder, "I just feel like me being honest with you is going to drive you away."
I don't feel great about this, but Victoria is a witch. Because these self-martyring lines— I feel like me being honest with you is going to drive you away, and I get it if you, like, don’t want to try with me — is dark, dark magic in that they draw sweet, insecure Peter literally right to her.
Whether consciously or not, Victoria has picked up that Peter is desperate for honesty, and he'll do whatever it takes to show Victoria F that he rewards it, never questioning whether honesty is what he’s actually what he's gotten or not.
Revealing itself more subtly over the course of the season—and then all at once on Hannah Ann’s later one-on-one date—is that Peter exclusively equates inner feeling with outer emotion. The more traumatized you seem by your own love for him, the more he will believe you, and the more he will love you in return.
Victoria is traumatized by the pressure of breathing when she's in front of Peter, and he has endless comfort and reassurances to offer her in response to her desperation for him to believe how hard she's trying to be open and honest with him.
The thing is…
Before her one-on-one, Victoria F had already displayed a pattern of appropriating a reticence in front of Peter that is never evident anywhere else. And after she goes on this disastrous date with him, the proof that her constant need to be chased and doted upon by Peter is at least partially an act becomes…stark.
Especially not with other women.
When Alayah returns on the group date just following Victoria F's one-on-one, it's with the Reality-Steve-sourced information that Victoria's famous ex was on her date, information Victoria F hasn't shared with anyone. And when Victoria F finds out that Alayah tattled, she marches into her hotel room with no hesitation, no trembling hands, no quaking voice, and tears her to shreds…
Victoria informs Alayah, "You are not going to come in here after being sent home for good fucking reason" and stir the pot. She's got "some choice words for Peter, and he's going to know what kind of person [Alayah really is]." It is delivered with the confidence and effectiveness of a woman who does not find fighting with other women a foreign concept. Something tells me she doesn't find getting men to chase her through a path of her own tears exactly a second language either.
THESE ARE THE TAMMY THINGS
Obviously, I do not trust Victoria F, but I will at least give her credit that she has me stumped. She seems like such a stereotype of a duplicitous woman, that I didn’t know people like her were real. She's like a character written by the bitterest, horniest of male authors: her breasts, they heave; her eyes, like ink-lined saucers! But beneath those sable lashes and raven mane—a snake in girl's clothing!
Ugh, I'm annoying myself. All that to say, the transparency of women like Tammy and Mykenna is almost a reprieve from trying to make sense of Victoria F's whole deal and how Peter could be into her.
I don't enjoy watching Tammy tear other women down, or Mykenna attempt to get a Refinery29 article written about how you-won't-believe-this-Bachelor-contestant's-powerful-message-about-self-love… but at least I don’t have to wonder if they're going to unhinge their jaws and swallow Peter whole if he ever tries to break up with them. That’s mostly because Mykenna really has more of a weasel thing than a snake thing going for her though…
It all starts when Peter goes on a one-on-one with Sydney, where he talks about how much he cares for and respects her, humps her under a waterfall, and then inexplicably sends her home a week later. While the humping is still happening though, we see Kelsey back at the Costa Rican mansion, weeping. You see, she's also just gone on a one-on-one with Peter where he said he respected her, and humped her on a lamppost. Kelsey and Peter have a notably emotional connection, which has made it hard for her to think about him creating equal or better connections with other women.
This happens every season, and every season some other woman tries to tell the crying woman that this is what they signed up for rather than just allowing them to flame out on their own, but no one—I mean, no one—is quite as disgusted by emotions as Tammy, a former-sassy-favorite turned way-to-mean-to-enjoy villain.
And listen, I'm also dead inside and sometimes have trouble understanding why people can't manipulate their emotions into being what they want them to be. It's not healthy, but it is a way of life for me and my (former) girl Tammy, and — I'm sure — a number of serial killers.
Physiologically, however, I am a big ol' crier, and I will always support others who cannot physically control their overactive ducts. So I both have empathy for Kelsey when she can't keep herself from crying… literally anytime she talks to or about Peter. But I also have an understanding of why that would be frustrating to someone like Tammy who cannot get past the presupposition that watching him date other people is what they've signed up for, and there's no need to get worked up about it.
Oh, but Tammy doesn’t stop at annoyance. Our girl is juuuuudgmental! We see some at-home footage of the night of Sydney's date that will soon come to live in infamy among Tammy's accusations, wherein Tammy sees Kelsey crying by herself, and goes over to see if she's okay. When Kelsey explains that she's not okay, and she's feeling very emotional about Peter being out with another woman, Tammy pushes back, and pushes back until she realizes nothing she says is going to get Kelsey out of this mood.
