By Kristen Baldwin
July 01, 2019 at 10:01 PM EDT
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Fool us once, Hannah, shame on you. Fool us 8 episodes in a row (technically 7.5, I suppose), then shame on us all. In all of my 174 years of watching The Bachelorette franchise, rose lovers, I have never felt a stronger urge to conscientiously object to a season by (God help me) turning it off. Once again, Ms. Alabama Hannah gave a rose to the gaslighting, controlling, baloney-devouring, Christian cosplayer known as Luke P. It’s almost too much for a fan to bear.

But the truth is, dear rose lovers, I’ll never have the strength to turn this damn show off, even as our Bachelorette chooses to forsake us and anything resembling sound judgment. If you’re sticking around, join me as we break down the latest leg of Hannah’s “journey.”

We begin in the tulip-covered fields of the Netherlands, where Hannah is ready to Open Up™ to her seven remaining men. By the end of this week, we’ll be down to the final four dudes who’ll take Hannah on hometown dates. The first one-on-one of the week goes to singer-songwriter-ghoster Jed — and I have to say, the look of disappointment on poor Connor’s face was enough to break your heart.

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What’s a baby-faced investment analyst gotta do to get a second one-on-one date, Hannah?

For their second “exploring the city” date, Hannah and Jed try some chocolate, dance, and heel-click to the jaunty music of a hurdy-gurdy, and make small talk with a local couple. When the woman enquires about their nationality, Jed replies that they are “English,” because… he’s an idiot, apparently? (“American!” Hannah says. “We’re not English!”) Of course, this adorable old couple from the Netherlands have been married 54 years — and they only knew each other 10 days before getting married. (Props to the Bachelor interns for finding yet another “cute foreign couple who proves rapid courtships can work.”)

The encounter with the sweet old couple makes Hannah feel all mushy inside, but she’s still too anxious to express it. “I just don’t know what to say to these guys that I really have feelings for,” she laments. “I know I’m supposed to trust and not be afraid… It’s just hard.”

For the evening portion of her date with Jed, Hannah definitely brings the glamour.

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Girlfriend loves a pop of color and a statement necklace! Will her latest bold look embolden the Bachelorette to tell Jed how she feels? Let’s listen in… “I have feelings for multiple people here, and I don’t know what to do,” she says. “You have noticed that I’m holding back, and I’m holding back everyone and everything because I don’t want to hurt anybody.”

No matter how you feel about Jed given recent headlines, you do have to give him credit for the smooth way he handles Hannah’s confession. He offers to “take some” of Hannah’s emotional burden: “Whatever I have to do. If I have to hear about things that I don’t like, that’s just how it goes in relationships sometimes. You have to share things that don’t make you happy, but you do it because you love that person.”

Oh boy, does Hannah LOVE it. With a giddy grin, the Bachelorette reveals that their heel-click moment earlier in the day was a true revelation.

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“It feels really good, but it also feels really scary,” Hannah continues. “Because I don’t know what the end of this is for me.” Don’t worry about it now, mama — Jed is just fine to live in the moment. “My heart just fell through the earth,” he gushes. “Wow.” Congrats on your victory, Jed, however temporary it may prove to be. Now bring that date rose back to the hotel and make all the other dudes jealous. (Especially Luke. That jackass deserves it.)

Date number two of the week goes to Tyler and his rolled-up jeans. But his metrosexual cowboy look is called for because today he and Hannah will be horseback riding around the Hague. Nobody told the horses, though — both Hannah and Tyler’s rides are very reluctant to do anything other than pace in circles and make their human oppressors look very foolish. Also, who tries to approach a food cart or ice cream truck on horseback?

It’s also very poor form to a) ride a horse up to a vendor selling pickled herring, b) purchase some pickled herring, and then c) proceed to vomit that pickled herring out into a napkin right in front of the vendor.

