Last week’s Bachelorette episode left us with a few questions. First, were all the contestants about to band together to take down Karl, a man who told Katie that there were men there for the wrong reasons even though he had no actual information? Second, who would Katie send home at the rose ceremony? Third, would she kick off Karl or would he remain as a source of drama for weeks on end à la Queen Victoria?
The episode opens with everyone still yelling at Karl. Karl says he’s “not putting anyone on blast, bro,” and everyone else says that’s because there isn’t actually anyone to put on blast. Katie announces that they’re going straight to the rose ceremony, and leaves again. As some of the other men complain about this meaning they won’t get time with Katie, Greg goes to check on her, thereby getting time with her. Galaxy brain move from Greg, who is clearly going to win this whole thing.
We then get a clip that’s repeatedly been shown in the previews of Karl shadowboxing. Turns out he’s just letting out some frustration. I can’t decide if it’s a healthy coping mechanism or a red flag. Meanwhile, Mike tells the other men, “We have the responsibility as a unit right now to protect the queen.” Maybe these guys are cool with the whole “we can become friends while dating the same woman” thing, but no one should be cool with them being some sort of security force inspired by bees.
At the rose ceremony, we get even more of this. When Katie calls Mike’s name, he accepts his rose and says, “We feel as a unit that it’s our job to protect your heart, and we’ve come together in solitary that we think that unfortunately what Karl said isn’t the truth.” Yes! That is extremely awkward phrasing, but I absolutely love that they came together against a common enemy and in such dramatic fashion. When Katie asks the other guys if they agree, they nod in unison.
Katie ends up giving roses to David, Hunter, Conor C, Mike P, Michael, Connor the cat, Quartney, Tre, Justin, Andrew M, Christian, Josh, Brendan, James the box, and Aaron. The men sent home are John, Garrett, Kyle, and, yep, Karl. The remaining men give Katie a round of applause, which is absolutely hilarious, but I’m right there with them. So often we see villains, untrustworthy, or just suspicious people stick around week after week. Katie’s not down with that.
At the group date the next day, Katie and some dudes meet up with two-time Bachelorette contestant, one-time Bachelor Nick Viall, who sits them down in a dark room and asks them to admit their worst mistakes, like ghosting someone, cheating, or secretly planning to become the next Bachelor — not really the same as the other two, but sure, Nick.
But things get far more intense than that. Hunter cries while talking about his “failed” marriage, which left him feeling like he disappointed his two kids. Connor B says he used to drink heavily and that one time when he was “blackout” drunk he cheated on his girlfriend. Since then, he’s gone to therapy to work on himself. Thomas admits that he went on the show not necessarily for the right reasons and knew it could be a good platform. He adds that he went on a date the week before the filming began. That’s very honest, and so many people on these shows must have a similar mindset. The thing is, the way Thomas talks seems disingenuous. Kind of like he feels if he’s very honest about these things, then it will build trust for things he’s not honest about. I can’t be totally sure, but that is a move Jed Wyatt pulled a few seasons back with Hannah Brown, and we saw how that turned out.
Katie also shares a story, not of a mistake, but a hard time she experienced. Ten years ago, Katie says, “I was involved in a situation where there wasn’t consent.” She continued, “I was in denial about what happened, so much so that I tried to form a relationship with him.” She said that it made her have an “unhealthy relationship with sex.” In addition to Katie saying that sharing made her feel personally “liberated," she also made sure to share an important message about consent and about not “guilt tripping” a partner to have more sex or to have sex at all. You could tell that she was looking out not just for herself, but for others, which she didn’t have to do. So, again, Katie deserves a round of applause.
While this wasn’t a typical group date, it did let us get to know everyone a lot better. While being told to share their innermost secrets isn’t exactly necessary, the show really should add more group dates that involve the contestants talking about themselves and their lives, rather than just mud wrestling.
At night, Katie’s most notable chat is with Thomas. She asks about some “red flags” he mentioned earlier in the day and wants to hear more about them. He dodges the question, which she bluntly calls him out for, and then he dodges it again. He knows he screwed up the convo, so he goes back to talk to Katie again — interrupting Aaron — and just says more vague stuff about how much he likes her. When she decides to start making out with him, I’m further convinced she just thinks he’s hot and fun and will get rid of him in a couple weeks... if not sooner.
When Thomas returns, the group asks why he needed to talk to Katie twice. “The purpose was to tell her how I’m feeling,” he says. Aaron responds, “That was my purpose … I thought it was something important.” The Bachelor franchise has been a total mess lately. This is the kind of ridiculous exchange I am looking for on this show.
Anyway, Connor the cat gets the group date rose, because he is honest, drama-free, and clearly in this for a longer haul than Aaron or Thomas.
The one-on-one date goes to Michael. It opens with a clip of Katie driving a dune buggy alone. I thought it was just some boring B-roll I didn't have to pay attention to, and then she flips the car upside down and has to be checked on by a medic. Thankfully, she’s fine aside from bruising her knee.
After getting their adrenaline pumping with some buggying of their own, Katie and Michael talk about his son and how if he didn’t feel a connection with Katie, he would leave right away to be with him. When Michael asks if he can kiss her, she turns into Mr. Big: “abso-fucking-lutely."
At dinner, Michael shares more of his story. He married his college sweetheart, Laura, in 2012. In 2016 they welcomed their son, James. Seven months after that, Laura was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she passed away two years ago. Michael now is ready to open up his heart again and has accepted that it’s a “gift to be able to fall in love twice.” Katie’s response is perfect: “I think for some people, they may be intimidated by this forever love that you will always have for Laura. That is something I know and respect and would never feel insecure by.” She’s very moved by the way Michael talks about love and gives him a rose. In her confessional, Katie says this could be the beginning of her falling in love with Michael and “it’s so unexpected.” I’ll say! But I like it. They both seem to have the same firm grasp of what their relationship would mean.
Back at the house, the guys are banding together again, this time against Thomas. Hunter decides to confront Thomas in front of everyone, because he and some of the others think he is two-faced and suspish as hell. They also think he came on the show to try and be the Bachelor, which Thomas admits to before saying he no longer feels that way. While someone thinking that maybe they could become the Bachelor isn’t too wild a thought — the Bachelor is usually cast from The Bachelorette — it’s different if your whole purpose is to try and be the Bachelor because then you’re purposely leading on the Bachelorette. At least be somewhat open to love, you know?
And that's it for this week. Next time, hopefully, Katie gets rid of Thomas and nips that one in the bud, too. Other than that, we know we’re getting the return of Blake Moynes, which no one asked for.
Frontrunner to win: Michael. Greg, who? Connor the cat, what?
Frontrunners for final four: Really, though, Greg and Connor are still frontrunners. My current final four is Greg, Connor, Michael, and Andrew S. You might not have gotten screen time this week, Andrew, but I didn’t forget you.
Frontrunner for Bachelor in Paradise: Tre has been doing a lot of narration confessionals, is vocal during the group drama, and just seems very lively. I can see him thriving in Paradise.