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‘The Bachelorette’ Recap: Nude Bungee Jumping and Andris Biedrins, That’s What Latvia Does!

Also: Luke’s shortness becomes obvious, the show’s infamous black box returns, and Pilot Pete reminds everyone he’s a pilot

ABC

This will shock you, but Monday night’s episode of The Bachelorette once again revolved around America’s least favorite creatine-fueled romantic, Luke P. At one point, the other contestants noted that Luke has ruined three cocktail parties in a row by frazzling Hannah to the point where she doesn’t want to actually talk to anybody. It’s been four episodes, too.

On Monday night’s show, Luke gets upset when he hears that Hannah went naked bungee-jumping with Garrett during their one-on-one date. Luke, apparently unaware that he’s on a dating show, is appalled that his girlfriend would let her naked body touch another man. He lets her know that he’s pissed off, but like a real gentleman, promises to support her through all her “boneheaded mistakes.” This makes Hannah mad—she doesn’t think her date with Garrett was a mistake at all. It also makes the other contestants mad—why can’t Luke stay in his lane? Luke, though, explains that he was in his own lane, but looked out the window of his car and saw Garrett and Hannah in the next lane over. Unfortunately, Luke sucks at metaphors: As the rest of the contestants note, a driver who spends all their time looking out of the window of their car is going to swerve and crash. (Luke elaborates that he will spend the rest of the show in his own hallway, unable to look left or right; I should point out that Luke has a habit of starting sentences without knowing how he’s going to finish them.)

At this point, we know who Luke is. We know he’s an über-possessive jerk; we know he refuses to admit he’s wrong about stuff; we know he’s adamant about wanting Hannah, a stance he apparently adopted after seeing her on television; we know Jesus told him to stop having sex with so many SUPER-HOT BABES (Luke’s words); we know he routinely upsets the free-spirited Hannah, who somehow remains attracted to him. But there’s one thing I didn’t realize until Monday night’s episode—perhaps something that explains all the rest. Did anybody else realize that Luke is short?

I was tipped off to Luke’s height by a comment made at the end of the episode, as Tyler C. refers to Luke as a “5-foot-8 villain.” 5-foot-8 isn’t short by normal standards, but on The Bachelorette, it’s downright Lilliputian. I suspect Luke is taller than 5-foot-8, and that Tyler was intentionally shorting him a few inches for the purpose of a putdown. Luke’s college baseball profile (when he hadn’t quite figured out Hot Guy Grooming) lists him as 6 feet, but if that’s true, everybody else on the show must be 6-foot-8.

Before Tyler’s comment, I was under the impression that Luke was tall. All season long, the show has played up Luke’s intimidating physical presence: We were introduced to him in a gym, pumping iron. When Luke played rugby, other contestants talked up how unstoppable he was, and then after he body-slammed Other Luke, the show portrayed Luke as an out-of-control beast. I guess I kinda assumed he was hulking over everybody. In fact, even though the show portrayed Other Luke as a wispy wimp during his fight with Luke, Other Luke actually towered over Luke, and was probably looking down at him during their face-to-face interaction.

I suspect all the confusion on my part is a result of a quality framing job by the camerapeople and editors of The Bachelorette. For starters, Luke generally seems to be on the back row at rose ceremonies, putting him on a riser.

All screenshots via ABC

Not only does this make him look taller than people who are actually taller than him, it’s a matter of branding, because years of taking our own group pictures have made us blindly assume that the Bachelorette contestants asked to stand in the back row were the taller ones. It also seems like Luke is most often shown in close-ups and shots where perspective is kinda funky. I like to think The Bachelorette’s directors had a big sit-down before the season with everybody who’s ever filmed a Tom Cruise movie to discuss how to cinematographically boost a pint-sized leading man.

Now, I’m not heightist. Short people are valuable members of our society. Without the Shorts, we wouldn’t have anybody to shout out directions to normal-sized rowers, and we never would have destroyed the One Ring. But height is a critical factor on The Bachelorette. As this breakdown by Thrillist explains, the show has only had a handful of contestants 5-foot-8 or shorter. Nobody shorter than 5-foot-11 has ever made the final four. Nobody shorter than 6-foot-1 has ever won the show. And nobody shorter than 5-foot-10 has ever gone on to be the Bachelor.

