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‘The Bachelor’ Recap: Peter’s Still Pretty Bad at This

Finding a wife is all about finding a person who’s mature, stable, and ready to settle down. Peter’s doing the opposite of that.

ABC/Ringer illustration

There is a very real portion of Bachelor fans who somehow always end up appalled and concerned when this “show about marriage” is inevitably won by a woman who is clearly unready for marriage. “[X dull and superficial guy] can’t pick [Y 23-year-old with 220,000 Instagram followers]!” they shout. “She’s too young! She’s not ready!” These fans are fools and, of course, 100 percent right. Almost every Bachelor relationship ends in failure—as of right now, only one of the show’s 23 previous Bachelors is married to the woman who won his season. (Three if we include Arie and Jason, who are married to their runners-up.) Bachelors are historically bad at choosing a spouse, often prioritizing short-term things like hotness over actually important things like maturity, having a job, and living in the same country.

This drives certain scrutinizing fans up a wall, and Monday night was their personal hell.

Peter enters the episode with six remaining women and quickly announces that next week’s episode will feature hometown dates, of which there are always four. The math is clear: Two have to go. Before we go any further, allow me to summarize the six remaining women:

  • Kelsey: 28-year-old former Miss Iowa USA; job title listed as “professional clothier,” which probably means she has an unsuccessful Etsy store that sells screen-printed T-shirts; alternates between inconsolable weeping and calling innocent women “bitches” for existing in her crying space.
  • Victoria F.: 25-year-old with no redeeming values outside of hotness, currently under fire for appearing in a “White Lives Matter” photoshoot, perpetually mopey around Peter; accused of being a serial homewrecker—earlier this year, Reality Steve wrote, “I have never had so many negative stories … about one person as I have this season with Victoria Fuller.”
  • Kelley: 27-year-old attorney; always happy and having a great time around Peter; their chance pre-show meeting at a Southern California hotel was so enthralling that Peter seemed absolutely smitten with her at the beginning of the season.
  • Hannah Ann: 23-year-old model; the future of Sonic Drive-In; honestly, she seems pretty nice, but one has to worry about the likelihood that a 23-year-old model is not particularly interested in settling down; cries less often than Kelsey and Victoria F. but more often than anybody else on the show.
  • Madison: 23-year-old “foster parent recruiter”; no glaring red flags—besides the fact that she does not believe in sex before marriage, a thing she has not told Peter yet.
  • Natasha: 31-year-old event planner; I honestly cannot recall her ever having a meaningful conversation with Peter.

Without having seen the episode, you know which two people go home, right? It’s the two normal people—the people with seemingly legit careers who aren’t perpetually caught up in drama. At the beginning of the episode, I turned to my girlfriend and said, “He’s gonna dump Natasha and probably Kelley, right?” And that’s how it went—first went Natasha, and then he invited Hannah Ann, Victoria F., and Kelley to a date with two roses, got emotionally distraught talking to Hannah Ann and Victoria F., and then dumped the person who did not cause him to become emotionally distraught.

Maybe the tears start flowing around those women because the relationships are strong, so of course they’re emotionally charged. But it almost seems like Peter fetishizes difficult, uncomfortable things. He worries that his relationship with Kelley is too fun and breaks up with her minutes later, under the premise that the pair aren’t developing serious feelings for each other. This frustrates Kelley immensely. “I’M AN ATTORNEY,” she shouts to producers. “These other women are babies!”

Meanwhile, Peter gets excited when women don’t have fun with him. On his one-on-one date with Hannah Ann in Chile, she broke down in tears after a relatively inconsequential conversation in which she revealed that she couldn’t keep putting on a happy face for the cameras. “See, this is what I’m looking for,” Peter says, thrilled a woman he is attracted to is now weeping. And in Peru, he can’t get enough of Victoria, in spite of the fact that she begins her conversation by yelling at him for always being moody. She is, of course, significantly moodier than he is. When, at the end of Monday night’s episode, Peter gives his final rose to Hannah Ann, she once again begins crying uncontrollably, and not in a “tears of joy” way. Maybe she was just overwhelmed by the stress of nearly being eliminated, or just maybe being in a relationship with Peter is all about crying your eyes out.

