Another Monday, another prolonged accusation of men accusing other men of being on a television show for fame rather than love. If it wasn’t clear where I stand on these types of accusations, let me make it clear: I don’t care why these men (or women) are on this show. I personally tune in every Monday for drama and mess. I love mess and this episode, was messy. I loved it.
I also believe that a majority of contestants who go on any reality show, even one purported to be about finding love, are actually probably going to gain some kind of fame. Whether it’s more Instagram followers, free marketing of a their business, or service they offer, most contestants are not quitting their jobs just to have a one in 30 chance of falling in love and getting engaged/married. Especially when this franchise doesn’t even have that good of a track record when it comes to that sort of thing.
So, given my opinion on that, you probably already know know where I stand on this whole Thomas situation: to me, it’s blown out of proportion. But let’s get into the episode, I’ll unpack that later.
We enter this episode with a series of bro chats happening all over the resort. All the men are talking about the same thing: Thomas being there for the wrong reasons. We see Thomas try to somewhat confide in Quartney, but Quartney just tells him that he dug himself into a ditch and has to take accountability for his actions, which is fair.
Next, the men are headed on a group date, this is technically last weeks second group date we didn’t get due to Karl drama. On the date are: Tre, Mike P., Greg, Connor C., Josh, Andrew S., Christian, and Andrew M. Right away I realize we’re four weeks in and there are a handful of men we’ve barely seen speak and especially not to Katie. Half of them are on this date.
The men are told that they will be working in teams to complete a series of dares. I know I said last week that forced trauma bonding is not my thing, but I’d rather make up some sob story about my trauma (because no way I’d tell the full blown truth) than do a bunch of challenges where I don’t know what to expect.
A few thoughts I had during this date: Tayshia is literally eating the girls UP on this screen, Greg is monotoned and boring, and Mike eating a bunch of Twinkies feels oddly sexual. These challenges are weird, but feel significantly less dangerous/harmful than what Tayshia’s men were forced to do last season (reminder: they were forced to eat very questionable non-foods). We get a little dirty talk from Andrew S. in his British accent, Tre gets his ass waxed and Greg unsuccessfully tries to make the United States of America sound sexy, which leads Tayshia to say “Oh my god he felt good about that? I repeat that was not sexy.” I concur.
For the final dare of the date, men have to eat two habanero peppers, get on bended knee and propose to Katie with a huge ring. Katie says that the pepper challenge is the ultimate challenge of who she’s looking for. She says she wants a guy “that would do anything for love, an engagement, and her.” I immediately had to side eye Katie for this. Even in a relationship people should have boundaries. Personally, I don’t believe in unconditional love in romantic relationships. I like to think that I’ll love my future kids unconditionally, but my love with my romantic partner has conditions, there are definitely things a person could do that would make me reevaluate my commitment to them.
Anyway, these men begin eating these peppers and I just have to point out that the men who are lacking melanin in their skin were especially struggling. Greg’s face is so red, he looks like he’s bawling, and even later on in his ITMs he is grasping a jug of milk like his life depends on it. In fact, he’s so thrown off by the heat of the peppers, he tells Katie he loves her and Katie picks up on it and gushes about this admission in her ITM. Could this be a little foreshadowing? Or was it kept in to throw us off? I’m thinking the later. More on that in a bit.
It’s time for the night time portion of the dates where Katie has asked the men to be open, vulnerable and honest, which Tre hears as “tell me everything you know and believe about Thomas.” The guys are all sitting around and talking about their hopes for the group date rose.
Andrew S. steals her away first and just like every other moment he’s had with her, he uses their brief time together to bond over a special experience. Not gonna lie, Taco Bell is the quickest way to my heart (seriously, David and I just ate it last night) so if I were Katie, Andrew would’ve moved to the top of my list. Andrew says that Katie has impacted him in a special way and that he values the time they have together, even if there isn’t much of it. It’s a cute moment that feels like it took their relationship to a deeper level.
We see a few sit downs with men like Andrew M., and Mike P. and even though we hear a voice over of Katie saying that her conversations with these men are deep, I just don’t believe it. Why not show them to us? Why aren’t we getting more from their conversations together? Katie’s instagram stories give us more insight into the guys we don’t hear from than the show does.
