I fully expected Hannah to kick Jed’s ass on his hometown date. She’s from Tuscaloosa, he’s bringing her to Knoxville, and Tennessee hasn’t beaten Bama since 2006, including losses by 37, 38, and 39 the last three years. But Jed defends his home turf better than the Vols. He brings Hannah to a recording studio, where—surprise—he picks up a guitar and plays for her. This is, by my count, the sixth time this season that Jed has attempted to serenade Hannah. He walked out of the limo with a guitar singing to Hannah, pulled her aside later on night one to sing to her again, sang at the talent show on their first date, played piano for her in Latvia, showed up outside her hotel room with a guitar later that same episode, and now he’s recording with her in Tennessee.
This was already questionable behavior. The first time a guy plays guitar for a girl, it’s sweet (at best). By the sixth time, you start wondering whether the guy is trying to hide the fact that he’s not particularly interesting and doesn’t have any other skills. But it should seem especially troublesome for Hannah. On an earlier date, Jed confessed to Hannah that he didn’t go on The Bachelorette for the right reasons—he saw the show as an opportunity to promote his flagging music career. (As we’ve previously discussed, his more profitable day job involves taking his shirt off and dancing.) Somehow, he tried to play this as a positive—although he initially only saw the show as a career opportunity, he now is feeling the love, which means it’s real. He wasn’t expecting to fall for Hannah. But … thus far, Jed has taken every possible opportunity to play music, culminating in a trip to a recording studio. Isn’t it possible Jed is still on The Bachelorette to promote his music career? And that with each passing date during which he busts out a guitar, it’s just additional proof that he’s more interested in showing America his guitar skills than wooing Hannah?
The Jed thing is especially troublesome considering some off-screen developments. Since the season started, Jed’s ex-girlfriend has come forward to say that she and Jed had an agreement that he’d only go on the show to advance his career, and that she was blindsided by his eventual decision to ditch her and pursue Hannah. The ex has since also divulged that Jed was cheating on her. I appreciated this subtext while watching Hannah’s painful visit to Jed’s home, where Jed’s mom and sister are extremely skeptical of Jed’s future with Hannah. Jed’s mom furtively explains that Jed is a musician, and likely wouldn’t be willing to settle down and get engaged. Jed’s sister is more blunt: “Him potentially falling in love with you, I’m not sure it’s a good thing.”
Mama Jed seems most concerned when Hannah explains that she told Jed she’s falling in love with him. She asks whether Hannah has told other men that, and is straight-up alarmed when Hannah says she has not. “Here’s to everyone trusting their intuition and their gut,” she says in an ominous toast. “When you stick to your truth, it’s beneficial to everybody.”
Here’s what I can’t figure out: Is Mama Jed concerned that Hannah is going to wreck Jed’s music career? Or does she remember that Jed was just dating some other girl and said he was trying to get famous on TV, and is now trying to warn Hannah via codes that Jed is not a trustworthy longtime partner? Upon multiple rewatches, I can’t tell. All I know is that Jed’s plan is backfiring: Instead of impressing the viewing public with his B-minus vocals, he’s accidentally winning over Hannah instead.
Tonight’s Most Dramatic Moment in Bachelorette History! came at the end of the rose ceremony, when Hannah was supposed to choose three of the four remaining men to stay on for the fantasy-suite dates. Her first two choices were apparently easy: Pilot Pete got a rose, so did Tyler. But when forced to choose between Luke and Jed, Hannah let out an audible “UHHH,” and began to panic, her eyes seemingly flitting around the room for a potential escape route. She took the final rose and left, leaving Jed and Luke bewildered.
In a rare instance of Chris Harrison actually having to work, Hannah confided in the host that she felt none of the four relationships had reached their logical end. She’d had clarity on all her previous eliminations, but walked into the room unsure of whom she was going to eliminate, hoping the answer would come to her—but nothing did. After a long break, Hannah decided not to eliminate anybody. “Here are the extra roses you asked for,” said Chris, in an uncomfortable moment of improvisation.
So yes, Hannah is bringing four men to the fantasy suites instead of the usual three. (It has always been arbitrary that The Bachelorette concludes with three sex dates. Four isn’t that much different to everybody except Luke, who thinks that sex before marriage is sinful, unless you’re just doing your pre-religious-awakening sex tour, in which case it’s fine.)
The rose ceremony was legitimately gripping. Even though I’d seen promos that showed both Luke and Jed in Greece, I forgot about that in the moment and braced myself for one of the more important characters of the season to get axed. I certainly wasn’t expecting Hannah to take all four men to the next step. I expected the show to force Hannah to make a choice—the trips to Greece are already booked! (When one of the four dates next week seems hastily thrown together—like “Let’s sit around a pool and then go to a bar!”—you’ll know why.)