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“Do you have a weak stomach?” asks Hannah, who ate the herring without a single gag. “You gotta man up.” Damn right, girl! (Look, I’m all for abolishing phrases like “man up” and “be a lady,” but in this franchise, the S.S. Gender Roles sailed a long time ago.)

Eventually, Hannah and Tyler dismount and sit outside for a Deep Chat about feelings and emotions. Tyler admits that in Riga he was really getting in his head, as the kids say, and comparing himself to the other guys. But Hannah wants to know more. “I want all the details!” demands the Bachelorette. “I want to know what’s going on in this thing [points to Tyler’s head] and in this thing [points to his heart].” Be careful what you wish for, Hannah. Asking Tyler to reveal “the dirty and the raw and the things that have scarred you” could lead to a lot of complaints about inferior hair gel and insidious carbs… but I guess that’s a risk she’s willing to take.

At dinner, Tyler starts dismantling his metaphorical wall, just enough to make Hannah feel heard. His father “came from absolutely nothing,” and worked hard enough to give his family a house on the water in Jupiter, Fla. But then the market crashed, and Tyler’s dad “lost everything.” The family had to downsize, and Tyler had to watch as his parents’ marriage fell apart. “It made me stuff things away,” Tyler explains. “My biggest fear is to fail at marriage.”

He’s also quick to admit that he’s “failed a lot in life,” including his last relationship. “But I’m thankful for my fails, because I’m here with you today because of them,” says Tyler. (Should he have said “failures”? Of course. But let’s not blame this millennial for speaking in hashtags. It’s all he knows.)  And Hannah certainly doesn’t mind the grammatical slip-up: Tyler gets the rose and a guaranteed spot in the Final Four.

Ding-dong! There’s an Accent Table of Doom at the door! Who will get the final one-on-one date of the week?

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That’s right, rose lovers — it’s Mike Johnson, our future Bachelor! (Humor me.) Meanwhile, poor Connor is so bummed about being on another group date he gets up and walks out of the room, dejected. When Peter seeks him out on the stairs, Connor says that he’s “never really brought someone home” to meet his family, and “it’s hard to see myself feeling fully comfortable [doing that] after another group date.” Uh-oh — is someone about to self-eliminate?

Connor does, in fact, head straight to Hannah’s room for a chat — but it turns out he’s not saying goodbye, he’s just trying to get a little more alone time so they can “talk about some stuff.” Connor wants Hannah to know that he felt “those feelings of falling in love” on their abbreviated one-on-one date so many weeks ago and that he’s “excited” about their possible future. That’s when it becomes clear to Hannah that she’s going to have to do the premature dumping. She gently explains to Connor that he’s “faded” to the background in the group dates, and at this point in her “journey,” she’s simply got stronger feelings for other guys. Cut to:

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“Hearing her say that she just doesn’t feel it at this point, it really hurts a lot,” says Connor in voiceover, as we see him walk through the lobby and into the waiting Reject Minivan. Hang in there, buddy. Perhaps we’ll see you in the later weeks of Paradise.

The next day, Hannah dons her hot pink motorcycle jacket and meets Mike in Utrecht for their second one-on-one ever. Now that Jed and Tyler have confessed to “falling in love” with Hannah, the pressure is on for Mike to do the same. But first, it’s time to Bike with Mike!

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Their destination is a funky-looking brick art studio, where an artist named Luta greets Hannah and Mike and tells them they’ll be spending their afternoon painting each other. “Love is art,” says Metaphor Mike, dutifully. “There’s a lot of passion and a lot of patience, and a lot of beauty. Sometimes you need to take a step back to assess what’s going on.” That said, you could take 40,000 steps back from Hannah’s drawing of Mike and it would still be an atrocity:

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“She got me looking like Doo Doo the Clown!” protests Mike. (To be fair, his drawing of Hannah is pretty frightening, too.) Fortunately, Luta steps in and orders the duo to put on some silky robes.

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Hmmm… does the word “robe” mean something different in the Netherlands? That looks more like a sash. (Not that I’m complaining.) I’m also not sure what to make of Luta’s finished portrait of Mike and Hannah…

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…but art is nothing if not subjective, I guess.

