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I guess Charles Barkley saw Peter’s visit to Auburn.
Last week Peter gave roses to frontrunners Madison and Hannah Ann and then gave his final rose to Victoria F. Victoria F has some red flags. Or more accurately, she is a red-flag factory. Like Victoria F is an actual large factory in China producing red flags at a furious pace (with a possible hiatus during Chinese New Year to arrest the spread of the coronavirus). Multiple shifts of skilled employees inside Victoria F are dyeing cloth a bright red color, cutting it into large rectangles, stitching the edges of those rectangles to form a border, and then packaging the resulting red flags for shipment all over the world.
Merissa Pence (already your favorite Pence) told Peter to watch out for Victoria F in a contrived-and-awkward encounter on her Virginia Beach Hometown Date. What she was alluding to is an alleged dating history of Victoria F. Not that Victoria F dated Chase Rice, but that she dated men who were, at that time, married. And, it sounds like, maybe married to friends of Victoria F? Merissa Pence has said that she and Peter actually spoke for seven minutes, and also that Victoria F threatened to slash Merissa Pence’s tires in a dispute over a guy. This guy is not Peter, though Peter and Merissa Pence dated in 2012. The world seems so large these days, but Bachelor world seems so small.
When we left our hapless pilot he had just selected the three women that might be invited to forego their individual rooms and bunk up with him in a fantasy suite. Separately, I mean. Not all four of them together. That would be unseemly. But before Peter could board his flight for Australia, Madison grabbed him to tell him something, and that is where we pick up the action this week.
Madison very awkwardly tells Peter that it would be very difficult for her if Peter has sex with the other women. Madison seems to have taken steps to clarify that this isn’t judgment on her part, just expectations she has of her future husband. There is very likely some editing here, and also some discomfort on Madison’s part that interferes with the clarity of what she is trying to say, but Peter is basically like “is this a situation where you would prefer I don’t spend the night, or a dealbreaker?” Madison says “in no way do I want to like give you an ultimatum or tell you what you can do and can’t do… but, for me actions speak louder than words and I’m just really big on that.” Peter responds with “you know how much you mean to me.” Those are words, dude! She said she wants actions! Or in this case, Peter not to get any action.
We have not actually seen Madison tell Peter that she hasn’t had sex and does not plan to, but there was a lot of editing and maybe that reveal is on a cutting-room floor somewhere. And while we can quibble with the decision to come onto the show by people who don’t want to have sex on a show with a clear sex-having component, Madison is 23 and seemingly a big fan of Peter and possibly of being on television. And again, she is not saying Peter shouldn’t have sex, just that if he does he shouldn’t expect Madison to stick around. It is notable that contestants often apply years before they are selected, meaning Madison could have thought she was applying to date Colton only to get the call for Peter. Colton and Peter are on opposite ends of the known-for-having-sex spectrum.
Still, this is the second season in a row where a contestant suggested that they would bail if the lead boinked another person. Madison took great pains to try to say that she was not giving “an ultimatum” to differentiate herself from Luke P. Though I think she was giving an ultimatum, because an ultimatum is a final position that, if not accepted, leads to a breakdown in relations. A better differentiation is that Luke P seemed to view Hannah B having sex with another contestant as evidence of her failings and an affront to Luke P. Hannah B’s sex positivity was, to Luke P, evidence of a moral failure, albeit one Luke P felt he might be able to overcome to accept Hannah B. We wrote a whole blog about it last season. Including this paragraph by Victor:
Let me share a couple of thoughts on this: It’s perfectly fine for Luke to have these expectations for what he wants in a partner – we all have preferences – weird, idiosyncratic, whatever – for someone we spend the rest of our lives with. What is DEFINITELY NOT OKAY is to go on this show where the lead is expected to take three people to fantasy suites, and still convey these expectations to the lead in a way that imparts moral judgment. And it is positively DERANGED to do that if: (1) you were a giant A-hole the entire season; (2) you dismiss the lead’s feelings during the conversation; and (3) you complain about being “misunderstood” when you’re the one who’s spitting out nonsense. And to this atheist, cloaking these feelings in a religious context does a great disservice to genuinely religious folk who don’t emotionally abuse others in the name of religious morality.