But maybe the show is OK with Hannah dating as many people as she wants for as long as she wants. Here’s my prediction for the end of the season: Hannah goes overseas and tells all four men individually that she wants to explore a polyamorous relationship with them. Luke, as seen in past promos, goes berserk with rage, unable to share. Jed, as predicted, isn’t actually there for commitment, and pitches the show’s producers on letting him promote his music career by being the next Bachelor. Pilot Pete acknowledges that since his job keeps him from home for large stretches of time, he’d be fine with a 50-50 split with Tyler, who goes along with it because he just wants Hannah to be happy. The three live in harmony for the rest of their lives while The Bachelorette gets immediately cancelled by the government.
Smartest Move: Hannah
Hannah’s date with Pilot Pete begins in his Mercedes sports car. (Next week is fantasy suites, when we’ll find out whether Peter’s compensating for something.) While they drive, Hannah takes an unusual step: With Peter’s eyes on the road, she opens up the center console and checks out what Pilot Peter stores in there.
In a normal relationship, I’d tell Hannah to quit snooping. The Fourth Amendment constitutionally guarantees all people on first dates defense against unreasonable searches and seizures, and if Hannah can’t get a Relationship Judge to sign a warrant, she shouldn’t be investigating private spaces without consent. But The Bachelorette is not a normal relationship. Any reasonable expectation of privacy goes out the window when you’re on reality TV, and besides, Hannah only has this one date to find out basically everything she can about her men. She should have full license to overturn every stone just in case these guys are hiding skeletons in their glove compartments. In fact, I think hometown dates should start with the Bachelorette getting 10 unannounced, uninterrupted minutes to try and find whatever she can in her boyfriends’ houses. Bring back Room Raiders!
In the end, Hannah’s fishing expedition is successful: She finds a condom in Pilot Pete’s glove compartment. Dammit Peter! You can’t have sex! Haven’t you ever showered and witnessed the beatific visage of Jesus telling you to stop banging hot chicks out of wedlock?
Most Dangerous Move: Precarious Pilot Peter
On their hometown date, Pilot Peter takes Hannah flying. (Did you know Peter is a pilot?) Peter is, like, stunningly excited about flying, considering it’s his full-time job. I mean, I legit love my job, but I don’t scream WAHOO! I’M WRITING A BLOG! when it’s blogging time.
Anyway. Peter takes Hannah for a spin around Southern California in a propeller plane. They do a flyby of the Bachelor mansion. They also fly over Peter’s house. Peter lives in Westlake Village, which is literally the next town over from the Bachelor mansion in Agoura Hills. Geographically speaking, he has to be the Bachelorette contestant who traveled the least to be on the show. Did Pilot Pete, like, drive to film the show every day and then go home and sleep in his regular bed? Did his mom come by and give him snacks?
While hooting and hollering about the joy of flying, Peter leans over and gives Hannah a long, passionate kiss. WHILE HE IS FLYING THE PLANE. A PLANE THAT DOES NOT HAVE CRUISE CONTROL OR A COPILOT.
Look, I’m sure Pilot Pete is a competent flyer. So far as I can tell, he has never died in a plane crash. However. While you are flying a tiny plane, I’m going to need you to keep both of your hands on the controls and your eyes on the air. Don’t text and drive, and absolutely do not passionately make out while piloting a tiny propeller plane. Thank you!
Most Unstoppable Trend: The Overwhelming Sexiness of Cubans, Like Rodger Sherman
Here’s a thing only I care about: On Pilot Pete’s hometown date, it was revealed that Peter is half-Cuban. This might be surprising to most viewers, since his name is “Peter Weber” and he’s white as Hellmann’s, but it was slightly less surprising to me, since my name is Rodger Sherman, I’m white as hell, and I am also half-Cuban.
Have you ever noticed that there are people of multiple ethnicities in the country you live in? That is also true in Cuba. There are white Cubans and black Cubans and multiracial Cubans and Chinese Cubans and Jewish Cubans, like my dad’s family. (“Jewban” is the preferred nomenclature.) Peter is a white guy whose family—I think his mom, the former Miss Illinois—comes from Cuba.
Anyway, Cubans are sexy as hell. We’re on a three-year run of getting Cubans on the Bachelor franchise, from Bibiana on Arie’s season to Nicole on Colton’s season to Peter. That’s a pretty solid haul for an ethnic group that accounts for less than 1 percent of the American population at large. We are just intensely desirable, which is why we keep showing up on dating shows that primarily feature hot people. Of course, I share no genetic connection with Peter, Nicole, or Bibiana, since I’m 100 percent Jewish, with Jewish relatives who just happened to produce Jewish babies together in Cuba. So I’m going to argue that the sexiness of the Cubans stems entirely from the vibe of the people and not from any hot physical features. Otherwise I would be excluded from this narrative.
