Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! Can you believe we’ve actually made it to the season finale? That’s right, Katie has narrowed down her list of eligible bachelors to her final two men: Blake and Justin. If those names sound surprising to you, that’s because her selection process was done much like the way I used to select a partner during college at last call: by blindly reaching for whoever was left standing and hoping he wouldn’t puke in the cab ride home. But, you know, I’m sure this will work out great for you, girl!
Last week during Hometowns we watched Katie’s relationship with Greg—arguably the strongest relationship of the season—deteriorate faster than a New Years resolution. Ultimately, I think Greg needed more emotional validation (read: an “I love you”) from Katie and she wasn’t willing to give him that at this stage in the process. This resulted in Greg fleeing the Hyatt in a whirl of flannel and angst, an exit that would have given 13-year-old me a run for my money when I made a similar dramatic departure from a Dillard’s after my first bra fitting, and Katie questioning if she even wanted to finish out the rest of the season with the losers she had left. (I paraphrase.)
Which brings us to tonight! I think it’s safe to say that the finale felt… anticlimactic? In the sense that no one f*cking cared who actually won Katie’s heart and everyone just wanted to know what the deal was between her and Greg. The first 45 minutes included ABC replaying old footage from the season on loop for the sake of a “recap.” It’s as if ABC expects us all to have the short-term memory of my grandmother, because there’s literally no excuse for them to insist on replaying something we just watched SEVEN DAYS AGO with this much fervor. We just want to see who she chose as her consolation prize and move on with our lives, okay!!
Speaking of the consolation prizes, Tayshia and Kaitlyn tell the men that Greg has left the show and that, congratulations, we’re moving directly into a Fantasy Suites/Proposal Day hybrid situation! I will say the horror on Justin’s face at realizing he somehow made it to the final two and will have to propose to a woman his parents couldn’t even be bothered to FaceTime is actually priceless. Don’t worry, buddy! You’ll only have to propose if Blake decides to slide into Claire’s DMs after all! On second thought, maybe you should start Googling “heartfelt proposals” now…
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Pretty quickly it’s established that this game is Blake’s to lose. For a moment there I thought Katie might take Justin to the Fantasy Suites because he’s hot and hasn’t self-eliminated yet and his cum face is probably outrageous, but Katie sends him home before there’s time for him to waggle those eyebrows at her and change her mind. This means that Blake is her first and only Fantasy Suites date and she puts it all on the line. And by “all” I mean the one thing she swore up and down she would not do until a guy got down on his knee and proposed.
During the dinner portion of the evening Blake fumbles out an “I love you” and Katie, realizing it’s either compromise her morals or have to re-download Hinge, says she loves him too. Excuse me, WHAT. Okay, so let me get this straight. Exactly 24 hours ago, she would not say the “L” word to Greg after he handed her his ravaged heart on a bloody platter AND YET Blake mentions soft kisses once and she relents?!
I’m sorry, but that “I love you” felt strategic AF. Like, that was a giant F*ck You to Greg. Not only did that feel petty and insincere, but if I were Blake watching this back, I’d feel a little used.
Speaking of Blake, is it just me or does he seem especially out of sorts this episode? It’s like now that Katie has set fire to the entire foundation of this show by combining the fantasy suites with proposal day, his last two brain cells are malfunctioning and refusing to process it.
TAYSHIA AND KAITLYN: How are you feeling about your proposal?
BLAKE: I feel like scrambled eggs.
Wow. So beautiful. Is that a direct quote from Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy?
Like, Blake looks positively ill at the thought of proposing and having her accept it by default. But you know what? They go through with it! They grin and bear it and get engaged! A love story for the ages!
Aunt Lindsey Is A National Treasure
One of my favorite parts of last night’s episode was Blake meeting Katie’s family. I love when ABC brings out family members just in general because there’s nothing that feeds my soul quite like watching large amounts of disdain and skepticism. And I knew we’d be in for a real treat when Katie’s mom entered stage right with the Charmed logo tattooed on her cleavage. I hope they make Blake swear his intentions on the Book of Shadows.
But no one—and I mean NO ONE—stole the show quite like Katie’s Aunt Lindsey did. She was wholly unimpressed with this entire production. A total Phoebe, if you will. And look, Blake’s presence on this show is a hard pill to swallow for most people. For one, it’s not just that he’s trying to find love on reality TV, but that he’s tried to find love on reality TV multiple times. Then there’s the total suspension of disbelief you need to engage in when he discusses his “job” but supplies about as many details about it as a blank MadLib. So, you know, I understand the brazen lack of respect she showed to him.
