Who among us, rose lovers, has not asked ourselves this important question: Does my soulmate truly love me, or are they just doing it for the 'gram? This week on The Bachelorette, Katie had to spend her first week wrestling with the aforementioned quandary, thanks to an accusation from Aaron (who?) about Cody (who?). Plus, shirtless mud wrestling!
ABC Tayshia Adams, Kaitlyn Bristowe, and Katie Thurston on 'The Bachelorette'
No one touches the fruit. No one drinks the smoothies. What a waste. I hope the crew went to town on that spread after shooting ended.
The first group date arrives, but there's no Accent Table of Doom; instead, it's resting on a Tastefully Decorated Nook outside the guys' casa. Christian, Garrett, Tre, Quartney, Mike P., James, Justin, Thomas, Connor B., and Karl, you're up! Katie greets them outside. "Today is about being open and vulnerable, and more importantly, comfortable," she says, shivering in her light leather jacket. Fortunately, they're all heading inside, where… this awaits them.
ABC 'The Bachelorette'
"It's a dark room with sex stuff," explains Mike the virgin, helpfully.
Out walks "really well-known comedian" Heather McDonald, who is here to help Katie find "the greatest lover of all time." First up, a pop quiz! Only Conor B. and Christian know that a woman's largest sex organ is not her vagina, it's her brain. But only Quartney gets the right answer when it comes to which article of clothing makes it more likely for a woman to have an orgasm: Socks! (Justin seems to think that a "matching set" of bra and panties is imperative for a woman's arousal. Down with the patriarchy, dude.)
Hmmm… I wonder how Mike the virgin is doing with this sex quiz?
ABC 'The Bachelorette'
Hey, at least he's honest. Of course, producers have Heather ask the guys to write down when they last had sex because that puts poor Justin in a real pickle. "Do I write, 'I'm a virgin'?" he wonders. "I just put question marks because I want her to hear it from my lips first." Even though Mike knew that being on this show would put him in "challenging" positions, he didn't think it'd happen week one.
And he certainly probably never thought he'd have to dress up in S&M gear and demonstrate why he's the "greatest lover of all time" in front of Katie and a "live audience." The poor guy is so stressed out he starts crying. I feel bad for the dude, even though he definitely should've watched a few episodes before agreeing to be put through the Bachelorette wringer.
Oh look, Connor B. the
aspiring musician math teacher from Nashville decided to whip out his guitar.
ABC Connor B. on 'The Bachelorette'
Christian the wicked cool kid from Boston understands that love is "more than what happens in the bedroom." What really gets a woman hot is a guy who does household chores without asking. Tre does a little role play himself, via two hand puppets (it's tamer than it sounds), while Justin gets hands-on by giving Katie a foot rub. Also:
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Correct, that's Box Guy with his junk in a box. If only someone could have packed Karl up and shipped him offsite before it was his turn. The "motivational speaker" gets up on stage and announces that Katie deserves "17 hours a day of non-stop d--- action" (ouch!), and it only gets worse. Karl makes the rest of the guys "suffercate" (new word alert!) through a long, rambling, and unfunny lecture about what he thinks the Bachelorette does and doesn't want from a lover.
Luckily for Mike P., Karl is a very easy act to follow. He asks Katie to sit beside him on the stage bed and reads a letter to his future wife: "I have always wanted you to feel so loved and honored, and the best way for me to show you this is by saving myself for you." Katie, who wipes away tears while listening to Mike's speech, LOVES it. So much, in fact…
Mike P. on 'The Bachelorette' 'The Bachelorette'
Yep, Mike P. wins the "Greatest Lover of All Time" trophy.
At the post-date cocktail party, Connor B. hopes to redeem himself by getting a do-over of his first kiss with Katie. He was wearing a cat costume during their first first kiss, as you may remember, and Connor B. feels like he "flubbed" the smooch. The Bachelorette believes that she and Connor were "meant to meet," and she's more than happy to re-do their first kiss. One of the reasons Connor B. wanted to do the kiss again was because of how awkwardly he groped Katie's head while wearing cat paws. Yet with kiss No. 2…
ABC Connor B. and Katie on 'The Bachelorette'
Even without the paws, that's pretty weird, bro.
Meanwhile, Karl keeps talking about Katie's "journey" to find "love" in athletic/transactional terms. Before the date, he called it a "competition" like the Hunger Games, and after losing out on the trophy, he said he needed to "get back in the game" and earn the group date rose. "My whole world is business, locking down contracts, making deals," he says. "I'm going to make sure I step up to the plate; I deliver to the best of my ability." How very romantic.
Unfortunately, just as Karl whips out the fuzzy handcuffs from the first part of the date, Thomas walks in and interrupts their chat. Karl doesn't tell him to come back later, he just politely walks away, dangling one fuzzy purple handcuff from his wrist. "There's still time left in the game," he assures us. Is there though?
