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‘The Bachelorette’ Recap: The Work of Johannes Vermeer Can Be Quite Overwhelming

Also: Tyler C. rides a horse (and remains hot), while Garrett and Luke trade baloney-related insults

ABC

You lose an argument with an idiot the second you start arguing with them. Beforehand, everything’s fine—they’re an idiot, and you’re minding your own business. Then, all of a sudden, you’re trying to out-zing a potato. That’s exactly what happened to Garrett on Monday night’s episode of The Bachelorette, his last of the season.

Garrett decided to be the face of the ongoing fight with Luke, this season’s 5-foot-8 villain. Quick story line arc recap: Luke was the front-runner after two episodes, using his charm and good looks to earn the first impression rose. But he started demanding too much of Hannah’s time and getting possessive about her interactions with other men, all while being unusually aggressive and critical of his fellow contestants. Some contestants tried to pick fights with Luke and were soon off the show. Others learned to ignore him or laugh at him; they seem to be doing pretty well.

Monday night, Garrett went on a group date with Peter and Luke in The Hague. (I spent the whole episode hoping for Luke to go on trial for crimes against reality TV.) Of the three, only two would receive roses and be invited to next week’s hometown date. So for some reason, Garrett chose to spend large portions of the date sitting in a room with Luke, trying to rile him up. He probably thought he would win this scenario—Luke has not proven himself to be a particularly adept talker over the course of the season. However, it was a true battle of wits: Garrett tells Luke he’s the fakest person he’s ever met; Luke says Garrett has the fakest smile he’s ever seen; Luke picks up a bunch of sliced meats and yells, “This is a pile of baloney! That’s what you’ve been saying to me, and I’m tired of it!” before dropping said pile of baloney onto Garrett’s lap; Garrett takes 20 seconds and smiles, believing himself to be the wisest person on earth; “It’s funny you picked up baloney,” he smirks. “Because that’s what you’re full of.”

Garrett, Luke just made that joke. He picked up the baloney and called you fake—you can’t now pick up the baloney and call him fake. He’s staked out the baloney-joke corner! It’s like Dwight and Andy yelling at each other on The Office—it’s never clear which is stupider, the initial zing or the convoluted reply that essentially makes the same point.

Eventually, Garrett and Luke get alone time with Hannah. Garrett thinks he’s secured a spot in hometowns when he tells Hannah that he loves her, a move that feels … kinda like the tactical move Luke pulled in Episode 2, when he told Hannah he was falling in love with her. Regardless, it doesn’t work: In Luke’s alone time with Hannah, he finally shares the story of becoming a born-again Christian. (I say “finally” because it feels like he’s told the story of his shower with a higher power at least five times this season.) Hannah picks Luke’s profession of faith over Garrett’s profession of love. (Love is nice, but unfortunately, Jesus is better.) Garrett rides home in a limo and seems surprisingly chill about the whole thing for a guy in love who just got dumped on television.

So you see: You can’t win an argument with an idiot. Best-case scenario, you prove yourself as smarter than the idiot—an assumption everybody had when you walked into the room. Worst-case scenario, you lose the argument. That’s how Garrett spent his last moments on The Bachelorette, slinging baloney with a doofus.

Biggest Jerk: Johannes Vermeer

Hannah’s one-on-one date with Mike seemed to be going well. The two went to the house of a Dutch artist and painted pictures of each other. Mike’s drawing of Hannah was … well, not good, but I understood that it was supposed to be Hannah.

However, things changed in between the morning and evening portions of their date. After painting each other, Mike and Hannah were supposed to have a sit-down dinner after hours at the Mauritshuis, an art museum in The Hague. But in the interim, she killed time walking the halls, staring at the works of the Dutch masters, and eventually breaking down into tears. She seemed particularly drawn to Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring.

When Mike finally shows up, it’s over. Hannah has been moved by the art. “I’ve never been surrounded by so much beauty,” she says, “and it’s really overwhelming.” She cites another work of art, which depicts St. Catherine standing in front of a group of men fighting, and says it reminded her of her own situation, and inspired her to take control. She tells Mike their relationship is not as strong as her relationship with the other men. He is escorted to a limo, where he says that Hannah “put a dagger in my heart, tore it out and stepped on it.”

