‘Bachelor’ 2020 power rankings: Alayah returns in Week 4

“The Bachelor” is back for Week 4 and the women are jet-setting to a romantic weekend in … Cleveland?

The announcement is met with some of the most savage crickets in the show’s history, especially considering the contestants usually cheer for everything, even places they’ve never heard of.

But their attitudes change quickly, and within the first 10 minutes of the episode, the Ohio city is called “beautiful” more times than in its 224-year history. And the women get this from a few passing shots of nondescript trees and a view of the Cleveland Browns’ stadium from a hotel suite.

Anyway, a continuing development in this season is Peter proving himself to be a doofus at every turn, and that’s never more true than this week. He starts by claiming that Clark Kent was born in Cleveland, which isn’t remotely true. Clark Kent is an alien born on the planet Krypton, adopted by humans and raised in the fictional, rural American town of Smallville. He probably meant that the “Superman” comic strip started in Cleveland, which is true, but come on, dude.

More importantly, he constantly allows himself to be manipulated by the women on the show, trusting everything they say as gospel, despite the fact that they’re all reality show contestants with inherent and obvious incentives to stretch the truth. Which is what opens the door for Alayah’s return. By the time the rose ceremony rolls around, every contestant is visibly furious with him.

But these power rankings are not about Peter. They’re about the women competing for his heart, a competition that got about as literal this week as ever, with them playing an actual football game. There was plenty of jostling for position in this episode, so here’s how the women stand after Week 4. Don’t forget to study up on last week’s power rankings.

1. Madison

Last week’s rank: 1
The presumptive favorite once again wasn’t on camera much, but she’s clearly the least-flawed contestant at this point. Which means next week we will probably learn she is wanted for armed robbery in Florida.

2. Kelley

Last week’s rank: 4
Kelley gets the boost here for a strong quarterback performance in the football game, culminating in a fourth-down touchdown pass to Deandra in the game’s final play. Which somehow ends the game in a tie. Play overtime, guys. This is not English football.

3. Hannah Ann

Last week’s rank: 3
Hannah Ann takes an absolute beating during the football game. Nearly every time she touches the ball, she gets pulverized. She was basically Vince Vaughn in “Wedding Crashers.” But, with no real penalties in this episode, she retains her front-runner status.

4. Kelsey

Last week’s rank: 10
The “quickest riser” award goes to Kelsey. Two weeks removed from engineering some serious inter-contestant drama, she gets a one-on-one with Peter that goes surprisingly well. They hit the town for two activities that are weirdly non-specific to Cleveland: eating pierogies (that’s Pittsburgh) and polka dancing (that’s…Czech? I had to look it up).

Kelsey talks about her parents’ divorce in the Reveal Your Trauma portion of the date, which brings Peter to tears. As we have discussed, any mention of “parents” is a guaranteed way to get a rose from Peter. They make out in front of fireworks (does this show have a dedicated pyrotechnics team?) and Kelsey seems to be in very good standing going forward. She’s lucky she doesn’t have any hilarious or embarrassing moments that will forever be associated with her tenure on the show.

5. Victoria F.

Last week’s rank: 9
This week’s most anticipated moment was the Chase Rice showdown, and it was absolutely delicious. But first, Victoria F. is taken up in a plane after an intense round of hyperventilating. (This girl sweats and cries her entire water weight at the idea of doing anything even remotely out of her comfort zone. Why did she agree to go on TV?) After a trip to Cedar Point and a very weird toast “to our sons having hot moms and successful dads” (because antiquated gender roles), they get their own private Chase Rice concert. Strap in.

Victoria tells the cameras and not Peter that she and Chase used to date, and we are treated to some truly inspired moments of camerawork. Victoria takes five awkward glances over her shoulder per second, Chase is forced to perform a love song while watching his ex canoodling with some doofy pilot, and Peter drifts off to his happy place, completely unaware that anything out of the ordinary is happening. We even get a scene where Chase and Peter chat, and Pete fanboys hard, putting his number into Chase’s phone. All while Victoria is having her 10-millionth panic attack.

Victoria is thoroughly freaking out as she prepares to tell Peter. Which begs the question: Why? It’s not a shameful secret to have an ex. As far as we know, she didn’t cheat on him, and she didn’t pull a Jed by not breaking up with him before coming on the show. So she starts crying, curling into a ball once again as she waits for Peter to console her. Which, of course, he does. Victoria’s entire shtick is playing the damsel in distress, and it keeps working. She gets the rose, and neither Peter nor Victoria seem upset with the producers, who clearly knew Chase was her ex when they brought him on the show.

I am extremely skeptical of Victoria’s long-term viability. She seems petrified of everything, and I suspect that she’ll run out of ways to use her tears to endear herself to Peter once things get more serious. But the rules of this exercise are to rank where the women stand in the quest for Peter’s heart, not mine.

6. Victoria P.

Last week’s rank: 2
Victoria P. starts the night by claiming she has a back injury to get out of playing football. Which might have been doubly sneaky had the game not ended in a tie: The rules determined that only the winning team got to go to the cocktail party. Was it an elaborate ruse to get there no matter the outcome? Then, she steals Peter first, despite the fact that the women who played in the game are literally wounded. Hey, as anyone who has ever watched this show can attest, no one is guaranteed time with the Bachelor. Optics be damned, she saw her opportunity and she pounced.

