With hometown dates around the corner, Katie has to narrow her field of potential husbands down to four.
Katie Thurston, Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe
Katie Thurston, Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

Please open your Bachelorette Bible to the Book of Katie, 3:12: "Her winnowing fork in her hand, and she will clear the threshing floor, gathering her wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

You know what that means, rose lovers: It's the week before (stationary) hometowns! Time for Katie to separate the husband wheat from the husband chaff.

Let's recap!

It's morning in New Mexico and the seven remaining men know that time is running out. "This is the biggest turning point in everyone's experience here," notes Brendan. "I definitely want the one-on-one," notes Mike P. "Because that one-on-one would be leading into hometowns." Katie, meanwhile, isn't sure whether to use this week's one-on-ones to grow those "relationships" that she's "confident" in, or spend time with the two guys she hasn't had a solo date with: Brendan and Mike P.

The first date card has arrived! Which strategy will Katie opt for? Survey says…

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Greg on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

It's "guys she already likes" for the win! Doesn't Greg look happy? "I was not expecting that," he says, stunned. The other men are admittedly jealous because there are so many "big conversations" they want to have with Katie before she chooses her final four. "I have a son. I'm a single father. I take care of my in-laws," says Michael A. "How does it work for Katie to move into this life? I can't go into hometowns with all of these questions floating in the air."

For today's one-on-one, Katie wants to give Greg a taste of her hometown, Seattle. There's a mini-Pike Place fish market, so Katie and Greg give fish tossing a try. It… does not go well.

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Sorry about that, hotel management!
| Credit: ABC

Sorry, Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa! Just add it to production's tab, okay? Then they shuck some oysters and play a bit of football on a patch of turf imported from somewhere. [Deep sigh] Look, I know the production is doing its best under very tough circumstances, but my God these bubble dates are getting grim. Please, please, PLEASE tell everyone you know to get vaccinated so maybe someday the show can go back to traveling the world — or at least beyond a 2-mile radius!

Anyhow, Katie really likes Greg. Greg really likes Katie. Even though he hasn't introduced someone to his mom "in a long time," Greg says he's ready to bring Katie "home."

Oh, Lord. Deep breaths, everybody: Back at Casa Bachelorette, Michael A. is FaceTiming with his son James.

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Is Michael A. the cutest or what?
| Credit: ABC

"I can't wait to kiss soon in real life!" he tells his little boy. "I'm gonna hold ya and read ya books and snuggle ya. You're my best friend in the woooorld!!!!"

Oh my God. This is so incredibly sweet I literally (not figuratively) cannot handle it. Please excuse me — I need to lie down for a second.

And we're back.

At dinner, the Bachelorette tells Greg that sometimes she worries that he's going to leave because he gets so withdrawn on group dates. He admits that he can be insecure about things, which may be rooted in getting bullied growing up. "Since my father died, I don't, just, like, let my guard down with anyone," admits Greg. "If we do move forward into next week, I am really excited to show my family the girl I'm falling in love with."

Ding ding ding! Katie LOVES it. "Those were the words I needed to hear," she says. "That were the words I wanted to hear." Yes, we're aware. Just give him the date rose already! She does, and then the date ends with some simulated "Seattle rain" — drought be damned!

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Greg and Katie on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

Why are rain kisses considered romantic? (Or underwater kisses, for that matter?) But I digress.

Oooh, time for the group date card! The tension in the room is high, as every man there wants that one-on-one, but none more than Brendan. "I'm desperate," he says. Even though Michael A. legitimately has serious things to discuss with Katie on the one-on-one, he still wishes Brendan luck before Justin reads the card.