I will say, though, Lindsey was the only one really asking the hard questions. My favorites being, “so why do you want the beard” and, “what do you two have in common aside from both owning vibrators?” LINDSEY. YOU SAVAGE. The vibes I’m getting from this family is that they would definitely require a blood oath upon asking for someone’s hand in marriage. How else will they be able to vanquish their enemies?
An icon for the ages
Also, can I just say, it’s probably for the best that Greg self-ejected before this little meet-and-greet with Katie’s family? There is no scenario in which that boy wouldn’t have crumbled beneath the unrelenting gaze of Katie’s aunt.
Greg’s Final Stand
And now for the real show. Yeah, it was nice to see Katie get engaged and all that, but let’s get to the good stuff: Greg’s return to the stage. During “After the Final Rose,” Kaitlyn and Tayshia brought Greg out to have one final confrontation with Katie. Before I get into this section of the recap, I’m just going to make my stance known: I’m #TeamGreg AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT.
Here’s the thing, I’ve been a long-time fan of Katie’s and, despite what I’m about to say, truly do hope she’s happy with her choice and got the love story she wanted from this franchise. BUT her behavior over the whole Greg thing was outrageous to me. I know a lot of people have been throwing the term “gaslighting” out there and calling for Greg to be drawn and quartered in the town square, but I’m gonna be real with you guys: I just don’t see it. And this is coming from a woman who has a bottomless pit within her specifically reserved for the unending, blistering rage she has toward the male gender!
Look, do I think Greg overreacted last week? Absolutely. But fundamentally, I think they couldn’t effectively communicate their feelings to each other and because of that a very real connection was severed in the most dramatic of circumstances. Like, I think Greg was contextualizing their relationship as an entity beyond the show. He saw their connection as the real deal and something that went beyond rose ceremonies and cocktail parties. Meanwhile, Katie was wholly invested in this “process” and wanted to see it through to the end. That’s totally fair, by the way, but because of that I don’t think she was looking at their relationship as a thing beyond the show, but rather, as a thing within the show that she was still trying to figure out. The situation sucked, but I don’t think either of them should be vilified for the way they handled it.
Flash forward to ATFR, and Katie is out for blood. During Greg’s one-on-one interview with Tayshia and Kaitlyn he seems sad but ultimately accepting of Katie’s engagement with Blake—despite her throwing out an “I love you” before proposal day. He could have been super petty and snide, but the only person who acted that way last night was Katie. I mean, their confrontation was literally nuts. Katie had so much hostility and anger for someone who is supposedly very happily engaged to the love of her life.
First, she accuses Greg of never loving her and only being on the show to progress his acting career, to which he replies, “I’m no Meryl Streep.” Look guys, I’m pretty sure Meryl would like to be excluded from this narrative, one she never asked to be a part of since summer of 2021. Also, I love that Katie just believes something that she read on the internet. She’s screaming at him about something she read about on Deux Moi for goodness sake! I’ll say it again, but if she’s soooo happy in her current relationship then shouldn’t this sh*t with Greg not matter?
Then starts in on how she thinks he gaslit her which… agree to disagree I guess. Personally, that was not my take on the situation, though I’ll concede that I’m an outsider looking in and ultimately don’t know the reality of their situation. But he seemed genuine and heartfelt in his feelings for Katie. Again, he could have been extremely petty in how he handled himself on ATFR and he was nothing but respectful to her. Plus, he’s apologized like a million times. What more does she want from him? For him to sacrifice his pinky finger as penance?
The crowd seemed equally confused about who to root for. Though they gave Katie some half-hearted claps when she called him a gaslighter, the crowd also cheered for Greg after he declared, “I emptied my heart out to you on the couch and all you gave me was a pat on the back.” The thing about Greg is he seems authentic and maybe that’s the acting classes he took in undergrad, but MY GOD, if he were that good of an actor he wouldn’t be on this freaking franchise. Can’t we just leave it at they weren’t right for each other and be done with it?
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I think her behavior was so off-putting to me because she made her bones on the franchise by advocating against petty squabbles and bullying behavior, and here she was taking petty jab after petty jab. I know she’s upset and hurt, but I guess I was just expecting her to be kinder about the whole situation? Especially considering she was always the peace maker on Matt James’ season.
