Bachelorette week 9 recap: weaponized insecurity

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 9 of Katie’s “journey” and it’s finally time for Greg to expose himself for the petulant child he’s hinted at all season. Men like that weaponize their insecurity when they don’t receive what they want, and I’ve never felt more vindicated in my assessment of him than this blowup.

But, before all of that, we need to check in on two men forced to continue this farce, starting with…

Blake’s man cave

we didn’t get to see them do shots of this in a line, which was a real waste

The only people who care less about Blake and Justin’s “hometown” dates than the viewers are the producers.

We’ll spend 13 minutes of screen time on the entirety of Blake’s date and it’s easy to see why. He starts by bringing Katie to the best “lodge” on the compound to let her know how boring he really is.

I initially think he’s about to lecture us on the “proper” way to pour a beer in a classic d-bag move, but it’s even funnier: he’s pouring maple syrup. Making fun of Canadians’ love of maple syrup is bottom of the barrel comedy, but wow, it still works every time.

Side note: Blake implies that he’s used syrup in the bedroom, which is a crime. What are you doing with it? Do you not care about your sheets? Have you never gotten something sticky in your hair and now you want to introduce it to your body hair? Disgusting. Full stop.

The second red flag he reveals to Katie is that he plays darts two days a week.

Two days a week for a game as silly as darts is far too much and the fact that he invites Katie to one of these games is terrifying. Imagine you’re the girlfriend whose man traps you in a rigorous debate on dart-technique.

“yea babe, it’s actually all about elbow elevation”

Before we can give up on this date, we’re meant to believe Greg can see the happy couple playing hockey in the parking lot.

  1. I don’t believe for a second he actually saw anything
  2. How can we tell if that’s what upset him when his face always looks likes his mom told him to go to bed without ice cream

Watching Greg act like a child will take up half the episode anyway, so let’s move onto…

The best hometown of the week

First and foremost, Blake’s family is brilliant.

the hot, dumb couple at church you want to third for

His mom and sister clearly watch the show and ask leading questions about where the Katie and Blake are along in the process. They share the exact same Crimson Chin facial structure. And they all love giving Blake a hard time.

Katie donned her best floral dress and cropped hot-pink jacket*, which made her look like your hottest friend at youth group. This was an excellent match to Blake’s mom who wore tight, leather pants on national television.

I was invested, right away.

It’s important to note that this date happened after Katie’s hometown with Greg. Katie let slip to Greg’s mom that she hasn’t met the other men’s families yet so just keep that in mind later on.

That’s why it’s so suspicious that every person on the first two hometowns of the episode ask if Katie and Blake/Justin have said they love each other yet.

Canada’s royal family of morons

Blake’s mom even tells her son to “man the fuck up and tell that girl you love her” to his utter surprise. This is the least toxic way I’ve ever heard someone use the phrase “man the fuck up.”

Saying you love each other isn’t usually such a big deal at this point in the game, but the producers need to establish it early in order to make Greg’s upcoming tantrum not look so bad.

Blake explains to his sister why he hasn’t declared his love for Katie by explaining the process of the show in much the same way an arsonist defends lighting buildings on fire. He desperately tries to explain the format and how hard it is to get time only for his sister to mock him to his face.

This is the healthiest family dynamic we’ll see on the episode.

Justin’s turn

Again, neither Blake, nor Justin’s, dates really matter.

Justin’s date was probably filmed after Greg’s breakup too, so we can also stop all the speculation that Katie is going to quit. You can immediately tell by how bummed out she is this entire date (other than how shitty the date itself is).

the best way to experience Maryland is in New Mexico

I wasn’t the only one that could tell Justin isn’t going anywhere. His parents even bailed on making the trip to New Mexico. We hear as much when his mom explains how skeptical she is at a process that has literally never worked.

Smart move by them.

But, just because this date doesn’t matter, doesn’t mean we can’t make fun of Baltimore.

Justin is from the pride of Maryland and shows Katie all the joys Baltimore has to offer. This only includes their flag that might be from a slave ship, Old Bay seasoning, and some admittedly good crabs.

I live in Washington, DC and have several friends from B-more, but they left out the rest of Maryland’s treasures. What trip to Maryland is complete without weird racism, terrible infrastructure, and Natty Bo, the worst beer known to man?

It hurts to see such iconic Maryland pillars left out.

Hanging out with the boys

Since Justin’s parents correctly decided this wasn’t worth their time, two of his friends made the trip down instead.

Surprisingly, this led to a much more natural progression in a relationship than this show usually follows. It makes way more sense to meet your partner’s friends before their parents and I think Katie needed something with lower stakes after Greg’s bullshit.

