It seems like this season has gone by like a flash in the pan. How are we at hometowns already, and by the time you’re reading this, you’ll probably be settling in for an afternoon of fan-theories in anticipation of the finale (apologies again for the interesting cadence of blogs this season – I will endeavor to improve during BIP this year!)
Blake Moyne had the first hometown date, and of course the entire date revolved around the remarkably unremarkable fact that he is from Canada. For those of you who can’t remember (as much as I have tried, I cannot banish the hometown dates from Matt’s season from my otherwise Swiss cheese brain), Serena P did the whole Canadian hometown bit as well and achieved nothing but Canadian cultural appropriation by hanging out in bars, eating Poutine and playing hockey… in this iteration, I was half hoping Blake was gonna bring back Brendan (the Patron Saint of Canada) and Brendan’s dad to drink Labatt Blues and watch Maple Leafs 2001 playoff reruns with Katie, but alas, Blake re-did the bar and hockey bits, once again distilling Canadian culture to these two arbitrary archetypes.
Blake loves maple syrup – so much so that he tried to convince Katie that people drink it like they would a shot of whiskey. I don’t know a lot about maple syrup drinkers, but there is one thing that they all have in common, and it’s type 2 diabetes! After the syrup suck, Blake and Katie played darts, with Blake taking special care to mention that darts “is what I do, every Friday and Saturday I go to the bar and I play.” I don’t know if Katie is looking for a man in his mid-thirties who is still trawling the bars and flinging darts at the local ladies every Friday and Saturday night, but if she is, then Blake is her man. The next portion of the date was of course some hockey, a game that an unsuspecting Greg, gazing out across the New Mexico plains, was made privy too. He didn’t just capture a glimpse of the street hockey, but also the tonsil hockey afterwards, an experience that made him “sick to his stomach.” Whether this nebulous nausea was the result of emotional distress, or the fact that he took advantage of Blake’s absence by over-indulging in his bedside maple syrup we shall never know!
Blake might be the least inspiring motivational speaker of all time. His “you don’t have to be great, you just have to be you” to Katie right before she met his family was about as inspiring as a pre-game pump-up speech from Eeyore. I understand the sentiment and I guess it’s a nice idea to encourage personality, but also encouraging mediocrity when you’re potentially about to marry this girl was a little off the mark. Blake’s family was pretty awesome all things considered. his mother in particular was poised, collected, and produced unbelievable soundbites from start to finish. If I am ever in a position to executive produce the Real Housewives of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, then I will be calling up Blake’s mother to headline the bill! His sister was even more blunt in her lines of questioning, basically calling Blake out for being in love with three girls in the space of a year after only having seen pictures of them.
Blake I’m sorry, but “if things keep going the way that they are, I see myself getting engaged to Katie” is a pretty enormous leap of faith even for a man who has claimed to be unconditionally besotted with three different ladies in the past year. This is like saying your child, after logging an infield single in their first at bat in peewee tee-ball, is going to the Major Leagues because “if things keep going the way they are” they will bat 1,000% and never record an out in their life. I understand trajectory but come on Blake.
Justin’s parents not showing up to his hometown says all you need to know about his status on the show – I don’t really know what he’s still doing here, but the producers probably told his mother and father behind the scenes just not to bother so they could save a couple of bucks on flights and hotel rooms!
Compatibility is obviously an enormous part of a relationship, but in most cases it shouldn’t boil down exclusively to what kind of sauce you prefer on your buffalo wings: “Blue cheese or ranch?” When Katie said blue cheese and Justin practically got down on one knee it perfectly encapsulated the ridiculous parody that is his enduring presence while better candidates were dropping out left and right. Justin showed a side of himself that hadn’t really been on display to this point in the show – he’s a pretty smooth guy and his personality is far more outgoing than has been exhibited outside of his incredibly meme-worthy facial expressions. In the absence of Justin’s parents, a couple of his friends joined the happy, sauce-synergized couple. His friends seemed very nice and supportive and to be honest, that’s all I’ve got on Justin’s date.
