It’s Week 5 of The Bachelorette, and I still can’t type “Hannah” without noticing it’s a palindrome. Tonight, instead of being a man with a plan for a canal in Panama, she will try to referee the Two Lukes conflict. That should meet with as much success as Matt Gaetz’s attempt to shame John Dean for testifying about events he witnessed. Shockingly, Luke P. tells Hannah that Luke S. is on the show for—cue Final Jeopardy countdown music—the wrong reasons. To be fair, the right reasons for being there are equally unsustainable.
Then they’re all off to Scotland, home of kilts, haggis, and a Trump golf club that needs a seawall to prevent it from turning into a water polo course by 2028. Let’s lay odds on whether Chris will say “Cap’n, we gut neh powah!” at least once during his four minutes on screen. And I hope they have time to visit Doonbeg. It would be cheaper for ABC than the President’s visit there.
The group date after-party will feature, as Heavy.com puts it, “a mix of sexy make-out sessions and serious conversations,” which pretty much describes every after-party in the franchise’s history, as well as most ads for erectile dysfunction pills. There are also two one-on-one dates to drink through while predicting if the next ad will be for Olay Regenerist, cat food, or a feminine hygiene product.
Spoilers say one of the Lukes takes his leave tonight, but before Hannah can put the official kibosh on him. I hope it’s Luke Parker so she can marry the other Luke and become Hannah Brown-Stone. For even more fun with names, you can play The Bachelorette Scramble, which is not about the types of eggs the guys like.
We first review last week’s violent rugby game, the aggressive reactions, and the testosterone-fueled confrontations. Add some gamma-ray exposure, and it’s a whole new series.
The men are now gathered pre-Rose Ceremony to brood and fret in the usual fashion. It’s like every Sean Penn performance ever filmed. Meanwhile, Hannah meets with the Lukes. She is anxious, as she has not prepared a PowerPoint presentation.
Luke S. accuses his alter-Luke of lying to Hannah about him. Luke P. denies the charges, and offers his opinion that Hannah would prefer him to her other Luke options. Bachelorettes who gave a rose to this Luke also gave a rose to. . . . The men bicker like chipmunks with one acorn between them as Hannah grows weary of it all. They appear to not even notice when she walks away, continuing their whiny altercation until Chris steps in like the school principal. He announces that the Rose Ceremony is starting now, or he swears he will pull this show over to the side of the road.
Now everyone is angry and resentful at both Lukes. I’m just upset that the first ad was for Eucrisa, since I chose Jardiance for my Fantasy Pharmaceutical League. The Lukes are seething with rage as they eye the roses waiting on the little table for dispensation.
Hannah appears and expresses her dismay at how hard it is to winnow out the losers from the guys with the best abs. The first rose goes to . . . wait, Luke S. has stepped forward to ask to speak with her. It’s a moment as dramatic as when WiIle E. Coyote realizes he overshot the cliff edge and is suspended in midair before crashing to the ground. She agrees, and they leave the room as Luke P. finds new and inventive ways to glare into the distance.
Luke S. tells Hannah he is sorry for all the pain she is enduring in between the free luxury accommodations and sizeable wardrobe budget. He’s going home, he reveals, but first warns her to keep her eyes open. It’s reminiscent of Yoda counseling Luke Skywalker (Luke S.!), although neither of these dweebs is as appealing a fictional character.
Hannah returns to calmly tell the assembled the news of Other Luke’s departure, then starts handing out roses. It’s a very rudimentary process tonight; Hannah seems distracted by the loss of Luke S. or maybe she is reconsidering her choice of eyebrow stencil.
Yet Luke P.’s lapel is still roseless when the last one waits to be awarded. Hannah appears to ponder her decision with great gravitas, much as she does when ordering a frappe, then gives the rose to Luke P. after all. So long to John Paul Jones. I agree with this decision if only because typing out his whole name takes too long.
Reviewing her choices, Hannah claims her heart wants Luke P. here, even as her head screams to wake up and smell the coffee. The remaining men make a toast to their upcoming Scottish adventure, which will not be nearly as exciting as Skyfall.
They arrive in Inverness, where Hannah walks in the rain and observes some shaggy beasts with horns that are not in the cast. The group is staying in a castle, which is pronounced awesome, and inspires much whooping and leaping onto sofas. I hope The Queen was advised to stay away from Balmoral that week.
Hannah tells the guys to focus on “the real” and their hearts, instead of their genitals as they usually do. She takes off on her date with Mike as Luke radiates rage. “She wants you to be organically yourself to the absolute max,” Jed observes to the remaining men. I recognize that line from a peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.
Hannah wants to do all the Scottish things, like going to a bookstore where they can read things without an accent, a liquor store that sells, we must assume, Scotch, and a sweet shoppe. There they try the sourest candy ever, which is black. Surely it’s not a metaphor for this date. Then they chat with the locals at a pub, one of whom recommends they try haggis. Now they, too, can feel the disgust the show routinely serves up to viewers.
Back at the castle, which was in need of a resident villain, Luke P. is stomping around the gardens in a snit. The rest of the guys hang out inside, talking about relationships and wondering if there’s a GYMGUYZ in downtown Inverness. What a waste of a free European vacation.
Hannah tells Mike she wants to start talking about their relationship, instead of continuing to enjoy a pleasant time in each other’s company. Run, Mike! Run for the green hills of Tyrol!
That night, the couple walks hand in hand to dinner. Mike is recalling his previous bad break-up, which makes this encounter all the more anxiety-inducing. Breaking up is hard to do, as we’ve learned from Neil Sedaka, Symantec, and Arctic sea ice. He wants to know about Hannah’s past, aside from the pageants and whether she had sex ed at Tuscaloosa County High School. “I’ve been living my life from man to man,” Hannah reveals sadly, like a torch singer who shops at Uniqlo.
