Katie Thurston started falling for Hunter Montgomery on the July 5 episode of The Bachelorette, but back at the house, the other guys were growing weary of him. Those feelings intensified during the July 12 episode, and the truth came out during an intense group date. The date required the men to roast each other with help from two drag queens, and Hunter was the butt of the majority of jokes throughout the day.
However, it was when one of the drag queens asked him how he felt about Katie that the claws really came out. Hunter claimed that he was “falling in love” with the Bachelorette while onstage during the roast. Beforehand, though, while talking to the drag queens backstage, he had admitted that he wasn’t really to say those words just yet. Tre Cooper called him out for this in front of Katie, and she began to have concerns of her own.
Those concerns were intensified during the nighttime portion of the date, when various men brought up Hunter’s behavior while spending one-on-one time with Katie. “I’d hate to see you heartbroken by the wrong person,” James Bonsall said. “Between you and I, I’m just noticing a lack of consistency with Hunter. I see his behavior as almost calculated, specifically. Today, he expressed that he’s falling for you and the timing and circumstance raises concerns for me.” James also compared Hunter to Thomas Jacobs, who Katie eliminated earlier this season when she found out he wasn’t on the show for the right reasons.
Tre and Aaron Clancy expressed similar concerns, and it left Katie feeling “very conflicted” because Hunter was someone she was starting to form a “connection” with. She decided to confront Hunter herself. “The part that is scary for me, especially because we do have a connection, is phrases like ‘being calculated,'” she explained. “Someone else compared you to Thomas. The fact that it’s more than one guy is the part that really sucks for me.”
Hunter was pretty caught off guard, and tried to defend himself. “I don’t blame you for wanting to look into that,” he admitted. “As far as being calculated, I’ve focused on you and only you. So I’m not being calculated. I don’t know what else I can say to defend myself. I think you’ve also seen people kind of get ganged up on. I’m trying my best to be an adult.”
Katie was clearly frustrated and upset by the end of the evening, to the point where she became physically ill. She decided to call off the rest of the date and ended the night before giving anyone a rose. She didn’t see the guys again until the cocktail party before the rose ceremony, which was days later. At that point, Katie actually decided to cancel the cocktail party.
“I’m at the point where time really isn’t going to make a difference tonight,” she revealed. “I have strong relationships with men in this room and I owe it to them, I owe it to myself to just be very intentional with where my heart is and what I want to do with my time going forward. That being said, the cocktail party is cancelled. I know within my heart exactly what I want to do going forward.”
At the rose ceremony, Katie pulled Hunter aside to talk one-on-one. She told him that her decision to cut the group date short had a lot to do with him. “It was not supposed to be like that,” Hunter assured her. “I thought about that moment a lot of times in my head. I didn’t get up and write you a love letter the morning after I met you because I wanted to make it another week — I did it because I was on fire with emotions. I wanted you to know, in that moment, this is how I feel.”
Katie insisted that she just wanted clarity from Hunter, and she sent him back inside to continue with the rose ceremony. “I’m at a point where I’m so ready to move forward and really start to fall in love,” she told the group. “I don’t have time to allow anyone to play catch up. I don’t have time for the drama. I’m just ready to find my person.”
In the end, Katie eliminated Hunter, as well as THREE other guys —Aaron, Tre and James. With Justin having a rose from the group date and Connor Brennan already being eliminated earlier in the episode, that narrowed the group from 12 to seven. The Bachelorette continues on July 19 on ABC.