Then we get a little moment with her and Greg where she admits she’s falling for him and he notably doesn’t say it back, he just leans in to kiss her. I’ll be honest, I think Greg’s shyness is fake. I feel like he might really like Katie, but he’s so flat that I’m uninterested. I know there are a few more weeks left, but if he is her choice, like so many are speculating (reminder: this is a spoiler free blog/recap) I’m not seeing how. Also, why is it fine for him to say he could see their relationship growing into love this early in the game, but Thomas said it and he was immediately questioned, it’s a little unfair. My prediction: Greg is the contestant that makes Katie tell producers to book her flight home. So he self eliminates, or is revealed as a fraud.
Next we’re dropped into a conversation about Thomas. All the men are saying they feel like Katie needs to know about Thomas and his “thirst for fame” which as I’ve already established, is something I believe most of these men have in some way, shape or form. Andrew S. argues that the men should just focus on their relationships with Katie and not cause more drama that will take time away from each of their relationships with her. Most of the men disagree, especially Tre, who maintains that being there for the right reasons includes trying to “protect” Katie from making the wrong choice. Let’s get one thing straight: this is Katie’s journey and it is her journey to “fail” or succeed. Even on a show that is as manufactured as I imagine this one is, everything is happening for a reason and Katie is responsible for every choice she makes. Full stop.
Despite Andrew’s hesitancy, Tre pulls Katie aside and tells her that he and some of the other guys feel like he is not there for Katie. He calls Thomas manipulative and Katie encourages him to tell her more. Tre shares that Thomas was asked if he had intentions of being the Bachelor and answered yes. Katie says she’s shocked and devastated and that if someone came into the process hoping to be the lead, then they weren’t open to love, which I think is bullshit. I don’t think it’s crazy to come on this show and have a not so fleeting thought about being the lead, or going on Paradise.
Katie comes out to meet the rest of the men and gives them an opportunity to share what they’d like about Thomas. They all essentially back up Tre’s thoughts. Andrew S. stays silent. In the end, Katie rewards Tre for his loyalty to her and he gets the group date rose.
After an emotionally draining night, Katie gets a knock on the door from Tayshia. She’s there to share that a man from her season is interested in meeting her. I’m curious how legit this is. While I’m sure Blake didn’t reach out to Tayshia directly, I wonder if Blake was invited on to Katie’s season by the producers, or if he approached them to be put on the season? Regardless, I’m here for Blake’s addition, I think they could be a match, they both have the same vibe.
We get this dramatic lead up to them meeting. They embrace and sit down to chat. Blake starts by apologizing for showing up and throwing a wrench in her plans. He says that he was interested/rooting for her since he saw her step out the limo. Katie then confirms that they’ve chatted via the DMs, which is not that surprising, these contestants shoot their shots via the DMs all the time.
Katie says she’s concerned about being the third Bachelorette he’s dated, but it’s an unfair comment. It’s not Blake’s fault Clare left after 3 days in Dale’s presence; and it was quickly clear that him and Tayshia weren’t really connecting. In response to these concerns, Blake says that Katie checks off all his boxes, which is definitely a line because at this point none of what we know about her as viewers, Blake knows. So I’m curious what boxes she checks when he literally doesn’t know her. He promises Katie that if this goes the way he thinks it might, they’d end this experience engaged. Katies says she needs time to process and sends Blake on his way. We all know Blake is here to stay.
House Talks + Cocktail Party + Rose Ceremony
The theme of the entire second half of the episode is Thomas, this man got so much air time and his name was said so much. Thomas heads to Katie’s room so they can have a moment to chat and I wish she would’ve just let him go then. I don’t think she really needed to hear the opinion of half a dozen other men in order to decide Thomas should go. They go back and forth, Thomas shares that he believes that other men also came into this process wanting to be the Bachelor and Katie gets upset by the thought of this. I’m sure as a lead who is truly there hoping to fall in love by the end of the process it can be a lot to hear that multiple contestants are just there to be in your position a year from now. Still, Katie is naive if she thinks these men only came for her. Half of them didn’t know it was going to be her when they signed up. They were simply open to the process, open to what being on a network TV show with ~3.5 million live viewers could mean for their lives. Honestly, any contestant going on this show with no plans to promote themselves is dumb. It’s an incredible platform and while Thomas might have laid it on too thick and gone about it the wrong way, I still maintain that there’s nothing wrong with leaning in to what other opportunities the show could provide.
