Katie Thurston's search for love heated up on Monday's episode of The Bachelorette, which consisted of two one-on-one dates and a contentious group date

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This post contains spoilers from Monday's episode of The Bachelorette.

Katie Thurston let freedom ring when she made what she knew would be an unpopular decision among her existing suitors and asked crasher Blake Moynes to join the house last week.

On Monday's episode of The Bachelorette, co-host Tayshia Adams warned the remaining men that their "journey is about to change" and informed them that a new man would be joining the group at Katie's request. Then Blake made his entrance.

"I know all of you don't want to f---ing see me here," Blake said. "I don't like the tension already, I can kind of feel it. The only reason I'm here is because it's Katie. That's it."

To add to the tension, Greg brought in a date card stating that Blake received a coveted one-on-one date with Katie. "This is obviously the best-case scenario for me," Blake said in front of the group. "Am I deserving? To you guys, probably not."

Katie came to pick up Blake for their date and took the other guys' temperatures on how they felt about the new addition. "In our first time meeting and talking in person, there definitely was some good chemistry there," she explained to them of Blake. "And I have to follow my heart in everything that I do, both good and bad."

FIRST ONE-ON-ONE

With that out of the way, Katie and Blake headed out on their date. The duo went horseback riding, even though Blake admitted he had a childhood fear of horses. Out on the trail, Blake talked about how his work takes him away for large chunks of time, and Katie didn't mind that. They also bonded over their love of nature.

The Bachelorette cast
Blake Moynes
| Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

"I kind of feel like I'm supposed to be here," Blake said to Katie. She concurred, "Ultimately, it was the right decision."

They shared their first kiss — a very passionate one — and Katie declared, "You're a good kisser."

Blake asked Katie about how she became so sex-positive and she rehashed the story about the situation on New Year's Eve when she was involved in a non-consensual situation with someone she considered a friend.

"It was just this unhealthy cycle," Katie told Blake. "Eventually, the #MeToo movement happened and it started to give me some power back."

Blake appreciated Katie's openness. "No one deserves to go through that," he said. "I have a new appreciation for who you are and I know how hard it is to talk about. And I hope you know that regardless of what you've kind of been through, I will always be very, very mindful of that topic."

The date reassured Katie's choice to keep Blake around. "After tonight, I know for a fact that I made the right decision," she said in an on-camera interview.

Hoping to continue to see where the relationship could go, Katie offered Blake a rose and they kissed again. The pair finished out the evening by enjoying a private performance from country star Laine Hardy. "Today was just perfect," Katie told the cameras.

GROUP DATE

Greg, Quartney, Aaron, Mike P., Michael A., Andrew M., Josh, Justin, Brendan, James, Connor, Tre and Hunter all got invited on the group date. Bachelor Nation's Wells Adams and TV personality Franco Lacosta revealed the date would be a game of "The Bachelorette Bash Ball Battle." Wells called the game "rugby meets basketball" and said the winning team would receive extra time with Katie.

The Bachelorette
Credit: Craig Sjodin/abc

The men paraded out in skimpy leotards and the game got underway. The guys felt Hunter played too aggressively and eventually Michael A. took a major hit thanks to a play precipitated by the over-the-top level of play. Katie waited by Michael A.'s side as the medics took a look and then she called off the game, saying she considered everyone a winner in her heart and thus wanted both teams to attend the afterparty.

"I was pretty emotional seeing you get hit," Katie told a recuperated Michael A. at the afterparty.

The Bachelorette
Credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin

Michael A. opened up to Katie about it being his late wife's birthday the day before the group date. "It was just kind of a lonely, thoughtful kind of day," the single dad said. "Usually, I spend it with my family. You know, being here, you bring comfort in my life."

Katie and Michael A. kissed and she told the cameras she felt "so good" and "so hopeful" about her prospect for love.

