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SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the August 2 episode of “The Bachelorette.”
Hometown dates on “The Bachelor” franchise are historically dominated by conversations with parents and establishing familial approval. However, Bachelorette Katie Thurston’s week of hometown dates was largely monopolized by tension with her self-described frontrunner, Greg Grippo.
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Greg joined two other men — Justin Glaze and Blake Moynes — to round out Katie’s final three. Each man had an opportunity to introduce Katie to their loved ones and give her a taste of home, despite being limited to the grounds of their New Mexico hotel.
Blake introduced her to his Canadian roots with maple syrup and games of darts, hockey and a mechanical moose before introducing her to his mother and siblings. Blake’s confidence in their relationship was juxtaposed with Greg’s insecurity as he spied on their date from his hotel balcony. After seeing Blake and Katie’s interactions, Greg began to come apart at the seams.
“I’m sick to my stomach. I understand that she’s gonna catch feelings for other guys. But it’s hard to face those facts. And seeing Blake — she looks so happy. It scared me,” Greg said.
Meanwhile, Blake’s confidence was visible even to his family, who called him “smitten.” He expressed that he was falling in love with Katie to his family, and she shared that she was only going to tell her final fiancé that she loves him.
The next day, Justin’s started his hometown with a phone conversation with his parents, where they shared that they would not join or meet Katie. While his mother and father expressed confidence in his judgment and offered their support, they doubted the legitimacy of the relationship and questioned how genuine his feelings could be considering the expedited timeline.
In their absence, Justin’s two best friends arrived after he showed Katie a taste of Baltimore. His friends approved of Katie, and Justin ended the night by telling her that he was falling in love with her.
Greg’s New Jersey-themed hometown date started with a tandem bicycle ride before he took Katie to the basketball court. One of their initial connections was over their mutual loss of their fathers. During their first date, Katie shared that her love of the outdoors was rooted in time with her dad. Greg shared the same experience with his late father on the basketball court, where the two spent many hours together.
Later, the two recreated another experience. After a previous kiss in the rain earlier in the season, Greg turned on the sprinklers so the two could have another make-out session.
They met his mother, his brother and his best friend that evening. His two sisters joined via video recording with his nieces and nephews. Everyone said they hadn’t seen Greg this happy since his dad passed away.
In individual conversations with family members, Greg said, “It’s gonna be me and her.” He was also thinking ahead and explained the logistics of moving and life post-show. Even Katie confided to his mom that he’s a “frontrunner” and “will be here next week.”
But after conversations with family, Greg and Katie regrouped with less success. Greg tearfully reiterated his feelings to Katie and shared that he is “just so happy” for the first time since his dad died. He revealed that he was in love with her.
However, his confession of love was met with less enthusiasm than he had hoped for, which was the catalyst for a deep spiral. His body language immediately changed, despite Katie’s request to “just hang in there.” His negativity furthered as they headed towards the end of the night.
“I just don’t understand how you don’t know at this point. I really don’t,” he said. He also admitted to “losing my shit.”
Emotions were still high the next day. Throughout the season, Greg was the most validated contestant, receiving the first impression rose and the first one-on-one, and being the only person to receive a second one-on-one. Despite that, his disappointment with Katie’s response after his emotional outpouring was enough to send him packing.
He went to her room to clarify the previous night, but the exchange escalated and resulted in him storming out. Before his tantrum, he accused her of not listening and an obvious disconnect between the two.
“It was never about a rose to me,” he told her.
She followed him outside, confused at the events. She didn’t understand how one reaction discounted their entire relationship. He started to gaslight her and made her question her experience of their conversation.
“You’ve always been my No. 1 — from the very beginning,” she told him.
As she tried to navigate Greg’s growing frustration and anger, she was increasingly emotional. She replayed the conversation that provoked the outburst and apologized for the reaction but seemed confused by his disproportional response. Despite multiple attempts to get him to reconsider their relationship, Greg left in a huff — which caused Katie to have her own breakdown, locking herself in the bathroom, sobbing.
“The Bachelorette” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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