She may have mourned the possible exit of her “person” a couple weeks prior, but “Bachelorette” star Katie Thurston has moved on to an engagement.
The end of her season turned rocky with back-to-back self-eliminations from frontrunners Michael A., the widowed father who cared for Katie but struggled being away from his young son, and Greg, who got the first impression rose but reached his breaking point last week when he expressed love for Katie but didn’t feel validated enough.
Greg’s self-elimination had Katie so distraught, she begged for a plane ticket home.
“In that moment, I completely blamed myself,” Katie reflected during the season finale’s “After The Final Rose.” “You start to question yourself and your worth and you have what felt like back-to-back men that I was falling for leave. You start to wonder ‘what if?’ and do you leave to go chase them?”
Despite struggling to process it all, Katie sticks around for this week’s finale, where she has two men to choose from: Blake, a latecomer originally from last season who she has obvious chemistry with, and Justin, who sneakily made his way to the finale after not making many waves this season beyond his memorable facial reactions. (He later notes in “ATFR” that a lot of his moments with Katie didn’t make it on camera.)
Final dates: Katie says ‘I love you’ for the first time
News of Greg’s departure rocks Blake and Justin, who both worry it’ll impact Katie’s final decision.
Blake tells Katie he loves her and vows not to leave after making such a declaration (@ Greg next time, buddy).
Katie breaks her vow not to drop the L-bomb with more than one contestant left, telling Blake she “(expletive) love(s) you so much” before spending the night together (don’t worry, just because Katie’s final three got a little messed up, doesn’t mean “The Bachelorette”s most sex-positive star doesn’t get her fantasy suites).
“I was saving it for the one,” Katie tells co-host Kaitlyn of her love declaration. “My heart officially belongs to Blake.”
Oop. Sorry, Justin.
Who went home without an engagement?
Katie asks Justin to talk, which is never a good sign. She explains her feelings for Blake have grown stronger and can’t move forward with their relationship.
“I was looking forward to today, however I did have my overnight with Blake and in that, I did tell him that I am falling in love with him,” she says. “That is something I can only say to one person. You are someone I wanted to explore things with, but given how I now feel about Blake, knowing I am in love with him, it wouldn’t make sense to have us move forward.”
Justin, hitting us with one last memorable reaction shot, parts with nothing but kind words for Katie: “I just hope you know how special you are and how much you bring to the table. I hope (Blake) knows what he has in you and that he doesn’t take you for granted.”
Katie hopes Justin is the “last goodbye” of the season. That leaves one man standing.
Is Katie engaged?
Before a theoretical proposal, Blake meets Katie’s family. He worries that there’s even more pressure than usual to be perfect, because he’s the only contestant left.
Enter: The classic Bachelor Nation pump-fake. Just when it seems like we’ve hit smooth sailing, it’s time for conflict to arise. Katie’s aunt won’t give Blake a break about … anything he says, and Blake later divulges nerves about the “expectations” surrounding an engagement.
“There’s a lot going on in my head right now, but I love Katie,” he says. “There’s no doubt in that. I just hope we’re both ready for an engagement.”
Katie says that night she believes Blake is her “soulmate.” But is Blake the one getting cold feet now? The next morning, as the finalist is picking out an engagement ring, he expresses enough worries about “forever” with Katie that co-host Tayshia suggests he “let her go.”
“I can’t give you what you came here for,” he tells her the next day. “Because you deserve a lot more than that.”
Sounds like a breakup, right?
“You deserve the world and I’m excited to support you and be there for you every day moving forward,” Blake concludes, before getting down on one knee. He had us there for a second!
‘After the Final Rose’: Katie fires back at Greg in tense reunion
Tension is apparent right away in Katie and Greg’s reunion. She joins him on the couch without so much as a glance.
Watching the show back, Katie realized how much validation she gave Greg, and how quickly he turned on her.
“For you to do a 180, I feel like you were looking for the perfect opportunity to escape, because you were never ready for an engagement,” she says. Greg is speechless. Katie is on a roll: “I don’t think you know what love is, because that was a time I needed you the most, and you ran away.”
She continues, calling Greg a liar and accusing him of gaslighting her while divulging the “anger I have watching this back and seeing the way you treated me, using me to get the experience, the exposure, dare I say the acting practice at my expense. It was pretty good until the end when you kind of (expletive) it up and walked away.”
Confused? Katie explains she heard rumors afterward that he was actually a “confident, cocky” guy – much different from the shy Romeo fans saw on screen.
Greg apologizes for making her feel this way, citing the “tough environment” they were in. But he maintains her talk about roses and frontrunners when he was talking about love being the reason he couldn’t do it anymore.
“I felt like you were playing the Bachelorette role with me instead of just being Katie,” he says. “I just wanted something real, at the end of the day.”
Fury toward her ex aside, Katie concludes Blake is “exactly who I’m supposed to be with.”
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