Katie Thurston Episode 3 – Doubting Thomas

Last week ended on a “cliffhanger,” which was just terrible-motivational-speaker Karl telling Katie that some guys were there for the wrong reasons. But he wouldn’t tell her which guys. Karl will undoubtedly be proven “right” by some of these jokers, but that doesn’t change the fact that he did not actually know anything when he made the allegation that ended last week’s episode.

Katie regroups and asks Chris Harrison rejoins the group to tell the guys that the cocktail party is over, and we will go straight to the rose ceremony.

Telling the men that the cocktail party was ending early is like 25% of what Chris Harrison did. I hope Katie got 25% of Harrison’s game check for that…

The producers then ask Greg, the Secretariat of this group of men, to go comfort Katie and remind her why she’s doing this – and it’s not to referee Karl drama. Meanwhile, Karl is in the next room over shadowboxing. Why? I have no idea. Someone should tell him that he’s on the Bachelorette waiting for a rose ceremony; not on the Challenge waiting for an elimination.

Rose Ceremony

Katie returns to give out the roses. She prefaces it by saying that she appreciates honesty but remains very confused. This is basically me at every engineering class I took in college. 

Already with roses:

1. We-will-discuss-him-soon Thomas (from the sex-talk date)

2. Looks-like-her-ex Greg (from the one-on-one)

3. Football-player-in-Austria Andrew S (from the mud-wrestling date)

 The rest of the roses go in order to:

4. David – we literally did not mention him once in the last recap

5. Hunter – he is a dad but hasn’t told Katie yet

6. Connor C – he is, by default, the best kisser of the two Connors

7. Mike P – he has not had sex

Perhaps inspired by the opinion penned by the liberal lion of the Supreme Court (Brett Kavanaugh for those unaware) early in the day siding with the “student”-athletes over the NCAA, Mike spoke as the union rep for the unpaid Bachelorette cast and told Katie that Karl wasn’t telling the truth. 

I’m not sure whether Katie was more shocked by the substance of the revelation or that the Bachelorette cast successfully unionized – but she asked whether the guys agreed with Mike P. We get some nods, some stares, but not one disagreement. Score one for the unpaid cast, represented by virgin white contestant #5

Katie needs a timeout, so she goes to talk to Kaitlyn and Tayshia because she had been planning to keep Karl for some damn reason. I assume because the producers told her she had to. In my notes, this is represented by the notation “K -> K/T.’ And I feel bad for the person reading my notes in discovery when we get sued by the Bachelor franchise for the unlawful impersonation of a funny blog. Anyway, what happens next, according to my notes, is: “K/T: K, it’s your decision.”

8. Michael – he is a single dad and she knows it already

9. Connor B – he dressed as a cat and seems like a bad kisser

10. Quartney – umm… there’s a Q? In his name?

11. Tre – he knows some digits of pi and had a mobile ball pit for a short time in the first episode

12. Justin – we mentioned him once in the last recap, but he gets some attention later

13. Andrew M – I wouldn’t get attached to this Andrew

14. Christian – not sure why he is here, maybe this was Karl’s rose?

15. Josh – he used to be obese

16. Brendan – he’s a Canadian, perhaps temporarily our only Canadian?

17. James – this is box-guy

18. And… Aaron – he’s a snitch. Maybe this was Karl’s rose?

Going home are: motherfucking Karl, Garrett, John, and Kyle. Maybe they will ride with Cody, who was sent home mid-episode. Other than Karl, I don’t think we had anything to go on for the other guys. But we will NOT MISS Karl. For a purported motivational speaker, Karl has nothing to say to Katie or in an exit ITM. This is probably an editing choice by production, but I’d like to say that Karl was rendered speechless because his Tony Robbins starter kit didn’t contain any instructions on what to say when you embarrass yourself on national TV. 

Nick Viall Group Therapy/Date

Aaron, Quartney, James, Connor B, David, Justin, Thomas, Hunter, Brendan get the call for a date, and the card says “Love is about honesty…” The guys spend a lot of time discussing the lack of a heart or signature on this card. All of a sudden they are Kremlinologists poring over the significance of changes to a Politburo seating chart. 

