The bank marketing manager sent one man home early after his intentions were questioned.
Karl, however, began stirring the pot shortly thereafter, likening the show to The Hunger Games and saying that he's "prepared to fight to the death" to win.
It got uncomfortable next, as Katie's first group date kicked off with the help of Heather McDonald. The comedian informed the guys that they'd be giving a presentation about why they'll be "the greatest lover" for Katie, something which gave Mike, who's a virgin, some nerves.
"I knew I was going to be put in this situation this way that was going to be challenging. I didn’t think it’d come this quick, to be honest," he said. "I have no problem talking about the fact that I’m waiting until marriage. I’m more worried about showing her how much it means to me and showing her how much I thought about her throughout this whole process."
"This is not something I take lightly. I won’t compromise that," Mike continued. "I think the most devastating thing that can happen out of this is if Katie didn’t hear my heart and didn’t understand where I was coming from… If Katie can’t accept that I’m a virgin, I think I’ll probably end up going home."
After Connor B. performed a song about his sexual prowess, Christian ripped off his pants, Tre put on a dirty puppet show, Quartney compared his manhood to a carrot, Thomas told Katie she could do away with her vibrator, James stripped down, and after Karl was asked to leave the stage for taking too long, it was Mike's turn.
The gym owner opted to read Katie a letter to his future wife, in which he revealed that he's saving himself for marriage.
"I’ve always wanted you to feel so loved and honored, and the best way for me to show you this is by saving myself for you," he said in part. "… I would wait another 31 years to have sex if it was what proved to you that I would sacrifice everything for you to feel loved and secure. That is why I would be the greatest lover for you."
Katie thought the whole thing was "beautiful," and declared Mike the winner of the competition.
During the after-party, Connor B. and Thomas got kisses from Katie, and Karl reflected on his "fire" chemistry with her. When the rose went to Thomas instead of Karl, though, the latter man admitted to being "pissed."
First impression rose winner Greg nabbed the one-on-one date of the week, and his connection with Katie only grew. The pair went fishing during their alone time, a date that Katie considered "intimate and special" because it was something she used to do with her late dad.
Katie gushed that Greg's "so easy to be around" as she opened up about her father, and the feeling was definitely mutual. As the date moved into its nighttime portion, Greg emotionally revealed that he'd lost his dad too.
"I wish he knew who I was here for. I wish I could’ve told him beforehand. It does hurt a lot that he’s not going to see the girl that I marry," he said through tears. " … Ever since my dad died, it’s been hard to give myself to someone."
Katie and Greg shared a touching hug after their heart-to-heart, and the Bachelorette offered him a rose just before fireworks broke out around them.
The second group date began with a bang, as hosts Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams noisily woke up the men for their cowboy-themed adventure. After Katie admitted that the cowboy hats and flannel shirts were "hotter that I expected," the guys ripped off those shirts to mud wrestle.
Friendly competition ensued from there, and the jovial feeling lasted until it was Aaron and Cody's turn. As they got ready to wrestle, Aaron revealed that he knew Cody from back home and was not "a fan."
When Aaron won the match and some extra time with Katie, she was quick to question the obvious "tension" between the men.
"I know he really wants to become famous or get on the show for those reasons. The way he handles situations, to me, I find disturbing… It’s malicious. It’s just not energy I want around me," Aaron explained. "I wouldn’t say he’s necessarily a piece of s**t, but there’s always that concern there."
During the nighttime portion of the date, Katie pulled Cody aside, and he told her that he was "unsure" why Aaron was speaking negatively about him. Katie didn't buy it, though, saying in the confessional that Cody had appeared rehearsed, not genuine or offended, which she considered to be a "red flag."
After Katie sent Cody home without incident, Andrew S. made his way over to her to offer comfort. The two ended up having a deep conversation, during which they bonded over being poor as kids, and sharing a kiss.
When the cocktail party arrived, Katie assured single dad Michael of her feelings after he didn't get a date, expressed her interest in Thomas, and got a shock from Karl when he questioned if everyone in the house was being "100 percent transparent," a claim that made her confront all of her men.
"I’m honestly shaking right now. I made my intentions very clear about why I’m here. And tonight, a bomb was dropped on me about multiple people still here for the wrong f**king reason," she said while getting choked up. "I don’t know how clear I can be about my intentions and my time, but if you are not here for me, if you are not here for an engagement, then get the f**k out."
"I don’t know who is here for the wrong reason, but from what I’ve been told, there are multiple people I should be looking out for," she continued. "For some of you this might be a platform, but I’m not here to waste my time."
After her speech, Katie tried unsuccessfully to get to the bottom of everything with Aaron's help, as the guys confronted Karl over what he'd said to Katie.
When a seething Aaron returned from his emotionally charged chat with Katie, he told Karl, "[This is] the f**king stupidest s**t. There was nothing there. There were no grounds. That was the dumbest thing you could’ve possibly done."
Tre echoed the sentiment, telling Karl to be "a grown a** man," as the episode ended with Katie crying alone.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays on ABC.