This weeks episode didn’t waste any time diving right back into the drama from last week, so I won’t waste any time either, let’s dive right into the recap!
We are back at the rose ceremony, tensions are still high, Katie is pushing out some tears next to a fireplace and the men are going in on Karl. Rightfully so. What’s crazy about all of this is Karl really doesn’t seem that phased. He doesn’t understand that he high key fucked up and is either going home, or going to spend the next few weeks dealing with the wrath of all the men. Neither are great options, nor are they worth the potential screen time and Instagram followers in my opinion.
The men are all yelling and talking over one another, and I couldn’t help, but remember this is week TWO people. These men have barely been filming for a week and are already making “for the wrong reasons” accusations. It’s too much and Katie feels it too. She comes in and announces that there won’t be a cocktail party, they’ll be going straight in to the rose ceremony.
I didn’t like the way this was set up. The internet has joked plenty about how Chris Harrison had one of the easiest jobs on TV and maybe he did, but Katie having to cancel her own cocktail party the way she did and then announce it in such a quiet monotone voice, was a reminder that a legit host, a consistent stand in would be nice for moments like this.
With the cocktail party cancelled, the men who have barely said three sentences to Katie begin to panic and blame Karl even more for them potentially not getting a rose, which is only kind of fair. This is a sped up process, a theme every season is a lack of time, these contestants know this. So, why sit around and wait for the lead to come to you? It’s not going to happen.
I also wondered why Katie didn’t just listen to her gut. I can imagine she was forming some feelings for these men and the bomb Karl dropped could’ve clouded her judgement, but also, if there were men that came to mind when Karl shared that BS info with her, those are probably men that should be cut. Even if Karl is lying, her having doubt is enough reason to send someone home. Especially since sis keeps reminding us she’s there for her husband.
Katie begins to hand out roses, the first goes to David, which is a little surprising as we haven’t seen him since he stepped out the limo. The next rose goes to Hunter and we begin to get sound bites of Karl being cocky and sure he’s going to get a rose—yikes.
When Katies calls Mike P.’s name, he pauses after accepting the rose and basically tells her that the men don’t fuck with Karl and they think he should go home, which is an interesting strategy. Not sure we’ve ever seen men so quickly all fall in line and agree. Katie walks out and again, I have to roll my eyes becuase it is WEEK TWO, we don’t need to be trippin’ over men this early in the game.
It’s time for the final rose of the night to be given out. Aaron, Kyle, Karl, John and Garret are all rose-less. And the final rose goes to…Aaron. Which means, Kyle (aka Carl Radke’s doppelgänger), John (one of my picks for Katie), Garret (who I’m not sure spoke at all) and motivational manipulator Karl are all going home. But fear not, I am very confident we’ll see Karl in Paradise. 🙄
In a move that shows Karl’s true colors, he doesn’t even look or speak to Katie after being sent home. Pretty unbecoming behavior of a motivational speaker.
First Group Date
It’s a new day. We get some bros in a hot tub and the mood of the house just feels lighter. When the date card arrives, the men going on the date are Aaron, Quartney, James, Connor B, David, Justin, Thomas, Hunter and Brendan. The card says “Love is about honesty and I need 100%…” and it’s kind of wild how deep the men are looking in to this. I bet they thought they were going to have to take a lie detector test, but they’re doing something weirder: forced trauma sharing.
Listen, I hate shit like this. Absolutely hate it. I’m a pretty closed off person with a small circle, and while I will happily complain about surface level BS openly on the internet (hence, this entire recap series) I am not interested in unpacking my trauma with any who isn’t my therapist, especially not on national television.
I can’t even remember if this date had a catchy name or anything. We just get Nick Viall whose presence was barely noticed and a short spiel about the importance of honesty, openness and transparency. Nick says he’s there to hold the men accountable, but he didn’t really do anything that actually held them accountable. Also, how is forcing someone to share their biggest mistakes holding someone accountable? I love the date idea in theory, but in practice it fell flat. There are other ways producers could’ve gotten these men to share some deep stuff without this awkward therapy circle set up that was honestly missing a therapist, and a trigger warning.
