Katie Thurston knows who she wants — and who she doesn’t.
After starting her tenure as “The Bachelorette,” the 30-year-old marketing manager is weeding down the gentlemen vying for her love.
Season 17 of the long-running ABC romance show looks a little different this time around. Chris Harrison is still on leave after last season’s scandal, and is being replaced by former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe. And with travel still halted because of the coronavirus pandemic, they’re filming at a resort in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, instead of Bachelor Mansion.
But the heartbreak is still the same: During Episode 10, viewers witnessed Katie finally finish her journey and find her fiancé, Blake Moynes. Before the couple’s heartfelt proposal, Katie decided to send Justin — the other man vying for her heart — home before he could even propose.
Season 17, Episode 10
After a week of hometowns that caused two men to send themselves home, Katie was distraught and confused about whether she should stay and see the process through. After deliberation with co-host Kaitlyn, Katie decided to stay and see what could blossom from the two strong relationships she had left.
After a successful fantasy suite date with Blake, the two professed their love for each other — which was monumental, due to Katie’s adamant stance with Greg about her explicit decision to not confess her love for a contestant until the very end.
Although Katie had a successful date and declared her love for Blake, she still had another fantasy suite date with hopeful and eager Justin.
Before Justin and Katie began their date, he voiced in a confessional that he does love Katie, and he hoped after their date “to get reassurance that she sees [him] in the same light.”
An eager and cheery Justin excitedly greeted Katie, but she immediately requested to sit down and talk with him.
Katie explained how her week was going after Michael A. and Greg’s sudden departures, and how she was mentally and emotionally handling it — and was on the verge of abandoning the whole process.
As she continued to divulge her thoughts and feelings, she then began her break-up speech.
“I know how hard it was for you to tell me that you were falling in love. That is something I have thought about every night since, and I was looking forward to today,” she explained. “However, I did have my overnight with Blake and in that, I did tell him that I am falling in love with him. And that is something I can only say to one person — and you are someone I wanted to explore things with. But given how I now feel about Blake, knowing that I am in love with him, it wouldn’t make sense to have us move forward and go on this date. It wouldn’t make sense to have you meet my family. And that’s where I’m at.”
An expressive Justin, clearly taken aback, replied, “Sorry, it’s just, you know, after the hometown, we had that talk, when I went home I was just kinda like, ‘Was that something I should’ve said or withheld?’ And my whole thing with you has been that I wanted to be me 100%. It’s tough because I do see what opening up can do for you, but I also feel now the other side of what that can do — and it’s not a fun place to be.”
Validating his feelings, Katie attempted to reassure Justin.
“It’s not easy and I don’t make this decision lightly; it’s been on my mind all day,” she said. “I’m sorry, but I care about you so much.”
Justin, in response, basically wished her well.
“I think the world of you, and everything I said to you was 100% true. I just hope you know how special you are and what you bring to the table. I hope he knows what he has in you and that he doesn’t take you for granted,” he said.
“That means more to me than you’ll ever know. Truthfully,” Katie replied.
After an awkward goodbye in which they offered the best to each other, they both become emotional in private. “It’s crazy. We’ve spent a month together, getting to know each other, talking about our families. Literally, last night and this morning I’m picturing how great today’s going to be and what our life could look like. And that’s it, you know?” Justin said in his car ride confessional. “It’s so hard. You come here and, obviously, you wanna end up with Katie, and it’s like you don’t want it to end. It’s hard. It’s hard. It hurts; I gave this everything.”
The cameras then cut to a tearful Katie, who stood by her decision.
“I feel a lot of emotions. In some ways, I feel so close to finding everything I’ve been looking for, but there is still a part of me that’s scared,” she shared. “It’s what I hope is the last goodbye. The last heart that I have to break because it’s the right thing to do, to get me to this moment.”
In Season 17, Justin’s departure — in comparison to earlier departures and eliminations — was anti-climatic. Their goodbye was seemingly not nearly as emotionally taxing on Katie as Greg and Michael A.’s prior self-eliminations.
During the “After the Final Rose” session, Justin had a moment to speak with Katie and receive some clarity and closure. “There are some questions that I do have, you know, especially after watching things back,” a teary Justin said. “Seeing how things unfolded with Michael and Greg leaving, I just at times kind of felt like maybe I was just there by default because I didn’t have that opportunity to see where our relationship could’ve gone and I just wanted to get your thoughts.”
