It's time for Peter to meet the families of his final four, but things go sideways when he visits Virginia Beach with Victoria F.
The Bachelor
Credit: ABC
4. Season 5 (Jesse Palmer)

Before you dive into tonight’s recap, rose lovers, a quick self-care suggestion: Take a few minutes and scream into a pillow. This season of The Bachelor has caused us all an unfortunate amount of frustration, but somehow tonight’s final-four hometown dates managed to make things even worse. Once again, Pilot Pete had every opportunity to do the right thing — meaning, get rid of Victoria F. — and once again he failed. Little Peter wins again!

This week was rough. Let’s get to it.

Date No. 1: Hannah Ann
Location: Knoxville, Tenn.
Relatives present: 4 (Hannah Ann’s dad Rick, her mom Jennifer, her sister Haley, and her brother Wade)

It’s raining hard when Peter reunites with Hannah Ann in Knoxville, Tenn. The model greets the Bachelor and informs him that before he meets her dad, who works in the lumber industry, she needs to “make a real man out of you.” What? Girl, you only have a few hours — aim lower!

Operation Butch Peter Up has one step: Teach him how to throw an ax. It goes well!

Credit: ABC

To be fair, he eventually manages to hit one bullseye. After murdering some wood, Peter presents Hannah Ann with his own “Things I Love About You” list — and my favorite item is No. 8.

Screen Shot 2020-02-16 at 8.45.02 PM
Credit: ABC

Does that say, “[The way you] wrap your leg around me when we hug”? And if so, does Peter not realize that EVERY woman left does that #jumpnhump move? Not to nitpick, buddy, but next time maybe try to make your list a little more specific to the “lady” you’re with.

When it comes time to meet the family, it’s really all about Hannah Ann’s dad. Rick, bless him, is trying to keep his contempt for Peter and this whole ridiculous TV charade from seeping out of every pore in his body.… but he’s failing.

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 6.56.48 AM
Credit: ABC

“The biggest question on my mind is how he feels about Hannah,” says Rick. “Can you honestly sit here and tell me tonight that it’s not just a flash in the pan? Because right now, that’s the way I look at it.” Since there’s a good chance that Peter hasn’t already picked up on the “I hate you” vibes coming from Rick, Hannah Ann’s mom gives the Bachelor a more explicit warning: “He’s very guarded, and he’s not just going to, you know, just give her away to anybody.” (Actually, Jennifer, your husband is not going to give Hannah Ann away, period, because he does not own her, but I digress.)

The Rick-Peter sit-down is as tense as expected. Peter spouts Bachelor platitudes — “I have all the hope in the world that this can work with us” — and Rick presses on the real issue: But are you gonna pick Hannah Ann over the other “ladies”? At first Peter hems and haws (“there is something real here”), but then he tries to put dad’s mind at ease with this bomb: “I’m actually hoping to tell her this tonight, that I am falling in love with her.” Rick does NOT love it.

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 7.37.35 AM
Credit: ABC

Peter looks uncomfortable — and he should. “I hear your concerns,” he mumbles, “and I’ll take those to heart.”

So will Peter go through with his plan before saying goodbye to Hannah Ann, or did Rick’s warning scare him off? The suspense is killing me! Let’s listen in:

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 7.52.50 AM
Credit: ABC

Oh boy, Peter. Now you’ve done it — and it’s gonna get even worse when Rick sees that Hannah Ann thinks she’s “in love” with you. Watch your back, buddy.

Date No. 2: Kelsey
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Relatives present: 6 (Kelsey’s mom Beth, stepfather Mike, sisters Kayla and Kalason)

Did you know that Iowa had wineries? Neither did I! For their day date, Kelsey brings Peter to the Summerset Winery, where they stomp grapes in the chilly midwestern air. I’m not sure if I want to congratulate Team Bachelor for putting a camera in the metal tub at grape level, or if I want to file an FCC complaint against them for subjecting us to this image:

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 9.41.31 AM
Credit: ABC

Blech. I’m not even going to talk about Peter’s painful, extended metaphor equating his relationship with Kelsey to fine wine (“the aftertaste always leaves you wanting more”) because it’s just too infuriating.

Once they’re good and drunk on vino, Kelsey informs the Bachelor that she’s in love with him. Cheers to that premature declaration! It’s for sure only going to bring good things for Kelsey, right? RIGHT?

At dinner, Beth introduces Peter to Crab Rangoon, which is one of Kelsey’s favorites. Then things get serious: Kelsey regales her sisters with vague tales about all of the “stuff” she and Peter have had to “overcome” during their time together. Mom, meanwhile, wants the Bachelor to know that when Kelsey loves, “she loves like no other.” With that in mind, she has a warning for the scruffy-faced pilot: “Don’t break my girl’s heart. Do you understand?” (Is it me or is Kelsey’s mom almost scarier than Hannah Ann’s dad?)

“She definitely is all in,” says Beth. “I’ve never seen her like this before.” Well mom, this season is going to bring a lot of firsts for you, because I’m sure you’ve also never seen your daughter like this:

Credit: ABC

Before he leaves, Peter tells Kelsey that his heart “is definitely falling,” which means we’re two-for-two. On to Auburn!

