Well, we made it to the end! It doesn’t matter the time of year, there’s just something about Bachelor Nation finales, I am never able to watch it live, which sucks because of course its the only episode everyone on my timeline is watching and live tweeting, so I have to dodge spoilers.
We had some inclement weather in the Chicagoland last night, so not only was I watching late, but the first 40 minutes were weather updates, not the episode. Luckily, I was able to go back and watch on Hulu this morning. And that folks is why I’ll probably never give up my 50-11 TV/streaming subscriptions because when one doesn’t have it, another always will!
Anyway, we start the episode with Tayshia in braids, Kaitlyn looking like a cute ass Malibu Barbie and a live studio audience as if the delta variant ain’t running wild through the U.S. It’s the Bachelorette season finale!
We get a recap of the season, specifically Michael A. and Greg’s exit, we’re reminded the Katie wanted to go home she was so heartbroken. Katie says she didn’t see it ending with Greg like this. At this moment, I’m not convinced that her person is left. I get being really upset to have to see two guys you were really interested in go home, but I just felt like if either of the men left were her person, she wouldn’t have been so ready to leave. Which is the very thing she later on judges Greg for. We gotta be consistent sis.
The morning after Greg leaves, Katie is still clearly upset and questioning whether to stay. Blake and Justin are wondering if there will be a rose ceremony as planned when Kaitlyn and Tayshia walk in. They share that Greg has left and that Katie is emotionally devastated and struggling. They also let them know that Katie is staying and that they both will have an opportunity to spend uninterrupted time with her. Blake says he’s glad because this is the week that will help him solidly if they’re going to be together.
Blake’s Fantasy Suite Date
At the beginning of the date, we get that standard huju that Katie loves to do. They head on their date and Katie starts throwing paint balloons at one another, very reminiscent of Tayshia and Zac’s date.
They take a dip in a hot tub in the middle of nowhere and begin to talk about what’s happened over the last week. Katie shares that Michael A. went home to be with his son and that Greg went home as well. She doesn’t really share why, but says it was shocking and she saw him making it to meet her family. She even tells Blake she wanted to quit for a moment.
I think it’s lame that Katie lowkey tried to downplay how bad Greg leaving was. While I understand not wanting to tell the other guy that you’re dating about a man that just left, I really hope last week and/or the taping of After the Final Rose wasn’t the first time Blake was seeing that break down in communication between Greg and Katie. I’d imagine as a fiancé that’s hard to watch, no matter how secure you may be in the relationship.
As the night time portion of the date begins, Blake says that feels the weight of the date. He wants to tell Katie that he loves her, but is nervous that she won’t reciprocate it. He’s in his head about where she’s actually at after hearing about her falling out with Greg.
Blake begins a bit of a monologue about love. He says he’d never share those words with her and then get up and leave. He says he doesn’t share that words often or lightly and often shows it in action. This monologue felt overly dramatic to me. As a journalist and a writer, I know that words have meaning and I don’t mean to act like they don’t, but Bachelor world really judges people based on the use of the word love. Don’t be the lead and say it to more than one person, don’t be a contestant and say it too soon, and (apparently) don’t say it after a perfect hometown date and then get mad when you don’t hear it back.
I digress…towards the end of Blake’s monologue he describes the moment he knew he loved Katie. It was when she took off her heels to play hockey with his family at the end of the hometown date and scored a goal. At the end of him recounting this story he says he realized he loved her, then he actually says it to her. Throughout this monologue Katie is really giving the same looks she gave Greg, so I was a little worried we were about to get more of the same, but when Blake admits that he loves her, she says it back!
Now, in the moment when I was watching it, I wasn’t sure what I missed in the first 40 minutes, so I didn’t know if she’d already had her fantasy suite with Justin or if she was saying this to Blake and going to play it cool the next day with Justin. So I was side eyeing her big time because there was such a focus on her not saying it last week until the end and then she says it like it was nothing. People are allowed to change their minds and negotiate their boundaries if they so choose, but it was a bit of a mind fuck after the week of discussion Bach Nation has been having.
Anyway, Blake is invited to the fantasy suite, which he of course says yes to.