I suspect Girl With a Pearl Earring caused Mike’s downfall. Although nobody knows the painting’s actual backstory, it is so beautiful and poignant that authors and filmmakers have hypothesized about a romance between the painter and its subject, imagining a love lost to history but permanently consecrated in caring brushstrokes.

Hannah does explain how being surrounded by the art brought her to a moment of clarity, but I also suspect that Hannah looked at Vermeer’s masterpiece and remembered Mike’s drawing, which, by comparison, is total trash. How could she be with someone whose depiction of her was so simple, so skilless, so thoughtless? What a mistake by Mike, who spent precious time fighting with Luke P. when he should’ve been working on his painting skills to deal with the true threat: Johannes V.

Worst Misplay: Connor S.

Remember Connor? He’s the contestant who had the luckiest one-on-one date with Hannah at the beginning of this season when, instead of, like, skydiving or going on a helicopter ride or snorkeling, he got to visit Hannah in her hotel room and hang out with her for a day. Unfortunately, Connor was dull and Hannah didn’t seem particularly interested in him, but he still got a rose (shout-out to Lukas Graham) and stayed on the show. Since then, we haven’t really seen him, as he’s been neither threatening enough for Luke P. to pick a fight with nor confrontational enough to speak out against Luke P.

On Monday night’s episode, Connor tries to fix this by making an impromptu visit to the only place he’s had any connection with Hannah: her hotel room. He says he had such a great time the last time but felt that he faded into the background on group dates when he couldn’t get more one-on-one time with her. Unfortunately, this is when Connor learns that there was a reason he wasn’t getting time with Hannah: She doesn’t like him. With this important information revealed, Hannah tells Connor his time on the show is done.

Connor was one of the quietest contestants in recent memory, and that served him well. Yes, he blended into the background, but that allowed him to remain on the show while louder contestants got weeded out. And yet, Connor didn’t leave the show by slinking into the dark; instead, he forced a confrontation and a dumping on national television. His time on The Bachelorette was probably going to end this week anyway—hometowns is up next, where there is no background to fade into—but he could’ve gotten off the show without making Hannah straight-up tell him that she wasn’t that into him. I’d feel for the guy, but he brought it on himself by asking a question he wasn’t going to get a good answer to.

Biggest Winner: The South

We have our Final Four: Luke, Tyler, Jed, and Pilot Pete. This might shock you, but all four guys are white. I thought that Mike might squeeze his way in, which would have made him only the second black contestant ever to reach hometowns, and the first ever on a season with a white lead. (Thus far, Eric from Rachel’s season is the only black contestant to make it that far; the vast majority of black contestants are sent home in the first couple of weeks.) Alas.

But it’s worth noting that Hannah’s not just selecting guys who look like her—she’s selecting guys from her part of the country. Luke is from Gainesville, Georgia; Jed is from Nashville, Tennessee; and Tyler is from Jupiter, Florida, and also attended Wake Forest in North Carolina. And fifth-place Garrett is from Birmingham, just a quick drive down the road from Hannah’s hometown of Tuscaloosa. So, yeah, Hannah has a type.

This means a few things: First off, Pilot Pete—he of Westlake Village, California—is doomed. Secondly, hometowns might get a bit repetitive. Normally this episode brings Bachelorette viewers across the country to a variety of different environments—last year’s dates brought Becca from Garrett’s farm in California to an ice hockey rink in Buffalo; Rachel visited Miami, Baltimore, Madison, and Aspen; JoJo went from California to Florida to Texas. This season, they won’t even need to book Hannah a flight when she goes from eastern Tennessee to north Georgia.

I suspect Tyler knows this. Let’s listen to Tyler talk to the media back when he was a tight end at Florida Atlantic, and let’s listen to Tyler talk to Hannah. He sounds so different! I’m convinced that Tyler is affecting a slight drawl to ingratiate himself to Hannah. With three episodes to go, it seems to be working.

Biggest Loser: Halo Top

Hannah’s second group date is with Tyler, the runaway star of the season. My bosses are deeply, disconcertingly into Tyler. They’ve recorded multiple podcasts about it, and we’ve had to hire an on-site EMT in case one of them ogles too hard and has to be taken to the hospital. The workplace has been very complicated since Tyler came into our lives.