Perhaps it’s fitting that the painting is a bit inscrutable because right now Hannah is struggling to determine how she feels about Mike. In true Bachelorette fashion, she’s hoping that she’ll suddenly find clarity over plates of untouched food at dinner. “It’s crucial that tonight I can see a glimpse of a future with Mike,” she informs us.

Dinner is at the grand and gorgeous Museum Mauritshuis, home of Vermeer’s “Girl with the Pearl Earring” and other classic Dutch pieces. Team Bachelorette must have felt pretty inspired by the setting because suddenly the episode veers into pretentious art film territory.

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Get it together, guys. You’re in the reality TV matchmaking business. In the parlance of this season, please stay in your lane.

Hannah is also greatly moved by the paintings around her — or maybe she’s just crying because she knows she’s about to make the biggest mistake of her life by sending Mike home.

As soon as Hannah greets him with “Let’s just go sit down and talk,” Mike knows something is up. She’s still crying as they sit down at a tiny little table in a side gallery. “I’ve never been surrounded by so much beauty, and it’s just like really overwhelming,” Hannah says through her tears. The Bachelorette goes on to say that a painting of St. Catherine holding a sword and a Bible as men fight behind her truly spoke to her. “It really just encompassed everything that I’m going through right now, I think.”

Even though Mike senses that the evening is not going to go his way, he still asks Hannah if he can give her a hug. They embrace, and the Bachelorette’s dam of tears bursts. “We’ve talked about the three ladies in your life,” she sobs, “and [how] you’re looking for your fourth lady. And I know I’m not that fourth lady.”

After taking a minute to absorb the blow, Mike offers this classy response: “I know that was hard to say, but it’s what [you] needed to say if it’s how you feel… Thank you for being honest.”

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“This is by far the hardest goodbye that I’ve had to say, and it’s because of how good of a human Mike is.” Do you hear that, Mike Fleiss? Don’t you want your Bachelor to be a good human? (Wait… don’t answer that.)

Getting dumped by Hannah, says Mike, is like “her putting a dagger in my heart and tearing it out and stepping on it.” Ouch. That sounds painful. But it’s nothing that dates with 25 new single women can’t fix, buddy! #MikeForBachelor

We’ve had about an hour of Luke-free bliss this episode, so it’s quite jarring when the action cuts back to the hotel room just in time to hear Luke say this: “At this point, to see someone come in and take [Mike’s] suitcase? That’d make my day.”

“Oh, we know,” Jed shoots back.

Tyler just chuckles in response. “We’ve got a 5-foot-8 villain,” he says with a smirk. “I just wanted to throw that out there.” Awwww, look at Pilot Pete trying not to laugh.

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Adorable. The bickering continues until the Suitcase Ninja arrives and takes Mike’s bag from the entryway. Luke grins, which Pilot Pete finds offensive. “That’s a good dude that just left,” he says sharply. But Luke’s just gonna keep blasting Katrina & the Waves in his head because with Connor gone, the final group date will have only three guys — Luke, Garrett, and Pete. And with Mike gone, there will be two roses up for grabs instead of one. It’s simple math, guys.

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A new day dawns and Tyler wishes Garrett and Peter farewell. “I’m praying for you guys. I’ll be praying for Hannah. I wish you all the best.” Hey, no well-wishes for Luke? “Keep your head out of your ass, man,” warns Jed. “Just don’t worry about the other guys.” Luke glares at him for a second. “Out of all people, I’m surprised you had the balls to tell me that,” he mumbles. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

Going into this weird three-on-one date, Garrett feels confident. “Today, the good guys are gonna win,” he assures us. “I fully anticipate Peter and I coming out with roses.” Oh man, early-onset date confidence can be fatal, Garrett! Watch yourself. Side note: Bravo to the producers for finding the tiniest car they could to transport the men, all in the name of maximum awkwardness.

