With Hometowns on the line, Bachelor Zach Shallcross must send almost half of the women home-- so he wants to make sure they're all in!
Things are down to the wire for Zach Shallcross on "The Bachelor" this week as he had seven women left, but only four spots for next week's Hometown visits.
Greer Blitzer finally returned from Covid quarantine to rejoin the gang in Budapest, hoping that one of those spots could still be hers. But she definitely was going to have a fight on her hands.
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Kat, again, was very much in her feelings and her insecurities, but she wasn't alone. In fact, a Group Date with a mentalist pulled out all sorts of fears in the women, leaving them feeling all kinds of ways about themselves.
This week also featured the final One-on-One dates of the season. The only person who hadn't had one at all at this point was Greer, meaning it was time for second One-on-One dates for most of the women -- and time for insecurities to rear their ugly heads for those who don't get one.
Zach continued his trend all season long of not dragging any woman along he wasn't feeling one hundred percent committed in. This week, in particular, he took extra time and care to ensure that he was confident about moving forward, as Hometowns is not something to be taken lightly.
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"Nice Belly Slap"
Continuing to add fuel to our long speculation that the edit and the attention poured on Kaity Biggar is indicative that she will win this whole season, she became the first dual One-on-One date of the season.
Our evidence has been in how Zach tends to pull her first in Group Dates, steals moments with her -- and the fact that we even got flashbacks of their first One-on-One when she visited him during his own quarantine Covid. It was a lot of attention on one contestant's relationship.
For this one, they took in the sights and sounds and tastes of Budapest, Hungary and we got to see that Zach writes with a poetic flourish of language exactly equal to his neanderthalic usage of the spoken language. They took turns penning missives to one another on a public typewriter famous for love poems. Zach even said poems, but neither of them pulled that off.
Kaity shared with us via confessional that she's afraid to open up and let anyone into her heart because of how she's been hurt in the past, feeling rejected in particular by men in her life. That came to light with more clarity when she told Zach that both her father and a longtime boyfriend of her mother's she thought of as a father figure both abandoned the family.
Zach has lived a pretty sheltered life when it comes to these sorts of things, which left him completely flummoxed in how to respond with his perfectly happy parents and completely stable all-American home life. But, when Kaity started crying, he did comfort her and assure her that he sees something with her. It made her happy enough, as did the rose she scored, but that's the best you've got?
Maybe it's for the best that he didn't delve into this possibly having anything to do with her own insecurities about committing her heart to another man or he might have had to call her a ride.
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"Holy Shiitake Mushrooms"
Labib is a local mentalist and magician in Budapest and he properly freaked out the four women on the final Group Date of the season with his mentalism skills. For three of them, he was able to guess a word he was thinking of. Kat was reduced to tears before it even got that far.
Gabi shared that in a relationship she is seeking safety and comfort. Charity admitted that the reason her last relationship ended was infidelity, subsequently fearing that Zach would take that to mean she might have trust issues and not be all in. Ariel admitted that she is somewhat closed off because of her fear of heartbreak.
All three women came out of that experience a little rocked in their feelings about their relationships with Zach, but it was like watching a slow-motion trainwreck when Kat sat down.
When Labib asked her if she was ready for Zach to meet her family, she said, "Mmhmm," but after a long pause she changed her answer to "I think so." She then teared up and he didn't even bother to try and read her mind, because she wasn't hiding anything. It certainly raised red flags for Zach.
That night, he asked her about it and she assured him that she was all in; just reiterating that this whole journey has been really emotionally hard for her. She again took it badly that she wasn't chosen for a One-on-One this week, venting to and commiserating with other women who also weren't chosen.
During the evening portion, Gabi opened up about the whirlwind inside her head at all times and how much ADHD impacts her daily life. Her fear was that it would be too much for Zach, but he assured that he thinks she's ... fun?
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It wasn't really an affirmation that he was on board with her just as she is, but maybe it was? It sat oddly with us, but Gabi felt better after he said it. And he must have wanted to assure her that it really was, because he gave her the Group Date Rose, too.
