‘The Bachelorette’: Unfinished business

August 9, 2021

We begin the three-hour finale in the Bachelor studio, where Kaitlyn and Tayshia remind us of the shitshow that was the previous episode, what with Cousin Greg having a meltdown because Katie wasn’t willing to tell him she loved him and leave the show with him; Cousin Greg leaving the show in a huff; and Katie sobbing on a bathroom floor, asking that the producers book her a flight home. Immediately.

In the studio, Katie tells the women that she was completely devastated by Cousin Greg, that he left her questioning everything and whether she should continue with the show. Katie adds that in the moment she was blaming herself — she literally was on her knees begging Cousin Greg to stay, and it wasn’t good enough. But, she wonders, what kind of man just leaves the woman he supposedly loves like that? Kaitlyn and Tayshia point out that Cousin Greg is in the studio tonight, and that she’ll have a chance to confront him, and Katie is like, “OH I AM AWARE AND I AM DEFINITELY READY.”

Cousin Greg backstage:

(Or he should be.)

The episode really begins then, with Katie waking up (or “waking up” seeing she is in full makeup and hair) in New Mexico the morning after Cousin Greg up and left her. She narrates that after a long conversation with the producers and ABC’s lawyers she’s made the hard choice to fulfill her contract, stay on the show and try to find her love story.

Meanwhile, Grizzly Adams and Great Face have no idea any of this messiness has gone down until Kaitlyn and Tayshia come in and are like, “Couple of things: Cousin Greg left and Katie is having an emotional breakdown over it. OK! Have fun on those fantasy suite dates!”

Grizzly Adams has the first date with Katie and is apprehensive about where her feelings are. Understandably so! Considering Katie is out here talking about how she is looking forward to being with Grizzly Adams, but that if she doesn’t see a future with him, it will be the last time she sees him. CONFIDENCE!

The two begin their date throwing paint-filled water balloons at each other at some sort of obstacle course? Is this the laziest date they could possibly come up with? We are in the middle of the beautiful New Mexican high desert at a gorgeous spa, and we’re … throwing water balloons at each other? I think it’s time to hire some new folks on the team that comes up with date ideas, guys, they’re clearly burnt out.

After their water balloon throwing, the two retire to a hot tub, where Katie is like, “Dude, we have to talk: So, this past week has been the suck for me. First, Michael Bluth left me for his stupid kid, and before I could process all that, Cousin Greg decides he’s done with this show, too. And if I’m being honest with you, Cousin Greg was someone I saw choosing as the winner introducing to my family. A part of me wanted to quit when he left, but since I’m sitting here with you, now, you can see that I did not.”

Grizzly Adams:

That night at dinner, Grizzly Adams tells Katie that he’s been thinking a lot about Cousin Greg, and how he told her he had fallen in love with her, and then he turned around and left. Grizzly Adams assures her that he doesn’t play games with love, which is one of the reasons he has held onto that word, and not shared it with her. But during the hometown, when she kicked off her heels to play hockey with him and his family and scored a goal and yelled, “GO AMERICA!” that’s when he knew, and I quote because it’s so eloquent: “Fuck, I love her.” He promised himself he wouldn’t say it to anyone until he was sure, but he knows now: he’s in love with her, and really excited about a life with her.

And let me just pause for one second, and give Grizzly some credit here. This is a secure man. I don’t know if Grizzly really is in love with Katie, or if this is just all about “winning,” I have no idea what is actually in his heart. But all that said, Katie was honest with him about her feelings for two other men and how she very nearly left the show when they went home, and instead of being angry or jealous or insecure, he leaned into the situation. I’m not a huge fan of Grizzly Adams, but I can admit that not being scared off by the fact that the woman you are in love with (or even “in love with”) had feelings for other people takes a certain amount of bravery and a lot of confidence.

And Katie rewards that bravery by telling Grizzly that she “fucking loves [him] so much,” thereby breaking her own oath to not use those words until the very end.

Katie then presents him with the Fantasy Suite invitation which reads in part, “Sometimes love is messy,” which honestly should have been the tagline for this entire season.

They Fantasy Suite, obviously, and the less said about that, the better.

The next morning, Katie meets with Kaitlyn and tells her that she was “satisfied many times.”

Katie also talks about how she was honest with Grizzly about her feelings and how she wanted to quit the show, but he wasn’t scared off by that. And at that moment, he gave her the confidence and reassurance she needed to realize her heartbreak led her to him. Katie describes the date as the “best day of [her] life,” and that by telling Grizzly she loved him, her heart officially is his.

So, about Great Face.

