From the beginning of The Bachelorette season 13, it was clear "business owner" Peter Kraus would be one to watch. The adorably gap-toothed Wisconsin native was the first one out of the limo to meet Rachel Lindsay in the show's 21st season (!), which is a classic producer signal that a contestant is total marriage material. Everyone’s Bachelorette Spidey senses were right about Peter, since the former model made it to the top three in "Week 7," and is heading to Texas to meet Rachel’s family next week. Over the past season, it’s become clear the Bachelorette has intense feelings for her gray-eyed suitor, but something has started to feel alarmingly off with Peter since his televised relationship starting getting serious ahead of hometown dates. As Peter starts seeming more and more unsure about a life with Rachel, I’m starting to feel more and more sure the fan-favorite (and probably the Bachelor Nation producers) are plotting his next role: Bachelor lead.
Every Bachelor(ette) star needs a storyline, because this is television, people, not normal dating. JoJo Fletcher’s plotline was finding love after Ben Higgins broke protocol and said "I love you." Nick Viall was trying to find Real Love after failing on national television about 3,250 times. And Rachel Lindsay is here to be the first Black Bachelorette.
Peter is already laying the groundwork for his season by repeatedly explaining he has "walls" and isn’t quite so sure how to break them down. All of this commitment phobia talk began in earnest with "Week 6," during Rachel and Peter’s one-on-one date. During the couple’s faux dinner, Peter explains he broke up with his last serious girlfriend because he loved her, but "could not give all of [his] love to her." The split ended with a heartbroken and sobbing unnamed woman and a grief-stricken Peter, who is still apparently haunted by guilt, but looking for love yet again. He even nearly sheds a tear over his "abandonment" of his ex. Tell me that doesn’t already sound like a Bachelor season thesis statement waiting to happen, especially considering Peter's forgotten high school dreams of Bachelor Nation stardom.
The framework for a Peter-starring Bachelor comes even more into view in "Week 7." The contestant’s focus on the word "walls" — it’s used with the kind of frequency usually saved for "journey" — grows exponentially during hometown dates. While Rachel is gushing about seeing a future with Peter in Madison, Wisconsin, the businessman’s anxiety over introducing his new TV girlfriend to his actual friends is palpable. Once Peter has a solo conversation with his male pals, he uses the words "doubt," "I don’t know," and "fucking terrifying," almost exclusively in relation to his prospective proposal in the Bachelorette season finale. Things are no less stressful when Peter heads home to casa Kraus, where he tells his mom Lynn Kraus about his "lots of bad days," fears, questions. The word "walls" is used three times in about a minute. Guys, I don’t know if you know this, but Peter has walls. The kind of walls that can build a Beverly Hills mansion.
The Great Walls Of Peter of are so serious, every single woman in his family has to tell Rachel about them. Peter’s sister-in-law Brooke Kraus hints something has always been "holding him back" from getting down on one knee and starting a family. Kraus matriarch Lynn goes so far as to tell Rachel her son isn’t "necessarily" ready to propose to her. He is, however, prepared to start a life with "somebody" and commit to "a person." The entire statement is bizarrely impersonal considering the fact that Rachel wants to know if she, specifically, should be expecting a ring at the end of this rollercoaster ride. While every other Bachelorette contestant has at least toyed around with the idea of "love" with Rachel at the end of hometown dates, all Peter can muster is some excitement over continuing to "spend time" with his lady friend. This is the kind of deeply examined caution most people save for rose ceremonies at the end of a Bachelor episode.
Viewers have clearly noticed Peter’s avoidance of the L-word, as they began hating on the usually beloved suitor’s Instagram comments following "Week 7." Peter responded in an emotional, honest manner fit for the next Bachelor. "As I stated many times on the show before, I do not take those three words lightly, as once they are said they can never be taken back, and to the person that you choose to say them to, they can hold enormous weight," he explained amid the drama by way of an Instagram comment on one of his own photos. If things don’t work out with Rachel, it’s easy to hear Chris Harrison’s Bachelor 2018 voiceover explaining just how important Peter finds the three little words that make up "I love you," and how he’s about to start the journey that will finally bring him to saying them on TV.
Currently, it’s unclear who Rachel will say yes to when — and if — her final two suitors get down on one knee. But, it’s obvious the Bachelorette wants a Neil Lane ring on her finger by the time her final rose is handed out. If Peter isn’t comfortable popping the question in a few weeks — which is completely understandable after knowing someone for about 70 days total — it’s unlikely the marriage-ready Rachel will be dropping a flower in his suit jacket pocket. That means somebody with near-crippling commitment issues will be available to start handing out his own roses for the Winter 2018 season on ABC, complete with his own ready-made fairytale arc.
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