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Hannah’s mission today, it seems, is to convince herself that what she wants is the same as what she needs. “I definitely think the heart wants what the heart wants, and I know that my heart’s in a good place,” she says. “I hope my mind can be comfortable with what my heart wants.” Oh Lord, woman, are you hearing yourself? After this, rose lovers, it’s all downhill.

Luke steals Hannah first (of course), and he immediately starts trash-talking the other guys (of course). “A lot of the time, I wish that you were a fly on the wall and could see their character be exposed,” he says. Luke goes on to tell Hannah about Jed’s “keep your head out of your ass” comment — “That concerns me for you!” he adds — and then says Garrett admitted to being “fake” with him, which is only partially true.

If Luke wants pity, though, Hannah’s not ready to give it to him. Why does everyone hate you? she asks for the 134th time this season. Because they’re jealous! Luke replies for the 135th time. And then he switches into sweet-talker mode, cooing at Hannah about how strong his feelings are for her. “I am exhausted from the drama with Luke,” the Bachelorette sighs. “Has it been some of his own fault? Yeah. I’m smart and I see issues.”

Still, Hannah isn’t completely sure that Luke is the only one to blame in this scenario, so she sets off (yet again!) to “figure out what I believe is true.” Side note: Truth has nothing to do with what you believe. Something is true whether or not you believe it — and that, dear rose lovers, is an important distinction that poor Hannah refuses to accept.

Anyhow, it’s Garrett’s turn next, and Hannah asks him about Luke’s “fake nice” accusation. Garrett says he was “short” with Luke because he’s “very, very frustrated” about Luke hijacking yet another group date with his bluster and bloviation. “It’s the Luke P. show right now, still,” he says. “We’re all at a point where we’re just frustrated with it.” Luke P., meanwhile, is either frustrated enough to be eating his feelings… or he just really likes baloney.

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I’m guessing it’s the latter.

When Garrett gets back to the couches, he does not hold back on Luke. “I saw the look on her face, and your time’s coming to an end,” he drawls with a grin. “Something tells me that Hannah’s going to know it, too… That everything you say is bulls—.”

Luke pretends to be calm, insisting that he only ever speaks the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But Garrett just keeps goading him. “You’re the fakest person I’ve ever met,” he says, pointing at Captain Baloney. When Luke mumbles, “You don’t even know me,” Garrett goes at him even harder, with the double point!

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Yep, Garrett’s getting cocky… and we all know what that means, rose lovers. When you bust out a victory dance before the rose is on your chest, chances are, it ain’t never gonna make it there. But for now, Garrett thinks he’s home free. “Hannah seemed to appreciate what I had to say,” he gloats. “I don’t care what you think.”

And that’s when Luke reaches his proverbial breaking point. “I have been nothing but truthful with Hannah,” he bellows, standing up out of his chair and looming over Garrett, who’s still seated. (Otherwise, Luke wouldn’t be able to loom over anything, amirite?) “AND YOU ARE NOT GOING TO MESS IT UP, OKAY?” Luke then picks up a pile of baloney and dumps it in Garrett’s lap.

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“That’s what you’ve been saying to me, and I’m tired of it!” barks Luke, before storming out of the room. He finds Peter chilling on the balcony and begins to unload on him. Luke says he had “no intention” of badmouthing Garrett in his chat with Hannah, but he had to because she asked him. Peter, who has done a remarkable job staying out of the drama up until this point, cannot hide his irritation with Luke. “We literally talked about this. You, like, essentially gave me your word last night. You would stay in your lane,” he groans. “This is not how I wanted to spend my possible last date with her… It just, like, doesn’t end!” You are so right, dude.

Finally, Peter gets his chance to sit with Hannah. He manages to keep the conversation upbeat, talking about how excited he would be to introduce her to his family and gushing over how “goofy” and “strong” and “raw” and “sexy” she is. I hate to overpraise Peter because I feel like he’s Mike’s chief competition in the Bachelor bake-off, but it truly is impressive how effectively Peter keeps his focus on Hannah rather than anything else — and in turn, he keeps her focus off the drama, too. “I’m feeling great about Peter,” says the Bachelorette. “I do see a future with him. He is just a nice break, always, from the mess and the drama.”

