Mar 2, 2020

The Bachelor Season 24, Women Tell All Recap: Excuse You, What?

THE BACHELOR – “The Bachelor: The Women Tell All” – Peter’s dramatic and emotional journey is about to come to an end. But first, he must come to grips with Madison turning away from the strong relationship they have developed until the fantasy suites. Will Madison even show up to the rose ceremony? And then it’s a sensational and shocking “The Bachelor: The Women Tell All,” MONDAY, MARCH 2 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on ABC. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal) VICTORIA P, KYLIE, SYDNEY, SARAH, LEXI, KIARRA, TAMMY, DEANDRA, SAVANNAH

The Bachelor’s Women Tell All episode is about the contestants screaming at each other about the drama of the season, so, it was quite the relief that this time around there’s some “unfinished business in Australia” to deal with first. We can’t yell about Champagne Gate when Madison Prewett is still somewhere in Australia. Is she at the airport? The hotel? Is she journaling about whether Peter Weber being “intimate” with someone(s) else is a dealbreaker?

The episode begins with Pilot Pete talking to Chris Harrison about how he confessed his, um, deed(s) to Madison, which meant that she walked away from him. At least, she physically walked away. We’re still not clear on whether she’s walked away from their relationship altogether.

At the rose ceremony, Victoria Fuller and Hannah Ann Sluss are wondering where the heck Madison is, because they’re just seeing a pensive Peter pace back and forth in the distance. But then, Madison appears. She tells Chris that she’s still confused about the situation, but takes her place in the rose ceremony lineup, which sort of feels unfair. He is still super into her, so if he gives her a rose and she’s not over him sleeping with someone else, then his other relationships are effectively sabotaged.

Hannah Ann gets the first rose. I try to not get ahead of myself in thinking this means Victoria is finally a goner, but after an extremely long pause full of dramatic music and closeups, Madison gets the second one. This has been a long time coming. Peter and Victoria fought like a couple that was always on the verge of breaking up, and, well, finally they lived up to that.

Peter tells Victoria that his “heart is farther along with the other two.” In her limo exit, she seems to think she has a chance at the Bachelorette title. “I’m just hoping to find love,” she says. “Isn’t that what everyone’s hoping for.” Yep, that’s a soundbite, but it’s too late, lady. She also thinks that Madison’s “ultimatum” is to blame for getting in Peter’s head, but that doesn’t add up. Madison’s ultimatum was that she’d leave if he had sex with someone else. He did. She’s still there. 

And that’s the end of our time in the outback. The Women Tell All is, as expected, a damn mess. It always is, but as we know, this season had a very high amount of drama between the women. The whole thing devolves into literally everyone yelling within minutes, so let’s take this segment by segment for some amount of decorum.

First up: Alayah Benavidez and Victoria Paul’s drama. The story was that they knew each other from back home, but had differing claims about how well, and that Victoria P. was part of the choir that convinced Peter to send Alayah home. At The Women Tell All, Alayah says that her biggest regret is not having kept her mouth shut more. Victoria P says that she’s just “weird,” but Shiann Lewis and Savannah Mullins say that she’s “fake.” Basically, the cast is split between Alayah supporters, Victoria P. supporters, and probably a few contestants who don’t care. Notably, at some point during this debate Sydney Hightower says that Alayah returned to the show after being kicked off because she “went on Reddit!” Alayah did say on the show that she went on the internet while she was gone, so that accusation does technically add up.

Next comes Champagne Gate. Kelsey Weier knows she overreacted, but she was just working with what she felt at the time. Shiann tries to get in a jab by saying that Kelsey’s reaction was “irrational” and Kelsey shuts her down by saying, “I would totally agree with that.” Well played.

Refresher: Kelsey is very emotional. Tammy Ly told everyone that Kelsey might have a drinking problem and had a “mental breakdown.” Tammy tries to claim now that she was coming from a place of concern, which is immediately undermined by the fact that she continues to fight with Kelsey and several of the other women on stage.