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Michael A. and Brendan on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

Good God, this man is KILLING me tonight. The empathy and decency! I truly cannot even! And the unlucky group daters are: Justin, Andrew, Blake, Michael A., and… Brendan! Sorry to these men. But congrats, Mike P.! "No one is more deserving than Mike right now," says Michael A., emotional hero. Brendan, meanwhile, is understandably frustrated. "Why am I still here?" he wonders aloud. "I didn't get time group date, I didn't get time cocktail, I'm still here. Three great guys went home. Why am I still here? I didn't get a one-on-one. Why am I still here?"

Oh honey, don't take it personally. You're still here because that's how the show works. If Katie sent home every guy she wasn't interested in by week 2 or 3, the season would be a lot shorter. (Not that I'd complain.) Rather than waiting for the group date cocktail party for answers, Brendan decides to force the issue by showing up at the Bachelorette's room unannounced. (Fortunately, he has time to apply a fresh layer of Chapstick before she opens the door.)

Katie is definitely shocked to see him, and for some reason, she keeps apologizing to Brendan when he's the one breaking social/reality TV norms.  Even so, Brendan is confident. "It's going to go f---ing great," he assures us. "It's going to go great."

It does not go great.

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Katie bids Brendan farewell on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

Sorry, I skipped ahead. Here's a mini recap within a recap: Brendan starts off by saying that he's been "really down" the last few days after not getting time with Katie on the group date or the cocktail party. Now that he's been passed over for a one-on-one date, Brendan is at a loss. "When I'm with you, I feel like we can take over the world," he says. "My family would love you. My dad would love to just drink beers with you… but I haven't been able to tell you that stuff."

Finally, Katie interrupts. "I'm going to stop you right there," she says gently. Though she did feel a "connection" with him early on and was interested in getting to know him more, it ultimately never happened. "Because of hometowns being next week, I don't know that we could Get There™ in time," she tells Brendan. Rather than putting him through another group date and a rose ceremony, the Bachelorette informs Brendan that it's time for him to go.

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Brendan ponders his fate on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

We'll never know, Brendan. We'll never know.

The final group date of the season is a small one. Blake, Andrew, and Michael A. meet Katie outside, and she leads them to an art exhibit. And in keeping with the sex-positive theme that producers insist on forcing upon everything this season, all the artwork is, as Maude Lebowski would say, strongly vaginal.

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No comment
| Credit: ABC

Sure. Why not. Jacqueline Secor, who is the artist behind some of the paintings on display, asks Blake what he thinks about the one on the top left (above). For reasons that I cannot possibly explain, the man uses words like "messy" and "aggressive" to describe the work. Dude, no one said you had to like it, but maybe try to be a little polite? Jacqueline is not fazed. "That's interesting," she replies drily. "Because it's actually my self-portrait." Awww, snap! Have an intern get Blake some Neosporin, cuz he just got burned.

Today the men will be creating a work of art inspired by Katie and their feelings for her. The results are about as tragic as you'd expect. Michael A. presents a blob of clay that is, apparently, supposed to represent Katie's derriere. Justin, who calls himself an artist, creates a half-decent painting of a rose surrounded by what looks like doodles of Dia de los Muertos skeletons. At least Andrew's painting almost looks like something:

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Andrew's work of art on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

That's supposed to be a zombie eating sushi, right? It's hard to know what Blake painted, because producers put the Black Box of Shame over the entire thing, but based on what he says… I think he painted himself, um, not engaging in the WoWo challenge? Hard to say. What a fun, totally useful exercise. Shall we move on to the cocktail party? Yes, let's.

Blake gets the first sit-down of the night. "My mom's going to love you," he assures Katie. "I am so in for you right now, it's crazy. I'm not in love right now, but the way that we're going, it's f---ing inevitable. I know it's coming, but I won't lie to you either." Uh-oh! Given that this is Blake's third time around at this rodeo, he should know better. You never say, "I'm not in love right now," you say something like, "I'm falling for you" or "I can see myself falling for you." The look on Katie's face says it all.

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Katie on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

Dislike. "I don't know if we are as far along on our journey as I am with some of the other guys here," she says.

