Welcome to Fantasy Suite week, when our leading man finally gets “off-camera” time with his three finalists.
So now that this season is winding down, one of Peter’s leading ladies, Madison, takes him aside to inform him that “if you were to sleep with somebody else, it would be really hard for me to move forward with you on this.” (She’s a virgin but hasn’t told him that yet.)
“In no way do I want to give you an ultimatum … but for me, actions speak louder than words,” she tells him.
He’s crazy about her, he says. But “I don’t just have one relationship,” Peter says in an interview with producers, before his Fantasy Suite dates with Hannah Ann and Victoria.
Let’s see how this goes.
His date with Hannah Ann
Hannah Ann and Peter ride jet-skis on Australia’s Gold Coast. Later, they have dinner. After that, they presumably have sex.
His date with Victoria
Victoria and Peter ride in a helicopter over Australia’s Gold Coast. Later, they have dinner. After that, they presumably have sex.
His date with Madison
As their doomed date begins, Peter tells Madison that they will be ascending a very tall building, one whose highest tiers are accessible only through a perilous-looking set of exterior stairs. Strapped to the metal railing, they take the steps slowly, Madison leading, Peter behind her, as if letting her test the way, unsure that they’re really going to make it. They do.
But in another sense, they won’t. “I feel so safe and so secure,” Madison says as they embrace at the top. She is implicitly describing her feelings for Peter, but in practice she has presumably been tricked into this feeling by all the hooks and ropes and such that are keeping her from blowing off the building should some strong breeze sweep over them.
She and Peter awkwardly kiss for the camera. They do not fall, though they apparently believe they are falling in love. “I’ve never felt what I felt today with you,” she later tells Peter of the experience, here, too, apparently conflating some alchemical admixture of vertigo and oxygen deprivation with real, deep-sprung emotion. Of course, as these things go, hers will not be the passing fancies that matter most.
It all goes as expected once they sit down for dinner: Madison doubles down on her assertion that she cannot be with Peter if he has slept with the other women on the show. Peter makes confused frowny faces. Madison extracts an uneasy confession from Peter. “I’m not asking you to give me details,” she tells him, already knowing what she needs to know as surely as she needs never to have known it.
“I’m not comfortable at all right now,” says Peter. “I don’t want this to feel like it’s all about sex,” says Peter. “I have been intimate, and I can’t lie to you about that,” says Peter.
“I literally can’t talk to you right now,” Madison says, talking.
Some viewers wanted to compare Madison’s expectations with those of Luke P., the villain who notoriously shamed Hannah Brown for having sex with Peter (four! times!) in the infamous windmill. That’s not really fair for a few reasons. First, Madison makes it clear that the choice to walk away from the relationship is hers and that she understands that Peter has not chosen to save himself for marriage, as she has.
Second, she’s not being overbearing about it in the way Luke was — he showed up at a rose ceremony uninvited, after Hannah had already dismissed him. Third, Luke P. is the worst.
But while her moral fortitude is admirable, you have to wonder what Madison thought she was getting herself into. The only two things most people knew about Peter before this season were that he was a pilot and that he was a man who had lots of sex in a windmill. Not exactly a dude known for self-restraint! Definitely a dude known for having premarital sex! So, yeah, there’s a real mismatch in values here.
Chaste as Madison’s desires may be, after her admission, the two fumble with her feelings. Madison flees the scene, into the Australian night, where two muscular kangaroos watch her from the bushes like the world’s most useless fairy godmothers.
After a moment so long it might as well have lasted the full two hours of this episode, Peter joins her, attempting to persuade her to give him a chance. He holds her face in his hands. He implores her to stay.
She does not.