Next, Tammy and Mykenna Dorn of half-assed two-on-one date fame go at it. Mykenna gives one of her speeches about how Tammy taught her how not to treat people. Tammy asks how long she rehearsed it. Tammy says that every time a camera turned on Mykenna “spread her legs,” which I think she meant metaphorically? Mykenna gives the last word: “Why don’t you come to Canada and learn how to treat people with a little bit more love and respect and kindness?” They don’t make up.

But then it’s hot seat time! With Kelsey, we learn that she misses Peter and learned a lot from him. She’s surprised with fellow famed crier Ashley Iaconetti, who gives her a toddler-sized bottle of champagne and then a speech about how people shouldn’t be shamed for their emotions. As a non-famous crier, I say, preach!

The second hot seat goes to Victoria F., who talks about how she self-sabotaged because she didn’t realize how much Peter cared about her. “I hate some of the ways I acted,” she says. “He put up with a lot.” Chris asks her about the claims from Merissa who worked at Guess that she has broken up marriages, which Victoria says is not true. Chris does not ask her about the White Lives Matter controversy that lost her her Cosmopolitan cover, which seems like a big oversight, especially since the show brought up a similar situation in the past when it came to Bachelorette winner Garrett Yrigoyen. (And also because of what comes later in the show, but we’ll get to that.)

As a brief respite, there’s a segment where Peter, Chris, and Peter’s parents crash (or, “crash”) Bachelor viewing parties. The only notable thing is that Peter’s parents are caught (or, “caught”) hooking up in a car, which is, I guess, a thing they agreed to do as a sacrifice for their son’s journey to find love.

Peter takes the stage next and… not much happens. The only woman who comes up to talk to him and Chris is Victoria F. “I put you through hell and you didn’t always deserve it,” she says. Peter says, “I’ve always said, love is patient.” Well, you didn’t say that, Peter, but I get it. The only other thing of note is that Peter responds to the idea that he “rewards drama” by saying that “criticism to a certain extent can be good.” As a Bachelor recapper, I appreciate that.

After the blooper reel (Bugs flying at people. Spilled drinks. Chris Harrison being overly excited. The usual.) and a commercial break, the show returns with Chris joined by former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay. Rachel is there to lead a segment about the harassment and hate Bachelor contestants receive online, because, as she puts it, “If we’re ever going to fix this problem, we have to acknowledge the problem.” Rachel — the only black Bachelorette and someone who has been outspoken about decisions made on the show — is the perfect choice for this. 

Rachel reads a series of hateful messages the contestants have received, including racist comments and messages saying that they should end their lives. Smartly, the show decides to let the non-white contestants take the floor during this portion. It’s made clear that everyone has received hate, but these women’s messages run the full gamut. Tammy says that she’s received death threats to her work email. Alexa received hate for wearing her hair natural. Sydney received racist messages about being biracial and was concerned for how they made her mom feel. It’s a very heavy segment and an important conversation to include. It’s wishful thinking, but perhaps if the people behind these messages see the effect they have, there will be at least some reduction in the amount of them.

The only criticism I have here is, again, that Victoria F.’s photoshoot controversy should have been brought up during her segment. She was involved in something that included hateful messaging. Yes, the official explanation was that the shoot used White Lives Matter branding to save White Marlins and she’s apologized for it on social media, but it should have been acknowledged on the actual series if the show is going out of its way to make a major statement against hate. 

And on that note, the next thing we get is the trailer for the Bachelor finale. Pretty much all we know is that Peter loves Madison and Hannah Ann and that baby kangaroos are involved.

Winner of the Episode: Kelsey. Hands down.

Loser of the Episode: Anyone who wanted more screen time for their Bachelor in Paradise audition and didn’t get it.

What Chris Harrison Tells Peter During The Very Teased Finale: That someone has left prior to the rose ceremony. And that someone is probably Madison.

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