It’s week five already, with a special second episode also airing this week. It’s like Shakira and J-Lo appearing in the same halftime show, except with constant bickering and no talent.
First we must resolve last week’s cliffhanger, which left us staring at the dreaded “to be continued” message that’s only slightly less excruciating than waiting for your mammogram results. We will learn whether Alayah, whom Peter foolishly invited back when she returned to demand he re-litigate his rejection of her, will get to stay, and whether there will be a Mike Bloomberg ad criticizing her.
Then Peter added wrongful flower-dispensation to injury by giving her the rose at the cocktail party following the group date she wasn’t even on. Harumphs were heard across Bachelor Nation as the Tulsi Gabbard of Season 24 was granted undeserved redemption.
Thus we were denied the closure that comes with an episode’s Rose Ceremony, much like tonight’s caucuses make everybody on Twitter grumpier than when John Bolton didn’t get to testify. If Peter thinks these shenanigans are a way to evaluate potential life-partners, he should realize the other girls are peering back from the microscope slide and seeing a giant coronavirus particle.
Apparently, it takes an extra hour to straighten out all the confusion, and still have enough time for commercials for Olay Regenerist and FreshPet. During this three-hour cranial enema, the gang will be heading to Costa Rica, where Peter will sustain some kind of injury. It better not affect his ability to lower his landing gear, if you know what I mean. Reports say he’ll end up with a 22-inch scar on his forehead. That has to be a typo. His ego is enormous, but his actual head doesn’t look any bigger than Stewie Griffin’s.
After that, they’ll travel to Santiago, Chile, where doubtless everyone will pronounce the country’s name like it’s an order from Taco Bell. You can just enjoy the scenery if you mute the TV.
At 8:00 PM, we must first hear a caucus update from George Stephanopoulos, who is now trailing behind Pete Buttigieg for the hardest last name to pronounce. Then we’re on to the less compelling race for a position no one really wants except for the TV exposure. Recaps from last week show a shiny-nosed Peter looking perpetually confused as various girls yell at him.
We find the group-daters debating the error of Alayah’s return while flashing cleavage as often as my grandma does her blinker on a service road. Peter finally appears and takes Alayah aside. He claims he doesn’t care what the other women say, despite having consulted them just a few minutes ago for their opinions of her.
He thinks Alayah is a good person with a good heart. A good person with a bad heart should get regular EKGs. Peter immediately felt a strong connection with Alayah, much like the double-stick tape does with her boobs. But he tells her they must say goodbye. She will surely find happiness with a different boyish airline pilot who doesn’t have a dozen other girlfriends.
Back in the main room, tense music plays as the ladies anxiously await Peter’s return. He arrives to tell them morosely that he sent Alayah home, and that he’s only human and makes mistakes. Does Delta know about this?
He then takes a few women aside to repeat that he was wrong about Alayah, and understands their frustration with him. It’s like listening to a series of victim impact statements. After smoothing things over, he can get back to inane conversation and pawing bare flesh in peace.
The Rose Ceremony will now begin, which is excellent timing for me to be reminded of everyone’s names. This week’s impeachment hearings and updates on a deadly international pandemic distracted me from the important things.
The girls line up to learn their fate. He remains hopeful that his wife is standing out there, as opposed to being in an urgent care center with a UTI.
Madison gets the first rose, followed by some hair flipping and Sydney. Then Natasha steps forward, along with Lexi, Hannah Ann, and Shiann. Up next are Mykenna, Victoria P., and Kelley. Where is the make-up lady? They’re all as shiny as an Ethan Allen end-table.
The final rose goes to Tammy, leaving Deandra, Kiarra, and some cookie-cutter blond in the lurch. Deandra is devastated, while Kiarra seems unmoved. She knows she was a red shirt from the get-go. The survivors gather to learn that they’re headed now to Costa Rica, where there are jungles, volcanoes, and waterfalls, all metaphors for the wanton lack of control the show engenders.
Peter recites all the features of Costa Rica, which include monkeys, frogs, lush greenery, and an accommodating tourism bureau. The girls kvell over their rooms in a villa, eager to get back in their routine of catfights and bralessness. Then a helicopter arrives, bearing Peter in his skinny jeans.
But what’s this? He has a small bandage on his forehead. The girls cry out as if he’d presented with a missing limb. He says he found a trail to a volcano, and encountered a ferocious cougar–no, a puma. Actually, he tripped nd walloped his head on a golf cart. The scar is probably two inches long, so FAKE NEWS. It’s probably just product placement for Bacitracin anyway.
