overnights

The Bachelorette Recap: Breaking Faith

The Bachelorette

Week Nine
Season 15 Episode 10
Editor’s Rating *****

The Bachelorette

Week Nine
Season 15 Episode 10
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: ABC

In my time away from these recaps, I am a real person who must do other things to fill my time. The most rewarding thing is that I’m a teacher and director for one of those places that calls itself a “comedy institution.” It’s mainly just telling white 20-something guys that no one thinks their “Asian Tinder Date” character is as funny as they think it is and asking why this two-minute scene needs 14 different props. Every now and then, a sketch appears that does a thing. It even goes so far as to say a thing. Right now, my students are performing a song where a magical muse appears and puts a red flag in your boyfriend’s hand when you finally realize that he’s a piece of garbage. The red flags become literal. Someone clearly lays out the case for why your girlfriend is the goddamn worst. Imagine how much time and how much heartache we could all avoid if someone in a smart blazer would just materialize when we were getting up at 5 a.m. to get dressed because Dan still lived with his parents and they can’t really see you leave because then y’know, it’ll be a whole thing — is that cool? No, Dan! It’s not cool! Red flag!

Imagine how much time and heartache we all could have saved if my student had just appeared behind Hannah at literally any point before now and put a red flag in Luke’s hand. Let’s be honest: At this point, Luke should be covered head to toe in red.

As much as we may want to celebrate Hannah’s speech that approximates something resembling feminism, we didn’t have to be here. Ultimately, Hannah was still inexperienced enough to believe that Luke’s potential was the same as his impact on her, and that honoring a man’s potential is more important than her own feelings.

I will say that it’s pretty damn funny that the thing that snapped Hannah back to an earth based in reality was the fact that Luke didn’t want to fuck. That was all it took! A clear and simple stupid-ass standard held by a man is just enough to shut down your downtown Arby’s franchise. And who hasn’t been there? You’re prowling around on OKCupid because it’s the early 2010s and some guy answered that question, “Do women have an obligation to shave their legs” with “Yes” and you’re suddenly like, “Oh my goodness, men are trash and we are trash for loving them. Time to go finish my master’s degree.”

There were, of course, three other Fantasy Suite dates this week, but the whole episode was just setup to watch an Evangelical woman come face to face with the misogynist limitations of her religion in the form of an Atlanta Braves fan who doesn’t understand why they got rid of the Native American mascot. Let’s get to it.

Hannah and her remaining contesticles head off to Greece for these Fantasy Suites. First up is Peter. Poor Peter. Poor, sweet Peter (who has just started to get the Jed treatment). Ladies, it might be easier at this point if we all just assume if we get broken up with suddenly, he’s going on The Bachelorette. Especially if when you Google his job the first thing you get is “[OCCUPATION] Sexy Costume.”

Peter knows going into this date that he has to be more vocal with Hannah and tell her how he’s feeling. Hannah is weirdly insistent on the guys telling her the words “I + Love + You.” According to my LoveNudge app, there are many different love languages, Hannah.

After making out on a sailboat, Hannah knows that Peter has to tell her how he’s feeling because although they’ve spent the entire day making out HOW CAN SHE KNOW HOW HE FEELS?!?!?! So on the evening portion of the date, Peter does the most meandering, Hugh Grant—esque confession of love:

“My dear Hannah, I certainly want to tell you something. Well, it’s not some thing because it’s not a physical object that occupies space … er … well … umm … I’m just positively befuddled, addled, and bewildered. Let me start again — Hannah, there are words that I would like to say but really when you think about it there are lots of words that we don’t say. Words like butthole or Daddy-O or Limp Bizkit.”

Peter finally manages to get there and tells Hannah that he loves her. They head to the Fantasy Suite. OH SHIT. IT’S THE WINDMILL. Peter fucking puts in work in that rickety-ass windmill loft. Twice.

The next morning, Hannah says that Peter is Zeus and she’s the goddess of love, Aphrodite. Who was … technically Zeus’s daughter. Which the one girl in our third-grade class who was obsessed with the Greek gods made sure to tell us. In the morning, Hannah looks a little stiff when she’s with Peter, but she’s optimistic.

Up next is Tyler.

THIS.

WAS.

PORNOGRAPHY.

There is literally an ENTIRE section of the porn website I frequent that is this. exact. scenario. And it WORKED FOR ME. Is that too much? Is that too much information because biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch this was working. 

