‘The Bachelorette’ Frontrunner Greg’s Grippo on Katie Thurston Takes a Nightmarish Turn
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‘The Bachelorette’ Frontrunner Greg’s Grippo on Katie Thurston Takes a Nightmarish Turn

Bachelorette frontrunner Greg Grippo seemed bound to make it to the end, but now it seems he’s left for good. Katie Thurston’s obvious feelings for the floppy-haired marketing sales rep have made him a frontrunner from the first episode, but on Monday night the two finished their dream date with a fight that bordered on surreal.

Greg spent the night essentially begging Katie to blow up the show for him—while Katie steadfastly refused to tell the man she’s said she’s falling in love with that she is, in fact, falling in love with him. In the end, Greg told our Bachelorette he “deserves more.”

As with previous COVID-set seasons, The Bachelorette had to get creative when it came time to stage Katie’s “Hometown” dates. (A Zoom call here, a fake “Welcome to Baltimore” sign in an empty field over there.) Greg’s, the last in the episode, was the stuff romantic comedies are made of—down to the snap of Greg’s fingers that produced a downpour of fake rain for them to make out under.

Then things got even dreamier: Katie told Greg’s family that he would be one of her finalists, and Greg cried as he told the Bachelorette that he loved her. He said she’d brought him back to life and fixed the hole that formed in his heart after his father died—a loss the two share. “Honestly, I haven’t been this vulnerable with anybody in my life,” Greg said.

But there were hints of trouble: Greg told his mother that he was desperate to see Katie return the vulnerability he’d shown her in saying he’d fallen in love. “I need her to be fully vulnerable with me and tell me exactly how she’s feeling,” he said. Katie stated previously (although, regrettably, not to Greg) she does not want to tell any of her suitors that she loves them while they are still in competition with others.

Right after he mentioned his vulnerability, Greg’s outpouring of love shifted in tone. “I don’t know what else to show you at this point, or what else to do,” he said. “I’m not going to get down on one knee twice. It’s a one-deal thing for me.”

The Bachelorette struggled to find a response that met his passion. She settled for smiling at him and, when prompted for words, replied, “I just love looking at you.” He was understandably underwhelmed—but the intensity of his response caught Katie off guard. For the rest of the date and the morning after, she struggled to find the right response to reassure him. “I just don’t understand how you don’t know… that it’s me and you at this point,” Greg said. “I just don’t get it.”

To hear Greg tell it, he and Katie have already discussed their future together; he confided in his friend Dave that she planned to move to New York with him after the show. Perhaps that’s why his sudden shift in mood took her by surprise. “You know how I feel about you though, right?” she asked. “We’re almost there. Very close. Just hang in there, I keep telling you that.”

Even after Katie clarified her “L”-word rule to Greg the next morning, he remained unsatisfied. “I told you that you filled a hole in my heart, and you didn’t even acknowledge it,” he said. Every time Katie tried to reassure him of his safety in the show, he rebuffed her, emphasizing that he was not asking for anything but something “real.”

“Am I wasting my time?” Katie asked. “I’m telling you everything, and you still don’t even believe me… I’m losing you, I’m losing my mind here. This whole thing was for nothing if you leave.”

“I deserve more than what I’ve been given on your side,” Greg replied. “I’m not happy here anymore… I’m done here.”

So, two things. First: While I understand the impulse to save the “I love you’s” for the end, Katie’s reluctance to validate Greg on an emotional level, even as he threatened to leave, was kinda strange. If you’ve already told producers, “Greg is someone that I know I’m falling in love with… He is somebody I very much can see myself walking away with at the end of this,” and Greg is now leaving, one would think it would be worth breaking the “love” rule to tell him that.

While I understand the impulse to save the “I love you’s” for the end, Katie’s reluctance to validate Greg on an emotional level, even as he threatened to leave, was kinda strange.

Then again: This is The Bachelorette, and Greg knew what he signed up for. His sudden haughtiness over the show’s constructs carried a faint echo of Peter Kraus, who became a finalist on Rachel Lindsay’s season only to suddenly become indignant over the show’s traditional ending ritual: an engagement. Then again, what else did we expect after producers let Clare Crawley wander off into the sunset (or something like that) with Dale Moss after only a few weeks? Every marketing sales rep and personal trainer who competes on future seasons of The Bachelorette could now carry that possibility like a vague expectation in their mind: If things are *really* going well, she can blow up the show for me.

But this is Katie Thurston’s season, damn it, and if she needs to see the whole process through, that’s what she gets to do—even if Greg is a Sean Hunter lookalike with McDreamy eyes and a faraway stare that implies deep thoughts. Greg’s need for validation is understandable, but rather than ask for it directly he barraged Katie with his own feelings and became angry when she failed to reciprocate the way he wanted. In light of the uncommon levels of emotional intelligence we’ve seen this season, the moment stood out as a colossal failure in communication.

Either way, it seems Greg is gone for good. A preview for next week showed Blake Moynes fretting over whether Katie is really over him—understandable, given that after this week’s breakup she was asking Kaitlyn Bristowe to book her flight home. Still, we’ve seen some quick recoveries before, and almost every Bachelor or Bachelorette has declared themselves “done” at some point. We’ve got a three-hour finale coming next week, so it seems safe to bet that a plane ticket never materialized. Now it’s just a matter of whether or not any man is getting down on one knee with that Neil Lane ring—and whether Greg’s Grippo on Katie is strong enough to prevent her from saying yes.

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