Welcome back to Mouthful of teeth’s weekly Bachelorette recap where I’ll break down all the heartbreak, bad feminism, and television gimmicks on Katie Thurston’s search for love.
This is week 4 of Katie’s “journey” and the exciting new union the men formed last week has already devolved into organized chauvinism.
As you may remember from last week’s episode, Katie’s contestants came together as a unit to oust Karl from the show. I previously hailed this decision as a success because I’m a sucker for collective bargaining. But, like men always do, the fellas let me down quickly.
The episode is almost entirely absorbed by the drama Katie’s boys created, so let’s enjoy a brief distraction as much as possible. Since we ended last week two thirds of the way through Katie’s scheduled dates, it’s time to pick up where we left off at…
Group date #2
#2 in the Bachelorette universe, but #1 in your heart (and on this episode) and the lucky participants are:
- Conor with one N
- Andrew S
- Softboi Greg
- Mike the Christian
- Andrew M. (who?)
- Christian (not Mike)
Katie and Tayshia tell the men that they’ll need much more than mediocre looks and wooden personalities to win her heart. They’ll also need a sense of humor.
That means it’s time for the “truth or dare” date that is directly recycled from Tayshia’s season. They group up in pairs of two and go on their way to complete various Bachelorette staple activities like waxing each other and eating spicy food.
After last week’s Karl drama and this week’s coming Thomas drama, it was refreshing to see a simple group date for a change. That doesn’t mean the date was completely devoid of homoeroticism and problematic challenges, though.
Before I break down the “challenges,” I need to point out that this isn’t a fair game of truth or dare if Katie doesn’t have to participate.
The over-eating challenge
I understand they’ve done this “test” on every season of quarantined Bachelor so far, but it really should stop. Firstly, it isn’t interesting in the slightest. Why would I want to watch a man eat too much food if he isn’t the Man vs. Food.
Secondly (and much more importantly), we already know one person on this season suffered from body dysmorphia, and I highly doubt he’s the only one. Remember all the way back to week 2? Josh (who is on this date) told Katie that he used to have serious body image problems and what a big deal being able to go shirtless on the show was to him.
And with a full cast of men who obviously care about their musculature, there are definitely more in Josh’s camp. We don’t often talk about men’s body dysmorphia as much as women (in no small part because men don’t think of their image-issues as dysmorphia), but it’s definitely a problem when you only cast chiseled bodies.
With all that in mind, I don’t think the challenge where we make them overeat for the enjoyment of fans is the best plan.
Mike the Christian even exclaims “I haven’t had a carb in seven years!” when presented with a mountain of Twinkies. Don’t feel too bad for him, however, because he follows it up with the line “if I get fat, she better still love me.” Every time this man tries to get me to sympathize with him, he throws on some classic paternalism (and fatphobia) to ruin it.
Waxing, however, isn’t problematic and we should make every man do it at least once in their lives. Think of it as the American version of South Korea’s conscription requirement.
We start this section of the date with the “fun boyfriend,” Tre making a bold choice. He opted to wax his ass on national television. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Christian coerced him in between waxing and flirting with Tre the entire time.
After the wax, Tre told the audience he’s “never had his cheeks out in front of another man and I don’t plan on doing it again.” A famous line only ever spoken by someone whose had their cheeks out in front of another man and 100% plans to do it again.
Whispering “sweet nothings” to Katie
The fellas were also asked to sweet talk Katie for one minute into a giant ear that couldn’t be more clearly wired for recording if it tried. If you’re on television, just assume you’re going to be heard guys, I don’t know why this was surprising.
Andrew S. started the challenge by reminding all of us at home that he likes to do a British accent. It’s not a bad fake accent, but he has to know it’s ridiculous after we know what he really sounds like, right?
To his credit, he did make some pretty solid jokes and Katie called the accent “sexy” so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about.
This portion of the date also exposed Softboi Greg as an uninventive creep, which I enjoyed. He figured the best way to burn up 60 seconds would be to tell Katie to “bend over” so he could “show her the 50 states.”
He then proceeded to list as many states as he could think of in an accent resembling Mathew McConaughey in high school. Katie couldn’t even muster up a kind thing to say about his performance and I’m pleased whenever Greg looks stupid.
