I know all of you are curious why last week’s recap was so readable, so compelling, so captivating, so free of terrible jokes. Well, seeing this blue tone probably ended your curiosity. But if not, I’m back again after a one-week absence to bore you with some Barstool-level prose before George elevates it into Ringer-level entertainment. I basically live in 2005, so is this a joke at my expense? Are these places I can visit on MySpace or do I need to access them in Second Life?
I can’t even get Stephanie to watch this episode with me because she’s opting for Olympics gymnastics. She says that these things happen only once every four years. I tell her that we only have this one chance to watch Katie Thurston go from Hometowns to Fantasy Suites. That was not persuasive enough to Stephanie, and as it turns out, even that reason turned out to maybe be wrong.
Katie is still here, not quite knowing what to expect because she’s never been to hometowns. Little does she know that even if she had seen the entire library of prior Bachelor(ette) seasons, she still would have been under-prepared for what was to come next.
BCB “Hometown” in New Mexico, Canada
With only three contestants left for a Hometown week without trips to actual hometowns, there are a bunch of production assistants desperately bored in the New Mexico desert. Boredom, however, did not inspire creativity. For Beardy Canadian Blake’s hometown, production watched Canadian Serena P’s date last season with Matt James and basically copied it beat for beat. I think Vanilla Ice had a better argument that he didn’t steal Ice Ice Baby from David Bowie.
BCB tells Katie that he did his best to bring Canada to her, but what he really meant was that production saw a golden opportunity to save money. About the only thing that BCB didn’t steal from Serena P were the terrible poutines. There was the hockey, the maple syrup, the Canadian flags, and a moose-riding contraption. The only way they could have made it more trite is if Drake had shown up courtside to watch them play hockey.
This show definitely owns all of the hockey sticks and hockey goals in the state of New Mexico.
We learn that BCB is a butt and lips guy and he spends every Friday and Saturday night playing darts at the pub. BCB is a real one, because I can tell you from experience that there’s nothing more attractive to women than dudes that hang out by the dart board at the bar.
They throw darts at a dartboard covered with balloons, and there are questions inside the balloons. I am pretty sure this is not some special Canadian-rules version of darts. One of the questions is “would you move to Canada?” Katie says “maybe?” and adds “is it in Africa?” In other geography-related news, Katie yelled “Welcome to America!” during pickup hockey, and BCB had to smile and laugh while hoping that Katie actually knows that Canada is part of America.
At night, Katie (and we) meet BCB’s mom Emily, sister Taylor, and brother Cody. Taylor and Emily both have less facial hair than BCB. Cody has more.
Katie tells mom Emily that her connection with BCB was instant but they haven’t said “I love yous” to each other yet. In a preview of things to come, Katie tells Emily that she can’t say I love you when she’s still dating multiple people.
Emily is wearing leather pants and is just great on television. She claims her son is “smitten” and later tells BCB to “man the fuck up and tell her you love her.”
Taylor trolls her brother by asking BCB how Katie is different from Clare or Tayshia. BCB knows he’s being trolled, but manages a “no one is as aligned with me as Katie is” in response. He tells his family that he can see himself proposing to Katie and that he’ll drop the L bomb when it comes naturally. Or, you know, try again with Michelle in a few months.
Everyone plays some guys v. gals street hockey to end the night, but only Katie and BCB participate in the bonus period of tongue hockey. BCB tells Katie “I feel so good about you.”
For veteran Bachelor(ette) watchers, we know that doesn’t equate to the L word.
Justin “Hometown” in Baltimore, New Mexico
Justin’s segment begins with Justin on his phone with his parents. If you had your money on Justin making it to the end (because you’ve never seen this show before), you can just about flush your betting ticket away now – parents on the phone are not the way to start a hometown date if you want to make it to the end.
Justin’s parents are nice, logical, normal people. They have much better things to do than to fly out to New Mexico in the middle of a pandemic to appear on a TV show. And I don’t disagree with anything they told Justin.