Madison seems to pass the test that Luke P failed in that she takes great pains not to suggest that sex is “wrong” or to try to enforce her own morality on Peter. She simply states what to her is a dealbreaker (though she’d have been better served saying it more explicitly): if you wannabe my lover, you can’t get with my friends. Also, this might be a good time to note that the Spice Girls released that song around the time Madison was born, so the reference is probably lost on her. I don’t know that Madison should have gone on a reality dating show with fantasy suites and a lead whose main qualification was virility in the fantasy suites. But I don’t fault her for having a code and sticking with it. A woman got to have a code.
We see Madison arrive at her hotel, and then we see her joined by Hannah Ann and Victoria F. It seems the show has decided to keep the women together, in a change of format. Normally the contestants don’t really see each other or know the order of the fantasy suites. Peter joins them, but at least he is not going to be rooming with them. This seems like a production decision that is driven by the opportunity to torment Madison.
This room, so far as I can tell, is on or near the Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove Resort in or near the city of Gold Coast, Australia. And we will be checking back in quite a bit this episode. Peter tells all three women that he is going to be taking Hannah Ann on the first date. This is the ideal situation for the producers because Peter and Hannah Ann have a strong connection and Peter is presumably at his horniest. It is a lock that when Hannah Ann returns (if she returns) Madison will be forced to sit with her while Peter takes Victoria F on the date and possible overnight.
Victoria F asks Madison what happened in the conversation after the rose ceremony. Madison doesn’t come clean immediately, but Victoria F seems kind of to have some idea. Victoria F tells Madison it is “important” for Peter to spend the night with each of the women because he will be waking up to them for the rest of his life. This is the “try before you buy” theory of premarital sex. Though I suspect Madison understands that if she only has sex with Peter, she won’t necessarily know if she is missing out on better sex with a more physically-compatible partner. I can see both arguments, though considering Peter is a haver of sex, he probably has some desire to have good sexual chemistry with his fiancee. A thing he won’t be able to find out if he is going to be barred from having sex with any of them by Madison’s non-ultimatum.
Hannah Ann Date
Peter and Hannah Ann are going on a date that starts with them riding jet skis. Peter suggests that they will speak in Australian accents for the whole date, but fortunately does not follow through with that. Gold Coast is very pretty but Australia is a bit terrifying. I was in Cairns a couple of years ago and saw the following sign:
Peter and Hannah Ann park their jet skis and spend some time in the water, without interruption by saltwater crocodiles, jellyfish, or sharks. Hannah Ann and Peter have a fairly boring conversation, though it seems as if Hannah Ann is aware that Peter is under a lot of stress. Hannah Ann says “no matter what happens this week, I will be there.” It is a little on point, and a little bit of the opposite of what Madison told Peter, which I suspect is not an accident. Peter says “I’m falling in love with you” and then they kiss and head to dinner.
Dinner with Hannah Ann is going to be in a skyscraper of some sort. The building is called “The Star.” Peter tells Hannah Ann “I could see us doing this for a lifetime, honestly.” Umm… jetskiing around Australia is a helluva way to spend the rest of your life. Peter tells Hannah Ann that he is “falling in love with her” and then tells Hannah Ann about telling her parents that he was going to tell her this. Hannah Ann seemingly gives Peter a pass to sleep with the other women, which stands in stark contrast to Madison. She basically says he should do what he needs to do in order to be sure about Hannah Ann in the end. Under normal circumstances being sympathetic to Peter and easing his mind would be a good strategy, but Peter seems to be drawn to drama like a moth to a
Victoria F flame. Peter kisses Hannah Ann and then busts out the fantasy suite card. Should they choose to, they can take the party to pound town. This particular fantasy suite is a penthouse suite in the hotel in the building they are in.
