Even though last night’s episode was wholly predictable and as standard an Episode 7 as we’ve ever seen, I caught myself almost enjoying it. Truthfully, there was absolutely nothing new: Every Episode 7 consists of three 1-on-1 dates, one of which usually ends in one contestant going home. There’s always a Group Date with the remaining three women, complete with one of them displaying signs of confidence only to inevitably be sent home. But after six episodes bursting with facepalm-worthy decisions on Peter’s part, and women speaking to and treating each other terribly, this was a sort of calm after the storm. I was more than happy to let the familiarity of standard, non-stomach-turning Bachelor fare swaddle and comfort me like a weighted blanket.
Don’t get me wrong: Watching Peter send home two of the season’s highest quality women was not particularly pleasant. Natasha has been one of the season’s sharpest ladies and best commentators. Last night, I swear she read my mind through my television screen and somehow verbalized my thoughts to Peter in the moment. Peter’s big plight of the episode (and in a way, the whole season) was wanting to avoid heartbreak at all costs, seeking reassurance from the women that they’re falling for him, that they’re invested in him. But in an ITM, Natasha declared, “He’s my only person but I’m not his only person.” She is, of course, totally correct—Peter’s expecting each women to put all their eggs in his basket despite the fact that he’s still got his eggs dispersed. While I respect Peter’s paranoia about getting heartbroken and not wanting to squander his turn in the driver’s seat, this is simply not something one can demand or expect. He’s seeking complete assurance from these women, demanding their investment in him before he invests back. That’s just not how relationships work. There are no guarantees, only trust and mutual understanding, both of which come from trusting yourself and your gut—something I’m sorry to say doesn’t appear to be Peter’s strong suit. Can you imagine if a man said to a woman, “I’m considering proposing to you one day but, before I get emotionally attached and long before I buy a ring, I first want to make sure you’d say yes.” It’s not a stretch to compare that to what Peter’s doing this season. He has the luxury of choice and is wielding that luxury to hedge his bets. Not a great way to start a mutual, equal, real life-withstanding partnership.
The other high quality woman is, of course, Kelley. I have no doubt many viewers will suddenly dislike Kelley based on last night’s episode, and watching her narrative get turned on its head was certainly interesting. But while editing would have us believe Kelley had suddenly became arrogant towards the other women and flippant towards her relationship with Peter, I didn’t come close to buying what we were being sold. I do, however, believe Kelley was likely more than ready to go when her time came. Because Kelley is a reasonable and intelligent person, she recognized being delegated to the Group Date as the slap in the face it was.
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Look, certain women will always have to end up on that fateful 3-on-1 date—it’s a numbers game and half the women must pull Episode 7’s short straws. However, if the Bachelor really likes you and really wants that extra time with you, he won’t put you through that. Think back to other Bachelor seasons; how many “winners” were left to battle it out on a 3-on-1 date? On my season, eventual winner Nikki Ferrell got her own date in Episode 7. Whitney got her own date on Chris Soules’s season, as did Lauren Bushnell on Ben’s season, as did Vanessa on Nick’s season, as did Lauren Burnham on Arie’s season. Cassie, on Colton’s season, is the only exception, due to the fact she was embroiled in Wrong Reasons rumours and it made for drama between her and Kirpa. In short, if you’re filming The Bachelor and you DON’T get a 1-on-1 date in Episode 7—unless you’re the subject of a Wrong Reasons debate—you can pretty much assume you’re not “winning” your season. Kelley was right to be “annoyed” by this development given Peter’s previous insistence that she open up, that she take their relationship more seriously, that she become invested (in the ways he recognizes, of course—in short, by crying). He insists he wants her to take them seriously yet won’t give her a second date before a potential Hometown? That’s insulting the intelligence of an obviously intelligent woman.
As much as I’ll miss her refreshing honesty and realness, I wasn’t sad to see Kelley leave her Bachelor journey behind; any man who chooses the overwrought rollercoaster that is dating a Victoria F over the consistency and ease that is dating a Kelley simply does not deserve the world’s Kelleys. Not yet, anyway. In this sense, I strongly suspect Peter himself isn’t quite mature or self-assured enough to identify how desirable a woman’s maturity and self-assuredness is. I’m not saying Peter should have chosen Kelley over Victoria F—quite the opposite. I’m saying that Peter’s interest in continuing to pursue a path so fraught with ups and downs and conflict means that he probably isn’t ready for smooth sailing just yet. Experience teaches you more about what you don’t want than what you do. (If you get it right the first time, there’s no need for multiple tries.) I remember a time in my early 20s when a “hard” relationship felt like a worthy, noble pursuit. If it was difficult, surely it was worth the effort! Years of dating taught me that’s not a path worth pursuing after all. Kelley was dead-on in telling Peter, “Not every relationship has to be jumping through hurdles and super hard… it can be easy and fun.” Peter’s answer: “I want this to be more than just fun.” Notice how his response focused on only one word—“fun,” god forbid—rather than the collective meaning behind her words. He can’t recognize how he shouldn’t want difficulty in a relationship, yet he’s the one who’s “ready” for one?
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The irony is that Natasha and Kelley, based on maturity alone, are the two women arguably the most “ready” for commitment, marriage and children. I understand the heart wants what the heart wants and if Peter simply wasn’t feeling it, he shouldn’t have pursued it. But in that case, he should have emphasized less every woman’s “readiness.” He’s going to choose who he chooses, so why put the women he’s NOT going to choose (and all of us watching at home) through the interrogation wringer?
My predictions based on Episode 7 are…
The previews tell us Madison’s story will finally hit a bump in the road, but until we see that unfold, she continues to sit pretty at the top of my list (as she has for many weeks now). Madison would still be everyone’s top pick based on her rapport and chemistry with Peter, but the fact that he told her—and only her—that he’s falling in love with her really sealed the deal this week.
Kelsey beats out Hannah Ann for the second spot because, as I pointed out above, she’s more likely to “win” having gotten an Episode 7 date than someone who hadn’t. I do still have my doubts Kelsey will “win” based on the fact that on Night One, her full limo exit wasn’t shown, nor was her first conversation with Peter. However, I agree with Kelley’s perspective on this relationship, which is that Kelsey and Peter have a deep emotional connection. It’s obvious Peter loves emotional women (Hannah Brown is wonderful but unemotional she is not), and Kelsey is very generous in that department.
Hannah Ann, 23
Considering she was the season’s First Impression Rose recipient, Hannah Ann’s arc lost a little steam somewhere along the way. However, I think that could just be a function of her realizing a little late that simply having fun with Peter wasn’t enough—she’d need to cry for Peter to take her seriously. (I wish I were joking.) While this relationship doesn’t appear to me to have the same legs that Madison and Peter’s has, I do think Peter’s attached to Hannah Ann, finds her very attractive, and would have a hard time letting her go.
Who’s going home next week
Victoria F, 26
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I simply have to believe Peter will get his fill of Victoria F soon, which I suppose means I still have an iota of hope for him, that he can still become the Bachelor I initially thought he was and has the potential to be. He simply seems like he should be smarter than to put up with this relationship’s impossible conversation (I can’t bear to watch these two talk anymore), the constant fretting, the sheer effort it takes for them to just be together. How the hell could this couple withstand legitimate tough times if they can’t even have basic, amicable conversation on a cushy, romantic date? If Peter doesn’t come to this conclusion soon, I’ll have to assume he’s thinking with a different head…the one in his pants. And that would make him the one who’s “not ready.”