Come on over here and get your date rose, Pilot Pete!

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And then there were two, rose lovers. Back in the holding pen, Garrett gives Luke a cheeky wink. Luke just stares at him and licks his lips in slow-motion. “Are you licking your lips because you’re attracted to me?” Garrett snarks. (Now that would be a twist.)

Is there anything more awkward than the two-on-one date dinner table?

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Nope. Luke and Hannah have their one-on-one chat first, and in a shocking development, Luke chooses to talk about himself rather than his rivals. He wants Hannah to know about his past, how he experimented with “drinking and partying and stuff” as a teen. “Freshman year, like, I chased drinking excessively,” he tells Hannah. “I did some stupid things. There was a streak of me where I was chasing sex.”

Luke says he was ashamed of indulging those “selfish, fleshly desires,” but he couldn’t bring himself to stop, until one day he stepped into the shower and… um… let’s just let Luke explain it: “I just remember bawling my eyes out. But I remember feeling a voice telling me, ‘Luke, let go.’ I remember, like, looking at the ceiling and I could, like, see a glimpse of, like, Heaven. And I remember thinking to myself, ‘This is what I need to look forward to.’”

Look, whether or not Luke did experience a religious epiphany in the shower, you can’t deny that his timing in telling Hannah about it is completely perfect. How better to get one over on his two-on-one date rival than to a) stop talking about him for once and b) share a moving story of personal faith with the born-again Bachelorette? I don’t think I need to tell you this, rose lovers, but Hannah LOVES it. “It was really cool to hear him share his testimony,” she says. “I like that he is open about his faith and [long pause] I’m connected to him.”

“She’s falling in love with me for sure,” Luke informs us. “How could I not be more confident? It’s like I know.”

Back at the hotel, just look at how happy the guys are to see Pilot Pete return with a rose on his chest.

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More men should do the jump-and-straddle hug, don’t you think? Alas, their joy is going to be short-lived. While Hannah and Garrett’s second one-on-one conversation seems to go better than the first — there’s no mention of Luke, and Garrett even drops the “l-bomb” — the night does not end the way Garrett (or anyone watching) wanted.

“You’re both wonderful but I have to give this rose to someone who not only opened up their heart but showed me inside their heart,” Hannah says, inadvertently conjuring up a rather gross visual. “And I have to go with my gut and what my heart is drawing me to.”

Noooo, Hannah! Roxette was wrong! You should not listen to your heart! Just tell Luke goodbye! Please do the right thing!

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Crap. As the Bachelorette leads Garrett away for a goodbye chat, Luke chuckles to himself and grins like the smarmy asshat that he is. Though he must be completely mortified, Garrett handles his defeat with grace. “I won’t forget you,” he says, kissing Hannah on her forehead. “Don’t hide that red nose, all right?” (I will admit, it’s nice that someone on the show actually acknowledged the red-nose situation.)

“The guy schemed his way into hometowns,” sighs Garrett, as the Reject Minivan drives him in circles. When the Suitcase Ninja comes to take her second bag of the week, the mood in the guys’ hotel suite takes a real nosedive.

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Same, dudes. Same.

What a depressing way to end the night, rose lovers. The only thing that keeps me from setting myself on fire is the strong implication in the “this season on” promo that Hannah sends Luke packing sometime around Fantasy Suites. Oh, and this is pretty great too:

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Get it, girl. Get. It. Before you leave, rose lovers, take a minute and let me know how you’re coping with the ongoing Luke P. Show. Has your alcohol intake per episode increased? If you’re still watching, have you considered stopping? (And if you’re not, thanks for reading this anyway.) And do you think baloney helps eliminate puffiness around the eyes? Post your thoughts below!

Chris Harrison hosts the romance reality contest series. Will you accept this rose?
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