Welcome back to The Takeout’s weird column about the food, or absence thereof, in the many corners of the Bachelor cinematic universe! I’m your host, Allison Shoemaker, and I also fondly remember crying into my salad. In the ninth week of Katie Thurston’s Journey to Find Love, the shit hits the fan. Let’s put it this way: If you take all the commercials out of this show, you’re left with about 83 minutes of television. If all three dudes got roughly the same amount of time for their “hometown” “dates,” they’d each be getting around 28 minutes. Katie and Greg’s portion of the proceedings started at the 33-minute mark. Blake and Justin: 33 minutes. Greg: 50 minutes. And most of them were bad.
But congratulations to me, because I am a) not a couples therapist, and b) the person who writes the dopey food Bachelor Nation column, not the complex emotions Bachelor Nation column! Not my mess! No thank you! I’ll pass!
If I could have your attention, please?
Let’s do this! Let’s not do this!
She did, in fact. She drank some maple syrup, ate a pork roll, slurped down what I’m told was supposed to be Italian ice, and presumably also tasted bile as rage and confusion descended upon her like a manufactured Jersey rainstorm.
It’s Hometowns Week, so we’ll go by date, and thus need to get this out of the way real quick:
Crab, though she did break the crab open with her hands, and I sincerely hope that the producers monkeyed with continuity and Justin’s date actually happened after Greg’s and she got to vent some of her anger on those crustaceans. Also, blue cheese and ranch, sort of.
Blake brought Katie to “Canada” for his hometown date, which in this case is just a road and an empty bar at the Hyatt Tamaya Maple Syrup Pleasure Dome. They did not have poutine, because that happened the last time this franchise “went” to “Canada,” so this time Blake made some very deadpan jokes that strongly imply the use of maple syrup as lube, and folks, please don’t put maple syrup in your vagina, just don’t, that is a very bad idea.
Katie also meets the Blake fam, and it’s a strange vibe (the kind you intuit, not the kind you ding against a glass to call for a toast.) Blake’s mother and her cool leather pants speak the show’s language, but Blake’s cool sister says, and I’m only lightly paraphrasing, “Oh, hold up, you said Clare was the one and then you said it was Tayshia so now it’s this girl huh, yeah cool, go get ’em champ.” There is absolutely no suspense as to whether or not Blake will make it through to the next week because, well, he and Justin are both in my default, are they not?
Justin with the GIF-face is definitely not going to win this season, but he seems like a lovely, emotionally well-adjusted person, does he not? He discovers that he and Katie both prefer blue cheese to ranch and it totally makes his day. They eat crab and he tosses off a nice little metaphor about how being The Bachelorette is like eating crab because there’s yucky stuff but also, you know, crab. It’s sweet. Then we meet his cool friends, because his parents declined to come—and on the one hand, ouch, on the other, it’s a pandemic and I’m not going to judge anyone who doesn’t want to travel to be on TV while their son “falls” in “love” in a “hotel.” Anyway, Justin has a friend named Herb who seems cool. Congrats, Justin.
So, Katie and Greg eat a pork roll and some “Italian” “ice” in fake Jersey. And it’s pretty much all downhill from there.
Okay, that’s not quite true. The first part of Katie’s hometown date with Greg is actually really lovely—and no, I don’t mean the lazy fake Jersey, which is a lot like lazy fake Baltimore and lazy fake Canada. Greg is joined by his obviously doting family, some in person and some on video, and they all seem to be extremely happy for him, because, to them, he seems happy for the first time in a long time. And they like Katie. And Katie tells his mom he’s definitely going to be around next week and essentially hints that he’s going to win.
And then Greg tells Katie he loves her and that he feels whole for the first time since his dad died, and since Katie has decided not to tell anyone she loves them until the end of the jOuRnEy, she doesn’t say it back but does say, “I love looking at you.”
I am not a couples therapist nor a therapist of any kind! (Therapy is great, do therapy! Greg! You too! Do some therapy! Or do more therapy! Therapy!) And this enormous blow-up, which is honest-to-god deeply uncomfortable to watch, has nothing to do with food, so I am opting out. It’s very easy to watch something like that and decide you know what happened and why, and such conversations are rarely so simple even when TV cameras aren’t around. I’ll just say that Greg’s distress is understandable, even if it’s really an issue of miscommunication (and I don’t think Katie did or said anything callous, she was just continuing to be on the TV show they were both on when Greg wanted something else entirely.)
But if an obviously unintentionally inflicted wound is enough to make you blow up your whole relationship, it’s probably best that said relationship blew up. And when someone lays out clear boundaries, it’s not fair to be angry at them for maintaining the clearly delineated boundaries they erected. And no one should be punished for not reading minds. And emotionally manipulating someone into saying what you want them to say is not great, Bob. It’s a lot, is what I’m saying, and I hope they both have other people manning their social media feeds today. And now I really am opting out. Nope. Nuh-uh. Pass.
Kaitlyn Bristowe, who managed to respond to this situation like a person and like a person who’s on TV at the same time. Also, that bathroom door. Give the door an Emmy.
Next week: Who the hell knows? Will Justin self-eliminate, leaving Katie with Blake and his sex syrup? We’ll find out next week, I guess.