Don’t let this man into public office

The friends in question are Justin’s best friend Herb, a lovely man with pretty eyes, and some other guy that looked too much like Jared Kushner to take seriously.

Herb also needs to know why Justin hasn’t declared his love to Katie, confirming that the producers made this happen. After Justin explains to him that there’s still plenty of time, Herb retorts “plenty of time? There’s two weeks.”

Way to get your soundbite Herb.

Justin ended the night by kind of telling Katie he’s falling in love with her, despite the ugliest sweater he’s seen on TV. Katie looks mildly pleased by that admission and we can finally give up on this plotline.

Greg’s abysmal date choice

Greg’s day portion sucked, but I guess that’s not his fault. The resort is scraping the bottom of the barrel of what they can do, and Greg had the added Herculean task of making New Jersey seem fun.

I’m sorry, what.

They start by eating some terrifying looking food at a carnival stand meant to emulate the Jersey Shore? If you’re from Jersey and I’m getting that wrong or you take offense to my characterization of your state, just know two things:         

  1. I don’t care
  2. At least you’re not Maryland

I’ve mentioned this before during Katie and Greg’s dates, but I don’t think this season was supposed to center so much around Katie’s late father.

Likewise, I don’t think Greg was prepared to do so much emotional digging into his own father’s death. I have no idea what that must be like to lose a parent, but it’s been over 3 years and we’re about to find out that Katie is the first person Greg has spoken to about his father since he passed.

That’s why Greg’s repeated attempts to make dates about his father (as he does on this day portion) seem less about their relationship and more about his trauma. I feel truly horrible for Greg in that respect, but it’s not Katie’s job to be his therapist, it’s his job to be her boyfriend.

But, they kiss in some more fake rain, and Katie’s turned on enough to pretend Greg can be fun sometimes too.

Katie’s audition to the family

Now, it’s time to meet the mommy that inspired all of Greg’s mommy issues.

how dare you dress like that to introduce Katie to the family Greg

Greg loves his family almost to the point of an obsession and I’m glad we got to meet some of them. His mom, his brother Bob, and Michael Phelps (another brother whose name I didn’t bother to learn) show up to lend their support to our softboi, but it wasn’t just them.

The producers gave Greg the privilege of a slideshow from the rest of the family. Does every contestant get to do this? If so, why don’t we see them? If not, why the hell not? Whatever, he’s the favorite boyfriend that’s why.

From the start of this part of the date, it’s immediately clear this family dynamic is fishy. In a voiceover, Greg says the eerie line “if my family sees it, there’s no question that I could see and engagement at the end of this” and it doesn’t get better.

I understand family is big for a lot of people, but making your relationship dependent on their approval is a clear sign that the relationship isn’t your prime motivator.

look me in the eye and tell me that’s not Michael Phelps

But before we meet the chief manipulator in the family (mom), Katie has a legitimately nice conversation with Greg’s non-Phelps brother. They talk about how Greg hasn’t even spoken to his brother(!) about their dad’s death yet and how this is the first time they’ve seen him happy in years.

Bob even has the line “it’s nice to see him happy, it’s such a change,” which is legitimately hilarious. If my family talks about me on TV and the first thing they say is how much I bummer I am, that’s a red flag.

Setup to fail

Greg went to talk to his mother and, I assume, forgot Katie was even there. As soon as the two sat down, the conversation went awry.

Greg explains how he’s in love with Katie and his mom responds with an uninspiring “really.” Almost directly after, Greg sees how unimpressed she was and starts to get teary eyed telling his mom how nervous he is.

There’s nothing wrong with crying and there’s nothing wrong with being vulnerable with your mother. There is something wrong, however, with completely misrepresenting your relationship with your mother when you know she’s about to talk to your girlfriend about it.

As soon as he’s done lying that his relationship with Katie is “light and easy,” he weeps about how he’s begging her for affection. The way Greg tells it, he can’t stop emptying his heart out to Katie and she won’t tell him that she loves him because she’s so guarded and mean.

Those of us that have watched every episode of the season, however, know that that is complete bullshit and Katie cannot stop giving Greg special love and attention because she knows how much he needs it.

don’t believe me? this was her face when she said “really”

Now, for mommy Greg to be passive aggressive to his unaffectionate girlfriend.

Mom treats her conversation with Katie like a performance review at a job Katie really needs to pay rent. The power dynamic is imbalanced and immediately apparent. The pressure even forces Katie to break form and let the woman know Greg has always been the frontrunner and will definitely be there next week.