Connor wrote a song for Katie that brought her to tears and Mike P. and Katie shared their first kiss. Then Hunter spoke with Katie about his kids from a previous relationship. Though Hunter said he never introduced his kids to a woman, he deemed his relationship with Katie "very serious at this point." So he showed Katie pictures of the kids and they kissed.

While talking to the first impression rose recipient Greg, Katie admitted, "I'm pretty crazy about you." Greg felt similarly. "I am falling in love with Katie," he told the cameras.

But that development didn't earn Greg the group date rose. Despite Aaron telling Katie that he thought Hunter was responsible for the "aggressive play" that hurt Michael A., she gave the rose to Hunter.

RELATED VIDEO: The Bachelorette's Blake Moynes Reveals What He Said in that Initial DM to Katie Thurston

SECOND ONE-ON-ONE

For her last one-on-one of the week, Katie ventured into the woods at night with Andrew S. They partook in challenges like showing off their signature dance moves, imitating sounds from the wild, planning their perfect day and sharing what they learned from their parents' relationships.

"I learned not to leave my partner hanging, even when things are tough," Andrew S. said.

The Bachelorette suitors
Credit: Craig Sjodin/abc

As for Katie's lesson: "I learned to not settle," she said. "Marriage is meant to be forever."

Katie said in an on-camera interview that she loved "the energy" she and Andrew S. had between them. "I hope tonight is the start of falling for him," she added.

When they sat down to talk, Andrew S. told Katie about his dad going to jail as a kid and finding football as an outlet to cope. But sometimes, he admitted, the sport left him longing for his father.

"I would always see fathers come down, congratulate their son and I kind of looked in the stands for someone to be like, 'Hey, yeah, you did really well!'" the pro football player confessed. "I had a really good game and nothing."

As a result, Andrew S. said he wanted to always be there for his future kids. "There's not a chance in the world that I'm going to miss any moment, whether that's a band concert, whatever it is, it doesn't matter," he continued. "I'm going to be there for my kid because that's all that matters to me."

The sentiment resonated with Katie, too, as a child of divorced parents. "That was me as well," she said.

When it comes to having kids, Andrew S. revealed that an ex who he considered marrying expressed concern about having biracial children.

"She was worried about going to a grocery store and someone asking, 'Are these your kids?' And they not look like her," Andrew S. recalled. "And that was tough for me. That was the woman that I thought I was going to propose to soon and hearing that, it was tough."

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Katie assured Andrew S. that she did not share the same worry.

"No one's going to come between what beautiful children that you and I could make," she said. "That has never crossed my mind and maybe that's because I'm native as a white woman, you know, but — and maybe that's just in the community that I live in — I've never had to think that way because to me, all I want in life is love. All I want is to have a beautiful family regardless of how they look."

That caused Andrew S. to confess, "I've really fallen for your heart."

And later on in the hot tub, Katie gave Andrew S. a rose. "He is everything I'm looking for," she told the cameras. "With how things went tonight, I could see myself falling in love and walking with Andrew at the end of this."

ROSE CEREMONY

"I do see my husband in this room," Katie told the men ahead of the cocktail party.

The party went pretty smoothly, with the exception of Hunter grabbing time with Katie even though he already had a rose.

The software strategist showed Katie his telescope that he brought from home; But having decided Hunter already received enough time with the Bachelorette, James crashed Hunter and Katie's moment under the stars. Hunter refused to give up his time, so James tried one more time and finally got some one-on-one time with Katie, during which he stated he was starting to have feelings for her.

The Bachelorette suitors
Credit: Craig Sjodin/abc

When Hunter rejoined the group, he and Tre got into it over the fact that Hunter took additional time with Katie despite previously locking in another week in the house. Hunter simply didn't care. "I'm focused on Katie," he said in an on-camera interview. "I don't give a s---."

At the rose ceremony, Katie gave roses Greg, Aaron, Michael A., Connor, James, Justin, Mike P., Brendan and Tre. That meant Andrew M., Josh and Quartney went home.

The Bachelorette airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.