What Will The Bachelorette Producers Do Now?

From the very first episode, producers have positioned Greg, a 28-year-old marketing sales representative from New Jersey, as the front runner on this season of The Bachelorette. Bachelorette Katie bestowed upon the sad-eyed, floppy-haired Greg the first impression rose, and with the help of producers, she picked him for the first one-on-one date and — this is rare — another one-on-one date after that. In contrast to season villains like Thomas, the real-estate broker who made the mistake of admitting he wanted to be the Bachelor, Greg has been portrayed as the Good Guy in every episode. Until last night, I assumed he was going to “win” the show and propose to Katie, and that all the other story lines — like former contestant Blake showing up halfway through the season — were just for fun.

I was wrong. On last night’s episode, the three remaining contestants set up “hometown” dates at the same New Mexico resort they have been stuck in this whole time. The first two passed with little fanfare: Blake, who looks like the Canadian cartoon version of Jax Taylor from Vanderpump Rules, introduced Katie to Canadian concepts like “maple syrup,” and Baltimore native Justin introduced Katie to two of his buddies after his parents were like, We’re not going on a reality show with you at the height of the pandemic, but thanks anyway. Then it was Greg’s turn to introduce Katie to … his emotions.

After an extended visit with his mother, brother, and best friend, Greg confessed to Katie that he was in love with her, and that she was the only thing to make him happy again since his dad’s death. Katie, who had previously stated that she did not plan to tell any of the contestants she loved them until the very end, clung tightly to her promise and responded by telling a teary-eyed Greg, “I love looking at you.” Oh no.

The next day, Greg confronted Katie about her lackluster response to his declaration of love, and things deteriorated further. As the paid lead of the program, Katie held onto the conventions of the show: She assured Greg that he was a “front runner” and would be getting a rose, but she did not break her rule and tell him she loved him. Greg, through angry tears, begged her to throw out the conventions and be “real.” After more tears, miscommunication, and a foot chase down a fluorescent-lit staircase, Greg informed Katie that he was leaving the show, and thus, her. Katie locked herself in the bathroom and cried to co-host and former Bachelorette Kaitlyn through the door. At the end of the episode, producers aired a sort-of In Memoriam segment to Katie and Greg’s brief relationship, underlining the fact that it is definitely over. (Tonally, this was very strange — the post-credits scene is usually some kind of a joke or blooper.)

A couple hours after the episode aired, Katie posted an Instagram Story that hinted at her thoughts about Greg’s melodrama. It was one of those explainer Instagram cards, and this particular one highlighted the definition of “gaslighting.” Yikes. Fans have since pointed to unflattering rumors about Greg that surfaced earlier in the season on the Instagram gossip page @deuxmoi. It seems that Greg, whom producers invested in as a hero early on, may have signed up for the show for the dreaded “wrong reasons.”

One anonymous tipster made the following (unverified) claims to Deuxmoi: Greg, they alleged, “scrubbed” his LinkedIn to remove evidence that he attended acting school and is interested in a Hollywood career. They also claimed he has “major anger issues.” Another tipster accused Greg of breaking up with her friend in a rude way. And yet another tipster spotted Greg out on the town with troves of women, removing all doubt that he remains committed to Katie in any way.

So what happens now? It’s hard to imagine that any viewers are excited about Katie ending up with either of the remaining two contestants. Justin, a 26-year-old investment sales consultant, seems nice, but his family is clearly not onboard with him doing the show, and Katie clearly did not appreciate their lack of participation. And then there’s Blake, whose most distinguishing characteristic after being Canadian is his commitment to appearing on TV. (He dated both Clare and Tayshia on the last season of The Bachelorette.) It’s hard to remember a past season of The Bachelorette or The Bachelor with so little hope for romance going into the finale.

If we’re not going to get a satisfying proposal at the end of this journey, I guess I’m rooting for Greg to appear on the “After the Final Rose” special next week, so that Katie can explain gaslighting to him in person.