Welcome back Bachelorette Nation! Rachel finally got a chance to meet Matt and Adam last week and as a result of we have our final four – aka “Hometowns”. There is sure to be drama, disapproving parents, some tears and perhaps gong meditation? Hometowns are already awesome but this season’s appear to be extra special – let’s get to the action!
Hometown 1: Eric in Baltimore, MD
Eric opens up the hometown date by telling us a little about where he’s from. He lets us know that Baltimore is known for being a pretty tough place due to the crime issues that the city faces (no shit). Rachel and he begin the date by visiting the basketball court he grew up playing at. Big ups to Rachel for playing in heels and somehow looking good doing it.
Rachel and Eric go to meet his family and off the bat there is a great vibe. Rachel first spends some time with Verna, Eric’s aunt who cuts right to the chase and asks Rachel what it’s like being the first black Bachelorette. She responds honestly about the challenges and how it feels. I dare you to think of a more authentic Bachelorette (or Bachelor) – it’s honestly a breath of fresh air on this ridiculous show that we all love.
#Realtalk with Eric’s parents
Next we witness some truly raw conversations with Eric’s parents. Eric and his mom, Karen, talk about how they didn’t always have the closest relationship. She tells him there are great men in their family, but they didn’t always reach their potential. Her way of loving him was to push him because she wanted more for him We then get footage of Eric and his dad talking about Rachel and how her upbringing was essentially the opposite of him. His dad expresses regret for putting Eric through what he did. We don’t get a lot of details but Eric refers to what his dad “did in the streets”.
We got nice moments with Eric and his parents expressing their love for one another followed by a family meal. If we didn’t get some of this family history, you would never have guessed Eric a rough childhood. Overall, it seemed like a great hometown date and only made me respect Eric that much more for overcoming a tough situation. He ends with a pseudo-weak “I feel love for you” which checks a critical box for hometown dates.
Hometown 2: Bryan in Miami, FL
Bryan, the Make-out King, opens the date up by quoting Will Smith, “Bienvenidos a Miami!” He wastes no time repulsing the viewing audience with his aggressive smooches. They first visit “Domino Park” to play with some professional domino players (I guess this is a thing?). The producers lean way into the whole dancing around the city bit as they show off their moves in a few places before sitting down to prep for the family meeting.
Bryan and Rachel show up to his parent’s home and immediately it’s super awkward. Bryan told Rachel (and #Bachelornation) that his last relationship fell apart because his mom and his ex didn’t get along. Bryan’s mom, Olga, looks uncomfortable right away and tells Rachel that Bryan is the most precious thing in her life. Hey, have fun fighting over the holidays!
During Bryan and his mom’s 1:1 time, it takes about 20 seconds for his mom to say if Rachel messes with her, it will be a problem. Olga and Rachel next have their 1:1 time and literally she tells Rachel that she has a warning for her – when you marry someone, you marry their family too. Things lighten up a bit when she tells Rachel that if he’s happy, she’s happy. She also tells her that if he’s not, she’ll kill her. Rachel laughs at this “joke” but I didn’t see much of a smile from Olga. Let’s just say I wouldn’t test her.
Bryan, being the gamer that he is, ends the date by saying that he’s in love with Rachel. Strong move, kemosabe.
Hometown 3: Peter in Madison, WI
What else is there to say except, “SWOON”. Peter and Rachel start their day off by walking through a farmer’s market and checking out the art museum. Peter claims that “this is [him]” every Saturday. Come on man – we get it, you’re perfect.
Peter and Rachel sit down for some drinks with 4 of his friends. Peter and the 2 guys go off to talk while the 2 girlfriends and Rachel have some girl talk. He tells his guy friends in private that he’s terrified of proposing because he only wants to do it once and doesn’t want to have any doubts. This is the classic ABC move of making the front runner look like they are unsure. We’re on to you and I’m not buying it.
Peter = father material
We get to his family’s home and meet the whole gang. Peter immediately pulls off the power move of sitting with his adorable niece and playing with her during the intros. For Rachel (who wants 4 kids) it’s taking all of her willpower not to immediately elope with Peter. Rachel sits down with Peter’s mom and talks about whether or not he’s ready for marriage. She thinks that he’s ready, but isn’t sure if he’ll propose. COME ON MOM! It’s almost like the producers told her, “say Peter may not propose because it’s Rachel’s biggest fear”…
We close out the date with some 1:1 time on Peter’s stoop before Rachel heads to her last date. Peter tells us in the interview that he wants things to move forward but isn’t sure what it’s going to take. “He’s not there yet”. While I so appreciate someone not saying they’re in love after spending 6 weeks with another person, it could turn into a problem. However, I’m more inclined to say it’s all a big producer-lead ruse.
Hometown 4: Dean in Aspen, CO
Rachel arrives in Aspen to hang out with Dean for her last hometown date of the week. Dean and her start the date by riding on some ATVs which looks pretty fun. Side note, it’s obvious the producers forgot to rent helmets with the quads as the two of them are wearing what looks to be children’s bike helmets while riding around. Oops.
We arrive at Dean’s father’s house and he freezes up just before the door. After gathering himself, they enter the house to find his siblings along with his dad and step-mom who are in Sikh garb. After some tense hellos, Dean’s dad invites everyone to lay down on the floor for some gong meditation. At this point, Dean’s skeleton is trying to jump out of his body. In a moving moment though, Dean’s dad presents he and Rachel with feathers which he tells us are a symbol of his mother. For all of the walls that his dad has apparently built since the death of his wife, this was a nice moment.
Maybe Dean’s fears were justified
Dean’s dad looks like a man who is absolutely broken over the death of his life partner. He probably wasn’t there in the way that Dean wanted him to be, but he hasn’t coped with it well for himself either. He ran away into Sikhism and reinvented himself, but the pain is there as soon as he scratched the surface in giving Dean and Rachel those feathers.
It was terrible to watch Dean try to talk about what he was feeling with his dad. It was equally terrible that Rachel had to then try to talk to Dean’s dad in the normal Bachelorette way afterward. Dean’s dad cut it off pretty quickly but let Rachel know that he likes her and would welcome him back to his home if she and Dean stay together. Tonight just wasn’t the night to get to know each other. Good on him to not participate.
Shame on ABC for making them go through this onscreen, and shame on them twice for playing it up as the weird date. Even thought it was certainly the date that went sideways, it wasn’t really something that #bachelorettenation needed to witness. It wasn’t Lee/Kenny bad, but it was still more uncomfortable than fun.
The Rose Ceremony: Who goes home?
Rachel sits down with Chris Harrison to recap the week. We get the stock responses on the first 3 dates but when Rachel tells Chris that their date was the first time that Dean’s family was under the same roof in 8 years, I can’t help but think again that entire 20 minutes of TV was wildly inappropriate. The Bachelorette just isn’t the place for serious family issues to be confronted.
We get to the roses and as always at this point, it’s an emotional ceremony. We eventually say goodbye to Dean but honestly it’s probably for the best. To some extent he’s still the 15-year-old who refuses to forgive his dad for not being there. Dean needs a good therapist, not a free trip to Spain.
Dean and Rachel talk and she lets him know that there are questions of if he’s ready for this. I think part of this has to do with his immaturity but some of it has to be related to the emotional scars that are still very real for Dean.
We’re down to the final three which means next week are the “Fantasy Suite” dates. Clearly, we can’t wait.
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