This week, The Bachelor offered us a twist that was 30+ seasons in the making.
While Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants spend almost the entire season living in a house or hotel suite together, they usually part before hometown dates, and they spend the final few weeks of filming apart. This time, however, the final three, including Hannah Ann, Madison, and Victoria F., suddenly found themselves staying in the same hotel room for the most awkward week of all: fantasy suite week.
That meant that they had to watch each other leave to spend the night with their shared boyfriend, and then they had to watch each other return from spending the night with their shared boyfriend. All of this was made especially awkward because Madison had told Peter that if he slept with the other women, he risked losing her for good. And slowly, over the course of the three dates, Hannah Ann and Victoria got their chances to react to Madison's "ultimatum."
Obviously, that's exactly why it was done this time around, and as much as we all love to shake our fists at producer manipulation, this was one bit of manufactured drama we are 100% here for.
Chris Harrison explained the move on the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast with Rachel Lindsay and Becca Kufrin, and while it was one designed specifically for this Bachelor in this situation, we'd like to request that it continue for all future seasons of the franchise.
"There are times when, no matter how great you are—and you both were great bachelorettes—but you can't get out of your own way," Chris told Rachel and Becca. "And that's part of why you're single. And Peter, for example, has trouble making decisions. I don't know if you guys have noticed that."
We all have, Chris.
"The king of kicking the can down the road. Heaven forbid you make a decision, but there are things that we do as producers that will force you into this uncomfortable zone and force you into making a decision," Chris explained. "Sometimes we do it for your behalf, sometimes we do it for the bachelor, the guys or the girls. And this situation was pretty extraordinary because Peter had kicked the can down the road, but this time also Madison had. And so, this was to force a situation that had to happen, and it had to happen this week because, if we get to proposal week, then this guy is really screwed and there's no chance this works."
"We gotta figure this out and there's really only one way to do it. And so, yeah, it was tough love and it was really awkward and, again as you know, in the history of the show, I don't know if we've ever done this, but we decided to do it this week because these are conversations that needed to be had," he continued. "It was because of, I think, the double standard in the things that Peter was gonna deal with, we kind of needed the women's perspective on this. We needed Madison to face Victoria and Hannah Ann and have them express their emotions on this because, again, it's just this guy and his perspective, and I don't know if that's the greatest thing right now."
Just an FYI, Chris: We always need the women's perspective.
Madison had some trouble expressing exactly what she wanted from Peter and why she wanted it, but she tried after the final three rose ceremony to explain to Peter how she felt.
"If, next week, you were to sleep with somebody else, like it would be really hard for me to like really move forward in this, and I just feel like I owe it to you to be upfront with you and honest with you about that, that that is really important to me," she said.
During her eventual date with Peter (the third date out of three), she said it a little more clearly.
"For me personally, I wouldn't be able to say yes to an engagement and continuing to move forward if you have slept with the other women," she said. "And I'm not in any way trying to come across as judgmental or like hold something over your head, but at the same time, those are my expectations that I'd have in life."
Peter, who was already known for both his love of sex and his trouble with decision-making, then admitted that he had been intimate, and Madison was extremely disappointed and even angry. She walked away from their dinner, and later walked away when Peter went to try and tell her how much she means to him.
It's a frustrating situation all the way around because Madison clearly had major issues with the entire concept of the show, and Peter clearly has a thing for Madison, but also really wanted to have sex with Hannah Ann and Victoria. Madison also made the interesting choice to wait until the worst possible time to tell Peter this major piece of news.
We asked Peter how he felt about that choice when we spoke to him at the taping of Women Tell All (which airs Monday).
"I would have liked for her to have shared that with me earlier, yeah. I would have," he said. "Yeah, for the most part, you think that everyone kind of knows how the show goes and with a certain week, with fantasy suites, what that means. I look back on it, and I'm like, I wouldn't have rather have not had her come on, because up to this point now, where we're at in the whole journey, I had an amazing relationship with her, and I was very happy that she had come on the show and I had met her, so listen, everyone has their views and they're always entitled to those, and she told me that stuff when she did, maybe it could have happened a little bit sooner, but what are you going to do?"
That said, he could only defend both Madison and himself and the decisions they made.
"I don't really consider it an ultimatum. I don't," he said. "Did it make for a very hard, difficult week? Absolutely. But it was her expressing her heart to me, and that's what I asked all the women to do the very first night so I can't fault her at all for ever doing that. In that conversation you could tell she was very uncomfortable, and she didn't want it to come across like you have to do this, but she wanted me to know how it would make her feel, so what proceeds to happen is a risk, possibly, that I was taking, but I did that for a reason. I had two other relationships at that point. I wasn't just dating one person."
The reactions that Hannah Ann and Victoria had to Madison's expectations pretty much aligned with Peter's.
"We knew what we signed up for. I knew going into fantasy suites was going to be uncomfortable," Hannah Ann said. "It's madness!"
Whether Madison actually gave an ultimatum or not and whether Peter was wrong to go against it or not, it definitely helped to have all three women in one place at one time, since they really are all involved. Because, whether Madison likes it or not, that's how this show is supposed to work.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC. Bachelor Happy Hour can be found wherever you listen to podcasts.