Happy Tuesday, all. I’m tired this morning, probably because I couldn’t sleep after digesting the spicy serving of man drama The Bachelorette served up for us last night.
I know you all terribly missed my update last week, and for that I’m sorry. Your correspondent was on a flight somewhere over Georgia when the show aired, and I’m pretty sure I can’t expense in-flight wi-fi (paging Washingtonian HR). All that really matters: Our Bethesda representative, Joey Jones, left us for a better place. (He’s still alive, just, you know, no longer on the show.)
Last night’s episode kicked off with the men being told that they were finally leaving the Bachelor Mansion! It’s really the moment all contestants wait for—which exotic locale will we be ferried to this season? A remote island off the coast of Indonesia? A fjord-dotted hillside in Iceland? A penthouse overlooking the neon glow of Hong Kong?
Nope. Guess again! They’re going to…Newport, Rhode Island! The men cheer and act ecstatic, but literally no one can be excited about this. I mean, come on, at least send them to like, Canada or something!
(Side note: JPJ is wearing a joutfit during this entire scene. The man continues to fascinate.)
Once in New England, Hannah B. goes on a one-one-one date to Boston with Jed, the Jack Johnson-wannabe, and they do their best Good Will Hunting impression, frolicking about the cobblestoned, turret-topped city. Smooches ensue, Hannah B. dumps lighter fluid all over American history, then strikes a match by trying to describe the Boston Tea Party, and they get relationship advice from the Boston Celtics because, well, why not?
But—back to our Washington boys. A card for the group date arrives and JPJ, who is lounging on a countertop like a tracksuit-clad Adonis, volunteers to read it. When he gets to his name, he rattles off the whole thing—John. Paul. Jones.—because the man is a brand at this point and he is nothing if not committed.
Luke S. is on the group date, too, and as the men amble up to Hannah B., it is revealed they’ll have to break into teams and face off against each other in a rugby match. They each get decked out in matching white shorts, one team in green shirts, the other in blue-and-white striped ones, and the camera pans to Luke S.
“Rugby is a pretty gruesome sport. It’ll be rough,” he says to the camera before looking off to gaze at the pitch, as if he’s a WWI soldier staring over the trenches of the Somme.
Then the camera pans to JPJ, with his face paint and locks a-flowin’. He opens his mouth, and something kind of similar to “AHHHH OHHH YEAHHH LET’S GO MANNNN” comes out, his Mel Gibson Braveheart cry as he faces the battle for Hannah B.’s heart.
The match kicks off, and immediately the guys are ruthless. JPJ grabs the ball and takes off down the field, and good god that man has some beautiful hair. It flows behind him in the wind, long legs pumping, and he looks like a gorgeous, two-legged Seabiscuit.
It soon becomes clear that The Other Luke, Luke P., may actually think he is on a literal battlefield. Perhaps he dumped an extra helping of protein in his shake this morning or is finally coming to terms with a repressed childhood memory, but he charges the field with radioactive aggression, like a bull in heat.
“This is the kind of guy who might like, god forbid, hurt someone,” Luke S. says to the camera. A prescient worry on Luke S.’s behalf, because soon Luke P. lays him the F out.
Luke S. is HEATED. He raises a hand to the referee, incredulous as to the behavior of this lesser Luke. Nothing like this ever happened at Stoney’s!
“He tried to play it off as self-defense,” he says, facing the screen with fury. “I mean, give me a break. He’s so full of shit it’s coming out of his ears.” Which is not biologically possible, probably, but okay.
We cut to the post-rugby game cocktail party, which takes place in a humongous Antebellum-style home that looks like an eery Tara.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the two Lukes are about to get into it hardcore. Hannah B. pulls Luke P. aside into a room that looks 100 percent haunted, and Luke P. tells her about the incident, claiming that he was defending himself against Luke S.
He then goes one step further, claiming that Luke S. is not on the show for true love, but rather to promote his fledgling tequila brand (no, I’m not making any of this up).
Hannah B.’s beautiful face falls in concern, her dimples deflating. All she ever wanted was the men to be “real” with her. Is Luke S. a fraud?
She pulls him aside next, and Luke S. swears he’s here for the right reasons: He really likes Hannah B., and, come on, he’d never value something like a liquor company over a shot at true love!
Hannah B. looks exasperated, like a pissed-off mom yelling at two little insolent boys in the back of the minivan who are fighting over a GoGurt. Except these are grown-ass men, and the GoGurt is actually a human being, and this minivan is going way, way off course.
Back in the main sitting room, the temperature on the drama thermometer is skyrocketing. The rest of the men leave the two Lukes alone, the warring competitors staring each other down from matching gilded love seats.
Luke S: “You know everyone here thinks you’re nuts.”
Luke P: “Well, I know I’m not.”
Luke S: “I’m here for Hannah, and don’t you ever f*cking forget it.”
He storms off with his drink, walking past the ghostly outlines of the producers like fog rolling in from the New England sea.
The behavior of these man-babies is almost, almost enough to make me switch off the TV. Thankfully, I catch a glimpse of sweet JPJ, wearing a corduroy blazer with a 70s-looking polo that I think Chevy Chase wore in Caddyshack, and I get the strength I need to keep going.
Hannah B. is understandably not doing well. We catch a glimpse of her in full-on crisis mode, pensively staring out to sea, probably wishing she had decided just to stick to pageants.
As the two-hour-long show begins to approach its end, it seems we are not finished with the Luke v. Luke showdown. When the men gather for the cocktail party before the Rose Ceremony, everyone teams up to basically shit on Luke P (which, fair).
And from there, the night spirals into some grade-A petty man fighting. I mean, truly! I haven’t seen these kinds of theatrics since I was bullied over instant messenger in the 6th grade.
Hannah B. once again talks to each Luke separately, sitting in front of a humongous roaring fireplace that looks like it belongs in Bruce Wayne’s manor. Each Luke asserts that the other one is manipulative and here for the wrong reasons, Hannah B. interviewing each man like a detective sitting at a coffee-stained table under a lone lightbulb.
Eventually, Hannah B. summons both the Lukes to assemble before her, the column-figured goddess summoning men for sacrifice. It’s time to set the record straight, to cut through the bullshit. Who is telling the truth? Who is really here for her, not the Hannah B. of ABC prime-time television, but the girl who grew up in Alabama, who loves football and her family and Jesus?
The men follow her, walking toward their fate with the funereal amble of pallbearers, knowing this is it. Now or never.
And then, of course, the show ends. Because why would we let the drama, the tension end there? Take a deep inhale, hold your breath—until next Monday.