SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the July 5 episode of “The Bachelorette.”
Last week’s blast from the past brought former contestant Blake Moynes into the cast for consideration of Katie Thurston’s final rose. Blake — who formerly appeared on Season 16 of “The Bachelorette” — moved into the resort and was greeted with animosity from the other men upon arrival.
The angst only grew as Blake was given the first one-on-one of the week. Katie acknowledged that Blake’s presence was “frustrating” for the other men, but confessed privately that having him on the date was strategic: if there wasn’t a spark, it would allow her to eliminate the source of tension quickly for the other men.
However, that was not the case. Blake and Katie spent the day horseback riding and having conversations not normally shown on the show, including the mundane — yet realistic — topics of work, travel and life outside the production bubble. Their connection was quick.
Their immediate relationship was juxtaposed with shots at the resort, where front-runner Greg Grippo admitted that he was jealous and saw Blake as a threat.
Katie and Blake spoke about lighthearted topics during their day portion, but the evening contrasted with Katie sharing her trauma with him. Katie previously spoke about her experience being sexually assaulted with the other contestants, and here she shared a bit more about embracing her sexuality and coping with her own experiences in the #MeToo era.
After opening up to Blake and enjoying a private concert by Laine Hardy, Katie gave Blake a rose.
Their intimate evening was followed later in the week with the remaining men (minus Andrew Spencer, who received the second one-on-one date). The men spent their date with hosts Franco Lacosta and former contestant Wells Adams. After putting them through rounds of drills, the men divided into teams and played “The Bachelorette’s Bash Ball Battle” — a made-up hybrid of basketball, soccer, dodgeball and football.
Hunter Montgomery emerged as the ultra-competitor during the game. His actions escalated the intensity of the team, and Michael Allio was a casualty of the behavior: After being knocked on his back, he was attended to by the medics and Katie called the game quits.
Hunter’s game-time aggression carried into the evening date, where he made the most of his time with Katie and ultimately received the evening rose. However, Michael stood out amongst his peers when he shared the story of his late wife with the men, his gratitude for life and his appreciation of time with Katie. Greg was especially emotional over Michael’s story, being brought to tears.
The third date of the week went to Andrew, whose nighttime date was filled with setup environments of Q&As with Katie. After answering envelopes of prompts, the two had significant conversations over dinner.
They bonded over their similar home lives, both growing up without parents in a healthy relationship. Andrew’s father was “locked up” when Andrew was 6-years-old, and he turned to sports as escapism. He said growing up around teammates with supportive families was aspirational for him and became the foundation of the type of present parent he wanted to be.
In addition to upbringings and parenthood, they discussed the reality of being an interracial couple.
“I am a Black man and you are a white woman,” he said. “There’s things that people look at differently.”
Andrew said that he had an ex who was concerned about having mixed children, which prompted an emotional response from Katie. “That breaks my heart to hear that you experienced that,” she said. “I feel so naive as a white woman of the struggles that you experience as a Black man, especially a Black man trying to date a white woman.”
Katie went on to defend her commitment to Andrew and vowed to protect their relationship and hypothetical children. The two were both addressed the potential obstacles but expressed excitement at the possibility of a future together. Andrew received a rose.
After a week of dates, Hunter ruffled feathers during the cocktail party for monopolizing time from other men who wanted to talk to Katie, but it was Josh Tylerbest, Quartney Mixon and Andrew Milcovich who ultimately paid the price and were sent home.
“The Bachelorette” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.