Hannah walks directly into the ocean to cool herself off and decides that she doesn’t want to sleep with Tyler on her Fantasy Suite date. Which is an admirable position but also … just let yourself have fun. Have dessert, ma’am. Tyler immediately continues to be the man we wish all men were and says that he doesn’t want to push Hannah into anything she doesn’t want to do and he respects and celebrates her boundaries. HAVE YOU EVER HAD A MAN CELEBRATE YOUR BOUNDARIES?! I want Tyler C. to throw my boundaries a ticker-tape parade.

There’s something about Hannah telling Tyler she doesn’t want to have sex during their Fantasy Suite that made me think she wants to preserve her relationship with Tyler more than her relationship with Peter. Both Peter and Tyler had to tell her about how they were feeling, but she only wants one relationship to grow emotionally. Interesting. 

The next morning, Hannah says that Tyler was the most respectful man she’s ever been with. FOLLOW THAT. A relationship can fail for a lot of reasons, but I’ve never heard of any relationship breaking up because the guy’s respect for her boundaries and autonomy was too much. Hannah also says that Tyler would stop making out with her just to hold her. I just can’t. I’m in the most loving and respectful relationship of my life but I would accept an Indecent Proposal from Tyler for, like, $32.50.

Now it’s time for Jed’s Fantasy Suite. Was Jed trying to sabotage his chances so he could be eliminated, or did he just recognize another grifter? Jed can look at Luke and clearly see a villain, and a villain should not make it to Fantasy Suites. So it doesn’t “mean as much” to make the Fantasy Suites when a garbage person also made it. You won’t be able to “cash in” on making it this far if it “doesn’t mean that much.”

Jed has been exposed as a very callous, ruthless person. In this episode, he’s also exposed as a bad actor. Or at the very least, a bad improviser, and as a teacher, I can tell you the bar is very low. Jed isn’t able to feign the “Concerned Boyfriend” or “Lovesick Hero” routine because he doesn’t understand how to effectively convey that point of view. It’s all about him. It’s about how Luke being there reflects on Jed. How it makes him worry about Hannah’s decision-making. In his mind, he’s the lead. Hannah has to get up from the table after being asked to defend her relationship with Luke time and time again.

She could take this as a sign that maybe her relationship with Luke is … problematic, but no. Hannah manages to calm down and decides that she’d like to go to the Fantasy Suite with Jed and takes that as evidence that they’ll be able to get through anything difficult. Oh, you sweet rube. The next morning, Hannah is even more smitten with Jed and I’m convinced she’s the type of woman that falls for the Nigerian email scam.

Finally, it’s time for Hannah’s Fantasy Suite Date with Luke. Let’s break down Luke’s request and Hannah’s reaction to it.

Quite frankly, I’m not surprised by Luke’s request because, by all accounts, he’s a standard-issue Evangelical Christian who adheres to rigid rules about sex, sexuality, and marriage. He views sex outside of marriage as a “mistake” and marriage and their relationship has to happen the way he wants. Hannah has been communicating to him that his faith is what is attracting her to him, so there’s reason for him to think that any way he talks to her about his religion will be accepted. I’m not defending him, but he’s been raised in an environment where religion isn’t really questioned and every one of his actions will be accepted and celebrated. So why wouldn’t he think he’d be able to dictate that, even though Hannah isn’t a virgin, he would like a verbal confirmation of her purity throughout this process. That his wants and beliefs are more important than seeing her as a full person. That calling her out for her potential hypocrisy is his business and his role.

So let’s get to Hannah’s reaction.

It was certainly hilarious and meme-able and I’m sure it will be on throw pillows on Etsy by now. But I couldn’t help but notice that there was no examination of how conservative religion created Luke. How Hannah’s desires are in opposition to the teachings of her religion. The conversation will be about how this was a FEMINIST MOMENT, but I wonder if Hannah would align herself with the phrase “slut shaming.” If she views what happened to her in her relationship with Luke as one event along a spectrum that demonizes and terrorizes sex workers. If she can draw a straight line from Luke’s attitudes to men like Luke who want to take her reproductive rights away.

I know I’m a fucking bummer, but the views that Luke espouses (and with which Hannah aligns herself) are part of a system that wants to do more than just prevent kids from getting freaky in Crete. It’s also part of a system that allowed for Hannah to ignore Luke’s pride and toxic behavior because of the belief that his faith would transform him into the type of person Hannah wants to marry. There was no reason for Hannah to continue to entertain Luke’s shitty behavior except for the fact that he was a “spiritual leader in the home,” and there was no reason for us to expect that Luke wouldn’t hold this regressive view on sex and sexuality. He was a man of a particular faith who expressed a desire to control Hannah and manipulate her.

So where does this leave us?

Well, if the preview is any indication — Luke will refuse to take Hannah’s no for an answer and return to continue to torment her. What a spiritual leader!

The Bachelorette Recap: Breaking Faith