“Peter’s Insecurities Are Beginning to Show”: Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor Episode 4

Bach alum Sharleen Joynt shares her insider POV on episode 4 of Pilot Pete's season

(Photo: ABC)
(Photo: ABC)

While I’m not sure I’d call this entertainment (I genuinely found myself stressed out watching last night’s episode), it’s interesting to watch a Bachelor so obviously well-intentioned yet who makes this many mistakes, this early on. With most leads, I’ve usually found their actions and manners admirable even if I didn’t share their taste in the opposite sex. Meanwhile, Peter is doing such an obviously terrible job that I feel a bit bad going hard on him—no one seems to be more critical of his actions than himself.

First, I’ll give Peter kudos where kudos are due. He was quick to own the fact that he got confused with Alayah, that he allowed the opinions of others to sway his own. He could admit fault and take responsibility. He handled Victoria F’s big reveal about having dated Chase Rice beautifully. (This was such a non-story, I don’t see how it was leave-the-table-in-tears-worthy, but he still dealt with it well.) Similar to Colton, Peter really shines on his 1-on-1 dates, his date with Kelsey being a good example. The theme from this date was that he takes women as they are, that he’s a great listener. He’s attentive and empathetic, great traits in a partner.

That said, Peter’s cracks—in the form of insecurities—are beginning to show. He seems incapable of simply letting women dislike each other, without assuming there must be some greater malice at play. He is his allowing his paranoia about being duped to intersect with the entitlement he evidently feels as Bachelor, and that’s where things are really going awry.

Every lead has a little entitlement, the final gavel they use when their decision-making comes into question. Hannah used it when she laid down the law over Luke P last season, infamously telling the men to stay in their respective “lanes”. This time around, Peter can and will do whatever he needs to in the interest of HIS journey. He’s allowed to forgo time with women and spend an entire pool or cocktail party focusing on one rumour—he’s protecting himself from being fooled! He’s allowed to eliminate and un-eliminate as he sees fit—he’s just following his heart!

It’s not so much what Peter’s done but how he’s done it. There were better ways he could have handled every hurdle in the last two weeks, while following his heart AND respecting the women and their time better. He could have taken Sydney’s words for what they were, choosing to speculate who the “fake” woman was based on his own interactions. Or, at the very least, he could have pulled Sydney aside and privately asked her for a name. At the pool party, he could have taken the information Victoria P shared with him and just sat with it for a day or two. There are several weeks (and several locales) to go; was it really necessary to make a rash decision and wrap it up that same evening? Last night, there was certainly a better way handle the conflicting Alayah and Victoria P stories, in a way that didn’t involve running back and forth between them like a character on Gossip Girl. His choices have led me to the conclusion that either a) he is VERY easy for producers to manipulate, or b) at least in this situation, he is super selfish.

It blew my mind that Peter thought it would somehow be acceptable to give Alayah the Group Date rose, a woman who wasn’t only not on that date, but who he had already eliminated. Bringing a contestant back is a delicate art; it’s going to ruffle feathers no matter what. Producers know this and weren’t going to let Alayah’s return happen without maximizing the damage. (In other words, there’s a reason she couldn’t just go to Peter’s hotel room for that chat.) That said, even with the returning contestant’s stage set, there are at least 10 better ways to un-eliminate someone, and Peter chose the absolute worst possible one. How could it not even occur to him how disrespectful that would be to his 13 dates? Did a producer convince him he needed to give her that rose (possible), or is he really that clueless? (Also possible, based on sufficient evidence.) Further, when he greeted the women at the Rose Ceremony Cocktail Party later on, he opened by gushing about what a great week it had been for him. How could any woman from that Group Date have felt the same way, after being so dismissed? How can someone who prioritizes their feelings and their needs over those of others—women he purports to care deeply about—be described as anything but selfish?

