THE SECRET LIFE OF BROS 2
I’m starting to think — and stay with me here — that the “if I want something, I deserve to have it” mentality is not exactly a healthy one?
It is just wild how two awful men can bulldoze an entire cast who otherwise seem to be nothing short of Prince Harry in their "probably don't want to run a background check on them, but seemed to have turned into real solid fellas now" vibe. As for the aforementioned Cam, he’s simply your run-of-the-mill Bachelor villain who came to make a big splash but never really stood a chance with Hannah because he's basically a Ted Mosby standing next to…well, a Tim Riggins.
But Luke P. is something much more insidious altogether.
Luke P is a villain Hannah can't see through. And it's not just because she's extremely physically attracted to him, which she is, but there's an extra layer of trickery going on here for a gal like Hannah who is only six years outside of her last summer at youth camp, and hasn't quite sorted through her complicated feelings about where her own personal beliefs stand, and what was just some seminary intern telling her that boys have certain uncontrollable desires, so we have to do our part in not wearing spaghetti straps to Wednesday night bible study. [Ed. note: I’m fine, I’m fine, everything’s FINE.]
See, we're going to have to take it aaaall the way back to the premiere for this one, when Luke P explains to us, "I like to think I'm a good-looking guy. And when I was in college, a lot of the girls around me thought so too, and I definitely took advantage of that." Yes, always cool to use "took advantage of" in reference to college girls you've had sex with, Luke, and definitely best to do it with a smirk when you're about to follow up with:
"But this emptiness came over me, and I had an encounter with God."
And, y'know, I never want to judge someone else's religious testimony, but in this case, I have to make an exception — Luke P is full of shit.
He says that God spoke to him in the shower and told him to stop having all that amazing sex he was having because of how hot all those ladies found him, and so he listened, and now he's just busy "working on the husband I want to be for my future wife," and definitely, totally, not at all having sex.
So, Luke P takes his Big Bible Energy to the mansion, and we don't see it in their first conversation, but I know he and Hannah must have talked about their shared spirituality, because from what we actually see of their initial conversation, there is no other explanation for her giving him the First Impression Rose.
Luke P is the first person to go comfort Hannah after she has to kick The Girlfriend Guy out, sure, but my only takeaway from the conversation they had was that when they sat down to talk, Hannah said she was freezing, and Luke so pointedly did not give her his coat, it was insane.
That’s a weirdly repeating theme this season from not just Luke, but other men who will not give Hannah their coat when she says she's cold. Guys! If a woman is contractually obligated to wear a sequined dress with a slit up to her ovaries in early March, and you're wearing three layers, maybe just spread the warmth around a little??
Anyway, that First Impression Rose is the beginning of what I have to assume is ultimately going to be a very frustrating experience for Hannah. Because instead of it giving Luke P the confidence that Hannah likes him so he doesn’t need to keep seeking out affirmation, it does the opposite: Luke P is stuck to Hannah like born-again-virgin-hands on Bachelorette ass.
At the Week 2 group date, where the guys compete in a beauty pageant, Luke is miiighty proud of his performance in a speedo…
That is, until Hannah makes these finger guns following sweet (and secretly jacked) country singer Jed’s speedo performance.
And then Jed sings a catchy song as his talent…
Causing Luke P to make his signature “holding in a fart and/or rage scream because I’m not getting attention right now” face:
As you might recall from Part 1 of the recap, when Alyssa Edwards asked Luke P what his assets are that he might incorporate into the talent portion of the pageant, he answered: "My character." Gah, that is a red flag the size of Chris B. Harrison's paycheck. It's not something I've ever run into in a real life scenario, but The Bachelor franchise has made me realize that anyone who prides themselves on their character…has bad character.
If you have good character, you just don’t have to think about it…because you have good character.
But you know who else like to talk about noble character, and seeing someone's heart, and the full Chicken Soup for the Teenage Christian Soul table of contents:
HANNAH. I love Hannah because she is an amazing Bachelorette in the way that she is funny and makes for very entertaining television…
But Hannah is a terrible Bachelorette in the way of…knowing when a guy is full of shit or not. And maybe that's because Hannah is a little full of shit herself — meaning that she knows she wants to fall in love and get married, but she doesn’t really know what either of those things mean to her yet . I think she's planning on figuring it out as she goes along, and that’s fine; unfortunately, it also means believing Luke P when he gets big mad that Jed is garnering more attention than him at the fake beauty pageant, so as his talent, he goes on stage and tells Hannah: "I can't believe I'm saying this right now…but, I'm genuinely starting to fall in love with you."
