By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Aug 03, 2021 at 10:31 AM

Katie's season of "The Bachelorette" has been one of the best I've covered – but if there's one problem, a clear one in this final stretch, it's that Katie's made it pretty hilariously clear that she's already chosen Greg. Probably since about, oh, about episode one.

I mean, how annoyed is she that Clare stole the "bails on the season to be with the guy she likes right away" move? (Well, less annoyed now, I'd bet ... ) It's been a fun, thoughtful and just plain enjoyable season, but coming into this final stretch, there's simply not much drama because it's just painfully obvious that she wants to be with Greg. 

Well, obvious for everyone except Greg apparently. 

Yes, Sweet Puppy Man Greg turned into Sour Lizard Boy Greg on Monday night as he imploded on-screen, ruined any hopes of this season sticking the landing and, worst of all, set fire to all my predictions and bold statements that Greg was undoubtedly gonna be the guy. THANKS A LOT, GREG! If I had any pride or dignity left that I hadn't traded away for more boxed wine and Cheez-Its, I'd be awfully upset at you, Greg. 

But really: I don't know how the show recovers from this with a happy ending for the finale.

As an unamused owl gazes out over the estate, looking done with this ish (he must've known this wasn't ending well; so wise), it's time for hometown dates – or, as it should be more accurately known, Regional Cliches Week! Once again, thanks to the pandemic, the hometowns are coming to "The Bachelorette" rather than the show coming to the guys' early stomping grounds – and the producers did not put in their finest efforts in bringing the three cities to life. 

We start with Blake and Canada. What specific part of the gigantic country that is Canada? JUST ... CANADA. As a synth-y rendition of "O Canada" plays on a busted Casio piano from 20 years ago, Blake takes Katie on a tour of his home and native land – starting, of course, with maple syrup. Blake, a former bartender apparently, serves Katie a tasty amuse bouche of ... just maple syrup. Here I was thinking he was going to make some fancy, elegant, sophisticated cocktail with the syrup, show off some of his mixology magic. But no, he just pours some Hungry Jack into a glass and calls it a day ... while also implying that he's used maple syrup in the bedroom. THIS IS HOW YOU GET BUGS, BLAKE! IN SENSITIVE AREAS, AT THAT! I would Google to confirm the seemingly obvious actual medical issues involved with using syrup as a sex aid, but I am just terrified by the Mrs. Butterworth fan fic a "maple syrup sex" search may find instead. 

After Katie's syrup flight – and after I take a shower – the two play darts. Or more like darts for dummies as the board is replaced by a Target logo made of balloons, each filled with an icebreaker question for the couple. So basically the Andrew dangling envelopes game but less cute. During the game, we find out Katie's afraid of spiders (SAME!), loves Chubby Hubby ice cream and thinks moving to Canada is "always a possibility." Well, that is a half-committed answer at best if I ever heard one! Luckily, there's a mechanical moose ride on deck to distract Blake from the fact that Katie has not seriously thought about a future with him. 

Meanwhile, Greg watches on looking angsty and sad for no particular reason. This will be a recurring theme this episode. 

The happy couple moves along to the family portion of the date – and Blake's entire family seems uncertain that this is a smart situation. Not that they don't like Katie, but they seem more than aware that he's basically an overeager border collie in human form. His mom is concerned that their connection is just infatuation, while his sister just straight-up roasts him, asking "So ... this is the one now?" and reminding him that he's fallen in love multiple times on this show with nothing to show for it. She also believes that, if he really loves Katie, he should bust out the L-word sooner than later. Blake "wants to do it naturally," but his sister seems unconvinced that's the right move. Luckily, though, the producers have one last Canadian cliche to bust out and distract everyone with: a pick-up hockey game. Perhaps the first hockey game ever played in New Mexico – so congrats on history! 