The Bachelorette successfully masked Luke’s height for most of the season, and honestly, that tricked me. I bought the story arc that Luke had a chance to win the show and blew it with his arrogance. Of course, now that we know he’s the shortest contender this season, it’s clear that he was never going to win anyway. I feel foolish for having considered him a front-runner after the first few episodes.

Biggest Mystery: The Black Box

The first one-on-one date of the episode saw Golfing Garrett and Hannah go nude bungee-jumping. Golfing Garrett and Hannah sold this like it was an ancient Latvian tradition, passed down for centuries by adventurous Latvian nudes. It is, kind of—a midtier viral video from Valentine’s Day 2014 showed Lavian couples bungee-jumping in G-strings out of the very same cable car, over the very same river. But … that may be it? It feels to me like The Bachelorette agreed to film in Latvia and then realized nobody knew anything about Latvia and scrambled, Googling “what to do Latvia” and “famous Latvian things” and then later “famous Latvian things not Andris Biedrins” when all the Google results were about former Golden State Warriors center Andris Biedrins. And then they saw this video and were like “a long-held tradition!”

However, we were led to believe that the Latvian couple who jumped before Garrett and Hannah were not wearing G-strings, but were fully nude. Hannah remarked on seeing the Latvian guy’s penis—a direct quote from her: “that is a real ding-dong”—but The Bachelorette prevented us from knowing anything by covering up the whole vicinity with its trademark black censorship box.

The black box is a Bachelor tradition that dates back nearly as far as the Latvian tradition of nude bungee-jumping. You may remember the black box making its appearance two episodes ago, when the contestants wrestled each other while wearing kilts (which, of course, are worn without underwear). So far as I can remember, it made its first prominent appearance on Chris Soules’s season of The Bachelor, when Jillian was accused by her fellow castmates of wearing clothes that revealed her butt crack. (Look, it happens.) But we could never confirm those accusations, because the show censored her entire crotch—front, back, really just the whole midsection. It was a good running gag. I suspect in real life she just gave out minor glimpses of butt, but if the black box was to be believed, she was fully exposing every body part ever mentioned by Khia.

However, the gag does sometimes prevent us from answering important questions. For example, with the Latvians. We’re told these guys were bungee-jumping in the nude. But from the looks of it, most bungee harnesses feature a strap that seems to go … well … right where the ding-dong is. Am I to understand that this Latvian man jumped off a cable car that was attached to him by a strap that went directly over his unsheathed penis? This is an important distinction to me—there is a big difference between simply doing an activity normally performed by clothed people while you’re naked and doing an activity that can bring legitimate harm to your unprotected penis.

And the gag also prevents us from getting another piece of information about Golfing Garrett and Hannah’s bungee. The two describe themselves as bungeeing naked, and we see Hannah removing her bra. But were they naked? Or was there some sort of underwear, like the 2014 jumpers? If there was no underwear, then Hannah just saw a contestant’s penis. And later, when the two regrouped to discuss their day, Hannah talked about the Latvian guy’s penis (the “real ding-dong” quote) but never commented on Golfing Garrett’s 5-wood. That’s a big deal. You don’t come back from an ignored penis.

Best Hypocrisy: Luke

As aforementioned, Luke gets very upset about the naked bungee experience, pulling Hannah aside to express his disappointment. “Her body is her temple,” he says, expressing worry that his potential wife would let her body come so close to another man, and implying that he might not be able to introduce Hannah to his family if her reputation is tarnished by nude bungee jumps.

I get it. Imagine trying to enter a relationship with somebody …

… who kept showing off their body off to the world …

… and using their flesh to lure in members of the opposite sex?

On the one hand, I’m absolutely done with Mr. I Used to Shower With Nines and Tens but Now I Shower With Jesus. He’s not the first guy to become frustrated and outraged attempting to apply traditional relationship logic to a show where his girlfriend dates 29 other guys, but he’s certainly among the loudest and most hypocritical.

