In partnership with Starbucks at Home
It’s no secret by now that I love Tell Alls. I say it every season: there’s nothing like watching how contestants choose to behave in the “now,” having seen how America responds to them. What will they say in a situation where they have the most control over their edits they’ve had all season, and which contestant whose name you can’t remember is going to disproportionately stand out? There’s a whole new level of potential analyses!
Unfortunately, last night’s Men Tell All on The Bachelorette was fairly lacklustre. First, as someone who enjoys these, I already feel Tell Alls are on the short and rushed side—more often than not, I’m left wanting more. So, while I get wanting to keep us on the edge of our seats with last week’s Rose Ceremony cliffhanger, it ate too much into valuable, only-once-a-season time. Further, while it was entertaining from a karmic perspective to watch Luke P. get re-kicked off the show, part of me felt a bit icky about it. After all, there’s no chance he wasn’t encouraged to return, supported in his belief that Hannah might have had regrets. Hell, he was likely instructed to stand in the Rose Ceremony line up, to insist that all he needed was five minutes of Hannah’s time to redeem himself and possibly their relationship. Yes, the guy is god awful and possess zero self awareness. But it certainly doesn’t help when he has a miniature devil on his shoulder, encouraging him to do things and behave in ways that will only make him look worse.
Heading into the Tell All, things only got worse. The show paraded Luke P. out first, knowing full well he’d learned no lessons and hadn’t changed in the slightest. (Again, I’d be surprised if he wasn’t supported in not learning lessons and not changing; he was likely told to stick to his guns and not allow himself to be “misunderstood”.) Literally, an entire half of my precious Tell All was The Luke P. Show, including long bouts of silence where everyone sat and waited for him to piece together sentences defending himself. As a recapper, it’s irritating. Recapping Luke P. at this point is to sound like a broken record: How many times can I call him manipulative, delusional narcissist? I’m out of words to describe him and his actions.
In keeping up with my Tell All tradition, here are my top three most memorable moments:
3. Strength In Numbers
There was no better example of there being fire where there’s smoke than in the men banding together against Luke P. last night. You would have to be crazy to think Luke P. was somehow done wrong by his edit based on how many guys got involved. With villains at Tell Alls, there are usually one or two contestants who (sometimes surprisingly) come to their defence, revealing friendships editing never allowed us to see. (A perfect example of this is was Casey defending super-villain Courtney Robertson at Ben Flajnik’s Women Tell All, proof that she wasn’t as friendless as she seemed.) Luke P. had no such support, the ultimate sign that what we saw really is what you get with him. But what I especially enjoyed was how surgically the men involved took him down.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t actually think it’s possible to truly take down Luke P. since he clearly doesn’t process or absorb feedback; he just alters his reality so that he’s never in the wrong. But the men still deserve credit for not only criticizing Luke P., but for identifying what makes him a worrisome potential partner. Mike, with a chilling sentence because of how accurate it is, predicted Luke P.’s future wife would be “a prisoner” of his if he doesn’t change. Connor S identified one of Luke P.’s biggest issues being the fact that his actions never matched his words; they had waited for the change he’d promised but it never came. Garrett pointed out how Luke never apologizes until after the fact, caught with his “hand in the cookie jar.” Grant jumped in to emphasize that no means no, a concept with which Luke apparently struggles. Jonathan correctly pointed out that Luke projects his faith onto others. Finally, Dylan, with perhaps my favourite contribution of the evening: “It’s 2019, man… you can’t talk to a woman like that.” It was a rousing segment with confident, well-spoken men who respect women, and was a bittersweet reminder of how much goodness we missed out on thanks to Luke P.
2. Clapback Queen
It’s incredible to remember the Hannah we got to know on Colton’s season, the self-conscious woman who could barely articulate the most basic of emotions, who struggled to make a toast. There is real confidence and quick wit in one’s ability to talk back and defend yourself in the moment, and especially to do so in mic-drop fashion as Hannah routinely does. I don’t know if it’s her upbringing or what, but Hannah has mastered this unique skill. From how she refused Luke P.’s pleas to “just talk” at the Rose Ceremony (“I’m not going to let you rewrite what you said the other night”), to her rightfully calling him a narcissist, to her putting him in his place about Fantasy Suites (“Fantasy suites aren’t just used for sex—you may not know that because you haven’t had one”). But best of all was the emphasis on her hard learned lessons, her realization that the very thing that had brought her and Luke P. close together—their shared faith—had been “weaponized” against her. This crime was something we’ve watched unfold for weeks, but I would have remained unsatisfied had Hannah herself not realized and labelled this abuse correctly.
Even her apology to Bachelor Nation at the end of the episode, while unnecessary, showed a true awareness of her having enabled Luke P. She also proved how different she is than him by her ability to own her responsibility in that. Hannah is easily one of my favourite leads, male or female, of all time, and her Tell All showing was every bit as gratifying as I could have hoped (and expected) it would be.
1. The Host With The Most
This show’s venerable host, Chris Harrison, is often a source for humour for me. It sometimes feels like the franchise is outgrowing the need for his champagne glass clinking, his report that there won’t be a Cocktail Party, his comically useless announcement of there being one rose left. And although we’ve had decent sit-downs between him and Hannah this season, those chats too feel like they’ve had the potential to be discontinued, as though the footage gained isn’t worth his paycheque. However, last night showed just how deft Chris Harrison is as an interviewer.
Interviewing Luke P.—a veritable shapeshifter who has no shame (or even awareness) in contradicting and creating new realities for himself—is not for the faint of heart. It requires sticking to the scent and not allowing Luke P. to, as Hannah said, rewrite his own words. On this front, there were several fantastic Chris Harrison moments. He managed to avoid becoming the bad guy in Luke P.’s eyes yet consistently put him in his place in spectacular fashion. At one point, Luke P. said all he’d wanted was to have been heard by Hannah, to have his say, and Chris Harrison responded with, “You had your say. It just went poorly, so you wanted another say.” When Luke P. said a Bachelorette who’d had sex in another Fantasy Suite was “not something he would have wanted in a future wife,” Chris Harrison responded with, “Respect that. That’s your choice. In this particular case, Hannah did make that choice and that doesn’t jive with you. I’m a little bit surprised you didn’t just walk away.” There was a laugh-out-loud moment when Luke P. admitted to having been prideful and arrogant and Chris Harrison matter-of-factly added, “She called you narcissistic.” Luke P. mentioned having felt like he was on “a rescue mission for Hannah,” to which Chris Harrison sharply responded, “To me that means, in your mind, she needed to be saved.” At that point, Luke was quick (and wise) to backpedal. The host also laid down a solid Men Tell All foundation by asking Luke P.—before any of the other men arrived—if he felt he’d made mistakes. (Luke P.’s answer, as per usual, would come back to haunt him.)
In general it seemed Luke P. had arrived with a script of talking points and defences for himself, but several times he was rendered speechless by the host’s piercing—but completely fair—questions. It’s easy to underestimate Chris Harrison’s role in all this, to miss how smoothly Luke P. was given one opportunity after another, how elegantly he was put in his place by an impartial third party. But it takes discernment and satire, yet subtlety—not to mention an impenetrable straight face—to do what Chris Harrison does, and last night gave me new appreciation for it.