Sans parents, Justin tells us that his hometown will showcase his friends Herb & Tommy, and his town of Baltimore. I’m much more excited about this showcase of Baltimore.
Will we get a ride-along with Jimmy & Bunk? Will we get a walking tour with Bubbles? Will we get to hit up some corners with Omar? Will we tour the waterfront with Frank & Ziggy? Will we attend some community college classes with Stringer?
I had about 50 more jokes along these lines until George the editor showed up.
Wait, wait… I got one… is his friend Tommy’s last name “Carcetti?”
But apparently, inscrutable references to shows from decades ago doesn’t move the cultural zeitgeist for the Bachelor crowd, so Justin’s date features a Baltimore sign, a graffiti wall, and some crabs.
I haven’t been this disappointed since election night in 2016.
Amy is a lover of tactile seafood*, and I asked her if seeing Katie and Justin tear into some crab guts made her want to marry Justin. Her answer was “I’d marry that crab.”
*this is not a real term.
Justin tells Katie that his parents can’t make it. Katie looks disappointed, but not as disappointed as she would have looked if she had any intentions of actually picking Justin. But in hindsight, not having Justin’s parents is actually a gift, as we get Herb. I don’t know if he’s actually a therapist – but he played a great one on TV. Yeah, we are both Herb-ivores now. What a find!
Herb tells us that Justin’s biggest roadblock is his unwillingness to be vulnerable. He prods Justin until he admits that his heart lies with Katie and that, at the end of the day, he can’t hold back. Herb voices his support, and Justin is ready for his big reveal.
As they kiss goodnight – Justin tells Katie that he’s falling in love with her.
In response, Katie tells Justin that she’s proud of him, because she could tell how hard he was fighting it. Or exactly the same thing that a parent would tell a kid who’s potty training that runs to the potty to relieve him/herself rather than just letting it go.
So you know how Katie really feels about Justin.
Greg’s Hometown in Jersey, New Mexico
You know crap is about to go down when we’re two hometowns in during a three-hometown episode, and we’re not even an hour into the show.
Greg’s hometown has a New Jersey theme. If I watched a second of the Sopranos, you would be seeing the same rehashed joke that I used for Justin’s date.
Fortunately for you, I couldn’t afford HBO 20 years ago, so I’ll just tell you that this date featured a tandem bike, pork rolls, something called “Italian ice” and some kind of pretend surfing contraption. But this date isn’t really about any of that – it’s about Greg showing Katie who he is.
Greg’s thing with his late father was basketball – he was Greg’s coach. He wants to shoot hoops with Katie, and suggests a game of Horse. Greg thinks that might take too long, so he asks Katie to suggest a four-letter word. I mean, there’s really one four letter word that Katie should have said there, but “poop” didn’t come to her, so instead she suggests “kiss.”
But production doesn’t show us any of the game, only Katie missing a shot from about 2 feet- who won K-I-S-S? Will we ever find out?
Greg tells Katie that she’ll meet his mom Sandy, his brother Joe, and his friend Dave. Katie is worried about meeting mom, but Greg reassures her that she has nothing to worry about.
Greg reminds Katie that the best part of their last date was the drenched makeout in the fake downpour created to replicate Seattle. Greg mentions that it rains in New Jersey too, snaps his fingers, and the PA turns on the fake rain again. Cue makeout session.
Katie tells us in her ITM that she’s falling in love with Greg.
What could go wrong from here?
Katie brings flowers to the meeting with Greg’s family. We meet Greg’s mother Sandy and also Greg’s friend Dave and brother Joe.
Greg’s sisters Andrea and Samantha couldn’t make it. Samantha has a new job and Andrea is pregnant. So instead they sent a video message. Greg cries during the messages from his sisters. I think we have enough evidence to say that Greg is a crier. There is a cameo in the video from nieces and nephews, and I assume some of their friends, unless Andrea has seven kids.