Weirdest Vibe: Luke’s Sunday School Meetup
For the first time all season, Luke didn’t get in any fights with anybody. On his hometown date, he brought Hannah to his weekly Sunday prayer group. Luke decided to tell a story we’ve heard before: He used to bang hot chicks a lot, but then took a shower and felt the holy spirit and now he doesn’t bang any hot chicks.
It seems weird that Luke would tell this story to his prayer group. He’s already told Hannah the story, he’s already told the Bachelorette audience the story at least five times—hasn’t he told his Sunday school pals this story at least a dozen times? Don’t they remember his transition from Poon-Crushin’ Luke to Luke, the Righteous Upholder of the Faith Who Turns Down Smokeshows Regularly Because of Religion? I thought he was maybe going to tell them about how his journey as the least popular contestant in Bachelor history made him depend on his faith, but nah.
However, what was truly strange about Luke’s visit to the Sunday School was … everybody loved him. Luke’s prayer circle universally described him as a kind, helping soul willing to befriend anybody. It’s the opposite of what we’ve seen on the show, where he’s aggressive, standoffish, and possessive.
Maybe we’re the dummies. We’re watching a reality TV show, which we know is edited to elicit certain reactions from the audience. We don’t know Luke, even if he looks bad on TV. Judge not lest ye be judged. Or maybe Luke just has a different personality around the people he considers his Christian companions as opposed to the heathens he’s competing with on reality TV. Or maybe Luke has just bullied this entire community of good-hearted Christians, physically overpowering them week after week after week until they agreed to say nice things about him while the cameras rolled.
Yes, I’m settling on this theory.
Episode MVP, Animal Edition: Jed’s Dog
Look at him!
Episode MVP, Human Edition: Papa Tyler
Tyler’s hometown date primarily consists of shirtless boating, as his spectacular musculature glistens in the sun while he makes out with Hannah in the ocean. But after the ocean makeout sessions, Tyler goes back to his home, where he’s reunited with his recently sick father. Papa Tyler seems fine after his health scare, but is still suffering from a vocal cord injury. His voice is clearly affected; it seems painful for him to speak.
Regardless, Papa Tyler talks. He seems utterly taken with the budding romance between Tyler and Hannah, convinced that he’s witnessing his son falling in love. And even though it seems like every word brings him incredible pain, Tyler’s dad speaks at great length about the joy his son’s relationship brings him.
I’m not sure there’s ever been a purer moment in Bachelorette history than a 60-year-old man with a renewed lease on life being so thrilled by his son’s new love that he grits his teeth and delivers florid sermons about love despite the immense physical pain it clearly brings him. I was already all in on Tyler—now I’m all in on Tyler and Tyler’s dad.
Biggest Mystery: The Baloney Zing
During the rose ceremony, Tyler makes one of his trademark quips. When Hannah leaves the room to decide between Luke and Jed, Tyler tells Jed, “It would be complete baloney if you don’t get the rose.” This is a callback joke to last week’s episode, when Luke picked up a pile of sliced meat and yelled, “THIS IS A PILE OF BALONEY, AND THAT’S WHAT YOU’VE BEEN SAYING TO ME” before dropping the meat on Garrett.
One thing keeps crossing my mind, though: Tyler never saw the baloney incident. That happened between Luke and Garrett, on a date that Tyler wasn’t even on—and immediately after the baloney incident, Garrett was promptly eliminated from the show. After that, the remaining four contestants flew back to America, splitting up to go back to their hometowns.
That leaves one of three options:
- Garrett told the guys about the baloney incident. This means that he either returned to the hotel after his elimination to say goodbye and told everybody, “Yeah, I got dumped, also Luke threw some baloney on me,” which seems like a particularly embarrassing thing to say in an emotional moment. It’s also possible Garrett, the last contestant eliminated before the return to America, was on the same flight as his ex-castmates, and had many hours to explain the baloney joke.
- Luke, whose relationship with his fellow castmates is contentious at best, fessed up about the baloney situation. “Yeah, I’m still here. It’s probably because I threw baloney on Garrett.” If this scenario happened, it needed to be on TV.
- One of the producers who saw the baloney toss let the other castmates know that a baloney-related incident had gone down, perhaps hinting that the remaining contestants should try to taunt Luke with lunch meats and lunch-meat-related barbs.
We only have two more episodes to figure out what happened with the baloney. The Men Tell All is going to have to be retitled The Men Tell All (About the Baloney).