But things go downhill quickly once Alayah returns. Last week, Victoria P. told Peter that she had spent “collectively three hours” with Alayah, a point that helped get Alayah sent home. Turns out, the two are very much friends, and even went to Vegas together. And, man, duplicitous Victoria P. is an M. Night Shyamalan-level plot twist that nobody saw coming. “Why would Victoria lie?” Peter wonders out loud. I don’t know, Pete, maybe because this is a competition and she would benefit greatly by Alayah being out of the picture? When confronted, she pulls a classic guilty move: claiming through tears that she is “baffled” and insisting that “her truth is the truth.” Despite the fact that “her truth” is clearly “a lie.”

Ever the competitor, she does manage to save face by pivoting to the anger strategy, later privately telling Peter she is frustrated with him for not believing her. Even though, again, there’s a reason he didn’t believe her, and that reason is that she was lying. And yet it works. Peter goes on the defensive, and we’re back to square one, with him not knowing who to believe. Man, he is bad at this.

7. Deandra

Last week’s rank: 13
Deandra finally had a chance to shine this week, and she capitalized on it. She first scores the game-tying touchdown, leaping over a defender like Randy Moss and running the ball all the way into the end zone. Then, she becomes the voice of the house (and America) by calling Peter out on his bulls–t before the rose ceremony.

“For us who busted our ass out there on the football field and literally have the physical bruises to show, and then for you to come to the cocktail party and ignore us, half of us, who didn’t get time, and then walk in hand-in-hand with Alayah, it was like the biggest slap in the face,” she says. More excellent camerawork as the editors intersperse footage of Natasha’s taped-up knee and Mykenna’s nasty arm bruise.

8. Tammy

Last week’s rank: 6
This episode needed more Tammy, but she did have two solid sound bytes. Before the football game: “I love football. Imma tackle a lot of bitches.” When Alayah returns: “Everyone is shooketh to the core.”

9. Sydney

Last week’s rank: 5
Sydney is clearly not happy about Alayah’s return, but at least Alayah has a new nemesis in Victoria P.

10. Natasha

Last week’s rank: 7
Natasha doesn’t seem like she has any interest in sticking around much longer. She offers some major side-eye when she sees Victoria P. cuddling with Peter on the bench while she plays football, then again when Alayah gets the group date rose. She’s 31 years old and too normal to be here. It wouldn’t be shocking if she walks off on her own.

11. Shiann

Last week’s rank: 15
Shiann moves up the list by virtue of being the clear-cut MVP of the football game. She scores all of her team’s points, running the ball into the end zone like Saquon Barkley seemingly every time she touches the ball. But despite her being deserving of the first chat with Peter – and everyone else plotting with her to make it happen – Victoria P. swoops in. The harsh reality of this show is you have to be aggressive, and you can’t assume you’ll get your time by waiting around.

12. Lexi

Last week’s rank: 8
Lexi tells Alayah, “You’re not coming back to clear your name. You’re coming back to get back on the show … you would have stayed home and waited for the ‘Women Tell All’ to clear your name.” Which is fair, but the producers didn’t put her on a plane to Cleveland to “clear her name,” either.

13. Mykenna

Last week’s rank: 11
And now for a live look at Mykenna as she is not selected for another one-on-one date:

She also has a rough go of it on the football field, channeling her inner Karen Smith from “Mean Girls” as she attempts to catch a football.

14. Alayah

Last week’s rank: 16
She’s baaaack! Alayah shows up at the group date cocktail party and immediately starts ruffling feathers. She interrupts poor Shiann, who barely gets a few minutes with Peter after her four-touchdown performance. Peter eventually invites her back on the show, to which she seems surprised, as if she came all the way to northeast Ohio for some other reason. That’s when Peter pulls his dumbest move (and maybe the dumbest move in this show’s history): He gives her the group date rose. I repeat, Alayah, who did not participate in the group date, gets the group date rose. And Peter hands it to her as the rest of the women sit there, taped and bandaged up in a scene straight out of the locker room in “Varsity Blues.”

Let’s be clear: if these rankings were from the contestants’ perspective, Alayah would be dead last, behind Luke P. from Hannah’s season of “The Bachelorette,” a horde of bedbugs and the coronavirus. But Peter still seems to see something that the other women don’t. I also still think her whole fake/rehearsed/not here for the right reasons reputation is a tiny bit overblown. Everyone comes on this show for exposure. (Don’t take it from me, take it from a recent contestant.) All things considered, though, her ulterior motives have been laid bare, and she’s on shaky ground at the very least.

15. Savannah

Last week’s rank: 14
Savannah’s main function in this episode was to raise suspicion about Victoria P., which could play into future drama if the house has to pick sides, as everyone else seems firmly against Alayah.

16. Kiarra

Last week’s rank: 12
I forgot to mention that she pronounced the word lingerie as “linger-y” last week, and I have questions. Is that how she has pronounced it her whole life? Did she not know how to spell lingerie, and a producer shoved a card in her face? It’s a question that will likely not be answered, as she hasn’t done anything else yet (besides crawling out of a suitcase opening night) and should go home soon.

Eliminated: Nobody! What an episode.

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