“That’s a completely fair question, and it truly wasn’t until that date with Blake that I felt it in my heart, that instant moment of, ‘Okay, this is my person,’” clarified Katie.
The former couple amicably gave each other warm regards and seemed to find a respectful closure, ending their relationship on a high note.
The remainder of the episode was centered around her confrontation with Greg and her final dates with Blake, including her family meeting him and their eventual engagement.
Season 17, Episode 9
Unlike typical hometown episodes, Katie’s featured only three hometown dates due to Michael A.’s sudden departure the previous week.
The first two dates with Blake and Justin went smoothly. The episode ended with Greg’s hometown date, which went off without a hitch — but, unfortunately, after the couple regrouped, everything changed.
In private, Greg explained to his family how he wants to marry Katie because she’s “the one for him.” After his family left and the two regrouped, he decided to tell Katie exactly how much she means to him and how he’s falling for her. With his revelations he expected her to be equally as vulnerable in her response.
At the very beginning of their conversation, Greg broke down about the passing of his father and the dark place he was in following his father’s death.
“I haven’t been this happy in the longest time,” Greg explained through tears. “I didn’t know what I was expecting … I didn’t know I was going to fall in love with you. I didn’t know that and I am in love with you. And you just make me the happiest I’ve ever been, and I see it with you. This is just real to me. Honestly, I haven’t been this vulnerable with anybody in my life. I don’t know what else to show you at this point or what else to tell you at this point. I know I’m not gonna have any regrets after this. I’m not gonna get down on one knee twice. This is a one-deal thing for me.”
But the dynamic instantly shifted when Katie replied, “I just love looking at you.”
Greg immediately shut down as Katie continued.
“It is tough. I had to explain things to your family. I told them you’re here next week, and I told them our connection is so strong and I really do believe in it, and we’ve made it this far for a reason, and it is going to be hard but at the end of it, it’s going to be worth it,” she said. “You know how I feel about you, right? You feel good about us?”
She then paused, anticipating a response from a visibly uncertain Greg, before continuing. “We’re almost there — very close,” she said. “Just hang in there; I keep telling you that.”
After Katie’s brief speech, Greg’s entire demeanor changed, which he excused as “trying to process it all.” Katie tried to validate his feelings in the situation, but he remained neutral and indifferent at her obvious struggle to get her words out, questioning each one of her statements.
Before the end of the date, Katie reiterated that it had been “a struggle, but I hope we can get through because we are so close to the end.”
The next day, though, Greg shares his blindsided feelings during confessional.
“I’m in love with this girl but something isn’t right. It’s clear to me she’s not feeling the same,” he said. “I thought we understood each other, until now. I’ve been nothing but vulnerable with her. I’ve done nothing but empty my heart out to her. So how can I think that this is gonna be my wife, without her telling me she’s falling in love with me?”
Later, meeting up with Katie, he expressed his love but said he felt “like I was telling that to a stranger … You just completely dismissed it in my eyes.”
Katie shared that while she didn’t communicate her feelings to him directly, she did so to his family members. She added that she didn’t feel comfortable fully expressing herself, saying she wanted “to save for the very end because it just doesn’t feel right to say that, knowing that there are other guys here.”
Greg chastised her for what he saw as “a surface-level response,” adding, “This is real; this is real life. You already told my family I’m getting a rose this week.
“Like, f–k the rose. I don’t give a s–t about the rose. I was just telling you — you filled a hole in my heart.”
An apologetic Katie said she was sorry for not saying more, but it was clearly too late.
“There’s obviously a disconnect here and as much as it hurts me, I’ve reached my breaking point with this,” said Greg, instigating their breakup. “I gave you everything and I really hope you find something …”
Clearly blindsiding Katie, she tried to grasp what is happening.
“I can’t even comprehend what it is you’re trying to say right now. Are you not wanting to stay anymore? Are you done?” she asked, to which Greg coldly answered, “Yeah. That’s exactly what I’m saying. It was never about a rose for me this week. I was never asking you to confess your love to me. All I was asking for is Katie.”
