TV

Why Hannah Brown Was the Best Bachelorette Yet

Lessons from a thorny, final rose.

When we first met Hannah Brown, she packaged herself as "Alabama Hannah" proudly shouting, "Roll Tide!"

She immediately made an impression, establishing a policy of honesty on night one with season 23 Bachelor, Colton Underwood. Hannah was granted the first one-on-one date of the season and definitely made a splash, if perhaps an awkward one, when Colton asked the former Miss America contender to make a toast and she could barely form a coherent sentence.

Is Colton Regretting His First One-On-One Date With Hannah B? | The Bachelor US www.youtube.com

That evening, Hannah divulged in her Talking Head segment that the date "did get back on track," a phrase that would come to haunt the future Bachelorette. During the evening portion of their date, Hannah and Colton connected through their shared value of virginity. She opened up to him, sharing that although she'd committed to remain a virgin until marriage, she'd broken that promise to herself. Hannah explained that she didn't "feel perfect" because she "couldn't give that [her virginity] to somebody." The intimate moment foreshadowed all the sources of insecurity Hannah would have to grapple with and overcome on her season of The Bachelorette.

When Hannah first got her start on The Bachelor, she stirred drama in the house with former Miss North Carolina, Caelynn Miller Keyes, and unveiled her alter ego: the rambunctious, silly, and odd Hannah BEAST. The Bachelor didn't set her up as a candidate to be the next Bachelorette with that unflattering edit. Typically, a wild child, drama-stirring, 23-year-old would not be chosen to lead the show. Or, at least, it seemed that way until she didn't receive a rose on her second one-on-one and was sent home. In her exit, Hannah spoke to the camera about how she deserved to "be loved fiercely" and chosen every day. The stirring speech resonated with women across the nation, serving up a perfect and genuine pick for the next Bachelorette. Then, on the Women Tell All episode, Chris Harrison offered her the opportunity to redo her awful toast. Hannah graciously spoke, saying, "Cheers to this beautiful day together, new experiences, and continuing to being honest, real every moment we have together, and Roll Tide."

Fast forward to Hannah's turn as the Bachelorette, where she sent men packing for—to put it bluntly—their disingenuous b*llsh*t. It became clear Hannah valued honesty above all, so when Jed Wyatt—an obvious frontrunner on her season—disclosed that he initially went on the show to promote his music, she thanked him for his honesty. Unfortunately, two weeks after their one-on-one aired, People Magazine broke the story that Wyatt's intentions were even less pure than Brown knew. His ex-girlfriend, Haley Stevens, told People that he never broke up with her. According to Stevens, Jed spent the night with her before he flew to LA, left her a love note, and called her once he got there, saying, "I love you, and I'll call you when I get back."

On the season finale Tuesday night, the show aired footage of the recently engaged Brown grilling her fiancé about the story. After they got engaged, Wyatt had told Brown he had been seeing someone before the show, but they had broken it off beforehand. In the course of the conversation, she questioned everything about their relationship and even brought up how much it bothered her that he told his friends that he "won" instead of that he was "engaged." Thankfully, Brown ultimately broke off the engagement. When she spoke with Chris Harrison on After the Final Rose segment, she told him,

"I have been in love with somebody in my past who lied to me, who cheated on me, and I tried to make it work. But I'm not that girl anymore, and that's been something I've been so proud of. So, no matter how much it hurts, I won't allow myself to be stuck in [something] for any longer than I should be. I deserve better."

Between Luke P. and Jed, Hannah's had a lot of experience and heartbreak to unpack, reflect on, and grow. To the dismay of many viewers, Luke P. cast a big shadow on Hannah's season of The Bachelorette. His lying, manipulative ways were easy to spot, distracting Hannah from Jed's less obvious deception. Throughout her season, the contestants would try to warn her about Luke's toxicity, but she'd ignore them in favor of the feeling of security he offered. On the Men Tell All she explained, "I was really insecure. I knew that no guy was actually there for me because they didn't know who the Bachelorette was going to be." Luke P. offered Hannah security because she could tell he was really there for her, regardless of his alarming behavior.

While Hannah had enough of Luke P.'s toxicity and sent him home, a sly cheater like Jed can be harder to spot. The two men forced Hannah to reconcile with who she is and what she deserves. Sadly, it wasn't until Luke P. gaslit her for potentially having sex with the remaining men that she realized she deserved better. Similarly, Hannah failed to acknowledge any of Jed's red flags or warning signs from her family, his family, and even from Jed himself (i.e. Jed bringing his guitar everywhere, including his proposal. Ew.). Jed felt like the right man to "settle down" with, so Hannah ignored her misgivings for as long as she could. She needed to read and circle lines from the People Magazine article to finally realize the kind of person Jed is.

