Tonight’s episode of The Bachelorette opens with Greg cuddling Connor the cat and petting him like he is an actual cat. (I rewound about four times to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing and also to confirm that Connor the cat really does look nice with glasses.) The idea is that all of the guys are so chill and refreshed after Thomas being sent home that they’re bonding and cracking each other’s backs and talking about how chill and refreshed they are.
Of course, this is not to last long, because we get Blake’s introduction to the group. “I know all of you don’t want to fucking see me here,” he says. And it’s true. Even sweet, drama-free Michael questions why Blake waited until halfway through the season to show up. “Would I have liked to get on earlier? Sure,” Blake says. While the show doesn’t explain anything, it does seem like Blake did try to show up sooner based on what Nick Viall said about his appearance on the show. Either way, the general vibe of the room is disappointment.
This deepens when a date card shows up and it’s a one-on-one for Blake. Prior to the date, Katie fields a couple questions from the group about Blake’s arrival. Quartney asks if they talked prior to her filming her season, and she says that they didn't, other than a quick message he sent her. But, she says, there’s “some good chemistry there” — that’s gotta sting — so she has to follow her heart.
Blake and Katie go horseback riding. He asks her if she’s traveled much — a great, normal date question — and tells her that he sometimes travels to Africa for his work in wildlife advocacy. Sometimes, he might have to go to Africa for a month at a time. “I kind of like that, though,” Katie says. “I like that you can do your own thing.” And I like that she’s already excited about having some time apart. It’s literally their first date, but she’s like, Thank god, I’ll get plenty of alone time in our potential future home.
At dinner, Blake asks how Katie became so “sex positive." She tells him what she shared before during the group date in episode 3 about how she had a traumatic nonconsensual sexual experience that gave her an unhealthy relationship with sex for years, until she began to get her “power back” thanks in part to the Me Too movement. I can’t help wondering how Katie felt about having to share this story all over again on camera, but Blake is receptive and comforting. He gets the rose, they dance to a live performance, and Katie declares in her confessional that she could see herself with Blake at the end. We’ve got another frontrunner.
The group date is the next day. I am a broken record, but why are they coming up with increasingly dangerous sports-themed group dates? The special guests on this one are Bachelor franchise alum Wells Adams and Franco LaCosta, the photographer guy they keep trying to make happen. Wells describes the game they’ll be playing as “rugby meets basketball,” and we soon see it’s the men tackling each other while not wearing any protective padding (save cups, probably) while running toward basketball hoops. Multiple guys blame Hunter for setting the aggressive tone of the game, since he was the first to make a hard tackle. But they follow his lead, so… not an excuse.
Michael gets tackled particularly hard from behind by Justin, and it’s actually hard to watch how his head gets whipped back and forth. Michael has to be checked by medics, and Katie declares the game over. She also says in a confessional that if someone gets hurt and has to leave the quarantine bubble, then they can’t return. What on Earth is the show thinking with these dates? They're playing fast and loose with the contestants.
At that evening’s cocktail party, Katie has a nice chat with Michael about how his late wife’s birthday was yesterday. They both agree that it’s definitely still worth it for him to be on the show, even though it’s hard being away from his son. Katie then gets serenaded by Connor the cat, his ukulele, and his very unbuttoned shirt. His little ditty brings Katie to tears, which shocks him. First, his cat costume went over unbelievably well, now this. Connor can’t lose.
Back with the group, Hunter shares how much fun he had on the super dangerous date. Then Aaron says in his confessional that he “can’t stand” Hunter and blames him for the game becoming so aggressive. Aaron has spent his entire time on the show finding person after person to be annoyed by — Cody, Karl, Thomas, Hunter — and it’s very entertaining. Aaron is not here for love. Aaron is here to be bothered and get other people sent home. It’s going very well for him so far.
In their convo, Hunter shows Katie photos of his kids, and she’s moved by how happy he looks in the pictures with them. He says he’s never introduced his kids to a woman, but he’d like her to meet them.
