Going into the season 17 finale of The Bachelorette it seems like there is only one option for Katie: not choosing anyone. After Greg’s dramatic self-elimination last week and Katie’s declaration that she was “done” and needed her plane ticket home booked, she can’t possibly get engaged to Blake or Justin, right?
We start with Katie on stage for After (But Also During) The Final Rose talking to hosts Kaitlyn and Tayshia. She blamed herself for Greg leaving at first. “I am literally on my knees begging this man to stay, and he’s telling me it’s not good enough,” she says. She thinks he talked down to her and walked away from their conversations, and “that’s not a man.” If Greg talked down to her, that is bad. But from what we saw — emphasis on what we saw — Greg walked away because he was freaking out; nothing to do with not being “a man,” whatever that means.
Next we cut back to Katie’s Journey. She’s sad about Greg leaving and unsure what to do about Justin and Blake. Meanwhile, Justin and Blake are wondering where the heck Greg is and whether there will still be a rose ceremony. Tayshia and Kaitlyn let them know that Greg left and that fantasy suites are next, no rose ceremony needed. Blake looks like his stifling excitement. Justin looks like he’s having an out of body experience. Justin! In the final two! I didn’t see it coming either, dude.
Katie’s first date is with Blake. They have a water balloon fight and hang out in a hot tub. Blake tells her she “seems in good spirits” considering what happened in the past couple of days. It’s true. She doesn’t seem that upset. Hey, if she actually wasn’t that into Greg, then that’s great for her. Katie tells Blake about how Michael left and then Greg soon after. She even says there’s a part of her that wanted to leave, too. “I want to continue to go through this,” she tells him. That phrasing stands out. There was a lot of discussion last week about her talking to Greg in Bachelorette lingo. She’s still at it. In his confessional, Blake is kind of shook and notes that Katie might not be ready for an engagement.
At dinner, Blake gives his “I love you” speech. He realized he was in love with Katie during their hockey game last week when she yelled “Go America!” after scoring a goal. “Fuck, I love her,” he said to himself. Well, with that, I am more of a fan of Blake’s than I have been all season. The specificity of it feels so genuine.
“I love you and I’m really fucking excited about life with you,” he tells Katie. Katie says that she was waiting to say she loves someone until the end, but she can wait no longer. “I fucking love you so much,” she says. What is happening?! Did she just not love Greg? If that’s true, then why not just let him leave without the whole “book my flight” thing?
Blake and Katie go to the fantasy suite, which is presumably just another suite at the same resort. As Kaitlyn accurately says, “What a turn of events!”
The next morning, Katie chats with Kaitlyn and says she was “plenty satisfied many times” and that the date was the “best day of my life.” Kaitlyn can’t believe it, either, ya’ll. She’s like, wow, my advice that things would work out was actually right. Now, Katie just has to figure out what to do about Justin.
The producers make Justin pace around in the woods for a while ahead of his breakup. Katie launches right into it when she shows up. After saying that she wanted to stick with her journey after the Greg breakup because she owed it to Justin and Blake… she says she chose Blake and is in love with him. So, yeah, no more journey for Justin. They don’t seem that torn up at first, but both start crying once they part ways.
We then get a chat with Justin in the studio. Justin asks Katie if he was there “by default,” which is definitely how it looked from the edit he got. She says he was there for a reason, and she didn’t know until her date with Blake that she was in love with him. After a montage of Justin’s best reaction faces, that’s it for him.
Back on the Journey, it’s time for Blake to meet Katie’s family. Blake meets Katie’s mom and aunt Lindsay and is extremely nervous. Before even saying hello, he blurts out, “I brought you flowers and chocolate. I don’t know if you want this right now, but…” and awkwardly hands over the bouquets.
Blake tells them that he lives near Niagara Falls and is currently unemployed, but will need to go back to Africa soon for work. That’s not confusing at all. In a one-on-one convo, Lindsay, who Katie has described as “cold," starts grilling Blake and says, “You better be secure as shit coming into our family. You’re here because we want you here, not because we need you here.” Whew. When Blake says he was interested in Katie after seeing her on The Bachelor, she says, “You, too, have a vibrator? What does that mean?” Aunt Lindsay also asks Blake unanswerable questions, like how he and Katie will fix their marriage when it inevitably starts to fall apart. When he gives a generic answer, she says, “Yeah, that’s not how that works, but cute.” I understand being apprehensive about this show, but that’s just condescending. He’s not a child.
Meanwhile, Katie’s mom says how surprised she is that Katie could be getting engaged soon. “We’re not about to get married and have kids,” Katie says. Well, that’s different from what we usually hear from leads at this point.