The next morning we get a zoom in on Katie’s heels and her bra, producers ain’t shit for that. We also get a little morning make out and more of Blake and Katie saying I love you. This very much reminded me of the first time I said I love you to a guy and how good it felt to say and hear back. You just say it over and over again because it feels so good. I also really appreciated how normal Katie looked. I feel like sometimes we get the lead looking real done up the next morning and that is not realistic, so I’m glad it looked like Katie had just woken up.
They kiss goodbye and exchange one more I love you.
Next, Katie is recounting the date with Kaitlyn. She alludes to cumming multiple times, we love that for her, and also says that its the best day of her life, which is kinda wild tbh. I’m very much a hopeless romantic, but there’s nothing I’ve experienced romantically that I’d say is the best day of my life. But go off sis. Katie says her heart belongs to Blake now, which is awkward becuase 1) we know it has been days since the Greg fight and 2) Justin is very much still around, even if there is barely any footage to prove it.
Justin Fantasy Suite + AFR Hot Seat
Justin’s fantasy suite is up next and I was just hoping we didn’t have to watch 10 minutes of Katie acting like she didn’t just confess her love to another man the night before and we didn’t. Justin is looking forward to it. He knows Greg is gone and feels like with his exit, he has a chance to grow their love and is one step closer to a proposal.
I also need to mention that as we see Justin getting ready for his date, we see that he is in fact a no show sock person and I don’t know why this matters, but it does. I’m so glad to know Justin isn’t walking around with sweaty sneaker feet. It matters, ok?
Anyway, Katie meets Justin and says they need to talk. She explains to him that during her overnight with Blake she expressed feelings of love and it wouldn’t be right to continue in this process knowing that the feelings that she has for Blake are what they are.
While I appreciate that Katie ended things with Justin rather than taking him on the date, I’m sick of seeing this happen. I’ve mentioned this the past few recaps, but we don’t even really understand why Justin is still there. We got lots of Justin’s facial expressions, but none of his love with Katie. Producers stay doing this, we got similar endings with Natasha from Peter’s season, Mike Johnson from Hannah B’s season, we even got it a bit with Eric Bigger on Rachel Lindsay’s season. Producers, who probably are not reading this, I’m begging you to tell fuller stories with contestants of color, especially the ones that make it this far. There’s no reason we should know as much about Justin as we do about always angry Aaron who left three weeks ago.
As Justin gets in the car and shares his final thoughts, he says something that really drives this entire thing home: “We spent a month together…” that’s right, a month and although it is an intense month, where all you’re doing is think and talking about this woman, that just doesn’t seem like long enough to warrant these emotions, especially given what we’ve seen of him and Katie’s love story.
Justin joins Kaitlyn and Tayshia at After the Final Rose and he still seems pretty hurt, which is surprising because again, we ain’t see no connections between them. Justin questions whether he was their by default and I’m so glad this is brought up because it does feel like Justin was the diversity hire that overstayed his welcome. I agree that it didn’t seem like Katie gave him a fair shot, almost like she forgot to work on their relationship because she was so preoccupied with other BS.
When Katie joins Justin he’s a little choked up and I honestly cannot tell if he’s for real, I don’t want to judge him for being so worked up because he obviously experienced something with Katie that we never saw. Katie says he wasn’t there by default and that they had a lot of moments where a real connection was formed. Justin reiterates that Katie has helped him open up about his feelings more and he never expected that.
I’ve been thinking about this notion of the lead, especially Bachelorettes teaching men how to be more vulnerable and I honestly think its less about what the women do or don’t do and more about the fact that for 4-6 weeks they are forced to only think about, talk about and interact with the idea of falling in love with this one person. Then, they’re encouraged to lean into those emotions and share them with producers, its no wonder men specifically come out of this experience more in touch with their feelings and willing to be vulnerable. I love that for them.
We end Justin’s hot seat with a montage of his face and it is everything! His facial expressions have truly provided comedic relief each week!
Blake Meets the Family
I’m just going to come out and say it, this segment was over produced. Katie’s family is probably not that tough and also they were projecting big time onto Katie and Blakes potential marriage. I really appreciated the hard dose of reality, especially on a show that is such often fairytale bullshit, but they were so harsh, especially Katie’s aunt.
Starting out, I loved that we got Katie’s mom and aunt asking the normal, but important questions about where Blake lived and what he did for work. This is also where we see Africa, the continent being spoken about as if it is a country. Africa is vast Blake, where in Africa are you going? Get specific because we know Katie isn’t familiar with the continent.
