Welcome back, friends, to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! When last we left off, Katie, dressed like the bestselling author of some Draco Malfoy fanfic, was in the process of telling the men to f*ck all the way off. All hail the queen. But why stop there? Look, I think it’s cute that she thinks staring a man dead in the eye while clearly enunciating her wants and needs is actually going to effect any change in behavior. If that were the case, there wouldn’t be so many warrants out for my arrest. If there’s anything I know about cis straight men who think they’re feminists because they liked a Cheryl Strayed tweet once in their lives, it’s that a message only sinks in once it’s been keyed onto their car. I don’t make the rules, people, I just abide by them!!
Karl Continues To Dig His Own Grave
And let’s take a look at the men in question. In true Bachelor form, last week ABC left us hanging at the rose ceremony after Karl revealed to Katie that there were some traitors in her midst. Did he have any evidence to back up his claim up? Absolutely not. Was he reading word-for-word from a script production gave him at the start of the rose ceremony? He’d tell you, but then production would have to kill him. Meanwhile, the rest of the men are one offhanded comment away from turning into Gaston’s crowd of peasants ready to slay the beast. In this case, that beast is Karl.
To be fair, the man did say he was a motivational speaker. Sure, his speeches usually consist of a few memes cobbled together in a slideshow, but it’s clear he’s stirred up some kind of emotion in this crowd tonight (even if that emotion is homicidal rage). The men continue to ask Karl basic questions about who this “wrong reasons” monster is, and he continues to answer with noncommittal shrugs and anxious looks towards the camera. Don’t look at them, Karl. They can’t help you now, buddy!
Where are the hosts during all of this, you might be asking? Getting wasted at the hotel bar. Ladies! I know you want to give Katie her space, but MY GOD, put the shot glasses down and check in on this rose ceremony. It’s anarchy out there! Katie, after rounding up her errant hosts, voices her concerns over the rose ceremony and reveals she was planning to keep Karl until tonight’s events. Tayshia and Kaitlyn tell her to just “go with her gut” which is not so much actual helpful advice as it is words you might find written on a tchotchke in a Cracker Barrel gift store, but fine.
Honestly, their presence on this show continues to baffle me. What is the point of them hosting at all if this is the kind of advice they’re willing to offer up? You’d think since both ladies were Bachelorette leads themselves, they might offer some sage wisdom like “the guy who points the finger usually has three pointing back at himself” but instead they deliver vague platitudes and weak smiles. Where is that sisterhood realness Katie keeps mentioning in all of her post-season interviews? I’m a little disappointed is all I’m saying…
But back to Karl! In the end, Karl’s ploy for drama backfires and he gets sent home. It’s not so much the hosts’ advice to Katie, or even Katie’s own feelings on the matter, that gets him the boot. In the end, it’s the motivation he inspired in the crowd, the motivation that caused the rest of the men to assemble and campaign to Katie to kick his ass out. Honestly, I’d put that on your resume, Karl. Don’t ever doubt your skills, buddy!
Too Much Reality In This Reality TV
Going into week three Katie warned us via an Instagram post that there would be triggering content on tonight’s episode. At first, I thought she must be talking about the fact that Nick Viall makes a guest appearance on one of the group dates. I’m pretty sure his presence on my television screen always warrants a warning. Please watch with loved ones? I’m picking up what you’re putting down, Katie. Thank you for that. I’ll mute my TV.
But as we dive more into the group date it’s clear that the trigger warning is actually warranted and not a joking matter at all. Nick helps Katie lead an honesty-first retreat of sorts where the men reveal the darkest parts of themselves. What’s crazy is that the men actually do own up to their worst actions. Hunter talks about his messy divorce and the effect it’s had on his children. The guy on night one who showed up in a cat onesie, grooming his paws and all, launches into a story about how his alcohol dependency led him to cheat on his girlfriend.
I’m just so floored that they’re all taking this seriously. I mean, at the mention of “confessions” I thought at least one of them would start off his monologue with: “just when I thought I said all I can say, my chick on the side said she got one on the way.” A missed opportunity, if you will.
As each of them engage in their confessions, it’s then I realize that seeing grown men cry on national television is actually good for my health. My skin is clearing up, my hair is shinier, my acid reflux is practically nonexistent. The healing properties of male tears should be studied in a lab, is all I’m saying.