Not only is this in bad taste in the (stupid) unwritten rules of Bachelorette lore, I also believe it will mess Katie’s money up if she blatantly says the game show is already over. This simple understanding will be too complex for Greg as we’ll soon find out.

Greg’s mom hits the hammer home by asking Katie straight up if she’s in love with her son.

Firstly, fuck you mom, none of your business. Secondly, of course she is, but that’s not how the show works and if you and your son didn’t know that why did you sign his permission slip to let him out of school long enough to film?

Katie, with all the grace of a nurse, explains that she’s waiting until there’s only one guy left to tell him she loves him, and Greg’s mom is extremely unimpressed.

Greg’s mom ends the scene by saying “whoever gets Greg is a very lucky gal,” which is not only false, but a foreboding statement if you’re the current “gal.”

The beginning of the beginning of the end

After Katie went through the rigorous interview process, she’s ready to sit back down with Greg to see if she passed. She didn’t.

Is Greg curious if Katie liked his family or interested in what Katie and his brother talked about? Of course, he isn’t. the first thing he asks her is what she and his mom spoke about.

You can see the question take Katie off guard and she tries to move along from the conversation as fast as possible.

But, we don’t get to watch them have fun as a couple because they are literally incapable of that, so it’s time for the 6th time this season (I counted) to talk about Greg’s dad.

I shouted through the TV screen that this isn’t Katie’s job and Greg really should talk to a professional about this, but they didn’t hear me. Greg kept rambling about his father and tried to turn it into an “I love you” moment before continuing on. He kept speaking after that line, however, so it’s not like Katie had time to respond even if she wanted to. That’s going to be very important soon.

To Greg’s credit, this was legitimately the sincerest thing he’s said all season. Katie probably didn’t respond to a declaration of love that started about his dead father and seemed like it was going to continue.

But, in Katie’s defense, we’ve already been through this and Katie doesn’t have to reassure Greg every second because he’s allegedly 27 years old. She listens to his tale and tells him how she loves being with him (and probably wanted to just have this part of the conversation without doing a therapy session beforehand) and Greg loses his shit.

He literally turned his head away as soon as she didn’t respond to his declaration of love (2 on-screen minutes ago) and says, “oh my god” like a spoiled child.

the “oh my god” in question

Katie, like a schoolteacher, promises him that they’re almost done with this charade and that she feels like he’s quitting. Greg then, starts asking her why she thinks that, over and over again without waiting for a response like a 5-year-old.

Katie explained to him last week (the first time he did this) that she’s not saying “I love you” to anyone yet and finally pushed back on Greg’s whiny bullshit. But, as we expected, Greg wasn’t ready for that.

The pair steal away to a dark hallway where Greg repeats over and over how vulnerable he was with Katie and how pissed he is that she won’t violate a clear boundary she’s set for him.

Greg, vulnerability doesn’t entitle you to anything and it’s that kind of thinking that makes softbois like you just as bad as any agro meathead in the gym. Sorry to tell you this way.

Then, Greg breaks out his favorite saying: “this is just so hard for me.”

Greg’s repeatedly shown that he doesn’t have a drop of empathy in his body otherwise he’d know just how shitty that statement is. Not only does she already know it’s hard for him because he says it every week, but it’s even harder for her yet you don’t catch her bitching about it on dates.

But Katie, once again, puts her needs second to his and promises him he’ll be there and it’s almost over like she’s consoling a child (because she is). After an unreciprocated hug, Greg forgets everything Katie just said and only remembers one thing:

She didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear.

theme of the season

Taking his ball and going home

It’s breakup time and if you were unimpressed with Greg’s conflict resolution skills before, just wait until you see him “lead” a breakup. He’s certainly no Michael in this regard.

Greg knocks on Katie’s door wearing an especially sad face, that she picks up immediately. How she can tell this brand of sad from his regular one is beyond me, but she likes him a lot more than I do, I guess. She even utters an “ah jeez” because she already knows what’s about to go down.

me too girl

We get no small talk, nor any gentle ramping up to the hard part of the conversation, before Greg says maybe the rudest thing I’ve heard anyone say this season. He told her that he felt like he was pouring his heart out to a stranger.

This, reasonably, hits Katie like a sack of bricks and Greg has the audacity to follow that up by accusing her of dismissing his feelings and putting up “a wall” between them. We saw the breakup in 4K, Greg, you lying asshole.

I don’t know how he thinks he’s getting away with this.

 Katie quickly surmises that Greg didn’t listen to a single thing she said last night (because he didn’t) and repeats her very reasonable explanation of why she didn’t say I love you back to him. She even goes as far as apologizing for her poor communication skills.

