One suitor ruins a whole evening by sowing seeds of doubt about the guys' intentions in Katie, but can't seem to give one name or one example -- is he just toying with her? What is wrong with some people?
One of the scariest things about putting your heart on the line for a show like "The Bachelorette" is knowing that not everyone who comes onto the show has the same motives.
Katie is looking for love, but are all 23 of the remaining guys there for that reason? Based on past seasons of this show, it's safe to say that they're not. And tonight, Katie felt pretty confident that she weeded out at least one of them.
But then, another guy dropped an unsubstantiated bomb on her that rocked her world, ruined the last Cocktail Party before the Rose Ceremony and left her questioning her relationship with every guy there. So why did he do it?
Honestly, we haven't figured this guy out yet, other than to declare him our "First-Impression Villain" last week. We're still going to go with that, because he's really coming across like a narcissistic a-hole right now. That could be a bad edit, every show loves a good villain, but let's just say he's putting up a ton of red flags.
When he echoed Katie's share that she was last in a relationship about two years ago but then rebuffed her attempt to have him open up about that relationship, we found ourselves questioning if that relationship was even real.
From the beginning, he's talked about this show like it's a competition first and a dating show second. He's here to "win." The fact that Katie is the actual prize seems to have escaped him, and with how casually he tore up her emotions tonight, we're not sure he even cares.
With Katie already shaken by one guy who appeared to possibly be there for the wrong reasons, Karl decided to tell her that he 100 percent knows that there are multiple other guys who are also there for not the right reasons. But does he have any names or evidence? No!
"I know that there are some people that don't have the best intentions," he told her. But when she pushed for an example or a name, he countered by telling her, "I feel like you've already been through a lot, and I don't want you to stress about that."
Are you kidding? You expect her to not stress when you're the one who planted the seed of doubt. What kind of manipulative nonsense is that? And then, while she was reeling, he dropped, "Can you just believe me when I tell you I have your best interests in mind."
We were so pleased to hear Katie in confessionals say that she has doubts about Karl's sincerity as well after all of that, we were relieved because we've raised our red flags so high planes are having to navigate around them. It looked shady AF to us!
When Katie snapped and confronted everyone after this, it took Karl awhile to confess to the other guys after she left again, and even then he wouldn't say names. We suspect he had no names. When he said he was going to give that person a chance to come forward, it seemed even more certain.
After all, if anyone did confess -- and no one ever would -- he'd be proven right. As it stands, he can try to say he's giving them the chance to come clean and pretend he knows exactly who it is and he's just being magnanimous. In actuality, he's likely just full of s---.
If so, then we have to ask why is he doing this? Is he hoping to earn favor with Katie by being the one who outed other guys? This could be a likely scenario, as Aaron did just that earlier in the night when he called out Cody.
In fact, after Karl's bombshell, Aaron was the first guy Katie pulled aside to see if he'd heard or knew anything about what Karl had said. The truth is he didn't. Now, that doesn't mean Karl is wrong -- as teaser's for the next episode seem to validate his claims -- but we still aren't sure he didn't just make it up this week to curry favor.
Maybe it's even a bit of misdirection to take her off of the scent that Karl doesn't really appear to be there for Katie. Instead, he seems to be there to "win," to come out on top, to beat everyone else. We're still not sure he really gets this show, or maybe he's chasing fame himself by trying to be the biggest personality. Certainly he enjoys making memorable sound bites in the confessional.
Greatest Lover of All Time
We have to give huge props to Mike for taking a seemingly impossible task and managing to turn it into a vulnerable and real moment. After all, how nervous would you be as a virgin saving himself for marriage when the task is to prove you're the world's greatest lover.
The other guys stripped down, performed sex-tinged music, naughty puppet shows and all kinds of other stunts ("Dick in a Box," anyone?) to get Katie's attention. Mike simply sat her on the bed and read a heartfelt letter where he revealed to her -- and everyone else in the house -- that he was saving himself for his future wife.
That may have even given him the best excuse for how deplorably all of the guys appeared to be when answering questions about the woman's body and her sexuality. It was shameful how little these guys knew. Maybe they'll come out of this experience better lovers, or at least more thoughtful.
In the end, it was the virgin who went home with the title of Greatest Lover of All Time. And that's because he led with his heart and not his -- well, you know.
Fishing and Fathers
Our way-too-early pick to possibly win the whole thing, Greg followed up that First Impression Rose with the first One-on-One Date, so you could say the guy is on a roll. He's certainly got Katie's attention in the early going here.
The challenge is going to be for him to hang onto it as she goes on One-on-Ones with other guys throughout the season and he's relegated to shorter experiences. But, we have to say, he carried himself with incredible grace and compassion.