Blake and Katie’s aunt go and chat privately and she lets him have it. She really didn’t seem like she wanted to be there and I found myself wondering if she was playing up her toughness for the camera or if she truly did not give a fuck. I mean, there are few people who say they don’t care about something and mean it, but I believed her. She also gave me defensive vibes, which I did not fully understand. Like, she makes it known that how she feels about Blake isn’t important, but she’s also asking really specific (and important!) questions which only someone who cares about who their niece is going to marry would ask.
When she asked Blake how he’d handle conflict in a marriage and I lost it. She was totally out of pocket. While the question itself wasn’t completely inappropriate, her dismissiveness, especially of what Blake may have learned from seeing his parents marriage fall apart was lame. Sure, Blake was not part of that marriage, but maybe he heard the fights, or has asked for more insight as an adult pursing his own intimate relationships. His trauma and learnings that stem from that experience are incredibly valid and she made it seem like they weren’t. Kids go to therapy their entire lives to unpack toxic relationship habits they saw from their parents, so if Blake has used his parents divorce to learn what not to do, or what to do more of, then that is relevant and valid to me.
Katie’s time with her aunt is no better. But their conversation showed us something important, Katie is doing a lot of compromising: moving to Canada, visiting Africa, potentially putting plans of hers on hold in order for the relationship to grow/thrive. Her aunt says it’s important for Blake to give some too and I agree. I think people use this blanket statement of “don’t move for a man,” and that’s too simplified. You have to weigh your options, you have to decide what’s important to you in the situation.
While Blake is getting grilled, Katie meets with her mom who admits she didn’t process that Katie might actually leave this experience engaged. I couldn’t tell if her comment meant she didn’t think Katie would actually go through with an engagement or that she never fully realized what being the Bachelorette could mean for her daughter. She also reminds Katie that it isn’t wise to set up her life in a way that means she’s depending on a man.
Blake’s time with Katie’s mom was so genuine. She asked tough questions about where they were going to live and such, but overall she sees the love between the two of them and is happy for her daughter. She definitely seemed cautiously optimistic more than anything else.
If nothing else, these conversations showed us that they truly only used the fantasy suite to have sex because Katie’s family asked some very basic questions and they couldn’t even answer them. I’ve said this before during this season, but ‘we’ll figure it out’ is not a solution. Not when you’re talking about marriage. A willingness and openness to figuring it out is ok, a plan of just Kanye shrugging through life ain’t it.
Despite such a good talk with Katie’s mom, Blake seems visibly shaken by the time he’s reunited with Katie. He seems to be second guessing himself and I wish we would’ve gotten to see that teased out a bit more.
The Final Date
One petty comment to start off this section: Why does it feel like every outfit Katie wears has been worn before? Like is this not the outfit from her date with Greg?
Anyway, Blake and Katie are meeting with an energy healer for the burning of ZoZobra. The idea is that they will release negative thoughts and feelings in order to invite in new energy and opportunities. It felt like a great bookend to this journey, but also is this a cultural practice that we aren’t giving credit to the correct groups of people? This ain’t something some random white producers came up with.
Before burning their fears, they read them to one another in letter form and honestly, I hated this. Instead of reading letters to one another, I wish it would have just listed their fears. I also wish their fears weren’t just focused on relationships. So many other fears that they both have would’ve been relevant to burn as well, and maybe they did and we just didn’t see it. Katie’s fears were also rooted in something so much deeper than what this show or a proposal could fix. I have/had a lot of fears that Katie named and I too believed a romantic engagement to my person could change that, but it doesn’t. Blake hits on this perfectly in his ITMs, he says there isn’t necessarily something he can change in the time they have left that could quell those fears. It was very mature for him to name this. While burning their fears is largely symbolic, the real work is internal and Blake seems to understand this.
Of course, Neil Lane still gets his 60 second spotlight, COVID be damned! As Blake was looking at all these rings I couldn’t help, but wonder, do the women get some sort of say? What if you’re not a diamond person? What if I want a gemstone, does Neil Lane do that? I mean it’s a free ring, so maybe they’re forced to deal with what they get, but still, so much of this process is laid out for them, they could at least have a say in the ring, at least that’s what I’d care about. I have to wear a ring for the rest of my life? I better love it.