Normally the producers cut away from a closing door on a fantasy suite to a commercial, but tonight they cut away to Victoria F telling Madison “they are probably heading to the bedroom now!” At least as edited, Victoria F is correct. Peter and Hannah Ann are making out a lot including up against a frosted-glass bathroom door in their suite bathroom. It seems like getting this shot would require some cooperation from Peter and Hannah Ann, meaning that the precursor to their night together was being directed and filmed in racy makeout scenes. Peter is heard saying “she is honestly the most perfect woman” though since we don’t see him saying it to Hannah Ann, so for all we know it was a clip of him talking about Madison or Hannah B or, I don’t know, his mom.
The morning finds Madison talking to Victoria F when Hannah Ann returns. “I just fucked so many times!” Hannah Ann does not say. But it is weird that she had to go straight back to the room she shares with Peter’s other girlfriends. Victoria F asks how it went and Hannah Ann says “It went really well.” Turns out Victoria F is next, so Madison now gets to spend a day with her friend Hannah Ann, a woman who may have just finished railing the potential future leader of Madison’s family in faith.
Victoria F Date
A problem with Peter, or maybe a feature, is that he can see himself being happy with whichever beautiful woman that is placed in front of him. Peter suggests that dating Victoria F has been very frustrating, but he brought her to Australia so he either likes frustration or really wants to get Victoria F to the fantasy suite. Peter tells Victoria F “I trust you, I have your back, I have your side.” Umm… seriously? You’re not even going to entertain the possibility that your friend and former girlfriend was telling the truth that she’s a hot mess? I have sort of operated under the assumption that Peter has just really wanted to sleep with Victoria F. I buy that he loves Madison because he says it, I buy that he sees a future with Hannah Ann, but he can’t even get through Victoria F’s parents’ door on hometowns because they are too busy fighting.
This date is going to involve a helicopter. The Bachelor uses a lot of helicopters, though perhaps in light of the Kobe Bryant helicopter accident that number will decrease. This was all filmed before the accident and also the weather could not be any clearer. The helicopter sets down in the Gondwana Rainforest and they find a very scenic location for some champagne. Victoria F tells Peter she was scared that he wouldn’t want her there and Peter says this is the most trying relationship he has and “I’m not someone who gives up easily.” “Me too” is Victoria F’s incorrect response. Their main problem is that Victoria F gives up too easily! Peter says he feels “horrible” about not meeting Victoria F’s family and adds “today’s been going good” to which Victoria F responds “we haven’t even fought… yet!”
Peter and Victoria F sit down for dinner and Victoria F says “we need to have more of a conversation about communication.” Communicating about communicating, good start! Victoria F tells Peter she was in a relationship for three-and-a-half years and was never asked about her feelings by that guy. Victoria F says that is why she gets so defensive when Peter asks her. Maybe her ex boyfriend didn’t ask Victoria F about her feelings because it always led to a big pointless fight? Victoria F says she needs to know what Peter needs from her. Peter is like “nothing” but then he says some things, like that Victoria F should support him and not react if Peter says things the wrong way. “And don’t try to stop me from banging everyone else in the fantasy suites” he thinks-but-does-not-say.
Peter asks Victoria F why that past relationship affects her relationship with Peter. Victoria F says she “didn’t feel good enough” and then says “I don’t know what you want” in the exasperated way that she usually does before trying to walk away from her relationship with Peter. They just did the thing they said they didn’t want to do! Victoria F either figured out or bumbled into the secret to Peter: kinda push Peter away. He’ll keep inventing aspects of the relationship he appreciates and coming back.
