"Hannah Recognizes His Worth": Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette Episode Seven

The former contestant shares her insider’s POV on episode seven of ‘The Bachelorette’

Sharleen Joynt
by

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I have a running joke with my parents: each time we Skype each other, I kid that “every time is like the first time.” I love them dearly and they are both highly intelligent, but whether it’s the audio or the video or just general connectivity—no matter how many times I’ve troubleshot with them—it’s always a struggle to figure out. It’s simply a language they don’t speak, and at this point, the difficulty is so predictable that it has become reliable. In my silly metaphor, Hannah is to my parents as Luke P. is to a virus-laden version of Skype. Hannah is smart and perceptive, yet dealing with Luke P. is like trying to communicate in a foreign language. After hours of “troubleshooting”—a.k.a. endless excuses and defensiveness—Luke P. finally functions as he’s meant to, eventually conceding, apologizing, admitting fault. However, you just know he’s going to revert back to his same old ways directly afterwards. He doesn’t learn any actual lessons, so he never evolves or even improves. Instead of building on progress, he “resets” every time. My comparison of Luke P. to a piece of compromised software is intentional—his reactions and responses really are that predictable. Reliably predictable.

What is particularly scary is that, as I touched on about Scott way back in Episode 1, this is Luke P. on his best behaviour. Take a second to let that soak in. He often seems like he’s about to throw in the towel, to punish Hannah by withdrawing his attention and affection, the way narcissists tend to. But then he seems to remember that in the unique scenario of The Bachelorette, it’s Hannah who wields all the power, so he back pedals, admitting he was wrong and committing to “trying harder.”

It’s scary to consider, but how would he behave if this were a real-life relationship? Luke P. is the kind of man—it honestly feels weird calling him a “man”—who starts out with flourishes of adoration and claiming to “love everything” about his girlfriend/fiancé/wife. Yet gradually, and over the course of countless passive aggressive remarks and arguments that go in circles, he dictates how she dresses, where she goes, who she sees, how she behaves, methodically replacing the very things he claimed to have loved about her.

It’s not difficult to dissect: Luke P. is cripplingly insecure and therefore doesn’t have the self confidence and acceptance to truly love another. Loving Hannah, as he claims to, would mean wanting her to embrace all the experiences this unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity affords her (whether or not naked bungee jumping is really a Latvian thing—the fact that I wasn’t remotely fazed by this first date activity tells me I’ve been watching this show too long.) Tyler C. perfectly described how one should feel about it: “Let her have those experiences, living to the max.” But in Luke P.’s world, all roads (and lanes) point to him. He cannot process not being the star of any scenario, even if that scenario is a date he wasn’t on. Staying in his own lane doesn’t exist because, as far as he’s concerned, his lane is the entire highway.

Things start getting really dirty when, in compensating for that insecurity, he pulls from his Christianity. To justify feeling as basic of an emotion as possible: jealousy, he relies on the religion card to perch himself on as high a horse as he can manage, casting blame and judgment down on others.

But the worst part of all is that Luke P. is consciously using weapons to which he knows Hannah is susceptible. Remember when Hannah said (to Peter, on their 1-on-1) that her fear of rejection is an everyday struggle but that she knows now what weapons to bring to battle? As Chris Harrison revealed in an interview last week (thanks for sharing this with me, dear readers!), what really bonds Luke P. and Hannah is the intensity of their faith. It’s a key reason they’ve become as close as they have, and why she continues to give him far more credit than he deserves. This makes Luke’s words and judgment this week extra insidious. Not only is he showing early signs of controlling behaviour and sex-shaming, but he’s doing it from a God-fearing angle. He’s making it about religion (versus his personal angst) because he knows that’s an angle to which Hannah is sensitive.

Thankfully, with some time to marinate with how their conversation left her feeling, Hannah confronted Luke P. and doesn’t seem to be falling for it. But the fact remains that Luke P. used her faith (and based on the previews, will continue to use her faith), the very information about her that brought them close in the first place, as a weapon against her. A weapon to which he uniquely knows she has a weakness. I wish I could say I’m surprised by this, but the software that is Luke P. shouldn’t surprise anybody.

As for frontrunners, here are my Final 4 based on The Bachelorette episode seven…

Tyler C of The Bachelorette Season 15
(Photo: ABC)

1. Tyler C., 25

This episode was Tyler C.’s time to shine and I was all about it. He has laid fairly low in terms of the Luke P. drama up until now, making each of his takedowns of Luke P. this week more impactful and on point. More importantly, in his defending Hannah to Luke P., he’s proven time and again how much he respects her and wants the best for her. He understands that her bungee jumping naked with someone else is about her experience on The Bachelorette; it has nothing to do with him. He appreciates both her aggressive “All Business” side, yet as we saw on their 1-on-1 date, supports and uplifts her vulnerable, defeated side. There is great balance and equality here. Most importantly, while Tyler C. might be (wonderfully) understated, Hannah evidently recognizes his worth. She gave him this week’s Group Date rose, even with Jed on that date, and in general is drawn to him like a moth to a flame. I just love watching these two together.

Season 15 Bachelorette contestant Jed W. wearing a short-sleeved grey shirt as he smiles and poses for the camera.
(Photo: ABC)

2. Jed, 25

Halfway through the episode, I thought I’d be bumping Jed in favour of Peter. But then Jed pulled ahead again by serenading Hannah from the street, cleverly getting some extra alone time out of it. I really admire Jed’s style with Hannah—he is actually pretty aggressive, and when you think about it, his serenade could easily have been portrayed calculatedly, even villainously. But because you can tell it’s going out of his comfort zone to be this aggressive, and because Hannah is reciprocating as strongly as she is, it’s all OK. Jed confessed this week to truly falling for Hannah and he remains a major frontrunner.

Season 15 Bachelorette contestant Peter W. poses in a black blazer and blue undershirt as he smiles for the camera.
(Photo: ABC)

3. Peter, 27

As I said on The Morning After, I feel like last week’s “recap” episode slightly ruined Peter’s frontrunner status for me. I can’t get past Hannah speaking in retrospect (despite using present tense) last week, saying she didn’t really know where Peter fell in the pack. I get the impression Hannah thinks Peter is sweet and is surprised at how hot their chemistry is. But, observing her non-makeout interactions with him, I don’t get the same level of emotional investment that I get for Tyler C. or Jed. So while Peter is a clear frontrunner, he’s officially been bumped to third.

Fan fav Luke P
(Photo: ABC)

4. Luke P., 24

It pains me to include Luke back on this list, but the cookie is crumbling in a way that makes me think he must be getting a Hometown, possibly even a Fantasy Suite. This could partially be because of producer influence, partially because Hannah really does see something in him and partially because Hannah is super attracted to him and wants the overnight alone time. Whether it’s one of the above or all of the above, it’s hard to see Hannah keeping him through these rough past two weeks only to send him home right before Hometowns. It all comes down to where in the season (and on which date) the previewed sex-shaming debate falls.

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