Throughout the interview she kept saying this was about MY journey and MY time on the show and it’s like, there are two people in a relationship. It’s not just about you. And poor Blake! He had to go toe-to-toe with Aunt Lindsey like he was facing off a starved lion in a gladiator ring. And for what? If I was Blake and saw this blatant display of rage and unresolved feelings I would have hightailed it off that stage. But, you know, ever happiness to you both!
On that note, I’m out! I would like to never hear or speak of any of these people again unless that person is Andrew S and he would like to finally respond to my DM. *manifests a response through the harnessed power of the Halliwell/Thurston sisters*
See you hoes on Paradise! Xoxo
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC (3) @tvgoldtweets /Instagram (1); @thebetchelor /Instagram (1); Giphy (4)
Well, everybody, we’ve made it to the final week of The Bachelorette. In keeping with the “unprecedented times”, ABC is breaking protocol and giving us fantasy suites and the finale in the same week. I’d like to think this is a gift to us for having to put up with Clare’s therapy sessions masquerading as dates, but we know better: they have to keep things moving in time for the premiere of Matt’s season. I’ll be filling in for my esteemed colleague Ryanne this week, so please be gentle in the comments. Let’s get to it!
We begin with Tayshia discussing the importance of the fantasy suite dates and her confidence in the final three. We then cut to Ivan, Brendan, and Zac being forced to sit together and allude to their potential future as eskimo brothers. It’s awkward AF and will be a running theme throughout the episode. Meanwhile, Tayshia has a
forced Bachelorette synergy “girl chat” with JoJo. They’re really trying to make JoJo happen, huh? Despite Ed’s notes, Chris Harrison continues his practice of barging in on the men without even a courtesy knock. This time he tells them that they better be prepared to get down on one knee and propose.
Chris: If you’re not ready for an engagement, GTFO!
And so begins Brendan’s mental spiral.
To my surprise, Ivan gets the first fantasy suite date. I personally love Ivan. He’s far and away my favorite of the three men, but he’s too pure for Tayshia and, arguably, this world. However, he tells us he did The Secret and manifested the first date. You go,
Glen Coco Ivan! Zac is visibly pissed and Brendan looks like someone told him that it’s now a federal offense to wear turtlenecks. Zac reminds us that regardless of the men’s feelings about the other men, this is about Tayshia. Finally, a man who understands the concept of The Bachelorette!
Just watching the way that Tayshia interacts with Ivan, it’s clear that he’s not the frontrunner in her mind. As if the lukewarm peck she gave him weren’t proof enough, we find out that their date is a f*cking ice bath. Now if that’s not a metaphor for her feelings for Ivan, I don’t know what is. “Are you excited?” she asks, with that pseudo British inflection she adopts when asking questions. Ivan smiles through the pain. This is the most unromantic concept for a date that I can possibly think of, especially one that’s designed to precede sex. The shrinkage alone! Rude, Tayshia. Rude. Even Big Paulie, who according to Chris Harrison is a “Bachelor Nation favorite” (sure, Jan), deems the effects of this date on Ivan’s prospects later on “devastating”. Slapping a potential “world record” on this turd of a date isn’t fooling anyone, Tayshia! You may as well have had an intern spray paint a football field on some cardboard with “Friend Zone” at either end.
Meanwhile, back at the house:
Zac seems to be handling things a little better. He gets the second date card and gives us his best Matthew McConaughey.
During the evening portion of Ivan’s date, he tells Tayshia he’s falling in love with her. She says she’s been falling for him too, but I’m just not feeling the sparks between these two. Their conversation doesn’t have much substance and basically consists of them parroting things back to each other. “I cried in front of you!” “I cried in front of you!” Apparently this is enough to take things to the fantasy suite, which in this case is an Airstream trailer that inside looks like it was designed by 2009 me after winning an Urban Outfitters shopping spree. I love a boho-chic moment, but this is not the mood for fantasy suites. This looks like it would be better for a Real Housewives girls’ trip (OC, obv). Apparently it had the desired effect, though, because they stayed up all night talking, according to Ivan. I don’t get the feeling they had sex. Maybe a little over-the-pants action, but nothing more.
Ivan returns to the house and recaps the date. Unsurprisingly, Zac and Brendan look pissed. Brendan, clearly a masochist, asks if they got any sleep. Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to, Brendan! Ivan is apparently an emotional cutter as well because
a producer told him to ask he asks what Zac’s date card said. Yikes.
