Time expands and it contracts. An hour at, say, the DMV feels infinitely longer than an hour spent with a loved one, and yet every second spent staring into a loved one’s eyes contains an eternity. What I’m saying is, time is a mystery, and if you told me I had been watching this season of the Bachelor for five minutes, I would believe you, and if you told me that I emerged from my mother’s womb 28 years ago watching this season of the Bachelor, I would also believe you, because on the one hand, I have never known a life without Peter and his unquenchable thirst for drama, and on the other, who are these people, and what is happening?
Well, regardless of how long we’ve been on this journey together, finally it is coming to an end. Peter has chosen which of the two dark haired, blue-eyed girls he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Or has he? In a live segment at the beginning of the episode — the first of a two-night season finale — the Bachelor’s host and consistently hottest cast member, Chris Harrison, warns us that this will be one of the most “controversial and shocking endings to a season that we have ever seen.” That’s to be expected, given that Peter has steered this season with all of the grace and control of a golden retriever plopped behind the wheel of a speeding Toyota.
Before all of that promised controversy and shock, however, back to Australia, where Peter’s family has joined him to help him make the final decision. First, they meet Hannah Ann, the former Sonic Drive-In model, who Peter says is a “perfect mix of pure, beautiful innocence” and “all the confidence in the world.” This is a nice way of saying that sometimes her eyes go dead when she applies lip gloss. After she meets his mom, dad, and brother, all five of them sit on a couch, and while Hannah Ann talks about how she knew right away that she loved Peter, Peter sucks on her shoulder in a way that makes me really uncomfortable, but his family seems fine with it. Peter’s mom, Barbara, says Peter and Hannah Ann remind her of her and Peter’s dad when they were young. That’s sweet.
Both Peter’s mom and dad take Hannah Ann aside separately to ask her whether she really does, in fact, love their son. She says she does, and cries a little, and they’re sold. They love her! Peter’s family likes Hannah Ann so much, in fact, that they wonder why Peter’s still hung up on Madison at all. After all, Peter told them about how Madison, who is saving herself for marriage, was upset that he boned other women during Fantasy Suite week, and that gives them pause. Who is she to tell their little boy that he can’t hump whoever he pleases? Peter says he’s still conflicted, though — he loves both women so much.
The next day, it’s Madison’s turn to come meet Peter’s family. She’s still upset about Fantasy Suite week, and she and Peter sit down to talk and cry about it before they go inside. Although she was a little wishy washy earlier on this season, now Madison expresses herself clearly and confidently. On their date during Fantasy Suite week, she says, she was ready to say yes if he proposed to her, but after he told her about having sex with the other women, she wasn’t sure anymore. And yes, she understands that he was in relationships with other women at the same time, but the decisions he makes still affect their relationship, and he put his feelings and needs above hers. She is mature, honest, direct. Peter is an enormous, flight-certified baby.
He begs Madison to “meet him halfway” even though he has only ever done whatever he wants to do and suggests that, really, he had no choice but to bone those other women, because Madison hadn’t told him she loved him and given him the validation he craves. Madison is clearly still sad and conflicted but tells Peter she loves him anyway, and Peter, like the dangerous, speeding golden retriever he is, ignores her tears and says he “can’t stop smiling.”
Poor Madison. Not only did she have to deal with Peter ignoring her feelings, then she has to go in and get roasted by his family for questioning their sweetie. While Peter’s dad asks Madison if she thinks she and Peter are really compatible, Peter’s little brother, Jack, asks him if he could realistically go a few months without having sex, should he and Madison get engaged. Peter says of course, and Jack seems suspicious. This is the man who had sex four times in a windmill, after all. Jack also points out how different Peter and Madison’s lifestyles are — Madison goes to church a lot, and Peter apparently goes line dancing constantly. “I don’t want you to be compromising any part of yourself,” Jack says. “That’s what relationships are,” snaps back Peter, who has compromised nothing.
Inside, it’s now Peter’s mom’s turn to have a go at Madison. She tells Madison she doesn’t think she and Peter’s lifestyles are compatible and that, while she respects Madison’s faith (she doesn’t), she doesn’t think it was fair of her to make Peter feel guilty for having sex with those other women. Madison says her expectations and feelings are just as valid as Peter’s, a point which doesn’t go over well. Barbara hates it so much that after Madison leaves, she starts sobbing and begging Peter to propose to Hannah Ann. “Don’t let her go. Bring her home,” she gulps.
“You gotta stop doing this,” Peter says, calmly. “You gotta stop.” This is the most emotionally centered he’s seemed all season, and suddenly, I have an idea of why he is drawn to such chaotic women.
Peter doesn’t care what his family thinks, though. He wants to be with Madison! The next day, they go on a helicopter tour of the famous Australian sandstone formation Uluru, and it seems like maybe Peter has decided he’s going to propose, but then Madison does the unthinkable: She makes a mature decision. She and Peter are just too different, she says. She’s going to leave. “Sometimes I think being a great warrior, and a great fighter, is knowing when to surrender.” Peter, who, once again, has no idea what to do when faced with a self-actualized woman, begs her to keep trying. Still, she dumps him.
Peter is heartbroken, but there’s still Hannah Ann. Is he going to propose to her? Will he tell her about Madison? He doesn’t do either. The two go to a kangaroo sanctuary together, and oh my God, the little baby kangaroos are so freaking cute, but watching Hannah Ann gush about Peter even though you can tell he’s not that into her is really sad.
That night, he drags himself over to her hotel room and tells her he’s still torn, which makes Hannah Ann cry. “It’s just hard being so sure of someone and not getting that in return,” she sniffs. She’s right, and I hope she’ll find some time to clear her mind and apply lip gloss later.
Is Peter going to propose to Hannah Ann because she’s the only woman left? Is Madison going to come back? Will we see any more of those baby kangaroos? Chris Harrison keeps telling us that we have no idea what’s going to happen, so I guess we’ll have to tune in again tonight to find out. We’ve already spent 23 hours of our life watching this show! Ha ha ha ha ha ha.