Brother Joe is much more “Jersey” than Greg, at least from an accent perspective. And… how should I put this from inside the very fragile glass house in which I live? Greg is… more conventionally attractive than his siblings, in particular his older brother. I bet it would be annoying to be Joe, but he seems like a good dude despite having to grow up with a really handsome younger brother. Joe tells Katie that Greg hasn’t really talked about the loss of his father with anyone, which makes Katie very special. Katie says she “really can” see marrying Greg.
Friend Dave sits with Greg, who tells Dave that Katie and Greg are going to end up together in New York. I mean, if he said it and they aired it, it must be true…
Mom Sandy seems to connect well with Katie, who presumably sees this as her future mother-in-law. Katie says Greg is a “frontrunner” and “will be here next week.” Not a shocker, TBH, though Katie did employ a lot of the show lingo. Katie tells Sandy that she is not going to say she loves Greg until the end. Sandy is worried that Greg will get hurt, and Katie explains that everyone gets hurt except for one person. “That person is Greg,” she seems to imply. Sandy tells Katie that the woman who gets Greg will be very lucky, but adds that Greg will also be lucky to be with Katie.
Sandy repeats that her “biggest fear” is “Greg getting hurt.” Weird editing that they included that twice!
Sandy and Greg chat about how in-love Greg is. Greg says Katie makes him happier than he has been in a long time. Sandy fishes around for red flags or concerns and Greg says he just wants to know that Katie loves him.
When they teach foreshadowing as a literary device in sixth grade, they should really use this video. What? You think sixth graders are more interested Shakespeare? As a bonus, I rewatched this episode three times and didn’t see any critical race theory being discussed.
Greg and Katie talk about the date and Katie gets emotional while explaining that Sandy told Katie that she had not seen Greg this happy in a long time. Despite being described as “happy,” Greg immediately breaks down talking about the loss of his father and how Katie fills a hole in his heart. It is an emotional moment. Greg says “I didn’t know I was going to fall in love with you. I didn’t know that. And I am in love with you.” Katie, per her commitment, says nothing. There is editing involved, but I read her expression as “encouraging,” though the length of the silence reads as “awkward.” Still, it is possible she should have broken her commitment at this point, since it seems important to Greg. But unwilling to call an audible, Katie says “I just love looking at you.” Not her best work.
I’ll say this about Katie – she’s fully aware of her role on this show and what her contract says she can and cannot say on camera.
Greg seems to go cold immediately, and like the rest of us, Katie notices right away. Katie tells Greg that she told his family he would be here the next week, and asks “you know how I feel about you, right?” and “you feel good about us?” and then says “we’re almost there,” and “we’re very close,” “just hang in there,” and “you know how I feel.” So… Katie won’t say she loves anyone, but she will strongly hint that Greg will win? She tells Greg “you’re just not happy right now.” And Greg is like “why do you think that?” Katie is suddenly shuffling to try to get Greg back on track, and we already have ample evidence to know that pissy Greg asks a lot of questions in a dickish way. He’s like a stupid whiny Socrates.
At this point Amy confidently asserted that Greg “is being a little bitch.” Katie asks if Greg wants to go outside, and instead they go to a very dark room where a very patient Katie tries to reassure a little bitch. What we hear is Greg saying “This is just hard for me,” followed by Katie saying “I know, I get it,” and Greg interrupting with “I don’t know if you do.” I mean, she was on the show on the other side, but maybe he can Greg-splain jealousy for her? Katie asks “how do you think I feel going through it and having to like be so committed to you and then to have to, like, meet someone else’s family?” Notably she didn’t meet Justin’s actual family, so… tough break, BCB! She was talking about you!
Greg says “I can’t be there at the end if I don’t think it’s us,” and asserts that he will only “get down on one knee once.” And Katie says “I promise…” before her suckiest boyfriend interrupts again. Greg says “I just don’t understand how you don’t know at this point.” Greg seems to be really struggling while also being really annoying. He probably will look back on this and realize that feeling like he has been vulnerable does not entitle him to force Katie to break the contract she signed when she joined the show, and perhaps he will regret some of the more melodramatic parts of this fight.