What amazes me is how quickly Peter seems to have forgotten the contestant experience. HE WAS JUST THERE. He knows how it feels to experience the built-up expectations, what it’s like to wait for hours on end for 15 minutes of 1-on-1 time. Peter was one of the many frustrated men when Hannah cancelled two Cocktail Parties last season, when she was distraught and distracted by Luke P. Does he not realize he’s doing the exact same thing, only in an even worse way because the women are all already there, already dolled up in their gowns and makeup, already waiting expectantly? At least cancel while everyone’s still in their sweats (or football gear), saving them the hours of preparation.

In my eyes, there are two big crimes a Bachelor can commit. Choosing the wrong person is not one of them, nor is being uncharismatic or boring. Those might lessen the viewer experience, but we know by now the entertainment value predominantly comes from the cast of contestants, not the lead. However, a Bachelor treating his experience as more valuable than his contestants’ is unforgivable. I understand that he’s the technical star of the show, but this mindset only increases the chasm I always go on about, the imbalance in power between the Bachelor and his women. How can these ladies feel comfortable and safe enough to behave naturally—to act like his EQUAL enough for him to truly get to know them—if everything he does only seems to serve himself and puts his needs above theirs?

The other big crime is to allow his contestants to feel invisible, like he can’t be bothered with them. I’m not saying the Bachelor should fake it and pretend to like a woman when he doesn’t. But every contestant puts their life on hold to come on this show—it’s a difficult leave of absence to acquire because the time away could range from a week to a few months (this is why so many quit their jobs). While there is plenty to be gained by being cast, it is still a position of extreme vulnerability—professionally and emotionally—to put yourself in. In other words, even if the Bachelor knows by Week 2 who he’s choosing at the end, it’s part of his job to make every woman feel seen, valued and respected. Peter is failing spectacularly at this.

While I don’t love the way some of the women are speaking to one another (I’ve actually been a bit horrified by how outwardly nasty some have been to one another), I can’t say I disagree with how they’re speaking their mind to Peter. We haven’t seen much from Deandra, but I was thrilled to see her speak up at the Rose Ceremony Cocktail Party, telling Peter she’d never felt so “under-recognized” by somebody, that his actions were a “slap in the face”, that she couldn’t even look at him. When Peter said to Victoria P, “Hearing you when you brought up concerns specifically about Alayah…”, I practically cheered when she interrupted him with, “You asked me. You asked me, Peter.” (Although I have my issues with Victoria P’s “explanation” for saying she and Alayah had spent a collective three hours—something evidently not true—Victoria P was still right to put Peter in his place in this moment, pointing out the difference between volunteering information and having been specifically asked for it.) And although Sydney probably isn’t the person to complain about Peter’s newfound obsession with Alayah’s authenticity, she was right to call him out for knowing practically nothing about her. It’s pretty refreshing to watch these women band together, recognize they’re being treated unfairly, and vocalize it. A small but important step toward reducing that power imbalance chasm.

My frontrunners based on this week are…

Madison, 23

I still can’t see anyone but Madison “winning”, and this week’s 1-on-1 dates didn’t change my mind. She had next to no airtime this week but we all know that’s bound to change. In fact, her being more in the background during all the drama only supports my belief that she’s one of the season’s most major players.

Hannah Ann, 23

No changes here. Hannah Ann has Final 4, if not higher, written all over her, and the fact that we haven’t seen much of her throughout the recent drama only makes me believe it all the more.

Kelley, 27

I was really hoping for a bit of Kelley time last night, a beacon of normalcy in a sea of rumors and unfounded claims. Unfortunately, producers evidently didn’t want to give us that reprieve. Nonetheless, I do believe Kelley gives Peter the sense of calm and rationality that he needs (and recognizes he needs). Kelley isn’t going anywhere.

Victoria P, 27

Victoria P has dropped down on my list but I’m not willing to replace her in my Top 4 just yet. It’s clear Peter feels something strong for Alayah (otherwise all the drama wouldn’t be so difficult on him), but his distress over the realization that Victoria P could have been lying to him spoke volumes. Even though there’s a dark cloud of uncertainty looming over Victoria P in this moment, I don’t think Peter will be losing faith in her anytime soon.

FLARE Archived Content

To see the original article, search for it on the Flare archive: https://flare.fashionmagazine.com