Well, the moment none of us were waiting for has finally arrived, rose lovers: Blake Moynes is here! He was rejected by Clare and Tayshia on the last season of The Bachelorette, but perhaps the third time will be the charm for this camera-loving Canadian. At least Blake's appearance was paired with another man's very satisfying exit at the end of the episode.
When we rejoin the men, they are still sitting around griping about Thomas and his shocking (shocking!) admission that he is (or was?) kind of interested in being the Bachelor. "She needs to know about this," notes David gravely, as Thomas jogs by in the background. (Side note: David seems nice. Could we please get him some more screen time? Have we even seen him talk to Katie beyond the limo exit at this point?)
Realizing that he's become this week's Karl, Thomas decides to start pleading his case with Quartney, who's outside working on his deltoids. "I see what's going on in the group," says Thomas. "I'm someone who tries to go above and beyond and uplift people - they've exacerbates [sic] things as [me] not being honest." Quartney doesn't mince words with his response: "You've kind of dug this ditch, and I know you're aware of that."
It's almost 10 minutes into the episode when we finally get to last week's group date. (There's likely going to be a lot of stretching this season, which apparently finished shooting a week earlier than planned.) Our participants are: Christian, Tre, Andrew S., Andrew M., Josh, Mike P., and Connor C. "This date is going to force them to try something they probably don't want to do," warns Katie.
It's time for "Katie's Truth or Dare." Tayshia explains that the dares are meant to push the men "mentally, physically, and emotionally." Tre, for one, is in it to win it… mostly: "I'm willing to do whatever it takes," he says. "I just don't want to throw up."
Hilariously enough, though, the "mystery snacks" the men encounter aren't bugs or larvae or anything gross like that. Apparently, nothing is more terrifying to these men than… carbs! Mike P. the very ripped virgin goes first, plowing his way through a plate of about 42 Twinkies.
ABC Mike P. enjoys a Twinkie on 'The Bachelorette'
Succumb to that sponge cake and creamy filling, Mike P.! "If I get fat," he says, "she better still love me when I'm older." Other challenges involve whispering sweet nothings into "Katie's ear," which is actually just a giant papier-mâché ear statue rigged with a microphone. Andrew S. gives it a shot, and even breaks out his fake British accent for the occasion: I was wanting to ask you where you like to be touched… The Bachelorette LOVES it, as do her friends. "Someone call the police - that was HOT!" shrieks Tayshia. Greg foolishly believes that Katie and co. can't hear what he is whispering into the giant ear, but of course, they do hear every last word of his weird, states-related dirty talk: Don't you forget about Florida now, baby. We gonna go nice and long and deep… "Oh my God - he felt good about that," marvels Tayshia. "I repeat, that was not good." Correct!
Hmmm… wonder what's going on here?
ABC Christian does some manscaping on Tre, on 'The Bachelorette'
Oh, sure. It's just a grown man waxing another grown man's ass. Happens all the time. "I surrender!" gasps Tre through pained laughter. "I've never had my cheeks out in front of another man in my life… I'm in a very vulnerable state right now." As is Greg, who is currently taking some abuse at the "carb station."
ABC Greg eats his feelings on 'The Bachelorette'
Just when I was starting to worry that no one would weep tears of pure pain on this group date, Tayshia unveils the final challenge: The men have to eat two habanero peppers and then "propose" to Katie. "I want a guy that would do anything for love, for an engagement, for me," explains the Bachelorette. "Someone who can step out of their comfort zone but enjoy it." Well, Greg sure looks like he's having fun.
ABC Greg suffers on 'The Bachelorette'
"It's burning, bad," he moans. Still, he and the other men manage to get through their "proposals" without puking. On to the "truth" portion of the date!
Dang, Katie's coat dress is gorgeous.
ABC Katie sparkles on 'The Bachelorette'
Andrew S. gets things started off right by treating Katie to some Taco Bell. (She's a woman after my own heart!) "I value every moment with you," he tells Katie. "They're so brief, but they're so impactful." The Bachelorette agrees that everything between them "just flows," and they smooch.
Other Andrew goes next. We haven't seen much of this guy… and we still don't! As soon as he says something about how relationships are about "making each other better," producers quickly move on to Mike P. (blah blah blah "love requires sacrifice" blah blah blah) - and then on to Katie's obvious favorite: Greg!
Poor Greggy is feeling a little out of his "comfort zone" because it's hard to date a woman who's dating a bunch of other guys at the same time. "I feel like my mind's going nuts sometimes," he mumbles. "You're all I think about." The Bachelorette strokes his hand gently and assures him that she feels their "connection," too. "You're not really trying to impress me, you're just being you - which is impressing me," she says. "I'm starting to fall for you." Maybe I haven't been keeping up with current events, rose lovers, but I'm starting to think that this is game over… and we're only on week 4.
It's a tough act to follow, but Josh - another guy we haven't heard much from - does his best. "Honestly, to see you and all of your genuine compassion in the search for love… it is the most incredible experience that I've ever experienced in my life," he says. Katie is touched, but there's no smooch… and I'm not really feeling a spark here.
