Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Finally, we have a Bachelorette who does the right thing

This episode shows why Katie Thurston is the breath of fresh air the faltering Bachelor franchise really needed

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Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC

You guys, maybe it’s all these seasons of watching a Bachelor/Bachelorette who consistently made the wrong decisions. Or who kept a toxic candidate around like Queen Victoria or Luke P., with a strong suspicion that they were being forced by the franchise producers to do so. Eventually, as an audience member you begin to suspect that the series lead is just a puppet—but really, aren’t we even worse than the puppet, for watching this dreck?

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Which makes it some kind of miracle that Katie Thurston is the current Bachelorette. In her season as a Bachelor contestant, she proved herself to be kind and compassionate, but not about to take any shit. She was smart, funny, and knew what she wanted. As The Bachelorette, she is taking those same skills and actually clearing “the house” (a phrase almost used as many times tonight as “wrong reasons” and “right reasons”) of jerky contestants we may have been saddled with for weeks in other seasons. You can almost picture her in meetings with the producers: “No, I’m not keeping him. No, I won’t do it. No.”

That probably helps explain Blake’s return to date his third Bachelorette (after the Clare/Tayshia season), because once Katie kicked out Cody, and Karl, and Thomas, the powers that be probably felt they needed someone around to stoke some kind of drama, even if that someone strongly resembled the lion in the Madagascar movies. But honestly, I will gladly take king of the jungle Blake instead of fabricated bullshit over contestants that we know don’t ultimately stand a chance anyway.

Because honestly, how nice was that group date? Sure, the sexy talk was super-cringey, and Andrew S. should probably retire that English accent forever. But it was so great to see the contestants actually enjoy each other and have each other’s backs for once. (Christian actually waxed Tye’s back. Sniff, Christian. Wouldn’t Katie have had an extra rose to give him after kicking out Thomas? Or did that go to Blake?) Even the conflict between the guys about whether or not to tell Katie that Thomas was a tool was pretty even-handed: Andrew S. is right that this stupid drama always derails the show, and means that some guys don’t get enough time with Katie (again, Christian was robbed!) On the other hand, if all the guys are putting their best faces forward, how is Katie supposed to be able to parse out every disingenuous man that comes across? I would love to believe, like Andrew S., that she would be able to figure out, but he must not watch this show that much. Fortunately, Thomas was capable of spewing so much shite (“I take great pride in the way that I talk,” said the man who also used words like “demonsterizing”), that Katie was able to see through it all at the end.

But first, she gave us an excellent fakeout. Calling Thomas up to the rose ceremony and then cutting straight to commercial was a sly move for this show, just showing everyone’s shocked expressions and Aaron’s bleeped-out swear. Those of us Bachelorette viewer veterans kind of sighed then, with a weary knowledge that this is always the way things go on in the Bachelor franchise. Which probably is what made Katie’s epic smackdown of Thomas post-commercial sooooooo satisfying. When he walked up to her and she took a step back from him? For once, Justin wasn’t the only one with the perfect shocked expression. “Your Bachelor audition is over. Get out.” I may have to watch that a few more times before falling asleep tonight actually.

And with that, Katie seems to have effectively cleared (for the moment, anyway), “the house” of its most heinous residents. Yes, there will still be drama, but hopefully it will be related to the romance, where it belongs, as the 15 remaining men vie for Katie’s heart. Tonight she showed that she may actually find that happy ending that every Bachelorette searches for, as she has the fortitude and confidence to find the rare man who is worthy of her.

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Stray observations

  • Michael A. is so nice and pure and wisely putting all his attentions on Katie that I really hope they end up together. Just the cutest.
  • It is also almost shocking how little Chris Harrison is missed as host. Despite all his years with the franchise, he barely put a dent in that multitude of rose ceremonies. Tayshia and Kaitlyn forever. (They’ll get to do Michelle’s season too, right?)
  • I’m with Aaron, I don’t want to get yelled at either, especially on TV.
  • I still don’t understand Quartney’s name or Brendan’s hair.
  • Anyone else get the feeling that some of these guys easily fell back into talking about “the house” as a throwback to fraternity pledge week?
  • Last week: Apologies for missing my review, but my generous editor gave me the night off for my birthday.
  • Next week: Welcome to the dark side of Hunter, and some really unattractive singlets, as the guys are forced to compete against each other in “Bash Ball.”
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