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‘The Bachelorette’ Recap: The Luke-Ness Monster

Welcome to Scotland, a land full of scotch, wool, and weird men incapable of expressing their emotions!

ABC

Luke is out here trying to blow a 28-3 lead on The Bachelorette. He got the first impression rose on opening night, a distinction he shares with the show’s past four winners. The next week, he revealed his unbeatable six-pack to Hannah and told her he was starting to fall in love with her, which put him on the top of the standings and put her… on top of him.

ABC

Since then, Hannah has said that her relationship with Luke is stronger than her relationship with anybody else. Unfortunately, Luke has handled basically every interaction with every other person so poorly that just five episodes in, he’s in serious jeopardy of getting kicked off the show. Tuesday night’s episode ended with a contentious date for Luke and Hannah that ended with the latter deciding she couldn’t give the former a rose. And while I get the sense that Luke will be given an opportunity in next week’s episode to earn that rose and stay on the show, his chances are vanishing by the second.

The episode started at a cocktail party in America, with Luke surrounded by the other 12 guys on the show, all of whom openly hate him. Luke was fine with that, having adopted the classic Bachelorette mind-set that he’s not there to make friends. When the scene shifted to Scotland, Hannah got Luke away from the other guys by giving him one of her two one-on-one dates. On the date, she explained that while Luke’s all-for-Hannah strategy might seem like the right idea, she’s actually getting rather disturbed by the fact that nobody likes him. She’s looking for someone who’s friendly, someone whom “people are drawn to,” someone where “what’s inside is appealing.” In response, Luke dug deep and busted out his worst line yet: “Everyone I’ve ever met, every place, every school I’ve ever been, everyone loves me.” Hannah groaned. Luke kept going. “I hate saying it, but it’s the truth. I hate talking about myself!”

Luke is probably right that in his experience, people tend to love him. He’s extremely handsome and athletic. Shockingly, people want to be friends with hot athletic people. And in life, Luke has adopted a strategy of saying whatever it is he thinks the person he’s talking to wants to hear, so sure, it’s very possible that the focus groups he’s conducted on himself have come back with positive results. However, he doesn’t really think of the bigger picture when trying to assess what people want to hear. For example, when Hannah says, “I want a guy who’s friends with people and hasn’t alienated everybody,” he thinks the right thing to tell her is “I’m actually extremely cool and popular everywhere I go.” In the broader context of the conversation, it was clear Hannah was telling him that the toxic atmosphere in the house raised questions about his character. But in his mind, he heard “She wants a popular guy, sweet! I should tell her how cool I am!”

About 15 times during their interaction, Hannah tried to tell Luke that he was blowing it by talking to her in Bachelorette-speak—broad, diplomatic, meaningless tropes about how he’s “fighting for her” and how he “won’t give up on her” and stuff like that. She asked him to plainly speak to her like a person, about the things he likes, the things he dislikes, and how he’s feeling. It’s a pretty great moment of television: Hannah tells Luke that she wants to have an actual connection and not an empty relationship filled with lines that sound good on reality TV, and Luke is simply incapable of doing it.

I get it—I’m also a people pleaser. If my girlfriend asks what I want to do for dinner, I’ll try to think about what my girlfriend wants to do for dinner and say that. If my editor asks whether I can finish a story in two hours, I’ll say “sure!” even though, y’know. I don’t want people to be mad at me, so I just say what I think will make them happy. Over the years, though, I’ve learned that if you attempt to make everybody happy, you start pissing people off. Because you start promising things you can’t deliver on, or you start trying to please two different people who want two different things. And sometimes, the person you’re trying to please actually wants your honest opinion, not your best attempt at the most inoffensive answer. The problem with always trying to say the right thing is it doesn’t necessarily result in you doing the right thing. It’s your actions that matter, and if you’re just going from conversation to conversation trying to appease people and never consider whether you’re letting people down, or whether you’re contradicting yourself to different people, you’ll frustrate everyone around you.

As much as Luke sucks, I really think he’s defined by his desire to please. It’s why he started telling Hannah he loved her from Day 1. It’s why every guy in the house thinks he’s a duplicitous liar—to their faces, he tells them what they want to hear, but then he goes and tells Hannah what she wants to hear, which, incidentally, is different. It’s why he spends every conversation with Hannah digging deeper and deeper, searching for the right thing to say instead of just talking—which is compounded by the fact that Luke isn’t necessarily smart enough to even realize what “the right thing to say” is.

What a tragedy. Hannah was taken by Luke’s extremely attractive outside, but eventually realized there was nothing inside. Luke is just a projection of all the things he thinks other people want him to be, surrounding a husk.

Most Confusing Behavior: Hannah

Hannah’s first date of the week was with Mike. Nothing particularly special happened—they just walked around Scotland, exploring little stores and tasting scotch and visiting a pub. One of their first stops was at a bookstore, where Hannah picked up two distinct items that she was not quite sure how to interact with.

First, she picked up a book and smelled it. This kind of makes sense—old books can have deep, rich, musty smells. Maybe she’s into that. But generally the way you inspect books is by looking at them.

