Tonight on The Bachelor, Champagne Gate is out and Alayah Might Be Fake Gate is in. (It doesn’t have the same ring to it. What can you do?) This episode asks the question, “How many people have to report red flags about a contestant to the Bachelor before he takes action?” The answer? Five, and even then he won’t be sure about his decision.
But first, more Champagne Gate. The episode opens with Hannah Ann and Kelsey both crying. Natasha, who is 100 percent going to Paradise, says of the situation, “You never know when someone is going to snap, crackle, and fucking pop.” Continue with the one-liners, Natasha. Mexico is in your future. Hannah Ann and Kelsey try to talk things out. Hannah Ann insists she’s “not a champagne steal-er.” Kelsey, following in the grand tradition of reality TV stars everywhere, is primarily upset about being called a “bully.”
“It’s not about the champagne,” she says.” I don’t even really like champagne.” This seems like a major change of tune, but she was scorned by two separate bottles of champagne last week.
Meanwhile, the first one-on-one date goes to Victoria P. It involves some of Peter’s typical hometown activities: shopping for cowboy boots and hats, and going to a line dancing bar. Lest you forgot, Peter is from Los Angeles, where the show is filmed. This isn’t really what I’d expect for LA, but hey, they’ll be ready for Stagecoach. At the nighttime portion of the date, Victoria P. opens up about how her mom suffered from addiction after her father died, and how she had to take care of her sister. It really seems like a cathartic moment for her, and while Peter is supportive, it’s become clear he’s prone to making grand statements. First, he tells her about how he spoke to god about becoming the Bachelor and then saw a shooting star, which he took as a sign that he’ll find his wife… which could be her. Then he says, “I have never been inspired by someone so much in my entire life.” Obviously, this means she gets a rose, but also I’m wondering if Peter overstating everything with so many women is going to come back to bite him. (It definitely will.)
Next up is the group date, which consists of the very male gaze-y activity of a pillow fight in skimpy pajamas. Well, some skimpy pajamas. It’s hosted by Demi Burnett from Colton’s Bachelor season and Bachelor in Paradise, who gives some of the women lingerie, some of them shorts and tops, some retro nightgowns, and one a big muumuu. The final round comes down to Alayah and Sydney, the latter of whom has noted that she doesn’t like Alayah because she’s “fake.” Alayah wins by sitting on Sydney, which she describes as “an elephant sitting on a rat. How are you going to get up?” This is harsh, but it’s far from the end of things for these two.
At night, Sydney confronts Alayah by asking simply, “Do you work?” Alayah is a pageant girl, and Sydney is trying to get to the bottom of why she always seems “on” and like she’s trying to be perfect in front of the cameras and Peter. Alayah answers all of Sydney’s condescending questions seriously and without showing any offense, which is kind of amazing to see. For one, responding to someone trying to offend you by just taking them seriously is quite a move. For two, this itself is an example of Alayah knowing how to perfectly answer questions, so Sydney doesn’t get anywhere.
Sydney then turns to Peter, telling him that there are women who act different when they are on camera. But, instead of Peter asking Sydney who she’s talking about, he goes to the whole group and asks Sydney to say who she meant in front of them. (He later apologizes for this.) The only person Sydney brings up is, obviously, Alayah, and when Alayah asks if anyone else feels the same way, no one speaks up.
This move from Sydney is normally a regrettable one on The Bachelor. The person who speaks up about someone else being there “for the wrong reasons” tends to become so involved in the drama that they get the boot, too. But in this case, Peter gives Sydney the group date rose and thanks her for looking out for him. Peter explains that he is shook from the Jed situation on Hannah’s season (without actually speaking Jed’s name), so this time, the game’s a little different. Unfortunately, this is still far from the end of things for Sydney and Alayah.
The next day, Chris Harrison announces that there’s going to be a pool party instead of a cocktail party. The women are excited. This is usually the time when they get a bunch of flirty shirtless time with the Bachelor. But when Peter shows up, he announces that he’s not in the mood to party because “feels a little bit of doubt creeping in.” Then he sets off on an investigative journey to find out what the women who were not on the group date think about there being “fake” people in the house. Kelsey, Natasha, and Lexi, all say that they think Alayah is, at the very least, different when she’s on camera, with Lexi adding that Alayah raises her speaking voice several octaves when being filmed. In a nice move by the editors we get a clip of Alayah saying “Hiiiii!” to someone in what has to be the highest voice she’s capable of.
Meanwhile, Sydney and Alayah are talking again, and again, it doesn’t go anywhere. Amazingly, though, Alayah says, “It’s one thing if, like, five girls are walking up to him” to talk about her being fake. Well, Alayah, Peter’s counting ‘em up, so watch out.
There’s just so much back and forth at this point. Peter makes up with Alayah. They kiss. She’s riding a high. Then he goes to talk to Victoria P., who claims that Alayah asked her to lie to producers about them knowing each other from the Miss USA competition. She also says that Alayah “was really open to all the opportunities that could come after this.” Which… aren’t they all? That part doesn’t seem as concerning, but combined with all the other stuff it’s definitely not helping her case.
“My heart says one thing, but my head’s screaming ‘stop it!’” Peter tells the camera. He then talks to Alayah again, telling her that multiple people have warned him about her. “Like, five?” she asks. Just kidding, but I wish. Adding to all the many concerns about Alayah, she says that she knows Victoria P. well, but Victoria had said she was only ever around Alayah for about three hours. Alayah also claims the producer thing was just so they would both have a better chance of being cast. Honestly, who knows what her real goal was with that one. Anyone can easily Google that they both competed in Miss USA, and while The Bachelor hasn’t historically been great about looking up contestants' tweets or Instagrams, but I'm pretty sure they know what they’re getting when it comes to casting pageant queens.
Peter leaves the very sad pool non-party without saying goodbye, and at the rose ceremony, he’s still bummed. (He should’ve just stuck with Hannah Brown and her glitter, but who asked me?) Victoria F., Victoria P, and Sydney already have roses and they’re joined by Kelsey, Hannah Ann, Natasha, Lexi, Madison, Shiann, Kelly, Kiarra, Tammy, Savannah, Deandra, and Mykenna. Peter is really unsure about keeping Alayah, and after talking to Chris about it, a rose is removed from the pile and Peter sends Alayah, Jasmine, Sarah, and Alexis home.
The end of the episode shows Peter talking to a producer and doubting his decision about Alayah. I can’t with this. The preview shows that she comes back, but it seems like it was her decision, not his. Of all the Bachelor tropes, the returning rejected contestant is one of the worst. We need to move on. All of us.
Anyway, also next week, it’s revealed that Victoria F. has dated the surprise musical guest on her date! Now that’s the sort of newness we need.
Winner of the Episode: Sydney for pulling off telling the Bachelor about a “wrong reasons” contestant so well that she got a rose for it.
Loser of the Episode: Alayah. By a landslide.
What Chris Harrison Tells Peter During The Very Teased Finale: That every contestant was there to become an Instagram influencer. Every single one.