The guys are relaxing in the hot tub after the second rose ceremony, but little do they know about the emotional wrecking ball the next date will bring. The group date participants walk into a room and are surprised by podcaster Nick Viall. In addition to mumbling through hours of podcasts every week, Nick also went on variants of Bachelor shows for about 7 straight years (I might have miscounted there, though not by too much). He’s here today to act as a camp counselor, and asking the guys to be vulnerable and share regrettable behavior from their past. I immediately thought of the one (or maybe a dozen) time(s) I threw up at college keg parties and thank whatever god you believe in that Facebook wasn’t around when I was in college. But this isn’t about me, it’s about the guys. 

Hunter breaks down and tells us about his priorities shifting after having the perfect family life with a wife and two kids, and destroying the best thing in his life. Now, he knows that he’ll never stop sharing his love with his family. Hunter – this is the perfect answer. 

Others talk about instances where they’ve broken a partner’s trust, made decisions that hurt their partners, or led women on for convenience. But not Thomas. This guy – with a cheesy grin never leaving his face – tells us that he came to the show to build a platform for himself but fell in love with Katie instead. 

Thomas is smiling while every other guy is sad or actively crying. Perhaps he thinks he has “Queen-for-a-day” immunity. Thomas seems to think he can’t be held to account for anything he says in therapy. We will see if that is true. 

I can hear Nick snickering through my TV. The problem, as Nick would astutely observe, is that you can’t admit it. Even if every person comes on the show to increase their IG followers, you’re not supposed to say that part out loud. Nick knows that. Katie knows that. We know that. But this doofus Thomas – he’s lost.

Connor B isn’t lost however – he knows what happened to the last Nashville musician who came on the Bachelorette and he knows that he wants a brighter future than being a dog food jingler. He’s ready to share everything from his past, and he’s sobbing before he even starts. He tells us that he had dropped out of grad school and had a gig in a piano bar where he could drink to his heart’s content. He would get hammered and say idiotic and hurtful things; and one night, he had a fight with his girlfriend and then cheated on her. Since then, he’s talked to his family, went to therapy, and tells us that the 25-year-old Connor is unrecognizable to him now. This is another classic redemption answer, and Katie is here for it. We know she wants those cat whiskers all over her.

But now it’s Katie’s turn – and she shares a very vulnerable story about a past where she wasn’t the sex-positive person she is today. As Katie tells it, she was “involved in a situation where there wasn’t consent.” And she was so in denial that she tried to have a relationship with the other person, which didn’t work out. She had so much guilt that she didn’t want to talk about sex, and was uncomfortable with sex in a way that harmed her relationships. She recognized that she had felt responsible for being too drunk, or too stupid in that situation. It’s through that experience that she knows that it is not her fault, and now how important it is to approach sex without guilt. Apparently, Katie had not planned to share this personal story – but it’s important that she did. 

The term “sex positive” had been thrown around so often this season that it’s become a running gag. Katie’s telling of the origin story here fills that term with the necessary context to bring it to life so that it can reinforce a message about the importance of consent and the absence of guilt in talking about it. 

This might have been an opportunity for Nick Viall to tell the story about the time he went on live television and told America that Andi Dorfman had sex with him in the fantasy suite. That was a shitty thing he did in a past relationship! 

At the cocktail party the guys sit around and talk about that time they sat around and talked. Katie arrives to tell the men that it was “transformative” and that she appreciated their vulnerability.

Justin gets some time with Katie and tells her that he likes her. They kiss and Justin takes a polaroid of it. I guess this is how you get a selfie if you aren’t allowed to use your phone. Katie tells Justin he “keeps showing up” which is… I mean, he is trapped in a resort? Where else will he go?

Cat-guy Connor B tells Katie that he feels “seen” by her. Katie says “I think you’re a catch.” Written down this seems like a cat pun, but it didn’t come off that way on the show. Connor B grabs Katie’s jaw and pulls her in for a kiss and my friends, Connor B is a terrible kisser. We now have plenty of evidence. Please start censoring these scenes, ABC.

