Spoilers are ahead. Katie Thurston's Bachelorette season has already shaken the typical show format up in several ways, and not just by having Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams replace former host Chris Harrison. In the June 21 episode, several of Thurston's Bachelorette contestants came together to tell her that they didn't think she should keep Karl Smith. This came after Smith had thrown out a vague sentiment about how Thurston couldn't necessarily trust all of the men there; he wouldn't name names, so he just left Thurston feeling more confused than ever. But the rest of the men were willing to drop names and tell Thurston that they thought the person she really couldn't trust was Smith, for stirring up drama where there wasn't necessarily any.
At the roce ceremony, Mike Planeta spoke on behalf of the other men, telling Thurston — in front of Smith — that everyone wanted her to send Smith home. "We’ve come together in solidarity … what Karl said wasn’t the truth," Planeta said, telling Thurston that they held these views "as a unit."
Thurston took a moment to herself to process the information, relying on her trusty hosting duo to help her decide what to do. Adams and Bristowe reminded Thurston that it was ultimately her decision, no matter what Smith or Planeta — or anyone — said. But although Thurston had originally intended to keep Smith, she decided to rely on the word of the united front of Bachelorette guys and send him home. She didn't even wait to hear an explanation from Smith, she just cut the drama right out like a spot of mold on cheese.
Usually, tattling doesn't end well for contestants on this show because it becomes it comes down to word of mouth and it's hard for the lead to know who is telling the truth. But when almost the entire cast comes together to tell you something, that's harder to ignore.
It should be noted that this idea of the cast banding together is kind of becoming a new trend. In this case, to goal of uniting with a single message was ridding the house of a potential villain. But earlier this year, the women of Matt James' Bachelor season united when they came together to renounce Chris Harrison's defense of racism in his now infamous interview on Extra with Rachel Lindsay. Though the statement was not the only factor, eventually, Harrison ultimately stepped down from his very powerful, long-running role on the show. The public pressure from the show's own stars likely had a big role in that.
While we can't possibly know how involved producers were with this unionizing moment, this trend of teaming up to denounce bad behavior could be a game changer for the series. While Karl was pretty mild, as far as villains go, it does offer the hope that characters like Victoria Larson or Chad Johnson may not be able to take hold of entire seasons so easily, now that future casts have seen that there are more moves available to them. Many fans have hated watching pot-stirrers whose only purpose is drama make it through rose ceremony after rose ceremony, and now, there are a few more cards to play.
That said, not every lead will do what Thurston did by actually listening to the people who care about her, rather than producers — not all leads have done so in the past and ultimately, decisions about eliminations are up to the Bachelor or Bachelorette. One thing is clear: Future casts should take note. Production can and will continue to cast pot-stirrers, but there's strength in numbers.