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4. Season 5 (Jesse Palmer)

Hello again, rose lovers! Before we go any further, allow me to introduce you to someone. Everyone, meet Deandra:

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Apparently, she’s been here the whole time, can you believe it? But producers are finally allowing her to talk. “After this whole ordeal with Alayah being sent home, I’m just hoping we can leave it behind [us],” says Deandra. Awww, that’s adorable. Of course we can’t leave the Alayah drama behind us! The real purpose of Deandra’s comment, though, is to remind us who she is — because she’s gonna confront Peter later.

Hey, is anybody hungry?

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By “making biscuits,” though, Harrison means “taking a trip to Cleveland.” Pack those bags, “ladies!”Don’t they look excited?

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“Is there, like, some hidden gems in Cleveland that we’re not aware of?” wonders Savannah. Peter helpfully informs us that Clark Kent was born in Cleveland — but anyone with a working knowledge of Superman knows that is not correct. What the Bachelor meant to say, I’m sure, is that the creators of Superman hailed from Cleveland. When the “ladies” arrive, they start vomiting out praise for the city — it’s “stunning,” it’s a “tight-knit community,” midwestern people have “the biggest hearts” — which was no doubt part of the deal that producers struck with Cleveland’s tourism board. Promotional consideration doesn’t come for free, people!

The first one-on-one date goes to Victoria F. Did you know that she’s afraid of heights? The producers sure did! The Date SUV drops Victoria F. off at an airport, and she immediately begins flipping out. “Are we skydiving?” she squeals. “I can’t! I’m not kidding!”

Don’t be silly, Vicki! Skydiving involves unflattering jumpsuits and goggles. Instead, you and Peter will be taking a flight in a tiny little prop plane (of course), and then you’ll be making a trip to Cedar Point amusement park — home of the vomit-inducing SlingShot!

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Looks like the exact opposite of fun to me, but after making it through their first go-around, Peter and Victoria ask to ride the SlingShot again. Later they relax over some beers, and Victoria F. gives a toast that absolutely was not approved by Gloria Steinem (or any other woman with an ounce of self-worth): “Cheers to our sons having hot moms and successful dads.” The toast, while cringey, does lead to a productive discussion about kids — Victoria is hoping to have 4, while Peter wants either 2 or 4, which is the ideal amount for family amusement-park outings. “If you have three kids, one of them sits by themselves,” the Bachelor explains.

Everything is going just great… until Peter reveals his next big surprise. “We have our own private Chase Rice concert,” he tells us. “And she loves country!” Oh honey, that’s true — but I don’t think you’re prepared for how much Victoria F. loves this particular country musician. Twitter loves to say that the devil works hard but Bachelor producers work harder, and in this case, rose lovers, it really is true. Just look at Victoria’s face when she realizes that it’s her ex-boyfriend up on stage.

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“Chase and I dated before I came on the show,” she explains, as the singer gamely launches into a performance of “Lonely If You Are.” As we’ll learn in a minute, the poor guy did not know that he’d be serenading his ex-girlfriend when he agreed to be on the show. I hope producers added an extra zero to his check.

Victoria makes the mistake of singing along to the music as she and Peter dance awkwardly on the Public Spectacle Platform. “You know this song!” he exclaims happily. Oh honey, once again you have no idea. “I’m trying my hardest to get through today,” sighs Victoria. “I don’t want to ruin this.” You don’t have to, girl — the producers already did it for you!

Because Team Bachelor wants to milk every ounce of awkwardness out of this encounter, they actually show us a bit of Peter’s post-concert meet-and-greet with Chase Rice. The singer does not reveal his history with Victoria, but he does have a few questions. “How far in are you?” he asks innocently. And, “I assume y’all will go do a date after this?”

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Meanwhile, Victoria is freaking the eff out to her producer. “He was singing to me and he was, like, making these faces at me,” she whimpers. “Because he told me that he didn’t want me to come on the show.” Things are about to get even worse for her because Chase just put Peter’s contact info into his phone! Methinks the Bachelor is going to get some very illuminating text messages soon.

Before she and Peter leave the park, Victoria F. pulls Mr. Chase Rice aside for a not-so-private chat. “Um… this is the most awkward thing,” she says. “You had no idea?” Nope. For whatever reason, Victoria then informs the singer that she’s going to have to tell Peter about their history. “I’m okay with that,” he says. “I would just do what’s best for you… I’d just be real with him. Just be you.”

Can we take a moment to appreciate how well Chase Rice handled this incredibly uncomfortable situation?

Moment over. It’s time to watch Victoria F. squirm! After a nervous preamble about how “amazing” the date was and how “amazing” Peter is, etc., Victoria just spits it out: “Chase and I used to date.” Peter is, bless him, a little slow on the uptake.