He gets ready for his Fantasy Suite date, all excited about having some “true quality time” with Katie and get a look at what the future could be.

Katie meets Great Face for what he thinks is the daytime portion of their sexy times date, and the first indication that something is wrong Great Face should have picked up on is that she forgoes the whole running and jumping into his arms thing that every Bachelorette is obligated to do on every date. Instead, she approaches him like a normal adult approaching another normal adult, normally.

Katie takes Great Face to a gazebo where she sits him down and is like, “So, I told Grizzly Adams that I love him, which means you have to go home now.”

Katie tells him that he got as far as he did by just being quiet and allowing the other men to self-eliminate opening himself up and that she knows he will be a wonderful father and husband one day. He takes being dumped pretty well (probably because he is as surprised as anyone to be the first runner-up) and tries his best to act sad as he walks away.

In the Bachelor studio, Great Face puts on a really good performance pretending that he’s still “hurt” and that he loved Katie. But he notes that he respects her judgment and that she followed her heart. He does add that everyone wants to feel chosen, which is true, and says that he doesn’t feel like he was given a fair shot.

When Katie comes out, Great Face has some questions for her, notably wondering if he made it as far as he did by default (yes) and was he ever going to really have an opportunity to see how things could go with him (no).

Katie insists that it wasn’t until her Fantasy Suite date with Grizzly Adams that she knew he was “her person” but that she hopes Great Face knows that he made it as far as he did because they had a real connection. Great Face seems to accept this answer and tells her that she made him a better person.

And then they show a montage of Great Face’s great faces. The man truly was just such a gif(t).

We still have one more gauntlet to run before we can get to our be-vased proposal station: Grizzly Adams has to meet Katie’s family. Today he will be meeting her mother and her Aunt Lindsey. And Aunt Lindsey? She is a real piece of work — and I mean that in the ABSOLUTE BEST POSSIBLE WAY.

Upon meeting the women, Katie tells them that Grizzly is nervous but she told him to just be himself with them. Mom agrees, noting that they don’t need some man trying to build himself up in an attempt to impress them, they just need to see that Katie thinks he’s great. “We don’t care,” adds Aunt Lindsey.

They then ask him about where he lives, and when he tells them he’s in Ontario, Canada, and travels to Africa a lot for work, Aunt Lindsey is like, “Huh. Alright, let’s go talk,” before noting in an interview that this whole thing is stupid: they live in different countries, they have different careers, have they even considered the logistics of how any of this will work?

Aunt Lindsey opens by asking him why he would want to come back to a show he’s already flunked out of, and he laughs about having been dumped twice. “Neither wanted you?” she confirms.

Grizzly insists that he came back to the show for Katie because they are so much alike — “what, you have a vibrator, too?” asks Aunt Lindsey.

But Grizzly Adams forges ahead insisting that even in this short period of time, he feels like he’s known Katie forever. Grizzly adds that of course he wants their approval, to which Aunt Lindsey sarcastically replies, “Cute.”

But, he adds, what is important is that he and Katie are on the same page.

Aunt Lindsey:

Aunt Lindsey notes that marriage is hard, and Grizzly agrees: he has been through it with his parents’ divorce. Aunt Lindsey dismisses this, arguing that watching a train wreck isn’t the same thing as being in a train wreck. And I’m just going to stop Aunt Lindsey right there and point out that yes, it’s true that Grizzly hasn’t been through a divorce himself, but that kids whose parents go through a divorce experience their own kind of trauma that shouldn’t be so casually dismissed just as a means to dunk on a dumb Bachelorette contestant.

ANYWAY. Aunt Lindsey demands to know what their plan is if things get rough — and she promises him that things will get rough — and Grizzly responds that they have promised each other to make it right. “That’s cute, but that’s not how anything works,” replies Aunt Lindsey.

Meanwhile, Katie is talking with her mom who can’t quite wrap her head around the idea that she’ll be getting engaged soon. Katie assures her they aren’t rushing into marriage and having kids, and that they are both fiercely independent people who don’t need each other. Her mother reminds her that it’s important to never need someone or be dependent on a man, and Katie’s like, “yeah, I’m clear on that. Y’all have made that one particular point very clear.”

Aunt Lindsey then comes for Katie, wanting to know why she wants “The Beard,” and Katie tells her what she thinks Aunt Lindsey wants to hear: that he made it clear he wanted an independent woman and someone who can handle him being away for a month at a time. “So, he’s just going to go away to Africa for a month at a time? That’s a long time to be apart, how do you see that working out?” Aunt Lindsey demands to know.

