Last week on The Bachelor, Peter Weber descended into a crisis over whether he could trust himself or anyone around him. Were his intuitions correct, or was he unfairly projecting past situations from his life (er, The Bachelorette) on to others? Starring on The Bachelor is rough. And it didn’t get that much easier this week. In fact, Peter added a physical injury to his emotional turmoil.
But first, a surprising move involving Alayah Benavidez: She’s gone. For good. The three-hour episode begins with Peter pulling her aside and giving her the boot, even though she has the group date rose. He tells her that he knows she’s a “good person,” but “with everything that’s happened, this is just a little too much.” And it seems like they both agree. I mean, this has been undeniably messy no matter which side you ask. Interestingly, instead of the other women being overjoyed, as is traditionally the case when a so-called “villain” is sent home, they’re concerned about Peter’s decision making abilities, which is, shockingly, pretty reasonable.
This attitude continues as Peter pulls the women aside for pre-rose ceremony chats. He apologizes to the whole group and promises that he’s not going to be “wishy-washy,” but they express how they feel individually. Natasha tells him that the idea of walking off the show has “crossed lots of minds.” Tammy says she’s “frustrated." Deandra says she’s “wifey material,” not that he would know it. It’s nice to see them standing up for themselves in this way. The women are often shown fawning after the lead no matter what, but they deserve to feel sought after, too, and to feel comfortable leaving if they aren’t.
At the rose ceremony, Madison Prewett, Sydney Hightower, Natasha Parker, Lexi Buchanan, Hannah Ann Sluss, Shiann Lewis, Mykenna Dorn, Victoria Paul, Kelley Flanagan, and Tammy Ly get roses. Deandra Kanu, Savannah Mullins, and Kiarra Norman are sent home. Deandra is “shocked,” which itself is shocking because she was one of the main people who seemed like she wanted to leave. Kiarra got pretty much zero screen-time. Savannah is a loss, only because she was the one willing to spill tea on Victoria P. last week.
Hopefully, those three have a nice trip back home from Cleveland, because it’s time for Costa Rica for everyone else. It is in Costa Rica that Peter sustains his infamous face injury that requires 22 stitches. This incident was not filmed as part of a date, so when Peter shows up to greet the group, he tells them that he got into a fight with a puma while hiking up a volcano. Only Sydney rightly notices his story seems suspect.
Soon, though, they learn the truth: He ran into a golf cart and the surprise of it made him hit himself in the face with the glass he was carrying. We are then shown security camera footage of the situation. (Thank you, Bachelor producers.) And, yeah, it’s really helpful for showing how one can run into a golf cart and then hit themselves with a glass — a mystery I’ve been trying to piece together in my head for weeks.
The first Costa Rican date goes to Sydney and starts with a helicopter ride, but Peter is deemed too clumsy to pilot an aircraft himself on this show ever again. They also have a picnic during which Peter tells Sydney that she is the “best kisser” and not to tell the others. Peter, what are you doing? That is a very nice thing for Sydney to hear, but he always speaks in such definitive statements that I worry he’s leading everyone on more than necessary. If I were Sydney, I would think that meant I was getting through to hometowns at least. Maybe she will.
At dinner, Sydney opens up about growing up mixed race in Alabama, the racist names she was called, and how her home was vandalized. Peter says something about how awful it is that things like this are still going on, and while they don’t get too deep into it, this is still an important conversation to feature on the show. It introduces a new perspective that I don't think we've seen before. That's always a good thing.
There’s no smooth way to transition from that, but Sydney gets the rose and they make out in a pool. There is a lot of chemistry between these two, especially considering there are at least 10 production people standing around watching them get handsy in bathing suits on a waterfall.
The group date is a photoshoot for Cosmopolitan’s March issue, and while they can all be in the magazine, only one winner and Peter will end up on the cover. This is a genuinely cool group date and very America’s Next Top Model, which is becoming somewhat of a theme this season. Victoria Fuller wins for, it seems, being the first one to kiss Peter while posing for a photo. (The cover was later pulled for reasons explained by Cosmopolitan here.) At the nighttime portion of the date, two things are notable: One, Victoria F says the fact that she’s 26 is “depressing” and Peter says that at 28 he’s her “grandpa." Two, new drama kicks off.
The night before, Kelsey Weir had confided in Tammy that she is having a hard time seeing Peter with other women, including Sydney, about whom she says, “I like Sydney a lot, I think she’s cool. But, she’s a dramatic fucking bitch.”
