For the first time in years, no one knows what will happen at the end of The Bachelor. We do know that: (a) something happens just before the final rose ceremony; (b) Peter ends up supine, about to pass out, resting his head on a denim shirt; (c) his mother pleads to him, in an Oscar-worthy performance, “BRING HER HOME. BRING HER HOME TO US. THAT’S WHAT LOVE STORIES ARE MADE OUT OF.” But other than that? Only theories—which is what a bunch of Ringer staffers cooked up below. (Note: Many of these are absolutely bonkers. Not as bonkers as Peter’s mom’s speech, but pretty close.)
Plan B: The Hannah Ann Story
If there’s one thing about Peter we’ve learned this season—aside from his tendency to veer toward drama like a moth veers toward light—it’s that he has an unwavering faith that the chaotic and ever-changing process of The Bachelor will result in true love. This is ridiculous, of course, because The Process failed both him and Hannah Brown on the last season of The Bachelorette. It’s also ridiculous because there are a total of TWO couples from the previous 23 seasons of The Bachelor who are still together. It is Peter’s foolish trust in the show’s matchmaking capabilities that would allow him to justify asking his second choice to marry him after his first choice turns him down. If Peter is unable to win Madison back, he will simply talk himself into believing that it wasn’t meant to be and that he was fated to be with Hannah Ann. The show will deliver true love to Peter. He simply won’t have it any other way. It seems that Madison might have misjudged Peter. He really is a man of uncompromising faith. —Matt James
The Kelley Theory
Earlier this week, Bachelor Nation demanded answers as to why fan favorites Kelley and Natasha were missing from the “Women Tell All” episode. Natasha was quick to respond, tweeting that she was, in fact, invited to the taping but was unable to make it. Kelley, on the other hand, was not even invited, according to Reality Steve.
Speculation began to swirl about whether Kelley was being punished by producers for her blasé attitude toward the show. Or perhaps they did not want to give her the opportunity to set the record straight on her seemingly forced villain edit in her final appearance in Episode 7? Whatever the case may be, something is certainly off. Kelley, the fifth-place finisher this season, would have been a great addition to an otherwise dull “Tell All.” Since 2008, every fifth-place finisher has appeared at the “Women Tell All.” (This streak might go back further, but early Bachelor information is harder to come by than a woman over 30 making it to hometowns.)
While it’s enticing to theorize that the producers kept Kelley off the “Tell All” to preserve the franchise, I believe something more mischievous might have been at play. Chris Harrison has teased the ending of this season as being “unprecedented,” so we can definitely rule out the following from happening:
- Peter proposes to Hannah Ann or Madison (has happened on several seasons)
- Peter chooses Madison or Hannah Ann and then breaks up with them and ends up with the second-place finisher (happened with Arie and Jason Mesnick)
- Hannah Ann or Madison quit the show but Peter chases after them and they decide to date (happened last year with Colton and Cassie)
That leaves only one other logical possibility: Peter realizes his love for Hannah Ann and Madison pales in comparison to his feelings for Kelley—she is an attorney after all, what are they?—so he leaves it all behind and reunites with the one who got away. And then, finally, Kelley will get to make an appearance on the Bachelor reunion stage—not for the “Women Tell All,” but for “After the Final Rose.” —Dylan Berkey
The Second Kelley Theory
Peter is going to Sully this Bachelor two-night finale. Here’s how: Madison leaves the morning he’s ready to propose to her. He’s heartbroken. He thought they could make it work (even though they have obviously fundamental differences that will forever cause problems in their relationship). But she’s gone.
So he apologizes to Hannah Ann, who he was sending home anyway. And Peter ends up with nobody—at least that’s what it will look at first. He flies back and his mother says, “BRING HER HOOOOOOOOME,” in reference to … Madison! So he tries, of course. But she’s not having it because they have fundamental differences that will forever cause problems in their relationship. Duh.
Months pass, and Peter remembers that there’s a gorgeous, smart, witty, grounded, forward, and mature woman living in Chicago that he once had feelings for. Her name is Kelley. Peter slides into her DMs, they reconnect and begin dating like normal people. A near crash landing will turn into the Miracle on The Bachelor, as he ends up with one of the greatest women to ever come on this show and, easily, the best woman on this season. Congratulations, Peter! You did it! —Kevin O’Connor
There’s only one way this season can be redeemed, and that’s by Pilot Pete ending up with Oscar-winning actress/humanitarian/icon Charlize Theron. While this might seem like a fantastical theory I dreamed up an hour before I had to write this blurb, it just so happens that we first caught glimpses of their flirtation over social media two months ago, when Charlize—yes, she initiated!—posted a photo of herself posing beside a promotional poster for Peter’s season with the caption “Turbulence I like.” Turbulence I like, indeed:
Peter quickly flirted back with a post of his own:
Because I refuse to give Peter any credit, I want to acknowledge the person who thought of this perfect response—job well done, anonymous human. Anyway, this was the last of their public correspondence, but I am unconvinced that there wasn’t some kind of DM situation that followed. Does this theory make any sense? Is there any more evidence for it? Of course not, but the thought of Charlize Theron using Peter as her boy toy only to ghost him after two months is what I choose to hold on to in these dark times. —Amelia Wedemeyer
The Return of Hannah Brown
It’s been unclear exactly what Peter has been searching for on his season of The Bachelor ... until you realize he’s basically just been searching for people like Hannah B. His final four featured Kelsey (a former beauty queen, like Hannah), Madison (an Alabaman, like Hannah), and Hannah Ann (a Hannah, like Hannah). Clearly, he’s still yearning for her.
And we have reason to believe Hannah could be yearning for him. Hannah returned, teary-eyed, for the first two episodes of Peter’s season, a humiliating moment when she admitted that she still regretted her decision to pick the dreaded Jed over Peter. She couldn’t join the cast of Peter’s season, as Peter asked—she was appearing on Dancing With the Stars—but my hope is that she returns for the finale. Peter can admit he doesn’t feel the same way about Madison and Hannah Ann as he felt about Hannah, and the two can ride off to explore Australia’s coziest windmills.
It would be the grandest love story in the history of the Bachelor franchise; a twist-and-turn-filled romance that spanned multiple seasons. Peter and Hannah hit the highest highs and the lowest lows before realizing they belonged together. That said, considering the rumors that Hannah was still trying to become the lead on the next season of The Bachelorette ... it doesn’t seem likely. —Rodger Sherman
While a secret affair with Kelley—or CHARLIZE THERON—sounds preferable, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. And in this case, the simplest explanation is that Peter decides to choose Madison, the girl he’s clearly liked the most amid all the finascos. However, after having a conversation with Peter’s parents, Madison fears that she and Peter aren’t compatible, so she sneaks back to Auburn (and her weirdly young-looking dad) just before the final rose ceremony. This is what activates the “BRING HER HOME” speech from Peter’s mom, and he will leave Australia to, in fact, bring her home. First, though, he’ll dump Hannah Ann, which we were given a glimpse of in the teaser for the finale:
And then just as he’s hopping on a plane to Alabama, credits will roll on Night 1 of the two-night finale. Night 2 will be live—which is why Reality Steve hasn’t been able to spoil the end of the season—and there, Peter will propose to Madison. The end.
A little part of me thinks that all along, the “BRING HER HOME” speech has been a false flag, and that Peter’s mom is just combusting for no real reason (his parents are hella dramatic, don’t rule this out), leaving the possibility for a much weirder ending. But then again, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. —Andrew Gruttadaro