TIME OUT! Everyone. Everyone gather ’round. I need everyone to come in and take a knee. Everyone. Take a knee. We gotta get Peter out of the game. He’s making rookie mistakes out there. First of all, I don’t think he’s ever seen a basketball before. I mean, that’s a huge problem just in terms of his life exposure. Did Peter play a sport in his youth? Does he have a hobby? I’m not sure he has any interests besides getting a woman to love him. We’ll deal with that later. The real issue is that Peter is so insecure that he’s completely unable to make a reasonable decision about his future. There is no discernible criteria to find the woman he believes to be his wife. He has no qualities or standards that the woman he’s interested needs to meet. We don’t have anyone on the bench. We sent Mike Johnson home. We got nobody. So we’re gonna need him to get his head in the game and finish this thing with some integrity. I know. I know. This is a man devoid of a backbone, moral fortitude, or a functioning inner ear.
Oh God, he’s already back on the court. He’s giving a rose to … OH GOD!
Is there anything else to say about this episode other than the fact that Peter gets confronted by a blurry-faced woman who tells him that Victoria F. breaks up relationships and then he gives Victoria a god damn rose? IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE to possibly talk about? You know when you go to brunch with your friends after your other friend just got back with her ex and you’re all sitting there like, “How long do we have to talk about our jobs until we can talk about KARA AND MITCHELL ARE BACK TOGETHER? WHAT? WHAT? HE BROKE UP WITH HER ON VALENTINE’S DAY LAST YEAR AND NOW THEY’RE BACK TOGETHER?!?!?!!!”
PETER gave VICTORIA F. a ROSE after a VERY BLURRY MARISSA told him that Victoria BREAKS UP RELATIONSHIPS?!?!? I can’t talk about Hannah Ann and like … axe-throwing or whatever. Like, blah blah blah, Kelsey is in love with him. Blah blah blah, the women all have mean dads. WHO GIVES A FUCK.
Victoria. F. Breaks. Up. Relationships. And we found out because a woman who refused to have her face shown on camera, like she was telling her story in an ABC Dateline special, told a cornered Peter after a Hunter Hayes concert that Victoria F. has, like … broken up relationships? What does that even mean? Victoria F. has a habit of finding men in relationships and then just systematically breaking up their relationships? If so, I need a deep dive right god damn now. I need a Serial-style podcast tracing the lives that Victoria F. has ruined.
But then Peter still gives her a rose. At this point, my guy, do it. Just ruin your whole entire life by insisting that somewhere inside Victoria F. is a woman you can trust. SURE. JUST GO AHEAD.
What we need to reckon with here is that, among other character flaws, Peter is just really immature. He lacks the depth to deal with the very real emotions of all the women in front of him. He also lacks the depth to examine his own feelings and desires. Someone with a little more emotional fortitude would have looked at Victoria F. and her tactics to deflect responsibility for her behavior and walked the fuck away. Someone with a little more emotional backbone would have realized that they don’t intend to become a fully evangelical Christian and wait until marriage with Madison, and calmly walked out of there. But that’s not our Peter. That’s not the show we’re getting.
So, where do we even begi— OKAY, I’M SORRY. VICTORIA F. GETS A ROSE? Wow. Okay. I need to calm down so we can do this. Let’s get to it.
The episode starts with Hannah Ann’s hometown in Knoxville. She’s excited to show Peter where she was born and raised, and instead of showing him anything that has emotional resonance for her, she takes him axe throwing. She claims that her dad is a real man’s man because he’s a logger, so she needs to toughen Peter up. I think she needs to toughen Peter up because he has the emotional strength of a tiramisu. We then get a montage of the two of them bouncing axes off a wall in a strip mall.
Peter says that Hannah Ann is the type of person that he can always have fun with and she’s expressed how he feels about him, which is basically all he’s looking for in a partner. Does she have the ability to laugh? Has she completely validated Peter? Then he’s ready to get down on one knee. Peter decides to write Hannah Ann a letter about all the things he loves about her.
So she’s gonna win, right? Peter hasn’t done anything for anyone else that has been an individualized expression of affection. This is totally wild that he’s handwriting a list for Hannah Ann to tell her that they have the same opinion of what true love is. Just give her the ring and let’s get this over with before you hurt yourself again, buddy.