When Katie’s mom talks to Blake, she also grills him about logistics, like where they’ll live. Since he’s the last one there, it sort of seems like this family meet-up doesn’t matter. He and Katie are dating and it will either work or it won’t. The family usually helps the lead choose between two people. That’s not the case this time. Eventually, Blake wins over Katie’s mom, and she’s brought to tears about her daughter being happy.
Next up, we finally get to the burning man that was repeatedly shown in the previews (cued up below, in case you need another glimpse). Blake and Katie meet Felicia, an energy healer. It turns out what they’ll be participating in is the Burning of Zozobra, a Santa Fe, New Mexico tradition. People burn papers that represent negativity in their lives along with the effigy called Zozobra, so Katie and Blake have to write down their own issues to burn in the flames. Blake’s is about how he experienced fears of commitment and being stagnant before Katie. Katie’s is about fearing abandonment, not being accepted, and losing Blake. As Zozobra burns, Blake’s confessional is about how he’s still not sure they’re ready for an engagement. Guess he didn’t burn one of his fears.
The next day, Tayshia presents engagement rings to Blake herself, because I guess Neil Lane didn’t want to quarantine for just five minutes of screentime. (We do see him briefly on video chat.) There’s more voiceover from Blake about how he — a man who met a woman a few weeks ago, lives in Canada, and regularly travels to an unspecified African country for an unspecified amount of time — isn’t sure he’s ready to propose. Tayshia tells him he needs to “let her go” if he’s still struggling. What? How is that the other option? Just date in the real world and break up after a year like normal people.
Blake and Katie meet at the proposal spot. Does he even know he’s the last one there yet? They never told us viewers, but I would be surprised if she hadn’t told him. Katie starts her speech. It’s, ya know, how these things usually sound. I do like her line, “In a world of change, I want to be your constant.” That seems fitting for their situation. Blake’s speech is also pretty standard, but towards the end he says, “I can’t give you what you came here for” — extremely long pause — ”because you deserve a lot more than that.” That is a meaningless sentence, for one. For two, why would he mess with her with that pause? Anyway, he proposes. She says "yes." He accepts the final rose. Tayshia and Kaitlyn celebrate making it through the season.
I can’t believe this. Nothing will surpass Desiree Hartsock getting engaged to — and marrying and having kids with — Chris Siegfried after her devastating breakup with Brooks Forester, but the Katie-Greg-Blake situation comes close.
Back n the studio, it’s Greg time. Greg says that he’s grateful for the experience and wouldn’t change anything. Then Katie comes out…
She walks right past him to her seat without a hug or a greeting. She immediately shares all of her issues with him, and it’s clear that the disconnect they had is still there. When she talks about how she gave him so much validation with two one-on-ones, the first impression rose, and plenty of group dates, she’s still talking in Bachelorette terms, which is exactly what pushed him over the edge in their previous conversation. She thinks he was never there for an engagement, is actually confident and the "shy guy" thing was fake, and wanted to become an actor. (He took acting classes.) “As much as I wish I was, I’m not Meryl Streep,” Greg says. I mean, seriously, do we think he could act that well? I don’t. As she did on social media, Katie also says that Greg was gaslighting her, but the definition she gives of what that means isn’t accurate. She says it’s placing the blame on someone else when it’s your own fault; it’s actually more complicated.
Greg continues to express that he wanted their relationship to be a “two-way street” and wanted to hear real emotion from her. In a comment that gets the crowd clapping, he says that just because she’s the Bachelorette, it doesn’t mean she’s on a higher level than him in the relationship. They end by saying they wish each other nothing but the best. I feel like only one of them means it.
Ending the episode, Blake, who I hope didn’t watch the Greg segment, joins Katie on stage. She reveals that her family found out she is engaged at the same time as the rest of us, because she didn’t trust them to keep the secret. That’s a first, right? They share a lot of the typical Bachelor/ette couple excitement, and then Blake surprises her by having audience members stand up with boomboxes playing the song they danced to on their one-on-one and that he played from a boombox outside her hotel room window.
And that’s that. A truly surprising end to the season that honestly wasn’t teased enough in the previews. While I wish Katie and Blake well, more than anything this season left me hoping for one thing: that Katie and Greg never come into contact again. It’s an odd note to end the season on, but here we are.
Frontrunner for Bachelor: Our beloved Michael or someone from Michelle’s upcoming season.
Frontrunner to not be forgotten by Bachelor Nation: Greg. While she might not have meant to, Katie made sure of it.