This season started off with a pretty shocking reveal of Peter and Hannah B being… really into each other. After that bombshell, the trials and tribulations of champagne bottles and whatever passes for drama this week will necessarily seem to lack stakes. But these early episodes are a good way to meet the secondary characters who will fill out the palapas in Paradise and I guess get to know Peter and the frontrunners to lead future seasons of the show. Also, you know, they have to cash some checks from various LA bars that would like some publicity.
We jump right in with a reminder that Victoria F isn’t the only Victoria this season. Victoria P is going on a one-on-one date! Victoria P has worn glasses on a couple of occasions and as a person who does not wear glasses I can say that Victoria’s are pretty cool. If the frames she picked out have a name other than “sexy librarian from a music video” then I’m pretty sure someone needs to be fired.
Victoria P One-on-one
Peter picks up Victoria P while wearing a flannel shirt and driving a classic pickup truck. Seems pretty… rustic. Peter drives Victoria through his hometown, showing her his favorite wine bar. Victoria P asks if he likes red or white and Peter says red, to which Victoria P responds “yeeessss!!!” Most exciting date ever! Peter takes Victoria to a store to buy cowboy boots and takes the opportunity afforded by a completely empty boot store to teach her some line dances. They are headed to a bar called The Canyon to… line dance.
I’ve been to a few Filipino weddings so I’ve seen my share of line dancing. This was… fine? The highlight for me was when they went to the bar to get drinks and Victoria P ordered a white wine. “Liar!” Amy screamed. But Peter is into Victoria P, in the way that he’s into every woman while he is talking to them. Peter and Victoria P describe themselves as “a little smitten” with each other before kissing.
They retire to an airplane hangar, which is a surprisingly common dinner location on this show even when the lead is not a pilot. Victoria P tells Peter about her difficult childhood. She describes herself as “a caregiver” and not just because she is a nurse. Victoria P tells Peter that her father passed away when she was young and her mother “fell into addiction” meaning that Victoria P spent a lot of her childhood in shelters and had to care for her sister and her mother. There is a competitive hardship aspect to the Bachelor that seems to have come to the forefront recently, though I think Victoria P’s story is one she would have had to tell any potential partner pretty early on. Especially someone like Peter who has, at least from appearances, had the easiest life ever.
Peter responds well to Victoria P, showing real concern and sympathy. He takes it up a notch, saying “I’ve never been inspired by someone so much in my entire life.” Wow. “And you can go fuck yourself, Nelson Mandela” Peter doesn’t add. Though he maybe would have thought through how his inspiration comment would sound on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Oh well. He is sweet and means well and likes Victoria P. Who am I to judge his current inspiration rankings? But, I mean, Peter should read Malala’s book or something. He gives Victoria P the date rose.
Cattle Call Group Date
Back at the house the bullies try and largely fail to hash it out. The fight between champagne Kelsey and champagne-stealer Hannah Ann boils down to: do unkind words count as “bullying?” This is a remarkably stupid fight, made stupider by Hannah Ann calling the original champagne situation “a finasco.”
— Cari Espino (@mobyd86) January 21, 2020
This feud is not “settled” so much as “moved aside to make room for a new and unrelated fight.” Because we are shown Alayah (former Miss Texas) getting a little drunk and being a bit much in the house. Sydney from Alabama really doesn’t appreciate Alayah, and that is the background we get before this group date.
The group date roster is Kiarra, Sarah, Tammy, Kelley, Shiann, Savannah, Sydney, and Alayah. They are told there will be a surprise, and then most of them go to sleep without their makeup. Which is both understandable and a mistake on this show. The surprise arrives early in the morning in the form of three women, one of whom is Demi Burnett and the others are, I don’t know, her friends? That we’ve never seen? Demi (who dated Colton and then dated a woman on Paradise in a Franchise-first relationship) wakes everyone up and her friends hit people with pillows. Demi introduces her “henchwomen” as “Killer” and “Champagne.” Champagne is from Des Moines! Just kidding, that was last week’s thing.
Demi brought the women various types of lingerie for the date, and the women pile into a bus to go to the Country Palace Saloon. If you’re counting, Peter has gone to the Country Palace Saloon, the Canyon line-dancing bar, and a boot store called Country General Store. He’s pretty country, is what I’m saying. In the saloon is a ring filled with pillows. This is a pillow-fighting date. Fred Williard is here, so it isn’t a total loss. Fred Williard is a national treasure beloved by the producers and me, but sadly not the editors who seem to have cut most of his lines.
