“I’m so glad Luke is finally gone,” said Hannah, along with the vast majority The Bachelorette viewers. Last week, Hannah finally dumped Luke after two months of putting up with his antics; the camel’s back snapped after Luke’s threat that he would leave her forever if she had sex before marriage. She heatedly shooed him into a limousine and shot him the middle finger, which seemed like a pretty clear break. “I never have to see him again,” she smiled. But Luke (and, of course, Bachelorette producers) had different ideas.
On Monday night’s mini-episode of The Bachelorette, Luke returned, showing up at a rose ceremony intended for the three remaining contestants. He was insistent that Hannah still loved him.
At first, he just kind of slipped in. Wearing a suit, he stood in line next to the other three contestants (who didn’t know he’d been dumped), hoping Hannah wouldn’t notice there were too many guys, including one who was much shorter than everybody else.
Of course, she noticed, and she asked Luke to leave. And of course Luke refused, demanding an opportunity to talk to her. Denied the conversation he wanted, he demanded an explanation for why she dumped him. He tried to explain that he hadn’t said the things he said—unfortunately for Luke, this show is filmed by cameras and broadcast on national television. (“Don’t put those words in my mouth,” he said about words that came out of his mouth.) Soon, Hannah stopped trying to get Luke to leave and instead just ignored him, but Luke made himself unignorable, standing in between the table holding her roses and the men who were supposed to receive them. So Hannah moved the table so that Luke was no longer in the way. Again, though, Luke reinserted himself.
Eventually, the three actual contestants stepped up and formed a barricade keeping Luke from Hannah and urged him to leave. Chris Harrison stepped in. And with all his other demands denied, Luke asked Hannah to say, to his face, that she had no more feelings for him. She did. Finally, he left.
For most of this season, Luke was treated like a threat—a threat to Hannah’s happiness, as he pestered her and continually upset her; a threat to the more deserving men on the show, as contestant after contestant bit the dust after getting into head-to-head battles with Luke; a literal physical threat to his fellow contestants, as at least one of them got body-slammed. It even seemed like he was a threat to win—as much as Hannah was pained by Luke’s presence, she clearly had feelings for the guy.
On Monday night, Luke was no threat. He was a punch line. We laughed at Luke trying to sneak back onto the show; we laughed at Hannah ignoring him; we laughed at Luke’s claims that he was right when there’s video evidence showing he’s wrong; we laughed at Luke’s inability to realize Hannah meant what she said. Most importantly, we laughed at Luke for begging. This was a guy who came to Hannah last week with an ultimatum, threatening to walk away from her if she didn’t comply with his requests, when in reality, he never had the power. It’s always fun to see people who think they’re mighty forced to crawl. Luke crawled and didn’t even get credit for crawling, as Hannah denied basically every request he made. That, of course, is even funnier.
It’s the second straight Bachelor season where a guy has refused to take no for an answer. The last season of The Bachelor ended with Colton pleading to (and jumping a fence for) Cassie for a second chance after she said she wasn’t ready to get engaged to him. It worked—Colton and Cassie are still together, and still not engaged. (Normal for a couple that met less than a year ago!) Luke’s situation was a little different, thought. For starters, he’s not the Bachelor, but rather a contestant on somebody else’s show—he doesn’t get to demand a second chance, and if he were to jump any fences, security would be called. Also, Cassie basically told Colton, “Hey, this is moving too fast and I’m uncomfortable with it,” to which Colton essentially responded, “OK, we can take it slower.” Hannah, though, told Luke, “You disgust me and I’m so glad I finally realized it, and I hope I never see you again,” to which Luke basically responded, “Actually you love me and we’re going to get married.” Kind of a big difference there.
It seems to me like a shockingly high percentage of women-dumping-a-guy situations end with the guy repeatedly badgering the woman and demanding an explanation for the dumping. It also seems to me like when guys get a very reasonable explanation for the dumping—which, in the last episode, Luke did—they refuse to acknowledge it, and keep demanding more explanations. Luke is really the worst type of explanation-demander: He tracked Hannah down, got in her face, and refused to leave when repeatedly asked. If this wasn’t a reality show, her next move would be to call the cops.
