Bachelor Nation, my brain is all abuzz trying to fully comprehend what it was that we all just watched. The only accurate description for Monday night’s quarantine hometown episode is fucking trainwreck. It was clear something was going to be amiss with Greg when Blake and Justin’s dates were edited down to the shortest lengths possible, despite the fact that Justin’s parents not showing up to meet Katie seemed like it should have been a bigger deal than it was made out to be. And being the drama king that he is, Greg absolutely made the sacrifice of any other storylines worth it.
After an incredibly dull date wherein Greg took Katie on a fake tour of what I assumed was supposed to be the Jersey Shore and fed her a “pork roll, egg, and cheese,” he whisked her away to meet his mom, brother, and best friend. It was an emotional family reunion as Greg repeated, relentlessly, how he had not been happy since his father died and Katie was “filling a hole” in his heart. Weird but sure!
He then professed this love directly to Katie’s face and waited expectantly for Katie to say something akin to she loved him too. Instead, Katie stared at him and said, “I just love looking at you.” Boom. The ticking time bomb that has been Greg’s emotions all season imploded and he gave Bachelor Nation the only good episode of this entire season thus far.
It was clear from that conversation, Greg would be leaving, and leave he did the following morning. Katie was seemingly distraught by this in the moment and told anyone who could hear her that she wanted to go home. However, not long after the episode, Katie posted to her Instastory a slide show titled, “So you want to talk about gaslighting.” Funny you should ask because I absolutely do want to talk about gaslighting, thank you.
The implication that Katie, and half of Bachelor Twitter, made, is that Greg gaslit Katie, knowing that she could not tell him she loved him for show purposes. Another theory is that Greg has been putting on a performance this entire time and didn’t think he would get this far, so this scene was his way of making a quick escape that suited his character. It’s reality television, so either of these things could be true; I personally don’t land either way.
But the interesting thing here is that the points Greg brought up during his final argument with Katie weren’t completely invalid—which begs the question who is gaslighting whom? Is Katie gaslighting these men by giving them loose affirmations? Is Greg gaslighting Katie by making it seem like it’s her fault he couldn’t stick it out to the end? Or are the producers gaslighting the audience? So many questions, and only a few hours of show time left to get them all answered.
One thing that was made incredibly clear in the Hometowns episode is that a quarantine version of this crucial point in the Bachelorette journey is absolutely untenable for future seasons. Hometowns is the closest this show comes to any version of reality, and the fact that these people aren’t being forced to travel to their actual homes takes away a certain element of reality TV transparency that they are to have when they sign on for the show.
By not having Greg in his element and merely shipping his family to New Mexico, the viewer loses the ability to suss out whether Greg is lying to his mother, or if he genuinely has the feelings he claims. Certainly, he could lie while at home, but seeing where someone comes from and how they currently live and function in their neighborhood goes a long way in differentiating their actual self from their television persona.
Of course, the changes to Hometowns were made because the season was filmed during covid and no one should be traveling at all. If the show weren’t so reliant on a decades-old formula, hometowns could have been swapped for something different that could have provided that same level of intimacy without dragging anyone’s family to a hotel in the desert. I can only hope that Greg’s mom was allowed to swim in the big pool before she and her son got on a plane back home together.