Next, she picked up an egg and held it to her ear. Here, I cannot give her the benefit of the doubt. No information can be gleaned by holding an egg to your ear. It’s not a present whose insides can be determined by shaking it. You do not test an egg’s ripeness, and if you did, you probably wouldn’t do so with an audio check.

I am left with the conclusion that Hannah simply doesn’t understand which senses are meant for which objects. If you handed her a beer, she would vigorously rub the outside of the glass between her hands; if you gave her a set of AirPods, she would confidently place one on her tongue. Maybe she’ll figure it out someday, or maybe she’ll just keep smelling literature and listening to food.

Biggest Screwup: Other Luke

Last week’s episode ended with a confrontation between Luke and his namesis (a nemesis who has the same name), Other Luke, a.k.a. Tequila Luke, a.k.a. Centrist Luke, a.k.a. Dollar Store Nick Viall. I’ve never had a namesis—the only person I’ve ever met named Rodger was Los Angeles Rams offensive guard Rodger Saffold, whom I was nice to because he weighs 323 pounds and shoves strong people for money—but I imagine the pressure is intense. Because after Other Luke was outfoxed by his dim-witted namesis, he realized there could only be one Luke, and decided to leave.

The circumstances surrounding his departure were awkward, though, to say the least. Along with the rest of the men, Other Luke showed up to the rose ceremony, but before Hannah could start dispersing flowers, Other Luke pulled her aside, thanked her, and headed for the door. Before Hannah could get back to the ceremony, Chris Harrison dipped into the room and snagged one of the roses off the table, the implication being that Hannah had decided that Other Luke was going to get a rose before he left. With Other Luke gone, that rose went to nobody.

I can’t remember a similar sequence of events happening on The Bachelorette. Guys have left, but I can’t remember the show openly acknowledging that the departing contestant was going to get a rose. You’ve got to wonder: Why couldn’t they just regroup and give that rose to another guy? Hannah eliminated John Paul Jones, the show’s most irreverent, confusing contestant/meme-generator. This is a man who taught himself how to ride a unicycle in a half-hour, a man who happily ate chicken nuggets as drama unfolded around him. First the show cut a spectacular John Paul Jones scene, and now the show cuts John Paul Jones, even though they clearly had already booked accommodations in Scotland and could’ve brought him along? Sheesh. Justice for JPJ.

But here’s the part that makes me angriest: Other Luke, you could have had a free trip to Scotland! Presumably, Other Luke thought he was going to get eliminated and wanted to save himself the humiliation. But for some reason he couldn’t just wait and see, and in doing so ultimately cost himself a week on television, a week of free food and drinks, and a free European vacation. What a waste! I would love a free trip to Scotland! They have castles and scotch and great accents and scotch and beautiful scenery and scotch! I’d definitely sit in a room with 12 guys I hate for a week if it meant a free ride to Scotland, and Other Luke didn’t even have 12 guys who hate him. Just one! Sure, he would’ve been wasting Hannah’s time or whatever, but who cares? I’ll pretend I can be in a relationship with anybody if it gets me to the land of weird cows and scotch.

Most Disappointing Choice: Lack of Geographical Sports Awareness

This week’s group date tried to go for a Scottish vibe by staging a Highland Games. Led by two bearded Scotsmen (who, for some reason, were subtitled, even though their English was perfectly understandable), the men took part in axe throwing, a yoke race where the men carried two full buckets of milk, and Scottish backhold wrestling.

Which was weird, because the Highland Games are a real thing, and neither axe throwing nor milk racing are legitimate events. The big event at the Highland Games is the caber toss, where you throw a big log. Perhaps that was asking too much of Bachelorette contestants, but there are also a lot of other events that involve tossing heavy stuff. They also do tug-of-war, which could’ve made sense as a Bachelorette activity. But axe tossing? That’s the new preferred unsafe activity of drunk hipsters across the nation. They could’ve done that in America!

Meanwhile, last week’s episode in Rhode Island featured rugby—which, in case you didn’t know, is not the national sport of Rhode Island. In fact, it’s actually a sport that Scotland is very good at! The guys should’ve gone axe-throwing in Rhode Island and played rugby in Scotland. Or at the very least, they could’ve tried throwing a big-ass log.

Most Unfortunate Slander: The Loch Ness Monster

In Tuesday’s episode, multiple contestants dubbed Luke “The Luke Ness Monster.” Honestly, great pull—this episode was filmed in Inverness, which you can tell by the name is near River Ness and Loch Ness. When using the nickname, the guys described Luke maliciously: Although his exterior seems attractive, an unseemly monster lies beneath.

However, none of this describes the Loch Ness monster. If anything, the guys were describing Nessie’s inverse. Many people have reported sightings of a weird dinosaur/snake in that Scottish lake, which terrifies and haunts them, but Nessie has never done anything monstrous. The “monster” never ate any visitors or sunk any ships or destroyed any local livestock. People just see the beast and assume it’s evil because it’s ugly and unknown.

Luke might be hot outside and ugly inside. Nessie, on the other hand, is ugly outside, and maybe if we took a minute to get to know her, we’d learn that she’s a sweet soul who wishes we’d stop calling her a monster. Unfortunately, the men of The Bachelorette are so superficial, I doubt Nessie would even make it to hometowns.