Welcome back to The Bachelorette, a show where everything is made up and the schedule doesn’t matter. I have no idea what’s going on. It’s been, I want to say three episodes since the last recap I wrote? Two and a half? That’s partly my bad because I’ve been busy (I work Tuesday-Saturday, which is pretty much the worst possible schedule to write recaps of a show that airs on Monday nights) but also partly ABC’s bad because it was so unclear where these episodes began and ended. Here’s my best summary of what happened: Four (three??) weeks ago, Episode 5 aired with a “cliffhanger” ending (sarcastic quotation marks mine.) Instead of airing Episode 6 as scheduled, ABC pushed everything back a week, including Hannah’s season finale and the premiere of Bachelor in Paradise. Then they aired “Episode 5B,” the shoddiest non-episode of television I’ve ever seen. It was like, a quarter of an episode’s worth of content and then three different interviews with Hannah that maybe all took place on the same day. And for why? Presumably, something had happened or come to light post-production that required extra time to re-cut the rest of the season, so they aired whatever they could throw together to buy another week. Does anyone care about this? I care so much.
To clarify: the most recent episode (7/1) was Episode 7. This is not a recap of that episode. This is a recap of episodes 5A/5B and 6 (mostly 6, my memory’s not that good.) Episode 8 is airing tonight (7/8). For everyone (all <10 of you) who’s ever told me “I don’t even watch the show, I just read your recaps!” - this one’s for you, baby! Everyone else: sorry.
Anyway, welcome to Scotland! And Latvia! Or did these episodes all take place in Latvia? When did they go to Scotland? Was that Episode 4? Where in the world is Hannah Sandiego? Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing. Let’s just get started.
10. JED (LAST WEEK: 3)
What is there to even SAY? Jed had a girlfriend the whole time the show was filming. This information dropped the day of “””Episode”” “””5B,””” so my suspicions are that this was the scandal that the show needed to re-cut around, probably to make Jed look more like a villain. The story was run by People Magazine, which is ABC’s preferred press outlet, so they definitely knew this information was about to come out when they shifted everything around. Listen. I’m not naive enough to believe that Jed is the first person who has come on this show with nefarious intentions. I’m sure plenty of our favorites over the years have had someone waiting for them at home (remember Maquel from Arie’s season who was just like, fully married?) It seems like a good plan: loop in your significant other, go on the show, see the world, gain a few hundred thousand Instagram followers and give your career (“career”) a boost before returning home to someone else’s arms. I mean, what are the chances you’ll actually fall for the lead? That you’ll make it to the final whatever? I don’t think this is an inherently evil thing to do, honestly. However: what I do think is evil is that Jed went on the show and effectively ghosted his girlfriend when he returned. He never told her when he came back. He did not do the right thing and graciously bow out when Hannah (spoilers for Episode 7!!!!) told him she was falling in love with him. Right now it looks like Jed’s starting to run away with the thing and he has no intention of letting Hannah off the ride. That’s manipulative, dishonest, and short-sighted. What the fuck was this giant-headed dude’s plan?? Did he think this information would never come out? That not a single word would slip out the mouths of his family or friends - or, especially, the mouths of his ex’s family or friends? Was he so staunchly relying on his ex’s mortification to keep her silent? His ex recently recorded a podcast with Bachelorette expert Reality Steve (I’m not even going to link it here because it’s rife with spoilers, but it’s easy to find) and she learned during the podcast that Jed was actually cheating on her with a third girl when they were still together. It’s heartbreaking to listen to. Jed is an idiot and his skull looks like one of those crystal aliens from Indiana Jones 4. And he needs to put the goddamn guitar away! It’s in every goddamn scene! He is NOT that good of a singer! He’s like that guy who whips out the guitar at every single party and goes “Who wants to hear Iris???” and everyone kind of nods but doesn’t smile. Fuckin’ nerd.
9. CONNOR (LAST WEEK: 13)
Can you believe Connor is still on this show?? Why can I never remember his name? Why are they only showing his bug-eyed reaction shots to everything and never letting him talk? Have he and Hannah had a date? Wasn’t he the one whose date got cancelled because Hannah was so hungover? Shouldn’t he get some kind of rematch? When you’re hungover, you’re still supposed to show up to work, or class, or your grandmother’s quilting circle or Bikram Yoga or whatever you had planned. Why did they let her slide out of that date? I realize that all this commentary is weeks late (even for me) but I’m so confused.
8. DUSTIN (LAST WEEK: 15)
Dustin makes it to the final eight and we don’t learn a damn thing about him. I still think he is very cute. I hope he gets to make out with some Colton rejects on Paradise.
7. DYLAN (LAST WEEK: 9)
Ah, Dylan. I think he seems really sweet. It is so much easier to like these boys when you don’t get the chance to hear them talk for extended periods of time. Dylan seems like someone who was in a lot of musicals in high school and never got the lead but always got the runner-up lead (Freddy in My Fair Lady, Kenickie in Grease, one of the Fiddler on the Roof husbands, et cetera et cetera). Nice kid; not a star.
6. GARRETT (LAST WEEK: 10)
Garrett and Hannah go naked bungee jumping for their date, which is a worst nightmare I didn’t know I had. (She takes off her bra to go flying hundreds of feet, but not her giant dangly earrings! Big ouch on both counts!!) Hannah later hopped on Instagram to clarify that they were both wearing underwear, which, duh. If Hannah had actually been surprised with nationally-televised body-to-body nudity she would have had grounds to sue on the bases of both sexual harassment and a woman’s constitutional right to a bikini wax. Garrett tells Hannah that his greatest trauma was choosing to play golf when everyone else wanted him to play football. Garrett is a Trump supporter. I think we can safely move on.