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“Like, the singer Chase?” he asks. “The one who was doing the concert?” No, she means Chase Osborn, the 27th governor of Michigan. OF COURSE THE SINGER CHASE! To be fair, it’s not surprising that Peter is confused. After all, he did have a whole conversation with Mr. Rice, and nary a word was said about sharing saliva with Victoria. “We dated, but I broke it off with him because his lifestyle doesn’t really match up to what I want,” she says. “I don’t know how to, like, explain this.”

I do: The producers f—ed you both over! Peter is the closest to angry that we’ve ever seen him. “This is so frickin’ weird,” he sighs. “When do you, like, just dance and make out to someone else’s ex singing to you?” When you’re on The Bachelor, baby! “At the same time, it was like I didn’t want to ruin the moment because I knew you were so happy,” says Victoria pitifully, before getting up and walking away from the table in tears.

Even when his feelings are hurt, Peter is a gentleman, so of course he finds Victoria F. huddling in the corner and comforts her. “I get it if you, like, if you, like, don’t want to try with me anymore,” she sobs. “I saw your face when I told you.” The Bachelor insists that he “respects the hell” out of Victoria for coming clean about Chase as quickly as she did. “You were honest with me, that’s all that I can ask for.” As long as she likes him, says Peter, he wants her to stay. I think you know what happens next, rose lovers.

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Date rose achieved.

The group date is a big one: Victoria P., Kiarra, Kelly, Deandra, Madison, Lexi, Shiann, Tammy, Sydney, Hannah Ann, Savannah, and Mykenna meet Peter at Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium, where the teams play the football when they’re in town, I guess.

Two former NFL pros, Josh Cribbs and Hanford Dixon are on hand to help Peter teach the “ladies” a thing or two about football. Though not everyone needs to be taught. “I love football!” says Tammy. “Imma tackle a lot of bitches.” Tammy will not be tackling Victoria P., however, because her back hurts. (Is it a line-dancing injury?) Instead, she’ll be hanging out on the sidelines getting a massage from Peter. As you can imagine, this does not sit well with the other women.

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“I just want to spend time with Peter,” huffs Natasha. “I don’t want to play football. I don’t want to break a damn nail.” Nor would I, hon, but this is one of those “win or go home” group dates, so play you must. The Bachelor Bowl 2019 is on!

The Eliminators take an early lead against the Killer Bees, which prompts Coach Dixon to mansplain the concept of competitive sports to his players. “We can’t let them run and make a touchdown, because if they make a touchdown then they score, and we’re at a disadvantage. Everybody understand?” Shiann is the clear MVP — she scores all four of the Eliminators’ touchdowns. Deandra, though, makes a truly impressive play at the end of the game that involves both catching the ball and running it into the end zone without getting tackled. I am not being facetious here — it was badass. For all her hard work on the field, Deandra earns a hug from Peter. And because the game ended in a tie, everyone gets to attend the post-date cocktail party.

The group heads to Windows on the River, an event space that also apparently has sharks? The women are feeling salty because they were hoping for an intimate, six-on-one cocktail party but instead must settle for a 13-on-one scramble.

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“It’s super-frustrating,” says Sydney. Also frustrating: Victoria P. steals Peter first, even though the Eliminators’ plan was to give the first chat to Shiann since she scored so many football points, or whatever. “I obviously couldn’t fight in the football game,” says Victoria P., “so I better just show him who’s boss now!” And he LOVES it. “I am feeling very strongly for her,” says the Bachelor. “It’s almost getting kind of so serious so soon, but, you know, this is working.”

Just as poor Shiann finally gets a chance to sit down with Peter, this happens:

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Yes, Alayah is back, and she’s wearing the world’s loudest shoes! “What is happening?” exclaims Mykenna. “Everyone is shooketh to the core!” adds Tammy. Alayah marches right up to Peter and Shiann: “Mind if I interrupt?” Peter, damn him, lets her interrupt! That’s fine if he wants to talk to her, but could he at least have the courtesy to finish chatting with Shiann — a woman who is still actively participating in this “journey” — and tell Alayah she’ll just have to wait her turn. Grrrr.

“There were just a few things that I wanted to talk to you about before I was okay being home,” says Alayah. “I’m here to freaking set the record straight about what was said about me.” The former Miss Texas USA goes on to tell Peter that he let himself be “manipulated” by the other women, and she’s here to give him the truth: She and Victoria P. have been friends for a lot longer than three hours. They’ve gone to Vegas together! They talked every day before production on The Bachelor began! Once again, Peter is having a hard time picking up what the woman across from him is putting down. “Victoria P.?” he asks, incredulous. “Yes! Victoria Paul!” Alayah replies.