It’s time to meet her family, and all the parts are there for a mildly Southern white family. Everyone starts crying immediately, even though Hannah has been gone for, like, five weeks max. There’s a medium-stubborn dad and a sweet and folksy mom. Peter is asked to do a weird task to prove that he’s worthy of Hannah. (“Name all the trees in the yard!”) Hannah’s sister tells her that if a guy writes her a list of 20 reasons why he loves a woman, he’s in eighth grade. I mean … that he loves her.
The parental versions of hometown boil down to the woman sitting with her mom and crying that she knows how great Peter’s heart is and her father being upset that he’s dating three other women even though that’s the premise of the show. After a completely uneventful meeting, Peter tells Hannah Ann that he’s falling for her and he makes her repeat that she’s in love with him so he can achieve erection. Peter says as he’s driving away that knowing that someone wants him as much as he wants them is all he’s ever wanted. Oh, Peter. You gotta want way more than that. Peter actually says “All I’ve wanted is that validation.” For Peter to say completely unironically that all he’s looking for is validation is like we’ve stepped into a version of The Bachelor where all the subtext is now text.
Up next is Des Moines, Iowa, and Kelsey’s hometown date. My first serious boyfriend lived for two years in Des Moines, Iowa, and this gave me some serious flashbacks, and it didn’t help that Peter wasn’t able to label anything specific about his relationship with Kelsey to help me differentiate. Their relationship is also unique, a word he uses for his relationships with other women. They’re going to make their own wine because Kelsey had a Groupon.
The most interesting thing that happens on Kelsey’s hometown date is that Peter freaks out because he sees a crab rangoon for the first time. Was Peter developed in a very insecure test tube? How is he 28 years old and never had a crab rangoon? Also, Kelsey should have taken him to Fong’s Pizza in Des Moines for their crab rangoon pizza.
Okay fine, she also says that she loves him. WHATEVER. Peter tells her that his heart is definitely falling. Whatever that means.
It’s time for Madison’s one-on-one date and she takes him to Auburn stadium to run some basketball drills and the holographic form of Charles Barkley reigns over them. The Auburn basketball head coach comes out and forces Peter to stare Madison in the eye and do dribble drills. Is that what they’re called? I don’t know because I’ve never played basketball before, and judging Peter’s ball handling skills, neither has he.
The head coach tells Peter that he didn’t hire Madison’s dad because he was a great coach, he hired him because he was a great man and good father. That can’t be in the job description. Madison says more than once that it’s not just a stadium, it’s a family, a community.
They head over to Madison’s house to meet her family and they have a very weird tradition where they have a special plate. Each dinner, they will give one member of the family the special plate and then everyone has to go around and compliment them. This is a serious thing that they do for their adult children and force guests to partake in. Is this a … Christian thing? Because this is very specific. Peter tells Madison that she inspires him when he’s with her.
This is where Madison reveals that she’s choosing to save herself for marriage, and sure. It’s a thing, I guess, but please don’t go on the season with the man whose only personality trait is “fucked four times once.” This isn’t going to end well for anyone. Madison’s father sits down with Peter and says that it’s his job to protect Madison as his firstborn. He also straight up looks like a sentient Howdy Doody puppet so I’m sure what implements of war this man is using to protect his daughter’s purity. Her dad straight up calls her “so pure,” and I had to leave the room. I had to get up out of my chair, walk into the hallway, vomit a tiny bit, and then was able to return.
YOUR DAD DOESN’T NEED TO BE CONCERNED WITH YOUR PURITY.
Finally, it’s time for Victoria F.’s date and the only two things I’ve left unmentioned are the fact that she took him to do Old Timey Photos in order to show him “her element” and I’m fucking confused. Peter also says that it’s 99 percent great when he’s with Victoria, and WOW. If this is what it looks like when it’s almost perfect, Peter has no conception of what a functional relationship looks like. He hasn’t seen a crab rangoon or a happy relationship. Pray for this man.
Also, we should take a moment of silence for Victoria’s family sitting alone in her house waiting for a Peter that never arrived.
Time for the rose ceremony, and Peter gives a rose to Madison, Hannah Ann, and Victoria F. Kelsey is SOMEHOW eliminated despite giving Peter all the validation he could possibly need.
In conclusion, I’d like to share some thoughts from my notes that are just sentences in all caps that I think encapsulate where we are going forward:
“HE TELLS THE WOMEN THEY WILL FIND LOVE BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT HE NEEDS TO HEAR.”
“THIS REUNION WILL BE LIT.”
“HIS WIFE IS IN THIS AIRPLANE HANGAR TONIGHT.”
Coming up! Fantasy Suites!