Charity shared that she still struggles to forgive herself for staying in that previous relationship that finally ended with infidelity. But she also assured Zach she was all in with him; she just got insecure that her talking about her past might make her worry about her commitment to this journey.
In this group setting, Zach chose Ariel first. If our rule of who he grabs first holds, because our predicted winner Kaity already having had a One-on-One, that would mean Ariel is likely our second-place finisher! We shall see. Zach is not subtle.
As for Kat, she continued to not do herself any favors and make Zach "nervous" by admitting that due to her own insecurities, she has a tendency to try and run away rather than face the chance of getting hurt.
She told him she's had that instinct on this journey, being totally honest, but that she's fought against it because she believes in the connection that they share.
Did Zach hear all of that? Is he able to acknowledge insecurity and applaud that she continues to fight through it? Or did he just hear that she almost walked and start questioning her commitment to him and this journey.
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"This Is Hard"
The second One-on-One was a second date with Brooklyn, because at this point, Greer had still not arrived in Budapest. With this date, she had officially missed two full weeks of the competition, and growing her relationship with Zach.
He admitted at the top of this one that he felt a connection with Brooklyn, but was hoping it would deepen on this date. The outing itself proved a fun excursion, with a bike ride to a balloon ride up and overlooking the city.
They then took in "the ultimate spa house," where they met a couple recreating their first date at that exact spa house years ago; they'd been married now 25 years. It was all very sweet and romantic and the couple even said they could see how much Brooklyn was enamored with Zach.
She said again as much during the evening portion where she opened up about her own non-traditional family. After her father left, her grandfather stepped in as that father-figure for her, while her mother stepped up in other ways to support her rodeo passion.
She also shared that she doesn't bring people home to meet her family lightly; she wants to be sure she's sure she sees a future with this person before having them meet anyone. That was enough to send Zach fleeing to the producers to think about it all.
Ultimately, he decided that he wasn't all in with her enough to meet her family, and so a stunned group of women back at the hotel watched her luggage get taken out as Zach walked her to a limo and said goodbye.
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"It Is Literally Days Away"
Brooklyn's banishment came on the evening of the same day Greer returned to the competition. Making up for lost time, she made a beeline straight for Zach's hotel room to share that she was back and she was still all in with him.
Unfortunately for Greer, Zach tells her that his connections have grown with all of the other women and not with her and so it's time to say buh-bye, thanks for flying to Budapest and still believing in us, but it's not even worth letting her go to the Rose Ceremony?
Considering how the women rallied to support him through his own quarantine, it felt a little abrupt. But he was probably still irritated that she compared his being unable to participate that week and missing out to her experiences in sales when she had Covid.
That move by Zach led Nick Viall to call him a d---. if he wasn't going to even give her a chance, why not just video chat with her and tell her as much before she flew all the way to Budapest just to get dumped in a hotel room?
We get that he's following his heart (blah-blah-blah) and has to do what feels right for him, but it's pretty dismissive of Greer's feelings on the journey, and how much she'd put into it. She did say that she understood, but it's also true that she got the shaft due to circumstances beyond her control. If she was more interesting, we'd push for her to be the next Bachelorette, but ... nah.
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The Final Four
After Brooklyn's departure, that left three women and two more roses ahead of Hometowns. There really was no suspense when it came to who was going to get those roses.
Ariel and Charity had raised no red flags during their time with Zach because neither of them gave any indication that they had ever considered leaving. As soon as Kat did that, she was a dead woman walking.
He'd used the same tone with Kat when she shared about her insecurities and her demons causing her to want to flee rather than face possible rejection that he used when Greer had tried to relate to his Covid experience (she can really relate now).
It was a somewhat harsh, dismissive tone that seems to indicate Zach has kind of stopped listening. He's heard what he thinks you mean and he didn't like it, so he's just going to keep pushing that narrative. And apparently, it's frustrating enough that he has no interest in whatever else you might have to say about it, even if it's important context to help with clarity.