Hunter is the first to share and I really loved that we got to hear from him because we hadn’t yet. He shares regrets on his divorce and putting his work above time spent with his two kids. It was very emotional. We go in and out of hearing different instances of broken trust, ghosting and then we get to Thomas, who spends at least a full minute (that we saw) talking in circles. He admits to maybe coming on the show for the wrong reasons, he says he went on a date the week before he showed up to film, and then he compliments Katie. It was so weird and although this man is still fine as hell, I’m trying to understand how he keeps making all these confessions about how he feels about Katie when we haven’t seen them talk about anything. The math ain’t mathin’ my guy.
Before the date ends, Katie decides to share something she never has before. She was in a situation where consent wasn’t given and she was taken advantage of. She talked about how she blamed herself for so long, blaming her youth, her partying, her drinking for what happened to her. But really, none of that warrants being assaulted. Ever. I loved that Katie shared this and I especially loved that she brought it full circle and explained how through talking about it and working to heal, she’s been able to become comfortable in her sexuality and talking about sex.
Katie’s story provided the context that I really think we’d been missing around her commitment to sex positivity and it made me even more upset that producers have reduced her sex positivity into a “she’s horny all the time and has a purple dildo,” because the actual reasons that led her to be being the way she is are much more relatable. I also really appreciated her speaking specifically to consent and that coercion and wearing a person down is not consent.
As feelings driven as this date was, it left me with one question: when do we get to see the date where Katie gets to sus out who’s racist, sexist or homophobic? Asking because the franchise seems to have at least one contestant that exhibits all of these behaviors every season.
Fast forward to the night time portion of the date, the men are all dressed weird and Kate still is not making the right choices on these outfits.
The men reflect on what was shared during the day time portion of their date. Justin checks in with Katie to make sure she’s doing okay, Connor wants to make sure what he shared didn’t turn her off and proceeds to kiss her aggressively again, and Thomas talks around Katie’s questions of red flags and what she should know so she isn’t blindsided at the end.
Back around the campfire, the men are talking about Thomas and getting bothered. Without saying it directly, they insinuate he’s not there for the right reasons. Personally, I think you can come on the show for one reason and then be caught off guard by the feelings you develop for the lead. I mean, some of these men are cast before they even know whose heart they’re vying for. Front-runner Greg Grippo was slotted for Clare’s season until they went back to the casting pool for older men. Some of that is out of their control.
Still, I do agree with the men. Thomas is probably bullshitting and just saying a lot of what Katie wants to hear. But shifting their focus from Katie to Thomas, not smart dudes. Despite Thomas’ kinda-sorta confession of almost love, it wasn’t enough to get him the group date rose. Instead, the rose went to Connor B.
The night ends with the men on the date coming for Thomas, they call him a liar, disturbing and Aaron even pulls the “he’s a cancer” line which I absolutely hate. We can insult people without calling them a very serious, often life-threatening disease. Just say he sucks.
One on One Date with Michael A
After an incredibly long group date, we see Katie racing across the desert in a dune buggy. Michael looks like a giddy kid that’s both nervous and excited for what he’s getting himself in to. We know from a previous conversation in the house that Mike has somethings about his past and his family he wants to share.
As a refresher, Mike is a father to a four year old son and he’s been honest about the from the beginning. Him and Katie talk about the fact that he has a son and what it meant for him to go on this journey. Michael tells Kaite that he knows he’s being a bit selfish, but he’s genuinely hoping to find love and show his son there is love after loss.
There were two things that Michael said that let me know he’s not playing around. 1) He said if he ever felt like Katie wasn’t it, he’d leave to go back home to be with his kid and 2) he said the the engagement at the end of the show isn’t an ending it’s a beginning. I really appreciated that shift in perspective.