It almost feels like Peter is getting this backward: Some people start to feel difficult feelings when they love someone; Peter sees difficulty and decides it’s a sign that he’s in love. Good love should be easy; instead, Peter is chasing love with whichever Instagram hotties cry the most. It’s what The Bachelor is designed for, and you either think it’s hilarious or the show’s cardinal sin.

Biggest Winner: Natasha

It is honestly surprising Natasha got this far. She never had a one-on-one date before this episode, and it’s pretty hard to make it this far without having a one-on-one. Prior to this episode, none of Peter and Natasha’s time together was particularly noteworthy, except that Natasha was consistently vocal about calling Peter out for focusing on Hannah Brown or Alayah or Kelsey or whatever other women were causing drama in past weeks. I remember Peter calling Natasha “mysterious”—which, I don’t know, maybe because he never bothered to talk to her? (Peter also called Sydney, the only other black woman in his final 10, “mysterious,” so it’s possible he is simply mystified by people of other ethnicities.)

Anyway, on Natasha’s one-on-one, it seems like she and Peter have a great time! They walk around Lima trying on various outfits and dancing and smiling. However! When it’s time for dinner, Peter breaks up with her, in what might be the least emotional breakup in Bachelor history. There’s no conversation that turns the tide of their relationship and convinces Peter to let her go, no moment when Peter realizes they are incompatible. They just sit down, have a drink, talk for a second, and Peter does the deed. Peter clearly walked into the date planning to dump Natasha, and Natasha walked into the dinner expecting to be dumped. It felt less like a breakup and more like a middle manager calling in a perfectly adequate employee in the middle of mass layoffs. It was nothing personal.

Honestly, Natasha got the best Bachelor experience anyone can hope for. She got a solid two months of vacation time, trips to three countries (and Cleveland), thousands of dollars in free booze (to drink on camera) and food (to eat off camera), and did not catch a single feeling. She spent as much time as possible on the show while spending as little time as possible talking to the doofus she didn’t care about, then she got off the show without having to involve her family. What a run.

Happiest Customer: Peru

The tourism boards of countries across the world (and Cleveland) have learned the value of allowing The Bachelor to film in their nation, and the results must be tangible, because some countries keep signing up. I feel like 11 consecutive seasons of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette went to Thailand—something I swear has nothing to do with my decision to travel to Thailand last year, seriously, I SWEAR!—and this time around, The Bachelor is back in Peru.

Just two seasons ago, Arie took his women to Peru for the last few weeks of filming—a tense, memorable set of episodes in which a random Stanford football coach traversed the desert to confront Becca about their relationship, and Arie proposed to Becca in front of some peaceful alpacas before deciding to dump her in Los Angeles. About a dozen times over the course of the two episodes, contestants were obligated to say that there’s more to Peru than Machu Picchu (although they did, of course, visit Machu Picchu); now, just two years later, they’re back to sample ceviche and ride ATVs in the Andes. I guess the system must work!

Biggest Buzzkill: Peter

Sorry, nothing funny happens in this episode. I have watched it twice and cannot think of a single funny thing that happened. We are at the part of the season when everybody gets emotional, and as we’ve already established, Peter really likes it when people get emotional.

And when people get emotional, Peter cancels everything to embrace how emotional it’s all getting. So I just wanted to list what I believe to be a full rundown of every event Peter has canceled because things are getting too heavy:

  • In Week 1, Peter canceled the daytime portion of a group date because he had been crying with Hannah Brown about the end of their relationship on The Bachelorette.
  • In Week 3, Peter canceled a cocktail party and walked out of a pool party because women accused Alayah of being a liar.
  • In Week 5, Peter canceled another cocktail party after a visit from Kelsey caused by drama between Kelsey and Tammy.
  • In Monday night’s episode, Peter canceled a dinner date with Hannah Ann, Victoria, and Kelley after making up his mind about which women he wanted to eliminate.

Not to mention all the times he’s basically skipped talking to women not involved with various dramas so he could sort out the existing dramas. The man is actively skipping the fun parts of this process to get cried at, and he loves it!