Just when you thought we'd get through this whole date without having to hear the men gripe about Thomas… it's Tre's turn to sit down with Katie. "Tonight is about truth," he says. "There are things about Thomas that should be brought to her attention." Danger, Tre! On this show, snitches often get
stitches sent home! Andrew S. issues his own warning, essentially telling Tre that he can't control Thomas' douchery - he can only control how he responds to it. And getting all caught up in some other guy's bad behavior is not going to end well for him and could upset Katie unnecessarily. But Tre is undeterred. "I can't let it go on," he says. "I can't let her end up hurt four, five weeks down the line."
The other guys are happy to let Tre deliver the bad news about Thomas to Katie. After all, they won't be the ones to take the messenger bullet! I'm anxious about this. After a preamble about how he's only sharing this information because he cares about Katie, Tre informs her that "most of the guys" feel that Thomas "is not here for you." He goes on to outline Thomas' "manipulative" behavior, before dropping the big bomb: "This morning he basically had to be asked several times, 'Hey man, when you came out here, was it your intention to be the Bachelor?' And it wasn't until the fourth time that Hunter asked him this question, that he said, 'Yes, when I came out here, I wanted to be the Bachelor.'" Katie does NOT love it.
ABC Katie on 'The Bachelorette'
"What you have shared is 1,000 percent something I would want to know," the Bachelorette tells Tre, before heading off for some "alone" time (with a producer). "It's disappointing because I really liked him," she sighs, bursting into tears. Will this ruin the whole night? Andrew S. sure thinks so. Back in the holding pen, he chastises Tre for his decision. "It's just so, like, dramatic to me," he says with a laugh. "You guys don't want drama, but you spark it!"
Maybe, but Katie wants to hear more. Eventually, she returns to the party and invites the other men to share any thoughts they have about Thomas. Josh, Other Andrew, Christian, and Connor C. all say Thomas sucks (I'm paraphrasing), and Katie seems to believe that they're all being honest with her. As for the date rose, it goes to… Tre! Hoo boy, Andrew S. can-NOT believe it.
ABC Andrew S. on 'The Bachelorette'
"How? It kills me," he groans. "This could be a big ripple effect, and that's what I'm afraid of." Hey, settle down, Andrew S. If you don't act like a dick, none of the guys will tattle on you to Katie. It's simple!
We interrupt this recap to bring you a breaking news bulletin:
ABC Tayshia Adams on 'The Bachelorette'
Yep. The afternoon before the rose ceremony, Tayshia knocks on Katie's door and informs her that a man from her past reached out because he "passionately" believes that he and Katie would be "an amazing match." The former Bachelorette tells the current Bachelorette that she thinks this unnamed man has "good intentions" and is "genuine." Tayshia refuses to tell Katie who it is, though, because she doesn't want to cloud her judgment before she meets with him. Katie is a bit apprehensive. She's not keen to "disrupt" the "relationships" she's already forming - but she might do it if the mystery man seems "worth that risk." (If you're like me, rose lovers, you immediately started screaming "HE'S NOT!" at your screen.)
Whatever, fine. Let's meet him. Ugh.
ABC Blake M. is back on 'The Bachelorette.' Ugh.
"Oh my gosh, Blake!" cries Katie. She welcomes Blake Moynes with a smile and a hug and then lets him go into his sales pitch. Blake says he's been "vocal" about how much Katie "intrigued" him ever since she first appeared on Matt James' season of The Bachelor. "Your openness, you're bold, you have this playfulness to you, and a humor I can really relate to for sure," he says with a nervous laugh. "I don't know what you're thinking right now, and it's driving me nuts." As Katie reveals to us in her confessional, this isn't the first time she and Blake have talked - they've communicated "through the DMs," and Blake was the one to reach out first. "He's a very handsome guy," she says with a grin. "I don't know. I don't know."
Yes, you do, Katie. This! Man! Just! Wants! To! Be! On! Camera! "It is concerning that you've dated, at this point, two Bachelorettes," she says to him. "If you stay, I will be now your third Bachelorette… In the house, there's been a lot of drama about who's here for the Right Reasons™ and who's not."
Blake is ready for this line of questioning. "I completely get that. I wish I could have met you in other circumstances," he replies. "This is the last place I want to do this." (Sure, Jan dot GIF.) Katie's a little hesitant, but she also clearly finds Blake attractive - is that worth possibly hurting the other men? Probably not, but Blake knows exactly what to say to ease Katie's fears: "I promise you that if it came down to the end and we connected the way that I think that we might, we would be engaged at the end of this."
"Wow" is right, Katie. Please, please, please, please don't let this guy's cutesy charm fool you. (Yes, I know it's a lost cause.) The good news is, Katie isn't about to let Blake crash the next ceremony. "I just need to be focused on being present with the current men here," she tells Tayshia and Kaitlyn during a pre-cocktail party chat. For now, she needs to figure out the Thomas Problem. "I was picturing hometowns with this guy," she admits. "A lot of the guys have already expressed that they don't like him… I truly, from the bottom of my heart, thought he was going to go far." So did he, no doubt. Let's get the carnage over with, shall we?