Peter invites Victoria F to the fantasy suite claiming he wants “more conversations just like this.” Uhh, okay? You want to get yelled at for asking your girlfriend about her feelings? The fantasy suite is a nice cabin in the middle of a rainforest. Victoria F cries telling the camera “I didn’t know it was possible for someone to be so good” and “I love him so much.”
Per usual we cut back to see Madison slowly losing her mind imagining Peter being with the other ladies. Peter and Victoria F wake up in the morning in bed together, and they claim to be really happy with each other. Victoria F says “I was falling in love with you but now I’m in love with you.” Did she wait for the cameras to show up to tell Peter? Or is she maybe guessing she will walk out of this show into a social media shitstorm and she is trying to end on a good note? Either way, it seems that Peter and Victoria F had a successful continuation of their ill-advised and contentious relationship.
Peter tells the camera “I am in love with three women right now.” This sounds like good news but it probably isn’t, since tradition dictates that Peter will have to dump one of them soon, and propose to another in about a week. Meaning his future fiancee is going to know that he was in love with Victoria F within 168 hours of proposing.
Back at the house Hannah Ann and Madison are chatting when Victoria F returns. She tells the others the basics of the date and says “it was productive.” Madison kind of walks out and Victoria F and Hannah Ann whisper “it’s so weird” to each other.
Madison and Peter see each other on the beach and they kiss and Peter seems very happy to see Madison. Peter tells Madison they are heading to the top of a tall building. The building is called “Skypoint” and they will be donning harnesses to climb to the top of Skypoint, which is 270 meters in the air. Most of the scaling is by elevator, but at the end they use some outdoor stairs. So the walk up a staircase that is 260 meters off the ground. It is both cool and also pretty simple. I mean, have you ever fallen off the side of a staircase? Me neither. But if you happened to do that on Skypoint and your harness failed, you’d die after a very scenic fall.
Madison reads a lot into this staircase date, saying she sees Peter as “the father to my kids” and “the man I am in love with.” This seems like a real step forward for Madison considering she apparently has not asked Peter or either of her roommates whether they did the thing that might cause her to walk away from Peter.
Checking back with the other ladies, we see Victoria F and Hannah Ann discussing Madison. Hannah Ann tells Victoria F about the fantasy suites and Madison’s expectations. Apparently Victoria F and Hannah Ann believe Madison has not told Peter that she is “saving herself for marriage” but did tell him that she doesn’t want him to sleep with anyone. I feel like she should have told Peter both things, possibly at the same time. Because they make more sense together.
Peter and Madison sit down for a dinner that will likely revolve around one question: did Peter fuck? Peter says “with regards to the last time we talked after the rose ceremony, honestly Maddy I have been going through a lot last week… and honestly I’ve been torn because the fact of the matter is I have two other relationships right now.”
Madison says “I walked away from that conversation feeling really discouraged and really disappointed and the last thing I wanted to do was put you in an uncomfortable position or make you think this was an ultimatum… I want to be as honest about everything as I can be. For me, growing up, I made a commitment to myself and I decided I wanted to save myself for marriage.” Madison explains that she understands that not everyone made the same decision, she wants to be “honest about the expectations that we do have.” Peter admits “We’re different in that regard” (the regard about saving sex for marriage) and does not add “I did it in a windmill four times.”
Peter asks “what are your expectations?” and Madison says she wouldn’t be able to “Say yes to an engagement and continue to move forward” if Peter had slept with the other women. Peter asks incredulously “you would give up a forever with each other… you’d be able to walk away from this?” Madison, not insanely, says she can’t wrap her mind around being proposed to by someone who slept with another woman six days earlier. That is fair and an indictment of the process in general, though I suppose what Madison may not realize is that accepting the Neil Lane ring is just a first step and for most couples the step of marriage is never reached. Madison isn’t getting engaged to her fiance, she is “getting engaged” on TV to get a free ring and, if things work out better than the vast majority of seasons, a free wedding.