But it’s not just Hannah — I think Luke P really believes himself too!!! Toxic men rarely know they're being toxic. They're not doing it on purpose. They're doing it because they've always gotten the girl or they never got the girl…they were popular in high school or they were picked on in high school…they've always gotten everything handed to them or they've never gotten anything handed to them…
Whatever the combination of self-pity, they've made it an excuse to feel entitled, and Luke P clearly feels that Hannah should be his, and he's going to <BWAH, BWAH, BWAAAH> do whatever it takes to get her.
Mark my words, that will include manipulating and gaslighting her, whether he realizes he’s doing it or not. I have faith that Hannah will put a stop to this before Luke P meets with Our Other Lord and Savior Neil Lane — but I also have a sneaking suspicion she'll keep him around much longer than she should…
And that comes from a combination of her obvious physical attraction to him and the repeated showing of that "Yes, I've had sex — and Jesus still loves me" clip from the This Season On that I feel certain could only be in response to some very chill slut-shaming from Luke P somewhere around Fantasy Suites. And isn’t that just something, considering the way he’s been using his own sexuality and strength-of-feeling with such intent thus far this season…
Hannah asks him after his “starting to fall in love” (not a thing!) profession at the pageant, if he's sure about what he said because she knows it's easy to get caught up in wanting to get roses. This is when Luke P tells Hannah that he started developing feelings for her before he even met her. And then, if you can imagine this, she lets him continue speaking without calling security. "The connection, seriously, I've had with you, I'm not joking, I'm being 100 percent serious,” Luke continues, gorgeously: “I've never felt a connection like this in my whole life, seriously."
First of all, up until God came to him in that shower, Luke P was just having a bunch of meaningless sex because women thought he was so hot, so how much could it mean that he's never had a connection like this at age 24?
Second of all, something else I've learned solely from this franchise but never encountered in real life humans — I guess because I don't spend that much time at whatever Stagecoach is, or island getaways hosted by Revolve, or the Live Laugh Love section of Home Goods — is that anyone who prefaces their statements with words like "seriously," honestly," or "100 percent" with a notable frequency is being neither honest, nor 100 percent with you.
If you begin a sentence with "honestly" (which, honestly, I sometimes do), the implication is that everything else you say is not honest, and this is the one thing you really want someone to believe, so it’s probably the least honest of all. And this might sound like a dumb language gripe, but in that one single sentence where Luke was declaring his starter-love for Hannah, he reiterated his seriousness no less than six times. And you guys…
Unfortunately, Hannah’s bullshit detector is through the floor if said words are the exact words she wants to hear. And you guys, what Luke P is saying is everything…
Crazy how that works! Because Luke's Week 3 actions are not those of someone who loves and cares for Hannah.
On the week 3 group date, sponsored by The Secret Life of Pets 2, the guys have to pose with animals for a photo shoot. Naturally, this leads to Hannah and Pilot Pete kissing because who wouldn't want to kiss in front of a mini horse, and also because Pilot Pete is extremely cute, seems appropriately wary of competing for love on television, but sticks around because he likes Hannah.
It is reassuring — but also difficult to comprehend — that Hannah seems equally attracted to Pilot Pete as she does to Luke P. But perhaps it is that exact realization that finally tips her scales toward annoyance when Luke starts pulling out his same insecure tricks at the—all together now!—Secret Life of Pets 2 photo shoot.
Suddenly, Luke P shouts out to the photographer, with a menacing look in his eye:"Hey I got one more real quick." Then he…gets down on the ground…and tells Hannah to come stand on his back…while he does push-ups???
I'm sorry Luke, did we not mention that this is a Secret Life of Pets 2 promotional shoot? I feel like we really, super mentioned it. And yet here you are, staging your own photo with exactly zero teacup pigs in the shot—what gives, dude???
Even Hannah catches on at this point that Luke is being weird and insecure, so she tells him she has to go change her outfit (classic technique), and Luke says he'll go with her. She says no thank you, that she’ll go to her dressing room by herself. So Luke starts physically steering her off somewhere, saying, "You just want to chat for a minute?"
Oof, this is where things really start to get Molly, you in danger, girl, and Hannah is finally mad about it.
At the nighttime portion of the group date, she pulls Luke aside to tell him that he needs to give her some space, but before she can even start talking, he's suddenly monologuing: "You really do fit the perfect mold of what I've been wanting my whole life in a future wife, and here I am, letting other guys develop a stronger connection with you … and I really don’t think these guys have what it takes to be your future husband." Luke, buddy — read the room.