The women will be pillow fighting in lingerie because… I don’t know… the show isn’t even trying. They are paired up for bouts. First up is Tammy vs Kelley. Tammy wrestled in high school and Kelley works as a lawyer, and I can tell you I did one of those and not the one that makes you likely to win a physical fight. Tammy tackles Kelley and is disqualified? I guess for being awesome? Shiann and Savannah fight, and it isn’t close. Shiann is my favorite but being paired up with Savannah means we were lucky to get to see them for the fifteen-or-so seconds of airtime they will get this episode. Shiann spent those fifteen seconds kicking Savannah’s butt. I hope that is enough to keep Shiann around. Then it was time for Alayah and Sydney to fight. They did, uneventfully. And then Kiarra may have concussed Knoxvillian Sarah during a match in which Champagne should have totally thrown in the towel. THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AN EXHIBITION.
Because no one really won or lost (except Sarah, who totally lost to Kiarra) it falls to Demi to choose the championship match. She picks Alayah and Sydney, which is just bullshit because they already fought. But the dramatic narrative takes precedence over the efforts to determine our best pajama-ed pillow-fighter. They fight again, and Alayah I think has watched some MMA because she went with a ground-and-pound strategy and was awarded the win and a tiara. And also she got a kiss from Peter and probably won Sydney’s respect. Just kidding about that last part.
In the cocktail portion of the date we see Sydney ask Alayah about her pageant life, but in kind of a combative way. Kelley would say she is badgering the witness, but Sydney wants Alayah to admit to being a manipulative fake. Alayah doesn’t, though she does acknowledge that in pageants she had to pretend to be excited about stuff a lot. And that doesn’t even include the time Alayah had to share her pageant win with Amy Klobuchar because the judges couldn’t just pick one of them to be “Ms. Meaningless Endorsement.” Sydney seems really concerned that Alayah is not really there for Peter and is manipulating him. Sydney’s stated desire to protect Peter might be masking a conflict of interest, because she wants to protect Peter from another of his girlfriends.
Kelley gets some Peter time, which she uses to tell Peter to cut back his beard. Peter tells Kelley he is really into her. He has said that to Victoria P, Alayah, and Kelley so far this episode. Peter is either really into a lot of women or his conversational default is to express a lot of confidence in his relationship with the person he is talking to.
Sydney tells Peter that she is having a hard week and adds the sort of general “some people aren’t being real with you” comment that always causes a crisis in the early-middle part of the season. The way Peter deals with this is pretty atrocious. He walks up to all of the women together and says he has heard some people haven’t “been real” with him. Then he says it was Sydney who told him this. Sydney, having been put on the spot, says “I meant Alayah.” Peter then says he wants everyone to “be real, be raw, be yourself” and asks anyone who doesn’t want to be there with him to go home. Then Peter leaves, and Sydney and Alayah have to deal with the fallout.
Alayah goes to find Peter to touch base. She expresses quite a lot of concern and cries, which is what a manipulative person would do! Also an honest person who likes Peter! Poor Peter will have to figure this out on his own. Taking a step back, it is notable that Peter is similar to Colton and Hannah B in that he is very gullible and has no instinct for conducting an investigation of any kind. At least ask John Bolton what happened! This is twice now that one of his girlfriends has told him something about another girlfriend and Peter has immediately relayed that accusation and the name of the person making it. Ray Dalio would call this “radical transparency” and “a great way to run a hedge fund” but most people would call this “making me look like an asshole when I was trying to help you out.” A thing that a lot of people have found useful is that when they hear something bad about someone else in confidence, they take it and the identity of the person saying it under advisement and make their own determinations based on this and other information available to them. If Peter did that, he’d probably be a bad Bachelor. But it is interesting that Peter seems so ill equipped to do this fundamental life skill. His one and only move seems to be demanding that the two people who disagree talk to each other and then, I guess, hope one of them will agree with the other.
Peter grabs the date rose and gives it to Sydney. That’s kind of harsh, because he just took a side in a fight he does not understand. This is going to be a story that is brought up often during arguments after Peter marries Alayah.
Cocktail Pool Party
We have a pool party in lieu of a cocktail party this week, though no one actually got in the pool because it is cold. Peter is wearing his finest pool hoodie over his swim trunks. Sydney gets time with Peter right away, and Peter apologizes to Sydney for putting her on the spot. It sounds like maybe this is Peter’s second apology, and that is not enough considering how awkward it was. Peter thanks Sydney for “being someone I can lean on” and kisses Sydney. Alayah puts a lot of stock in the fact that no one else called her out in public when Sydney accused her of non-real-ness. But Sydney explains the lack of corroboration from their roommates by saying “they don’t have the balls and I do.” Good answer! And she has a point, because Kelsey talks a little shit about Alayah to Peter, as do Natasha and redhead Lexi.
Alayah confronts Sydney and Sydney calls her “Princess ah-Leia.” That’s maybe not on purpose because Sydney is way young, but I liked it.
Though it should be noted that we established earlier that 50% of contestants who have been polled think calling someone “princess” is bullying.