“I’m obviously being lied to by someone,” says Peter. “Because what you’re telling me is completely opposite from what she’s telling me.” With that in mind, he heads upstairs to confront Victoria P. Why, he wants to know, is Alayah telling him “the exact opposite” of what Victoria P. said about how well they know (or don’t know) each other? Perhaps sensing that she’s about to be 1-800-BUSTED, Victoria starts singing like a canary. “We did go to Vegas together…” she stammers, which irritates Peter to no end. “Why did you tell me you weren’t friends then?”

It’s an excellent question, but Victoria P. doesn’t seem to have an answer. “I’m baffled,” she says. “I’m telling you that my truth is the truth, and I have been so honest with you and so vulnerable with you.” Never mind that Victoria P. is now openly contradicting the “truth” she spouted last week — which was, and I quote, “I probably had spent, maybe, like collectively three hours with her.” The only thing left for Victoria P. to do now is start crying, because she knows that Peter is defenseless against a weeping woman. “I’m frustrated,” she moans through crocodile tears. “All I know is there’s so much that I want to share with you.”

Good lawd, woman! Take it down a notch. Back in the holding pen, the “ladies” are speculating about what could possibly be going on between Victoria P. and Alayah. When Deandra notes that “Victoria doesn’t lie,” Savannah basically turns into a living, breathing sip-my-tea meme.

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“Do you think she’s a liar?” presses Deandra. Indeed, Savannah does think Victoria P. is a liar, because there was a big discrepancy between “the things she said in the closet when cameras and mics were off” and “the way she acted towards Alayah during the rose ceremony.” In the closet, Victoria P. was all, Alayah is the worst! But once cameras were rolling at the rose ceremony, she held Alayah’s hand like a supportive friend. “I’m sorry, like, I can’t get down with that,” notes Savannah.

Peter, meanwhile, has now brought Alayah and Victoria P. together so they can settle this brouhaha once and for all. “It’s very obvious to everybody that we know each other!” says Alayah, adding that she feels betrayed. Victoria P. just sort of talks around the question, saying she “did not take the opportunity to fully get to know” Alayah before the show (false) and that all she did was tell Peter “what my truth was at that moment.”

Girl, you can keep calling something a “truth” but if it is not actually true then it is NOT A TRUTH. Victoria P. admits that she and Alayah have a lot of friends in common, but still, “I don’t know what else to say other than… I don’t know what else to say?” Yeah, Peter’s had enough. He finally realizes that “Victoria’s not exactly who I think she is,” and believes he made a mistake sending Alayah home. In fact, he tells Alayah exactly that, and invites her to come back. She agrees, as long as he promises that they can “move past this.” Yep, that’ll happen! Drama never drags out endlessly on this show.

After leaving the rest of the women alone most of the night (again), Peter returns and apologizes (again). “I am doing what I need to do to feel confident moving forward with all this,” explains the Bachelor, “and I hope that you can understand that.” Then he drops the date-rose bomb.

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For Pete’s sake, Pilot Pete! It’s fine to invite the woman back if you want, but for the love of all that’s holy, please look at the optics! “Are you freaking kidding me?” groans Tammy. Adds Hannah Ann, “A girl who got the rose wasn’t even on the date!” Peter leaves — “See you all in a couple of days!” — and the women just sit there, exhausted and extremely annoyed. I suppose they’re waiting for producers to give them permission to get up and go back to the shuttle bus, or whatever, but Natasha is through waiting. “I’m gonna go,” she says firmly, and the rest of the women follow her out the door.

While the “ladies” are waiting for transportation back to their hotel, Alayah chats with Hannah Ann and Mykenna. “I need you guys to catch me up on everything,” she says, “because I’ve only seen what the internet has seen.” But as soon as Mykenna tells her that Kelsey has the next one-on-one date, Alayah interrupts: “Oh, I know! I know Victoria F. had it yesterday. I know she was dating Chase Rice before the date…”

Mykenna is shocked — shocked! — to hear this news. Though is anyone surprised that Victoria F. didn’t come home from her one-on-one and immediately fill her competitors in on the incredibly awkward and embarrassing encounter she and Peter had with her ex? Alayah seems a little too pleased that she’s the one who delivered this hot goss. “Oh, y’all didn’t know that?” she says innocently. “The internet knows everything. I will tell you all.”

The next morning, the “ladies” sit around the hotel in their sweats and pjs, just dragging Alayah and Peter for their bad behavior. Lexi is beyond irked that Peter gave Alayah a rose “in front of everyone who just suffered major bodily harm in the football game.” Mykenna, who was already emotionally fragile about not getting a one-on-one date, thinks Peter’s date-rose decision was just “so disrespectful to all of us… He’s made this mess, and he needs to be able to own up to it.”