Unfortunately, Hannah Brown is like many women across the nation who were taught to believe they should feel lucky to have found someone who wants them. In her relationship with Tyler C., she never felt fully deserving of the love, support, and respect he had for her (on top of his great looks), so she rejected him. At the end of Colton's season, Hannah still felt the pressure to be perfect and the need for validation, all the while seeking a relationship. Luckily, at the end of her season, Hannah came to terms with her insecurities and concluded that she doesn't need a husband. This revelation may not be a shocking one, but it's a lesson that hopefully reached girls and women across the nation.

In the end, Hannah's season of The Bachelorette was the best yet because it culminated in a different kind of happy ending: Hannah, a single woman, realizing her full worth. She broke away from toxic relationships, promoted sex positivity, maintained her voice, and dismantled her own insecurities. The Bachelorette may still be single, but audiences got to watch her learn more about who she is and what she deserves, and that's much more valuable.

TV

A Bachelor Nation History Lesson: The Franchise's Wildest Moments

Here are the most notable yet lesser known moments in the franchise's wild and problematic history.

ABC

Before Luke P. came around for the Bachelorette Hannah Brown finally gave him a piece of her mind, the franchise had plenty of wild moments.

Nowadays Bachelor Nation is compromised of many new fans who are unaware of the series' past. A proper history lesson can allow a fan to be better equipped to converse, compare, and critique shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Here are the most notable but less-known crazy moments for those Bachelor Nation newbies.

Jesse Palmer Says the Wrong Name

Before getting to harsher realities of the program, we'll start with something light.

Learning 24 names during one evening would be difficult for anybody. The Bachelor season 5 lead, Jesse Palmer, happened to say the wrong woman's name. Instead of giving a rose to Karen, he accidentally gave it to Katie, someone he meant to send home on night one. Embarrassed, he extended the invitation for Katie to stay, which she unfortunately accepted. Katie deserved better!

Jesse Gives Rose to the Wrong Girl - The Bachelor www.youtube.com

Lindsay Yenter Reacts in the Best Way

During Bachelor Sean Lowe's season finale, he sent home frontrunner Lindsey Yenter. When he went to walk her out, she took off her heels in a smooth IDGAF move: big mood.

Sad Music - Sean Lowe says "Goodbye" to Lindsey Yenter - Bachelor 2013 www.youtube.com

2-on-1 in The Badlands

Before the emotional intelligence showdown between Corinne and Taylor, Bachelor Nation staple Ashley laconetti got into it with Chris Soules's contestant, Kelsey Poe. Their 2-on-1 was one of the most uncomfortable, dramatic dates the franchise has ever seen. Iaconetti called out Poe for being condescending; Poe then used her talking head segment to put Ashley down for generally being dumb, fake, young, and wearing too much make-up. The season was shot in 2014, which demonstrates how recent tearing down women was seen as okay.

The Bachelor - 2-on-1 Date Awkward Silence www.youtube.com

Skinny Dipping Seen Around the Nation

We remember when the season's villain, Courtney Robertson, won Ben Flajnik's heart on the 16th season of The Bachelor. Their engagement was a surprise to many. Similarly, viewers across the nation were shocked when the show aired the two skinny-dipping in Puerto Rico. In retrospect, the 2012 controversial moment now looks like a lot of good fun.

Ben And Courtney Go Midnight Skinny Dipping! | The Bachelor US www.youtube.com

Brooks Forester Breaks Up with The Bachelorette

The season 17 Bachelorette, Desiree Hartsock, was shocked and heartbroken when Brooks Forester broke up with her right before the finale. In tears, she seemed ready to choose and build a life with the contestant. Luckily, all ended happily for the lead; in 2015 she married the winner of her season, Chris Siegfrield.

Brooks Breaks Up With Desiree - The Bachelorette www.youtube.com

Everything Juan Pablo

Juan Pablo was the worst, most misogynistic Bachelor the show has ever seen. Andi called out the Bachelor for belittling her decision to be there, runner-up Clare told him off for breaking up with her after claiming he loved her, and yet he only told the winner, Nikki Ferrel, that he likes her "a lot," with a wink.

The Bachelor - Juan Pablo Tells Andi It's Okay www.youtube.com


Who Can Forget This Epic Moment from Monday's Finale of The Bachelor? www.youtube.com


Bachelor 2014 - Nikki Ferrell Gets The Final Rose www.youtube.com

Nick Viall Slut-Shames Andi Dorfman

Andi was never afraid to put a man in his place for his unwise words. On her Bachelorette season's "After the Final Rose" episode, Nick asked Andi why she had sex with him if she did not love him. The lead immediately rejected the inappropriate, sexist question, retorting that it was "below the belt" and should "be kept private."

