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‘The Bachelorette’ Recap: God, Sex, and Windmills

Did you know that Crete was famous for its windmills (that you can have sex in)? Welp, NOW YOU DO! 

ABC

I started hooting and hollering when Hannah and Peter began walking toward a windmill. It felt like the first time you get to see the superhero in a superhero movie, or the first time Chappie appears on screen in the film Chappie. As we learned in a preview two weeks ago, Hannah was going to have sex in a windmill on tonight’s episode. In fact, we learned—thanks to Hannah herself—that Hannah was going to have sex twice in a windmill. Peter, who on Monday night was still making factually questionable small talk about how Greece is “known for its windmills,” didn’t know what (who?) was about to come, but the audience sure did.

But for everybody outside the windmill, the climax of Monday night’s episode came an hour and a half later, when Hannah finally bid farewell to the dreaded Luke P. After two endless months of Hannah entertaining Luke’s exhausting string of aggressive feuds and possessive demands, she experienced a moment of clarity and realized three guys on the show made her extremely happy—and that a fourth stressed her out at every possible juncture.

At this point in a Bachelorette season, most departures bring both parties to tears—the dumpee cries because they’ve been dumped; the dumper is bummed to send someone whom they care so much about home. It’s very rare that there’s a guy who just abjectly sucks, and even rarer for the dumper to reach that realization in front of our eyes. Normally, there is a hug as the dumpee enters a limo. But this time, in what was Hannah’s most iconic moment as the Bachelorette, she held the limo door open for Luke, rushed him inside as he tried to stall for time, and then shot the departing limo the middle finger. This wasn’t an I-wish-I-had-more-roses-I’m-so-sorry-thanks-for-your-time TV breakup; it was gasoline on the floorboards and a lit match over the shoulder.

I suspect we’ve all had a relationship that, in retrospect, sucked. The person was wrong, the place and time was wrong, and when we look back, so many moments made it obvious. At the time, though, we fought for that relationship, unaware of how bad it would look if editors ever stitched together all the bad moments into our own season of The Bachelorette. I never got to experience the “click” moment Hannah had where she realized in real time everything was wrong, but it was satisfying as hell to witness hers.

For Hannah, the click came after Luke essentially insulted her for having sex with Peter. Luke, a born-again Christian, let Hannah know that if she had sex with any of the other contestants, he wouldn’t hesitate to leave the show. He followed that up by adding that he was fed up with other young people who claimed to be Christians and strong in their faith while indulging their sexual urges. This was a direct insult to Hannah, a proud Jesus-in-the-bio Christian who doesn’t feel premarital sex is incompatible with her faith. Luke just didn’t know it was a direct insult to Hannah, because he never stopped to consider that perhaps she had different opinions about things than he did, and just assumed she would be completely on board. As she began to unleash her righteous wrath in response, Luke backtracked in the sort of self-destructive way only he is capable of doing, letting Hannah know that if she had a “slipup,” he would still be willing to work through it with her.

Through the entire exchange, Luke presumes that he’s dictating the rules of engagement—he’s the one deciding whether to head home or work through it. But a few minutes into the conversation, Hannah changes that dynamic by telling Luke she now realizes he will never be her husband. Luke starts trying to fight for his life, telling Hannah she owes him a chance to say his part. And that’s when she loses it. She explains she’s already given Luke chance after chance after chance, through two months’ worth of BS, and she begins pointing him toward the door. She lets Luke know she “fucked in a windmill”—Luke’s bewildered “Say what?” is an all-time classic—in hopes that the naked truth of her supposed sins will finally send him out the door. In a judgey act of final holier-than-thou-dom, he instead offers to pray over Hannah before getting into the limo. She declines.

All season long, literally from the first date of the season, Luke repeatedly and incessantly told Hannah that he loved her, he was crazy about her, it was meant to be, he would fight for her through anything, this was destiny, etc. He was like a toy with a pull string that spewed out generic affirmations of love. But when it came down to it, he told Hannah that he would ditch her, no questions asked, if she didn’t follow his predetermined guidelines. Bruh, that ain’t love. And when she called his bluff, he retreated immediately. Soon he was explaining how he would still accept her in spite of everything; soon he was begging her for a chance to talk—while still characterizing her behavior as a mistake.

