NEW YORK -- It's Week 3 of "The Golden Bachelor," which means connections are really starting to form. The women are not just forming stronger relationships with Gerry, but with each other as well. April, Susan, Kathy, and Nancy have developed a friend group. They refer to themselves as "ASKN." Kathy says their group motto is "You're ASKN, we're telling." For the rest of the women, Leslie says, the vibe is "camaraderie," but they all have to protect their own hearts.
Jesse stops by the mansion to tell the 12 women left that they are all invited on today's group date, and it's a Talent Show! Former Bachelorette and Bachelor Nation royalty Kaitlyn Bristowe stops by to help judge the competition. Whoever wins the Talent Show gets an intimate one-on-one dinner at the end of the day. Many of the women are anxious leading up to their performances, but they prove that even talent gets better with age. We see nine of the twelve women perform their talents:
Ellen: Teaching sex education
Faith: Singing (and playing the guitar)
Nancy: Whipped cream catching
Leslie: Dancing (and she bakes too)
Leslie, who dances regularly, seems to be the initial star of the show. However, Joan's performance blows everyone away. Joan was the most nervous heading into this group date, but she decided to own her nerves. She reads a poem she wrote called 'I Just Hope I Don't Vomit on Your Shoes.' Her poem was so compelling, that Gerry decided to take her to dinner.
Even though Joan beats out the other women, they are all rooting for each other throughout the show. And even though some of them may have had stronger talents than others, "There is always botox," April said.
Joan and Gerry connected last week about the fact that both of them had lost their spouses. Joan says even though she was scared while reading her poem, she felt like Gerry was rooting for her. Joan accepts the rose from Gerry, and it really seems as though the two of them are developing a strong connection.
The morning after her magical dinner with Gerry, we see Joan very emotional on the phone with her daughter. Her daughter recently gave birth, and Joan says that she needs to go home to be with her.
"Once you become a mom, you are always a mom... nothing is more important," she said.
As Joan says goodbye to the women, Gerry is still riding high.
"I woke up this morning feeling like a million bucks," he said. And then, famous last words, "Going forward, I don't expect problems," he said.
Before Gerry steps foot in the mansion, Joan meets him outside to break the news. They sit on a bench together, and she tells Gerry that the night before was one of the best nights of her life. For the first time, she says, she was able to envision life with someone other than her husband. And Gerry, with his kind heart, starts to cry, but he says he understands.
"I get it. I understand, but I can't tell you how disappointed I am," he said. "I was so excited this morning; I was out of bed dancing. I was thrilled that we had a conversation like we did. There's a moral compass that we both share and sometimes the right thing to do is the hardest."
They kiss each other goodbye, and Gerry continues to cry by himself on the bench.
In her car ride home, Joan shares that even though she is sad to leave, she is very happy with her journey on the show.
"I hope one of my good friends back there gets to spend their life with him because I think he's worth it," she said. "My heart maybe got a little fix from Gerry. He helped. He's helped with the journey because as you get older, you become more invisible. People don't see you anymore like you are not as significant as when you are young."
Fashion designer Michael Costello enters the mansion to tell the women Ellen will be going on a one-on-one date with Gerry. Before the date, Costello styles Ellen which Gerry says "she truly deserves." The final look is a stunning pink gown, "but what completed her look was the big smile on her face," Gerry says. On the date, Gerry gives Ellen a pair of Neil Lane earrings to compliment her necklace before they head up in a hot air balloon. They share a passionate kiss 100 feet up in the air.
"There's a fire in that balloon, that's what I felt," said Ellen. "A spark is not even close."
Back at the mansion, unbeknownst to Theresa, tensions are starting to rise between her and Kathy. Kathy feels as though Theresa is gloating about her relationship with Gerry. April, as Kathy's friend, decides to address all the women. April says everyone should act with "dignity and respect" and keep their mouth shut if they have an intimate moment with Gerry. Theresa worries that April is talking about her since she had the first one-on-one date with Gerry, so she pulls April to talk. April tells Theresa that she needs to take this issue up with Kathy.
Meanwhile, Kathy is talking to Gerry and starts to cry. She tells him that there has been a lot of "meanness" towards her in the last 24 hours, but she just wants Gerry to be happy. Gerry is touched that she opened up to him and impressed that she put his feelings first, so he decides to give her a rose before the ceremony.
When Kathy rejoins the women, Theresa pulls her to talk. Kathy tells Theresa that she feels like she is being dismissed, and that Theresa feels who ends up with Gerry (a.k.a Theresa) is a "forgone conclusion." Theresa apologizes profusely and tells Kathy she feels horrible.
The other women in the house are not here for the drama.
"We're adults. We are not 20-something-year-olds," said Susan.
"I did not really expect the drama... I don't really want to hear about it," said Leslie. "I just turned down my hearing aids."
Gerry is not a fan of the drama either. He goes to Theresa's room to check on her. He is surprised to know that Theresa is the person who Kathy was talking about considering how kind he feels Theresa is.
"If you, in your heart don't believe that you were boastful, you don't believe that you were doing anything to hurt someone, then I think you should let it go."
1) Ellen (one-on-one date)
2) Kathy (cocktail party)
Theresa turns to Kathy at the end of the Rose Ceremony in an attempt to connect with her, asking if she had a good day. When Kathy shares she spent most of the day crying, Theresa tries to relate by saying she cried too. She also shared that Gerry came to visit her while she was crying in her room.
"That is the kind of stuff you need to keep to yourself," Kathy said.
It does not seem like Kathy will be able to drop the drama with Theresa any time soon.
"I think Theresa is a nice person," Kathy said. "What I can't figure out is if she is as dumb as a rock or knows exactly what she is doing."
As connections are starting to get more serious for Gerry, this Rose Ceremony seemed a little bit easier for him. He did not cry when he said goodbye to Edith and Cristina like he did last week.
Coming up, we'll see the women play pickleball and the drama between Kathy and Theresa escalates further. "I want to ring the little one's neck, but he likes her," we hear someone say in the preview. The women have been very supportive of each other so far, but next week we might start to see some division develop in the house.
"The Golden Bachelor" airs Thursday nights with "Bachelor in Paradise" following on ABC.