Greg always does the most random selection of things on his and Katie’s dates. This time it was a game of horse in memory of his father. While it was a nice touch, I think that an actual horse might have put up a better effort at getting the ball in the hoop than Katie did. The two of them have a pretty unfortunate run of getting absolutely soaked on their 1-on-1 dates as well, this time Greg emphasizing that it also rains in Jersey… Greg’s family are very sweet and went to enormous lengths to include his sisters – a moment that clearly tugged at Greg’s heartstrings. I don’t want to be mean, but there is no way that Greg and his brother Joe are from the same gene pool. He was such a nice guy, a characteristic that clearly runs in the family, but Greg took every ounce of the good looks and left poor Joe in the dust.
At this point of the episode, I very clearly said to myself that “if Greg doesn’t win and Blake fucking Moyne with his stupid facial hair and maple syrup addiction runs away with Katie’s heart then I’m never watching another episode of a Bachelor franchise until August 16th when Bachelor in Paradise starts.” I could never have anticipated what was going to come next… except that I did a couple of weeks ago… Greg has been set up to fail this entire time and those pesky producers once again edited the season so masterfully to set up this fall from grace. Greg laid it all out there… literally all of it, and Katie replied to his magnum opus by saying “I just love looking at you” – it was a true Matt James “thank you for telling me that” moment.
This entire ensuing sequence was quite something. Greg’s hometown date ended with him wandering around like a lost puppy trying to figure out why Katie wasn’t willing to call off the season for him AND THERE WERE STILL 33 MINUTES OF THE EPISODE LEFT! Greg is confused, and he has every right to be – he is the only candidate who has opened up to Katie in any meaningful way and Katie is basically saying that Greg has to trust in their relationship when everyone knows that enormous Fantasy Suites elephant is just trumpeting in the corner. Greg decided to take matters into his own hands and confront Katie about her lukewarm reaction to his positive Tsunami of emotions the night before and Katie reacted by going on the defensive when Greg opined that “this is real life,” with quite strange responses like “I was just listening more” and “I can’t even comprehend what you’re trying to say here.”
Katie is too loyal to the franchise. She keeps referencing roses and one-on-one dates and the other men, and the process, but if she really felt how she claims to feel about Greg then she would just call the whole thing off right now. She’s a company girl who is seemingly willing to go down with the ship for the sake of prolonging the show and defending the integrity of the process. She’s too close to the product – she’s an unconditional GameStop holder; she’s a stop the steal militant storming the Capitol Building – sometimes you have to wake up and smell the coffee and actually make decisions that are based in rationality rather than some strange and idiotic adherence to Trumped-up (pun intended) principles. I hate to sound like a sentiment from an early One Direction song, but Katie, when it comes to love, sometimes you have to check principle at the door! She owes Blake and Justin the square root of absolutely nothing in this situation and who knows, maybe she doesn’t like Greg as much as she has let on, but to risk losing him for some strange, never-before-seen in the show principle of equal opportunity lack of access to her love seems like a very dumb move. She even admitted it at the end when she was speaking to Kaitlyn through the door – “I just feel like I went through this process telling myself it will be worth it, doing all the stuff you’re supposed to do and it ends up blowing up in my face.”
The long and the short of it is that Greg left. There is a lot of chit chat on the internet about whether Greg was gaslighting her and whether he is the narcissistic sociopath or she is the unstable, unemotional heart-string-tugger. I have no idea what is right, but at a very high level I thought that Katie kind of dropped the ball on this one. She melted down big time, so much so that she locked herself in the bathroom and was uncontrollably sobbing and bemoaning the loss of her “number one guy since the beginning.”
Now I haven’t been enormous fans of Kaitlyn and Tayshia as hosts of the show to this point; I’m struggling to really see how they add intrigue to a process where they effectively act as a friend to the Bachelorette, but Kaitlyn did really shine as an empathetic and genuinely kind individual when she was speaking to Katie through the door. My favorite line from the whole Kaitlyn reclamation project was “There was one point where I cried into my salad and I said I’m done, I’m done, I’m done I want to go home.” This doesn’t sound like something a Bachelorette would say, this sounds like me dining in at Sweetgreen when they don’t put enough hot sauce in my chicken pesto parm!
Katie wants someone to book her flight home – maybe she had just watched the montage of her and Greg throughout the season that they played at the end and realized that she had made a grave mistake. Everyone I was watching with by myself had tears in their eyes – it could only have been made more emotional if Everybody Hurts was playing in the background.
Anyway folks, what a ride it has been! The finale is tonight and I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen. Please don’t let Blake win, please please please don’t let that guy win.
Until next time, happy watching!