Earlier this year, I wrote about Luke’s tendency to paint himself into corners by saying whatever he thought people in the room wanted to hear, often contradicting himself and pissing people off. I was too generous by chalking this up to a desire to please others. The truth is Luke likes to puff his chest out, but the only fight he actually cares about winning is Not Being Wrong. Example: He body slammed Other Luke, only to argue it was justifiable due to the rules of rugby (it wasn’t) and attempt to defuse the situation by promising to put in a good word for Other Luke (he bad-mouthed him instead). Example: He spent the whole run of the show trash-talking other contestants to Hannah, and when called out on it, he argued that he was just responding to Hannah’s specific questions about how things were going. Example: He told Hannah he’d leave her in a heartbeat if she defied the word of the Lord, only to try to prove he wasn’t actually threatening to leave her.

A few weeks ago, Luke’s fellow castmates began to respond to a season’s worth of confrontations by ragging on his height. But of course, one’s worth as a person has nothing to do with their height. Luke got made fun of for being 5-foot-8, but the truth is, he’s so much smaller than that.

Most Restraint: Hannah

For all of Luke’s warbling about Hannah treating Fantasy Suites as a sexual sampling menu in defiance of Scripture, she’s actually rather smart about only considering sex when it served a healthy purpose in advancing a relationship. Specifically, she makes the intentional choice to abstain from sex with Tyler. (It’s unclear what happens with Jed, whose date does not take place inside any sort of alternative energy source.)

As Hannah notes, she really wants to have sex with Tyler—she describes him as “that dream guy every woman wants to be with,” an analysis several of our website’s male and female staffers strongly and publicly agree with. However, she fears her relationship with Tyler is progressing solely along physical lines, because she tends to jump on top of him and start making out every time they’re in the same room together. She lets Tyler know that no sex will be had before they enter the suite.

Honestly, I’m not sure Hannah needed to do this. It’s odd to me that she felt their relationship wasn’t strong in a nonphysical way, because Tyler also seems to be connecting with her as a person. Maybe that’s just Tyler’s nature—he seems genuinely kind and caring in all regards. But Tyler takes it in stride. He lets her know he trusts her judgment on all such matters—a stark contrast to Luke and Jed, who can’t stop questioning her judgment. And the next morning, Hannah breaks down in tears, claiming that Tyler is “the most respectful man she’s ever been with.” (They seemed like “holy crap this guy is amazing” tears, not “I’m so bummed I gotta break up with this guy” tears to me.)

At this point, Hannah has to pick Tyler. I’m not sure the viewing public will forgive her for having the chance to have sex with Tyler and passing it up so she could develop their relationship further, only to decide she wasn’t interested in developing their relationship further. Honestly, I’m not sure Hannah could forgive herself, considering the way she (and the rest of the viewing public) talks about him. Maybe she should’ve done it with Tyler, because now I think she has to pick him to avoid spending the rest of her life regretting that missed sexual opportunity.

Strangest Gag: The Birds and the Bees

After much consideration, I’ve decided the Fantasy Suites episode of The Bachelor franchise is easily its best overall episode. Hometowns are fun because we get to see people’s families, but they can get dull quickly when everybody’s families are generic and on their best behavior. The premiere used to be fun, but got bogged down in weird gimmicks and seemingly planted one-off antagonists. Finales are oddly unmemorable.

The Fantasy Suites episodes, on the other hand, consistently bring out the best and worst in contestants. (I nominate the Orgasm Dance as an all-time Bachelorette moment.) Even when virgin Colton decided the suites weren’t for boning, he jumped over a dang fence.