As Blake is looking at the rings, he’s nervous, he’s in his head, he’s unsure if he can go through with it. I wonder if it’s more pressure because it was just him and he knows how committed to this process Katie is. In the moments when we see Blake wondering what his next move should be, I couldn’t help, but wonder if that struggle was born out of the expectation Katie set for herself and her season. I think his feelings for her are very real, but I also believe that if he knew it wouldn’t completely turn her off, he’d choose to leave as boyfriend/girlfriend, which we need to normalize. We just saw Justin leave an hour before this segment aired and in it, he acknowledged that they’d only spent a month together. Is it really the worst thing if there’s no proposal?
Blake gets out of the car and tells Kaitlyn and Tayshia he’s nervous. They basically tell him Katie is waiting and to get over it 😂. Katie is in the best look we’ve seen her in all season. She goes into her monologue and similar to the vows she wrote for Justin, these words are so nice. Katie is lowkey a writer and don’t even know it. She tries to muster up some tears, which she continues to do later during After the Final Rose.
Katie says the the night Blake said he loved her changer her life forever and this is just such a dramatic thing to say. To be loved is a wonderful thing. To have a true partner and just know they get you, have your back, etc. is such a blessing, but Katie says it in this way that makes you feel like she believes her life now has meaning becuase a man chose her. And yes, it feels so good to be chosen, but you have worth beyond that too.
It’s also really hard to watch this knowing what happened a week ago with Greg. I’ve always felt like Katie was really invested in the show, so it was always going to end this way, no matter what and I really like them together. Katie and Blake seem like they legit could’ve met outside the show and ended up together. In fact, I predicted it in my first blog post.
Tayshia and Kaitlyn were also so genuinely happy and invested, I loved that touch. The newly engaged couple ended the season the same way they started it, on horses, a cute full circle moment!
After the Final Rose
When Greg came out, he seemed a little too happy sitting in that hot seat, but that smile quickly disappeared. Kaitlyn asked him what it was about Katie that made him fall in love. Greg said that he didn’t know how happy he could be until he met Katie. Not sure he’s processed this since first going on the show, but from the outside looking in, it really seems like Greg finding someone who has lost their dad, but managed to find happiness and put themselves out there despite this huge loss was inspiring to him. While I’m sure he found Katie attractive, looking back on it, I really think he wanted some of what Katie had, this confidence and willingness to put yourself out there again after loss. I hope Greg takes that with him.
Kaitlyn asks if he has any regrets and he says no. Now, maybe I’m giving him too much credit (plz call me out if you think so) but I honestly thing he answered the question too quickly and then leaned on this everything happens for a reason line that we’ve all done before. Honestly, Katie did the same thing during Men Tell All. I think the question is two fold: 1) do you have any regrets and 2) anything you’d change. Greg may believe that what happened between him and Katie was meant to happen that way, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some actions that could’ve been better.
Katie comes out icy as fuck and I get it, but I also don’t. She starts with the accusations of Greg not being there for an engagement at the end. Very ‘here for the wrong reasons.’ Not only am I just so fucking sick of hearing this argument, but I also believe its absurd to try and make a contestant feel bad for not being ready to get married after 6 weeks of kinda sorta dating where they only got to see you approximately one day a week and when they do see you, at least a crew of a dozen people are around. I imagine that is a very difficult environment to fall in love in. Not to mention, the man Katie ended up was literally questioning if he was ready to propose 20 minutes before! So even if Katie’s assertion is true, it’s also reasonable.
I tend to say this in arguments I find myself in, but if you’re gonna come at me, come to play baby because I match energy and I don’t lose. Katie came out swinging, but with no thought process and no real receipts.
To me, Katie’s behavior towards Greg did not seem like someone who was happily engaged, it felt like someone who was big mad that the opportunity to choose was taken away from her and therefore she was “forced” to choose Blake. Her anger just did not match the moment and I couldn’t help, but watch this and remember Rachel Lindsay’s finale and how she wasn’t anywhere near the level of upset Katie was, but was still called angry and combative by Chris Harrison himself and plenty of other entertainment outlets. Meanwhile, Katie gets to be big mad and we all have to watch it be pinned as this iconic feminism moment.
