Peter Weber Played His Worst Mind Game Yet On The Bachelor

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
It feels like it’s been a lifetime since Peter Weber was announced as the 2020 The Bachelor lead. In reality, it has been less than five months. Back then, in September 2019, there was promise in the news. The Bachelorette season 14 semi-finalist may not have been as charming as Mike Johnson or as devastatingly good looking as model Tyler Cameron, but Peter certainly was likable. After all, Peter was the guy who went four rounds in a Fantasy Suite windmill and once sweetly asked Hannah Brown to be his girlfriend
It seemed obvious Peter could easily handle his Bachelor duties. 
Monday’s night's The Bachelor “Week 7,” is the latest season 24 episode to prove just how wrong we were. Peter isn’t Prince Charming in a Top Gun jacket — he’s a deceptively adept master manipulator.
The worst moment of the episode is revealed late in “Week 7,” when Peter is the host of a three-on-one date. The contestants on the outing are Victoria Fuller, Hannah Ann Sluss, and Kelley Flanagan. Since only Natasha Parker had gone home over the course of the episode, there are two available roses. Therefore only one women will be eliminated during the three-on-one date — the remaining two will go on to hometowns week.
Towards the end of the date — which Peter spends quizzing his remaining players on their current romantic headspace — the Bachelor announces he has made his decision and will share it now for clarity’s sake. He poses the news as a positive, since the women won't have to live through a coercive head-to-head dinner showdown.
Then, Peter asks Victoria if he can “talk with her for a second.” As the pair prepare to go for a walk, Peter reaches his hand towards Victoria, who avoids the offer of casual intimacy. Victoria is already preparing to be eliminated, which makes sense. Looking back on the day that Victoria — whom Peter has no idea at the time is the subject of a White Lives Matter-related photoshoot — and Peter shared, it was clearly awful. Victoria said Peter is “always in a mood.” Peter accused Victoria of “attacking” him. 
It was a date completely lacking in romance.
That is why, as Peter is ultimately walking Victoria to an unknown location, she eventually grabs his arm and whispers, “I don’t want to go home.” Peter, footage suggests, says nothing in return to soothe Victoria. He just keeps walking. Victoria, Hannah Ann, Kelley, and audiences are forced to believe this is Victoria’s elimination march. “I agree with Peter sending Victoria F. home, because Peter is a little hopeless romantic,” Kelley even says in voiceover. “It makes me happy that he’s being a big boy.” 
Peter continues to cause Victoria anxiety when they arrive at her car to leave Peru. She looks near tears as Peter begins a speech, which sounds somewhere between a breakup and a compliment barrage. Victoria is unable to look Peter in the eye and instead stares at the ground. Peter finally says, “I want you to know,” takes a massive dramatic pause, and adds, “I want to continue this.” 
Peter had no intention of sending Victoria home. He just made her believe he was breaking up with her over the course of several minutes for fun. When you watch Victoria’s face during Peter’s big reveal, you realize it took her about three full seconds to understand she hasn't been rejected. All together, it’s a bleak scene. 
At face value, Peter’s drama-inciting behavior is cruel to Victoria. There was no need to torture her for the entire walk over to a car and then give her a worrisome speech. Peter is the Bachelor and could have told producers he didn’t want to set up one of his own semi-finalists in such an upsetting manner. But Peter didn’t, because he is happy to play the game of making reality TV, as he has repeatedly proven over The Bachelor season 24 (see: his handling of the Alayah Benavidez catastrophe or how quickly he gave Kelsey Weir a tension-causing, out-of-official-game-play rose). 
Peter’s ability to juggle the needs of the show and his desire to be perceived as a classic Good Guy only make this situation more cunning. When Peter says he already made his decision about whom to send home after the day portion of the group date, he offers this information as though it is intended to calm his contestants' nerves. In reality, he uses it to trick them in multiple ways. Victoria is made to believe she is being broken up with when she’s actually going to hometowns. Hannah Ann and Kelley are conned into thinking they are both safe when one of them is actually about to be rejected. Kelley ends up having the rug pulled out from under her after assuming Peter has finally accepted their relationship.
Peter still asks if he can walk Kelley out, just to prove he really is a considerate man. This is his selfish tendency with the women he has hoodwinked the most, like Victoria Paul and Alayah. 
Kelley is left dumbfounded in the loser’s SUV, wondering what just happened. With Peter’s track record, it is unlikely Kelley will be the last woman to leave The Bachelor 2020 this confused and angry.
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