Indeed, he will. In fact, he’s owning up to it right now on his one-on-one date with Kelsey. Peter tells her that Alayah is back, and she seems basically fine with it, I guess? “If you feel like you need to explore this now, I’d rather have you do it now,” says Kelsey. With that, it’s off to enjoy the Cleve.

They dance the polka with locals, share some fro-yo, and then “stumble” upon a soap-box derby.

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Kelsey knows things are required to get serious during the dinner portion of the date, so she dutifully tells Peter about the trauma of her parents’ divorce and how she didn’t see her father for 12 years. “He moved to Mexico and started his own life and had his own family,” she says. And then suddenly Peter is crying, talking about his respect for single moms and how hard it was for his mother and grandmother when they emigrated from Cuba. Obviously, Kelsey gets the date rose.

Hey, I wonder what’s going on back at the hotel?

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Hoo boy. Let me back up for a minute. It seems that Victoria F. has somehow learned that Alayah told everyone about the Chase Rice fiasco — which she learned about from the interwebs during her brief exile from the show. Armed with a glass of red wine, Victoria F. confronts Alayah and demands an explanation. Her defense — “I had no idea that no one knew” — is quite lame, and Victoria calls her on it. “Guess what? No one has their phone here, so how would you expect them to know that?”

This version of Victoria F. is quite different from the meek, weepy “girl who whispers” that we’ve seen so far. “You’re manipulative!” she barks. “You’re fake, and I’m not… I have some very choice words to say to Peter, and he’s going to f—ing know who you are as a person. So good luck, honey!”

And good luck to Pilot Pete, who is about to walk into a pre-rose ceremony cocktail party full of women who want to tear him a new one. I mean, just look at Natasha.

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Just as Peter’s about to pull Victoria P. (again!) for the first one-on-one chat, Deandra interrupts. “Can I say something really quick? I’m sorry Peter, but I’ve never felt so under-recognized by somebody. And for us… who busted our ass out there on the football field and literally have the physical bruises to show, and then for you to come to the cocktail party and ignore us, half of us, who didn’t get time, and then walk in hand-in-hand with Alayah, it was like the biggest slap in the face. Like, I couldn’t even look at you.” Mykenna and her bruised arm both agree wholeheartedly.

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“For you to give it to her of all people,” adds Natasha, “it really, really, really hurt.” There are a few seconds of tense silence, and then Peter offers yet another apology. “I’m sorry. I am so not perfect, I’m not even close,” he sighs. Dude, no one is asking you to be perfect — they’re asking you to have a modicum of common sense! Even Victoria P., who should be begging Peter for forgiveness, is all pissy with him. “I don’t really want to talk to you right now,” she snaps. “I’m just frustrated.”

It works, and suddenly Peter is on the defensive. “Listen, I’m not trying to make you feel like you’re being attacked,” he stammers, but Victoria P. just keeps ranting about how awful Alayah is. “She’s manipulating you the same way that she’s manipulated me, and I think she thinks that my kindness is weakness, and she’s trying to take advantage… and I’m not standing for it anymore.” Then, Victoria throws her final smoke bomb, one that will explode right in Alayah’s face. She tells Peter to “go talk to Victoria Fuller” about what Alayah did to her.

Inside, the “ladies” are all sniping at Alayah to her face. Natasha blasts her for spreading gossip from the “outside world,” while Lexi sniffs, “You’re not coming back to clear your name. You’re coming back to get back on the show… If you didn’t care about the show, you would have stayed home and waited for the Women Tell All to clear your name.” After taking the abuse for a few minutes, Alayah hits her limit. “I didn’t come back for petty s—,” she snaps. “That’s not why I came back.”

And now, it seems, Alayah is wishing she had never come back at all. Eventually, she sits down with Peter, and before he can even ask her about the Victoria F. situation, she launches into a tearful speech about how she’s “literally just getting torn to shreds” by the other women. (And by “literally,” she means “figuratively.”) Peter is desperate to figure out why all of his potential wives are “against” Alayah, but she claims not to know. “I’ve been nothing but fricking honest with you, Peter,” she murmurs. Could someone get the Bachelor a paper bag to breathe into? I think he’s about to start hyperventilating.

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“I’m worried that all these girls are just gonna walk out,” he says. “I feel like they’re so very disappointed in me, and I get it. I don’t blame them.” As Peter paces back and forth, the women continue to argue and talk over each other in the next room. And with that…

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Well that was about six hours of drama stuffed into a two-hour bag. And it looks like the tensions and humidity will rise even higher next week, as Peter and his harem head to Costa Rica (where the famed “golf cart mishap” took place). Before you go, rose lovers, please let me know your thoughts on the following: Should Peter get rid of Alayah, Victoria P., or both of them? Should Deandra and Natasha just cut their losses and walk out? And is Chase Rice actually a well-known country star? (I honestly have no idea.) Post your thoughts below!

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