The Bachelor innovated this week, incorporating the episode's nondescript country singer into the action for the first time ever, as one of Peter Weber's girls, Victoria F., had previously dated Chase Rice, who performed during her date with Peter. It was the first time the musical performer had ever been interesting. Twenty-four seasons in and The Bachelor is still finding ways to innovate. The producer who set that up deserves a raise. If it's the same producer who orchestrated #ChampagneGate, they should become the new showrunner, or even the new host. Watch out, Chris Harrison!
The episode began with Chris Harrison announcing that the show was hitting the road to beautiful, scenic Cleveland, Ohio! The girls couldn't even pretend to be excited at first, which was hilarious, and a nice twist on the usual "Oh my God, we're going to Ft. Lauderdale!" thing. That all changed when they got to Cleveland and had to do the "Cleveland is a beautiful place to fall in love" tourism department-mandated advertisement, and they were like "Cleveland is the greatest city in the world. I would sacrifice my firstborn here." They had a beautiful penthouse overlooking a football stadium and Lake Erie, which was on fire due to all the chemicals that had been dumped into it (kidding...probably).
Victoria F. got the first date, and since she can't enjoy anything, she got panicky when Peter revealed that she was going to be flying with him. She's afraid of heights, but at least she wasn't skydiving. They landed at Cedar Point, an amusement park, and Victoria actually enjoyed going on the Zipper and on roller coasters. See, Victoria, you have to try stuff! You might like it! Then they pulled up to the private concert. And for the first time this season, Victoria's anxiety was fully justified. Her ex-boyfriend Chase Rice was onstage.
I had never heard of Chase Rice, but he's had an interesting life! He was on Survivor, was a NASCAR pit crew member, and co-wrote the hit Florida Georgia Line song "Cruise." Victoria sang along to the words to Chase Rice's song. Chase Rice is a professional, though, and didn't give away that he knew Victoria onstage, or when talking to Peter after the performance -- except for one beautiful moment.
Victoria told a producer that she was "literally shaking," because Chase didn't want her to go on the show. Victoria went to talk to Chase, and he said he had no idea this was going to happen. Damn, the producers pulled poor Chase Rice into their web of deception! He did not want to be there listening to Victoria moan about how she had to tell Peter about their history. He said almost nothing to Victoria except "be you," which is a non-statement. It's a statement of self-extraction. Oh, in another great twist, Chase is saying she wasn't his girlfriend, but just someone he hooked up with once. "We spent a night together in Charlotte," he said. He's justifiably pissed that he got dragged into this drama without his consent. Guess we won't be seeing him on Listen to Your Heart.
She told Peter, and Peter couldn't believe it. He was like "The guy from the concert?" I mean, Victoria doesn't have anything to answer for. She dated a guy before Peter, so what. It's just a weird thing. It was kinda weird that she was singing along. But sing it with me: "Blaaaame the Produuuuuceeeers!" After a second of recovery, Peter was like, "Whatever, that was weird, but I like you." He gave her the rose.
The group date was football. Victoria P.'s back hurt, so she used her time on the sideline to get some extra time with Peter. Snakey move, but effective. I'm kind of surprised they had them play tackle football, because people can really get hurt playing football. NFL player Clay Harbor suffered a career-ending injury playing football on The Bachelorette. The game ended in a tie, so both teams got to go to the afterparty.
Victoria P. stole Peter first during the cocktail party despite spending the day with him on the sideline, which upset Shiann, who scored all of her team's touchdowns. But that got set aside when something more important happened. Alayah returned!
Alayah, who got sent home last week after having her character assassinated, came back to tell her side of the story. Alayah said that Victoria P. lied to Peter. Victoria had said that she and Alayah knew each other from the pageant world, but not well, but Alayah said that they were pretty tight, and had gone to Las Vegas together. Peter was completely baffled as he talked to Victoria P., who was "shaking" with emotion. He didn't know who to believe. So he had them both sit down with him. Victoria P. did the fake newsy "I told my truth" excuse, which made her look dishonest, because it's basically an admission of bending the truth for her own means. Peter was upset, and he walked away to contemplate what to do while looking at some sharks. If I had to guess, I would say the cocktail party was in an aquarium.
Peter admitted to Alayah that he made a mistake, and asked her to come back. She accepted. She was resurrected. Call her Alazarus. And he gave her the damn group date rose even though she wasn't even on the date! The other girls hate Peter now. It's not going to be easy for Alayah, either.
Kelsey got the next one-on-one. She and Peter just kinda walked around and ate pierogis. Peter was wearing a nice tan shawl collar sweater over a blue crewneck sweater. Double-sweatering it. Peter described Kelsey as "no drama," apparently completely forgetting that #ChampagneGate just happened. She opened up about her parents getting divorced, which sounded more like her dad walking out on her family than a divorce. She didn't see him for 12 years. That's brutal, man. Peter answered by talking about how his grandmother and mother came from Cuba with nothing. He cried. He gave her the rose.
Back at the hotel, drama was brewing, because Alayah told everyone about Chase and Victoria F. because she had gotten her phone back and went online and saw it. Victoria F. spat "fake" and "manipulative" at Alayah from her wine-stained mouth.
At the rose ceremony cocktail party, Deandra and Natasha called Peter out for giving Alayah the group date rose after they put their bodies on the line for him. Then Peter asked Victoria P. to talk to him, and she said she didn't want to, but would. She was very defensive, accusing him of not trusting her. Inside, the girls were ganging up on Alayah for coming back to get back on the show, not to clear her name. And Victoria F. told Peter about Alayah gossiping about her and Chase Rice. He sat down with Alayah and asked her to be real with him about why the other girls don't like her, because he's not around to see why. The girls were all fighting. It was a mess. The episode ended on a "To Be Continued" as the girls bickered. I'm glad the episode ended there, because it was making me anxious.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC. Episodes are available to stream on Hulu the following day.