Their date was a fishing expedition, but it was one with a real emotional resonance for Katie, as camping was something she shared with her father growing up. He passed away in 2012, and they spent the afternoon honoring his memory.
That evening, Greg shared with Katie that he'd also lost his father, two years ago to late-diagnosed cancer. It was remarkable that he held that information back all day so that Katie could have that experience and her memories of her father without his story influencing it.
He was fully present and there for her through her emotional experience in an incredibly sensitive and sweet way. And then, he shared how much he understood exactly why it was such a bittersweet day for her, as it was for him in almost exactly the same way. She was right, the date was just about perfect.
It would be wild for the guy who went back-to-back at the start of the season to win the whole thing, but he definitely seems to have a substantial head start on the competition. The question is, can anyone close the gap and if so, who?
"He Wants to Become Famous"
We finally got some context for our First Impression Meathead, Aaron, and his seemingly random dislike of Cody. It turns out the two of them know each other outside of the game, with Aaron really suspicious of Cody's motivations for being there.
Now, Aaron does not speak well or express himself with any grace and nuance, but he seemed sincere in talking to Katie. And when Cody was confronted moments later by Katie, he seemed anything but. He looked like a kid caught with his hand still in the cookie jar, trying to talk his way out of it.
After he insisted he had no idea what Aaron was talking about (Aaron suggested there were social media posts suggesting Cody was chasing fame in being on the show), Katie said that means that either he or Aaron are lying directly to her face.
"It may be exaggerations," Cody said, and that was pretty much it. Exaggerations means that there is something there to exaggerate. Cody did not seem to really be all that surprised that he was being accused of being there for the wrong reasons, so that's egg on our face, too, as we had him in our too-early Final Four.
Well, that just makes room for Blake, whenever Tayshia's ex-boyfriend from her season finally shows up. As for Cody, Katie showed him the door, and he didn't even seem fazed by that, either. Maybe he was hoping this would be enough screen-time.
All the Wrong Reasons
The teaser for the next installment raises the question, is Karl right? Is he right for the right reasons, because he really did know something, or did he luck into being right? Is he really looking out for her and he just has the worst possible delivery of that caring?
Or is he just toying with her and everyone because this whole experience is a game to him? These aren't people, but rather pawns to move around the board. He didn't seem concerned that Katie was in tears over his bombshell, and he didn't seem inclined to come clean.
But this teaser clearly has Thomas revealing that it had crossed his mind he could parlay this experience into becoming the next Bachelor, if this doesn't work out. That indicates a desire for fame over a focus on finding love.
But isn't that in the back of most of these guys' minds? And isn't it in the minds of the casting directors, too. After all, they've got to keep the franchise alive and moving forward, so they might want guys who'd be down to be the next Bachelor if their 1-in-30 shot here doesn't work out.
By the same token, casting should be able to weed out people just looking for fame -- or at least more of them then they seem to. Do they just not dig that deep, or do they like the drama it injects into the experience? Perhaps it's just an extra challenge for the lead.
But as we've seen before, it can lead to disastrous results when your lead finds out that the man she chose and wound up engaged to was only doing the show to raise his profile as a musician. He never intended to win and didn't even really want to be engaged to her. You can bet if Hannah Brown was here, she'd be looking at all these guys with intense scrutiny for their motivations.
We're just getting started, and already Katie isn't certain who's there for her, for fame or to be the next Bachelor. All she wants is to be sure that she's not wasting her time on a relationship if it's not genuine. Dating is hard enough in the real world, this is an absolute nightmare.
"This is The Hunger Games, bro. This is a competition!" --Karl
"Ask now that your Bachelorette can do for you, ask what you can do for your Bachelorette." --Karl
"Please, if we can get this guy a Xanax or a muzzle, let's do it ASAP." --Justin (about Karl)
"I hope you guys all have a terrible time." Andrew S
"I'm sure I'll find something that I'm intimidated about. But I just really haven't come across it yet." --Mike
I had a feeling that that was the direction it was gonna go. I mean, if we're talking about sex, I personally want to share that within marriage." --Mike P
"I want her to see that I am the greatest lover because I want that trophy. I want that trophy." --Karl (seems to be missing the point that Katie is the prize here)
"We at the Apollo." --Justin (during Karl's presentation)
"I can't even get into my last relationship, we're here to talk about my next relationship." --Karl (evading or did he make up the whole relationship?)
"I have never been woken up this aggressively in my entire life." --John after Kaitlyn & Tayshia wake the boys on the second group date early and loud)
"Definitely gonna show Katie I have balls ... especially half-naked." --Brendan (after getting corralled from bed for the second group date)
"And now we're creepy." --Kaitlyn (checking out guys in cowboy gear through binoculars with Tayshia and Katie)
"The Bachelorette" continues Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.