Next up is Justin's hometownnnnnnnnnnnnn (*startles awake*) sorry, just fell asleep there for a bit. Listen, Justin's a great guy, and his beautifully expressive facial reactions have arguably been the best part of a good season. But admit it: You forgot he's still on the show. I think Katie and him are fun and sweet, but I get no chemistry from them. The man is doomed to get his heart broken. (It's OK, Justin; you'll kill it on "Bachelor in Paradise.")

Before then, though, we have to do this unfortunate hometown date to Baltimore, which apparently has a very iconic sign that looks like any generic city postcard and also horse-drawn carriage rides – aka something any city has. Maybe what makes a Baltimore carriage ride special is the awkward silence between two people who know their relationship doesn't have a future. They end the day with crabs because that's the only thing "Bachelor" producers actually know specifically to Baltimore. Poor Baltimore – I feel for you. They could've at least made a fake Camden Yards, one of the best stadiums in all of baseball, for Katie and Justin. Or maybe some pit beef? Or rented a few seasons of "The Wire" to watch?

Things get interesting on the family portion of the date as Justin's parents bail on dropping by to meet Katie. Considering the pandemic, they've got a good excuse – but it SUUURE sounds like his parents just don't like or understand the show, and think the rushed process isn't conducive to quality long-term relationships. Can't imagine what would make them think that! Luckily for Justin, his friends step in for his parents, and they seem to like Katie. What they don't like, much like Blake's family, is that Justin hasn't busted out the L-word yet with only a little time left before a proposal – so after some encouragement from them, Justin tells Katie that he's falling in love with her. To which she responds with basically a "that's nice" and a pat on the head, because she's decided that she's not going to say "I love you" until it's the final guy (honestly smart and considerate of the guys' feelings). And also because he's not Greg. Here's to "Paradise."

Speaking of Greg, it's time for his hometown date, taking a "trip" to Jersey – so they're fist-pumping in the club and getting a fake tan. OK, but actually we're riding a tandem bike on "the boardwalk" – or, in this case, an unpaved gravel path. This was a bad idea; someone's getting their knees scraped falling off this thing into the rocky dirt. Thankfully they don't, instead grabbing a pork roll (I take back my previous sass; this date's a winner) and playing basketball – a big emotional leap for Greg as it's something tied very close to his dead father. We end with rain – not because of Jersey but for Katie's hometown of Seattle. And also because the producers struggle to stay on-theme – and they bought that dang rain machine for their first date, and it cost too much not to use it again. 

After some artificial waterworks, the show squeezes out some natural ones by dropping off not only Greg's family but also a video of his other friends and family checking in to say hi. I, however, spent that time distracted by how much the soundtrack DESPERATELY wished it bought the rights to Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" and instead played an obvious fake version of the song. Clearly I was moved. 

After having the usual "Bachelorette" parent convos and some less usual discussion about Greg learning to live after his father's death, we move on to the hot topic of the night: the L-word. Greg wants to hear it from Katie, dammit, so when the two have some alone time, he tells her that he loves her and that she fills a hole in his heart. Katie responds with a "how interesting" stare, as her brain clearly tries to figure out how to tell Greg her feelings while still sticking to her "no saying love before the final rose" promise – which apparently causes Greg's brain to snap.

Have you ever watched the original "Gossip Girl"? Well, I currently am because time is not valuable to me (in case writing thousand-word reality show recaps did not make that clear). On that show, there's a guy named Dan Humphrey – played by Penn Badgley – who is supposed to be the relatable one but, by the end of season one and into season two, becomes wildly annoying as the show forces him to make stupid decisions and weird emotional leaps ("Dur, everyone's telling me not to trust this Georgina lady, so I guess I will, and then blame Blake Lively later for this all. I read smart books!") in the name of breaking up the main couple and creating drama.

Dan, meet Greg. 

