“Bachelor Nation, I’m sorry,” Hannah Brown says during her final seconds on the Bachelorette 2019 “Men Tell All” reunion special. Was she apologizing for being the most sexual Bachelorette in ages, as slut-shamers have demanded over the last few months? No, of course not. Hannah Beast was instead issuing her official mea culpa for keeping Luke Parker, season 15’s bona fide villain, around for 10 weeks of her Bachelorette season.
Despite the honesty of Hannah’s apology, true fans may not even feel it's necessary after “Men Tell All.” Hannah finally gave a full explanation for her complicated and painfully lengthy relationship with Luke P. — and it’s deeply relatable.
Hannah may be a beautiful pageant queen with one of the best wardrobes on reality TV, but, as she says during Monday night’s reunion special, she entered The Bachelorette feeling extremely self-conscious. “[Our relationship] was the closest thing that I had to feeling love at first sight,” Hannah explains of her early feelings for Luke to host Chris Harrison. “But I think a lot of that came from being really insecure about being the Bachelorette in the first place.”
That is an admission that is in line with everything we know about Hannah from her time on Colton Underwood’s Bachelor season to the present. During The Bachelor 2019, Hannah started out so unsure of herself she was unable to give a toast. Even though the 24-year-old left that season with steely determination to find her own love story, she was still blindsided by the breakup (remember it came minutes after the Bachelor introduced her to his family). Then, during her “After the Final” rose appearance, Hannah was visibly shaky and uncomfortable in the lead role. So much so that Chris Harrison himself has admitted to being "scared to death" producers made the wrong choice.
The stalwart Bachelor Nation emcee went so far as to confess to The Hollywood Reporter that he wondered if giving Hannah the Bachelorette mantel was “a huge mistake.”
If that’s what Chris thought, imagine how Hannah felt underneath her Miss Alabama smile and unfailing Southern hospitality. “I was so excited,” Hannah tells Chris about the start of her Bachelorette journey. “But also I had this doubt of ‘Oh my gosh, like, are the guys going to be disappointed? And am I going to be able to live up to this standard that I thought I had to live up to?’” Amid all this well-concealed anxiety, Luke assured Hannah from night one he wasn’t there to date just anyone — he was to sweep her off her feet.
“That night, Luke made me believe that he was there for me and gave me hope from the beginning,” Hannah explains. On the other hand, she couldn’t tell the “intentions” of the other contestants. So, “I held onto [that hope] a lot longer than I should have. But it gave me safety,” she says.
At a time when The Bachelor(ette) is often more a stepping stone to spon-con opportunities than lifetime love, it makes sense Hannah held onto Luke as a safety blanket. Especially since he made his interest in her, specifically, known since before Bachelorette production technically began. The Georgia native was one of the handful of men chosen to meet Hannah during her unwieldy “After the Final Rose” introduction.
“You are absolutely stunning,” he opened, adding, “You are the only one that I wanted to be the next Bachelorette. And now that I’m here … I cannot wait to get to know you on a deeper level.”
Although Luke didn’t get the rose available at “ATFR” — that went to low-level villain Cam Ayala — the loss only pushed him to chase Hannah harder on night one. During the first cocktail party, the 24-year-old reemphasized his interest in Hannah specifically as the Bachelorette, claiming that when he saw her on the Bachelor he knew she should be his wife. Then, after the Scott Anderson girlfriend mess, it was Luke who comforted Hannah as she froze outside the mansion while clearing her head.
“It hurts me to see you just be so caught off guard by that,” Luke told Hannah. Immediately, she explained her fears of dating these men and not knowing why they’re on the show. “I’m trying to trust it’ll be okay, but I don’t know how people can do that,” she continued. It’s proof that the “intentions” stress Hannah brought up at “Men Tell All” were real. Luke really did assuage those anxieties, as he told her, “I just want you to know, I am here for you. I’m not here to earn a couple roses. I’m here for you.”
Knowing what we know now about Hannah, it makes sense that Luke ran away with the first impression rose and, for a while, her heart (his life as a “man of God” also helped, Hannah confirmed at “MTA”). Although Bachelorette viewers may be unhappy with the sheer amount of time they had to spend with Luke, Hannah also made a solid argument for showing us their difficult relationship for weeks on end.
“The relationship I had with Luke, unfortunately, it’s a relationship that a lot of women can relate to,” Hannah says towards the end of her “MTA” segment. “A lot of women have been in toxic relationships, and maybe just maybe me going through that … can help somebody that’s in that now and see signs of that. That makes me realize I don’t have regrets.”
The Luke P. Show is finally cancelled — but maybe it was just a little bit better than we realized.