Spoilers ahead for the three-hour premiere of Peter Weber's season of The Bachelor on ABC.
Peter Weber's first episode as leading man of The Bachelor was just about as awkward as awkward could be for some of the ladies, what with the stealing of each other's time with Peter, the cheating in contests, and the bizarre introductions, but the talk of the premiere may be more about former Bachelorette Hannah Brown than anything else that happened, and that's... not how it's supposed to work.
Hannah has had a key role in the most recent seasons of The Bachelor with Colton Underwood, The Bachelorette with Peter (and Luke Parker and Jed Wyatt), and even Bachelor in Paradise as a sounding board for Demi Burnett. Throw in Dancing with the Stars, and ABC reality TV has been very Hannah-heavy for the past year. Now that she's dropped by Peter's season of The Bachelor, I'm wondering: is it time she takes a break from the franchise?
Now, I've been a Hannah fan throughout her time in the franchise. Frankly, I liked her (and most of the other contestants) more than I liked fence-jumping Colton before he revealed what was really going on during his Bachelor season, hated Luke P. and Jed on her behalf, laughed at the windmill reveal about Peter, cheered when she asked out Tyler Cameron on live TV after dumping Jed, and applauded her role in helping Demi figure out what she really wanted despite the broken rules.
And I even liked Hannah's first appearance in Peter's Bachelor premiere when she returned the wings he'd given her on The Bachelorette. But when she proved to have a much larger part to play in the first and at least second episodes of the season, I hit my limit.
The first episode of a new season of The Bachelor or Bachelorette is supposed to be about the new crop of suitors waiting to woo and be wooed, how much kissing the lead is willing to do at the beginning, and which contestants are going to draw first blood in the fight for attention. Sure, the star is going to have the baggage of being jilted in the previous season of the other show, but it's supposed to be a fresh start. And it's definitely not supposed to heavily feature the one who did the jilting like Peter's premiere featured Hannah Brown.
Hannah's first appearance in the premiere was fitting, in my book. Her appearance was a great hook to tease in trailers, especially considering Hannah and Peter still seemed to love each other when she sent him home on The Bachelorette. By returning the wings, she seemed to be giving him closure and a gracious push to find love with a woman who will be right for him. That was great. Peter didn't need any drama on the Hannah front, when there was already plenty of drama among the women who'd arrived to try and win his heart.
But then the reveal came at the end of the episode that Peter had asked Hannah to host a group date, which began with Hannah on a stage, recounting the windmill hookup(s) with Peter with a big smile on her face, in front of a blushing Peter and a bunch of women trying their best not to look mad at the turn of events. Hannah assigned the women with preparing a story about their sex lives to share in front of an audience, and then she and Peter cozied up to talk about their relationship.
As it turns out, seeing Peter again was hard for Hannah, she'd had second thoughts about sending Peter home like she did on The Bachelorette, and it became clearer and clearer as each moment passed that Peter is not as over Hannah as he'd said. He even worked up the nerve to ask what she would think about joining the house.
Mascara was running, emotions were high, and if this was fiction or a one-off special, I would have been all aboard Hannah and Peter reconnecting and riding off into the sunset. People in loving pursuing a relationship where nobody gets hurt because it's just a story? Great! Peter's first reality TV episode of The Bachelor, packed with women looking for a husband, only to discover the very single ex he'd been devastated to lose is in the mix? For me, Hannah could use a break.
I'm not saying I wanted to watch three hours of Peter making out with the new women, because he was already doing plenty of that, and I would have welcomed Peter laying down the law that the ladies were not allowed to pull him away from his time with other ladies. I like Hannah and rooted for her on Dancing with the Stars, for all that I thought she might have had an unfair advantage.
But if I'm going to sign on for another season of The Bachelor -- which is happening, so it's probably safe to say that Episode 2 doesn't open with Peter and Hannah deciding to run away together -- then I want it to get off to a strong start before a variable like a conflicted Hannah Brown starts turning things upside down. This isn't a serialized franchise, and even Bachelor in Paradise doesn't really require a working knowledge of previous seasons.
Hannah doesn't have to stay away forever. Just... take a breather. Let us get to know the new contestants.
Then again, maybe this is proof that Dancing with the Stars really was "therapy" for Hannah and helped get her to a place where she's comfortable putting herself back in the Bachelor franchise hot seat. For now, we can just wait and see how Hannah and Peter process their feelings, how all the new women deal with having Hannah in the mix, and how many women Peter picks up and plants on furniture to make out with.
New episodes of The Bachelor air Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Following this three-hour premiere extravaganza, episodes will drop down to two hours, with new installments of The Good Doctor returning to the 10 p.m. ET time slot. For more viewing options now and in the not-too-distant future, check out our 2020 midseason premiere schedule.