5. PETER (LAST WEEK: 8)
I’m a big Delta Airlines loyalist and every time I get on a plane now I sneak a peek into the cockpit to see if it’s Pilot Pete. It never is, and I can’t say that a flight being captained by a reality television personality doesn’t make me nervous, but isn’t the possibility still so exciting? I love TV and I love flights and I’m so happy to be alive in this, the year of our Lord 2019. Anyway, Pete is just kind of hanging out and not really bringing the jet fuel yet. He seems nice. He has what I call BME (Big Mormon Energy.) He’s like someone I would bring home if the only factor I was considering was impressing my mother. Pete and Hannah have a sauna-themed date where, unsurprisingly, they make out a lot and Pete hits her head on something. BME.
4. LUKE (LAST WEEK: 4)
I mean, look. There’s not much to be said about Luke that hasn’t already been splashed across the think pieces of the internet. He exhibits flatly abusive behavior and there’s not much more to it. He picks fights in a sneaky way, putting Hannah on the defensive and making her feel like she has to apologize for going on dates with other guys, which is the entire premise of the show. When Hannah realizes this misguided, passive-aggressive confrontation isn’t sitting well with her, she confronts him, and he snaps into the flip side of emotional abuse: the earnest apologist. He tells her that he was misunderstood, that she’s twisting his words, that he didn’t say things that he literally just said ON TAPE. Luke is someone who practices passive remorse, not active compassion. Remorse is “I’m sorry you feel that way,” “I’m sorry you’re upset,” “Making you upset was not my intention.” Compassion is “If I say this, will it make this person upset?” “What effect are my words and action going to have on this person?” The lack of foresight has a lot to do with a lack of actually caring. Anyway, Luke is near the top because, I mean, he’s still here, ain’t he? Knock him out, Hannah! You can do it!
3. HANNAH (LAST WEEK: 7)
Hannah has been catching a lot of flack on social media for many things a Bachelorette tends to get criticized for, such as being a human woman, but especially for keeping Luke around despite his seemingly obvious terribleness. I disagree with this pushback! I know that not everyone - probably almost no one - reads these recaps hoping to get a deep dive into my own personal experiences (as I write this, I’m sitting next to my little sister, who says “stop writing about your personal life, no one cares”) but I’m not getting paid to write these things so the people aren’t always going to get what they want. Listen: I’m the kind of person who’s the first in line to tell my friends to dump their boyfriends. I’ve made it my personal brand. I have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to this shit. I have, I think, an above-average understanding of what constitutes emotional abuse (it’s a much more expansive definition than you’d think.) My minor in college was mental health! (Technically! Please don’t quote me on this! I don’t want to get sued by the APA!) Even so: when you’re in it, you’re in it. I don’t want to make too direct a comparison, but I was once in a serious relationship with a person who was a lot like Luke in that he would spin fights out of thin air, question my character, make me confused and hurt to the point of tears, and then wait until I apologized (??) so he could gallantly forgive me. Whenever I’d push back, he’d assure me that I’d misunderstood him. That he wasn’t yelling. That he hadn’t said the things I clearly remembered. Even if you can identify certain behaviors as problematic, it’s so hard to recognize the big picture because that kind of environment is a petri dish for self-doubt. You love the person you’re with and you know why. Maybe they’re sweet, maybe they’re sharp, maybe they know how to make pasta from scratch. There is something to love about everyone. You don’t want to believe that someone you adore is capable of being unkind to you, so you internalize - maybe it was something you said, something you did. And anyway - there are many, many good things about your relationship. They’re just as vivid and as significant as the manipulation and confusion, probably more so. There are so many wonderful and awful moments that you start to get whiplash. You remember how sweet he was when he met your grandmother. You remember the first time he raised his voice. How he called you a liar when your bus arrived late. How he rubbed your back until you fell asleep. The silent treatments that could only end with your apology. The thrill of your second kiss. The time you were so scared and confused that you locked yourself in the bathroom. The way he looked at you from across the dance floor. The smell of his car. The heat of your tears on your face. Old Spice. Landing at O’Hare.
This is all to say: I don’t blame Hannah at all for wanting to give Luke a chance. I think they have a lot of chemistry and that he’s exactly the kind of man Hannah always pictured herself with. They share a connection to religion that I don’t think Hannah has with any of the other remaining men. That’s powerful stuff, from what I hear. Also, the last, like, five or six winners of The Bachelorette were First Impression Rose recipients and Luke got Hannah’s FIR (I hate myself for using Bachelor acronyms like that but typing is so exhausting when you’re recovering from a gel manicure removal.) I think she’s having trouble weighing the good against the bad, a process which isn’t at all helped by Luke’s gaslighting. It’s easy to get stuck where she’s stuck. I hope she pulls through and gets out the other side with some lessons learned. It’s becoming almost unbearable to watch. Anyway,
2. MIKE (LAST WEEK: 6)
Somewhere in the dozens of episodes we’re discussing here, Mike and Hannah went on a date. I think Mike is a mature if somewhat one-note guy who is actually ready to get married and start a family. I think Hannah knows this. I do not think that he and Hannah have even a modicum of chemistry. He’s 31 and she’s 24 and let me tell you: those are two different worlds, baby. At 31, most of your friends are married or marrying and you start learning a lot about things like homeowner’s insurance and chronic anovulation (at least, this is what I imagine being 31 to be like.) At 24, you are still technically allowed to wear a bandana as a t-shirt to Outside Lands. I don’t make the rules.
1. TYLER (LAST WEEK: 2)
I can’t remember a goddamn thing Tyler did in any of these episodes but he is so hot. He’s so hot and he works with a children’s charity to provide underserved kids with cultural experiences around New York City. Luke says that he would move mountains for Hannah and Tyler says that Hannah can move mountains by herself. This is what feminism is all about and you can take that to the bank.
See you last Monday!