This week on The Bachelor was hometown dates, a time traditionally reserved for the bachelor getting to know his potential wife’s family and seeing if they’re a good fit. But instead, this episode decided to gloss over all that relationship-building stuff and show us a 2-hour episode that was 50% The Victoria F. Show. No one but Peter Weber thinks that Victoria Fuller is good news (not even Cosmo’s editor-in-chief). And yet, we watch him agonize over why she won’t love him back, while squishing all these other women’s real hometown dates into five-minute segments. Let’s begin.
Knoxville, TE – Hannah Ann’s Hometown
The first hometown date is pageant queen and model Hannah Ann, who takes Peter on a date to go axe throwing. “He’s always said that I need a tough man,” she tells Peter about her father. Sadly, neither of them have ever gone axe throwing before and they’re both pretty bad at it.
Hannah Ann: my dad wants a real man.
— Dan Emerson (@dscapp) February 18, 2020
After, Peter reveals that he’s written Hannah Ann a letter, like she did for him. It’s a list of things he loves about her: “How intentional you are…how you have a name for every dress that you’ve worn.” She loves it. “I’m gonna read this every morning and every night,” she tells him.
Peter goes with Hannah Ann to meet her family: Her dad, she tells him, is known as Ranger Rick, and he’s apparently a tough nut to crack. Hannah Ann’s mom starts crying immediately, which Peter eats right up.
Peter talks to Ranger Rick, and tells him he’s falling in love with Hannah Ann. Rick all but begs him not to tell her that unless he’s sure she’s the one, which Peter takes under careful consideration…just kidding, he tells Hannah not an hour later outside the house.
Peter: “I wanna tell Hannah Ann I’m falling in love with her”
— Jel (@angelica_fio) February 18, 2020
It’s a brief, mostly pleasant hometown — I’d expect nothing less from Hannah Ann.
Des Moines, IA – Kelsey’s Hometown
Next up: My favorite drama queen Kelsey, in her hometown of Des Moines. Kelsey takes him on a date to make their own wine, which is either a very self-aware joke about her champagne freakout or a genuine reflection of her interests and hobbies at home (wine). Up to you. She tells Peter she’s in love with him (as opposed to just falling in love, a very important distinction in Bachelor Nation), and he tells her he’s so happy to hear it.
Notably, he doesn’t say he’s falling in love back — even though he’s just said it to Hannah Ann. This is where I start to get nervous for Kelsey.
Kelsey: I’m in love with you
Peter: Thank you so much 🙂
— dude come here (@radsadking) February 18, 2020
Back at Kelsey’s house, she has two beautiful and intimidating blonde sisters, and a mom who pretty clearly modeled her emotional intensity from a young age. “This proves you’re a very special person,” she tells Peter, about Kelsey bringing him home to the family. “Nobody’s ever done this, Peter.”
Before Peter leaves, he has another classic front porch chat. “My heart has definitely fallen,” he tells Kelsey, In other contexts, that might be sweet. But on The Bachelor, that’s more or less a death knell.
Auburn, AL – Madison’s Hometown
Finally, it’s Madison’s hometown, where I’m hoping (expecting! praying!) the drama will begin. Madison is giddy on the date, and talks more than we’ve seen all season. It’s nice. She takes him to the Auburn Arena, where a personalized video from Charles Barkley plays and tells Peter to treat Madison right. Basically, Madison and her family are a big deal in Auburn, and she’s letting Peter know. She then proceeds to kick his ass at basketball, which is fun.
After Madison and Peter make out lying in the middle of the basketball court (how I wish I were kidding!), he goes to meet her family. We’ve been warned that her father is highly religious, and we’re not so sure what he’s going to think of Mr. Peter “I had sex five times in a windmill” Weber.
— if lost return to tyler c (@bacht0reality) February 18, 2020
Madison’s family has a tradition of passing around the “special plate:” whoever gets it gets a compliment from every person at the table. It’s actually pretty cute, though we have to assume they give compliments with this level of intensity when the cameras aren’t rolling (most people cry).
— 𝐤𝐚𝐲𝐲𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐲 (@kayyorkcity) February 18, 2020
Peter peels off with Madison’s parents, where her father proceeds to fulfill many of the worst fears we had about him. “This is all happening really fast for Dad,” he tells Peter. “[Madison is] so pure…do you feel like you guys are compatible?” (Meanwhile, Madison and her mother are having a conversation about her decision to wait for sex until marriage, in case there was any ambiguity on what her dad means by “pure.”)
