Remember last week, when I said former golden boy and Bachelorette runner-up Blake would have been better served not to reappear on this franchise? Well, it would seem every king has his queen, and there’s a former golden girl intent on giving him a run for his money in the messing-with-a-spotless-edit department.
During that fateful beach dance-turned-makeout sesh, Kristina declared about Blake, “Have respect for another dude.” Onyeka said, “It’s like, dude, stop.” Derek later asked Dylan, “Isn’t this more on him than on her?” To these statements, I quote Dylan’s accurate response to Derek: NO. If the genders were reversed here, and Blake were a female wooing the male half of an established Paradise couple, there’s no question the guy—the betrayer, the player—would be seen as the bad guy. The other cast members were at the ready to lay blame on Blake, no doubt due to the sour taste he’d already left in their mouths, but I maintain the crime Hannah committed eclipses Blake’s. Blake owes Dylan nothing. He’s not the one who’s been spending every waking moment with Dylan, establishing a connection, making out with him on daybeds.
That’s not to say Blake is remotely blameless (shocking, I know). When Dylan confronted Blake and Hannah on the beach, Blake really let his manipulation flag fly. Blake insinuated Dylan was being disrespectful in a way he had resisted being: “You’ve had her, like, all day. You’ve shadowed her. I was respectful. I didn’t want to interrupt anything.” Ugh… no, Blake, no. It’s not like Dylan had approached for his “turn” with Hannah—he and Hannah were AN ESTABLISHED COUPLE. That is why Blake hadn’t pulled her aside sooner, not because he was waiting his turn, or out of respect for Dylan. This argument was as hypocritical as it was false. Blake went on to twist the confrontation into something Dylan shouldn’t do to Hannah: “This is why I didn’t do this to her when you were with her, because I knew it would make her feel uncomfortable. Like, what you’re doing right now is making her feel incredibly uncomfortable.” How about you don’t speak for the woman you’re not even in a relationship with? The man had the first date card of the season yet didn’t take her on it—his right to speak on her behalf is nonexistent.
But oh, it gets worse! Blake went on to paint himself the saint, Hannah’s heroic defender: “She has a hard week this week. There’s a lot going on. She needs time to make a decision on her own. You can’t swarm her and try to make the decision for her.” Everything about this rubbed me the wrong way. First, Hannah is a grown woman who can make her own damn decisions. Whether or not Dylan should have approached them on that beach (in my opinion, he shouldn’t have), he was well within his right to request a conversation with the woman he’d been led to believe he was at least somewhat dating. Blake turning that into an attack on a stressed-out Hannah was awfully rich. Finally, in my opinion, Blake’s continuously speaking FOR Hannah showed more of his subtle misogyny I first mentioned last week. Instead of “protecting” Hannah against the man she’s had no problem cozying up to day in and day out, why don’t you shelve your ego, turn to her, and ask what SHE wants to do?
But let’s not forget, Hannah put HERSELF in this uncomfortable situation. If there’s ever been an example of an acquiescent person, it’s Hannah G. It is possible to be a people pleaser, a “yes” person, to a fault, and she passes that threshold with flying colours. Last week, when Wills pulled her aside and planted a kiss on her, she emotionlessly kissed him right back. When Blake did the same at the Cocktail Party, she also didn’t object. (While I admire that she promptly told Dylan, note how she defined both of these circumstances as having been kissed; she was merely the kiss-ee, not the kisser.) The quick succession of these two semi-betrayals seemed strange, but from an exploring-options standpoint—Hannah’s main defence—they seemed understandable. After all, you never want to limit your options or trap yourself in the wrong relationship. (Ah, the always paradisiacal-sounding Paradise.)
However, red flags continued to surface last night. Hannah readily agreed to a date with Jordan, yet later, in revising her answer, proved he was someone in whom she had zero romantic interest. Her accepting the date in the first place felt like a knee-jerk reaction, an almost robotic, non-conscious agreement—and remember, this is while SHE possessed the power; there was no need to cozy up to any man for security’s sake. Her severe distress in cancelling on Jordan was yet another indication of how accustomed to pleasing others she is. When Blake appeared to whisk her off, she again agreed without hesitation, complicit in going to the beach with him, dancing with him and making out with him in plain sight. (How it wouldn’t even occur to her to at least scan the area first for Dylan is beyond me.) I would actually argue the only reason Hannah even became entangled with Dylan in the first place was not because of any proactivity or real interest of her own, but from a passivity and desire for harmony. Being with Dylan seemed to please the majority of her island mates, so she did it. Hannah’s resolve has the strength of a leaf, blowing in whichever direction the wind takes her. Watching her, I can’t shake the lyrics to Oklahoma‘s “I’m Just a Girl Who Cain’t Say No.”
Until that beach makeout, I’ve got to admit a part of me felt a bit bad for Hannah. Paradise is touted as a safe space to explore multiple options, yet having a Dylan by one’s side, the hopelessly devoted instant-boyfriend, would make even the most loyal of partners look bad. Basically, unless Hannah was as blinders-on for Dylan as he was her, she was going to end up looking like the villain to some extent. So in that sense, I did feel for her. But, while Dylan’s interest in Hannah did at times resemble possessiveness, it’s important to remember that Hannah, in all her people-pleasing “yes”-ery, allowed it. Her actions (and from what we could tell, her words) requited his affections, even if her occasional makeouts with other men suggested otherwise. Even if she was only going with the flow, many people—not only heart-eye emojis like Dylan—would have fallen for what really did appear to be reciprocation.
But last night, Hannah’s passivity, her desire for the path of least resistance, came to a brutal head: It was the first time we’d seen her faced with a conundrum that wasn’t simply a yes-or-no question. Last night was her moment to MAKE A DECISION—ANY decision. But she failed spectacularly, choosing to do nothing at all. She was asked to choose between an apple and an orange, and maddeningly, her response was, “I don’t know.” (For real, her exact words were: “Oh, I—I don’t know, guys.”) This frustrated me beyond belief. Where was the well-spoken Hannah G. we got to know on Colton’s season? How can one NOT know?! There was no wrong answer. An unpopular answer, sure, but it’s not wrong if it’s what the heart wants. All the moment warranted was a simple, “I’ll come find you later,” to either man, but she couldn’t even muster that. I understand she may be confrontation-averse, but to just blink at Dylan while he stood there, floundering, letting him feel like a fool… that was cruelty at its finest. Personally, I really wish Dylan hadn’t approached Blake and Hannah on the beach. I know he was egged on by the others to get answers, but let’s be honest, he already had them.
Most importantly, the real reason any of this was happening: Hannah’s just not that into Dylan. It’s obvious her head recognizes Dylan as the safer choice, the popular choice—but she’s attracted to Blake. (We’ve seen this before; Hannah is to Dean as Dylan is to Kristina as Blake is to Danielle L.) And I cannot stress enough that there’s nothing wrong with that. But since she’d gotten involved with Dylan out of passivity, it would take proactivity to then extricate herself. It’s easy to assume one’s passivity mainly affects oneself, but we’re currently witnessing just how much pain it can cause others.