SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the June 21 episode of “The Bachelorette.”
The third episode of Season 17 of “The Bachelorette” led to some emotional declarations, not least of all from lead Katie Thurston, who shared a story about being sexually assaulted.
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During the first date of the week, nine men joined Katie and former Bachelor Nick Viall for a day of truth-telling. Each man took turns revealing their own histories and red flags, ranging from relationship mistakes to personal reckonings. During the confessions, Hunter Montgomery admitted to feeling like he “failed” as a husband and father after his divorce, Thomas Jacobs shared he originally looked to the show to “build a great platform,” and Connor Brennan confessed to cheating on his ex after subjecting her to months of drunken verbal abuse.
When all of the men were finished, Katie shared that 10 years ago on New Year’s Eve, she was a victim of sexual assault. After the incident, she said she established an unhealthy relationship with sex. Now, she explained her denial over the situation and shared that she even tried to date the perpetrator after the assault. After initial feelings of guilt for being “too drunk,” she has since accepted she was a victim.
The men all rallied around her, with several of them appearing emotional themselves over her confession.
The rest of the evening saw Katie continuing to ask for honesty from the men, and she confronted Thomas on his admission of having several “red flags.” He was flustered and avoidant during the questions before offering a non-answer. The conversation ended, but he interrupted a later conversation to admit he was beginning to fall in love with her. Despite Thomas saying this, Connor was the one given the group date rose.
Elsewhere in the episode, Katie had to deal with the fallout from contestant Karl Smith planting seeds of doubt about other men in the house last week. He fabricated a story that men were “there for the wrong reasons,” prompting the men to form a mob and Katie to cancel the cocktail party out of frustration.
The third episode of the season dealt with that bombshell when the men banded together against Karl, sending Mike Planeta to Katie as a spokesman when he received his rose.
“This isn’t something that we want to do right now because of what you’ve gone through, but we feel as a unit, it’s our job to protect your heart,” Mike said. “We’ve come together in solidarity, that we think, unfortunately, what Karl said wasn’t the truth. And that’s as a unit: we really feel that’s what you need to hear.”
Katie excused herself mid-rose ceremony to consult with hosts Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe. While she was troubled by the accusations, she admitted to wanting to keep Karl. Upon returning to the rose ceremony room, she eliminated Garrett Schwartz, John Hersey, Kyle Howard and decided to send Karl home. Katie refused to make eye-contact during his exit and none of the men said goodbye.
The week’s one-on-one was reserved for Michael Allio. After not receiving a date during week one, his day was spent ATVing with Katie. The two had a light-hearted day and afterward, Michael was able to share his emotional story with her (after sharing it previously with the men in the house).
He met his wife in 2003 and the two were together for 16 years. After the birth of their child, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She passed away two years ago, leaving Michael as a single dad to his now 4-year-old son. He admitted to originally feeling like a bad dad for leaving him to be on the show, but said his son “deserves the happiest dad” and that he was committed to investing in himself.
Katie was taken with Michael and his story, and the two ended the night under fireworks with a rose.
Meanwhile, at the house, animosity between the men and Thomas brewed. Rumors of Thomas’ confession of “falling in love” with Katie rippled through the contestants, and Hunter confronted him in front of the men. Others accused him of being “manipulative” and said it felt like a “campaign” to become the next Bachelor.
Thomas admitted to previously considering that as a possibility before dismissing the idea and redeclaring his commitment to Katie.
“The Bachelorette” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.