Katie insists that they’ll figure it out: if she has to go to Canada, she will, if she has to go to Africa, it’ll be fine. “Huh. Sounds like a lot of you doing what he needs. How much is he willing to put into your happiness? Because the rest of it, we don’t care about,” Aunt Lindsey responds.

Grizzly Adams takes some hard questioning from Mom, who wants to know if he’s ready for marriage and moving in with Katie, and he reassures her that he is, that he loves her daughter and would move in with her today if he could. He explains that he hasn’t felt love like this in years and had it reciprocated. Mom agrees that she can tell they feel strongly for each other, but says she worries that it’s how they feel now, but might not feel in a month … He promises he is going to give Katie all the love he has, and adds that he just knows Katie will be happy.

Mom gets choked up, commenting on how happy Katie seems, which is all that matters to a parent. Grizzly says in a talking head that Mom was positive and supportive which was a nice change from Aunt Lindsey. To be fair, a series of grunts, the silent treatment, or even a slap across the face would be more positive than the reception he received from Aunt Lindsey, so it’s not really that big of a deal.

That evening, Katie and Grizzly go on their final date before Proposal Platform Time. They are met by an energy healer and this guy:

… Zozobra. The burning of Zozobra is a New Mexican tradition, dating back to the 1920s, in which residents of Santa Fe construct a 50-foot tall man, named “Zozobra” (which is the Spanish word for anxiety), and then burn him as a way to destroy all the worries and problems of the past year. People can write down the things they are concerned about and burn them with along the effigy, but it’s not just that: “legal papers, divorce documents, mortgage pay-offs, parking tickets, and even a wedding dress –– all have found their way into Zozobra to go up in smoke.”

Grizzly Adams and Katie are instructed by Energy Healer to take a journal and write down all the negative things that are holding them back.


They then read out loud their journal entries, and you guys, I’m not going to transcribe the whole thing here they’re so boring. Grizzly reads something about being hesitant to get married after watching his parents’ divorce; Katie reads about her fear of abandonment. It’s nothing we haven’t heard before. They then tuck the journals into the mini-Zozobra and set him on fire, watching him burn while Grizzly Adams narrates about how he is unsure if he’s going to actually propose.

It’s Proposal Morning, but Neil Lane doesn’t feel like quarantining for two weeks to hang out in New Mexico, so Tayisha — WHO DATED GRIZZLY — is the one who presents the rings for him to choose from. And in any other season, this would have been the most awkward moment in this episode, but thanks to Aunt Lindsey and Cousin Greg, that’s a pretty high bar to hit.

Anyway, while holding the rings, Grizzly has a panic attack.

But there’s no time for that because Katie is dressed and being driven to the Proposal Platform to stand around with the vases and rugs and giant turquoise beads to wait for his ass to come propose.

Grizzly Adams eventually arrives and Kaitlyn and Tayshia are there to greet him. He admits that he’s freaking out, and notes that the magnitude of the day is overwhelming, no matter how prepared you think you are.

Tayshia and Kaitlyn:

When Grizzly finally arrives to take his station amongst the vases, Katie opens by telling Grizzly that she thought he showed up late, but really, he arrived in her life just when he was supposed to. She’s grateful to him for fighting for her, and while she knew their chemistry was amazing, she never expected to fall in love with him. She adds that he is caring and supportive, confident and passionate, and most important, he loves her for her. And at the moment he told her he loved her, she knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him.

There’s an impossibly long pause before Grizzly Adams begins speaking … a pause that the producers enhance by stopping the romantic plinky guitar music, and making us all sit in the anxiety-inducing silence while Grizzly Adams fumbles for his words.

But he eventually gets there, basically saying that the whole thing felt like a fairy tale, too good to be true, but that it is true. He does pull some bullshit where he tells her that he can’t give her what she came there for and then pauses, again, for a long horrible while, before telling her that she deserves more, and dropping to one knee to propose. She says yes, she offers him the final rose, cue the soaring music.

They are then, in their nice clothes, forced to get on to a pair of horses — which if I’m not mistaken, Grizzly is terrified of — and made to ride off into the sunset together.

Rose #1: Grizzly Adams

The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Katie (or who left her):

The Man Katie was left with chose:

And obviously, we’re not done yet, because we’ve got some unfinished Cousin Greg business to take care of before Katie and Grizzly Adams are allowed to go off to their normal lives and be utterly forgotten until about 9-10 months from now when one of them will be on the cover of People Magazine to talk about the heartbreaking end of their engagement.