Greg tells the camera that he needed more from Katie. A very charitable read of Greg’s reaction is that it might be related to the loss of his father. This date mentioned Frank a lot, and to the extent that Greg has not yet grappled with the feelings from losing his father, he might be in particular need of a type of reassurance that Katie has committed to not providing. And his reaction to opening up to someone else and not getting validation was to push them away.
The next morning we see Greg join BCB for a chat. BCB is like “I have no idea how she is handling this.” Greg is like “her… what about me? I am struggling here.” Greg is very focused on Greg, and possibly in a way that will cost him the up-until-now love of his life. BCB bails on the conversation, saying “I’m gonna get a workout in.” And Greg tells the camera “I’m in love with this girl,” and “It’s clear to me she doesn’t feel the same. It’s just clear.” And then he gets up to go be a dummy.
Greg walks to Katie’s room which… I mean, they all know where Katie lives. Why isn’t she constantly being visited? Katie answers the door and says “how are you?” Greg says “good” but he does not look “good” at all. Katie says “you seem nervous” and Greg immediately fires back “why?” Angry Greg asks a lot of questions. Katie’s eyes tell us “oh, this again.” Greg tells Katie that he told his family Katie was The One, but when he told Katie he loved her Katie “didn’t even feel it.” Katie reminds Greg that she won’t say she loves anybody until the very end. Katie also told Greg’s family this rule. Greg says “you didn’t even acknowledge what I said to you.”
“I said I love you, and you let me down with your response!” Is Greg’s position. And if I were betting in the weirdest casino ever, I would say that this was the moment of no return. Before this moment I think if Katie had said “what you said meant a lot to me, and what I should have said is that you filled a hole in my heart too, because you do,” then maybe things are back on track. But she didn’t, and now Katie will never be able to convince him that this isn’t a dealbreaker.
Greg says “as much as it hurts me, I’ve reached my breaking point. I’ve given you everything, and I hope you find something.” Katie says “I can’t comprehend what you are saying right now. Are you not wanting to stay anymore? Are you done?” Greg says “yes.” Greg then explains “It wasn’t about a rose for me. I just wanted Katie.”
I think most people will have a moment like Greg is having. They will weaponize their own emotions to hurt someone when they feel hurt. And if they are lucky, it won’t happen on television. Or when the person they hurt has two other boyfriends who are not being whiny jerks that they can fall back on. The structure of the show really disincentivizes being difficult, since Justin and BCB managed to get through their respective hometown dates without starting a big fight with Katie.
Greg keeps insisting that it was Katie’s fault, asserting “you put up a wall.” Katie says “you’ve always been my number one, from the beginning.” Greg seems to believe that Katie thinks about the show too much to the point where he questions the sincerity of her feelings, and if that is his concern Katie’s ranking him against her other boyfriends certainly didn’t help her cause. “I just wanted something real!” Greg demands. Katie apologizes, and does not say “you came on this show for something real you fucking moron?” Greg paraphrases Katie’s words back to her, using an unflattering higher-pitched voice, which is just… not cool at all. No one has ever said “now that you are busting out a mocking impression of me, I think your point makes a lot more sense and I now agree with you.”
Greg asks “do you think I care about a rose if it wasn’t real between us?” Then he says “what does the rose mean at this point? What, that we’re going to move onto the fantasy suites and then, what, I’m going to make love to you and then what? I thought we were more than that and I thought you thought of us more than that.” A bit presumptuous about the fantasy suite!
Greg has decided that the problem is Katie, and he says “it makes me sick” and stands up and walks out. Katie is crying, but I think it is clear that anyone who acts like Greg wasn’t going to make her happy in the long run. Katie has now, it would appear, been rejected by at least two and possibly three guys in a row. She storms out of the room and we see that Greg is being followed into a stairwell by one camera and Katie into the same stairwell by another moments later.