Things go better with Justin, who presents Katie with one of his original paintings. The Bachelorette feels like their "connection" is "easy" and "natural," which I don't think is that evident. Perhaps Justin and Katie do have the goofy and dorky chemistry she talks about, but we've never really gotten to see it.


"It's scary for me with opening my heart again," he says. "It was scary coming here, it's scary at the rate of which everything progresses." Katie understands and seems to imply that she wouldn't demand that he propose: "I would never want to force us into something we weren't ready for. But if it's us in the end, that's all that matters, and we'll figure it out as we go." Dang, that is really sweet — as is Katie's genuine declaration that every rose she gives to Michael A. is also a rose for James. He LOVES it. "I can assure you that no one can love you like I can," he says. Dammit, these two are just really freaking adorable.

Andrew talks to Katie about how difficult it will be for him to end his football career, but he says he's "willing to be done" if that's what's best for their relationship. "All I would do is encourage you to keep going," she assures him. "If that means that we're living in two places every year, then so be it. If that means we have to hold off on having a family… so be it." The Bachelorette goes on to say that she feels "so confident" in their relationship — and unlike when she said something similar about Justin, I believe her. She and Andrew really do seem to have fun together.

After their chat, Andrew brings Katie to a room filled with hanging lights, which is meant to replicate their low-budget one-on-one date. He lifts her up so she can grab a pink envelope dangling from the ceiling. The note inside reads, "I'm falling for you." Wow, it's a close race for the date rose! It's gotta go to Michael, right?

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Katie gives Michael A. the date rose on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

I was right! I'm never right! Also, props to Michael for not only owning a velvety cowl neck sweater but for rocking it hardcore.

Only two roses left! Will Mike P. get one at his one-on-one date? Let's find out! "I thought I would never date a virgin," admits Katie. "Every time that I'm with him, our relationship just gets stronger and stronger." Still, she's not sure if they have a physical connection, so the Bachelorette has enlisted a nice lady to help her figure that out.

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Sure. Okay.
| Credit: ABC

She's not lying, folks. Check out her Instagram page, if you dare. Today, this "cuddle expert" plans to take Katie and Mike P. on a "journey" that will allow them to "learn a lot" about themselves as a couple. Doesn't Katie look excited?

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A study in dread, starring Katie Thurston
| Credit: ABC

After changing into some white linen cuddle clothes ("I look like a drug lord," jokes Mike), Katie and Mike join Queen Jean on the Cuddle Platform. First, she directs them into a sort of sitting hug situation and then leaves them there for an uncomfortably long time. "Enjoy the hug," Jean commands. "Hang out with it." But it's all very awkward, especially for a "first date," so Katie and Mike P. simply cannot stop giggling. The so-called "lap of luxury" position is equally cringe-worthy, but Katie and Mike P. try to play through the pain.

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Katie and Mike P.
| Credit: ABC

"Things are awkward, but Katie's very calming. She's a nurturer, and man, do I love nurturers," says Mike P. "She reminds me of my mom." If you thought that Mike P. stopped there, he did not. He goes on and on about how great his mom is, no doubt egged on by producers — and everything he says plays in voiceover as Katie and Mike P. continue to fail at cuddling. 

Hoo boy, can we just skip ahead to the part where Katie admits to herself, Mike P., and the Cuddle Queen that this is just not working? Nope. We cannot.

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What the hell is this?
| Credit: ABC

I'm sorry, but on what planet is this "cuddling"? Later, as they embrace in a sort of modified spoon situation, Mike P. says he's got good reasons for waiting to have sex until marriage. "Believe me, if it was up to me, I'd be humping everything," he explains. (But… it is up to you?) Anyhow, just when you thought the awkwardness was over, Mike P. cuddle whispers this in Katie's ear: "You remind me of my mom."

Please God, end this! End it now!