Didn’t they do this in Tayshia’s season, even using the same ring? No, that would be lazy writing, this time they have to eat two habanero peppers first.
Tre gave the stand-out performance of the day by easily handling the decently spicy peppers and delivering a genuinely moving performance. He’s going to receive the date rose later tonight, and I attribute most of it to this proposal.
Greg let us know he’s even more of a softboi who drank milk out pitcher like a bipedal cat for hours after eating habaneros. Eating spicy food doesn’t make you “hard” or mature, but…not eating spicy food does make you soft and baby.
He also had the audacity to tell Katie he “loves her so much,” which she noticed, and he didn’t. Not only is he fucking up the procedure of the show, he’s toying with our Katie’s emotions.
The night portion
Now it’s time for the episode to devolve into madness.
Kaite asks the men to share their “truths” because they couldn’t fit that into the day portion of the date. This also adds to the “trauma for love” exchange the franchise keeps leaning on. Some men fared better than others, however, so here’s some quick highlights:
Andrew S.: Andrew told Katie that she’s had a tremendous impact on him to which Katie responded, “aw yay!” That’s a tough one, buddy. Andrew’s just going to have to take that on the chin and realize he isn’t final-3 material.
Mike: It wouldn’t be Mike if he didn’t say something weird as hell masquerading as sweet. The camera cuts in on him saying “If you really say that you love somebody, that’s gonna take sacrifice.” 1. What is that possibly a response to? 2. This mentality thankfully leaves Katie unimpressed, and 3. Is he really still that concerned he’s going to have to “give up” his virginity?
Greg: Greg seriously looks this grown woman in the eye and says he’s “mad at her” for putting him a group date. Every sentence he says is designed to illicit reassurance and an apology from Katie and I feel so vindicated for calling him a manipulator early. He also takes time to make sure she feels bad about having other boyfriends and even squeezes a “I’m falling for you” out of her before he’s banished back to the couch. Fuck this guy.
Tre: Tre chose to spend his time telling Katie how much the men hate Thomas. Andrew S. thankfully tells him how he (correctly) expects this plan to backfire and ruin everyone else’s time with Katie, but Tre can’t be persuaded.
This will take up the rest of the episode so let’s suspend chronology and talk about the issue at hand.
Thomas did nothing wrong
What are Thomas’ alleged crimes?
- He told Katie during group therapy that he came to the show open to building a platform (read: the wrong reasons). Immediately followed by saying he changed his mind as soon as he met her.
- He was dodgy with the men saw an opportunity to accuse him of merely wanting to be the next Bachelor.
- He’s tall, hot, and Katie really wants to have sex with him.
These crimes add up to a regular douchebag we see on the show in droves every season. But it’s number 3, combined with the power of collective bargaining that starts all the drama. Hunter, will even give a confessional later in this episode where he says he “can’t even look at (Thomas)” because he’s so mad at him for getting extra time with Katie.
Hunter looks so small and insecure this whole episode. Tre isn’t far behind him in that regard either, no matter how much I like him.
Thomas knows he’s in deep shit from the beginning and spends the entire episode apologizing for being honest.
Every man comes on the show (and every woman on the other program) with the tacit hope that they’ll become the next Bachelor or Bachelorette. We see it every season and it’s not a bad thing on its face. Only one person is going to win, so why not hope you get your own season if you don’t find love out of the 30 people you’re competing against?
Thomas was upfront about that and immediately followed his confession with the admission he changed his mind after night one. Pretty honest in my book, but terrible gamesmanship on his part.
The men take every opportunity to bring up Thomas’ “transgressions” with the group and Katie herself. They can’t stop talking about it, even when they are clearly hurting Katie. Thomas, in fairness, did pull a bad move before the cocktail party by going to see Katie.
He explained to her all the things he’s explained four times throughout the last two episodes and pretty well in my opinion. She didn’t cry, break up with him, and allowed him to tell his side of the story. She even interrupted him to say “let me talk” in an authoritative tone, which is the hottest thing she’s done this season.
Make Thomas the next Bachelor to teach men a lesson about what happens when you invent problems for no reason.
When Union power gets too strong
How did it take less than one episode to ruin the “union” joke?