The men gather for the cocktail party, but Thomas is nowhere to be found. And that's because producers have arranged for him to chat with Katie in her room before the party. He immediately sits too close to her and gestures for Katie to let him take her hands in his, which she does reluctantly.
ABC Thomas on 'The Bachelorette'
Thomas begins by playing the victim. He says none of the guys will talk to him directly, so he's had to listen while his integrity and character "gets demonsterized [sic]." Still, he wants the Bachelorette to know that he's not going to walk away. "They can say anything they want about me, but I'm going to fight," he assures her. When Katie asks him about whether or not he wanted to be the Bachelor, Thomas admits to it - "I went on this show open for anything" - but once again, he insists that now he has real feelings for her. He's so desperate for Katie to believe him, he offers to sign something that would forever bar him from getting the Bachelor gig. Is it enough? Probably not. "You say things exactly as I want to hear them," she says sadly. "You are this Prince Charming."
This goes on for a while - Katie tells Thomas the claims about him are "devastating," he counters with sweet talk and promises of devotion. Rather than sending him home, the Bachelorette says she needs time to make her decision and tells Thomas she'll see him at the cocktail party.
The men, of course, are not happy when Thomas strolls into the room. He fills them in on the "difficult conversation" he just had with Katie. "The last thing I wanted was to take up any more time away from you guys' conversations," he adds. Christian's response is both hilarious and shocking: "It's midnight, brother." MIDNIGHT? How many hours have these poor men have been waiting around???
Oh no, here comes Andrew S. with the I told you so's. "I knew this would happen!" he snaps. "I knew we'd be losing time… There's a ripple effect, and that affects everyone in the house." Aaron, Christian, and Justin immediately snap back at him. "How would you feel knowing you had that information and withheld it?" asks Justin. "You can't leave it to guesswork!" adds Aaron. It's late, everyone's tired and bored and frustrated. Soon, the "discussion" devolves into a shouting match.
ABC Aaron yells at someone on 'The Bachelorette'
"Be respectful!" yells Aaron, who just asked Andrew S. not to yell at him. They're still talking over each other when Katie finally arrives. "I do apologize for being late tonight," she says. Miraculously, she doesn't cancel the cocktail party, and Brendan gets the first one-on-one chat. "You're a strong woman, and I love that," he says. "I'm here for you." Though Katie wants to be "present in the moment" with the guys, most of them use their time with her to reiterate how much they hate Thomas. "Everyone wants to talk about the elephant in the room, and that's Thomas," says Katie. "It's exhausting."
It sure is. At least Michael A. steers his conversation with Katie toward happier things, like the future of their relationship. "You can't manufacture a connection," he says. "The person you are is exactly the person I've been seeking. I like it." Awww, you guys! They are so cute together. Maybe Greg isn't her favorite? At the very least, Michael A. seems to be her second-favorite. "He makes this feel so enjoyable," says Katie.
Rose ceremony roll call! Just as the Bachelorette is about start calling out names, Thomas interrupts to "openly apologize" for giving the impression that he's not here for the Right Reasons™, and for any "disrespect" the men felt. Dude, please just stop talking. Please.
Let's try this again. Rose ceremony roll call! Hunter, Greg, Justin, Brendan, Andrew S., Aaron, Mike P., James, Josh, Quartney, Andrew M., and… Thomas? No! Oh, God, no! No, no, no!
ABC Katie psychs Thomas out on 'The Bachelorette'
"You told me things I wanted to hear," Katie says, her voice tight with anger. "But what I learned about you tonight is that you're selfish, unkind, and a liar. Your Bachelor audition ends tonight… so get out."
YAAAAS, KATIE! READ THAT DUDE FOR FILTH! (This is perhaps the greatest rose ceremony maneuver since Hannah B. moved the podium.)
Also, now she can give that final rose to David. He seems nice. Wait… why are Kaitlyn and Tayshia coming in to tell the men without roses to "say their goodbyes"? Was that "final" rose Katie was holding when she called Thomas' name a… fake rose? Dayum, that's cold. Alas, we must say goodbye to David, Christian, and Connor C. (For the record: Tre, Michael A., and Connor B. went into the ceremony with date roses.)
And, even bigger alas, we have to say "hello" - officially - to Blake M. After handing out all her roses at the ceremony, Katie heads over to Blake's hotel room and knocks on the door. It's the middle of the night, so he emerges bleary-eyed and in nothing but a pair of boxers. "Get a robe on," orders the Bachelorette. He disappears and returns, after a long pause, wearing a sweatshirt and sporting some excellent bedhead. "I had to put a mint in my mouth," he explains. "I don't have a robe." Katie giggles and then invites Blake to join her "journey." Of course, he says yes. They hug, and Katie heads back to her suite. As for Blake…
ABC Blake M. gets locked out on 'The Bachelorette'
Yep, the poor schmuck left his key in the room. "Perfect," he sighs. "What do I do now?" Well, you're officially a cast member, buddy - just send a producer to fetch a new key.
It's pretty clear how I feel about Blake's arrival - but what about you, rose lovers? Is he there to find love or another 15 minutes? Also, is Michael A. inching forward in the frontrunner race, or is Greg still the man to beat? Post your (spoiler-free) thoughts below!