The current season of The Bachelorette has been pretty preoccupied with the great mystery that is the unhinged villainy of Luke Parker. Monday night’s fourth episode was so consumed by the chaos wrought by the Florida contestant that producers decided to focus on Luke’s intensifying feud with Luke Stone rather than an actual rose ceremony. It feels like Luke P., with his chilling full-body tackles and “glazed” eyes, as Luke S. would say, could break The Bachelorette.
Yet, the latest episode also suggests another suitor may be coming to take Luke’s crown as season 15’s undeniable frontrunner. His name is Tyler Cameron, and the fellow Floridian finally put all of star Hannah Brown’s many Bachelorette mission statements to the test.
Hannah crystalized her love mantra over the 2019 Bachelor season. She wants someone who will fight for her. She wants to be chosen every day. She wants someone she doesn’t have to be perfect for. As a former pageant queen who was judged on her ability to fit someone else's arbitrary standards, that last request seems to hit harder than any other one. That’s why Hannah has spent the first few episodes of her The Bachelorette tenure telling men they need to accept her for her “hot mess” self. Usually Hannah’s desire for freedom expresses itself through unabashed goofiness (see: her fake history tour throughout Boston with Jed Wyatt) or straight-forward dismissals like the one Scott Anderson suffered in the premiere. Even original frontrunner Luke P. met the gaze of a no-B.S.-Hannah when he demanded too much of her attention during a week 3 group date.
But, both of those interactions require deep emotional investment, whether it be the positive or negative kind. In week 4, Tyler meets a Hannah with absolutely nothing left to give. He made the best of it to stunning, endearing results.
After what incorrectly appears to be the peak of the "Luke said, other Luke said" drama, Hannah must go on a one-on-one date with 26-year-old Tyler. Yet, when the camera lands on the Bachelorette that morning, she can’t stop openly crying on a New England dock. She admits to having the strongest feelings for Luke P. and is upset that she can’t reason through the unsettling rumors about him. No one would want to enter a romantic situation with Hannah at this point. She reiterates this sentiment, saying through tears, “Honestly, I don’t want to talk to anybody … Because I’m just not alright today.”
Still, the Bachelorette producers throw Tyler out onto the dock to join Hannah. He is excited. She is trying to conceal the tear stains on her face. Hannah eventually admits she is “not that great” and has suffered since the night prior's group date cocktail party. Soon she tumbles down an existential crises about her place on The Bachelorette and repeatedly apologizes for not being “fun.” These are Hannah's ubiquitous hostess tendencies kicking in.
Hypothetically, Tyler could shut off. As multiple men throughout the episode point out, Luke P. threatened to leave the moment Hannah didn’t appear fully enamored with him. Instead, Tyler reassures Hannah they’re going to have a great day regardless of how she’s feeling.
“I want you in your highs, and I want you in your lows,” he tells her. “I’ll take whatever I can get with you.” He repeats those feeling in various ways throughout the date, and talks about them in the context of problem-solving in a post-Bachelorette relationship with Hannah. He's thinking about a world where difficulty is inevitable rather than a threat.
Alabama Hannah said she wants someone who doesn’t need her to be perfect. This is the first time someone has proven they’re that guy when there are actual stakes. What follows is a really sweet lobster trapping date on the water (only The Bachelorette). While there is some solid emotional support at hand, Tyler also flirts with Hannah by making seafood puns and urging her to stop getting “lost in his eyes.” As proof of the pair’s good time, they end the day making out on the dock as Hannah says Tyler calmed her down.
By nighttime, Hannah admits she thought Tyler was just a handsome playboy, and he completely changed her opinion of him. To show Hannah just how right she is, Tyler reveals he nearly dropped out of The Bachelorette after his father became dangerously ill and was in a coma for 10 days. The only reason Tyler stuck with “the journey” is due to his dad, whom he watched The Bachelor with. Pops Cameron became a “huge fan” of Hannah and urged his son to go on her show. Once Tyler saw Hannah during the premiere, he was lovestruck. This backstory could not be better for the inevitable hometown dates.
Of course Hannah hands Tyler the date rose and drags him to a classic Bachelorette concert featuring dozens of onlookers and one country star. In a season of petty squabbles and chemistry-free dates, Hannah and Tyler actually feel like a true surprise love story. The emotional depths here far outweigh Jed's earlier week 4 date and his cringeworthy admission. Who would have expected that from Shirtless Footloose Guy?