Peter spends a little time with Madison, someone he seems to really like, enough to not spend the time talking about Alayah. Perhaps Madison will be the fourth person he makes significant expressions of affection for in this episode? Yep, he does and she is. Peter perhaps should cool it with telling everyone that they are very special to him, because these women will eventually stop fighting with each other over champagne and pageantry and start comparing notes.
Alayah tells Peter she has never had her “authenticity questioned” and that the previous night was the hardest “of [her] life.” I mean, she is young and had a very successful life, so maybe? Peter basically declares he is way into Alayah and he “believes” her. Umm… so why’d you give that other lady a rose? Because they can’t both be right, can they?
Victoria P was Miss Louisiana, and between that and her librarian glasses, she is perfectly positioned to speak to Alayah’s authenticity. Victoria P tells Peter that Alayah asked Victoria P not to tell producers that she and Alayah knew each other. Victoria P summarizes this as “she asked me to lie.” I guess? I think she asked Victoria P to not volunteer information. But whatever. Victoria P throws Alayah right under the bus, claiming that Alayah is all about opportunities from the show and “maybe not the one for you.” I know conflicts of interest are confusing to some current administrations, but she is telling her boyfriend to dump one of his other girlfriends, so maybe take it with a grain of salt. But Peter does his move where he just takes whatever was told to him in private and raises it to the other person with attribution.
Peter grabs Alayah yet again and he seems upset. For a guy who is secretly in love with Hannah B, Peter sure seems concerned that his girlfriends might not be totally honest with him. Peter tells Alayah maybe she’s “been a little manipulative” and then busts out the Victoria P lying accusation. Alayah claims she was “afraid we would be disqualified” if it came out that they knew each other. Peter seems to think truthfulness should extend to not lying to producers. And he’s concerned about Alayah’s genuine-ness. Peter tells Alayah that he has “a lot to think about” and walks away. Alayah should probably just leave. I mean, sometime in the next month Peter is going to find out that she didn’t return a library book or used a fake ID or, I don’t know, lied about her birthday to access an adults-only website. I mean, withheld information from producers of a reality show? How can she live with herself?
Chris Harrison tells the women that Peter went home from the party (not the season) and is “emotional and confused.” Also “kind of a dummy, but what can you do? You all want to marry him for some damn reason.” He leaves out the last part. Mykenna, who despite her easily-identifiable eyebrows has had very little screen time, starts to cry. She is worried she might go home because Peter won’t have time to see her. Alayah tells the camera that she considered Victoria P “a friend and ally” which is, to be fair, not what she wanted Victoria P to tell the producers. Oh well, we got our pageant beef after all. And a truly un-festive pool party.
Snitch-y Sydney has a rose, as do the two Victorias. In order, the rest of the roses go to:
Kelsey – Iowan champagne enthusiast
Hannah Ann – Knoxvillian champagne thief
Natasha – quietly sticking around
Lexi – the redhead
Madison – attends vow renewals and plays boring basketball
Shiann – my favorite
Kelley – the lawyer
Kiarra – the best pillow fighter
Tammy – 7-1 as a wrestler, 0-1 as a pillow fighter
Savannah – a realtor?
Deandra – I forgot she was still on the show
There are two roses left, and Peter walks out. After leaving the pool party early, he seems to have bailed on the rose ceremony. Peter tells Chris Harrison that he is basically struggling about Alayah. That’s reasonable, though this isn’t the episode where he proposes. He definitely gave a rose to Savannah as a favor to her production assistant, why not keep Alayah around for a week? It seems like Peter has overlearned the lessons of Luke P and Jed Wyatt on Hannah B’s season. Because Peter tells the camera that he wishes he wasn’t so drawn to Alayah. You can keep someone around for four weeks even if they are pretty awful, you can’t accept a proposal from them. There’s a distinction there.
After Peter returns, Chris Harrison pops in to dramatically remove one of the two roses. Mykenna has been struggling visibly throughout the ceremony, and she looked like she was going to cry when Chris Harrison took one of the two lifeboats. And despite it seeming like being 22 in Canada would be a fine thing, she seems to really want to stay on this show. Well, she gets her wish! Mykenna gets the last rose, and Alayah is going home. We also say a very abbreviated goodbye to Jasmine the Vietnamese-American, and basically don’t even see Sarah the other Knoxvillian go home. We also lost Alexa with distinctive hair (the Chicago waxer) before she could make an impact or justify an aviation pun about landing strips.
Alayah tells the camera she “won’t hold a grudge against Victoria [P]” but that Victoria P’s comments were the reason she went home. Hold a grudge then! She told your boyfriend to dump you and he did! That’s a meaningful thing! Peter tells a producer that he doesn’t want Alayah to leave, which, I mean, give her a rose then? You had so many of them! Oh well, it appears the producers convinced Peter to dump a girl who tried to lie to the producers. So maybe Alayah isn’t as bad as this expertly-edited television show has tried to portray. Though it certainly seems like she will be back next week so I guess we shouldn’t completely forget about her just yet.