“It’s not my fault.”
With those four words, “The Bachelorette” star Katie Thurston, of Renton, not only wrapped up an incredibly painful story from her past, but opened up an important conversation about consent, trauma and eventual self-acceptance. For a show that spends a lot of time creating a glossy fairy tale, Monday’s episode took an uncharacteristically vulnerable turn.
Toward the end of a group-date confession session, where each suitor spilled his past romantic misdeeds, Thurston shared that as a young woman, she’d gotten into a sexual situation she didn’t consent to, and was so in denial that she actually tried to date the man and then blamed herself for having been “too drunk, too stupid.” That led to what Thurston calls “an unhealthy relationship with sex” for a long time, before she learned to love herself and realize that, as she said, this wasn’t her fault. This truth led her to be the sex-positive, confident person we know and love. That’s an origin story we can get behind.
Here’s what else happened on Monday night’s episode:
STUPID DRAMA NOBODY CARES ABOUT: Troublemaker Karl Smith continued the dumb crusade he started on last week’s episode, trying to convince Katie that several men weren’t on the show “for the right reasons,” meaning they were seeking fame rather than love. He did this while insisting he wasn’t. (He also allowed himself to be filmed dramatically shadowboxing in solitude to show how focused — or whatever — he is, which just comes off as obnoxious.) In a hilarious turn of events, the other guys announced during the Rose Ceremony that Karl was an idiot and Katie could cut off the drama by just sending him home. And she did! It was a rare moment of unity for a bunch of guys literally all dating the same woman. But it got the job done.
STUPID DRAMA NOBODY CARES ABOUT, PART DEUX: Square-jawed human Disney prince Thomas Jacobs, who may have been the “not there for the right reasons” guy Karl was talking about, spent the whole episode bobbing and weaving from accusations that pursuing Katie’s hand was a seasonlong “Bachelor” audition. He said he was falling in love with Katie, then admitted that, OK, he was maybe trying to get cast as the Bachelor, but that was before he met her and now he’s not even thinking about that and OOPS, DID I DROP MY HEADSHOT AND RESUME? SILLY ME! By the episode’s end, it looked as if the other suitors, fresh from getting rid of Karl, were looking for a sequel. Just not the one Thomas seems to be auditioning for.
POSSIBLE CHRIS HARRISON REPLACEMENT? We’re not sure how long Tre Cooper, the guy who arrived in a ball pit in the back of a limo, is going to last, but he’s sure making an impression as a well-coiffed Greek chorus and commentator. He had the best observations, including exasperatedly asking Karl: “Why are you like this?” He’s hilarious, and if he doesn’t wind up with Katie’s heart, maybe he could wind up with a job.
WILD FLAILING GUESS: Two more frontrunners emerged this week: Charming Connor “Connor B” Brennan, and earnest Michael Allio, a widowed single dad who made Katie cry with his love story about meeting his late wife in college and her bravery through a two-year fight with cancer. That’s heavy stuff, but something about Michael is so real and vulnerable that you believed him when he talked of wanting to find love again. That’s the right reason, right, Karl? Oh, we’re sorry. You’ve already been sent home.