Katie, visibly hurt and confused, asked, “So the one time you didn’t get me, you just wanna be done?”
“This one time? … Days away from an engagement, I told you that you filled a hole in my heart — and you didn’t even acknowledge it,” he responded. “I understand that you have other guys here. I get it.”
But Greg wasn’t done. “You think I wanna tell you this? Because I don’t wanna date anymore. I just love everything about you, and I really saw you as my girl.”
When Katie countered that Greg has “always been [her] number one from the very beginning,” he lost his patience. “Who cares about the rose, or who’s the number one or the number two, or who’s getting sent home this week?” he asked. “If it’s not real, it’s not real. I just wanted something real.”
After more back and forth, Greg walked away from a tearful and “shocked” Katie, who chased after him. “I was very clear the night that you and I left, that if you left I was done … I have given you everything,” she told him. “Am I wasting my time? I’m telling you everything and you still don’t believe me. I’m losing you. I’m losing my mind. This whole thing feels like for nothing if you leave.”
An indifferent Greg callously responded, “All I do know is that right now I deserve more than what I’ve been given on your side. I’m not happy here anymore. I’m done here” —and he left her again, alone, crying on the floor.
“I’m done. I want to go home. I am done. I am done. I am done,” he shouted to a devastated Katie as she raced up to her room, locking herself in the bathroom.
The episode ended with co-host Kaitlyn consoling Katie through the heartbreak.
For Katie’s season, it has been unusual for an episode to end without a rose ceremony and a clear notice of who, exactly, went home. But Greg and Katie’s miscommunication and eventual breakup indicated that if there were a rose ceremony, Greg would not be in attendance.
Season 17, Episode 8
Episode 8 was slated to be the “Men Tell All” special episode but, at the top of the episode, a fan favorite, Michael A., decided to leave on his own accord — even before his hometown date.
The episode began with Michael on a FaceTime call with his 4-year-old son, James. Michael was explaining to him that he would be away from home, on a “business trip,” for a little bit longer, to which James eventually replied, “I know what the problem is — maybe Daddy left me because he doesn’t want to see me.”
Once James said the remark, everything changed for Michael. Immediately following their virtual goodbye, Michael broke down and it became clear to him that the separation is taking a huge toll on both him and his son.
In Michael’s confessional, he voiced his concerns over the separation, explaining that his son “is the only certain thing I have in my life. And it’s breaking me that I’m here when he’s thinking that,” he said, adding, “I don’t want him to ever think that he’s not enough.”
Michael’s confessional continued in a voiceover with the visual of the cameras following Michael as he solemnly headed to Katie’s door.
“It’s a lot. I feel conflicted. I feel guilty. I feel selfish. I don’t know what to do,” viewers then heard him confess. “I knew this road would be painful. And pain is something I can take. When it starts to affect my son, that’s when everything changes.”
He continued: “And it’s breaking me that I can’t be with him, and I’ve come so far with Katie, but I can’t be in two places at once. And I am just at war with myself on just what to choose.”
Katie then gleefully welcomed Michael in — unaware of what was about to occur. Michael wasted no time and dove into his decision to depart.
“Obviously with hometowns and everything coming up, I know that this is an insanely important week. It’s something we’ve been working so hard to get to and, actually, a week that I’ve been looking forward to the second I met you,” he said. “I was skeptical about the whole thing, but I had a gut feeling about you, and I was right. Our one-on-one date was the greatest.”
However, Michael’s tone quickly changed, and it became apparent to Katie that it was not a conversation she was expecting.
“But something happened, which kind of changed things for me,” Michael said before attempting to explain the challenge of being away from James, and how he couldn’t face another day away from his son.
“You know, obviously, James is home and I was FaceTiming him and he said, ‘Why don’t you want to see me anymore?’” Michael told Katie. “And I can’t focus on anything else.”
He explained that he understood at that point in the journey there was no time to waste.
“And with hometowns coming up, you know it’s wrong for me to give you half of what I could be. And it kills me because I see so much with us,” he told her. “You know my decision to leave hurts you, too, but I’m going home because my beautiful boy needs his dad.”
Katie tearfully replied, “I’m sorry, I just did not see this coming …. I saw us going to the end, which makes this really confusing for me right now.”