Greg, our formerly adorable and cuddly front runner, turns into some weird mindgame-playing, passive-aggressive, sulky jerk after this point in Monday's episode, first tuning out and then making Katie play 21 Questions to figure out what's wrong. He sourpusses for the rest of the night while Katie earnestly tries to understand what's wrong and try to make it right – but Greg just simply refuses to let it take. The whole vibe of the whole back 30 minutes is that Greg doesn't want to be understood or forgive here; he's stuck on "grumpy and emotionally needy," and cannot be pulled out of his tailspin. 

This continues into the next morning as Greg continues his dum-dum ways and visits Katie's hotel room to break up with her. Sure, it's technically to have a conversation about the night before and his feelings – but he's not having a conversation. He's not listening to her apologize (profusely!) or explain that she's not using the L-word until the end or understandably say that she doesn't know what she's doing because this show is absolutely snooker-loopy radioactive bonkers. He just wants to complain about how he's BEEN HURT – not because he wanted a rose and not even because he wanted to hear the L-word (even though that's literally what he said he wanted the night before). No, he doesn't feel Katie responded the right way to him declaring that his heart has one less hole in it. (His brain? That's clearly another story ...)

Katie continues to apologize and explain and get as close as humanly possible to saying "I CHOOSE YOU; I CHOSE YOU WEEKS AGO, IDIOT" without actually saying it – but Greg's lost drowning in his own self-created misery, which now all of our misery too. I required a small skyscraper of boxed wine to continue with his nonsense. 

After several more minutes of him making a whole-ass continent out of a molehill, Greg finally decides that he doesn't want to continue anymore. "You think I want to break up with you?!" he declares at one point – and you know what? Yeah, Greg, I do. I think Katie's putting in a lot of emotional work to fix what broke you last night, and you're not meeting her halfway. Or a third of the way. Or even just standing still – you're moving in the opposie direction. Quite literally, actually, as Greg storms out and Katie hunts him down to hug him and try, just one more time, to convince him that YES, SHE OBVIOUSLY LOVES HIM. Dude, she's chasing you down, sobbing and desperately trying to get you to stay – TAKE THE HINT! There's throwing the baby out with the bathwater and then there's throwing out the baby, the soap, the tub and the whole damn bathroom.

So he's done – and from the sounds of it, so is Katie, who runs off in tears to her bathroom. Kaitlyn Bristowe comes as a shoulder to cry on, but by the end, Katie doesn't want Greg (or Justin or Blake, but we knew that). She wants a flight home. Welp, at least we're not getting fantasy suite week this season! Good job, Greg?

So ... what the heck now?

Last week, when asked during the Men Tell All if she had any regrets about the show – or had any interest in trying again with Michael after he jumped ship for his child – Katie seemed like she got her happy ending. But how the heck are we supposed to salvage a happy ending out of this fustercluck!? She clearly doesn't have the same level of emotional connections with Blake or Justin, so if she ends up with one of them, it'll feel very much like settling. And as for Greg, he could come back, apologize for being a profoundly frustrating emotional child and try to win Katie back – but do you want to see them together now? Do you think Greg's a good partner after how he handled this situation? The way he stopped listening, mentally locked down and emotionally berated Katie? Are they in any way a good match? The guy went scorched earth on his cute puppy dog persona last night and salted the earth; I don't see anyone being happy for them if the relationship is saved.  

So the happy ending is Katie being single still at the end of this all? I mean, Katie's an assertive, strong, empowered and independent woman – but while she doesn't NEED a guy to be happy or complete, she WANTED a partner from this experience. And she seemingly had a bunch of really good candidates for the position, including one she clearly fell for throughout most of the process. So for things to end back at square one – especially in such infuriatingly self-sabotaging fashion on Greg's part – would feel a little disappointing. (But hey, seems like she dodged a Greg bullet here so good for her in the end, really.)

The only good thing coming our way in next week's finale? Kaitlyn and Tayshia are going to tell Blake and Justin that Katie bailed – which means the mother of all Justin reaction shots could be en route. Brace yourselves. 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.