Bachelorette Finale - Nick Confronts Andi About Sex Suite www.youtube.com

Kaitlyn Bristowe's Caught on Camera with Nick Viall

On Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe's season, she decided to break from the format and be intimate with a contestant before the show's Fantasy Suites. Bristowe later received a lot of backlash for the decision. In fact, back to back Bachelorettes bore the brunt of the show's sexist double standard about sex.

Kaitlyn and Nick Get it On - The Bachelor www.youtube.com

Rozlyn Is Accused of Hooking Up with a Producer

The show has never and will never fully protect the women on any of the franchise's shows. On Jake Pavelka's season of The Bachelor, the production team decided to humiliate contestant Rozlyn Papa for having an "inappropriate" relationship with a producer to stir up drama. The unnecessary moment will go down in the show's absurd and emotionally abusive history. PSA: No matter what anyone says, Chris Harrison is complicit and the show doesn't need him.

Rozlyn Accused Of "Inappropriate" Relationship With TV Producer | The Bachelor US www.youtube.com

Jake Pavelka's On-Air Breakup With Vienna Girardi

The winner of Jake Pavelka's season, Vienna Girardi, broke down during an interview with Pavelka and host, Chris Harrison. As Girardi begins to explain herself, Pavelka butts in; when she tries to get in another word, he verbally reprimands his fiancé. The Bachelor continued to mistreat Giardi, truly looking like a psychopath comparable to Luke P.

Jake and Vienna's Breakup - The Bachelor www.youtube.com

A Blatant Racist on Rachel Lindsay's Season

Instead of giving the racist contestant from Rachel Lindsay's season a cameo on this listicle, the harassed contestant Kenny King will get the floor. The Bachelorette production gained a lot of criticism for completely mishandling their first black Bachelorette's season by casting Lee Garrett on the show—a man who once equated Black Lives Matter to "terrorism." Critics are still questioning whether or not the show even deserves to have another person of color lead the show after this complete mess.

Kenny Voices His Frustrations About Lee - The Bachelorette 13x4 www.youtube.com

Emily Maynard's Daughter Is Not Baggage

Single mother Emily Maynard shot down contestant Kalon after word spread that he called her daughter "baggage." Maynard refused to tolerate that and immediately sent him home like the badass she was.

The Bachelorett- Emily Vs. Kalon www.youtube.com

Brad Womack Chooses No One

Brad Womack stunned viewers across the nation when he ended up with none of the 25 contestants from his season. While the Bachelor came back to lead a second season, he has still yet to find love, even after becoming engaged to the future Bachelorette star, Emily Maynard.

Brad Picks No One - The Bachelor www.youtube.com

The Jason Mesnick Move

Before Arie Luyendyk Jr. broke up with Becca Kufrin to chase after the runner-up and his now wife, Lauren Burnham, in a historic, unedited scene, season 4 Bachelor Jason Mesnick broke up with the winner, Melissa, for Molly on-air. As the wildest moment on the franchise, this laid the foundation for Luyendyk Jr. to also get ripped apart by America's Bachelor Nation. Fortunately, all worked out for everyone involved; Jason and Molly are still married 9 years later and have a daughter named Anne, along with Jason's son, Ty. Arie and Lauren also are living happily ever after and have a daughter, Alessi Ren.

Jason Rejects Melissa for Molly - The Bachelor www.youtube.com

TV

Luke P. Resorts to Gaslighting Through Christianity

In their blowout last night, he fell back on the same pattern: confront, manipulate to gain power (occasionally lying), and then backtrack to save face.

We've all had enough of Luke Parker.

ABC

It's a general truth that a majority of the Bachelor Franchise's contestants are Christian.

There have been virgin contestants, a born-again virgin Bachelor, and then a straight-up virgin Bachelor. Yet, over the past two decades, the show has refrained from airing discussions of touchy topics like religion or sex. Participants on the show have disclosed that many deep conversations regarding such matters go unaired.

Then, last season, one contestant, Caelynn Miller-Keyes, disclosed her sexual assault to the Bachelor, Colton Underwood. The heart-stopping moment became a revelatory scene in reality television. Viewers everywhere could hear, relate, and connect to the moving story. Powerful moments like those are more common now that participants are breaking away from the show's traditional boundaries, storylines, and rules. In turn, production has begun to re-shape the show; while the series has become more sex positive, religion has remained a taboo subject—until last night.

