This episode of The Bachelor is a parable of sorts. You can enter the Bachelor universe as a blond, hot nurse whose name is variation of Katherine, demonstrate strong chemistry with the lead, but that’s not enough to make it to hometowns. Because there’s another blond, hot nurse whose name is a variation of Katherine who has a better attitude than you. She spent her one-on-one time telling the Bachelor he’s a perfect man, whereas you got increasingly dour and spent your interactions complaining. On The Bachelor, you can be a Kat or you can be a Kaity—that is, solidify your frontrunner status with effusive praise, or squander it by vocalizing your anxiety.
This tale of two Katherines comes to an end in Budapest. There was some lively discussion in last week’s comments section about Estonia, so holler if any of you have insight into Hungary. The Bachelor certainly doesn’t. Zach calls it “the epitome of romance” because it’s classy and beautiful everywhere you look, citing the cobblestone streets. That’s pretty much all of Europe, my guy. “Is that a castle?” one of the girls asks, pointing at the Hungarian Parliament Building, which doesn’t have even one turret.
The first one-on-one of the episode goes to Kaity. This is a girl who goofs around during the hotel tour by pretending to be trapped in the glass shower. (Her corniness is perfectly aligned to Zach’s, and he doesn’t bother hiding that she’s his favorite.) They spend the day exploring Budapest, but also sharing “boring blurbs” about themselves because they want to feel like they really know each other. Kaity’s favorite color is purple. Zach did 23andMe or something and found out he’s 80-percent British. His ancestors’ last name was actually Shacklecross. This is riveting stuff.
They take a shot of alcohol that a man says will increase their appetite for everything, giving Zach a wink. No thank you. When they come across a typewriter, Zach says they should write little poems for each other. He does not understand what poetry is. Regular sentences that begin with “Dear Kaity” is just a letter. Kaity calls him a perfect man and says she can’t think of anything wrong with him, but I have some suggestions!
Back at the hotel, everyone is feeling anxious, but especially Kat. “I feel not chosen,” she says when the first date card comes for Kaity. I mean, yes, that is objectively what has happened for this particular date, Kat. When the group date card comes, Brooklyn’s name is the one left off, meaning she’ll get the second one-on-one. Kat and Brooklyn had their magnificently drawn out beef last week, but looking like she swallowed a lemon, Kat says, “I really wanted that extra time, but I think you’re going to have so much fun because I think this is a really cool city.” Brooklyn says thank you, and the drama is quashed! But although Kat is determined to avoid a villain edit, her anxiety is building. Madness is like a disease in this house, claiming a new woman each week, and it’s her turn!
Zach and Kaity have the evening portion of their date at the oldest bathhouse in Hungary, and why does this girl get the coolest dates? (Still jealous of their Natural History Museum date back in L.A.) They agree that the date both felt “so normal” but also incredible, and I’m obliged to point out those are contradictory ideas. Their dinner is devoted to a discussion about Kaity’s family, which is pretty devastating. Her father left when she was little and unsuccessfully tried to rebuild their relationship when she was a teenager. Her mother’s second partner was more of a father figure, but he also left when she was in eighth grade. Kaity breaks down while explaining this and her desire for stability, and Zach does a good job comforting her, probably because this is one of the few relationships he’s actually invested in. Kaity gets the first rose for hometowns!
Time for the last group date of the season. The four women—Charity, Ariel, Gabi, and Kat—enter a theater and are confronted by Zach and a mentalist who promises to read their minds. Ariel, the picture of confidence, says, “I hope he can read my mind, because it’s only good things.” He first performs a little magic trick where he draws a heart and then “blows” it over to them, and Gabi opens her fist to reveal a tiny drawn heart, delighting her but freaking everyone else out. “Shiitake mushrooms!” she exclaims, and I recognize a Spy Kids fan when I see one.