Watching Katie lay into Greg, especially when he wasn’t matching her energy was just another reminder of what didn’t sit right with me all season, Katie is the definition of a white feminist. Her feelings are valid, but her behavior is not. And I’m not just talking about in this moment, I’m talking about how she spoke to Thomas earlier this season, how she treated the women of color at the Women Tell All during Matt’s season, her combative attitude towards Magi on social media a few weeks ago, and her not being able to name five countries in Africa when her fiancé LITERALLY DOES WORK ON THE CONTINENT. She is constantly in defensive mode. Always ready to attack when she doesn’t even have the range. And again, in most situations, her anger/other feelings have seemed incredibly valid, but her behavior is something I can’t support because I’m a Black woman and I KNOW a Black Bachelorette could never get away with what Katie has done on and off screen.
It’s that very fact that has been eating at me this entire season and watching people applaud Katie for how she stands up to bullies, or makes decisions to cut men quickly has been frustrating because Bachelor Nation didn’t even have this type of grace for Rachel Lindsay and I doubt they will for Michelle either.
Anyway, Katie continues to lay into Greg, calls him out for his acting classes, says he gaslit her, he doesn’t know what love is, etc. I still believe Greg, I don’t necessarily side with him, but I believe him and that’s mostly because Katie has had more opportunities to show me who she is and frankly, I haven’t been impressed with what I’ve seen. I think Greg’s shy shit was an act, but to me, his love for Katie was real.
Katie and Greg go back and forth a bit and one thing that was upsetting was Katie maintaining that she didn’t say I love you because she had other relationships she was in at the time. Sis, you were about to get engaged in DAYS, you weren’t sure which man you were going to choose days before an engagement? That’s bullshit. Was she so committed to “the process” and being there “for the right reasons” that she was going to just pick whoever she was feeling that day? It’s not crazy that Greg hoped she may have made up her mind and would be able to give him something one way or another. To act as if each man that got a hometown had an equal chance to get engaged to her is wild and probably false, no matter what Katie says.
When Katie says that everything she felt for him left when he did, it was a defense mechanism. I do think Katie loves Blake, I also think she’s mad she couldn’t get the true ending the way the show is supposed to go. The more she talked, the more it seemed that Greg’s behavior may have triggered something she experienced in a past relationship and that she was upset she didn’t have control of her ending the way she would have liked. Still, if I’ve learned anything as I’ve gotten older, it’s that everyone doesn’t deserve a reaction, everyone doesn’t deserve all your emotions. Greg didn’t deserve to even know she was still so bothered.
While watching I made assumptions about whether or not Greg went to therapy and decided he probably didn’t. He remains calm the entire time, but he’s not saying much about his feelings and he doesn’t seem very introspective. I wish he would’ve had more to say about his actions. An apology clearly would have been important for Katie, but I think him speaking to his actions would have been more important. People watching needed to hear that the way they acted towards one another is not what a healthy relationship looks like.
Of course the show has to end on a high note, so we get to see the happy couple together for the first time. We didn’t get any snippets of their happy couple weekend, I wonder if they had any due to COVID.
Katie reveals that they never talked about rings, which furthers my belief that they literally only had sex in the fantasy suite. Which is fine, if we weren’t subjected to an entire season of Katie talking about the right reasons and being there for a husband. Sis, you didn’t even speak to your future husband about basic ass shit. Why not?
Then we find out that her family is learning of the engagement at the same time as everyone else and I literally yelled at the TV. It’s one thing to be estranged from your family and not share this type of news, but you subjected your family to this bullshit process and you couldn’t even give them some tickets to this super spreader event so they could find out before it aired? That’s so wildly disrespectful to me.
I really stopped listening at this point because it was all starting to feel so forced. Katie just really wanted to do a good job as the Bachelorette and I can appreciate that, but she did it to a fault that I just can’t get behind. The boomboxes were cute at the end, but I’ve got nothing else to say about these white folks y’all, I’m sorry. I hope Katie and Blake are truly happy and that they take some time to live their lives away from social media and the cameras, those shilling deals aren’t going nowhere, I promise.
Kind of excited Katie’s season is going right into Bachelor in Paradise, I have missed that mess on my screen twice a week. I won’t lie though y’all, this process of recapping has been rewarding, but exhausting. I originally decided to do this as a way to keep writing while I took a break from freelance journalism work. While I won’t be recapping BIP, I will be live tweeting and I’ll be back for Michelle’s season this fall!
Until then, thanks for reading. See you in a few Tuesdays ✌🏾😉.