Luckily, it is a reality show. In real life, we couldn’t laugh at Luke’s stalkerish aggression. On television, we can see how pathetic and weak that sort of behavior truly is.
Worst Participant: Chris Harrison
An important thing to remember is that anything that happens on The Bachelorette is, to a certain extent, endorsed by The Bachelorette. On Monday’s episode, a muscular weirdo demanded a face-to-face confrontation with a woman who just dumped him. The Bachelorette has plenty of security and could’ve made sure that Luke wasn’t even on the same island as Hannah. Instead, they gave him a camera to record a selfie video of his return, told him where the rose ceremony would be held, and let him walk right in.
It’s a new episode of ‘Bachelor Party’ you won’t want to miss! Guest host @laurenzima sits down with @chrisbharrison to discuss his favorite contestants, behind-the-scenes Luke drama on tonight’s #MenTellAll, and MUCH more.— Bachelor Party (@BachPartyPod) July 23, 2019
Full pod: https://t.co/c8vMQZ5QXy pic.twitter.com/VlT6giA9s4
For this part, Chris Harrison basically lies to Hannah about all of this—he’s almost certainly aware that Luke has infiltrated the rose ceremony, but he doesn’t tell her, instead saying that there are three men waiting for her when he knows there are still four. Then, after Luke leaves, Chris pulls her aside and gives her a strange speech about how Luke is deeply in love with her and is ready to propose. He makes the whole thing sound a lot more romantic than Luke’s begging actually was.
I’m not sure why Harrison/The Bachelorette decided that Hannah needed to be surprised or why they felt Hannah needed to be reminded about Luke’s love for her when she was finally ready to move on. Either way, Harrison’s performance is a reminder that The Bachelorette also plays an active role in the bad things that happen to its characters as well.
Best Editorial Decision: The Studio Audience
Monday night’s brief segment of actual content was oddly slapped onto the beginning of The Bachelorette’s once-per-season reunion special, which caught me off guard. I normally skip the reunion (branded as the “Men Tell All”) because it’s just 25 rejects sitting around rehashing old arguments, and guy-to-guy arguments are easily the worst part of The Bachelorette.
Bumping real episode material into this week’s episode served two purposes: First of all, it meant there was less of the guys arguing. Easy win. Secondly, it meant that just this one time, we got to watch The Bachelorette with input from a studio audience. Throughout the episode, we got a little inset featuring shots of audience members reacting to what was happening on screen. Normally, I would find this tedious. I don’t need an audience going “oooooh!” when people make out, or “awwwww!” when something romantic happens. However, Monday night’s episode featured Luke making a total fool of himself, which means that the audience basically served as a laugh track, cackling at this complete jackass debasing himself on national television.
Watch Luke step into line, and listen to the audience treat it like Kramer slipping on a banana peel.
I’m sure most people watching this episode realized Luke is a total joke. But just in case, the audience’s laughter made it 100 percent clear.
Episode Winner: Neil Lane
One strange subplot to this episode is that Luke showed up to the rose ceremony with a ring—I guess he was not only confident he’d win Hannah back, he was confident he could convince her to marry him on the spot. Luke flashes the ring during his van ride over to the rose ceremony, although for all of the reasons listed above, he never gets down on a knee to pop the question.
If your entire understanding of engagement stemmed from The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise, you would think that there was only one way to acquire an engagement ring: Celebrity jeweler Neil Lane shows up at your hotel room with a big box of diamonds and hand-selects the ring which best summarizes your relationship with the person you’re proposing to. I’ve never fully understood whether ABC pays celebrity jeweler Neil Lane for these sequences or whether celebrity jeweler Neil Lane pays ABC for them, but they are omnipresent.
Luke, though, did not receive a hotel room visit from celebrity jeweler Neil Lane. We’re not told how he got his ring—did he get it in between episodes, or has he been carrying it around this whole time? Is it a family heirloom? Did Luke patronize a rival celebrity jeweler? I like to imagine he bought it himself, because it’s funny to imagine Luke blowing thousands of dollars on this ill-conceived, macho BS.
Whatever the case, one thing is clear: Celebrity jeweler Neil Lane was not involved in this weak-ass nonproposal. Good for him.