People are so bored with this season, they’re already projecting who the next Bachelorette will be. The show should shake things up, and cast someone unexpected, like Tiffany Trump or Flo from Progressive.
For now, though, we must settle for being entertained by the fraught atmosphere revolving around the final three gals: demure Madison, whiny Hannah Ann, and Victoria F., who won Miss Fractious Virginia 2018.
If you were wondering what basketball legend Charles Barkley has to say on the topic, he feels that Madison should “dump that loser.” You don’t have be a legend, or even sentient, to believe that. It’s well known that Peter is a manwhore with more notches in his belt than James Corden after five months on Nutrisystem, while Madison is saving herself for marriage. This is not a successful plot for the sequel of The Way We Were.
The untouched Alabaman can’t look past Peter going down under with the other two girls while they’re all in the land down under. This is a more insurmountable problem than the president dismissing the CDC as coronavirus fears are tanking the Dow. And neither he nor Madison will hold a press briefing to elaborate.
Adding to the risk of bodily injury by diamond dust fingernail, the show installed all three women in the same hotel suite during this sensitive week of serial sexual romps. Reality Steve reports that while Hannah Ann and Victoria did not openly admit to doing it four times with Peter in a wurley, Madison finds the mere prospect unacceptable. Her husband must be as chaste as a pastor from the Kiwirrkurra Community. Apparently, she thought she was appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the overnight date would be spent trying on feather boas.
So don your bushwear, strap on your Bowie knife, and get ready for the barbie to explode in Peter’s face. The recaps of last week’s hometown hijinks reinforce that Peter wants validation (good sex with everybody) while Madison doesn’t want to compromise her values (no sex for anybody). Then the show opens at the airport where the last Rose Ceremony ended in uncertainty, with a ruminating Madison leading Peter away to talk, or in this case, utter phrases full of buzzwords usually found in a rejected Hallmark condolence card.
She begins by reporting that, after weeks of cocktail parties, one-on-one dates, and making out in a range of scenic locations, she must finally reveal her thoughts to Peter. It’s difficult for her to know what to say, although most people in this situation would have brought a bible, or how Peter will respond.
He sees she is troubled, as her usual display of veneers is now hidden behind a frown. Madison claims she wants to be honest about who she is and how she feels, especially during PMS. She tells Peter that if he sleeps with another woman else next week, either Hannah Ann, Victoria, or the crafts services girl, she won’t be able to “move forward.”
“So what are you saying?” he asks, as if she’s expressed herself through interpretive dance. Maybe a series of emoji angryfaces and an eggplant would be more effective. But Peter can’t fathom her concerns. He insists his having sex with a couple of other people this week won’t change what he and Madison have together, as long as the other girls have their Yaz prescriptions filled.
He wants her to be clear: Will there be lots of consequence-free dopplebanging for him or not? She doesn’t want to give him an ultimatum, but notes that actions speak louder than words, or even O face. “I’m crazy about you,” Peter murmurs uselessly. He is disarmed after this curveball thrown at his personal balls.
With nothing resolved during this session that would frustrate Lucy Van Pelt, morning dawns on a pensive koala bear in a eucalyptus tree. Those guys have sex all the time with different koalas, and no one complains. A chastened Peter foresees a difficult week which might require a few cold showers. He never knew it would boomerang on him so badly in this country. He was sure all three girls would hop into the sack with him like he was a body pillow and they suffered from recurring back pain.
The girls chat uncomfortably in their shared suite. They agree the situation is awkward, as well as a brilliant move by the producers. Then Peter arrives all jolly and eager to perpetuate the orchestrated discomfort. As he departs to kangaroo court Hannah Ann, Madison clings to the notion that Peter will keep it in his pants tonight, much as I hope my dog will ignore the piece of sandwich that falls to the floor while he’s watching me eat.
The couple practice their Olivia Newton-John accents as they board a jet ski for a trip along the coast. Once again, Peter and his date spend time together trying to better get to know each other while unable to hear the other person speak. Later, on the beach, Hannah Ann marvels that they’re “livin’ life,” whereas before the show she was in a convent. Now she wants to know how Peter feels during this “big week” when the Fantasy Suite looms large. They must have filmed this some time before we knew the Russians were boosting Bernie Sanders.