Cousin Greg comes to the stage and tells the hosts that he’s doing well, and laying low in New Jersey. Kaitlyn asks him about his connection with Katie, and he says that through how happy she made him, she helped him see just how unhappy he had been after his father’s death. Great, but GO TO THERAPY.

Kaitlyn then notes that everything deteriorated quickly, and he agrees: he had never opened up to someone the way he had on that couch that night, and he just wanted something back from her. (That’s not entirely true, but we will get to that in a moment.) The next day, when he went to her suite to talk, he claims he just wanted to try to get back on the same page. He acknowledges that it was hard for her to completely open up her heart to him since she decided that she wasn’t going to tell anyone that she loved them at that stage of the competition, but ultimately that’s where the disconnect was.

As for any regrets he might have …

Cousin Greg then ends on a positive note: everything happens for a reason, he’s grateful for her for showing him a different side of himself, and for bringing him happiness that he didn’t realize he was missing.

And that is very nice and very mature and I’m sure Katie will receive it with good grace since she has moved on with Grizzly.

Katie comes out, and the chill in the air is felt all the way through the television set and here on my couch where I just had to grab the throw and cover myself up. IN HOUSTON. IN AUGUST.

Katie opens by accusing Cousin Greg of never really wanting to be engaged in the first place. She notes that contrary to what he claimed right before he left, she gave him constant validation throughout the course of the show, and for their hometown to be so perfect only to have him do a 180 on her, it just felt like he was looking for an escape hatch.

Cousin Greg is stunned by this and mumbles something about being confused, but Katie is NOT DONE. She reminds him that he told her that she “filled a hole in [his] heart,” and then immediately turned around and spoke down to her and didn’t even say goodbye when he left. He said he loves her, but when she needed him most, he up and ran away.

Cousin Greg insists that he did intend to propose, and points out that she found what she was looking for with someone else. “Yes, but that doesn’t take away my anger,” Katie responds, before accusing him of using the entire experience to further his acting career. Cousin Greg laughs incredulously at “the acting,” and Katie adds that he was pretty good until he “fucked it up and ran away.” Cousin Greg insists that he is not Meryl Streep, and Katie is like, “WE KNOW.”

Kaite then explains to Tayshia and Kaitlyn that after the show ended, people began telling her that not only did Cousin Greg go to school to be an actor but that he isn’t the person he portrayed himself to be on the show, he’s not this sweet shy guy, but a very confident, even cocky Jersey kid who thinks he’s hot shit.

But Katie insists the real problem is the way he treated her: specifically, telling her that he loved her and then running away the second things became awkward. Cousin Greg tells Katie that he didn’t feel like they were on the same level in that moment, and Katie is like, “I WAS STILL DATING TWO OTHER GUYS AND TRYING TO KEEP MY HEART OPEN TO THEM BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT THIS SHOW IS.”

Katie also accuses him of gaslighting her, which Kaitlyn takes a pause at, pointing out that “gaslighting” is a strong word, and asks her to explain what it is. Katie happily obliges, explaining that to gaslight is to make someone else feel like something is their fault when it isn’t, and Cousin Greg gaslit her by making her feel like she had done something so terrible to him that he had no choice but to leave.

Cousin Greg apologizes for the way things ended, adding that it’s a tough environment to be in. Katie asks him if he doesn’t want to own up for what he did — after all, she just heard him say he had no regrets. Cousin Greg notes that he just said he is sorry for making her feel like that and wishes he could go back and change how he communicated.

Kaitlyn asks Katie if there was anything she wishes she had said to Cousin Greg at that moment, and, in fact, Kaitlyn, she does not. “I did everything I could. I was literally on my knees begging him to stay, and he looked down on me and said, ‘I deserve more.’ I don’t want that. I don’t regret anything.”

And then Cousin Greg gets to the real crux of the issue and admits what he denied earlier: in the moment when he told her that he loved her, she didn’t say “I love you,” back but instead was talking about him being a frontrunner and getting a rose. When he said he might leave the show, she didn’t say “Don’t leave, I won’t do this without you,” or “I’m coming with you …” because that’s what this little bitch really wanted from her: to upend the entire show to spare his ego from having to deal with Fantasy Suites.

Katie points out that at that moment, she still didn’t know who she wanted to be with, and was juggling three relationships, so no, she wasn’t about to just quit the show to be with him, that’s insane.

Cousin Greg apologizes to Katie for making her “question [his] integrity,” and adds that while he respects her decision to not tell someone she loved them until the very end, he needed to hear that to stick around.

