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Not even the return of Demi could salvage Monday night's episode.

"The Bachelor" recap: Peter throws a very lame pool party

I needed Monday night's episode of "The Bachelor." The day before, I watched my beloved Packers humiliate themselves on national television and miss out on a chance at the Super Bowl, and 24 hours later, I was still feeling the gut-punch. I needed a funny, silly, mindless episode of "The Bachelor" to relax and forget about the world. Perhaps we could cry some more about some purloined champagne; that's been good dumb fun! Or maybe somebody could leap a fence? That always works too!

Instead, "The Bachelor" delivered a tedious episode in which two people I've never heard of before had generic bickerings at the world's worst pool party. Not even the return of Demi could salvage matters. THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY NO HELP AT ALL, PETEY PROPELLERS! You know who never lets me down like this? WINE! (*glugs straight from the bottle*)

So, back at the mansion, everyone's crying about Champagnegate day 417. Kelsey's crying. Hannahannahannahannah is crying. The sky is crying. A gargoyle lion is crying. But thankfully, peace finally seems to be in sight as the two aggrieved parties meet for a potential treaty ... or to cry and complain at each other more. Yeah, it's definitely the latter, as Kelsey is very irritated that Hannah Hannah Bo Banna Fee Fi Fo-Nanna would bust out the B-word: bully. I almost want to agree with her on that, but lest we forget that all of this could've been avoided if Kelsey hadn't idiotically left her very important champagne out for the taking in a house filled with devious TV producers.

But even more ridiculous, Kelsey now admits to her nemesis that SHE DOESN'T EVEN LIKE IN THE FIRST PLACE! You are lunacy, m'dear – though at least you seem to know how to pronounce the word "fiasco."

Meanwhile, the rest of the ladies in the house are less amused and more interested in moving on from the flat champagne drama in their own special ways. Sydney, for instance, distracts herself from Kelsey v Hannah Ann: Dawn of Champagne Justice by starting up her own beef with Alayah, who seems to be getting tipsy and trying on Peter's pilot cap. She thinks Alayah is fake, too rehearsed and there for The Wrong Reasons. BOY, I SURE HOPE THERE'S NOT A GROUP DATE THEY MIGHT HAVE TO PARTICIPATE IN TOGETHER!

Before that obviously happens, though, we have a one-on-one date with Peter and Tall Demi aka Victoria P. aka The One With The Spinning Teacups PTSD. Their day starts with a shopping spree at the local general store for some honky-tonk appropriate country gear. Boy, she must be disappointed considering the last episode a bunch of ladies got to go traipsing through a legitimate fashion line – but maybe she's more of a country gal anyways. So they get costumed up and head off to the most jam-packed, high-energy, line-dancing hoedown you'll ever see at 2 p.m. in the afternoon. Is this what Stagecoach is?! Anyways, they have fun dancing and then cap off the date with candlelight dinner in a massive echoey hangar, where Victoria P. opens up about growing up with her mother's difficult fight with addiction. It's very emotional, and at the end of dinner, she unsurprisingly gets a rose – because what full-scale monster would breakup with somebody right after hearing all of that.

But enough with Stretched-Out Demi – it's time for Actual Demi, who shows up at the house with a two-person army of angry ladies whacking all of the contestants out of their slumber with pillows, including Tammy. DON'T YOU DARE HIT FUTURE "PARADISE" QUEEN TAMMY THAT WAY! Rude. They're not just there to deliver feathery smacks to the face, however. They're at the mansion to deliver the girls to their next group date – and their uniforms for the shindig: lingerie and, in Savannah's case, a muumuu. What kind of weird date are they going on?

The answer: a pillow fight competition. Not sure why everyone sans Savannah NEEDED to dress like a Victoria's Secret photoshoot for this; I guess the show figured it'd been a while since it objectified its lady contestants for a male fantasy date pulled seemingly out of the '80s (not that anyone would accuse "The Bachelor" of ever being the most woke show on television inn the first place). The ladies take their turns being paired up in the ring and smacking each other in the face with pillows while Harrison and an increasingly haggard-looking Fred Willard provide commentary and ... some grandma in the crowd threatens to cut the head off a teddy bear?

I AM ALARMED.

Of course, the pillow fight championship ends with our two new rivals in the ring: Alayah versus Sydney, with Alayah ending up on top – quite literally, as she kind of just plops on top of Sydney at the end and pins her backwards to the ground. I do not understand the rules of pillow fights; the only rule that makes sense to me is "don't get in the ring with Tammy, because she was an actual wrestler in high school and could destroy you even with a blackjack made of feathers."

Surprise: Alayah's win does not endear herself to Sydney, who actually confronts her (newly manufactured) rival at the group date party afterwards by asking if she has an actual job (OK, props to that being actually hilarious) and why she seems so inauthentic. Which sure, Alayah seems a little rehearsed and fake – her voice goes from normal to baby to a degree that even Krystal from Arie's season is like, "Take it down a notch" – but she also seems standard-issue "Bachelor" fake and nothing to get concerned about. But this season needs some drama, according to the producers, so Sydney takes her concerns directly to Peter, who was having a wonderful time being cute and normal with Kelley the hotel lobby woman from before the show who's DEFINITLY going to land in the top three with Hannah Ann and Madison. Silly Sydney, don't you know that it's never a good strategy to spend your precious one-on-one time complaining about a fellow contestant?

Or ... apparently it is?