That left Michael to reiterate, “I’m not leaving because of us. I’m leaving because my son needs his dad … I can’t help wish we had more, in a different world or circumstance, because I do think it would’ve worked.”
Katie agreed. “I know it would’ve worked. I mean I get it, you’re a good dad,” she responded. “As selfish as I want to be, and beg you to stay, I just know it’s not an option.
“I support you going home to James.”
To which Michael simply replied, “You taught me how to love again.”
The emotional couple then hugged, lingered in each other’s presence and embraced one last time.
As the cameras captured Michael’s exit, viewers listened to Katie as she voiced her devastation.
“It’s just hard because we were so close to the end. It just doesn’t feel right,” she said. “Our connection is still there and our connection is unexplored. It’s just hard to know the impact of him leaving. Michael is someone I saw myself walking away with. I knew what my life would be if I chose Michael — and that was a life I wanted.”
She continued, “I know his decision is the best decision for his family. But right now, in this moment, it hurts, and in this moment, I am mad. I am sad.”
She then conveyed the full impact of her shock.
“All I’m looking for is for love and to find my person, and it is very possible that my person just left,” she said.
Continuing with the “Men Tell All” portion, co-hosts Kaitlyn and Tayisha spoke with Michael about his tearful goodbye. He expressed how the decision was difficult and still remained difficult, but he chose that path in order to be the best father he could be for James.
Kaitlyn asked hypothetically whether if Katie wanted to try again with Michael, would he be willing to try again. Without any hesitation, Michael replied, he would absolutely want to give their relationship another chance.
Unfortunately for Michael, Katie responded later in the segment, saying she was happy with how her journey unfolded and had no regrets about how her season has panned out.
During his conversation with Kaitlyn and Tayisha, Michael explained how his journey proved to him that he could fall in love again — and that’s due to his relationship with Katie.
“It just doesn’t seem possible, but there’s tons of hope out there for me now, and it really wouldn’t have existed if I didn’t take this leap,” concluded Michael.
Season 17, Episode 7
As the men were gathered around discussing the possibility of hometown visits, Brendan — who had never been on a one-on-one date — was getting nervous and skeptical about his relationship with Katie.
Soon after, it was announced that Brendan would be going on the group date and would officially be the only man left without a one-on-one, which ultimately increased his anxiety about the prospect of hometowns or eliminations.
He then aired his grievances to the guys, explaining how he doesn’t feel comfortable bringing Katie home without any solo time with her. They all agreed with his reasoning, confirming that they, too, would be hesitant about the scenario.
After the guys’ conversation, Brendan decided to go visit Katie at her hotel room and explain where his head was at — specifically what he felt about their relationship.
As he was revealing his feelings, Katie stopped him and explained that she also had concerns. Specifically, that this far in the process she doesn’t believe that in one week they will be able to get to the point where she should be meeting his family.
It seems that Katie’s interruption and confirmation threw Brendan for a loop. Brendan believed he’d be able to persuade Katie into giving him one-on-one time but, unfortunately for him, that surprise conversation led Katie to the decision to send him home immediately.
Mike P. was one of the two men to receive a one-on-one date in Episode 7. However, this was his first solo time with Katie and, because it would determine if he would be bringing Katie home, he made it his mission to have this date make up for all of their lost time.
Mike’s reputation on the show turned into him being “the token virgin” on one of the most sex-positive seasons. With that information, the producers decided to set up an intimate, physical one-on-one date for the two while they worked with a “professional cuddler.” As the date progressed, the two looked more and more uncomfortable as they were given instructions to get more intimate.
In the middle of their cuddling session — and first date — Katie took a moment to herself and came to the realization that they weren’t going to work. “I just don’t think it would be fair to make you go to a dinner with me tonight,” she said. “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 P. graciously accepted her decision and replied, “Whatever the result is, my respect for you is never going to change. 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.”
The rose ceremony only had five men in attendance after the week’s earlier eliminations, leaving one man left who would be sent home.
During the ceremony, Katie picked Justin and decided to send home Andrew, who was shocked because on the group date he shared that he was falling for Katie — leaving Andrew to believe he would be getting a rose and introducing her to his family.