But Luke doesn’t read the room!
He doesn’t care what Hannah's thinking or feeling, and he frequently assigns her feelings when he's away from her, saying things like he knew Hannah wished it was him on the hotel room date instead of Connor (and later asking Connor what Hannah was wearing while she was sick—for the record, Connor recalls Hannah's silk pajama pants as "sweat pants" which is further proof that dressing up specifically for a man should never involve more than mascara and manually pushing your boobs up).
Luke, if she wanted it to be you on that date, it would have been you, and if she didn't think any of these other guys could be her future husband, she wouldn't be dating them. Hannah looks Luke in the eye, and says, "You know, I like you, and I'm glad we have this automatic connection — but I'm struggling a little because I feel like you already think it's promised to you. And I feel like your confidence in this kind of makes me irritated in a way."
There are some filler words in there, sure, but telling a guy that he's irritating you, he's overly confident in your feeling toward him, and that his behavior is bothering you is…pretty straightforward!
But not to Luke. He says, I kid you not, "Can I just cut you off for a second because I'm happy we're having this conversation."
Hannah—an angry legend, a pissed off queen—tells Luke, no, he may not cut her off.
And let me tell you what, I guaran-fuckin-tee ya Luke is not someone who deals well with a woman getting firm with him. And you know how I know this? Because after Hannah tells him that she needs him to back off and respect her other relationships, Luke tells the camera, "I don’t think I've been acting that way. I don't see her seeing me that way."
Which is just a wild response to someone telling you precisely that they see you that way!!!
But Luke doesn't see himself that way, so what he's gonna do is “act like this conversation never happened,” and be more disrespectful of her other relationships than ever before!!!
And hey, I don’t want to sound like I'm saying Hannah asked for toxic meatsticks to follow her around an antique warehouse, but I will say that following a woman around an antique warehouse while she tries to kiss her other boyfriends literal minutes after she asked you to not follow her around so that she could kiss her other boyfriends is… a capital-b B O L D move.
First, Luke tries to interrupt poor Devin, saying that he has to get something off his chest with Hannah, and Hannah assures him that she will talk to him later…
Then Luke interrupts Hannah with a different man named Dylan, who informs Luke that they're talking about something serious; Hannah asks him once more to leave, and tells him that she'll find him later…
So Luke continues to wait just on the other side of the door Hannah is behind so that he can jump in the moment Dylan exits. This is when Pilot Pete arrives, and Luke begins interrogating him about his presence in the near vicinity of Hannah.
Pilot Pete says that he hasn’t talked to Hannah yet tonight, so he'd like to, and Luke bites back, "Literally, I haven't either!" Pilot Pete reminds Luke that he was the very first person to talk to Hannah, per her own request, and Luke responds: "She explained herself to me, and I didn't even really have time to talk to her at all—she talked to me." And isn’t that just all we need to know about how much respect Luke P has for Hannah, a woman he is “starting to fall in love with” (not a thing!).
Pilot Pete would be perfectly within reason to be annoyed by Luke getting aggressive with him in a small hallway that he is simply trying to sit in, but he has the exact right attitude about it: "If this guy wants to sink his ship, I'm not going to stand in his way." A pilot with sea metaphors? Swoon.
Yeah, Hannah fucking swoons too! Just after she walks out in that hallway and finds Luke P still there, and tells him for the third time that she'll find him after she's spoken to everyone else: "I want to call my own shots—I said I was gonna talk to you, and I will." Luke gives her the same blank stare he always does, then goes back and tells the other guys that he's thought about leaving tonight because he can't even say for sure that he's in love with Hannah yet after four days of knowing her.
Peter tells Hannah that his mom knew she was going to marry his dad just from seeing his butt—that's how you KNOW, Luke! And you know what else helps? Mounting a pilot against a wall.
Let me tell you, there is something so delicious about watching this giant man spin out of control because he's not getting as much attention as he wants from a woman, and then watching sweet Pilot Pete humbly walk in with that very woman’s lipstick all over his face.
These are the simple pleasures Hannah brings us. The least we can do in return is offer her a Cam-free world…
ABC: ALWAYS BE CHEERS-ING (METAPHORICALLY)
Hannah does eventually have that conversation with Luke, telling him firmly that he is not her only relationship and he has not been respecting that, "SO I just need you to work harder and fix this, okay?”
