‘The Bachelorette’ episode 5 recap: Katie and Blake have a ball, but the rest of the guys? Not so much

Katie Thurston is so open to love that she’s taking matters into her own hands whether her guys like it or not.

This week’s “The Bachelorette” opened with the guys relieved not to have to deal with scheming Thomas anymore. So is absolutely everyone here for the right reasons? The verdict is still out. But the main point is Thomas is gone and the competition evolves once more. Enter Blake Moynes, hoping the third’s time the charm while completely aware of incoming fire. “I showed up late in the journey but after talking with Katie, she told me she wanted me to move into the house today,” Blake said. “I was super excited because I knew I had at least a chance to make an impression on her and that’s all I was asking for. So today I’m moving into the house with the guys. I have no idea what to expect but having a new guy step in is not something they are going to be happy about.”

Next, Katie sought advice from Kaitlyn, who memorably allowed Nick Viall to enter the house in the middle of her season. “It was rough,” Kaitlyn said. “My guys were very hurt. … It did not go over well for the people I was really close with already, those relationships I really bonded with.”

Back at the house, Tayshia reminded the guys that they are on Katie’s journey. Tayshia revealed someone from her past reached out to her, going so far as to validate this mystery person as being trustworthy and having good intentions. After sharing the news that a new guy would join the group very soon, James immediately questioned whether it was someone from Tayshia’s season, proving how well he knows this franchise. Has James been a secret superfan all along?

SEE ‘The Bachelorette’ episode 4: Katie just gave us one of the greatest rose ceremonies of all time

When Blake showed up, the room became quiet and tense. “Straight up, I know exactly how you guys feel right now,” he said. “All of you don’t want to f—in’ see me here. … The only reason I’m here is because of Katie — that’s it.” Wisely, he answered perhaps the biggest question himself in regards to why he chose to come back for a third time. “I feel like I haven’t met anyone quite like Katie before.” And with that, Blake found out he received this week’s first one-on-one. “If some of these guys are mad, I really just don’t care,” he said. ‘I don’t have time to be worried about that. I came here for Katie and a connection with Katie — and that’s it.”

Before her date with Blake, Katie checked in on all the guys to hear their reactions to her latest move. Quartney wondered how she knew Blake and if they had spoken to each other outside the show. Katie told him Blake reached out to her to commend her on how she did on “The Bachelor” but nothing was taken to the next level. She admitted there was “good chemistry” with Blake and wanted to follow her heart in everything she does “both good and bad.” “I’m not trying to waste any time,” Katie said. “If we can go on this date and feel that there is a relationship actually forming than perfect. But if it’s just not there, I’m going to be able to figure that out real quick on this date and send him home.” After Katie and Blake had a fun horseback ride, bonding over shared interests such as nature, Katie raved about his kissing, which led to more steamy kisses between them in the hay.

Next, ABC offered a rare viewer discretion warning for an upcoming segment that explored themes of consent and sexual assault. At dinner with Katie, Blake was curious about the origins of her sex positivity. Katie retold her powerful testimony originally shared in a group setting in episode 3. “I’m really sorry to hear that — no one deserves to go through that,” Blake said. “I have a new appreciation for you and who you are.” After Katie gave him a rose, they were serenaded to the song “Memorize You” by “American Idol” winner Laine Hardy. “I definitely took a gamble with Blake — I didn’t know what would happen,” Katie said. “But after tonight, I know I made the right decision. … I could see myself walking with Blake at the end of this. There, I said it. But it’s the truth.”

SEE ‘The Bachelor’ episode 3 recap: Katie wants the truth from her guys and bravely shares her own

Back at the house, the date card went to: Greg, Quartney, Aaron, Mike P., Michael, Andrew M., Josh, Justin, Brendan, James, Connor B., Tre and Hunter. “The Bachelorette’s Bash Ball Battle,” a rugby-meets-basketball showdown, was overseen by former “Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise” contestant Wells Adams and photographer Franco Lacosta. As suspected, the game became aggressive, particularly with Hunter and Justin giving hard body blows and the latter attacking Michael from the back. Due to the physical efforts of both teams, everyone was invited to the after party. At the after-party, during which Michael revealed he is a widower, which was a very touching moment among the guys, Katie ultimately gave the rose to Hunter, who shared photos of his kids with her. “I think he’s two-faced,” Aaron said of Hunter. “He comes off fake. I think a lot of the guys see it. I want to make sure she sees it, too.”

The second one-on-one went to Andrew S., someone Katie said she’s bonded with over a similar upbringing. After a playful, romantic evening in the woods during which they had to answer a series of questions, both grew closer over dinner over discussions of race, specifically interracial dating and having biracial children. “All I want in life is love,” Katie said. “All I want is to have a beautiful family regardless of how they look.” Katie gave him a rose while also curiously sharing the same sentiment heard previously about Blake. “[Andrew] is everything I’m looking for. … With how things went tonight, I could see myself falling in love and walking with Andrew at the end of this. And that feeling is so damn good.”

Going into the rose ceremony, Hunter became the No. 1 target for guys such as James and Tre who hadn’t received the same amount of time or attention. In the end, Andrew M., Quartney and Josh were sent home. And in a rare yet welcomed sign of support among the competitors in any season of “The Bachelorette,” Quartney received heartfelt applause and kind gestures when he exited. Is it finally time for “The Bachelorette” to crown a Mr. Congeniality? I’d say so.

The drama will intensify over the coming weeks promising more surprises and tears. In fact, Blake appears to solidify his spot as a top contender while another mystery man comes on the scene to stir the pot.

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