But on the other hand, it’d be kinda fun to watch him drive himself over a cliff with jealousy while Hannah goes on her other fantasy suite dates. That’s the only reason I’m tolerating Luke from here on out.

Guy Who Loves Talking About His Job the Most: Too Close to Call

Clearly, The Bachelor franchise believes professions are important. Whenever contestants appear on screen, we get four critical pieces of information about them in a lower-third chyron: their name, their age, their hometown, and their job. Sometimes the job is a whimsical fake job just to stir up interest, like when a contestant was billed as a “chicken enthusiast,” which is really more of a passion than a living. Sometimes the contestants get boosts, like when they’re listed as an “aspiring dolphin trainer,” which also describes me, a person who aspires to one day train dolphins. Sometimes the jobs are opaque and obscure, like when a contestant is billed as an “accounts manager.” It often seems like a farce, especially since the moment you appear on The Bachelor, your new job title is “Instagram makeup influencer.”

Sometimes, however, there comes along a contestant who makes their job an integral part of their onscreen persona. There are two this season locked in a life-and-death battle to prove that they have the coolest, sexiest job. The first is Pilot Peter. (Lot of alliterative guys this season—Golfing Garrett, Pilot Peter … and now, I guess, Little Luke.)

Pilot Peter filmed a pilot-themed intro, showed up on opening night in his pilot’s outfit, and handed Hannah a pair of pilot’s wings—a show of sheer force that allowed him to win an opening-night dogfight over another pilot, Chasen, who was immediately eliminated. On Monday night’s episode, Maverick finally got his one-on-one date with his hot civilian flight instructor, and whaddaya know, he wanted to talk about being a pilot again. In the middle of a non-aviation-related conversation about where Hannah gets her strength, Pilot Peter banked the conversation wayyyyyyy left so he could talk about how as a pilot, “you can’t fail, because you have lives in your hands.”

However, he’s rivaled in his talking-about-his-job battle by Jed, the singer-songwriter. (His actual job is closer to stripper, but he wants to be a singer-songwriter.) On Monday night’s episode, he sat her down at a piano and played her a song:

And then later he showed up outside her hotel room to sing the song he’d sung in a previous episode.

And then when Hannah invited him up, he continued playing guitar in her hotel room:

Honestly, it’s working for both guys. Hannah admitted that Peter’s job was “fascinating” and “super-hot,” while Jed got to make out with Hannah next to his guitar.

She’s clearly horny for their jobs, which gives them a leg up on Li’l Luke (who has the same job as Art Vandelay) and Tyler (a contractor). But I’m instantly suspicious of any guy who talks too much about their job. Somebody who makes every conversation about their job is somebody who apparently believes their job is more interesting than they are, and I tend to believe them.

Biggest Faux Pas: Tyler

I was deeply concerned by a choice Tyler made at the end of this week’s group date. The men gathered to toast Hannah, and the camera caught Tyler raising his glass—his glass of water:

Holy CRAP, dude, are you serious? Everybody knows you never cheers with water! I’m fine with your not drinking (although I’m pretty sure Tyler has been shown drinking in previous episodes) but have the decency not to curse everybody involved in the toast with your water. Why don’t you just sneak up to Hannah’s hotel room, smash all the mirrors, and dump a burlap sack of jet-black cats on her? Apologies to Hannah, who is now doomed.

Worst Reveal: Latvia

Latvia looked nice! Cool buildings! Cute streets! I’d go to Latvia if I were on a reality show!

However, first impressions are everything—that’s why there’s a first impression rose on this show. And the first date in Latvia started like this:

“Welcome to Latvia!” [Gestures around at lifeless, drab, unimpressive forest, which could very easily be in Ohio in December.]

“It’s incredible.” [Gazes around for any signs of life, or anything particularly unique or interesting about this ghoulish strand of stark, barren trees, perhaps once brimming with leaves and birds and joy, but now quiet and lonely, a perfectly empty place to die.]

Tough look for a seemingly fine country. It could’ve been worse, though—remember, like, three weeks ago, when they went to Rhode Island and then immediately said, “Actually all the cool things in Rhode Island are in Boston,” and then played rugby for no apparent reason? Yeah, Latvia seems better than Rhode Island.