I did expect the men to get too full of themselves with their newfound power, but I didn’t expect for it to go to full-blown chauvinism in one week. After the success the guys had last week, they see themselves as Katie’s “protectors” who need to handle situations she’s either too distracted or too dumb to see herself.
Hey, I know we’re all feminists here, but let’s belabor the point a little more for any newbies to the cause:
Women do not need men to protect them, except on rare occasions, and they especially don’t need protecting when they’re the ones in charge.
Katie is the smartest Bachelorette we’ve had at controlling her own narrative and is also a fully actualized person. She even shut down the whole Blake storyline until she was done with her own invented drama.
She doesn’t need all these (stupid) men to tell her who is there for the right reasons™ when she speaks to that man the most. Andrew S. also believes in this crazy thing called “women’s agency” and points out to Tre, Thomas, and the rest of the men that this is a bad idea and Katie can handle Thomas however she likes.
The men’s commitment to unity is almost scary too. At one point in the episode, they literally do a report-out to Union President Aaron about Tre’s talk with Katie. I still think Aaron is one of the few men doing this for what he thinks is a good reason, but he’s in charge of the house and needs to cut out this nonsense.
Sidenote: Aaron is so clearly their boss that, he tells the group “c’mon let’s go to the rose ceremony” and all 15 men file out as if he’s their commanding officer.
This kind of male-dominated groupthink also brings out the worst in its members, including:
Christian was asked if he would let Katie handle her own problems. He gave the eloquent response “like a bitch dude? I’m not gonna do that.”
Greg, who never talks about Thomas directly with Katie, but keeps egging on all the men around him to get more animalistic and aggressive. As anyone who’s been to college can tell you, the “nice guys” are just as bad as any meathead.
Even the Canadian and Justin took away from their own (fleeting) time with Katie to bring up Thomas drama when she clearly wants to talk about anything else.
It took Michael the possibly gay, but definitely 36-year-old, man to calm Katie down. He talks to her about Ohio and makes some bad jokes that genuinely makes her feel better, so good for him. I still don’t feel an ounce of chemistry between them, but he’s definitely her best friend in the house.
If Michael is the shoulder Katie has to cry on, this is a bad cast of Dudes.
The Rose Ceremony
After last week, we know one thing about rose ceremonies: the format is dead.
Thomas starts the ceremony by making a weird apology somewhat to Katie, but more to the rest of the boys. He even apologizes for diminishing their value “as men,” which I cannot fathom what he means.
Katie ignored that incredibly weird apology and started handing out roses until only one remained.
Then, Katie pulls the single greatest gag I’ve ever seen and calls Thomas’ name. We see the men lose their shit and the show goes to commercial. I, and the people watching with me, go absolutely crazy because we think we’ve been vindicated, and Katie busted this Union faster than an Alabaman Amazon plan.
But when Thomas reaches the podium, Katie tells him he’s “selfish, unkind, and a liar” whose “Bachelor audition has come to an end.” After a final, incendiary “get out,” Katie swallows the last rose, so no one gets it, and the ceremony is over.
I’m pretty sad that Katie rewarded such toxic behavior, but wow, what great television. Hopefully she reclaims some power from the men next week, but for now, the union has won another important victory to their cause.
You might be wondering why I didn’t bring up Blake this entire recap. Blake is a dumbass from Claire/Tayshia’s seasons who is obsessed with sex, but without all the positivity. I didn’t bring him up because the only person less excited to see him than me is Katie.
Through both of their interactions, Katie can barely hold back her disgust for this 5’8” ball of hair and I can see why. He didn’t even bother putting on shorts to receive the news he’ll be a full cast member next week.
Whatever. The rest of the men aren’t great so why not? Let’s throw in a meatball who joined the top-3 hottest guys on the show simply by showing up. Looking forward to his one-on-one next week.
The Rundown: the stats after week four
Who’s still here:
- Andrew S.
- James the Box Man
- Andrew M. (name one defining feature about this man, I dare you)
Who’s going home:
- Conor with one N
- Christian (real “bitch move” not to make it to the top 10)
“right reasons” count: 6
Thomas brought up unprompted: 6
People excited to see Blake: 0