Back with the group once again, Michael opens up to everyone about the fact that he’s a widower. He says he didn’t share it before because he didn’t want them to think about him as “the sad dude.” Everyone is very moved, especially when Michael speaks about his perspective on how finite our time is on Earth. Greg in particular is brought to tears and continues crying in his confessional.
Unrelated to the extremely emotional conversation Greg just participated in, Katie tells him he has “resting sad face” and “permanently looks like a little lost puppy dog.” Well, yeah, particularly right now. Katie gives Greg a lot of reassurance that he should stick around on the show, even though it’s been tough for him.
At the end of the group date, Hunter gets the rose. I guess Katie really liked hearing about his family, but I don’t sense much chemistry between them. Perhaps she’s just spreading the wealth.
Andrew S’s one-on-one is next. (Yes, there is still another Andrew on this show and we literally never hear from him.) Katie shows up at night for their date in a full leather outfit and carrying lanterns. She takes Andrew into the woods where there is a setup with string lights and a bunch of envelopes hanging from tree branches. Each envelope asks them to do something to get to know each other better, like “show your signature dance move” or “share what you learned from your parents’ relationship.”
I know production is working with what they’ve got during yet another pandemic season, but this date is kind of lacking. Thankfully, Katie and Andrew really like each other, so they make it work.
We get a really lengthy dinner conversation from these two. They bond over their respective situations with their parents, and what they want to change in their own relationships. Katie’s parents split when she was young; Andrew’s dad wasn’t around. Andrew also opens up about how an ex of his, who was white, told him she was scared of having mixed race children and the kids not looking like they were hers to outsiders. Katie notes that maybe she’s naive as a white woman or affected by the community she grew up in, but “I don’t give a fuck when people want to look at me” because no one would come between her and their children. She and Andrew are very much on the same page with that one.
The serious conversations out of the way, it’s time for some hot tub and champagne time. Obviously, Andrew gets the rose. As with Blake, Katie says in her confessional that she could see herself with Andrew at the end.
Going into the rose ceremony cocktail party — that is in its proper spot at the end of the episode! — someone says that it’s the first week without drama, but the most tense it’s felt. I guess they didn’t stay mad at Blake very long.
During the cocktail party the show really tries to make Hunter drama happen, even though it’s totally half-assed. No one seems to really care about him besides Aaron, Tre, and James the box guy. James, his turtleneck, and his gold chain interrupt Hunter’s conversation with Katie. It’s a very night one move. James and Katie end up chatting and kissing, but so many relationships are so far ahead of his. Really, a lot of the relationships seem far ahead of the one she has with Hunter, too.
At the rose ceremony, rose-holders Blake, Hunter, and Andrew S. are joined by Greg, Aaron, Michael, Connor the cat, James the box, Justin, Mike, Brendan (who the heck is Brendan?), and Tre. Other Andrew, Quartney, Josh are sent home.
Next week: They’re heading to Spain! Just kidding. They are still stuck in this quarantine resort forever. The lack of travel is really starting to wear on me. What’s actually happening next is unclear, because we get a “second half of the season” trailer rather than a “next week” one. Upcoming we have mascara tears, a pissed off Greg, Katie declaring that someone needs to book her flight so she can leave, and a really sad moment in which Michael’s son tells him on FaceTime, “Maybe Daddy doesn’t want to see me.” Absolutely heartbreaking. On that sad note, here’s this week’s superlatives:
Frontrunner to win: Blake. I don’t know, guys, she was really into the idea that he will be away for a month at a time.
Frontrunners for final four: Blake, Andrew S., Michael, Greg
Frontrunner for Bachelor: Andrew S. He’s open. He’s comfortable on camera. He can do fun and do serious.
Frontrunner for Paradise: Aaron. He hates on so many people, but in a way that oddly doesn’t make him look bad. That’s an energy that could work well on the beach. Plus, maybe we’d get to see him actually pursue someone, which he apparently isn’t doing on The Bachelorette.