Why is Victoria F. still here?


The weirdest season of “The Bachelor” in recent memory is already at hometown visits, which is kind of stunning considering we had 15 women left just two weeks ago. But now we’re down to four, and Peter has purged the show of any contestant with A) a decent head on their shoulders or B) the life experience and/or desire to get married.

We can’t go any further without stating once again how ridiculously bad Peter is at this. Monday’s episode starts with him sitting all of the women down and expressing his fear that he might fall for someone who is not ready for marriage. Cut to: Natasha, a 31-year-old woman who by all accounts seems to have her life together, telling Peter she’s ready and getting eliminated immediately. Meanwhile, Victoria can’t get through a sentence without having an emotional breakdown — and Peter takes that as a sign that she is “ready for this” and he should go meet her family.

Either Peter has the emotional intelligence of a wilted grocery bag, or he is the textbook example of the person who wants what they can’t have. The guy who views someone showing genuine affection for him as needy and unattractive, whereas the one who plays hard-to-get (or, in this case, may not be interested at all) is exciting. Or, maybe he has a tear fetish. Either way, he has the decision making ability of an average Cleveland Browns general manager.

But again, these power rankings are not about him. They are about the women vying for his heart, who by the way make up one of the most unlikable cast of characters since HBO’s “Succession.” It’s hard to deny that the extreme drama and cattiness that surrounds these women has made for an enthralling train wreck of a season, one of the most watchable in recent memory. Hometowns are usually the most boring week, but considering the ragtag group of remaining contestants (and the tear-filled preview for next week), there should be plenty of excitement.

Here’s how the remaining four women are shaping up in the battle for Peter’s heart. We didn’t have any power rankings during last week’s five-hour Bachelor extravaganza (boy, did I pick a bad week to go out of town), but here are the most recent rankings from Week 4.

1. Madison

It was looking like Madison was so obviously going to win that it almost wasn’t worth doing these rankings — until this episode offered a twist on that perception. The two embark on the first one-on-one date of the episode and have a grand ole time on a boat, where Peter waits by a fishing pole that a producer set up until a dumb enough fish bites on it catches a fish. Then at dinner, Madison talks about how her Christian faith is not only very important to her, but the most important thing in her life, and she will not marry someone who does not feel the same. Peter then goes on to tell her that he in fact does not feel the same, and his faith could be stronger. To make up for that, he tells her he’s falling in love with her (first L word of the season from him!), and the two cast this glaringly obvious gap in idealism aside.

But wait: the preview for next week’s episode reveals that not only is Madison a woman of deep faith, she is also saving herself for marriage. This is something she has yet to reveal to Peter, and it remains to be seen how this will jibe with the notorious windmill sex-haver. Fantasy suites are two weeks away. Will Peter be OK with the fact that they can’t bone? Will Madison be okay with the fact that he will probably bone someone else?

Peter and Madison in The Bachelor
Let’s hope Peter isn’t hoping for any more physical intimacy than this.ABC

All things considered, Madison is still the clearest of front-runners until further notice. It’s fair to wonder, though, whether she’s the best choice because she’s actually good for him — or it just looks that way because there are no other decent options. I don’t know the answer to that question, and I’m not confident that Peter does, either. If this was an actual sport, this would be the perfect time to keep Madison, trade all the other women for draft picks and start the season over.

2. Kelsey

Kelsey gets the third one-on-one date of the night, and the two ride ATVs up a mountain that appears to be at extremely high altitude. During a testimonial, she expresses gratitude that Peter “kept looking back to check on me” while she was riding the ATV, and it’s a sad state of affairs how low the bar has been at certain points.

At dinner, Kelsey opens up about her family life. Her parents were divorced when she was young, and she didn’t speak to her father until she won Miss Iowa years later. (Side note: has there ever been a woman on this show that isn’t a former pageant queen?) She has since carried on a relationship with her father, but her mother doesn’t know about it, which may make for a tricky situation at hometowns.

All in all, Kelsey was remarkably composed throughout this episode, especially considering her role in #ChampagneGate. Her least normal moment was asking Peter if he likes chocolate chip cookies. Who the hell doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies?

3. Hannah Ann

Peter may be a bad Bachelor, but Hannah Ann is a very good Bachelor contestant. All signs point to the fact that these two would not be the best match. Not only could their chemistry be best described as “milquetoast,” he is looking for a woman who is ready to settle down, and she is a 23-year-old whose only stated ambition is to “model for as long as she can.” When she doesn’t get a one-on-one, she appears to be on shaky ground.

But then, she comes through with a game changer, “The Bachelor” equivalent of a 50-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes: a handwritten note!

In the note, Hannah Ann lists all the reasons she’s starting to fall for him, including platitudes such as: “you make time for me,” “you make me feel like the only girl here,” and “you make me feel like I don’t need to be perfect to please you.” In Peter’s lizard brain, this is her opening up and showing vulnerability to him, which is the most important thing, never mind the fact that he also said the most important thing is, you know, being ready for marriage. If writing handwritten notes is a sign that someone is ready for marriage, I would have gotten engaged to the cute girl in my seventh grade English class.

Hannah Ann's note in The Bachelor
The most consequential reality show note since “Jersey Shore.”ABC

Regardless, this shows an extremely high level of situational awareness from Hannah Ann. She successfully identifies what Peter is looking for, and employs it at the perfect time, with her back against the wall. At this point, it feels like she will be this season’s Hannah G., meaning she will come in second or third and become the hottest commodity on “Bachelor in Paradise.”

4. Victoria F.

Is it even worth it to discuss how bad of a decision it was to keep Victoria around for another week? This woman is just the worst, even when you remove the fact that she modeled in a “White Lives Matter” shirt and there are rumors circling (via Reality Steve) that she has a habit of sleeping with married men. She is allergic to eye contact. She weaponizes her tears for attraction. She accuses Peter of being “moody” in the most pot-calling-the-kettle-black move in the show’s history. She has no redeeming qualities other than the fact that Peter finds her hot.

We often underestimate how much producers meddle in the show, and how much say they have in who makes it to what stage. It’s entirely possible that Peter has no interest in her, and just kept her around because the folks behind the scenes made it happen. But it’s not like she’s stirring up trouble in an entertaining fashion like Corinne or Demi. She’s just generally wack, especially with her interactions with Peter. And — surprise, surprise — the trailer for next week’s episode shows another meltdown. Please, Peter, I’m begging you — America is begging you! — please put us out of our misery.

Eliminated: The two most normal women on this show, Natasha and Kelley

By Jeremy Layton

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