And to me, that seems fine! Not that Kelsey called Sydney a bitch, but that she’s not going to stop being sad just because Tammy tells her that this is what they’ve signed up for.
Some people are just need time, not logic, to deal with with their emotions. That can annoy Tammy if she wants it to, but hey, maybe if you don't sit down with those people when they're contently crying by themselves, and pretend to care about how they're doing when you really just want to revel in how crazy you think they are…then you'll be less annoyed about how crazy you think they are.
Kelsey is still having kind of a hard time at the group the date the next day, but she's just quietly suffering rather than lashing out while Peter makes out with some of his girlfriends in front of some of his other girlfriends as they all compete to win the photo competition and get to be on a digital cover of Cosmo.
[Ed. note: Victoria F wins this date, but once Cosmo found out that she previously posed as a model for a marketing campaign that employed the hugely racist phrasing "white lives matter" and "blue lives matter"—and confederate flag!!—to promote white and blue marlin conservation, her ass got pulled for Lucy Hale, and Cosmo's Editor-in-Chief, Jessica Pels, released an impressively unambiguous statement explaining why Cosmo wants nothing to do with endorsing racist ideology, no matter the fun little racist marketing ploy. TATBT also stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and would like to tell even the slightest coy whisper of "white lives matter" through any number of quivering hands to goooooo fuck itself. Victoria has recently apologized for her involvement with the campaign via Instagram…story.]
At the nighttime portion of the group date, Kelsey tells Peter that she's been having a hard time watching him go on dates with other women because she is taking this so seriously, and she didn't expect to feel so strongly but, well, she's falling in love with him. And Peter loves it. He loves how emotional Kelsey is because that means she's taking it seriously, and he loves that the she loves him because that means there's no chance he'll be the one who winds up getting hurt.
But Tammy has created this narrative where she's certain that if Peter just sees the hyper-emotional side of Kelsey, he won't want anything to do with her.
The thing is, Tammy: Kelsey is one of the only people in this cast that Peter actually does see correctly because she's just as earnest and emotional as him. There's no pretense for him to see past which is good, because he literally wouldn’t be able to. If Tammy was this worked up about Victoria F, she might be right, but Kelsey actually is this emotional, is taking it all this seriously, and who Peter does really like for exactly those reasons.
So when Tammy tells Peter that Kelsey had “a huge mental breakdown, sitting by herself, crying her eyes out,” and it doesn’t get the reaction she's looking for—honestly, he probably got a tear-triggered erection—she goes ahead and adds that Kelsey's "been drinking excessively."
Now, obviously Kelsey was at least tipsy the night that she said she really likes Sydney, but on the other hand, she's a fake fucking bitch. But there's no indication from her behavior at the dates or parties that she can't control how much she drinks, or that anyone else thinks she has a problem. Tammy, on the other hand, has a super problem wherein she casually throws around harmful language like “breakdown” “crazy,” and “drinking problem” to anyone who will listen.
After Peter asks Kelsey about the “emotionally unstable” accusation, more to make sure that she's doing okay and feels like she can handle this process, than to "squash it" like he's so often trying to do, Kelsey becomes even more upset, and asks the group who told Peter that she was unstable. Multiple people inform her that her constant crying is annoying, but Tammy doesn't own up to shit…
Until the next day, when she lies through her teeth and continues to mock Kelsey for being emotional. "I did talk to Peter about you, but it wasn't about you, it was about me," Tammy tells Kelsey. "It's about how I'm distracted, like, caring for others."
Oh yes, Tammy, you are some kind of caregiver to these other women you love to get just enough dirt on to start publicly trashing!
I get that Kelsey's sensitivity would be annoying to live with on a day-to-day basis, but hey, if you're so unemotional Tammy, then just ignore it!
But I think Tammy cares a lot more about being right than anything else, and offers Kelsey a nice dose of shaming telling her: "I wasn’t the one that was drinking, so I know exactly the words that were said." Kelsey asks why it bothers her so much that she drank a little too much that one night, and Tammy says, "I'm not bothered, it doesn’t bother me, I'm just concerned for your well-being," which Kelsey gloriously calls bullshit on.
Kelsey tells Tammy that she wasn’t crying that night because of Sydney, she was just crying because she was sad. "Okay, do you think crying was a healthy way of coping with that?" Tammy asks without a touch of irony. Was crying a healthy way of coping with emotions, TAMMY???