Katie is going to believe this is a communication problem for the rest of this breakup when it’s actually something worse. It’s a tantrum that Greg won’t come out of long enough to listen to her.

Greg is full-on yelling at her by this point and even accuses her of merely telling him what he wants to hear. He pretends that he didn’t even want her to say she loves him, despite that being exactly what the fight last night was about.

Greg brought some excellent phrases that he insists he told Katie the night before, but clearly didn’t. My favorites were:

  • You filled a hole in my heart
  • It was never about a rose to me
  • The fact that there’s even a list (of contestants) at this point is insulting

It’s not even gaslighting at this point. He’s just straight up lying and expecting nobody to call him on it because they never have before. When he started saying things like this, it was finally clear just how entitled and petulant this little boy truly was.

Then, in the most cowardly breakup not done over text message ever, Greg says “I hope you find something.”


Katie tells him she can’t even comprehend what he’s trying to say because she probably thought she was dating an adult. She tries to force him to do the dirty work he came here for and he finally admits he’s breaking up with her and storms out of the room without listening to another word.

Breakup: round 3

Katie sat in stunned silence for a minute or two after Greg left, then got up to go find him.

I thought this was awesome because I believed she was going to set him on fire, but no. She’s off to give him one more chance. I’m sure he won’t mess that up right?

After she tracks him down, she literally kneels in front of him and begs him to stay. She apologizes for her completely reasonable communication blunder. She’s sorry for phrasing the game show they’re both on in game show terms. Katie does and says everything in her power to try and convince Greg to stay on the show, but he just won’t listen.

Katie even breaks form again to tell him he’s always been her number 1. There’s never been anyone else. This isn’t just insulting to the other (trash) men from her season, but it’s a blatant admission that this season was a waste of time. Even if it were true (which it wasn’t) it should be enough to get Greg back.

Greg didn’t let her sit next to him apparently

Greg doesn’t care though because he’s so mad that Katie had the gall to insinuate, he’s the one giving up. The fact that he’s literally giving up at that moment didn’t seem to faze him.

Then, after telling Katie she “just doesn’t get it,” Greg stood up and announced he’s no longer happy and walks off.

Katie should get a humanitarian award for not shooting that child and I truly feel bad for her that she wasted her whole season pursuing a man who gave up on their relationship after one communication error.

In all honesty, I think Greg’s mom yelled at him after the cameras left last night and that’s why nothing Katie said could convince him to stay. Greg’s been a whiny shit all season, but he’s always been easily convinced to stay after a few talks with Katie.

Why that changed after his mom wasn’t impressed with Katie? Who can say.

The meanest montage in history

After we watched an hour of Greg embarrassing himself on national television, ABC had the audacity to make a montage of his and Katie’s “best” moments. It played like a lifetime movie and was in terrible taste, unless you fell for Greg’s immature temper tantrum.

But the thing is, I’ve seen every episode this year and know that every shot in the montage directly followed a major red flag in their relationship.

Let’s break it down:

Had to bring it back
  1. The first Impression rose

All the way in week 1. Katie fell for Greg back when he was insecure, but before he weaponized that insecurity. Katie gave him the rose and told Greg she hopes it gives him “some validation.” Connecting love with validation and vulnerability would become a running theme for their relationship.

2. Kissing under the fireworks

This was the finale of Greg and Katie’s first one on one together. They cuddled up and had a great make out sesh right after the first of Greg’s many talks about his dad. That was admittedly very hard of Greg to talk about, but we’re supposed to forget that earlier in the date, Greg had nothing to offer Katie when she gave a similar admission. Katie told Greg how much camping meant to her and her dad and got really emotional and Greg didn’t have a single word of condolence other than “let’s fish.”

3. Dinner portion of their second one-on-one

The next clip didn’t come until week seven because Greg is nothing but a bummer on every group date he went on. Sure, they look happy in that short clip, but if you remember, that kiss came directly after Katie told Greg she felt like he was about to leave. That was the second time she brought that up, but he didn’t breakup with her on the spot, which seems suspicious.

God i wanted to see this dress

4. Kissing in the rain

This happened right after the preceding clip. Quit trying to pretend there were more good times than there were. This was also a bad clip because it reminded me that we never got to see that entire dress.

So, ABC if you’re reading (and I know you are), please don’t try to emotionally manipulate people that have the car fax. If you’d like, I could make a much (much!) longer montage of their bad moments given the chance.

The Rundown: stats after week 9

Tantrums: 1

Men left: 2

Men Katie actually likes left: 0

and that’s all folks

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