I don’t personally watch the show to see an engagement at the end, but in a lot of ways the show has conflated engagement with success and that’s unfair. I think Hannah B finding herself and her voice by the end of her season was a success, Clare choosing Dale in 2.5 days and wanting to pursue that was a success, Tayshia and Zac getting engaged, but taking the time post show to pursue their own dreams and passions is success. In many ways, the engagement is an outward confession of love. As someone who is engaged and has been for probably far too long in most people’s eyes, nothing really changes about an engaged couple, especially one the doesn’t start planning their wedding right away. What changes is internal, you begin to think about them in your decisions, if you weren’t already, you think about your future beyond the very expensive wedding date. So Michael is right, it really is the beginning.
Anyway, I digress. I also love that Michael often asks to kiss Katie before going for it. I think that it’s so cute and in an episode that focused on the importance of consent at the beginning it was nice to see it reinforced later on.
Before the dinner portion of Katie and Michael’s date, we get a scene of the men talking about Thomas again. The men who were on the first group date are catching the others up on what they missed and similar to what they did with Karl, they form an alliance and decide they aren’t going to accept the way Thomas is treating other men in the house. Specifically, they’re not going to deal with him stealing time.
Meanwhile, Thomas and Hunter are having a conversation in which Hunter is trying to warn him about creating enemies with the other guys. From this conversation and Hunters breakdown of who Nick Viall was earlier, its clear he watches this show. While he might not be playing the game so well himself, he’s definitely aware of all the moving parts.
Back to the date with Michael and Katie, we hear them share how they’re feeling a genuine connection. Katie says in an ITM that she believes that Michael has pure intentions and I agree. He’s not there to fuck around.
Mike begins to share the story of his late wife. They met in college, he fell in love with her, they got married, had a kid and a few months later, she was diagnosed with cancer. He shares how hard he and his wife fought to save her life, but unfortunately two years ago, she passed away.
Through tears, Mike continues to share his story and Katie does a great job of comforting him. He talks about trying to rebuild his life without the love of his life and shares that he’s at a place where he’s ready to love again. They both spoke about the importance of honoring his previous marriage and love story, and also celebrating the uniqueness of the new love story he’s looking to create. Michael is the type of man that will do anything for his woman and his family, I just know it. And we love to see it.
Katie reaches for the rose and acknowledges that she isn’t just offering it to Michael, she’s offering it to James, his son as well. She says if her and Mike walked away from the show together it could be a “truly forever kind of love.” I agree. While I can see her with some of these other men, I see longevity and security in this connection.
The Thomas Intervention
The men all gather in a common area of the resort and Hunter decides to address how the house is feeling about Thomas. Hunter accuses him of running a campaign to be the Bachelor and says he feels manipulated by Thomas. Eventually, he asks out right if Thomas wants to be the Bachelor. Of course, Thomas doesn’t answer directly and so Hunter asks again. Thomas admits that coming into the show one of the thoughts on his mind was that he could be the Bachelor.
I don’t think this is the bombshell that the show and the guys are making it out to be. Thomas is clearly somewhat familiar with this show and we’ve heard producers and show creator Mike Flies himself admit before that there have been contestants they cast on a season hoping they’d be a future lead (Rachel Lindsay’s recent article in New York mag addresses this very thing). I said this last week and I’ll say it again, it is not that far fetched that these contestants, who sometimes don’t even know who they’re coming on the show to date, are agreeing to be on television for reasons outside of falling in love. At the end of the day, only one person can “win” so why not come thinking of other opportunities as well.
Maybe Thomas shouldn’t have admitted it so blatantly because now it will obviously be his demise, but I’m not buying that these men are *that* upset. Y’all are here for similar reasons. So please. Save it.
Next week we’ve got more of the men coming for Thomas, men overreacting about being waxed (it doesn’t hurt that bad) and we finally get a peak at Blake Moynes arrival. I hope he stays because 1) all the other guys I picked for Katie are gone and 2) I really do think they’d be good together. Excited to see what their future could hold!
Until then, see you next Tuesday! ✌🏾