Luke at least pretends to listen this time because when Hannah comes over for a tailgate party in lieu of a cocktail party the next day, he allows her speak to other men without putting on a singlet and trying to bench press her or anything. Which is good because, in regards to this party, Hannah says: "I just want easy conversations, I don’t want to hear about anything tragic, I just need a chill day."
A chill day? Not on Cam's watch…
After Chris Harrison announces the tailgate party to all the large men on tiny couches and leaves, Cam calls for their attention. He's prepared a speech:
"Guys, there's something very personal and very serious in my life that I need to discuss with Hannah that I haven't had an opportunity to, and this has been something that has been a downfall in my last two serious relationships. So right when it gets started, I need to just pull her aside for a second. And there's a strong likelihood that it may be too much for her to handle and she sends me home before the rose ceremony."
Now Cam raises an invisible glass: "I just want to say it's been a privilege getting to know you guys, and you know, a metaphorical cheers to, you know, living your truth."
BIG MIIIIIIIKE!!! Can you imagine, having your very serious conversation with Hannah interrupted by this man multiple times, and then having him tell you that he'll be reserving time with Hannah today to tell his very serious story, because his very serious story is "very personal and very serious in [his] life."
Mike tells Cam that’s bullshit and there are no rules of engagement, especially not for him. But he doesn’t interrupt when Cam eventually pulls Hannah aside to tell her that "in the year 2014" he was told he'd have to have his leg amputated. I happen to know from social media this was because Cam has lymphedema, and that ultimately he did not have to have his leg amputated, but for some reason, the editing does not give us those specifics.
The scene hops around from Cam saying he almost had to have his leg amputated to saying that he then found out his grandmother passed away, and then he had to re-home his 10-month-old puppy. "I didn't want to go into tonight's rose ceremony without being fully transparent and giving you the full picture of who I am," Cam tells Hannah, with 100 percent, seriously, I'm not kidding, I'm not kidding, 100 percent honesty.
One could see how when Mike later mentions to Hannah that Cam told them all he was going to tell her "a sad story to get a pity rose," Hannah would believe Mike. Because it's one thing to want to be transparent about a chronic condition that would be a factor in any relationship you have, and it's another to include every other sad thing that's ever happened to you and then dare the Bachelorette to not give you a rose now…
There's no way to know who introduced the "pity rose" idea first, Mike or Cam, but I do know that when Mike is talking about it to Hannah, he's wearing shorts, and his thighs are enough to distract a gal, if ya know what I'm saying.
So Hannah pulls Cam aside and tells him that she appreciates what he told her earlier, but she just left a conversation where Mike said Cam thought he thought he was going home tonight and so he was manipulating Hannah by telling her that story now. Cam says he wouldn't compromise the integrity of his story for a pity rose, but Hannah wants to know why she heard he was writing letters…
And uh, I do too. I assumed that Mike telling Hannah Cam was "basically writing Dear John letters" was in reference to the little Oh Captain, My Captain speech her gave that morning, but…
Hannah seems pretty damn certain about these letters. "Then why were you writing letters?" she repeats no less than 18 times, until finally Cam admits—he was writing letters! (Whom’st in that house would want to receive a goodbye letter from Cam, I have to ask???)
And it was because he thought he'd be going home at the Rose Ceremony.
Hannah tells Cam that she needs some time to think about this, and when she departs the tailgate, she tells the group at large, "Know that I have some difficult decisions to make." And then she looks Cam dead in the eye…
Fretting before the Rose Ceremony, Cam says: "It is incredibly frustrating to know that my destiny with Hannah is at the mercy of her choosing to believe me." Can he and Luke P even hear themselves speak? Has anyone ever asked them to fill out a sociopath questionnaire, just for funsies? Can they possibly understand how evident it is that they do not care one bit about Hannah's feelings or opinions or choices in her own life if it means that they won't get what they want?
Hannah announces that she's very confident in her decisions: she keeps Luke P, cuts Cam, and I immediately start squirming thinking about if anyone would give Cam a hug goodbye — I don’t like Cam, but I’m not a monster.
But you can always count on John Paul Jones to take one for the team.
And you can always count on me to go three weeks without writing about The Bachelorette, and then drone on for so long, I literally have to split the recap in two. And you guys — we didn't even get to Tyler's butt.
Butt, that’s for another day.
Because you wanna know what I like most about you, reader? I like the way you look at TATBT. Do respond here with any questions, comments, concerns, or haikus about Mike's smile, and I'll see you back here soon for another Bach-tastic recap!