Since last week’s episode, I have discovered that Sydney’s last name is Hightower, which sounds like a 70’s lady detective series; there will be actual hair-pulling tonight, cementing this episode into pop culture lore alongside Alexis and Krystle, Teri Hatcher and Charlize Theron in 2 Days in the Valley, and Marlene Dietrich and Una Merkel; and I should have trademarked “Champagnegate” when I had the chance.
This week, with the fury of a virulent rash, we’ll be exposed to Alayah, Sydney, and Victoria P., as well as some kind of first at the Rose Ceremony. Maybe Peter will give out tulips instead. It all sounds more complicated than solving a Rubik’s Cube with mittens on. We’ll also have to endure another round of pageant-girl hysterics, now a disorder appearing in the DSM5.
According to as-yet unseen impeachment trial documents, Alayah was Miss Texas and Victoria P. was Miss Louisiana when they both vied for the Miss USA 2019 title. Apparently, the producers couldn’t devise a new scenario for two of the girls to have clashed in the past, like maybe in a STEM-designated PhD program or a particularly fraught meeting of the League of Women Voters.
Chris describes the upcoming Alayah tableau as “maybe the wildest roller-coaster ride of the entire season,” featuring “controversy, emotion, something we’ve never had happen before in the history of the show.” We can only hope that she shape-shifts into a capybara, or at least wears matte lipstick to the cocktail party.
Before we begin, you’ll want to know that the final puzzle on Wheel of Fortune was “embark on a voyage,” as if anyone ever chooses a V or Y. What a sham.
Anyhoo, let us now turn our attention to Peter and the She-Wolves. We must first revisit Three Days of the Champagne Bottle and its aftermath as the camera finds the gals arrayed on the patio looking distraught. Hannah Ann insists she is not a champagne-stealer, as we all have at some point in our romantic lives.
Peter arrives at the mansion to take Victoria P. on a one-on-one. Peter likes that she has shown him her nurturing side, so he’s going to introduce her to his hometown. This includes the wine bar and a general store, apparently because his hometown doesn’t have a Target Greatland. They buy cowboy hats and head off to a cheesy-looking dive where a country band plays as they line-dance. I suppose it beats the Korette’s record department at the mall in my hometown.
Enamored of Peter, Victoria expresses her concern about the previous day’s drama. He still doesn’t know her religion or if she likes sushi, but he’s secure in the knowledge that she doesn’t encourage unfounded accusations about stolen champagne.
Meanwhile, Kelsey confronts Hannah Ann. They recite the terrible things they called each other, then debate whether bullying is the same as name-calling, a topic frequently addressed at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study. The other girls are amused at their bickering over a bottle of cold duck from Liquor Mart. At least fight over a Java Chip Frappuccino.
Victoria P. and Peter are pleased with their date. They go to dinner in an airplane hangar so he can find out more about her past relationships. “You just have that nourishing side,” he enthuses. She also contains triple oat complex and ceramides.
Victoria describes how her dad’s premature death caused her mother to fall into addiction. The ensuing extremely difficult family life caused her to fall into pageant competitions. Peter offers comfort, and assures her she is worthy. I think she deserves better than a dinner among some hulking old airplanes.
She gets the rose. Peter is grateful for her inspiring him by showing him so much of her heart, and most of her cleavage.
Back at the house, the group date card arrives. Right after Sydney says she doesn’t want to be around Alayah, both their names are read off the card. It’s as unexpected a development as mildew growing on my shower curtain liner.
Next morning, three mysterious figures arrive at the mansion, led by the evil Demi from Colton’s season. They wake up the girls by bashing them with pillows as Demi orders them to descend downstairs. She gathers them in the living room to say Peter allowed her to plan their date. Seems plausible. Bags with special outfits are distributed to the group daters. One girl refers to a black teddy as “lyn-gher-ee,” and the producers were too cruel to correct her for the final take.
All the girls arrive decked out in fancy underwear to participate in pillow fights in a ring. It’s supposed to ease the tension they’ve been experiencing, claims Demi, but all I can picture is Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s mental health declining. Chris co-announces the battles with Fred Willard, who is gazing a little too raptly at the barely-clad ladies in the ring.
Naturally, Sydney is put up against Alayah for a showdown among the feathers and linens. This segment co-sponsored by Bed, Bath & Beyond and WOW. Alayah wins, earning her a tiara and kiss from Peter, which at least is preferable to one from Willard.
The after-party begins. Alayah gloats over winning the pillow fight, but pretends to be confused at Sydney’s resentment of it. She then grabs Peter for some alone-time, while Sydney lists all her personal flaws alphabetically.
Alayah tells Peter about all the positive traits she has exhibited for his benefit. She hopes he doesn’t forget her in between make-out sessions with the other girls. Peter is reassuring. He mostly remembers her from the neck down, but he really connects to her positive energy.
Next comes the first Sydney/Alayah contretemps. They discuss how Alayah holds a number of pageant titles, and how the experience prepared her for future reality TV roles as a giant phony. Sydney’s earrings look like gold-plated versions of those weights on ropes inside old wooden window frames. Alayah grins perpetually, like the Cheshire cat on Xanax.
Kelly and Peter get together next. He tells her she’s a big reason why he feels “that way” already. He wonders if this “process” could work for her. She’s an attorney, you know. They don’t usually have processes that include petty insults and tale-telling. She’s out of her comfort zone, Kelly admits, but Peter is worth it, and she’s accustomed to being around liars and louts.