Peter reassures Madison’s father to the best of his ability — which is obviously limited by the fact that he can’t rule out the other three women he’s dating. Her father vaguely alludes to the “next step” of the process, which is fantasy suites (AKA the option of sleeping with each of these women). “As a father, that’s tough.” Fair enough.
Madison and her father debrief: “When you were a little baby, I put my hands on you and I prayed for your husband, your future husband.” Madison is moved by this.
— Cassandra Direnzo (@c3p0direnzo) February 18, 2020
Outside, Peter can’t control himself any longer: “I’m insanely in love with you,” he tells Madison. “This is so freaking hard,” she says back.
This is the first of many red flags Peter will ignore this episode.
Virginia Beach, VA – Victoria F.’s Hometown
We enter Victoria F.’s hometown of Virginia Beach with a good 45 minutes left in the episode, so you know they’ve saved the most dramatic for last. After a walk on the beach with her dog (honestly, a home run of a date), Victoria and Peter go take old-timey photographs, then go to a Hunter Hayes concert she’s organized for them.
“It’s just a different feeling,” she gushes to the camera. “I feel like I can finally be myself around him…that was perfect, nailed it, I’m getting married, Mrs. Weber.”
But of course, where Victoria goes, drama follows. As Peter is exiting the venue, a woman comes up to him who he recognizes: “Merissa?” he calls out. It’s Merissa Pence, Peter’s ex-girlfriend from before the show. She’s also from Virginia Beach, and she has some information about Victoria F. she needs to share.
— The Betchelor🥀 (@betchelorpod) February 18, 2020
“Just be careful, that’s all I’m gonna say,” she starts. “I’m from here and I know what a good guy you are…you don’t deserve what you’re on a date with right now.” Peter’s not looking happy.
“There’s been many relationships broken up because of her,” she continues. Peter doesn’t quite thank her, but he hugs her and walks away, clearly distraught. He’s supposed to meet Victoria F.’s family that night, but when he arrives at the house he confronts her first.
In classic Peter form, he immediately outs Merissa as the person speaking and repeats her comments verbatim to Victoria. And in classic Victoria form, she refuses to acknowledge any of the accusations made against her, flies off the handle at him for having brought it up, and eventually walks away.
— Brett S. Vergara (@BrettSVergara) February 18, 2020
“I’m so ready to just like not,” she tells Peter. “You literally just came in here to act like that?” she taunts him. “Excuse me?” he replies, stunned. “Excuse you what?” she fires back. It’s like a war of words between second graders.
“Do you ever fight for anything that you want?” he asks Victoria. She looks to the cameras: “I can’t do this, I can’t, I’m so f**king done.” She walks away.
Moments later, she’s back, and somehow, she has Peter apologizing. “If I just give up so easily, why are you so willing to stay?” she asks Peter, along with the rest of America. Peter could not have been clearer throughout that he’s nuts about her, and he looks a little undone by this line of questioning. “You deserve to be loved. Don’t push that away,” he says before leaving for the night.
— pettybachnation (@Pacheltheories) February 18, 2020
The next day, Victoria comes by his hotel room, seemingly determined to put the fact that he skipped meeting her family behind her. “I am falling in love with you,” she tells him. “I know that’s sad and stupid but I can’t walk away from you.” Peter points out that she does walk away from him, pretty much constantly. He asks her why things have to implode all the time. She can’t answer him. She can’t answer any questions from anyone, it seems like, without short-circuiting with rage at the idea of being questioned.
Here in the hotel room, like everywhere else, Victoria plays the same move she’s played all season. He presents her with a problem; she attacks him until he feels insecure in whether or not she even likes him; she “softens” and reassures him that she likes him, so so much. She never has to address the actual problem. He’s just struggling to find solid ground. And it’s so, so maddening to watch her get away with it.
The Rose Ceremony
It’s rose ceremony time, which inexplicably takes place in an airplane hangar. He picks Hannah Ann, then Madison, then Victoria. I’d like to say I’m surprised, but Peter’s just proving true to his worst, most drama-loving impulses all season long. Kelsey, who probably liked him the most out of any of these girls, is sent home heartbroken.
— Brett S. Vergara (@BrettSVergara) February 18, 2020
Next week, we’re going to Fantasy Suites, which Madison is clearly dreading. Seconds before the episode ends, she tells Peter she needs to talk to him…and judging from previews we’ve seen, she’s going to tell him he better keep it in his pants on next week’s dates. Can’t wait!
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