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‘The Golden Bachelor’ Recap: Diva Down

The ladies leave it all out on the court in The Golden Bachelor’s fourth episode. The pickleball court, that is.

Now, for those not in the know, pickleball is the cult-like pastime sweeping the nation, infecting our elder population and convincing men with bad backs and women with knee replacements that hard court surfaces are their friend. The producers, sensing an opportunity to entertain the masses via the threat of bodily harm, set up a tournament, hosted by Bachelor Nation ambassadors like Trista Sutter and so, the senior citizen Squid Games commence.

After some rigorous exercise — and a thrilling back-and-forth volley of insults between Kathy and Theresa — some of the girls retire to the house for a game of Never Have I Ever that turns dangerous for the digestive system. Meanwhile, one lucky woman gets to sit in a lukewarm tub of water out in the California desert with a man who is surprisingly confident showing off his fading big cat tattoo. We’re halfway through the season and some tough choices must now be made, but is Gerry the one to make em? We’ll see.

Winner – Absentee Moms

Unlike Joan, who dropped Gerry like a wheel of rotten cheese the second her daughter phoned with news of her tough pregnancy, Sandra is in this battle for a retired pickleball enthusiast’s affections for the long haul. Her dedication on the court, her willingness to sacrifice both her body and her relationship with one of her children, and her commitment to proving she can hang during a social game of truths and ice cream shots despite being lactose intolerant should tell us, and Gerry, all we need to know. Sandra’s not leaving this show unless it’s in a body bag — or, ya know, if she’s forced to consume more dairy.

Loser – Chicken Queens Everywhere

April never had much in common with Gerry but she stayed alive in this love game thanks to her instinctual ability to pull focus, command a room, and approach flirting like it’s an Olympic sport. She displays her skills during the group’s pickleball warm-up, dramatically falling to the ground the second her bird-like frame feels the touch of a light breeze. Her weak ankles may be sabotaging her hopes of impressing Gerry in a game of sweaty balls and unladylike grunting, but April is nothing if not selfless. She tells the girls to get back in there while she replenishes her strength by bodying up to the aging hunk of meat everyone wants a piece of. “Actually, I am totally fine” should’ve been April’s last words before she stole everyone’s man. Gerry just didn’t deserve her, or her chickens.

Winner – Theresa’s “I’m The Victim Here” Strategy

Theresa may play dumb, with her limp-limbed aerobic routines and her weaponized inability to read the room, but she continues to bring up her first date with Gerry every chance she gets. That, coupled with the fact that she’s constantly pulling Kathy aside to dredge up water supposedly under the bridge has us questioning whether she’s this season’s manipulative mastermind or just obtuse AF. The jury’s still out but her crocodile tears work on Gerry after she relays how forcefully Kathy cautioned her to “zip it” when it comes to the intimate details of her relationship with the man every woman in the house is falling for. Maybe it’s just us, but if a woman telling you to talk less causes you to melt into a puddle of raw emotions like that, maybe a reality romance competition is not the right environment for you.

Loser – Kathy’s Friendly Advice

Unfortunately for Kathy, she never had the kind of connection Theresa and the other girls have with this retired Captain America so lashing out at women who caught his eye was never going to end well for her. She’s too strong-willed and confrontational for a milksop like Gerry Turner, but she was also too sensitive to cohabitate with her romantic rivals which might be why discussions about solo dates and first-impression roses struck such an exposed nerve.

Winner – Crystals

In a surprise move, Gerry proved himself to be a crystal girlie by gifting Susan a rock of rose quartz in a gesture that felt surprisingly romantic and new age. Like his wife, her greatest qualities in his eyes are her empathetic nature and quiet strength — which is either the greatest compliment or the shadiest dig at her 7 a.m. chicken piccata.

Loser – Stress Fractures

Save for Ellen, none of the girls were particularly gifted in the art of pickleball-ing, but Sandra fared the worse, showing up for a cocktail hour in a mid-shin-reaching boot. She did what Gerry couldn’t do, calling out the imbalance in his feelings for her compared to the other women, eventually removing herself from the competition before the rose ceremony started. No man is worth a stress fracture, but especially not one whose idea of romance is a dirty ATV ride and a dip in a stock tank. Leslie can have him.