After nine long weeks, we finally made it to the third most anticipated episode of any season of The Bachelor: hometowns! Our bachelor narrowed down his pool of potential co-pilots to four and geared up to visit each woman (and her family) in her respective hometown. But what was supposed to be an eye-opening, heartwarming experience in Virginia Beach for both our bachelor and controversial contestant Victoria Fuller, actually turned out to be a complete disaster, courtesy of one blurry-faced woman.
All season, the minds behind The Bachelor have teased a couple earth-shattering epiphanies for Peter that would completely throw him off course, and Bachelor Nation had the pleasure of watching the first one unfold during last night’s episode. After his trips to see Hannah Anne, Madison, and Kelsey went off without a hitch, Peter headed to Virginia Beach to reunite with Victoria. Knowing what we know about the contestant from her bizarre behaviour this season, Peter should have known that trouble was brewing, but he was still
delusional hopeful that they were finally on the other side of their drama. Oh, Peter.
Their day began with a walk down the beach with Victoria’s dog Buxton and a planned concert featuring a country music singer that Peter was absolutely thrilled to see (yes, he danced). However, the high of the date was cut short when the two parted ways. "Peter!" a woman approached our leading man, her face blurred for anonymity which Peter would almost immediately negate. Her name was Merissa Pence, and she was an ex-girlfriend from his younger days. Merissa had moved back to Virginia Beach to be closer to her family, and in the process, she'd acquired a new circle of friends — which coincidentally included Victoria.
"Just be careful" Merissa said ominously. "I know that you're a great guy, and I don't think that you deserve what you're on a date with right now."
Understandably confused, Peter tried to gather more intel from Merissa, but to no avail. All that she would reveal to the puppy dog-eyed bachelor was that Victoria's reputation around town was less than squeaky clean; the frontrunner was allegedly responsible for breaking up several happy relationships. Though pretty stale — what exactly does that mean, Merissa? Give us details! Paint the picture! — that tea was enough to send Peter down a black hole of doubt.
At home, Bachelor Nation was living for the drama. If anything could send Victoria home, it should have been Merissa's perfectly timed run-in (remember, the producers of this show have never seen a setup that they didn't like) with Peter.
Though her warning didn't hit home for Peter — despite being gaslit and manipulated by Victoria in the conversations that followed, he still advanced her to the final three and sent possible future bachelorette Kelsey packing — Merissa instantly became a hero among the Bachelor Nation ranks. The whistleblower, who works in Virginia Beach as a social media marketer and kickboxing instructor, has already seen thousands of new Instagram followers. Plus, according to her Instagram story, she's even been approached by The Bachelor's frenemy Reality Steve.
Merissa's big moment may have passed, but there's no way that this is the last that we've seen of her on Peter's season of The Bachelor. I'm not one for drama, but may I suggest an invite to the "Women Tell All" episode? I have a feeling that Ms. Merissa has even more quality tea to spill.