By the time our evening with this flock of lovebirds is done, there will be champagne. So much champagne. But first there are sparkles.
Before the champagne crisis
Hannah climbs into Peter’s lap. “I don’t know what to do right now at all,” Peter tells her. They almost kiss. Instead, she leaves a trail of glitter in Peter’s lap. Brushing it off, or trying to, he tells Hannah he needs to get “back to the girls.” As he walks away, the back of his sport coat glistens with remnants of Hannah’s sparkles. He apologizes to the women he’s just barely met, saying he’s “not in the right head space” for a group date.
Peter tells his new contestants that Hannah is in the past, yet she’s constantly around. Viewers are fans of Hannah as well, tweeting things like “Hannah Brown will forever be the Queen of Bachelor Nation” and “Hannah Brown has only been gone for an hour and I already miss her.” (For the record, we also miss Ashley P., the emotional-support cow from the premiere. The Hannah love is deserved, but also a sign of the fact that these new women have yet to prove themselves as interesting or, at the very least, fun to watch.) From the looks of this season, Hannah will likely be back.
But first, the main drama of the episode unfolds over a party that happens sometime later …
During the champagne crisis
At the heart of every early “Bachelor” episode there is a woman who will never be in the leading man’s heart. Today, that woman is “professional clothier” Kelsey, whose job title presumably means something to her, which is really what matters, isn’t it?
As she explains, she had brought a bottle of champagne with her from Des Moines, a very special bottle that she has been holding onto for close to a year. (Given how well-stocked the Bachelor mansion’s wine cellar seems to be, this would be like trudging to the ocean with a jug of salt water in hand, but we’ll allow her the extravagance.) She had hoped to open it with Peter on the first night, but never got the chance. Tonight, though? Tonight she will pop. that. cork.
This is not a euphemism.
Having dramatically arranged her precious cargo and two glasses by a crackling fireplace — which is, as everyone knows, absolutely the best place to store a really nice bottle of delicate champagne — Kelsey sets off through the house, stalking Peter like the ravenous lioness she resembles. She arrives just in time to watch as sweet summer child Mykenna, who presumably had no idea that any of this was going on, pulls Peter away for a tete-a-tete of her own.
“Do I think she’s a snake? Absolutely,” Kelsey later says of Mykenna. “Snakes are my least favorite animal."
This is, let us be clear, a very strange thing to say about a woman who has done nothing wrong, but we’ll give Kelsey this: Maybe she’s on to something. According to Us Weekly, Peter’s “biggest fear is snakes."
You will not be surprised to learn that things do not go Kelsey’s way. After she retreats to the couches to complain to the other women about Mykenna’s apparent villainy, Hannah Ann steals off to that familiar fireplace with Peter where they, yes, open the bottle of champagne. The round propulsive crack of the cork echoes through the whole house, as the producers who definitely did not point Peter and Hannah Ann toward it definitely did not hope it would.
“Two moments have been taken from me,” Kelsey complains when she learns of this violation. “She’s a snake,” she says of Hannah Ann, who, like Mykenna, gives no indication that she knew this bottle was special and appears to have arms and legs, as you would expect of a non-reptilian human woman.
Nevertheless, Kelsey protests. “I’m real. You’re calculated,” she snaps at a surprisingly collected Hannah Ann.
“I acknowledge your feelings,” Hannah Ann responds, her face a gently-stirred cocktail of calm and confusion.
The otherwise anonymous Tammy, who has floated between the two women like the sea-foam green her dress suggests, has had enough. “I don’t want to be involved in this champagne crisis anymore,” she tells the camera. Allow Tammy this: She won’t be getting Peter, either, but she does score the line of the night.
But someone hasn’t had enough. Someone will never have enough. That someone is obviously Kelsey, who finally collects herself enough to pull Peter away to another love seat where another bottle of sparkling wine conveniently perches in another ice bucket, a bottle that this budding couple, this couple who will never bloom, immediately manage to knock onto the floor. They open it all the same, and Kelsey takes it in hand, eschewing the stemware nearby. She puts it to her lips. She drinks, she swallows.
Well. She tries to swallow. What happens instead is the already agitated bubbly hits her esophagus and immediately rises back up. It shoots out her mouth. It shoots out her nose. It cascades off the sharp ledges of her cheekbones like fresh snowmelt over an alpine cliff. This is not the redemption she hoped for. This is not the return of purloined time. But it is one thing. It is a moment that will live on Twitter forever:
After the champagne crisis
At the next group date, Hannah Brown does not make an appearance. Peter picks a handful of women to strut for him on a catwalk, with original “Queer Eye” fashion guru Carson Kressley and model Janice Dickinson acting as judges. Victoria F., a human woman with Princess Jasmine doe eyes, complains to Kelsey that she doesn’t have the confidence to do this. Somehow Victoria steels herself (we imagine she got a real pep talk from Kressley or Dickinson off-camera), because her surge in self-esteem as she models lingerie really is quite remarkable. Finally it comes down to a walk-off between Victoria F. and Hannah Ann, an actual model who, in one round, modeled an actual wedding gown. (Dress for the job you want, right?) According to the judges, Hannah Ann wins the fashion show, but Victoria wins the group-date rose.
Peter tells Victoria that he was very, very impressed with her walk. She responds by crumbling. “I don’t know if I’m made out for this,” Victoria tells him, but also adds that she was able to muster her runway confidence by thinking about him and just wanting him to see her. It’s a moment of vulnerability that Hannah Beast would summon as a source of strength. But Victoria is just a young “Bachelor” contestant with so much to learn. She tells Peter that trying hard to stand out is “so embarrassing” and that she’s intimidated by all the other women. But hey, she’s not the one starting fights over bubbly. She can do this.
Peter tells Victoria that her lack of certainty in the reality-TV charade is “very endearing” to him and that he wants her to be here.
But before the episode ends, Kelsey and Peter grab another (less special) bottle of champagne to try again. This time they do not drink directly from the bottle. It goes down smoother this time, but clearly drama with Kelsey will bubble up again.