The vibe on this date is completely different than the date with Ivan. Tayshia is straight-up giddy. The feeling is mutual for Zac and he tells us no less than 14 times that he can’t wait to EXPLORE Tayshia. Vom. That’s exactly what the guy you go on one Hinge date with tells you right before he never calls you again. Their date is body painting, which may as well be the polar (see what I did there) opposite of Ivan’s date. This date is essentially foreplay with colors. They slap on some paint and proceed to aggressively make out in front of the camera crew. Do they have no shame??
During the evening portion, they get into deeper topics, specifically, Zac’s stance on having kids. Zac says he realizes now that he does want to be a dad and he then proceeds to tell Tayshia that he loves her. The moment was really genuine, so much so that it moves Tayshia to tears and she says she loves him back. I can’t even be snarky, it was a lovely moment. This is what happens when you put age-appropriate men on this show!
They move on to the fantasy suite, and the set-up alone is another personal affront to Ivan. Zac and Tayshia get a whole-ass suite that looks much nicer than the “El Presidente” suite Tayshia’s been living in all season. The unmitigated gall of these producers to do Ivan so dirty!
Ivan watching this back:
The next morning, Tayshia and Zac are jumping on the bed like two toddlers hopped up on pixie sticks. Interestingly, Tayshia says in a confessional that Brendan has had her heart since day one. This should be interesting given Brendan’s sheer terror all episode. Zac returns to the house with a sh*t-eating grin on his face. Ivan remains mostly calm. Brendan looks…constipated.
Brendan tells us that he’s worried about the prospect of getting engaged again so quickly after getting divorced. Brendan clearly didn’t get the memo on not telling producers about your biggest fears, lest they be exploited to the high heavens, and so his fate is sealed. The date is hosted by F*CKING NEIL LANE! Neil, apparently pissed he had to cobble together a ring for Clare with barely 24 hours’ notice, negotiated some more airtime for his tacky wares and so we need to endure this product placement we’re calling a “date”. A date like this would be torture for just about any straight male who’s been dating a woman for a matter of weeks, but for Brendan, it is hell on earth, and it shows.
Neil keeps telling Brendan not to get nervous, then proceeds to talk endlessly about engagements and weddings. As if this wasn’t anxiety-producing enough, they then FORCE BRENDAN TO TRY ON WEDDING BANDS! I swear his hands were shaking. These producers are laying it on thick. They’ve even got Neil Lane waxing poetic about how rings are circular (no sh*t) and that marriage is FOREVER, as if Brendan, who has been married before, doesn’t already know this. Is Robert De Niro going to pop out and tell Brendan he’s been admitted into Tayshia’s circle of trust, too?
This date is messy AF. I guess this is one way to test his appetite for a proposal at the end.
The night portion of the date doesn’t get any better. Unfortunately, Tayshia saved her best dress for this date. Brendan is…wearing a black T-shirt. Not a good sign. Tayshia brings up Brendan’s distance and he admits he’s been struggling with the idea of an engagement. He confesses that he’s still broken. It was raw and honestly heartbreaking. Tayshia doesn’t put up a fight and sends him home. She says he’s the one she pictured herself with at the end. I’m sure whoever she chooses will be thrilled to watch that back.
Tayshia and Rachel
We get a surprise appearance from Rachel, who looks stunning. As happy as I was to see Rachel again, I didn’t really understand why she was there. The conversation was pretty superficial at the beginning, until Rachel asks Tayshia about any regrets she might have. Then it became very clear why she was invited: to create an opening to talk about Ben, who is obviously going to pull a Bennett and come back to ask for another chance. To which I say:
The Rose Ceremony Ben’s Mea Culpa
The men are getting ready for the rose ceremony and Ivan’s look here was giving me major Drake vibes. I’m not mad about it. We then see a shot from the waist down of some bulging thighs in capri pants making their way up the path of the La Quinta, and it’s immediately clear that Ben has returned. He tells Chris Harrison that he shuts down when things are tough and he wants to resolve things with Tayshia.
Tayshia, meanwhile, has two roses left, and to symbolize this she has brought the girls out for the night. She looks gorgeous and is feeling good about her final two, so of course Ben has to swoop in and f*ck it all up! He knocks on Tayshia’s door and she looks THRILLED to see him. He confesses his love for her, admits that he blew it in the moment, and tells her he sees a life with her. Tayshia’s immediate response is to freak the f*ck out and run to her producer. Not a great sign, buddy! All I know is if she cuts Ivan for this clown I will
have ABC’s head continue to loyally watch this train wreck. See you tomorrow!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (3)