ABC Thomas and Katie on 'The Bachelorette'
Katie's getting pretty hot and heavy with Thomas… who gets the date rose. "I am pissed," huffs Karl. "We're going to have to fix this during the cocktail party."
Until then, let's move on to the first one-on-one date, starring First Impression Rose "winner" Greg! Katie arrives at the guys' casa in a vintage Chevy pickup truck. The other dudes are so jealous they start breaking furniture.
On second thought, maybe that was an accident.
The date is one of those faux camping adventures like the one Matt took with Bri on The Bachelor. Katie used to camp a lot with her dad, so she's very comfortable in the outdoors - but she doesn't seem to mind that Greg has no idea how to set up a tent or craft a makeshift toilet. None of that matters because Katie liiiikes him. Even when he's sitting on a bucket toilet.
ABC Katie and Greg on 'The Bachelorette'
"I feel like we're dating," she giggles. "We did make out while he was sitting on the toilet. It was hot." Later, Katie gets emotional while talking with Greg about her dad, who died in 2012. They spend the afternoon fishing, and then it's off to dinner.
These two have known each other for about 8 hours total, but they jumped ahead to the "I feel like you get me" stage already, right on cue. "I've felt so comfortable with you right off the bat," says Greg, who goes on to reveal to Katie that his father passed away from cancer two years ago. "It does hurt a lot that he is not gonna see the girl that I marry," says Greg through his tears. He's crying, Katie's crying, all of God's children are crying. Awww, just give him the date rose already!
ABC Katie on 'The Bachelorette'
"I think we're all in big trouble if he walks through that door with a rose," notes James, just as the big fireworks display begins. Yes, James - I think you're right.
The next morning, Kaitlyn and Tayshia - dressed in head-to-toe denim cowgirl gear - rouse the sleeping men with lights, cameras, and a very loud banging on pots and pans. "I have never been woken up this aggressively in my entire life," says John. He and all of the other dudes on the group date - Andrew S., Kyle, Josh, Aaron, Brendan, Hunter, and Cody - are told to head to the staging area immediately. Clothes? Hell no. There's no time!
Katie (also done-up in denim) needs the men at the ranch STAT so they can compete in something called "Katie's Big Buckle Brawl." The main event? Mud wrestling. And what better way to get ready for mud wrestling than to put on a fresh new set of cowboy duds? It's nice, I guess, that producers didn't make the guys ruin their own clothes. "Love is messy," explains Katie. "That's what today is really about." Is it, though?
Brendan and Hunter are up first, and as the firefighter trainee has a 40-pound advantage over Hunter, the result is a fait accompli. Poor Kyle, who very honestly announced "I don't like my chances" before the matches began, has to wrestle professional football player Andrew S. "To my mom, you're the best person that I know, thank you," Kyle tells the camera, saying his goodbyes before getting clobbered. "To my brothers, you can't have my stuff." (I think I love Kyle?)
John, who one of the other guys describes as "super-thin," is matched with Josh. "I'm hoping to last, like, 10 seconds out there before I'm unconscious," says John with a chuckle. And he does, rose lovers!
It's a draw! (Also, very into this bearded ringmaster. Producers, please send him to Paradise to referee oil wrestling or something.)
Last up is Aaron versus Cody - a match, we will discover, that producers chose on purpose because they know these two dudes have beef. Right away, Katie notices the tension between her two suitors. "They are avoiding eye contact," she whispers. Aaron explains via voiceover that he and Cody know each other from "back home" and don't like each other. "He's not here for the Right Reasons™," adds Aaron. "I'm gonna make sure I come out on top." And he does.
Aaron also wins the Big Buckle, which means he will get some extra time with Katie prior to the cocktail party. Cody is understandably nervous: "I hope Aaron's not going to talk crap about me to Katie." Don't be silly, Cody - Aaron is most DEFINITELY going to talk crap about you to Katie.
ABC Aaron and Katie on 'The Bachelorette'
"I know he really wants to become famous or get on the show for those reasons," mumbles Aaron, barely making eye contact with Katie. (Maybe he's just anti-eye contact?) "The way he handles situations, to me, I find disturbing." Aaron goes on to call Cody "malicious" but stops short of saying he's a "complete piece of s---." (Well, this explains why we saw Aaron talking smack to Cody on night one.)