Each woman sits in a chair across from Zach and answers the mentalist’s questions. He asks them to write things on little chalkboards and then predicts what they’ve said on his own board. Everyone is alarmed by this (Gabi graduates from “Shut the front door” to “What the fuck” so you know it’s serious), but Charity and Kat come off the worst. Charity thinks the mentalist has suggested she hasn’t healed from her cheating ex-boyfriend, and he gets Kat to admit she’s considered leaving.
That evening, everyone dissects their mentalist revelations with Zach. Charity reassures Zach she’s over her ex. Gabi expresses concern that the mentalist said she leaves people confused, citing her ADHD, and Zach promises her he has no worries about them. Ariel does a very charming impression of her Ukrainian Jewish father that’s straight out of Fiddler On The Roof. Everything is going well, until Kat gets her time and shares that she’s been struggling. She explains her desire to leave: “Outside of here I want to escape and leave and give up when things get hard because it’s easier.” Okay, that’s a red flag, Kat! Someone who routinely bails when things get tough is not a quality anyone wants in a partner! Gabi gets the rose, and Kat is once again emotional about this because she feels she’s opening up more and more only to get rejected. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but perhaps as you’re opening up, he doesn’t like what he sees? Perhaps against all the odds, Zach is not as shallow as we thought and he just doesn’t like your personality.
The next morning, before Zach can head out for his date with Brooklyn, Greer makes her triumphant return. She tested negative! She is wearing a crop top that is also a turtleneck! She’s feeling optimistic! That’s how you know this is about to go very badly. They greet with a hug and marvel that it’s been almost three weeks since they last saw each other (an eternity in Bachelor time). After Greer expresses her desire to “continue their journey,” Zach wastes no time in telling her it’s not going to happen. This man is so blunt, and it makes for great TV. Mascara tears running down her face, Greer whisper-sobs that she completely understands and wishes him the best. Bye, Greer! May your future great first impressions be more long lasting.
With that administrative task over, Zach joins Brooklyn for their one-on-one, starting with a hot air balloon ride. I love that the show can only muster one Hungarian association because then they go to another bathhouse, this one outdoors. Zach compares it to a giant hot tub, and they have a cute little conversation with an older couple playing chess in the water.
It’s all fun and games until the nighttime portion when they sit down to dinner to talk about Brooklyn’s family. She, too, had a father walk out on her, but her grandfather helped raise her. “He stepped in when my dad stepped out.” She tears up while talking about this, calling him her hero, and Zach gets emotional too, asking for a minute to collect himself. He’s very shaken by the idea of this present grandfather, understandably feeling concerned at the prospect of being another man to walk out on someone. “If I’m not feeling confident, if I’m not feeling sure, who am I to be in that house?” he freaks out to a producer. This man really shines when he comes across as genuine, and when he comes back to the table, he tells Brooklyn that she deserves a love he can’t give her. We have another surprise elimination! The previews misled me. I thought Brooklyn was in the fantasy suites. She has a gracious exit, and as a producer comes to collect her suitcase from the hotel, all the women cry and hug each other. Call me a sap, but I love their love for each other.
We go straight into the rose ceremony the following night. Kaity and Gabi have roses, and there are two more to go to Ariel, Kat and Charity. Ariel, ultimate cool girl, gets the first one. And you already know how this ends: Our more problematic Katherine gets sent packing. “Why?” she asks him plainly as he walks her out. He can’t explain it, but I can. Kat stopped being fun. She started needing more than she was giving. Zach likes an easy road, and she wasn’t delivering. He seems shocked at his own decision to not keep her at least until fantasy suites, but I guess he was too tired of having bummer conversations.
- The Gen Z fashion these women commit to confuses me. So many crop tops under coats. Aren’t you cold?
- When the women discuss the prospect of Greer returning, Ariel remarks that it would feel unfair. But idk Ariel, it probably feels unfair to her that she got COVID, no?
- Jesse’s plugs encouraging people to apply to the show are getting more and more deranged, but I love them.
- I wanted to meet Brooklyn’s awesome grandpa who uses a dirt bike as his main mode of transportation. We were robbed of this.