As the two said their private goodbyes, Katie explained that it was her hardest decision yet, but she still proceeded to send him home. However, she did continue to reiterate that she wasn’t confident with her choice.
The next day, when Andrew was officially on his way home, he stopped by Katie’s room and attempted to end their goodbye on better terms. The two had a very honest and heartfelt conversation, leaving the impression that Andrew might stay — but, unfortunately for him and fans, he didn’t.
“I can really say I fell for you. I’m super proud of you and just love the woman you are,” he said on his way out before handing her a note that read, “If you change your mind … I’ll be waiting. Love, Andrew.”
Once he was officially out of her sight, Katie read the note and questioned everything. Katie began to chase after him to ask him to stay. After a heartfelt moment between the two, Andrew realized he did, in fact, have to leave. He acknowledged his difficult elimination and how everything played out for him.
The producers pulled him aside and Andrew talked it through with the crew and explained his decision to leave, which was now on his own accord. “I want my future wife to choose me, and, you know, I wasn’t chosen, so I had to say no,” he shared.
Season 17, Episode 6
“Cat-Man” Connor was sent home while on his first — and only — one-on-one date with Katie.
Connor and Katie’s get-together turned into a group date of sorts. The two had a double date with host Kaitlyn Bristowe and her fiancé, Jason Tartick. From Connor’s perspective, the date was successful and his relationship with Katie was progressing.
Unfortunately, it was just Connor who felt optimistic about their relationship.
While Connor was preparing for the next portion of their date, an emotional Katie arrived at his door. The two began a very honest conversation, during which Katie explained how she viewed their connection as more platonic than romantic. Unlike previous men, a heartbroken Connor actually handled the elimination well and even reassured her, “It’s OK, because it’s worth it to just have met you.”
The group date steered Katie in the direction of eliminating Hunter as the men roasted one another and were each allowed to call out whomever they felt was suspicious. The setup allowed the guys to openly refer to Hunter as a “super-fan” and blatantly question his intentions.
After the men made their rounds with Katie, she confronted Hunter, who said that when he declared his feelings for Katie, he was genuine — regardless of what the other men said. After their conversation, Katie cut the group date short, without handing out a rose.
When the rose ceremony began, Katie — rose in hand — called Hunter and pulled him aside, leaving the men shocked. While they speculated, Katie explained to Hunter that she pulled him aside in order to resolve everything from the group date. Hunter apparently understood but still attempted to convince Katie that his earlier declaration of his feelings was not a strategic move but a genuine effort to move forward with their relationship.
The two returned to the other guys — and Hunter entered without a rose. The rose ceremony continued with Hunter’s name never called.
However, Hunter was not the only one punished for that week’s drama: The additional men eliminated were the ones who were the most fixated on exposing Hunter as a reported fraud.
Tre acted as one of Katie’s eyes on the inside, and that relationship worked — until it didn’t.
All of Aaron’s helpful efforts in order to protect Katie became a disadvantage by week 6.
The software salesman from La Jolla was sent home in week 6.
Season 17, Episode 5
If only Andrew M. could have presented his case to Katie.
The IT consultant from Miami was sent home week 5.
The nutrition entrepreneur from Dallas was eliminated in week 5.
Season 17, Episode 4
Thomas was projected to make it far — at least that’s what the case seemed to be, up until Tre got involved. Following up the week 3 confrontations about Thomas’ true intentions, contestant Tre felt compelled to let Katie know what was going on, before the next rose ceremony.
After the disheartening revelation, Katie is given the opportunity to speak directly with Thomas. The two discuss the accusations before the cocktail party — more specifically, how Thomas was more open to the possibility of falling in love as the next “Bachelor,” than falling in love as a contestant.
Katie explains where her confusion lies, “[Because it] is so perfect… you say things exactly as I want to hear them. You are this Prince Charming.” Katie continues, “I’ve struggled so much when it comes to you. Because I felt something with you, and then you have multiple people come forward and question your integrity. It’s a lot to consider.”
After the frank discussion between the two, Katie proceeds with the cocktail hour. However, although she is done speaking directly with Thomas, the following conversations revolve solely around him.
The rose ceremony starts off with Thomas apologizing to the men, and Katie, for giving the impression he wasn’t there for “the right reasons.” The rose ceremony continues without a hitch, and then it’s time for the final rose.