And there are always some delightfully odd quirks in this episode. For starters, we always have to see the about-to-have-sex contestants close a door on a camera crew, and for some reason there are often literal fireworks set off outside their suite shortly thereafter, a true waste because the sex-havers can’t even see the fireworks. (Because they’re having sex.) There is always a letter from Chris Harrison, whose handwriting is, suspiciously, different in every season. (You’d think they’d have figured out a permanent producer whose job it was to mimic Chris’s handwriting if he’s too busy lounging to do it himself, but no.) But the oddest gimmick of all, in my opinion, is that after the first date ends, the show comes back from commercial by showing two specific shots of native fauna. First, they show a bird. Then, they show a bee. The birds and the bees. Do you get it? To the best of my knowledge, this trope dates back to Kaitlyn’s season of The Bachelorette, which is the first time a bunch of online recappers seemed to notice, although it could have happened earlier. The show even uses this bit when no sex is had, such as last year with Colton.

It’s a solid B-minus gag. The birds and bees means sex; we all get it. Except, like, when we talk about “the birds and the bees,” we aren’t really talking about anything hot. That expression is almost always in reference to a kid’s parents sitting them down to have The Talk, using animal metaphors to soften the disturbing nature of human sexuality. And, furthermore, I never really got the metaphor? Are the bees (famed for rudeness and protruding stingers sticking out of their lower bodies) supposed to be boys? Are they uhhhhh ... stinging the birds? That’s scary and not the image of sex we should be projecting to our kids—just my take!

Instead of waiting around to make this gag based on a weird, unsexy metaphor about parents telling their children what sex is, I propose that the Bachelorette camerapersons make themselves useful by filming more applicable imagery. This episode firmly establishes that Crete is overrun with stray cats—presumably ones having loud, public sex, as stray cats are wont to do. Film them, and we’ll get the message loud and clear.

Best Sex: Peter

Peter is the undisputed winner of this episode. He’s the second party in the “I fucked in a windmill” quote, which will forever define this season of The Bachelorette. And while most Bachelorette sex is just hinted at, Hannah elaborates at length about the quality, quantity, and passion of her sex with Peter. She compares Peter to Zeus (honestly, not the greatest start to a committed relationship) and herself to Aphrodite (according to Homer, Zeus’s daughter, although we’ll let that slide). Difficulty with mythology-related analogies aside, the point is clear: This was Olympian boning. She described it as “loving” and “passionate” and made all these weird hand motions:

I’d also like to point out that when Hannah says she had sex in a windmill, she really means she had sex in a windmill. Yes, this windmill happens to have sleeping accommodations, but it’s not a hotel room. The two spent the night in a room that was barely large enough to fit a single bed.

There was nothing else there—just walls, a bed, and a chest with items in it. It was basically the bedroom from a video game from 1997. I expected 50 rupees and a health pack to pop out when they opened the chest; instead it had condoms in it. It’s a good thing the sex was good, because there really wasn’t anything else to do.

Most Thrown-Together Date: Tyler

This Fantasy Suites episode had four men in it rather than three, because Hannah couldn’t bring herself to dump Luke last week. As we wrote about last week, that meant the show’s producers probably had to scramble to put together a fourth date. So whose was it? Let’s recap:

Peter went on a romantic sailboat ride and spent the night in a windmill—both definitely things that had to be reserved ahead of time. Jed crashed a conveniently timed Greek family celebration and spent the night with Hannah in a deluxe hotel suite—again, they had to make arrangements with whatever family that was, and the hotel suite was probably #sponcon. Luke and Hannah flew via helicopter to the island of Santorini—definitely a planned excursion.

Tyler and Hannah, though? They got a massage together and spent the night on a docked yacht. Of all the dates, theirs was the one that had nothing to do with Greece at any point, and of all the dates, theirs was by far the easiest to coordinate. For the spa date, they just had to, like, call up a hotel spa and see if there were any available appointments. And they didn’t need to find a yacht captain or anything—they just needed a docked boat. It says a lot about the show’s confidence in Tyler’s power to generate thirst that they saddled him with the impromptu date. “Whatever gets his shirt off!” they probably said to themselves—and they were right.