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Katie gives Mike P. the boot
| Credit: ABC

Katie lets Mike know that even though she had a nice time with him today, the reality is she's just more into the other guys. "I just don't think it would be fair to make you go to a dinner with me tonight," she explains. "I don't think it would be fair to continue our journey and involve our families if deep down I know where my heart is headed."

Mike, ever the gentleman, handles the rejection with grace. "Whatever the result is, my respect for you is never going to change," he says. "One of those guys is really lucky. I'm bummed that I don't get to experience life with you, but it doesn't mean that I'm not going to be rooting for you."

Awww, come on now! That's really sweet. If only Mike P. wasn't so darn boring — he could have made a nice Bachelor. Cue the Suitcase Ninja!

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Say goodbye to Mike's bag, fellas
| Credit: ABC

Side note: Mike P. was still wearing his drug lord duds when he got into the Reject SUV. Do you think someone will bring him back his own clothes?

The end of the episode is here. And we're not even messing with a cocktail party. It's time for the rose ceremony roll-call! Joining Michael A. and Greg in the Circle of Safety™ are… [44-second pause] Blake, and… [23-second pause] Justin! Oh, man. Not Andrew! We like Andrew. Katie likes Andrew!

He hugs the guys goodbye, and then he and Katie take a seat on the Bye-Bye Bench outside. "You are such an amazing man," says Katie through her tears. "And you give 100 percent to everything that you are passionate about, and that's what you deserve. And that's not something that I could give you." Sad but fair. Andrew is crushed, but not resentful. "It's bittersweet," he says, "but know that I will forever hold you dear in my heart."

Katie sobs as Andrew drives away in the Reject Limo. "That was the first decision I had to make where I was, like — I wasn't fully confident," she tells a producer.

Hey, have any of you noticed that there are still about 15 minutes left in the episode? The dates are over. The rose ceremony is over. What the heck are we supposed to do now?

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Andrew's back!
| Credit: ABC

Look who's back! "I think it would be a terrible shame if I were to leave this place and us not have a smile on our face," explains Andrew, wrapping Katie in a big hug. The Bachelorette is moved to tears. "Saying goodbye to you, that was really hard," she says. "That has a lot to do with me caring for you, and I still do."

Yes, rose lovers, that's what this whole extended segment is about: Letting Andrew and Katie part on a happier note… only to raise the possibility that they won't part at all. "I can really say I fell for you," he says. "I'm super proud of you and just love the woman you are." They have a sweet conversation, and then Andrew hands Katie a card on his way out. "When I'm gone, you can read that," he says. And she does:

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Credit: ABC

Katie bursts into tears. It's wrong, it's all wrong! She needs to get him back. The Bachelorette bolts out of the room in her bare feet and chases after Andrew — down one stairwell, then another, until finally catching up with him (and the camera crew) in the lobby.

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Katie almost tackles Andrew on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

The music swells. They're both crying. "I had to see you," Katie says, breathless. "There's something there," Andrew replies. "Whenever… if ever… you have me." What he means by that, it seems, is that if Katie is ever single again in the future, she should look him up. Because when the Bachelorette asks him if he'd want to "stick around a little longer," he politely declines. And I can't blame him. "I want my future wife to choose me, and, you know, I wasn't chosen," he explains. "So, I had to say no."

Um… Andrew for Bachelor? Look, I'm swooning more than anyone over Michael A., but we all know he's too pure for this reality TV meat grinder, and the man still needs time to grieve his wife. So, I repeat: Andrew for Bachelor?

Only three episodes left, rose lovers! Fake hometowns, the Men Tell All, and what I'm sure will be the most dramatic finale ever. Before you log off, tell me how you're feeling about Katie's final four. Are you surprised Andrew went home? What's your stance on "cuddle communities"? And why does it take Greg so long to tell a joke? Post your thoughts below!

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The Bachelorette

One single woman searches for her future husband amid a sea of studs in this romantic reality series. Will you accept this rose?

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