"This Was Unprecedented": Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette Episode Eight

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

Sharleen Joynt

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It’s funny how some episodes can stand still in terms of plot development yet provide an abundance of new information. Meanwhile, other episodes advance things rapidly, tying up one loose end after another, yet provide no actual intel. Last night’s episode was an example of the latter—a ghost of an episode. 

On one hand, Hannah axed three guys (Connor S., Mike and Garrett). Seven down to four is a pretty huge cut and it feels as though we should be barreling towards a grand finale. But on the other hand, what did we really learn? Not a whole lot. We knew Connor S. wasn’t going to make Hometowns; we haven’t seen any of him over the last five episodes. We knew that, while Hannah genuinely seemed to like Mike, there wasn’t any believable romantic affection on her end. We knew that Luke P. would absolutely be getting a Hometown date, not only because a pattern of him scraping by has been established, but in large part due to the spoiler-ific previews that have been gracing the end of the last few episodes. On that note, I get wanting to tease us and ensure we continue to tune in, but there’s such a thing as too much information. I’m not usually one to put any stock in this show’s previews as they’re almost always littered with red herrings. That said, I’m having a hard time visualizing any scenario in which Hannah does not send Luke P. home on the date—which is presumably a Fantasy Suite date—after he shames her for having had sex. I wish we hadn’t been previewed even excerpts of that conversation. I don’t want the Coles Notes of a juicy book before reading it.

Last night, during the 3-on-1 date, as soon as Luke P. began telling Hannah his story about finding his faith, we all knew the competition between him and Garrett was over. Luke P. has used their shared faith as an instrument to get his way with her before. While Luke P. just barely scraped by for the last several weeks, I’d say this was the one week he didn’t. And that’s my main issue with this episode, and Luke P. and Hannah’s story in general.

I’m having a difficult time reconciling my respect and admiration for Hannah with her rollercoaster of a relationship with Luke P. Hannah has proven to be very shrewd. She sees through facades, a word she herself used when describing Luke P. She doesn’t buy into the bullsh-t he regularly serves, something that, in an environment practically subsisting of smoke and mirrors, has duly earned my respect. She’s also not an actor, a factor that I deeply appreciate. I don’t believe she could manage faking it with Luke P. because of a producer’s suggestion to keep him around.

Are we missing something in the nooks and crannies of her relationship with Luke P. that could explain her undue faith in him? So many of their conversations resemble arguments, which begs the question: How do they conclude? More specifically, last week, what happened in between Hannah telling Luke that their relationship did not feel “on the tracks” and her decision to give him a rose at the Rose Ceremony? Did she really fall for his gaslighting, believing she had simply misunderstood him when he had shamed her for bungee jumping naked? This week, when Luke P. used his Group Date 1-on-1 time to launch a diatribe about how the guys had been mistreating him, I thought for sure Hannah would see right through it. (I would have thought she’d be surprised if it were the other way around!) But instead, she wondered why the men couldn’t be kind to him. Having been on the receiving end of his antics, she of all people should know precisely why.

Rather than wondering why there’s so much smoke surrounding the fire that is Luke P., she somehow found a way to blame Garrett for being “fake nice” and not outwardly being rude to a guy he didn’t like. (As if Hannah wasn’t polite to Caelynn’s face last season.) For someone who implored the guys not to get involved in her other relationships, she sure was quick to do that with them, making assumptions about Garrett without knowing the full story. Further, Luke P. had done precisely what bothered Hannah about the other guys just two weeks ago: trash talking each other under the guise of being worried for HER. Wasn’t it Hannah who said she could figure it all out for herself?

If this episode had a name it’d be “Blind Faith”; Hannah is blinded by her shared faith with—and subsequent faith in—Luke P. It has translated into limitless tolerance for him, yet disproportionately strict standards for the other men. Is all of this just an enormous (and enormously complicated) veil over the fact that she simply has great chemistry with Luke P. and is thinking with a body part south of her brain? Even then, is their chemistry really THAT much better than it is with Peter, Jed or Tyler C.? Guys with whom she doesn’t need to have formal, painstaking sit-downs in order to establish the most basic of mutual understanding?

I like Hannah a lot. She’s candid, goofy, and completely herself. I dare say one of my favourite leads of all time. But there comes a point where the “fool me once” adage must come into consideration. We have two choices here: either we assume we’re missing crucial puzzle pieces to help us see—even if we can’t understand—why Hannah keeps throwing Luke P. a bone, or we have to assume we’re giving Hannah herself too much credit. Those puzzle pieces would work in her favour, as right now it’s hard not to lose some respect for a woman who routinely makes excuses for a guy who so obviously manipulates and mistreats everyone around him, including her. Her inability to heed his red flags is a red flag in and of itself.

Here are my Top 3 frontrunners based on The Bachelorette episode eight…

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

1. Jed, 25

Rather shockingly, Hannah told Jed this week that she’s falling in love with him. This was unprecedented in how early in the season it fell; never have we heard a lead utter these words before Hometowns. These two shared another 1-on-1 where the emphasis was again on their ease and effortlessness. Honestly, right now their story feels almost too easy and effortless, in a way that makes me still wonder about Tyler C. pulling ahead. I also can’t forget that we never heard actual conversation between these two on Night One; all we got was—shocker—Jed serenading her. Nonetheless, Hannah’s ILY (or IFILWY?) confession must be heeded, keeping Jed sitting very pretty at the top of my list.

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

2. Tyler, 26

I was a bit distraught to see Jed pull so far ahead this week as Tyler C. continues to be my unabashed favourite. It’s hard not to root for a guy that seems to truly see and understand Hannah, support and defend her, all while managing to consistently make her laugh. Tyler’s been laser focused on Hannah in a way that has allowed him to keep pretty private about himself. However, this week, and with a little coaxing, he did finally manage to “open up” the way Hannah needed from him, keeping him firmly towards the front of the pack.

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

3. Peter, 29

Peter’s in third place because he’s the only man in my Top 3 to have only had one 1-on-1 date. And a recent one at that. I feel like if Hannah were super into Peter, she’d have found a way to have given him more. For him to head into Hometowns with so little time under his belt doesn’t bode well; it means Hannah hasn’t prioritized him the way she has others. I still think Peter’s a major frontrunner, but I don’t see him catching up to either Jed or Tyler C. at this point.

Going home next week:

Fan fav Luke P
(Photo: ABC)

Luke P., 24

Though Hannah has proven me wrong time and time again when it comes to Luke P. going home, it’s hard to imagine him lasting much longer. I’m betting on their date from the previews coming sooner than later, if only so they don’t spoil so much of remainder of the season. Plus, watching Luke P. is really getting old, so consider this wishful thinking.

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