Why Gerry’s ‘Golden Bachelor’ Fantasy Suite Episode Had Me Screaming

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Before I critique America’s Grandzaddy Gerry Turner, let me start by acknowledging that I don’t think we could have asked for a more perfect inaugural Golden Guy. The 72-year-old has displayed a brilliant blend of wisdom, humor, gratitude, grace, and empathy since Night 1. He’s easy on the eyes, but stays humble and approachable. And from each emotional goodbye, it’s clear he loves hard.

That said, as we watch the final days of Gerry’s Golden Bachelor journey — when emotions and stakes are higher than ever before — it seems he’s a little too committed to living, acting, and feeling in the moment. Like Hometown Week before it, Gerry’s Fantasy Suite episode left me screaming in frustration on behalf of his remaining women. And ahead of the highly-anticipated finale and proposal week, I just can’t imagine him sending either of these ladies home.

Being present on this once-in-a-lifetime journey and staying true to his authentic emotions is obviously important. But like every lead, Gerry also needs to remember that he isn’t the only one along for the ride. Since he holds the power to keep or send contestants home, he could have minimized the emotional destruction of these women by choosing his words more carefully and keeping some feelings to himself until he decided on The One. But from Hometown Dates to Fantasy Suites, Gerry poured his heart out to each woman, making them all feel like they’d be his final pick. And as longtime members of Bachelor Nation know from watching former leads like Ben Higgins tell multiple women he loved them in Fantasy Suites, that’s just not cool!

Leslie Fhima and Theresa Nist on 'The Golden Bachelor'
Photo: Disney/John Fleenor

We first saw Gerry’s careless — albeit truthful at the time — words and actions crush Faith Martin at the Hometown Rose ceremony. After telling her he loved her in front of her entire family and promising to protect her emotions, he sent her home. And the elimination hit extra hard, because Gerry also told cameras he only wanted to say “I love you” to one other woman in his lifetime. His admission to Faith felt monumental, especially because he hadn’t told Theresa he was in love with her, so she seemed like the logical goodbye. But alas, Faith was sent packing.

On his Fantasy Suite dates, Gerry slipped up again by reassuring both Leslie Fhima and Theresa Nist that he was in love and could see a life outside of the show with them. He finally told Theresa he loved her during their off-camera night together, then told cameras that waking up with her felt like “the first day of the rest of his life.” But he also said Leslie could “certainly be the person” he spends the rest of his life with and told her — wait for it — “I think you’re the one!” (Imagine if she’s not, in fact, the one after all of this?! I’m cringing just thinking about it!)

Earlier in the season, Gerry told Theresa the advice former Bachelorette Trista gave him: “Stop looking for the woman you can live with and start looking for the woman you can’t live without.” It seemed telling that he shared those words with Theresa, but during their Fantasy Suite dinner, he shared them with Leslie as well! Then, he added, “I think you’re that. You get it. It’s like, I have to have you with morning coffee. I have to have you when I go to bed at night. And in between you can have free time… But I think there’s no one else I’d rather try to figure it out with.” HMM…

A photo of Theresa Nist and Gerry Turner beside a photo of Gerry Turner and Leslie Fhima on 'The Golden Bachelor'
Photo: Disney/John Fleenor

Gerry, my guy, what the heck are you doing? You’re leading both of these women on and giving them each reason to think they’re being proposed to at the end of this journey. Heartbreak is always a risk and often a reality this late into one of the franchise’s shows, but this man is truly going out of his way to offer definitive, reassuring statements to both Leslie and Theresa, when — in the words of former contestant Kathy — he could easily “ZIP IT” and help minimize future devastation.

Ahead of the finale, Gerry told cameras he felt like he was “dying inside.” And sir, I see why! “I’m in love with both of them, and in each case I’ve told them ‘I love you.’ With each of them I can see a life together. Life with Leslie would be a very exciting life. She’s adventurous, and she looks out for me, and I look out for her. But Theresa and I have this bond. We know what the other person is feeling. We know what they’ve been through,” Gerry explained. “This is an impossible task at the moment. Someone is going to come out of this situation hurt beyond what I can imagine.”

It’s fully understandable that Gerry would be torn and overwhelmed by his feelings for these phenomenal women. It’s his first time navigating multiple romantic relationships on such a public platform, and there’s no guidebook for the journey. So I feel for him, I do. But I also feel for these women and don’t think it’s too much to ask for him to be a little more self-aware of the situation. Previews for the finale show Gerry breaking down in tears, explaining that the only time he’s been in more pain is when his wife died. And though a goodbye to a runner-up will always hurt, I’m sure sending Leslie or Theresa home would have been less agonizing for both parties had Gerry not put everything out there during Fantasy Suite Week.

Unfortunately, Gerry did not consult with me ahead of Fantasy Suite dates, so what’s done is done. Brace yourselves, Bachelor Nation. It’s time to get hurt again.

The Golden Bachelor finale premieres Thursday, November 30 on ABC at 8:00 p.m. with next-day streaming on Hulu.