Meanwhile, the group date card arrives at the castle, disappointingly not delivered by a butler named Fothergill; the names are read off by Tyler C. Everyone except Luke P. is on the list, so he ends up with the remaining one-on-one. It’s the standard recipe for heralding drama, just like the 11 herbs and spices are always the same.
Mike declares his love for Hannah, saying fervently that he wants to get down on one knee in a few weeks, and not just to pick his underwear up off the floor. She gives him the rose for being open and vulnerable and wearing a shirt so tight you can read the #2 on a pencil in his breast pocket. Off they go to dance and listen to some shmoe singing as their voice-overs rhapsodize about a relationship that is younger than the carton of half ‘n half in my fridge.
Next day, the group daters meet Hannah in a green area, and are quickly approached by two old-timey battle re-enactors who will teach them to engage them in various fights. More violence? Hannah seems to think that kind of thing can tell her something, where most of us would compare men by their educations, professions, and whether they’re willing to watch a Law & Order marathon that includes pre-Jerry Ohrbach episodes.
The guys trot around with pails of milk, wrestle each other manfully, and otherwise try to injure themselves and the lawn. The hardest part is maintaining the pleats on their kilts.
At the castle, Mike suggests to Luke that he doesn’t want to be there. Luke denies it. Mike resents the pain his uncertainty might cause Hannah. He says Luke is a genuine Loch Ness Monster, although that creature never stooped to manscaping just to appear on camera.
Next for the competition, which doesn’t seem like something you’d see in Highlander, two guys are invited into a ring to wrestle each other, despite having no underwear beneath their kilts. All of a sudden we’re watching Naked and Afraid: Achnagairn Estate. Finally, Jed grabs Hannah and flips her like an omelette in opaque tights. They kiss, which distresses the other guys more than having just had their twigs and berries exposed with children present. Our relations with the UK have been damaged further. The president may have worn an ill-fitting tux in front of the Queen, but at least he probably had underwear on.
At the after-party, Hannah is pleased that Luke isn’t there to throw a wet blanket over the proceedings. She and Jed display a certificate declaring them Lord and Lady of something, probably Lack of Manor. They celebrate by pawing at each other like a footman and the downstairs maid in the larder. Then Peter and Hannah climb onto a pool table to make out, which doesn’t seem like it’s good for the baize.
Alone, Luke P. receives his date card. It mentions “working things out.” Eager to see Hannah and talk in canned phrases, he waxes his chest and gets a manicure, just like William Wallace before his attempt to seize King Edward I’s throne. It’s going to be just as bad a fail for poor Luke.
Hannah gives the rose to Jed, of course. He’s the Lord to her Lady, the Pat Sajak to her Vanna White, the MoonPie to jelly glass of milk. Noting that there was no sense of drama at tonight’s party, she realizes that it’s because Luke was not present. She can also name all the farm animals in her Richard Scarry book.
Next day, as the other guys are bitching about Luke, he appears to gloat about his one-on-one date. “Keep our names out of your mouth,” instructs Garrett harshly. Luke agrees. He wants to jam Hannah’s tongue in there, anyway.
The pair greet each other with alacrity in a giant empty field. It has more personality than Luke does. He complains about how hard the past few weeks have been. Hannah doesn’t get why the other guys don’t like Luke. She should watch some footage from the previous episodes. He defends his right to bitch about them behind their backs.
Hannah reinforces her argument by noting that every single guy had something bad to say about him, including Chris, the boom operator, and the man who trims the hedges at the mansion. Luke’s defensive and dismissive of these points, much like Mitch McConnell when presented with legislation to protect election security. She tries to explain, but Luke doesn’t even appreciate the impact of a one-star Yelp review.
Things appear to be looking bad for Luke now. Good thing he packed a bunch of towels and mini-shampoos before he left for the date. Deeply troubled by the man’s obtuseness, Hannah consults with the crew as she tries to figure out how to deal with Luke. Behind her, the surf crashes against the Scottish rocks, a much more pleasant noise.
She is impatient with Luke’s rationalizations for his behavior. “I need more,” she says to him, perhaps a couple more inches of height so she can wear heels. Frustrated, she tells him she wants to know important things, like whether he likes spaghetti more than mac ‘n cheese or if Lavoisier ‘s oxygen theory of combustion conclusively did away with the prevailing phlogiston theory.
“I need the real,” Hannah declares. Pasta choices do make many marriages. Yet she cannot bring herself to send him home. What is his appeal? Is it the Dr. Benton Quest beard? The ferret-like eyes? The limited vocabulary?
That night, they continue the same line of blather. She doesn’t like that he puts up a facade. He tries to blame this failing on her, the other guys, and possibly possession by Beelzebub. He asks earnestly how she handled the problem of acting like yourself when you’re required by the producers to play a character out of a Harlequin romance. I think that’s called method acting.
Yet Luke insists Hannah’s the girl of his dreams. Even her flaws are a turn-on! He delights in her description of herself as someone who one day is kneeling in church praying to the Lord, and the next a devilish bitch. Maybe he should date Sybil.
Hannah reminds Luke that he got the First Impression Rose, but that initial reaction has not paid off. He didn’t give her clarity. Since no one knows what that means, it’s hard to be sure. But she found she always wanted to know more about him, even while he has remained a superficial clod with the charisma of a Pet Rock. Therefore, he does not get the rose. Luke 2 is jettisoned.
Next week, Hannah will cry, Chris will comfort her, and a guy will be compelled to pray in an actual church to find clarity. I guess God is a member of Bachelor Nation.