The Bachelor finale is usually about who the lead ends up with. This time, it’s about Peter Weber’s mom, Barbara. While we finally find out what happened at the final rose ceremony and get some clarity on Peter’s current relationship status, Barbara Weber completely steals the show. Her reign starts with many reaction shots of her rooting for her fave Hannah Ann Sluss, and ends on a much darker note that leaves the future of her relationship with her son in the balance. Chris Harrison did say we wouldn’t know what to expect from the ending. He couldn’t have known it would turn out this particular way, but he was definitely right.
The episode starts back in Australia where Peter is going for a very sad run during which he seemingly resigns himself to proposing to Hannah Ann now that Madison Prewett is out of the picture. “I know what I have with Hannah Ann and that’s true love,” he says before meeting with Neil Lane. Yep, Peter is totally in love with Hannah Ann and ready to propose. Totally.
Peter FaceTimes Hannah Ann’s dad for his blessing, gives a big “woo!” when he gets it, and seems genuinely excited for a moment. But then, we cut to Hannah Ann getting ready for the rose ceremony. She’s wearing what looks like a literal wedding gown, but doesn’t sound too ready to walk down the aisle. She’s still upset about Peter saying that his heart was pulled in two different directions the night before and feels like she “wants to tap out.” We then get a shot of her collapsed dramatically on her bed.
And then, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Chris Harrison approaching Peter at the final rose ceremony platform and telling him some big, mysterious news. “There’s something I just found out about Hannah Ann,” he says. “To be honest, I’m not positive she’s coming.” Peter asks if Hannah Ann knows Madison is gone. Chris responds, “Unless you told her, no.”
This, of course, makes Peter super stressed, and he goes to lay down in some sort of bungalow, telling the producers he’s lightheaded. Almost immediately, though, Chris shows back up and says, “So I just found out, she’s coming.” This — and I give the Bachelor producers full credit here — makes me think that the Chris “something I just found out” line was filmed primarily so it could be used to build drama. The turnaround seemed so fast from Hannah possibly leaving to arriving as usual.
So, yeah, Hannah Ann turns up. Peter starts crying and delivers a proposal monologue in which it really sounds like he accidentally calls her Madison Ross-on-Friends-style. “So, Madison… she actually left two days ago.” Why would you phrase it like that? Also, way to make it sound like you chose her by default in the proposal. Anyway, Hannah Ann says "yes," and they’re very excited about being engaged, while the rest of us are at home cringing because this is clearly not the end of the story.
And this roller coaster keeps on riding up higher before we’re dropped down. Peter arrives back in LA to tell his family that he’s engaged, and draws things out for so long before revealing who he’s with. Barbara is absolutely losing it, but when he says his fiancée is Hannah Ann, she can barely choke out a “bud." The whole family then FaceTimes Hannah Ann, who Barbara repeatedly calls her “daughter." Dear god.
We get a brief look at Peter on the live show telling Chris that it was a good day, and then it all comes crashing down. It’s time for a Hannah Ann and Peter safe house visit where we know now that terrible stuff goes down. It’s clear that they’ve already had a conversation about their status over the phone, because they jump right into things. The conversation is about whether Peter can love Hannah Ann on the same level that she loves him. Turns out, he can’t. Hannah Ann tells him that he took away her first engagement, says that he “selfishly” didn’t let her leave or breakup with her before getting engaged, and ends with “I’ve been my own rock throughout this and you don’t have to worry about me.”
Of course, for viewers at home there’s plenty to root for here, but this is also a good place to note that the show made much use of a picture-in-picture effect during this episode, especially when it came to Barbara. That’s because Barbara was frequently rooting for Hannah Ann during the episode, even applauding when Hannah Ann gave Peter back her engagement ring.
After the breakup we get a live segment with Hannah Ann and Peter, and it’s honestly just Hannah Ann putting Peter in his place, Barb clapping, and Peter apologizing. Hannah Ann calls Peter out for reaching out to her parents after their breakup and telling them he wishes they met outside reality TV. She calls him out for downplaying what happened with Madison in the middle of her proposal, which put her on the spot and meant she didn’t know if she was saying “yes” to him choosing her over someone else or because she was the only option. (So glad this was mentioned.) Lastly, she calls him out for wanting to contact Hannah Brown for closure after they were engaged. "Looking back on it, our engagement involved three women,” Hannah Ann says, referring to herself, Hannah B, and Madison. She ends by saying Peter needs to “become a real man.” Barbara claps for that one, too.
The next thing we know, Chris is in Auburn, Alabama telling Madison that Peter got engaged, but broke it off because he’s actually in love with her. He does this without Peter’s knowledge. This part is so strange. We’ve just heard Peter say on the live show that his feelings for Madison were only part of the reason he ended things with Hannah Ann. Whether or not that’s true, it’s weird to go behind his back, but it has to be because the producers were looking for a better ending to the season. Madison is shook, but after asking if Peter is okay and admitting she still has feelings for him, agrees to go to Los Angeles in the hopes of a second chance.
In LA, Peter is legitimately shocked to see Madison and breaks the fourth wall by looking directly into the camera. We find out later that he thought he’d be meeting up with Chris. Way to keep him in the dark, guys. Madison and Peter agree that their love for each other hasn’t gone away, but we’re left hanging on what they decide to do from there. Also, oh my gosh, this episode has so much going on and we aren't even at the more dramatic part, so let’s move right along.
Back in the studio for the live portion, Madison joins Peter on stage where it’s revealed that they’ve spoken since meeting up in LA three months ago, but haven’t seen each other in person. They’re in love, but are going to take things one day at a time, because they both have a lot of healing to do. This seems like a smart move, and even if they don’t necessarily seem compatible, I am rooting for them after what happens next.
Barbara has looked enraged at Madison this entire time. Finally, Chris asks her how she feels about this development, and she starts talking about how last night’s episode didn’t show everything. She says Madison made the family wait three hours before she came inside to talk to them because “she didn’t want to meet us.” (Last night’s episode showed that the family had to wait because Peter and Madison were having a long discussion on their own.) She also claims that while Hannah Ann said she was madly in love with Peter, Madison said she wouldn’t accept a proposal.
Madison and Peter give cordial responses. Madison says you can’t change the past and that she’ll love and respect his family because she loves and respects Peter. Peter says he hopes his family can accept his decisions. Barbara’s not having it. Eventually she says that Peter is “going to have to fail to succeed,” and adds, “Everyone that knows him knows it’s not going to work.” Peter, who is visibly saddened, says, “I am telling you that I love Madison and that should be enough.” His dad pipes up with something about how their relationship has so many obstacles and that’s a bad sign, and it’s clear that Peter is hurting more and more. The conclusion is just Madison saying, “This is something just he and I should be talking about.”
Peter has made a lot of questionable decisions this season, all the way up until the finale, and that’s something that he recognizes and actually does seem sorry about. What he put Hannah Ann through is just awful, and I’m not overlooking that. But, for all of that to happen and for Peter to think it’s all over with, only to have this confrontation with his mother on live TV? That’s rough. The ending here could have been that he screwed up, but might actually have a shot with Madison. Instead, it’s that, plus his mom being totally against his relationship to the point where she’s completely unwilling to see her son’s side.
There’s no good way to wrap this up. It’s just sad, so I’ll end the same way the show did: By making a quick pivot to Clare Crawley, the new Bachelorette. Sure, she barely got any screen time in the finale, but she’s excited to start her journey. And with that, Bachelor Nation marches on.