We have another low-speed chase through the resort, and Katie catches up to Greg, hugs him, and says “I don’t know what to do right now, given everything that’s happened.” Katie tells Greg she wants to leave, and if Greg leaves she is done. Katie says “is there even a point in me telling you anything?” The answer seems to be “no.” Katie says “I’m losing you, I’m losing my mind here.” Greg says “All I know now is I deserve more than what I’ve been given on your side and I’m not happy here anymore.”
A conversation like this hasn’t ever happened on this show before, and I’ll put 95% of the blame on Greg. The guy applied to be on this show – it’s on him to know how the show works. Was Katie being too show-aware and not sufficiently “real” in that initial conversation? Maybe? But Greg was the dude that came on a television show and fully expected the lead to forget that she was on a television show if he said the right words. He knew that the fantasy suites would be about sex, but he conveniently forgot that fantasy suites is also about talking without the cameras. And I’ll bet – dollars to donuts – that Katie would have told Greg a bunch of “real things” with the camera off. The guy couldn’t wait one week and now he wrecked something that seemed very real.
After Greg walks away, Katie gets up yelling “I’m done, I’m done, I’m done.” There is something kinda horrifying about being trapped in a resort followed by cameras from place to place. As soon as Katie outruns one camera operator, another one picks her up. There is a camera mounted in the living room of her suite. It is very Black Mirror. Katie is able to escape the cameras (though not the microphones) only by locking herself in her bathroom. And then there is a knock on the door, and it is hostess Kaitlyn, who asks if Katie wants to talk to her and to the millions of people who will watch the footage that will be edited selectively and broadcast.
“Not really.” is the answer, but that won’t work for ABC and Warner Brothers. Kaitlyn asks if Katie wants to talk through the door, and they do that. Kaitlyn explains that she was in a similar situation on her season that led her to “cry into [her] salad.”
I mean, let’s take a break from this difficult situation to thank Chris Harrison for getting himself cancelled so we can have Kaitlyn here instead. Van Jones would say this is the moment Kaitlyn became the [co-] host of the Bachelorette.
Kaitlyn is working without a net, having presumably been pulled out of her room to deal with this situation. She vacillates between asking Katie if she regrets Greg leaving and trying to find out what actually happened. Her summary is “he feels like he really opened up more than he ever has and didn’t get the response he wanted.” Wait, that is very concise and accurate! If only she could say the same thing in sixteen paragraphs, we could find a position for her on the blog.
Kaitlyn asks Katie if she wants Greg back, and Katie says “there’s no way to get him back.” Katie opens the door, and Kaitlyn hugs her. I imagine there was a moment before she opened the door when Katie looked into the bathroom mirror and realized that she has gone through a metamorphosis: She isn’t a normal person anymore, she is a Bachelorette. She has a “number one” and can be “blindsided” and is very concerned that the reasons are right. And the only person that can understand is
Kafka another Bachelorette, and the only way to get through a breakup is to work through your emotions on camera.
Katie says “I’m so blindsided right now” and tells Kaitlyn “Michael left, Greg left, the confidence I had is just destroyed.” Hey! That’s the narrative we talked about! In a tearful ITM Katie says “I think I officially lost Greg. I think he’s not coming back.” She asks Kaitlyn when it gets better, and the answer is probably “Dancing With The Stars and cashing your influencer checks.” Or, I suppose it is relevant that during commercial breaks we are told that former-Bachelorette Becca Kufrin will be hosting Good Morning America tomorrow.It’s a Twin Cities takeover of the Franchise!! So, you know, there is something at the end of this rainbow besides getting dumped by Greg. Kaitlyn asks “what do you want to happen” and Katie says “I want someone to book my flight home.”
That’s our cliffhanger! Tune in next week to watch a PA using Travelocity.
Over the credits we see a montage of Greg and Katie being sweet to each other. During each scene, Amy would mutter “fucking. Greg.”