So after their chat, Peter goes to the whole group and MAKES SYDNEY POINT FINGERS AT FAKE PEOPLE TO THEIR FACES, which seems like the most delightfully awkward thing ever. Even put on the spot, though, Sydney reiterates her distrust in Alayah, they complain at each other for a few more minutes and then Peter ... gives Sydney the date rose? Peter ... come on now. You're giving a lady the rose not because she was a great date, but because she snitched on a fellow contestant based entirely on her opinion? That's not a good way to go about this. You're going to get women coming out of the woodwork now complaining about other contestants – as if that wasn't going to happen anyways – because they hope you'll confuse their gamesmanship for honesty and openness. You're rewarding bad behavior, Peter! THIS IS WHY WE DON'T NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS!

All that drama's put Peter in a bad mood – so he decides to throw a pool party! Smart – and surely this will cook up some fun drama as opposed to these two otherwise miscellaneous contestants having generic "you're fake"/"no I'm not" "Bachelor" 101 fights. But apparently this isn't ACTUALLY a pool party. Indeed, Peter walks into a room filled with gorgeous models wearing sexy swimsuits, ready to have fun, and instead of realizing that life could be far worse, he decides to be all bummed-out and sad because he just doesn't know if people are here for The Wrong Reasons. So instead of a party, he decides to interview everyone in the hopes of solving the mystery of whether people on this show are fake or not. (Spoiler: Come on, they ALL are.) It's like "Knives Out" but if Benoit Blanc had been struck on the head with a tire iron and everyone was Toni Collette's character. Oh, and nobody was murdered.

So while NOBODY GETS INTO THE POOL IN THIS SUPPOSED POOL PARTY, Peter goes to each girl to chat about whether or not Alayah is a fake person – except for Madison, who he actually talks to like a date. (Like I said: guaranteed top three or four finish for her.) You see, his greatest fear is falling for someone who doesn't actually love him back. IF ONLY THERE WERE OTHER WAYS OF MEETING WOMEN THAN THIS FAMOUSLY FAKE AND HIJACK-ABLE TELEVISION SHOW! I get that Peter was a part of the Luke P. fiasco during Hannah B.'s season – that people kept approaching her about how he was trash and she took forever to believe it, so he doesn't want that to happen to him. But at the same time, Luke P. sent a lot of people home by using the same tactics as Sydney, accusing people of being mean or untrustworthy – so maybe Peter didn't learn anything at all.

Here's what I've learned: NEVER GO TO A PETER POOL PARTY. They suck; no one seems to have any fun, and certainly no one goes into the damn pool. Ya'll could be playing Marco Polo with Ashley P.

Eventually, Peter gets around to talking with Alayah, who denies being contrived and fake and being there for The Wrong Reasons, and Peter's like, "OK, sounds good. That tracks. Thanks!" BUT THEN he chats with the Evolved Pokemon Version of Demi, who says that not only did she know Alayah from their pageant days but that Alayah told her to not tell the producers about that. SUSPICIOUS ... ish? Maybe? I'm actually not sure how bad this is. Not telling the producers about your past baggage or friendships seems like actually a pretty great way to avoid having this stuff dragged out into public and turned into fake drama – say, for instance, JUST LIKE THIS! Alayah says that she didn't want them to be disqualified because of knowing each other – because, as we all know, Hannah B. and Caelynn were immediately dismissed from the show, never to be seen or heard from ever again after their past pageant interactions were revealed.

So none of this is making any sense, and Detective Propellers is no closer to solving the case. All I know is that, at this point, maybe Alayah should just leave on her own because Peter seems to believe anyone and everyone who talks crap about her. I DON'T KNOW; SEEMS LIKE A BAD FOUNDATION FOR A RELATIONSHIP.

Thanks to the pool non-party, there's no cocktail hour, with Harrison and Peter jumping straight into the rose ceremony. The expected suspects get roses, leaving Alayah, a bunch of random women we've never seen before and Mykenna the Kanadian – who is STRESSED OUT! Calm down, Mykenna; it's between you, a woman who's annoyed Peter all episode long and a bunch of glorified extras. You're fine. Even when Peter steps aside to talk with Harrison and dramatically take a rose away from his tray, you're fine, Mykenna. You're literally the only of this bunch who had lines prior to today. And – SURPRISE! – Mykenna gets the final rose, sending Alayah home along with Alexa, Jasmine and Sarah, who were people technically on this show.

BUT WAIT! After the ceremony, Peter is talking to a producer in the shadows, suddenly regretting sending Alayah home and feeling unsure about whether he actually thought she was fake or if he let other people effect and manipulate his feelings. PETER, HAVE YOU CONSIDERED A SPINE!? Probably should've considered this before sending her home – but then again, this kind of unprecedented drama only happens every single season so how could you know how to handle contestants being gossipy and accusing others of being fake.

In conclusion, nobody wins this week. Peter loses because he made an Everest out of an anthill, then could've even stand by his own decision. Alayah loses because she was irritatingly fake. (Maybe when you turn on your cutesy date voice, only go one or two octaves up instead of seven?) Sydney loses because she's become someone to root against for being wildly manipulative and annoyingly starting a fight over nothing. Demi loses because I totally forgot she was on this episode; that's how little of an impact she was allowed to make. And the producers lose because this fight was so clearly manufactured but with no personality or character to it. This was like a Mad Libs outline for "Bachelor" drama, but they forgot to fill in the blanks, so instead of being fun, it was just tired and tedious.

That all being said, while this week was a bit of a dud, I am all ready for next week – which looks like all the sloppy ridiculousness I love on this show. Alayah returns to set the record straight – or at least hopefully show up with some receipts! Victoria F. has to see her ex ... who happens to be country star Chase Rice ... WHO HAPPENS TO BE THE SURPRISE COUNTRY ACT ON THEIR DATE! And most hilariously exciting of all: THEY'RE GOING TO CLEVELAND! Because when I think whirlwind romances and sexy drama, I think Cleveland.

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