And, look, I’ll admit, I’ve been hurt by a lot of men in my life. Small hurts, mostly, that have built up until I’ve become the kind of person who doesn’t trust easily, who’s a little cynical and a lot prone to setting fires to the things my exes know and love (lol, kidding! My lawyer says I have to clarify that last bit was a joke!!). And I’m sure I’m not alone in those feelings. I’m sure a lot of women feel that way too. But watching these men acknowledge all of their red flags and the ways they’ve hurt women in the past is… therapeutic in a way? It shows growth. I’m not sure the show is always good at capturing moments like this or even evoking feelings of growth within the cast in ways that don’t feel cheesy or outright forced. Moments like these are few and far between. Honestly, who knew male accountability could be so good for the skin?
But the real heart-wrenching moment comes from Katie herself. She ends the sharing circle with her own story—a story she’s never even told her mother about—that involves a moment from her youth where she was “involved in a situation where there wasn’t consent.” She discusses how afterwards she tried to date her attacker rather than come to terms with the fact that she was a victim. Because of her past, she’s struggled sexually in relationships and reveals that she hasn’t always been so “sex positive” and that’s been an issue with some of the men she’s dated. Honestly, my heart hurts for her. The thing about Katie that shocks me every week is how deeply relatable she is. Here she is on a date that is basically ABC’s version of trauma porn (there’s nothing this franchise loves more than to pimp peoples’ pain out for viewership). And yet, Katie is able to turn this date into a thoughtful discussion on trauma. She takes control of the narrative in a way that feels real and honest. It’s impressive.
Later in the episode, Katie navigates more realness when she invites Michael on the one-on-one date. The majority of their date focuses on Michael’s past. He reveals that he is a single dad, widowed after his wife died of breast cancer two years ago. Katie tells him that she will always understand his love for his wife and would never feel intimidated by that relationship. Again, so mature! So much growth!
Now, does that mean I think they’ll end up together? Ehhhh. Look, I love Michael and he warms my heart with his little smile, but a zaddy he is not. Let’s be real, he has all of the sex appeal of a cardigan. At one point Katie even tells him that he has pen pal energy, and doesn’t that just say it all? I’m not sure there’s any chemistry here, but if she’s looking for a genuine guy who is here for the right reason, then that alone should win him a rose.
The House Has A New Villain
With Karl’s spectacular demise at the last rose ceremony, we thought evil had been vanquished once and for all. Later in the episode, we learn that evil hadn’t been defeated so much as transferred to its next unwilling host: Thomas. Damnit. I knew Katie should have saged that hotel.
Last week, Thomas came off as suave and attractive. I think I even wrote in my recap that “I have working eyes so I understand his appeal.” This week he’s coming off like a guy whose hobbies include tripping old people in the street and emotionally hobbling women.
It starts with his group date confession. While the rest of the men are making amends with their past cheating and failed marriages, Thomas takes the whole honesty thing one step too far: He tells Katie that he only came on this show for Instagram likes. Thomas! That might be the song in your heart, but that’s not to be expressed on camera! Save that for your confessional, at least.
It gets worse. He admits that though he has real feelings for Katie now, before coming on the show two weeks ago he went on a date, that’s how much he didn’t give a sh*t about Katie at first. Very bold to go with the truth like that. While Katie applauds him for his bravery (seriously, Katie? I know he’s nice to look at, but COME ON) the men have a harder time accepting his confession.
And who’s leading the angry mob? Aaron. Boy, does that guy love to be at the center of all the drama. Last week it was Cody, now it’s his sole mission in life to bring down Thomas. I think Aaron has said “sociopath” more times in the last three minutes than Olivia Rodrigo did on her entire album. And that’s saying something!
I mean, do I think Thomas is emotionally manipulating Katie for his own personal gain? 100%. He spends the majority of the group date cocktail hour trying to backtrack his earlier statements. He tells Katie that he’s falling in love with her but in classic f*ckboy fashion tells the men the opposite. Oh well, I didn’t tell her that I loved her per se, I just told her I loved things about her. But here’s the thing: I can already tell Thomas has all the working brain cells as a piece of bologna. He might be an emotional terrorist, but he’s also not a very smart one.
Case in point? The following interaction:
THE MEN: Just tell us, are you here for followers?
Christ. Look, I’m not worried for Katie in the slightest. It’s clear there’s something about his
tongue energy that she’s vibing with, but she’s a smart girl. If he was dumb enough to admit his true intentions to her face then he’s dumb enough to self-implode in other ways eventually. Until then!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin (2); Giphy (3); @bacheloretteabc /Instagram (1); @bitchelorette_ /Twitter (1); @kayyorkcity /Twitter (1)