Date No. 3: Madison
Location: Auburn, Ala.
Relatives present: 4 (Madison’s mom Tonya, her dad Chad, her sisters Mallory and Mary Michael)

Welcome to Auburn University, rose lovers! It’s Madison’s alma mater and, of course, where her father coaches basketball. At the arena, they’re greeted by a video message from another Auburn alum, Charles Barkley.

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 10.11.53 AM
Credit: ABC

Man, Peter can’t go anywhere without getting low-key threatened! Anyhow, time to “hoop it up,” under the watchful eye of Coach Bruce Pearl.

Credit: ABC

Good effort, buddy. After Madison trounces Peter on the court, it’s off meet the Prewetts. At dinner, Maddie gets the family’s “special plate” — which means everyone will go around the table and list something special about her. Okay, I’ll admit, that’s a sweet tradition. But before Madison can even take a bite of her prime rib (or whatever), Tonya whisks her away for a one-on-one chat.

“You seem really happy and he seems really nice,” says mom. “But… I just don’t know.” Specifically, Tonya doesn’t know if Madison has told Peter about the “very specific faith decisions” she’s made about her life. Mom, why are you speaking in code? Just say it!

Credit: ABC

And no, she hasn’t told him yet.

Outside, Peter is chatting with Maddie’s dad Chad, who isn’t too thrilled to hear that the Bachelor is “falling in love” with his daughter. “How can you assure me that that’s genuine?” Short answer: He can’t! But Chad the dad keeps pressing: “I don’t want to go down that road unless you know. So I’m asking you a really tough question: Do you know?” To his credit, Peter responds with relative directness: “I just can’t give you an answer right now, and I’m sorry about that.”

It’s just now occurring to me that this hometowns episode is missing something: Those awkward, “May I have your blessing to marry your daughter (if I decide to propose)?” conversations. It’s probably for the best — both because it’s an outdated tradition, and because none of these parents seem very likely to say yes.

Anyhow, Chad isn’t letting Maddie out of the house without reminding her that she is a woman of faith, and Pilot Pete needs to respect that. “When you were a little baby, I laid my hands on you and prayed for your future husband. I’m not ready to say right now that that’s him,” says dad. “However, I’m not ready to close the door either.”

For Madison, the family visit is a “harsh reality” check. “I was hoping to tell Peter that I’m in love with him, but I’m still trying to figure out if our spirits and our souls are compatible,” she explains. “I feel like a lot’s kind of weighing on that.” True to form, Peter is blissfully unaware that Madison is having any doubts.

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 10.49.14 AM
Credit: ABC

“I just know that she’s on that same page with me,” he gushes. (Narrator: She’s not.)

Date No. 4: Victoria F.
Location: Virginia Beach, Va.
Relatives present: 5 (though we don’t really get to meet them)

It doesn’t take a seasoned Bachelor fan to know that when a woman says “hopefully today is just smooth sailing” before a date, the date itself is going to be a complete disaster. Welcome to Victoria’s hometown, rose lovers!

Their date begins at the boardwalk, where Victoria and Peter take some Old Timey photos just for kicks.

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 10.59.41 AM
Credit: ABC

Those places look fun, but unless I have solid proof that the clothes are dry-cleaned between every use, I’m gonna pass.

In addition to sharing an ice cream cone with her dog Buxton, Victoria F. shares this bombshell with producers: “I do really see it with him, and it’s so crazy to say!” Yes, it’s very crazy, especially since up until this date, Victoria has mostly cried and pouted and avoided making eye contact with him. Now she can “see it” with the Bachelor? Gurl, please.

Wow, everything’s been going smoothly for a full two-and-a-half minutes! That’s a record for these two. But don’t worry, rose lovers — the shiz is about to hit the fan. Victoria takes Peter to The Shack on 8th for a “surprise” Hunter Hayes concert. (He sings a song with very appropriate lyrics: “I don’t want easy, I want crazy.” And no, Victoria didn’t used to date him.) But it’s what happens next that’s really of interest.

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 11.18.19 AM
Credit: ABC

This blurry bearer of bad news is a woman named Merissa, who Peter apparently dated back in 2012. Things must not have ended badly, because Peter seems genuinely happy to see her. Merissa lives in Virginia Beach, and she’s come to The Shack today to tell people a few things about her former friend Victoria F. At first, her warnings are vague — “I think that you’re a great guy and I don’t really think you deserve what you’re on a date with right now” — but after a few minutes, she gets to the point: “There’s been many relationships broken up because of her.”

Is it me, or does Peter not seem at all surprised at this news? He heaves a heavy sigh and hugs Merissa goodbye. “That was a complete bomb that just got dropped,” he says, climbing into the Getaway SUV. “I’m confused right now. I honestly don’t know how to go about this.”

Oh, I do! I do! Why not confront Victoria about it on the front steps of her parents’ house? Peter arrives looking glum, and he and Victoria sit down on the stoop to talk. “[Merissa] told me that you’ve caused a lot of other relationships to end,” says Peter. “I don’t know what she’s referring to, but those were her words.”