Peter joins Sydney now. She worries she is the polar opposite of the other girls he likes. Peter dismisses that notion because he’s hot for her bod, which is very similar to the other girls’. Sydney then brings up the moldy complaint that some of the girls behave totally differently when the camera lights come on.
As a result of this revelation, Peter fears he’s falling for a cardboard cut-out instead of a hologram. He must bring the issue to the table, citing Sydney as his source. Whistleblowing is getting such a terrible reputation these days. He insists to the girls that they must always be real and raw. He doesn’t have time for anything else, other than telling every one of them that he sees a future with her so they’ll let him lick their necks.
When he leaves, the fighting begins anew between Sydney and Alayah. Alayah leaves to find Peter and confront the dilemma head on. He explains that he is freaked out that he might fall for someone who only looks good after following a make-up tutorial.
Peter is left bewildered because he believes, and likes, both Sydney and Alayah. It’s like trying to deal with Iran after we bombed their airport. Ultimately, however, he gives the rose to Sydney for being forthright and having a demonstrably larger cup size than Alayah. Alayah glares like a cobra who just used a flat iron as she declares icily that she will not tolerate Sydney’s interference.
The sun rises over the mansion. Alayah describes feeling totally blindsided by Sydney. Tonight, she must compel Peter to regain his trust in her. Then Chris arrives to tell the gals there’s going to be a pool party this afternoon, after which they’ll go right to the Rose Ceremony, with no additional booze in between.
Despite all the bikinis being out in force, Peter is nevertheless not feeling quite right. He wants answers, dammit, so he asks to speak to Sydney alone. She assures him she wants him to make his own decisions without being taken in by a pretty voice or a glimpse of tuchus cheek. If that were how this show worked, they would all be pen pals for six months before they met.
What commences next is interviews by Peter with the other girls about their rivals. Another reason the producers need to provide bios more comprehensive then “scared of spiders” and “biggest Lizzo fan evah.”
Deciding to confront Sydney yet again, Alayah informs her that an opinion is not a fact. She overlooks the value of reading a movie critic’s review before spending all that money for Sno-Caps at the Cineplex.
Peter continues his campaign of praising all the girls while stroking their skin with his face really close in. Alayah collects him for a convo on the topic of trusting her. He has to guard his heart, he explains, and asks if she understands why some girls think she’s faker than the ID my brother used to get into the bar in high school. Alayah insists she’s genuine, and for some damn reason, probably her firm thighs, Peter believes her. “I just want to see Alayah,” he advises her. She leaves his side reassured and happy.
Peter is also pleased, but he still has concerns, so he consults Victoria P. for more information on the subject. His spreadsheet will have several tabs. Victoria reveals that Alayah has mentioned she has grand plans for her opportunities post-Bachelor. She’ll have no trouble being cast on Bachelor in Paradise, but her goal to become an expert witness is less likely to materialize.
Confused, Peter asks to talk with Alayah yet again. This guy wouldn’t last a day in the LAPD homicide unit. He must do a deep dive for clarity. “I still don’t feel a hundred percent good about it,” he tells her, demanding honest, direct answers now. Last time he didn’t care if she lied. Has she been manipulative toward any other girl, he asks fervently. Predictable Responses for $800, Alex.
Peter does not accept Alayah’s pleas of innocence. He frowns. He has a lot to think about, and none of it involves the fate of Schrodinger’s Cat. The other girls note his distress while Alayah cries alone by the hot tub. You’d never catch Bess Myerson acting like this.
Chris arrives. He says Peter has gone home, overcome by emotion and confusion. I hope he’s never having relationship problems when he’s flying coast to coast. They will not see him again until tonight’s Rose Ceremony. Several girls are upset that they didn’t get any time with him due to the rotating door that was Alayah.
Night falls, and with it the last hopes of Alayah. She despairs that Victoria P., someone she thought was a friend, called her a liar. Also that her talent was baton-twirling. Peter arrives at the ceremony and begins blathering about how difficult this week was. He should try telling that to Senator Susan Collins in the coming days.
Kelly gets the first rose, followed by Hannah Ann, who’s name he mushes altogether like it’s “Hanan.” Natasha is next, then Lexi and Madison. Shiann comes up for her rose, followed by Kelsey, Kiarra, Tammy and Savannah, which he pronounces as “Sedan.” I wonder how air traffic controllers don’t make him crash his plane.
After Deandra, two roses remain. But Peter is still agonizing over Alayah. He walks out and murmurs about it to Chris, who has seen this cliffhanger before and prefers the one where JR got shot. The girls sigh.
Chris and Peter whisper in the hallway like presidential aides until Peter finally returns to the ceremony. Chris follows him to report that there’s a little bit of a change about to happen: There is only one more rose being given out. Peter lifts it and utters a name: Mykenna. She is ecstatic because Peter never got to fondle her lower back at the pool.
Alayah accepts her fate quietly, similar to Tea Leoni at the end of Deep Impact. Peter proceeds to toast the remaining girls gleefully, with Alayah already a footnote on his Wikipedia page.
Yet he is not as calm as he appeared just now while socking back better-quality champagne. Again in the darkened hallway, he tells a crew member that he may have made a mistake about Alayah.
What will he do? Will Hannah Brown be back for another episode? Are there takesie-backsies on The Bachelor? Tune in next week, same Bachelor time, same Bachelor blog.