Thomas, fresh off grinning through the entire group-therapy date, grins while talking to Katie. Katie reminds Thomas that he mentioned “some red flags” and she would like to know what those are. Thomas evades the question unsuccessfully. When Katie points that out, Thomas says “you can ask me anything.” Uh, dude, she just asked you for the aforementioned red flags. Thomas tells Katie that he wants to buy a house with her and get married. That is a red flag on a second date, though maybe not the ones she was asking about. 

The rest of the guys are also talking about Thomas’s red flags, and they think he is here for the wrong reasons and not actually into Katie. 

Aaron sits down with Katie and begins to tell her more about his father’s illness, and that is when Thomas interrupts Aaron’s time. Thomas just wants to “clean some things up” with Katie. Katie says “I’m surprised to see you again” which is not a great sign. But Thomas just pushes ahead, saying he feels “fear and love” and that he feels “such a strong pull” to Katie. Thomas seems emotional, and Katie says there is a “chemistry and a spark” and they kiss, but it doesn’t seem like we are supposed to like Thomas here. 

Back with the other guys, Aaron and Thomas get into a sorta-fight over whether Thomas was out of line in interrupting his time. Thomas says he told Katie he was “falling in love with her” and Justin gave us pretty solid reaction shots:

 

Also… it doesn’t seem like Thomas actually said this to Katie. He did say the word “love” but I think it would be news to Katie that Thomas told her he was falling in love with her. Thomas also told Aaron that his own time was more important than Aaron’s, which did not go over well with Aaron. Katie cuts off the tension to recognize David and Connor B and Hunter for their good work on the date, but the rose is being pinned to the fur of cat-guy Connor B. PLEASE DO NOT CELEBRATE WITH A KISS.

The other guys seem pretty pleased that Thomas did not get this rose. Aaron seems to have transferred all of his Cody-hate onto Thomas. Aaron refers to Thomas as “a cancer that needs to be cut out.” Previously in this episode he said Karl “should have been exterminated a long time ago.” Maybe Aaron has some issues he needs to address? Because he seems to want to apply the death penalty to everyone who approaches dating differently than he does. 

Michael One-on-one Date

Michael tells Mike P and Andrew M about how his wife died from breast cancer a few years after the birth of their son. It is appropriate that Mike P is the one who reads the date card that is sending Michael off on his one-on-one. Also, Mike P refers to Michael as “Michael A,” but I think we all know there is a Michael and a Mike P. The RRR style guide is pretty clear on this. 

If you’d like to have a copy of the RRR style guide, please send a check or money order which we will immediately redirect to pay our domain service fees. If we have time, I may send you a PDF of the text chain where we discuss the nuances of RRR style. 

This date will be off-roading. We see Katie aggressively driving a blue-trimmed four-wheeler and then flipping it onto its top. Very fortunately, it had a protective cage and a working seatbelt. I mean, Katie should not be allowed to use any vehicles at this resort. She also managed to have problems with a bike in the first episode, though not to this extent. Katie pulls up to Michael for their date in an orange-trimmed four-wheeler, BECAUSE SHE BROKE THE OTHER ONE. They drive off, and it seems the only lesson Katie learned from her crash was that the safety features are surprisingly effective. Because she tears right off as if she didn’t catastrophically crash en route to this date. This might be time for our regular reminder that these types of vehicles have a pretty poor safety record and you should always take care. 

The franchise is now working on a two-season streak of ATV accidents. The show’s insurer should probably be monitoring this trend. 

They drive off together and I think Katie should probably disclose that she hasn’t been in an accident in almost twelve minutes. Once they sit down for their picnic lunch Katie comes clean, and Michael is surprisingly understanding, perhaps because he doesn’t know how close he was to dying in a dune-buggy. Michael may be distracted by what he needs to talk to Katie about, and he says “some things in my life require explanation.” About missing his son, Michael says “it could really be something,” with Katie, but promises that if he ever doesn’t think they have a future together, he will leave to be with James. I assume that is the name of his son, but if it is box-guy James, that is a story! 