As you saw in the clip I posted last week, Victoria immediately gets defensive. “I haven’t broken up any relationships! What relationship did she say that I break up in town?” Then she starts lashing out at Peter, who quite reasonably insists that he had to bring this up to her before meeting her family. “You literally just came in here to act like that? Are you kidding me?” she snaps. “You’re supposed to meet my family tonight, and you decided that what Merissa told you is more important than meeting my entire family!”

Credit: ABC

Well that’s obvious. Once again, Peter just can’t grasp the fact that Victoria is deflecting blame here because that is what guilty people do. While none of us know what, exactly, has gone on in Victoria’s past, it’s pretty clear that she is desperate to steer the conversation away from Merissa’s claims.

Reminder: This is all happening as Victoria’s parents, siblings, and grandma are waiting on the other side of the door! Surely Peter could have asked production to bring Victoria to a neutral location for this uncomfortable chat. But why would they do something humane when humiliation is an option?

Anyhow, she and Peter bicker some more over whether she’s ever truly fought for their relationship (LOL), and then Victoria just gets up and walks away. “I can’t do this right now,” she whines, as the camera follows her down the dark suburban street. “I’m so done! I hate this! Every time! It’s like I can’t catch a break!”

Of course, she comes back. And Peter, God help him, actually apologizes to her: “If it somehow it came off that I was taking her side and not yours, I’m sorry for that.” (Now would be a good time to scream into that pillow, rose lovers.) But it’s too little, too late for Victoria, who turns on the waterworks once again. “I literally wanted to tell you tonight that I was falling in love with you,” she whimpers. “How are we even supposed to move forward from this?” She accuses Peter once again of taking Merissa’s side, and Peter accuses her of giving up on their relationship. “Have you not seen this entire time how much I’ve cared for you?” he asks her, incredulous. “And how much you have meant to me?”

Rather than answer, Victoria just sobs about how “disappointed” and “embarrassed” she is by this whole situation. “You deserve to be loved,” Peter whispers, as she cries in his arms. At some point in this conversation, they must have officially decided to cancel the family visit, because all of a sudden Peter is driving away in the back of an SUV and Victoria is standing in the street bawling. Her family comes out to console her with hugs and reassurances (“We love you, Tori;” “You’ll always have us”).

The next morning, Peter is just moping around his hotel room in Virginia Beach when — knock! knock! knock! — there’s a petite brunette lunatic at the door.

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 12.08.52 PM
Credit: ABC

Victoria, who’s had a whole night to figure out her strategy, is all calm and repentant. “I’m really sorry for how things, like, went down last night,” she murmurs. When Peter says he feels like she doesn’t even want him to love her (Narrator: she doesn’t), Victoria counters with tears and self-pity. “I’m trying so hard,” she whispers. “I know it’s probably not, like, good enough right now. But I’m trying really hard. Like, I’ve never tried like this.”

Rose lovers, is there any chance that Peter won’t buy this load of BS? “I don’t want to make any decision right now,” he tells Victoria, so she leaves — but not without giving him a copy of that Old Timey photo from their date.

With that, we’re back in Los Angeles for the rose ceremony. And guess what? It’s taking place in an airplane hangar! (In case you weren’t aware, Peter is a pilot.) The good news is Chris Harrison is there to greet the “ladies.”

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 12.22.02 PM
Credit: ABC

Missed you, sir.

In her pre-ceremony interview, Victoria is feeling anxious. “I didn’t have a hometown with Peter, and he didn’t get to meet my family,” she says. “So Peter and I are probably not moving forward.” And once again, it doesn’t take a seasoned Bachelor fan to know that when a “lady” predicts she’s going home, she is almost certainly not going home. It pains me to do this, folks, but it’s time for the rose ceremony roll call:

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 12.52.13 PM
Credit: ABC

And lo, Peter has chosen his final three: Hannah Ann, Madison, and Victoria F. By some miracle — also known as Peter’s tremendous lack of common sense — Victoria F. has squeaked through once again, and Kelsey is going home. “When you told me that you loved me, that meant the world to me, but I wasn’t there,” says the Bachelor by way of explanation. So sorry, Kelsey. I don’t think you have a shot at Bachelorette, but we’ll probably see you in Paradise.

Well, that wraps things up, rose lovers! Nothing left to see here, so… Oh, wait. Looks like Madison doesn’t want the night to end just yet.

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 12.41.05 PM
Credit: ABC

“Next week is Fantasy Suite week and I don’t think Peter knows how much I’m struggling,” says Madison. “I’m not willing to compromise who I am for this, so he needs to know exactly where my head’s at.”

Okay, now we can wrap things up. Looks like we’ll have to wait until next week to see Madison deliver her “sleep with the other women and I’m out” ultimatum, so until then, I want to hear your thoughts on hometowns. Are you surprised that Peter let Victoria manipulate him again, or have you stopped marveling at the depths of his stupidity? Are you getting the feeling that Madison maybe isn’t that into Peter after all? (I am.) And how disappointed are you that we didn’t get to see Peter receive some “Nana kisses”? Post your thoughts below!

Related content:

Episode Recaps