As it gets more and more tense, Kelsey gets frustrated and starts tearing up, which draws more of Tammy's ire, so they head their separate ways with Tammy snarking, "Yeah, you continue to cry, and wither away in bottles of wine." So Kelsey does the much smarter thing…
She puts on her makeup, does her hair, and marches over to Peter's apartment to get ahead of the narrative.
While Tammy continues to tell everyone that Kelsey is having a mental breakdown, Kelsey is telling Peter that she may have been overly emotional while he was out with Sydney, but she's apologized to most of the other women about it, and she just wants him to know that she was only upset because she's falling in love with him…
Also — one small thing —Tammy is telling everyone that she has a drinking a problem and is popping pills, and she doesn’t understand where it's coming from, but it's hurtful. And even though I think it came from a sincere need to talk to Peter, getting out in front of this narrative rather than letting anyone else get in his ear about her having substance abuse issues is so intuitive of Kelsey, it makes me think she should be the next Bachelorette, and all the dudes can just be fitted with windshield wipers for the crying…
Of course, the smartness starts and ends with Kelsey when it comes to this duo.
Because after reassuring her that they're on the same page, Peter gives Kelsey a rose during this secret rendezvous that he expects her to take back to a house full of her sister-girlfriends that already think her dramatics are a distraction. She says thank you, but also immediately expresses that she's nervous about the other women seeing the rose. "Don't worry about the other girls," Peter — an idiot — tells her: "All I care about is how you feel accepting this rose right now."
PETER, SHE JUST TOLD YOU SHE FEELS NERVOUS ABOUT ACCEPTING THIS ROSE RIGHT NOW!!! STOP SPEAKING LIKE AN OFF-BRAND HALLMARK CARD AND LISTEN!!!
"Sport that rose proudly," he tells her, sending her off with a literal bomb.
And then, after Kelsey awkwardly tells the other women about the rose and they all head to the Cocktail Party…
Peter…in all of his wisdom…after giving Kelsey a rose when she snuck over to his apartment to talk to him privately, which no one else was able to do…has Chris Harrison walk into a room full of women desperate to get their own time with Peter…and tells them…that Peter is canceling the Cocktail Party.
Because "earlier today, he got the clarity he needed, and feels like there's no reason to delay the inevitable of what he wants to do here tonight."
Nothing shows me more that Peter has no idea what he's doing in this role as Bachelor, than his lack of understanding for how this move would affect Kelsey. He can't tell her not to worry about the other women, and then completely throw her under the bus by giving her a rose during a private conversation, and then canceling the Cocktail Party. He is…a true, true dummy.
Everyone's eyes slide over to Kelsey and her rose, and they correctly surmise that if she hadn't gone to Peter's apartment, he wouldn't have canceled the Rose Ceremony, but what they don't seem to note is that Peter is the one who canceled it, and if he feels that confident, it would literally take a full week, and a trip to Texas and back — we call that The Alayah — to change his mind.
Not a 10-minute conversation at a Cocktail Party. But Tammy, suddenly quite emotional herself wants to know if she's going to go home because of something Kelsey may have said to Peter. Kelsey says she only told him that Tammy had been telling people she's drinking excessively and popping pills. And suddenly the tables turn…
Because when Tammy tries to deny saying that Kelsey pops pills, everyone jumps up to say that, no, they did hear that from Tammy. Tammy insists she didn't start that rumor, just repeated it, which everyone informs her is just as bad, maybe worse. And then Kelsey says the most iconic line of the season.
Peter still gives Tammy a rose, and thank goodness, the another goes to Mykenna whose lips are chapped beyond repair at this point. But there is nothing good coming their way…
THE FINAL STRETCH
Hello, hi—my name is Jodi, and I have not quite finished recapping everything that happens before Hometowns. But I have officially reached 7,000 words, the length of what I'm sure are many senior theses to come covering Victoria F and her character representation in gothic literature.
So I'm going to throw in Mykenna misquoting Lin Manuel Miranda with the one-on-ones of the Final 6 and Hometowns — which I hear are pretty boring other than a but of gaslighting — and also the Fantasy Suites where the woman that Peter is totally in love with reveals she’s saving sex for marriage, and the woman he’s been entrapped by is definitely not, and the only woman left after that was in high school three years ago, and…
See you back here soon for a final catch-up — if I don’t just switch us all over to Love Is Blind entirely!!!