He takes Sydney on a one-on-one date in a helicopter that swoops over green hills, cloud-enshrouded mountains, and clear waters. They land to have a picnic in the grass. All I can think of is fire ants. And where is the helicopter pilot? There’s no place he can hang out and have a few drinks while he waits for them to stop jabbering at each other.
Sydney describes her biracial heritage, while Peter is both German and Cuban. Their lips marry without any judgment from mainstream society. Peter is pleased with their chemistry. Thank goodness he didn’t hit his tongue on the golf cart.
Night falls as weird creatures fill the air with a cacophony of sound. Wait, it’s just the girls talking back at the villa as the group date card arrives. Those included are distressed not to get the second one-on-one, which goes to Kelley. She fears her lack of a sob story will turn Peter off. She should go out and hit her head on a golf cart.
Sydney tells Peter about her difficult childhood, marked by poverty, loss, and cruel attacks from her peers. She still endures cruel attacks from her peers, but now it’s on national TV. Admiring her strength and C cups, Peter gives her the rose. Off they go to celebrate their connection by making out in a pool. It’s just like from From Here to Eternity, but without the award-winning actors and moving dialogue.
For reasons known to anyone familiar with high school, Kelsey is freaking out that Sydney is on a date with Peter. The other girls vow to share her private grief with Peter for his own good. Apparently, they didn’t see the footage from every other season.
The next morning, as the Froot Loops licensed character observes from a tree, the group daters join Peter in the jungle. He plans a fun day for them beneath a waterfall, where they’ll pose for a Cosmopolitan photo spread. “It’s about taking risks and representing who you are,” the notoriously vacuous mag’s editor explains. The risk is largely posed by an incompetent Photoshop assistant.
Peter enthusiastically encourages the swimsuit-clad women as they cavort before the camera. As he macks on Victoria F., whose bikini top runneth over, the others watch helplessly like passersby witnessing a particularly violent hit-and-run.
Ultimately, the Cosmo editor chooses Victoria to appear with Peter on the cover of the March issue. The two are shot in front of a waterfall, blissfully smooching as if climate change weren’t an imminent threat. Their waists will be partially obscured by cover lines like The Best Sex You Ever Had With Cramps and How to Get Lips Plumper Than a Monster Truck Tire.
At the after-party, the girls are relieved there was no drama today, other than rare tropical frogs going extinct all around them. Peter spends some more time locking lips with Victoria, then chats with Hannah Ann. She tells him he always gives “his one hundred percent,” especially when applying his tongue to her throat.
There’s some discussion among the girls about the importance of knocking down walls, not comparing yourself to others, and seeing a future with Peter. Kelsey confesses to him that this is really hard for her, because she didn’t expect to have such strong feelings for him. She is falling in love with Peter, instead of just collecting a paycheck and drinking to excess. He is pleased, as most men would be knowing they can banish a woman anytime in a single scene.
Meanwhile, the other girls are commenting on Kelsey’s earlier distress. What if Peter chooses her to be his wife, despite not seeing this side of her, dressed or otherwise? Tammy takes on the responsibility of blabbing about it to him. She’s braver than any 9-11 firefighter.
Peter hates to hear how Kelsey is struggling, so he makes the bold, original move of confronting her to ask about her “mental breakdown.” “It was just me processing my feelings for you,” Kelsey assures him. “I felt sad.” That often happens when you have PMS and several other girls are dating the guy you’re in love with.
And it must follow, as the night the day, that Kelsey immediately returns to the group to demand to know who ratted her out to Peter. We can only hope they’ll dramatize the fight with finger puppets.
Kelsey glares malevolently as she addresses the issue. “I’m not ashamed of crying in front of people,” she insists through tears. “I’m proud of it.” The other girls are defensive. They’re the Alan Dershowitzes of this season. No progress is made in repairing the damage, though. It’s just another Infrastructure Week on ABC.
Peter is now ready to award the rose. Hannah Ann gets it for being “honest and real” with him, exactly as the script directed. Kelsey is crying, presumably with pride, while pledging to stick up for herself, and also to try a waterproof mascara.
Next, Kelley goes off for her one-on-one date with Peter. She anticipates having fun and doing cool activities. These commence with the common jump-on-the-bachelor-and-wrap-your-legs-around-his-waist move. They happily comment on the great significance of their having met once before, as if they were the Curies discovering radium together.
They meet with a pair of mystic types who talk about expanding the couple’s energy and their own Q scores. They have the couple do some new-agey exercise to discover their inner feelings. It’s not clear why they have to first be stripped to their underwear, but there must be a good reason. After all, the mystics must be authentic since they’re both wearing head wraps and a lot of hand-crafted jewelry.