Katie insists that if he really loved her, he would have stayed, which he calls “unfair.” Cousin Greg adds that she had plenty of opportunities to tell him he was the one if she thought he was and she’s like, “OK BUT WHAT ABOUT THIS SHOW DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND? THE MINUTE I TELL SOMEONE THEY’RE ‘THE ONE,’ IT ENDS. AND I WASN’T DONE YET.”

Cousin Greg counters that he shouldn’t have to ask the woman he wants to marry how she feels about him, and Katie is like, “I TOLD YOU EVERY WEEK, YOU DUMBASS.” Cousin Greg notes that relationships are two-way streets and even though she’s the Bachelorette, it doesn’t place her any higher than him — which is fair! In the real world. But again, I must remind him, this is not the real world. This is The Bachelorette.

Cousin Greg then, again, tells her that if it really was him, she would have told him she loved him and left with him. When she points out it’s not fair of him to give her that ultimatum, he first tries to argue that it’s not an ultimatum before admitting that yes, he gave her an ultimatum.

Katie points out that he keeps accusing her of “playing” The Bachelorette, and that’s just the thing: she is The Bachelorette, and there were other relationships that were forming. So yeah, she didn’t leave with Cousin Greg, he wasn’t her person. But when Cousin Greg left, she claims, so did everything she felt for him.

Kaitlyn ends this fistfight, and they wish each other “nothing but the best” in the most sarcastic ways possible.

So, listen. There are a lot of HOT TAKES out there about Cousin Greg and Katie, and just a cursory glance at Twitter would suggest there’s a lot of support for him out there. And I sort of get it: 1. If Katie is SOOOOOO in LOOOOOOVE with Grizzly Adams, where is all this hot-white rage towards Cousin Greg coming from? The opposite of love is not hate, after all, it’s indifference, and Katie certainly wasn’t indifferent towards Cousin Greg. And 2. Cousin Greg is correct in that relationships are two-way streets and that he deserves to know how the woman he wants to marry feels about him. That is reasonable and fair.

Except: 1. Feelings don’t just turn on and off like a switch. Cousin Greg’s immature exit left Katie confused and questioning everything, and this was the first time she was able to express the anger and hurt she was left with after his fragile ego left without even so much as a goodbye. I think it is entirely possible for Katie to be very happy with someone else, while also harboring some ill will towards the man who made her feel like trash when she couldn’t give him everything he demanded. She’s entitled to her feelings — even anger — and to expressing them, and people suggesting that she shouldn’t are reinforcing misogynistic ideas about women not being able to show anger without being labeled crazy or unhinged.

And 2. The bottom line is Cousin Greg came onto the show knowing what the expectations were, and then lost his shit when he wasn’t the exception to the rules. While he’s right that relationships are a two-way street, he’s wrong that being the Bachelorette doesn’t place her higher than him. In this situation, it literally does. The rules are different for Katie than they are for the multiple men she is simultaneously dating; a situation that presumably most, if not all, of these men would tolerate in the real world. But it’s not the real world! It’s The Bachelorette! And as long as Katie is the Bachelorette, and as long as there are multiple relationships that she is interested in exploring on this show, she is going to have more power and more control than any one man. He can leave — and Cousin Greg did leave! — but he shouldn’t be surprised or butthurt when she chooses to continue keeping the possibility of other relationships alive even — or especially — when he demands that she choose him. THAT’S THE ENTIRE POINT OF THE SHOW. THAT HE CHOSE TO BE ON. 

Anyway, good riddance to that gaslighting nightmare.

Finally, they bring Grizzly Adams to the stage, and they do the boring After the Final Rose talk: let’s look at the ring; let’s talk about being excited to live real life together; let’s talk about the moment they knew they were in love …

Katie does admit that she hadn’t yet told her family she was engaged, and that Aunt Lindsey is finding out in the same moment as the rest of America.

They talk about the proposal and engagement and blah blah blah. The nicest moment of the entire After the Final Rose special is when Katie thanks her hosts specifically, noting that Tayshia introduced her to Grizzly Adams, and that Kaitlyn picked her up in her lowest moment, and that she is just grateful for both of their support. And genuinely, I do think having Kaitlyn and Tayshia co-host this season was the best argument as to why it was time for Chris Harrison to leave. Having former contestants who have survived this process be the ones to guide the new Bachelorette/Bachelor through it just makes so much more sense.

Finally, Grizzly Adams tells Katie how proud he is of her and how she carried herself, when suddenly men in the audience start standing up with boom boxes to recreate that dumb dumb so dumb Say Anything moment.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go build an altar to Aunt Lindsey, my new patron saint.

The Bachelorette will return on ABC this fall.


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