Peter only wants to think about Hannah Ann and how crazy he is for her and her cleavage. “I’m falling in love with you,” he tells her earnestly. She buys it like a marked-down DVD of The Dressmaker. Peter thinks this is what love is. He has zero doubt that they have “that connection.” What he felt with Hannah Brown must have been at least partially in doubt.
Back at the suite, Victoria blithely discusses having sex with Peter within 24 hours. She feels it’s an important experience, since you need to know whether he expects you to sleep on the wet spot. Madison is perturbed. She would rather know if his LinkedIn account is up to date.
That evening, Hannah Ann arrives in a pale pink halter-top mullet dress that looks like something I crafted for my Barbie doll out of my grandma’s silk scarf. She acknowledges how crucial tonight is. What if he leaves his socks on?
They agree they had a great day together. In fact, Peter could see “this” for a lifetime, even without wombats and Vegemite. Hannah Ann is glad she opened her heart to him.
“I don’t want you to worry about us,” Peter assures her. “You got to do what you got to do to get there,” Hannah Ann replies, giving him the go-ahead to boff everyone else with impunity.
They read Chris’s letter, essentially a pimp’s permission in a handwriting font. They will share the Fantasy Suite, where champagne is opened and pledges of gratitude are exchanged.
At the hotel, Victoria continues to remind Madison that Hannah Ann and Peter are likely doing the horizontal hoochie even as they speak. In fact, they are indeed pawing each other on the bed, although fully dressed. Leave it to the show to be both coy and crude at the same time.
Next morning, Hannah Ann returns to the other girls. She’s not glowing or bow-legged or even smiling. Did they do it or not? Enquiring Madisons want to know.
Peter’s next date is with Victoria, a development as predictable as Tom chasing Jerry with an ax. Peter is frustrated by their last conversation, but happy they’re both in it to win it. He wants to address his remaining concerns so they can enjoy the Fantasy Suite without her locking herself in the bathroom at two AM.
They take a helicopter ride over the city, missing most of the views by making out enthusiastically. How embarrassing for both pilots. Peter believes that Victoria’s “fire,” known in clinical terms as impulse-control disorder, means their relationship will never be boring, just as their dishes will always be broken. They toast each other before the serious convo begins.
Victoria expresses her vague fears in a stream of “I mean, likes” and “you knows?” that would rival any summer camp bunkmate’s. Peter assures her he does not give up easily, which explains the four times in the windmill. He does regret that he never got to meet her family, which was disappointing since he was hoping her mom was hot. “Peter checks all the boxes,” Victoria enthuses. She can usually pass a multiple-choice test.
Meanwhile, Madison tells Hannah Ann that she won’t continue with Peter if the other girls have slept with him. Hannah Ann is perplexed. Has Madison never seen the show? Has she seen any show after 1974? Does she not want to know if he dresses left or right?
Night falls on the kookaburra in the old gum tree. Peter feels he and Victoria have resolved their communication problem, despite her vocabulary being smaller than a quokka’s. As a result, he has learned a lot about her and her wildly capricious moods. He celebrates their not giving up despite her character’s arc in that direction. Victoria wants to tell him why she is the way she is, and why it’s not treatable. In a former relationship, the guy she was with never asked her about her feelings, so she thought Peter asking was peculiar. What does she do if a waiter forgets to ask if she wants a beverage?
Peter insists she must always tell him if he isn’t expressing himself the way she needs him to, which could be a problem if it needs to be Morse Code. Suddenly, she’s all whiny again and questioning what he wants from her besides remembering to bring the furry handcuffs. He wants her to believe she deserves love without being frightened or feeling unworthy. She cries and apologizes. High maintenance, thy name is Victoria F.
A delighted Peter views their content-free conversation as a breakthrough, while Victoria has never felt like this before, probably due to all the barbiturates. They open the card with suite key. Peter is practically drooling as she agrees they should wreck the bed together.