But Peter feels Kelley is not giving her all right now, which bodes poorly for the Fantasy Suite. Is she in this or not, he wants to know. The spiritualists have a suggestion. Guided only by Peter’s voice, Kelley walks blindfolded though a rock maze to reach his side. We used to do this when I was a kid, only with hamsters and lettuce.
Meanwhile, Tammy argues with Kelsey over the manner in which she copes with her emotions. Let us recall that Tammy is a house flipper, not a trained psychotherapist or even my grandma.
That night, Peter is still concerned that Kelley isn’t that into him. He launches right into it over dinner. He felt like they started out on a high because of that first meeting where they sat at a bar for a few hours. After that, however, she backed off. Maybe she saw him order a strawberry daiquiri.
Kelley explains that she’s had no opportunity to move things along, what with the script calling for her to be reticent and conflicted. But she has since realized she can have fun with this absurd premise for finding a spouse.
Alas, a frowning Peter tells her he’s not here to have fun. Neither is anyone in the audience. Kelley ripostes by asking if he’s ready for married life, which must include shaving on occasion. “What do you want out of all this?” Peter demands irritably. She really isn’t sure. The process isn’t that simple, and she can’t predict how it will go. Kelley may be the most circumspect person on a reality show since Marlin Perkins.
Are they at an impasse? Will Peter give her the rose despite his doubts? He tells her he needs her to trust in the process. He knows it can work, even though his first season was a dismal failure for everyone involved, so Kelley gets the rose. These guys always fall for the hard-to-get routine.
Back at the villa, they’re still obsessing over Kelsey. Tammy disapproves of her emotional fragility, presumed alcoholism, and amateurish eyebrow application. As the group reviews all her flaws as if they were considering buying a Kia, Kelsey sneaks away to visit Peter and explain how her behavior is being blown out of proportion.
“You don’t have to apologize for being yourself,” Peter soothes. People said that to Sybil all the time. Peter also dismisses Tammy’s attempts to undermine Kelsey’s standing with him,mostly because Kelsey has the larger bust. He cuddles with her before excusing himself for a minute. Is he going to use some Scope?
“I really see something with you,” Peter tells her when he returns. It’s probably a hallucination. He produces a rose for her. Kelsey is thrilled, but also worried how the others will take this unexpected development. She should check her bed for short-sheeting tonight.
Tentatively, Kelsey returns to the villa to reveal her rose. The others glower like underweight Wilfred Brimleys as she assures them she wasn’t planning for this to happen, although she was definitely anticipating a make-out session.
That night, the girls prepare for the Rose Ceremony pre-party, brandishing make-up brushes and flat-irons like they’re crossing guard flags. Tensions run high as they then maneuver down the villa’s steps in their four-inch heels. Mykenna advises rose-getters to seek that big moment with Peter if they want to sign their PDF applications as Mrs. Weber.
To their disappointment and mine, Chris arrives to tell them there will be no cocktail party. Peter has found clarity, probably through the use of medication, so he doesn’t need to have several convos shorter than a bathroom break to decide which of these idiots he wants to can tonight. Many of the girls are outraged at both the capricious nature of the process, and missing an opportunity to show Peter their tramp stamps.
A literal storm rages outside as the girls confront Kelsey. It’s her fault Peter made this decision! Then they turn on Tammy for telling him that Kelsey takes pills, which she claims she heard it from someone else. Mykenna counters by saying she ruined everyone’s chances by trying to protect her relationship with Peter. Now everyone is calling Tammy a psycho. Sydney storms out. Mykenna is crying. This is why I never joined a sorority.
Six roses await their owners in the ceremony room. The girls file in to await Peter’s pronouncements. He arrives looking somber, but confident in the decisions he’s made. He ought to rethink that suit, but okay. Here we go!
As he lifts the first rose, Tammy speaks up. She wants to tell him something in private. The others are as flabbergasted as if she’d worn a bra tonight.
Tammy wants to know if it was something she said that made Peter cancel the cocktail party. As she starts to explain why she tried to sink Kelsey’s chances like the Lusitania, Mykenna marches in and interrupts them. Moments later, she returns looking satisfied, but everyone else is confused and upset. It’s a madhouse, a madhouse!
Peter returns to his place by the rose table without acknowledging what just happened, but we can safely presume it was meaningless. The first bloom goes to Victoria F., followed by Madison, who has had all of three minutes of air time the whole season. Then come Natasha, Victoria P., and Mykenna. The final rose remains.
Peter presents it to Tammy, which makes no sense, but this is not so much a reality show as a comic strip written by a third-grader. Lexi depart in tears, while Shiann takes a moment to warn Peter about people not being who he thinks they are, like in those Dateline episodes about con men who marry several rich women under assumed identities.
If only he would heed her words. Maybe if they were in a rock maze.