And Katie calls Thomas’ name.
Thomas walks up confidently, while the men behind him silently express their astonishment. As Thomas approaches Katie, she steps away from him and delivers a brief speech as to why he will not be receiving a rose.
“You told me things I wanted to hear, but what I learned about you tonight, is that you’re selfish, unkind, and a liar. Your ‘Bachelor’ audition ends tonight. So get out,” Katie says, as she points Thomas to the door.
Following Thomas’s exit, Katie details why she eliminated him in her confessional. “Thomas betrayed my trust. He manipulated my emotions. You don’t get to use me as your stepping stone to whatever your goal is. Not here, not today, not tonight, not ever.”
After Katie’s elimination of Thomas, Tayshia and Kaitlyn enter and announce the remaining men without roses, will be heading home.
Katie didn’t seem to be buying what Christian had to offer.
Looks like Conor C. struck out.
The technical product specialist from Nashville, TN was sent home.
Season 17, Episode 3
After a cliffhanger second episode, Karl had to face the consequences of his actions. At the top of the cocktail party, Karl explained to Katie that some of the men were not there for “the right reasons,” for which she thanked him and then addressed with the entire group. After Katie’s confrontation, Karl then took ownership of the statement and didn’t back down.
Once the rose ceremony began and a majority of the roses were given out, Mike P. was presented a rose and then took a moment to explain to Katie what was going on. He said the group of men disagreed with and were offended by Karl’s statement.
“We feel, as a unit, it’s our job to protect your heart, and we’ve come together in solidarity and we think that, unfortunately, what Karl said wasn’t the truth,” said Mike. “As a unit, we really feel that’s what you need to hear.”
Katie paused the ceremony to reconvene with Kaitlyn and Tayisha, then quickly resumed the festivities — and sent Karl packing.
The bubbly bartender wasn’t what Katie ordered.
The technical recruiter from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was sent home.
Season 17, Episode 2
After two group dates and the first one-on-one date, it seems Katie is beginning to form connections with a select few. And while week 2 ended without a rose ceremony, Katie still managed to get one elimination under her belt. Remarkably, it was a rare immediate elimination — and when the lead makes that decision, it becomes abundantly clear how serious they are moving forward.
And Katie is no exception.
During the group date, in which the men dressed up as cowboys to wrestle shirtless in the mud, Katie noticed tension between tussling Aaron and Cody. After the match, Aaron ended up winning the round, along with one-on-one time with Katie.
During the couple’s alone time, Katie questioned the animosity between Aaron and Cody. Aaron was forthright in his explanation: the two know each other from San Diego, so by default, Aaron believed he knew exactly what Cody was about.
When Katie pushed, Aaron explained how Cody was not there for “the right reasons,” saying he was only there for fame, had no respect for the process and lacked integrity. Katie was shaken by that revelation so early into her journey, so she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Once Katie and the muddy men were cleaned up, she confronted Cody on this piece of news. Unlike previous contestants who are put in the hot seat, Cody remained neutral and calm and kept reiterating that he couldn’t explain himself because he had no idea what she was referring to.
Katie was then taken aback by not only his level of neutrality but his lack of remorse for the situation. Cody then slightly dialed up his response when confronting Aaron, asking why he told Katie they knew each other — to which Aaron responded that he deemed it his “responsibility.”
Katie reflected on these newfound potential red flags and, feeling a lack of trust, decided to send Cody home. She explained that although it was early into the season, she still did not have the luxury to spend her time thoroughly investigating the men’s accusations.
In other words, she needed to trust her gut.
This real-estate investor didn’t bond with Katie.
An auto-parts manager from Queens, Brandon didn’t rev Katie’s engine.
Showing affection isn’t always the way to a woman’s heart: Gabriel gave Katie an awkwardly long hug at their introduction.
Jeff tried to impress the Bachelorette with a tour of his stanky RV, outfitted with dirty laundry scattered around. It didn’t work.
Foul ball: This baseball coach didn’t hit a romance home run.
This real-estate broker has to mend his broken heart.
After Katie sent him packing, this dancer has to cha-cha-cha all the way back to Reno, Nevada.