Kat had been open and honest and vulnerable about her insecurities, but Zach has no time for insecurities ahead of Hometowns. He needs to know that his women are all in. He booted Brooklyn becuase he didn't feel all in with her, and booted Kat because she expressed hesitation with the mentalist about him meeting her family.
And so, Kaity (our front-runner), Ariel (our new second-runner-up), Charity and Gabi remain in the competition, heading for Hometowns next week. The week also features the always fun "Women Tell All" special on Tuesday night, which should get explosive.
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- "When there is time that continues to be taken away, it is jeopardizing what Greer and I have." --Zach (she's had Covid)
- "Quite frankly, that date, I was not expecting it to be that strong." --Zach (about One-on-One with Ariel)
- "Just seeing 'fall in love.' Does he mean he's falling in love with Kaity? It's just unsettling." --Brooklyn (about Zach's One-on-One note to Kaity)
- I'm really disappointed. I feel, like, not chosen." --Kat (after Kaity's One-on-One note arrives … and you weren't; that's kind of how it works)
- "I learned that I'm like 80 percent British … You know what my original last name was? Shacklecross. And there's a town that still exists there." --Zach (to Kaity)
- "The fact that I still get butterflies with her. And it's not, like, perfect, it just feels like it's real." --Zach (about Kaity)
- "It actually boosts your appetite for everything." --Street Vendor (to Zach, with a naughty wink)
- "You weren't supposed to see that." --Zach (to Kaity)
- "Why didn't he choose me? I don't want to shut down or close off, but because of everything that's happened, it's making me feel like I want to protect myself. I know that's not something I should be doing, but when I feel like someone's not on the same page as you, like, doesn't he miss me as much as I miss him?" --Kat (after she doesn't get final One-on-One)
- "I could get there, I could fall in love with him, but I'm being very cautious with my heart because of what all the men in my life have done." --Kaity
- "I'm falling in love with him. I just need a little more time to be able to say that." --Kaity
- "Holy shiitake mushrooms!" --Gabi (freaked out with mentalist)
- "I'm like, shut the front door!" --Gabi (freaked out with mentalist)
- "Are you ready to let Zach meet your family?" --Labib (during mentalist date).
- "Mmhmm … … I think so … … [tears up]." --Kat
- "Have you ever thought about walking away from this? --Labib
- "Mmhmm." --Kat
- "My dad is like, 'Ariel, you can't do the show, I know what they do there.' He was like, 'Orgies.' And I was like, 'I don't think you've been watching "The Bachelor." I think that's "Game of Thrones."'" --Ariel
- "Ask me anything and I'll stupidly answer honestly." --Ariel (to Zach)
- "That uncertainty feeling, that does make me nervous." --Zach (to Kat about her saying she thinks she's ready for him to meet her family)
- "Outside of here and normally, I just escape when things get hard. I want to leave and give up, 'cause it's easier. But I know how good I feel about you and I and I would never just walk away from that." --Kat
- "What I want is that forever love. I don't take an engagement lightly. It's forever and if you aren't ready for that, you need to let me know." --Zach
- "It is literally days away and I have to do what feels right. Day 1 to now I'm just following my gut, my heart. To give a Hometown Rose I need to feel 100 percent confident that I see a future, and I don't feel that. I would never want to string you along." --Zach (to Greer, dumping her immediately after she comes back from quarantine)
- "I have not ridden a bike since I was like 12 years old. They say it's like riding a bike, you just pick up where you left off." --Brooklyn
- "I'm thinking about myself. And if that makes me selfish, I'm being selfish about my relationship." --Kat
- "I think what scares me about introducing anyone to my family again is them seeing me so hurt in the past. I told myself I didn't want to bring someone back into their lives until I knew it was someone I truly saw a future with. And I truly feel like I'm at the point where I do see a future with you." --Brooklyn
- "I'm looking at my own self and looking at Brooklyn and asking myself, do I feel that same confidence?" --Zach
- "This is hard, but I want you to know. You do deserve the love I can't give you." --Zach (to Brooklyn)
- "It felt so good to feel so strongly about someone so great." --Brooklyn (to Zach, leaving)
"The Bachelor" continues next Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.