The other men are waiting for the cocktail party to begin and notice that Thomas isn’t there. They wonder if he’s gone, but of course he’s not. When Thomas walks into the cocktail party, they ask where he’s been and honestly, he tells the truth in my opinion. Kind of like he’s been doing this entire time. I understand why these men are side eyeing Thomas, but he really has been honest. The worst thing Thomas did in my opinion was come on way too strong for Katie. To me, that’s the only lie he told. Week one, his excitement and feelings were understandable, but by the time we got to last weeks episode it was a red flag that Thomas was teasing the words I love you without saying them explicitly. It was clear that’s what he felt like he had to do to stay and get a rose. In the end, that really just exposed him, led to the guys questioning him, him admitting that he was open to being the Bachelor and now the mess that is tonight.
Next, we get a brief moment of tension between Andrew S and many of the other guys. Andrew is upset that Thomas got more one on one time with Katie to explain himself, taking time away from all the other guys. He says this wouldn’t have happened if Tre would’ve kept his mouth shut, but many of the men disagree. They have to “protect” Katie and they couldn’t do that without bringing it up. In this moment, we see Aaron get pretty upset and y’all, I have seen that look before and experienced that raised voice with a man, it is something I absolutely do not think any woman should tolerate. I know Aaron was speaking to another man, but I didn’t like how worked up he was about Thomas. In fact, he’s been worked up about a different dude every episode and it has been concerning to me. Like, why are you so bothered by these dudes, bro? Although Katie is rewarding the tattle behavior for now, there will come a point where these men will get one on one time with her and their lack of connection will be clear, they’ll get sent home and wonder why. While it won’t directly be because they were so hell bent on getting certain guys out, it will be because they spent more time on that, than on building a relationship with Katie.
Mike A chimes in during the argument with the best POV of the episode. He reminds the men that the Thomas situation can’t take up so much time and energy that it gets in the way of them being there for Katie. I love what he said in his ITM, “Katie doesn’t have to worry about going home, but she does have to worry about picking the right person. Adding all this extra stress doesn’t seem right to me.” Boom. That’s it. That’s the point here. Time and time again the biggest mistake these contestants make is latching on to their disgust for a person and letting that lead their actions instead of letting their potential connection with the lead pave the way for their actions.
I also wonder why all of these men see one rose out of a dozen being given to Thomas as a correlation of whether they stay or leave. Thomas can get a rose and Katie can still think her connection with another man ain’t where it needs to be. Both can be true and exist in this world. It’s not like Thomas or Karl were getting a rose over someone else Katie had feelings for. Nah.
Katie begins to hand out roses and the first goes to Hunter, which was a bit of a surprise to me. I thought for sure he’d be a night one guy, but we’ve gotten more of him lately and he’s an interesting character, glad we’ll get to see more of him next week. The in between roses really don’t matter because we’re all just here to see if Thomas stays or goes home. With one rose left, Katie calls Thomas’ name and it cuts to commercial. At that moment, I knew, he was going home. The men looked shocked, Justin gives us another fantastic facial expression. But he’s not getting that final rose, Katie is using it as an opportunity to tell him off. When he walks up to her, she says “Your Bachelor audition ends tonight, so get out.” While it was a cute line and great bad bitch moment for her, Thomas is really getting the last laugh (or at least a laugh) because he’ll be on the sandy beaches of paradise in a few short weeks. Which could mean a run for Bachelor in the future.
Christian, Dave and Conor C. go home, which now only leaves two of my picks. I’ll have to see Blake and Katie interact more, but I really do think they could go all the way. I’m also pretty surprised that my personal favorite, Andrew S. is still in the mix.
With the rose ceremony behind her, Katie has made her decision on Blake and invites him to join the house. But not before we get an awkward moment of Blake answering the door in his boxer briefs (why does no one look through the peep holes!?). Blake struggles to find clothes, looks half sleep as Katie is inviting him onto the show and after they hug goodnight realizes he’s locked out of his room, in his underwear, which of course, the camera crew zooms out on. Love it.
Next week’s previews look dangerous. Hunter’s toxic masculinity is showing, the men are pissed that Blake is in the house, and our beloved Micheal A. is crying. Not ok!
I usually don’t care much about what the eliminated contestants have to say on social media, but I plan to have my eyes on Thomas’ Instagram in the next day or so to see if he tries to say anything to redeem himself, or if he takes the “I’m humbled road.” What’s your money on?
See you next Tuesday ✌🏾