Peter is like “I can’t give details about what happened with someone else.” It seems like if Peter understood that Madison was serious about Peter not boning, Peter thought that maybe she just wouldn’t ask? Or that Peter could hide behind a refusal to kiss and tell? Either way, Peter seems to be a bit taken aback by Madison’s reaction. Madison says “It’s not comfortable for me to ask, I hope you know that… I don’t know how to let go of the things I need in a relationship. I don’t want to feel like a bad person for the standards that I have.”
Madison’s frustration starts to boil over, and she correctly notes that she has “compromised a lot” by sharing Peter with other women and, I guess, coming on a show that seems so out of sync with the values she is adhering to. Alternatively, anyone who has ever seen the show should have stopped Madison from applying to be on it. Not everyone is cut out to date a guy who is dating 20 other people on network television. A lot was made about Peter and Victoria F’s failures to communicate, but maybe it was Madison and Peter who didn’t get on the same page. Peter says “I have been intimate and, I can’t lie to you about that.” Peter promises that he sees a future with Madison but admits that he saw a future with the other women too.
Madison is physically shaking in response to this news and excuses herself and Peter looks like a guy who didn’t realize the girl he loves meant it when she said he shouldn’t sleep with her roommates. Peter stays at the table, crying unlike a guy who just has to decide which of his two model girlfriends he will have to propose to now. Though I guess I don’t think there is a way that Peter proposes to Hannah Ann or Victoria F and then watches this episode with them later. He just seems so obviously in love with Madison now that she is mad at him and ready to bail.
Madison says she “made it very clear” that Peter would lose her if he slept with someone else. I mean, I wouldn’t say it was definitively “clear.” Especially to Peter, who seems not to really understand Madison’s faith despite low-key inflating his own Christianity to impress her. Madison is clearly frustrated and Peter is sad, though I suppose you could reverse those emotions too. Peter gets up to find Madison and despite Madison’s lack of experience in some areas, she is a pro at not reacting to the many production people visible in the shot. She buries her head in Peter’s chest and cries and Peter says “I’m so sorry.” This is, notably, not the reaction Hannah B had to Luke P when she told Luke P that she’d been intimate with Peter.
Peter tries to convince Madison that he didn’t know what he was doing and says “I can’t lose you.” Peter says “say something” and Madison says “I can’t change who I am and I can’t change what I believe and what I stand for.” “Say a different something!” Peter doesn’t say, but wants to.
Peter essentially pleads with Madison, repeating the phrase “don’t walk away.” It is good evidence for the theory that Peter chases the things that are hardest to catch. Also, has Peter thought through how this will go if he succeeds in keeping Madison around? She is presumably not going to the fantasy suite. And if Peter doesn’t give her a rose after begging her to stay he will look terrible. Similarly, if he doesn’t choose her in the end, he will look terrible. And if he and Madison leave the show engaged he won’t have any sex until marriage, and you can bet Madison and Peter’s potential inlaws are going to remember the time he slept with one or two other ladies the week he proposed after Madison specifically told him she didn’t want him to. Perhaps Peter will move to Auburn and join Madison’s church, and every Sunday as he walks in he will know that everyone there saw him on TV tell Madison that he “was intimate” with some other lady or ladies. If Peter and Madison have children, their son(s) and/or daughter(s) will track down episodes of the show where their dad listened to their mom tell him she didn’t want him to smash any other ladies and he did it anyway. If Peter is upset that Madison put handwash-only serving dishes in the dishwasher or didn’t remember to get real maple syrup at Costco, Madison can be like “well you put your penis inside another lady the week you proposed to me, and you didn’t remember that I told you not to.” What I’m saying is, Peter and Madison perhaps should have communicated better in that airplane hangar, and now it might just be too late.
We see Madison walk away from Peter. It isn’t clear whether she’s leaving-leaving or just getting some more space, but as this is the cliffhanger we’ll probably find out next week in conjunction with The Women Tell All. After that Chris Harrison promises we will have an “unbelievable” finale.