'The Golden Bachelor': Joan leaves Gerry, the 1st real drama of the season drops and a potential Golden Bachelorette emerges

Heartache once again visits widower Gerry as Joan exits the show — just as things were heating up.

Gerry and Joan had a date on which true connections seemed to be made, only to have Joan depart the show soon after for family matters.
Gerry and Joan had a date on which true connections seemed to be made, only to have Joan depart the show soon after for family matters. (ABC)
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The Golden Bachelor continues to bring the waterworks — not to mention the ratings for ABC — this time stemming from another unexpected early exit along with the first real drama of the season.

It was another jam-packed hour on the hottest reality dating show since, well, The Bachelor, with a talent show-themed group date, a couple of pleasant one-on-one dates, a total of three people leaving the mansion and a ton of tears.

Here’s a look at what happened during the third episode:

A talented group

With Golden Bachelor Gerry serving as a judge alongside host Jesse Palmer and former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, the ladies put on a talent show that included singing, dancing, karate, comedy, poetry and a sex-ed lesson designed for middle schoolers.

In the end it was Joan’s poem titled, “I Just Hope I Don’t Vomit on Your Shoes,” that got the attention of Gerry who “felt like she was just talking” to him and “no one else was around.”

As a prize, Joan was treated to a date with Gerry that involved a fancy dinner and some genuine conversation. During the meal, Joan revealed that her daughter had a C-section just two weeks prior and that it was “not an easy delivery, not an easy baby.”

The night ended with a rose, a toast by Gerry that included, “Here’s to you and here’s to a future” and then a kiss.

Time to be a mom

The morning after her date with Gerry, Joan got a message from her daughter indicating that she was in need of some help. Joan broke down in tears over knowing the decision she had to make. After an emotional goodbye with the other ladies, Joan told Gerry the news.

“I need to go home and be a mom right now. So as much as I don’t want to leave — and I don’t want to leave our journey — I got to be a parent,” Joan said.

A “disappointed” Gerry obviously understood her decision and was “thrilled” for the time that they did have together and the fact that they both share a “moral compass” where “sometimes the right thing to do is the hardest.”

And with that, the 60-year-old private school administrator from Rockland, Md., was gone, while a shocked and saddened Gerry cried on a bench.

Ellen’s epic date

The next one-on-one date went to Ellen, and the retired teacher from Florida was treated to a full-on pampering that included a brand new dress and accessories — which eventually included diamond earrings courtesy of Gerry and, of course, Neil Lane.

A strong connection between Ellen and Gerry was on display throughout the countryside date, then he gave her a rose as they boarded a hot air balloon. From there, the scenic ride was accentuated with a kiss.

The drama heats up

The first real drama of any kind this season took place Thursday, courtesy of Kathy and Theresa. The former felt the latter was flaunting her connection with Gerry after receiving the first one-on-one date of the season.

Theresa was shocked to hear that her words and actions were being construed that way and apologized to Kathy before escaping to her room for a good cry. Gerry caught wind of the situation and paid a visit to Theresa to get the story. After telling Gerry what happened, Theresa worried that would put an end to her stay.

Later, Kathy's feelings toward Theresa only worsened:

The rose ceremony

The suspense for Theresa was building throughout the whole rose ceremony, but she was ultimately the last one to receive a rose. She joined Faith, Sandra, Leslie, Nancy, Susan and April. Meanwhile Edith, a 60-year-old retired realtor from Downey, Calif., and Christina, a 73-year-old retired purchasing manager from Sierra Madre, Calif., did not receive roses and had to say their goodbyes.

The exit of Edith — who had become a bit of a fan favorite — came as a shock to viewers reacting on social media with many speculating that this means big things ahead for her, as in a Golden Bachelorette?

A look ahead

Next week’s episode looks to be focused on the action-centric dates, with some pickleball being played — resulting in a potential injury for one of the women — and Gerry taking a ride on an ATV with one lucky lady. Plus, the Kathy/Theresa drama doesn’t seem to be over and neither are the waterworks... from Gerry and everyone else.

The Golden Bachelor airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.