The Bachelorette does NOT love it. "If you are here with a hidden agenda, that's not going to be a secret for long," she warns. At the cocktail party, Cody starts the night feeling that his "chances are extremely high" for getting the group date rose… but then this happens:
ABC Katie on 'The Bachelorette'
Is it true, Cody? Are you "malicious" and "unkind"? "I'm not that way at all," he insists. "That's just not factual information." When Katie asks Cody if he's "here for fame," Cody stammers a bit before repeating that he doesn't know what Aaron's talking about. "I wish I knew so I could clarify it for you," he tells the Bachelorette. Maybe Aaron is "exaggerating," he suggests. Katie is not buying it, nor should she. "He didn't seem genuine," she fumes. "He almost just looked rehearsed."
While Katie goes to think things over, Cody - who is "so heated right now" - confronts Aaron. "How would anyone know we knew each other if you kept your mouth shut?" he asks his rival. "Obviously, she has a tainted view [of me] now." Well, you got that right, sir. Cody, would you please join Katie outside? Your ride is here.
ABC 'The Bachelorette'
"Ultimately, I don't feel that we have trust," she tells him before sending him home. "Unfortunately, I think it's best for you to go home tonight."
Annoyed, Katie tells the rest of the guys that she's going to spend some time alone to collect her thoughts. But Andrew S. the football player is like, Okay, but how about I come talk to you anyway? He takes it upon himself to check on her because I guess he doesn't understand the meaning of "alone"? At least he brought her a beverage. During their chat, Andrew praises Katie's strength and talks about being raised by a "strong woman" who kept her family's spirits up even as they struggled financially. The Bachelorette gets it, having grown up poor herself. "You are exceptional," says Andrew, and Katie LOVES it.
ABC Andrew and Katie on 'The Bachelorette'
Okay, so while it's annoying that Andrew butted in on Katie's alone time, they did seem to have a semi-genuine conversation that made her feel better. One by one, the rest of the men sit down and Open Up™ to Katie (Kyle is looking for someone with "passion"; Josh used to be "borderline obese"; John misses the "connection" of having a long-term relationship; Hunter shares a note telling the Bachelorette he's "giddy" about their future, and so on). But the date rose goes to… Andrew S.! Not surprising, especially since Katie was the one who leaned in first for their kiss.
Bring on the final cocktail party! The night starts off well, as Katie - looking STUNNING in a metallic, emerald-green dress - pulls Michael, the sweet single dad, aside for the first chat since he didn't get a date this week. "I felt a good connection with you," she explains, "and felt that I didn't need that extra validation this week." Phew! Michael is so sweet, and I would hate to see him get cut this early.
Back in the holding pen, Karl is wondering if any of the other guys aren't "here for the right reasons." John wisely advises him to focus on Katie and not worry about anyone else's motivations, but he is not inclined to listen. In fact, as soon as he sits down with Katie, Karl informs her that he's not sure if all of the guys "are being 100 percent transparent… I know that there are some people that don't have the best intentions, okay?" When Katie presses him for some details, Karl tells her she shouldn't stress about it - but the only reason he told her this information is so that she WOULD stress about it! This manipulative a-hole.
ABC Karl is full of it
Trustworthy people do not have to declare their trustworthiness! "I want to trust Karl, but I really don't know him well," sighs Katie. "I just don't know who's really here for me anymore." To that end, Katie gathers all the men in the sitting room and gives them the what for. Shaking with anger, the Bachelorette issues yet another directive. "If you are not here for me, if you are not here for an engagement, then…"
ABC Katie hits her limit
"For some of you, this might be a platform, but I'm not here to waste my time," says Katie. "Does anyone want to say anything?" The men sit in scared silence. And with that, Katie summons Aaron for another one-on-one chat. She trusts him, and she hopes he can shed some light on this situation.
Back in the holding pen, the men are understandably confused about what caused Katie's outburst. Perhaps thinking that he's going to be outed eventually, Karl raises his hand and says he only brought up the specter of Wrong Reasons™ because Katie asked him about it. (Which is, as we know, a flat-out lie.) The bachelors are angry, and they get even angrier when Karl starts tap-dancing around what he (allegedly) knows and who he (allegedly) knows it about. "I don't think it's my place to, like, throw this out," he hedges. All the men in unison: "You already did!" Karl bobs and weaves and changes his story (it's only one person who needs to 'fess up about his intentions, not multiple people), but it is way too late. "You can't speculate if it's gonna cause damage!" barks Aaron.
Long story short: Karl is a lying liar who lies. It's time to send him home! Oh, wait… we'll have to wait until next week for that. Episode two is over, rose lovers!
So, what have we learned? A few things: Katie really likes Greg; Katie really likes Thomas, whom Aaron will soon accuse of being a "psychopath"; Karl shadowboxes when he's on the defensive; something is off about Connor B.; and Katie once punched a nurse "accidentally." Before you go, rose lovers, please share your hot takes. Is Greg the one to beat? Is anyone there for the right reasons? And do you think I could pull off that green dress? (Actually, don't answer that.) See you next week!