This post contains spoilers for The Bachelorette finale.
Things got tense the minute Katie Thurston arrived on stage during The Bachelorette’s three-hour finale. Her ex, Greg Grippo, had just finished his interview with co-hosts Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe; as Katie sat down, she pointedly refused to hug him.
Greg had been the frontrunner throughout this season but sent himself home last week after a perfect “Hometown” date took a sharp left turn. It was a colossal breakdown in communication: Greg needed Katie to tell him exactly how she felt, but rather than say so he released a passionate declaration of love and immediately got upset when she did not reciprocate. Katie, meanwhile, had told producers that she was “falling in love with” Greg but refused to tell him so—even as he told her he couldn’t stay unless she told him something “real.”
Speaking with Tayshia and Kaitlyn before Katie came to the stage, Greg said, “Saying what I said to her on that couch, I haven’t opened up to anybody like that in my entire life, and I felt like I was giving her my everything, and I wanted at least some of it back in that moment.”
When asked if he would do anything differently, Greg replied, “No, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason—everything makes you stronger. And she found her person, and I’m grateful for her, honestly.”
But Katie was not having it. When she arrived on stage, she did not hesitate before challenging Greg’s narrative. “I never felt that you actually intended to probably ever get engaged during our journey together,” she said.
By giving Greg the First Impression Rose, multiple one-on-one dates, and more, Katie said, she had validated him throughout the process. “For that Hometown to go as perfectly as it did until the very end, and for you to do a 180, I feel like you were looking for the perfect opportunity to escape,” Katie added. “Because you were never ready for an engagement.”
Greg seemed blindsided. As he stammered, Katie pointed out that despite telling her that she filled a hole in his heart, he’d spoken down to her during their breakup and didn’t even bother to say goodbye. She accused him of using her to get exposure for his acting career. “I mean, it was pretty good,” she said, “until the end when you fucked it up and ran away.”
When Greg denied the accusation by saying he’s no Meryl Streep, Katie shot back, “Oh, we know. We know.”
Fans have discussed Greg’s acting background throughout the season. In reference to the online discussion, Katie said that since the season wrapped, she’s “been hearing is that Greg’s not this shy-guy act that he was doing on the show—that he’s actually this very confident and cocky guy from Jersey who knows that he’s hot shit.”
Eventually, Greg apologized “if you feel like I was talking down to you.”
Katie did not miss a beat: “Gaslighting, I think, is probably a better word.” Last week after their breakup aired and some fans began suggesting that Greg’s speech seemed manipulative or at least pushy, she shared a post about gaslighting on her Instagram story. But it’s troubling that when asked to define gaslighting, Katie replied with, “Gaslighting is when you try to make someone else feel like it’s their fault.” (That’s... not quite it.)
At first Greg brushed off his hissy fit with a simple, “I was passionate in that moment.” When pressed, however, he got a bit more contrite: “I wish I could go back and change how I communicated my feelings,” he said. “In that moment, my head was just in a million places at once... I got scared by the terminology you were using; I felt like you were playing the Bachelorette role with me instead of just being Katie.”
The back-and-forth between Katie and Greg was not the only intense interaction Monday night, either. There was also the moment that Katie’s family met the man she would eventually, yes, get engaged to: Blake Moynes, who has now competed for three Bachelorettes’ hearts—including host Tayshia’s. How romantic!
Katie’s family gave Blake the grilling he deserved—although one could argue that Aunt Lindsey, at least, took things a little too far when she told the sentient jawline before her, “You ultimately mean nothing. Like, hate to break it to you, but you better be secure as fuck coming into our family. Because at the end of the day, you’re here because we want you here—not because we need you here.”
On one hand, I want Aunt Lindsey to be my best friend. On the other, who talks like that?!
Some other bangers from Aunt Lindz:
Regarding Blake’s apparent addiction to televised dating: “So, what made you want to go on this season after you flunked out on the last one?”
In response to Blake’s vague insistence that he and Katie had agreed to do whatever it takes to make their relationship work: “I mean, cute, but ultimately that’s not how anything works.”
In response to Blake saying he’d learned from watching his parents’ dysfunctional marriage: “Watching a train wreck isn’t the same thing as being in one.” (Lindsey!!!)
For a moment it seemed like Lindsey might have scared Blake off—at least, producers clearly wanted us to think this might be the case. But after several half-hearted fake-outs, Katie and Blake made out over the traditional Neil Lane ring and flashed their goobery smiles during an after-show interview in which they confirmed, yes, they’re still together.
A lot was riding on Katie’s season; it had to go well, or at least not blow up with a major off-screen controversy. Katie seems to have had a little more control than usual over casting this season—or casting directors just really stepped up their game. After the disaster that was Matt James’s Bachelor season and Chris Harrison’s abrupt departure from the franchise, one imagines that any prospective lead would need some reassurance.
For most of its run, Katie’s season has felt like what the franchise needed—a meeting of several emotionally nuanced, vulnerable people who seem genuinely invested in finding love. It’s been not just good Bachelorette, but good television. Unfortunately, the premiere nonetheless marked an all-time ratings low and viewership has not grown since. Even worse, as the season wrapped the exchanges began to feel increasingly two-dimensional.
“Let’s face the facts,” Greg told Katie before he left. “If it was me, you would have stopped me. And I knew that.”
“You’re right,” Katie said. “I didn’t leave for you. My person was not Greg, and when he left, so did everything I felt for him.”
In the end, Greg told Katie, “I wish you nothing but the best.” Her face tightened as she replied, “I wish you nothing but the best.” His final words: “Appreciate it.”