On Monday night’s episode, Tyler and Hannah go horseback riding, which is a problem for Tyler, who says he dislikes horses. He also says he once had a horseback-riding birthday party as a kid, which seems like a poor choice by the parents of a kid who’s scared of horses. Anyway, Tyler’s anti-horse stance probably grew larger in Amsterdam, as his and Hannah’s horses hijack the date by refusing to follow instructions. (It’s a delight to watch.) Eventually though, they manage to stroll down the streets of The Hague and enjoy some ice cream. Which prompts the biggest twist of this season of The Bachelorette.

Stunningly, Tyler and Hannah appear to enjoy delicious local ice cream provided by a genuine street vendor. It’s a stark contrast from Hannah’s date with Jed in Boston, where the two were given pints of the dreaded frozen chalk-paste known as Halo Top, in one of the most egregious instances of product placement in the product placement–laden history of The Bachelorette. I suppose this is good for everybody. Tyler got to eat real ice cream, the show got a more natural-looking date, and Halo Top gets to use the money they were going to spend on Bachelorette sponcon to develop ice cream that actually tastes like ice cream.

Most Exciting Moment: The End-of-Episode Promo

The Bachelor franchise has a long history of creating promo teasers that are more exciting than any show on television, including The Bachelor itself. They are filled with shouting matches, fights, ambulances, and sex. The teasers are so good that often the actual episodes disappoint—you learn that tempers died down immediately after the shouting seen in the promo, that no fights ever actually happened, and that the ambulance was called because some guy fell out of his bunk bed. (The sex, on the other hand, still definitely happens.) The Bachelor has been doing this for years—Chris Harrison is running out of new ways to say “most dramatic”—and yet every season, we end up feeling duped, realizing that all the fun stuff was taken out of context.

After tonight’s post-episode promo, though, it feels like there’s no way we’re being duped with regard to a conversation Luke and Hannah have in a later episode (presumably the fantasy suites installment). In the promo, Luke explains that he won’t have sex with Hannah during fantasy suites, presumably for religious reasons. (Fine, pal; your dick, your rules.) But he then also elaborates—in typically possessive fashion—that if he learns Hannah had sex with any other men, he will leave the show.

The Bachelorette has been building the hype to this moment for the entire season. Initially, we were shown only one of Hannah’s responses—“I have had sex, and honestly, Jesus still loves me”—but not who prompted such a statement, leaving us to make educated guesses. (Once Luke P. told his “Jesus came to me in a shower” story during the premiere, it was pretty clear it was him.) Then, a later promo showed Luke kicking off this conversation with a hearty “So let’s talk about sex … and how the marriage bed should be kept pure.” Now we’ve been given basically the entire confrontation. That’s important, because now we know that in response to Luke, Hannah also says, “So, me fucking in a windmill—you probably wanna leave, right?” And we also now know that in a confessional, Hannah looks directly into a camera and elaborates: “I fucked in a windmill. And guess what? We did it a second time!”

You’d think that a show giving away its juiciest drama in a teaser would be bad business, but no—this was perfect. Now I just want to get to this episode as fast as possible. There are so many unanswered questions!

  • Who does Hannah fuck in a windmill?
  • How does Luke respond to the windmill sex?
  • How comfortable are the interiors of windmills? I kind of assumed most of the interior was devoted to the mill, leaving little room for sex.
  • Monday night’s episode takes place in the Netherlands, easily the no. 1 windmill nation on earth—so has the windmill sex already happened without us realizing it?
  • Or wait—does the windmill sex happen elsewhere?
  • Did anyone know that there are a notable amount of windmills in Mykonos, where we know the season will be heading in the final episodes?
  • Did anyone know that you can rent these windmills and sleep inside of them?
  • Did I just solve the mystery of where and how Hannah came to have windmill sex?
  • Is this the exact windmill that Hannah will have sex in?
  • Do you think the Netherlands, the most windmill-forward country in the world, is just a little mad that another country is going to get more windmill-related drama than they will?

We’ll always remember Colton for jumping over a fence; I suspect we’ll always remember Hannah for looking directly into a camera and saying “I fucked in a windmill.”