As if Luke Pell hadn't already won over millions of hearts on JoJo's season, he certainly did on Monday night's hometown date episode. I'm definitely Team Luke on The Bachelorette, and it has nothing to do with his country boy appeal, the obvious chemistry between him and JoJo, or even the pick-up truck he drives in Burnet, Texas. Yes, he has perfect teeth and he clearly wants love and plans the most adorable dates, but that's not entirely why I'm a huge fan. It has everything to do with the one thing that might have gotten him in trouble last night, and that's the fact that he waited to tell JoJo he loved her. It may even result in JoJo sending Luke home.
Before we get to that part, let's go over his adorable hometown date, which was my personal favorite of the four. He brought JoJo home to meet his family, as well as 50 of his closest friends, or basically the entire town of Burnet, Texas. Viewers saw the attraction between JoJo and Luke and genuine laughter with his family and friends, and then he stole JoJo away for two adorable surprises that made every woman in America swoon. (Or, at least, I swooned.) JoJo mentioned several times on the hometown date that she knew there was undeniable chemistry with Luke, but that he was slower to voice his deepest emotions (which, by the way, should be completely normal in any dating scenario after a few weeks of knowing each other). I mean, Luke went all out on this date and absolutely poured his heart out, as he walked JoJo down a flower-laden path to a heart, and while he didn't use "The L Word" with her, he said, "I want you to know my heart is yours."
OK, so that's opening up pretty deeply anyways, but I guess that wasn't good enough to seal the deal in Bachelorette land. Moments after we saw JoJo announce in her talking head that she'd be sending Luke home, Luke grabbed JoJo before the rose ceremony began (which he was probably pressured to do by producers) and said that he left something out on the hometown date. "I needed to tell you that I'm in love with you. And I didn't get to tell you that the other night, and it's been the only thing that's been on my mind since then," he said.
JoJo was thrilled, saying it's the one thing she had been waiting to hear from Luke. But, wait, didn't he already basically say he loved her on his hometown? Does he have to say the words that are thrown around like crazy on this show to prove that he's there for the right reasons and is serious about their relationship? I mean, heck, if a man did all of those things for me on a hometown date and didn't say the three big words, I would still know he felt them. I admire that Luke held back and didn't say those words so early on, despite the race to make sure the L-word is dropped (on Robby's first one-on-one date, for example). I personally know what it's like to feel pressured to say things earlier than you would want to or normally would on The Bachelor or Bachelorette, and I feel for Luke that his declaration of love basically seems like a storyline to create utter panic for Bachelor Nation fans.
So I'm Team Luke, or you could say Team LuJo, because it's OK to withhold some of your deepest emotions when dating, especially as you just start getting to know someone. Unfortunately, it's just not OK to do so on The Bachelorette. So, Luke, what you did on your date was more than enough and your actions meant more than saying, "I love you" in a rushed manner. I'm sure Luke's dream wasn't to interrupt JoJo before a rose ceremony and tell her he was in love with her on some strange airport runway.
As a sidenote, the impeccable timing of Luke's love declaration and JoJo's voiceover that she needed to send Luke home was nothing short of frustrating. The whole thing had producers written all over it, and, from my own experience, I bet Luke was prodded right before the rose ceremony with questions like, "Are you sure you can go through with this without telling her you love her? Is this how you want to handle your relationship?" And yes, producers definitely knew that JoJo was on the fence about Luke. So how perfect, JoJo has the emotional breakdown producers wanted, Luke looks like he's grabbing at straws, panics, tells JoJo he loves her right before he might get sent home, and America goes into a tizzy when ABC leaves the episode at a cliffhanger. You could even tell as he's telling JoJo he loves her that the timing was off and he wasn't totally comfortable. Sometimes watching this show is nothing short of frustrating having been through the whole experience.
But here we are on the edge of our seats until next week's two-episode Bachelorette extravaganza, wondering whether Luke's declaration change JoJo's mind about sending him home? Based on her reaction to his words and her ensuing emotional breakdown, I'd say it isn't looking great for him, but as she said in the moment, "Of course this changes things!" If she does send him home, that's her choice, of course, but I hope she doesn't send him home just because of his original decision to hold off saying, "I love you." It was so clear on his hometown date that he does care about her, even if he didn't say those magic words. Guess we'll have to wait and see next week, but all I know is that if Luke does get sent home, he'll have no problem finding the right woman for him and will be able to drop the L-word when he's ready.
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