Throughout this season, Bachelor Nation has witnessed an emotional abuser remain on their TVs for far too long—even by the standards of reality TV, it's been alarming. Luke P.'s concerning behavior, from aggression to excessive lying, has prompted viewers to question, "What in the hell are we not seeing?" Hannah Brown and Luke P. have had a connection that viewers cannot not wrap their heads around, but it turns out that viewers were missing half the story. While Luke P. has stirred the pot by repeatedly disrespecting Hannah and his fellow contestants, viewers have questioned if an inexplicable spiritual connection has been drawing the two together.

Finally, the other half of the story was unveiled during Fantasy Suite week. After the two made-out during their day touring Santorini, Luke P. began their dinner by gaslighting Hannah:

"I am very confident that we're on the same page with our morals, and I just want to hear it from your mouth. I've heard people proclaim their faith, but yet they've said things like, 'I'm excited for Fantasy Suites. I want to explore this relationship on a sexually intimate level, and that's what I'm looking forward to.' And to me, that's like whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa excuse me? What? There's something I'm missing here. Like I don't believe that's something you should be doing, and I just want to make sure that you're not going to be sexually intimate with the other relationships here. Like, I totally have all the trust in the world for you, but at the same time I just want to make sure we're on the same page. Like, if you told me you're going to have sex or you had sex with one or multiple of these guys, I would be wanting to go home 100 percent."

Hannah Sends Luke P Home After Fantasy Suite Warning! | The Bachelorette US www.youtube.com

If delivered differently and with more tact, his concerns could've been reasonable. Instead, he began by aligning the other contestants against him and weaponizing his connection with Hannah to make assumptions about how she should act. Then, he backtracked by asserting that he had faith in her and finally threatened their relationship if she didn't live up to his standards. The loaded speech demonstrates his continued pattern of emotional manipulation. When Hannah disagreed with what he said, he continued to backtrack by claiming that he would work with her through anything, even a "slip-up." Similarly, earlier in the season, he informed Hannah that he would stick by her even if she made a "boneheaded mistake."

Time and time again, Luke P. has utilized gaslighting as a way to maintain control in his relationship with Hannah. Whenever he's felt confident in their relationship, he's directly addressed his concerns with Hannah, but when he's felt their relationship was in jeopardy, he's used manipulation tactics to assert what he wants out of the relationship. However, whenever he's "slipped up," the responsibility hasn't fallen on him because he's protested that he was just "misunderstood"—after lying straight to Hannah's face.

Overall, every time Luke P. has been in the wrong, he's asserted his needs, manipulated the truth, and then backtracked whenever Hannah responded poorly. In their blowout last night, he fell back on the same pattern: confront, manipulate to gain power (occasionally lying), and then backtrack to save face.

Whatever good Hannah saw in Luke P. prior to Fantasy Suite week has been washed away. When Luke P. tried to wield religion against Hannah to shame her, she called him out on it. The Bachelorette proved that she had her Biblical receipts, retorting, "You know the story in the Bible when the woman was called out for adultery, and she was stoned in the village, and Jesus said, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. You're holding your stone up at me and asking me what I've done."

Unfortunately, gaslighting in the Christian community isn't anything new. Too many self-righteous believers still condemn, shame, and utilize their beliefs to shame sinners and preach a narrow way of life. Hannah aptly addressed Luke P.'s hypocrisy by informing him, "Sex might be a sin out of marriage, but pride is a sin too." She continued, "It's like you're holding other people to a standard that you don't even live by."

Faith is meant to spread love and light. Like Hannah said, "I know that I have God in my heart, so I know that everything I do and who I am is light. I am light. Do I make mistakes? I'm not Jesus." Her commentary shed light on the stark contrast between more progressive, inclusive Christians who have embraced the modern world and others who stick to their outdated, hypocritical agendas (like those who are pro-life but don't care about keeping children in cages).

For the formerly apolitical show to air their conversation is a sign that the genre of "reality" TV is still expanding its social consciousness; in particular, it displays that the Bachelor Franchise has solid potential (even after 17 years) to spark new conversations and highlight important narratives. Unfortunately, as portrayed in the previews for next week, the producers seem to allow Luke P. to come back, undoubtedly to exasperate Hannah and continue the toxic drama that is Luke P.'s existence.

ABC's production seems to take a positive step forward by airing their candid conversation, but they still kept around an emotional abuser and then brought him back to let him try to manipulate his way back into Hannah's heart. At least Hannah Brown finally gained clarity and found her way out of a controlling relationship (for now). Hopefully, like other leads who have been forced to endure harmful, disruptive, racist, and misogynistic contestants, Hannah can come out on top, with continued love and respect for herself and her relationship with God.