After an emotional and somewhat stressful week, Gerry is ready to take his relationships to the next level as his journey on The Golden Bachelor reaches the halfway point.
That’s right, folks. Next week is the last dates before hometowns, which means that the pressure is on for the nine remaining women. The episode begins with a fun surprise for the ladies. The OG Bachelorette, Trista Sutter is here!
And if you thought that the drama from last week was all water under the bridge, you’d be wrong. As the women are chatting with Trista, she reminds them that the process can work if they stay true to themselves. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Teresa takes this as an opportunity to tell Trista that she so agrees with the sentiment, especially since she went on the first one-on-one date with Gerry.
Well, this sets off Kathy, who complains in confessional that Teresa can’t “seem to find the off button.”
But Trista isn’t there to play into the drama. She’s actually there to invite eight of the women on a group date. Ellen, Sandra, Susan, Nancy, April, Teresa, Kathy and Faith will be participating in a pickle ball tournament — and the winners get to be featured alongside Gerry in In Pickleball magazine. Exciting! That also means that Leslie has been chosen for a one-on-one this week.
Upon arriving at the courts, the ladies learn they’ll be getting some pointers from tennis pro and soon-to-be Season 28 Bachelor, Joey Graziadei. Of course, there’s plenty of swooning over Joey but, ultimately, they’re there to vie for Gerry’s attention….and apparently, they’ll do whatever it takes. So, when April takes a tumble during practice, it’s pretty hilarious to see her wink at the camera afterward and insist she’s “totally fine.”
Kathy and Ellen take home the top prize. But, after their photo shoot, all the women are invited to the cocktail party with Gerry.
During the tournament, Gerry had also learned that Sandra is skipping her daughter’s wedding day to be on The Golden Bachelor. It’s hard not to admire that level of commitment to finding love of her own. When they speak at the cocktail party, Gerry asks if she’d like to FaceTime her daughter on such a special day. Sandra is really grateful for that opportunity, so she and Gerry make a quick call to wish the bride well. Gerry admires her commitment so much that she ends up getting the group date rose as well.
Also during the cocktail party, things escalate between Kathy and Teresa once again. Teresa pulls Kathy aside to ask if everything is copacetic, but Kathy says she still doesn’t think Teresa knows how to keep her mouth shut. Although Teresa insists she isn’t bringing up her connection with Gerry to be malicious, Kathy tells her she needs to “zip it.”
A poor choice of words that quickly come back to bite her, because Teresa brings up the conversation to Gerry. She once again insists she meant no ill will, and she thought of Kathy as a friend who she was confiding in. Gerry doesn’t take kindly to the idea that anyone is being disrespectful, so he finds Kathy for a conversation of their own. He reminds Kathy that she also received special treatment the night of her fight with Teresa, when he handed her a rose before the ceremony so she’d feel more secure.
At the end of the conversation, Kathy is more upset with Teresa than anyone else. But Gerry is moving on for now. It’s time for his one-on-one date with Leslie.
The pair are off to a scenic picnic, but they’ll need to take ATVs to get there. Gerry’s protective side comes out when he notices that Leslie isn’t totally comfortable with racing through the hills on her own, so he offers for her to lead the way so they stay at pace she’s okay with. Eventually, they ditch the second ATV altogether, and Leslie hops on the back of Gerry’s. Once at the picnic, the pair have a pretty vulnerable conversation where Leslie shares that she doesn’t think she’s ever had a true partnership. She’s been divorced twice and has been a single mom for the last 22 years. She thinks Gerry could be the partner she’s looking for. As they take a dip in the hot tub, Gerry seals the date by offering Leslie a rose.
Back at the mansion, the other women are entertaining themselves by playing a risqué game of Never Have I Ever. Kissed another woman’s husband? April has. Had sex in a workplace? Sandra is guilty. What about the back of a car? Everyone but Kathy, apparently. And Susan says she’s been intimate with a woman.
Fast forward, and it’s time for the cocktail party before the rose ceremony. Suddenly, everything is a mess. Sandra is feeling sick, so she’s laid up in bed. Nancy has a brace on her foot because she has a stress fracture from pickle ball. And everyone is on edge about who might be going home.
Gerry has nice moments with both Susan and Ellen. Despite not having spent much individual time with Susan, he gifts her a rose quartz to let her know that her empathy and strength remind him of his late wife, Toni (when Kathy finds out…she’s not thrilled!). Ellen admits she’s falling in love with Gerry, who is really taken aback by her honesty. It makes him emotional as he reflects on the fact that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to truly find another love after Toni.
Before the rose ceremony, Nancy tells Gerry that she feels their connection might not be as strong as some of the others he’s been developing. He’s sad to admit that he agrees, but they come to the mutual decision that she should head home.
After her departure, Gerry offers roses to Ellen, Faith, Susan and Teresa. With Sandra and Leslie already in possession of roses, that means Kathy and April are on the chopping block.
A class act until the end, Gerry walks Kathy out and wishes her luck on her journey to finding love.
The Golden Bachelor airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.