- Summer House -What Everyone Is Getting Wrong About Luke's Love Triangle Vs. Paige's
I have to admit it; I used to like Luke Gulbranson. Not because he's so hot – I like my guys a little more Vans and record stores than hockey sticks and modeling portfolios – but, honestly, because he liked Hannah Berner.
Obviously, Hannah is beautiful. But she's also sporty. Goofy. More defined by her sense of humor and her interests (tennis, comedy, snacks...) than by the amount of time or money she puts into her appearance. I thought the fact that Luke was attracted to her, as opposed to one of the Professionally Pretty Girls in the house, gave him some character and some depth.
And with Hannah, at least in the beginning of Season 4, he was charming. I fell for his dorky flirty Minnesota schtick the same way she did. But the way he treated her last summer, and the way he handled that whole conflict, soured me on Luke and his igloos and his casual meme-able kitchen guitar strolls, possibly forever. Just as things did for Hannah, everything changed for me and Luke in Season 5.
Thing is, I'm surprised it didn't change for everyone else too. It seems most people were on Luke's side, and I couldn't put my finger on exactly why, or exactly why that felt so wrong, until this season.
As soon as Season 6 started, all the Luke apologists started comparing his situation with Hannah/Ciara Miller to Paige DeSorbo's situation with Andrea Denver and Craig Conover, crying "double standard!" and demanding justice for Luke.
But Luke's situation – and transgression – isn't the same as what's going on with Paige and her love triangle. Not even close. And here's why.
Luke was so, so confusing, while Paige has been clear
What Paige was doing with Andrea and Craig falls under the umbrella of the usual dating behavior. First, she was legitimately interested in – and actually dating – Andrea. Then she started seeing Craig, lost interest in Andrea, and, apparently, ghosted him. Was ghosting him for someone else mean? Maybe. But was it clear? Totally. Andrea knew where he stood: not with Paige.
On the other hand, it's hard to call what Luke did with Hannah dating. What he did was pull her around like a YoYo. First he lobbied hard in Season 4 for Hannah to be available to him (he wants her!). As soon as she was, he put on the brakes (he doesn't want her), but said it was because of his ex – implying the issue was more timing than interest (maybe he wants her but not now?). Then he hooked up with her multiple times (he wants her!), but set a boundary at intercourse (he doesn't want her), but again, only because he wasn't ready for a relationship and didn't want to hurt her (so maybe he wants her... later?).
Most confusing of all, though, he established deep, consistent, long-term emotional intimacy with her, and basically treated her like a surrogate girlfriend (so he wants the girlfriend parts, but still isn't ready for sex?).
Now, obviously, all this confusion is a red flag in itself, and Hannah bears some responsibility for not seeing that, as well as for not being completely honest with him about how much she liked him. But still. It isn't that hard to see why Hannah, unlike Andrea, would be confused about where she stood – and whether she could have a future with Luke. Especially since he wasn't mentioning his interest in anyone else. Which brings us to...
Luke blind-sided Hannah and Ciara, Paige is blind-siding no one
Going into Season 6, again, everyone involved with Paige knew where they stood. Andrea knew he wasn't dating Paige because they weren't even in contact. He knew Paige was dating Craig because the whole world knew Paige was dating Craig. And Craig knew Paige was dating other people. Would it have been kind of Paige to tell Andrea about Craig herself? Yes. Was she downplaying to herself and everyone else how much she liked Craig? Yes. And did things get a little messy when she started flirting with Andrea again? Also yes.
But ultimately, so far, before and during the summer, everyone involved in this triangle had all the basic information they needed to make informed decisions, and form expectations, for how the summer would or could go.
Luke, on the other hand, started Season 5 without properly telling either Hannah or Ciara about each other at all.
If he had any inkling that Hannah had feelings for him (and him not mentioning Ciara, presumably to protect her feelings or to protect his pseudo-girlfriend relationship with her, or both, is proof that he did) then the kind thing to do would be warn her about Ciara's arrival.
But even if he really did believe they were just friends, it's still weird to talk to a friend three times a day but not even mention that you're inviting a potential paramour to come live with both of you for an entire summer. Can you imagine Lindsay not telling Danielle or Carl that she was inviting a love interest to live with them? Or Paige not telling Hannah or Amanda? However you look at it, it's weird – and hurtful.
At the same time, it's unkind (and unwise) to let Ciara enter the house without knowing the full extent of his entanglement with someone living there.
Basically, he denied both women vital information that would've allowed them to go into the summer with full context and realistic expectations: Hannah that she and Luke likely wouldn't progress romantically or physically, and Ciara that there might be lingering dynamics – or even just references or jokes – from Season 4.
Instead, he kept both in the dark, let them stumble into a minefield, and then acted confused, indignant, injured, and mad at them for being upset about it.
(Also, FWIW, as to all of Luke's protestations that Hannah was dating other people too, seeing other people is really different than inviting those people to live with him/them.)
Paige is bad at communication, but Luke was abysmal
Ultimately, what it comes down to is that, while Paige could definitely improve in the communication department, generally her words, actions, and desires mostly line up. And Luke's, well, don't.
As Colton Underwood, of all people, pointed out on this week's WWHL, if everyone in the Luke triangle had communicated honestly, they could've avoided so much drama and heartache. But it really is Luke's indiscriminate and unthinking use of emotional intimacy, and the deliberate withholding of information, that pushed his behavior beyond what he, on Monday's episode of Summer House, understatedly (and mistakenly) called being "a fuckboi" into something way less entertaining and a lot more cruel (I mean, it likely contributed to Hannah actually losing her job).
Luke wasn't just messy. He wasn't just playing the field and breaking hearts along the way. He was manipulative, he was unkind, and he refused to take responsibility for how his actions impacted other people. His actions weren't necessarily malicious – they were more self-preserving and selfish – but he was, truly, all of those things.
Nothing Paige has done this season so far has come even close.
However, as to whether you can compare Luke and Austen... well, that's another article entirely.