They hop between the sheets as Madison paces anxiously back at the hotel. She is convinced she cannot continue with Peter if he’s sharpened his pencil in other classrooms. She already knows about Hannah Brown, though, so maybe she’s got some kind of amnesty clause for that.
Next morning, Victoria and Peter cuddle and giggle together in the newly-named Reality Suite. “Last night set the relationship forward in more ways than one,” she reports. Maybe he did it five times with her. Peter is also pleased, claiming he always thought it could be good with her. What tipped him off, the erratic behavior or the emotional unstability?
The problem now is that Peter is in love with three women, and, like a smallish loaf of monkey bread, torn in three directions. Four, if you count him ogling that hotel clerk.
Meanwhile, Madison’s continuing fixation on Peter jumping her roomies’ bones is further exacerbated when Victoria rejoins her and Hannah Ann. She describes everything about her date with Peter, short of the brand of condom.
Madison sighs heavily and leaves the room to ponder the situation some more. Soon she’ll be consulting the leading Bachelor ethics experts. She spends a lot of time thinking about other people having sex, which is generally frowned upon in the church.
Finally, it’s her turn to have a day with Peter. He feels on top of the world with her, despite her obsession with how much vodka is on his swizzle stick. They are going to scale the side of a tall building, which Dr. Ruth Westheimer often recommends for such complex situations. The poor schmuck who had to film this adventure ought to get triple-time.
Madison feels safe and secure with Peter as they embrace 900 feet above the city, wearing safety harnesses hooked to the railing and covered by a mountain of liability insurance. Meanwhile, Hannah Ann and Victoria review the issue of Madison not having revealed her virginity to Peter. It’s unfair to cruelly deny Peter the chance to get some strange three times in a week. I commend them for taking the high road on this thorny moral dilemma.
After their visit to a disaster movie premise, Madison has attained confidence and clarity. Yet she still has much to figure out about her relationship with Peter. By the time they meet up that night, he reveals he’s falling in love with her–three times’ a charm–but remains concerned that she resents his being intimate with anyone who is not an inflatable doll.
Peter tells Madison he’s crazy for her. He needs to work on his romantic declarations. Now he must be honest with her, reminding her he’s in two other relationships at the moment. She doesn’t want to give him an ultimatum, although it’s kind of late for that anyway. Finally, she reveals that she is saving herself for marriage. He thinks it’s a beautiful thing, although it’s not for him. Thank goodness for the First Amendment.
He refuses to go into details about his recent boots-knocking experience, because he’s a gentleman, and anyway, he’s got the evidence on tape. This means they are at an impasse. How does she let go of things she needs in a relationship? She has given up so much, compromised so much, got her roots done, to participate in this ridiculous exercise in frustration. Why didn’t she just log on to christianmingle.com?
After that sanctimonious lecture, he agrees he shouldn’t withhold the truth about his Fantasy Suite adventures. Then he tries to salvage things by claiming he can see the two of them together at the end, just like he said to the other two, which he admits as well. This guy must fail every time when haggling on a used car lot.
A silent Madison flips her hair, wipes her eyes, and rubs her lip, like she’s speaking sign language for the lovelorn. Then she flees. Peter gazes downward in despair. Either that or he’s noticed lint on his pants.
They cry separately as the moments pass. Madison is hurt and let down. She made it clear that he could lose her with a single misplaced penis, and still he indulged in the pleasures of the flesh. Now he approaches her. Wrapping his arms around her, he whispers that he’s sorry as she sniffs into his jacket. Can’t unring that bell, pal.
“I hate this situation,” he breathes, adding “I can’t lose you.” She is silent. Maybe she’s imagining her dad seeing this footage.
“I can’t change who I am and what I stand for,” Madison finally says. “Don’t walk away,” Peter beseeches. He knows he’s not perfect, even Charles Barkley knows that, but he begs her to stay despite his having hurt her. Can’t he get absolution? Rehab for sex addicts? A second take on the last few scenes? Just make up your mind already.
But we will not learn Madison’s decision tonight. First we have to be exposed to Bachelorettes Tell All before the finale finishes us off. Then we can choose cremation or traditional burial.