That was certainly not what we expected.
After weeks of Chris Harrison and Peter Weber himself promising we were in for an ending to The Bachelor that was “unique” and “unprecedented” and “riveting,” and then switching to telling us that no one actually even knew how it was going to end, we were expecting something…else. We were expecting a proposal. A real profession of love. A Bachelor ending. Instead, we got something so much darker, stranger, and sadder than we could have imagined.
Here’s what happened: After Madison left on her own accord, Peter did not tell Hannah Ann right away. Instead, he let her panic, and almost not even show up to the proposal. He didn’t even tell her until halfway through the proposal, during a speech that was extremely unclear about which way it was going.
But he did propose, and the couple was happy for about .2 seconds. Pete’s family was beyond thrilled that he had chosen the girl who was, in their eyes, the right one.
But then cut to Hannah Ann visiting Peter in LA, a month after they had last seen each other. It’s not a happy reunion. They both admit things have been hard, and while Hannah Ann has been there for Peter, Peter has not been there for Hannah Ann. She signed up for a partnership, and he hasn’t been pulling his weight.
He then admits he can’t give Hannah Ann his whole heart, and so they have to say goodbye, and Hannah Ann unleashes her fury on him. She doesn’t even want to hear what else he has to say, because how is she supposed to believe him if she couldn’t trust any of the things he said before? She’s done.
After Hannah Ann was out of the picture, Chris Harrison took it upon himself to visit Madison in Auburn, Alabama. He asks if she regrets her decision to leave, and she does. He asks if she still loves Peter, and she does. He tells her Peter got engaged, but then he tells her Peter got un-engaged, and is currently single. He invites her to LA.
Then, the production lures Peter to a pool under false pretenses of meeting Chris there, but instead it’s Madison who greets him. They talk about how they still have feelings for each other, but then they don’t see each other again until she’s brought out on stage live on TV, where we’re supposed to believe we’ll get that “ending” we’ve been waiting for all season, thanks to all that hype.
They’re going to take it one day at a time, Pete says. They’ve both hurt each other, they’ve both been hurt, there’s a lot to work through, and it feels like this insane, often unbearable season is going to end flat on its face. A dud. Until…Chris Harrison asks Barb Weber her thoughts.
Barb has spent the entire live finale, mostly on what we’re calling Barb cam (a small piece of the screen in the corner showing her face), clapping for Hannah Ann and rolling her eyes at Madison, making it very clear which side she is on here. It is, strangely enough, not her son’s side. She seems to be purely on the side of Hannah Ann, no matter what.
Barb first shocked us all with her explanation as to why she loved Hannah Ann over Madison. She loved Hannah Ann right away, because Hannah Ann embraced the family immediately. Madison made them wait three hours and didn’t seem to want to meet them. She wasn’t willing to compromise on anything. She didn’t even apologize for making them wait.
Madison then countered with the fact that she can’t change the past, and that she was proud that she stayed true to herself through the entire process, which was her goal in the first place.
Both Barb and Pete Sr. then got some mic drop moments.
“Chris, he’s going to have to fail to succeed,” she said. “That’s it. All his friends, all his family, everyone that knows him knows that it’s not going to work. So we’ve been trying to help them. Would we want it to work? Yes.”
“Okay, honestly, I hate this situation,” Pete Sr. says. “And it’s telling to me that there is so many obstacles in this way to even get to this point that you don’t even start a relationship like that. Anybody who is watching the show, again, we saw a lot more than the average person here, would understand that there is so many differences to overcome, and, you know, when you’re getting into a relationship, that beginning should be the brightest spot, and it was anything but.”
“I am telling you I love Madison and that should be enough,” Pete said, and Madison just hoped she and Peter could discuss this privately, and that was pretty much it. Peter’s season ended with the possibility of maybe dating, while his family was torn apart at the seams over a reality TV relationship that’s statistically doomed anyway.
From the beginning, we were promised something different this season. We technically were never promised something good, but we were promised something dramatic, an ending that couldn’t be spoiled. An ending in general.
No one could have promised what Barbra Weber was going to say on live TV, so technically, the ending everyone was talking about was watching Peter dump Hannah Ann, and then exploring the possibility of maybe exploring things with Madison. It was Barb’s live refusal to back down on her opinions that made this “ending” something much more interesting than it was originally going to be.
Pete clearly wanted to choose Madison, but Madison made it impossible for him to choose her by leaving on her own, and he had his family in his ear telling him he should choose Hannah Ann. So he chose Hannah Ann, proposed to her, then broke up with her on TV just like Arie Luyendyk Jr. did to Becca Kufrin two seasons ago. Arie’s family was also team Becca, but Arie then happily got engaged to Lauren Burnham, and Becca became the Bachelorette, giving everybody a happy ending.
That’s not the case this time around. Hannah Ann doesn’t get to be the Bachelorette. Madison and Peter are not happily engaged, and Pete’s family is not on board even with the two of them dating. It’s hard to imagine any woman watching these two episodes and still wanting to be with Peter, and it’s hard to imagine that if Pete and Madison do “make it” in any sense, her relationship with Barb will ever recover. That’s a hard road ahead that they’ve all paved for themselves, and one we’re kind of glad we don’t have to watch play out on TV for any of these people. They all deserve time to go home without cameras to figure this out for themselves, with no expectation of a “happy” ending and all the intention of a healthy beginning.
Speaking of Hannah Ann not being the Bachelorette, a year or two ago, it would have felt like a no brainer to cast her as the next leading lady, a woman scorned who was ready to move on. But Hannah Ann is still only 23. She’s got a lot more time to deal with a lot more heartbreak and a lot more Peters before she may be ready to handle what is clearly a grueling gig, and with Clare Crawley, we can forget about this season completely, at least for a little while.
While it seems sort of impossible for anyone to be truly “good” at dating multiple people at once, hopefully we can trust that maybe a 38 year-old woman who’s been on several different versions of this show and who has lived a full 10 years longer than Peter might be able to handle things in a way Peter couldn’t, and even in a way Hannah Brown couldn’t. Maybe we can even hope for an After the Final Rose in a few months that won’t make us want to melt into the floor!
But if even Clare lets us down, it might just be time to pack it in. Because we literally watched a family fall apart tonight, and as much as we love to watch this show, we’re not sure it’s worth that.
The Bachelor airs on ABC.