Keeping this in mind, during the group date, Victoria F. tells Tammy that Kelsey has also said she’s “the realist bitch here and everyone else is fake.” Armed with this knowledge, Tammy decides to tell Peter that Kelsey had “a mental breakdown because Sydney went off with you in a helicopter” and that she’s been “drinking excessively.” I can only hope that this egregious lack in judgement was aided by the producers, because no one should decide that this is a good idea on their own.
Kelsey confronts the group about who called her “emotionally unstable,” and while Tammy doesn’t admit to speaking to Peter, a few of the other women pipe up about Kelsey being what they deem is too emotional. Kelsey is right in explaining that she can cry as much as she damn well pleases — even if it is “four days over a bottle of champagne,” Tammy. If the anti-Kelsey ladies were upset that she’s going around calling them “bitches” and “fake,” that’d be one thing, but leave her genuine emotional distress. And especially don’t tell Peter that she had a breakdown and may have a drinking problem with literally no evidence of that actually happening.
The next day, Kelsey and Tammy talk again. Kelsey is mad that Tammy brought her up to Peter at all. In response, Tammy doubles down on the drinking thing. Then, she continues to complain about Kelsey’s crying and drinking to other women afterward. This is a massive downfall for Tammy, who until this point, had been easily the most fun and pleasant contestant to watch.
Pressing pause on that for a moment, the second one-on-one date goes to Kelley. Remember her? She met Peter in a hotel that one time. Now, she and Peter see a shaman and go through a number of experiences meant to tell them about their energy as a couple. The results show that she is holding back from him, something Kelley and Peter both think is accurate. At night, they talk about how she hasn’t seem that open or interested in Peter, and she explains that the process of the show got her down, but she’s ready to push through it and live her best Bachelor life. Peter is doubtful, and when Kelley notes that she didn’t like when he “rewarded the drama” with Alayah, he even looks irritated. Eventually, though, he gives her the rose, but decides to sound like Emperor Palpatine while he’s at it: “I need you to trust this process,” he says. “I need you to give yourself to it.” I've got a bad feeling about these two as a couple, even though Kelley seems like one of the best people here.
And just like that, we're back to Kelsey: She goes to visit Peter at his hotel room, so she can explain her concerns over Tammy implying she has a drinking problem and also, apparently, saying that she’s “popping pills,” which hadn’t been brought up until now. Peter understands Kelsey's concerns and appreciates her telling him so much that he gives her a surprise rose. Of course, this doesn’t go over well when Kelsey returns to the women’s villa. Peter says he doesn’t want her to care what they think, but he totally could have just waited until the rose ceremony and avoided thrusting her into a wildly uncomfortable situation, which, of course, this does.
Adding insult to injury, Chris Harrison announces that the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party has been canceled because Peter has already gotten the clarity he needs. A few of the women blame Kelsey for this, and all she can do is say she had no intention of getting a rose or changing his mind on anything. Blame Peter. For the love of god, blame Peter, you guys.
But, instead of putting the blame on the actual Bachelor, madness descends as multiple women confront Tammy for spreading rumours about Kelsey’s drinking and supposed pill-taking. (For the record, Kelsey says she takes Adderall and birth control.) Sydney and Tammy, in particular, get into it; Tammy calls Sydney a “diva," and Sydney calls Tammy “psycho."
It gets worse.
At the rose ceremony, Tammy asks to speak to Peter to make sure that the “clarity” he found didn’t involve her. We don’t get to hear his answer. Then, Mykenna decides to “steal” Peter and says something else that we aren’t shown. Upon their return to the rose ceremony lineup, Lexi, who has been generally upset at everyone in all directions, tells her and Tammy, “I’m glad you guys had your mini cocktail party.”
Victoria F., Madison, Natasha, Victoria P., Mykenna, and Tammy — yes, Tammy — all get roses, and Lexi and Shiann are sent home. Shiann leaves with a warning: “I really want you to be aware of some people,” she tells Peter. “Sometimes what you’re seeing is not really who they are, okay?”
Man, Peter's never going to escape this self-doubt-driven hell spiral, is he?
Winner of the episode: Kelsey takes it for the second week in a row.
Loser of the episode: Tammy. One million percent Tammy. A truly impressive downfall. It was like she studied the past contestants who screwed themselves over by talking shit about someone to the lead and purposely tried to one-up them all.
What Chris Harrison Tells Peter During The Very Teased Finale: It's probably not that the digital camera selfies, like the one he took with Hannah Ann, are so early aughts.