Michael says he worried he was selfish for coming on the show, but he thinks it will be worth it for his son to have “the happiest dad.” Nothing is better for your dad’s happiness level than his getting to hang out with the other 17 dudes that are dating his girlfriend. Michael asks Katie if he can kiss her, and she says “abso-fucking-lutely.” Things are going well for Michael.

At dinner Katie says it is like she and Michael have been talking for a month and finally got to meet in person. “Like pen pals!” Michael says. Katie’s reaction seems to indicate she is thinking “or people who met on an app during Covid, but ‘pen pals…’ sure.” Michael tells Katie that he met his wife in 2003 and immediately fell hopelessly in love with her and they got married and had a kid in 2016 and then she had breast cancer. Michael chokes up telling Katie about how his wife’s hair fell out, how they travelled the country looking for a cure. They tried clinical trials, treatments, etc. It is difficult to watch, including when Michael has to say that when he lost his wife he was happy that she wasn’t in pain anymore, which is just a heartbreaking way to say that cancer is really awful. 

Katie tells Michael that his love for his wife would not make her insecure and she would not be trying to replace what he had. Katie chokes up talking to the camera about what she could have with Michael. She gives Michael the rose, saying “I know the weight of every rose I offer you because I am also offering it to James.” Again, I assume not box-guy James. These two crazy kids! They go up on the roof to make out and look at the stars. 

Between Michael’s story, the Viall Struggle Sessions, Mike P in last week’s episode discussing his choice to forgo pre-marital sex, it is clear that the show at its best can really draw out nuanced discussions of difficult issues. For notable examples of the show’s failure to do so (in particular, with a non-white lead and w/r/t race) you should definitely check out Rachel Lindsay’s essay on her experiences with the show. It is pretty long, but you read this far into a Bachelorette recap, so we know you are not put off by longreads. Check it out!

Back To Thomas

We get a lot of footage of different guys complaining about Thomas to each other. We even get Hunter complaining about Thomas to Thomas. Hunter tries to talk to Thomas about the reasons why all the other dudes hate him. “You’re the new Karl!” is the message Hunter is trying to convey.

Aaron says he thinks Thomas is “sociopathic” and “like a psycho” but he doesn’t call for his death this time. That’s progress for Aaron. We see all of the guys talking about how Thomas is a big liar. Hunter says “I am a nice guy until you lie to me, then I can be the polar opposite of that.” So… a “mean girl?” I think that is what he means? And actually, it is kind of accurate.

We see Thomas enter a room where all of the other guys are waiting for him. Hunter decides to tell everyone that Thomas smiles too much and lies and wants to be the Bachelor. Thomas says “I would never do anything to hurt you.” Umm… Hunter? You would never do anything to hurt Hunter? Is it because you don’t want him to turn into a mean girl?

Hunter demands to know if Thomas wants to be the Bachelor like he is Tim Russert asking someone if they are going to run for President. Thomas says “I can’t be disingenuine* [sic] with you guys. Yes, one of the things I thought about was that.” 

* For some reason “disingenuine” is said a lot on this show. So much that we have written about it twice not counting this instance, and even linked to this article.

This is the dumbest question I may have ever heard on this show. This is worse than asking Donald Trump if he ever thought about doing shady stuff to remain President. There, even if the answer is obvious, it might be entertaining. This Bachelor interrogation features Thomas, who has not shown any indication that he can be anything but douchey. 

But as Victor noted, you are not allowed to say that you wanted the thing that everyone secretly wants. And really, is it possible Thomas didn’t watch Meet the Press every Sunday? The correct answer is: “Right now my focus is on the realtors of San Diego, Tim. I am not going to entertain any hypotheticals. My focus is on the job I have now.”

Anyway, this is our cliffhanger. Will Thomas being browbeaten into admitting he had considered being the Bachelor mean he has to go home now?

In the endcap Katie distinguishes herself as not knowing much about astronomy. She asks if they can see Saturn or Pluto or “O’Brien’s Belt.” Michael says “O’Brien is an Irish man, like Pat O’Brien.” 

Real tough break for Conan O’Brien, who probably thought that he didn’t have to worry about Pat O’Brien being Michael’s go-to O’Brien. 

 

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