It’s Hometown Date Night on “The Bachelor” — one of our favorite episodes every season. We’re always hopeful we’ll see something as wacky as the taxidermy dad or the bird funeral, so fingers crossed!
We jump right in, heading to Houston for AshLee’s date. AshLee voiceovers about not knowing what true love was until Sean. That … hmm. Not to say she can’t be in love with him at this point, but how could you actually say that if you knew he was dating all these other women?
Her dad’s a pastor! I was going to write how intimidating that would be, but turns out Sean’s dad is a reverend. So, match made in heaven, as it were. These two are almost too much with the schmoopy. He doesn’t seem this schmoopy with the other women.
“The man to protect my heart” — somewhere, Kasey’s tattoo itches.
They head to AshLee’s house and meet her parents for an outdoor meal. At first, AshLee perhaps overshares about the romance aspect of the journey so far. Her dad does not seem amused.
When Deborah, AshLee’s mom, takes Sean off, she point-blank wants to know if he’s going to break her daughter’s heart. Sean says, “No, ma’am. It’s certainly not my intention.” Hmm. And yet, three girls are going home before the end.
Sean sits down with AshLee’s dad Bruce and Sean interestingly brings up AshLee’s teen marriage and why they allowed it. Bruce gives a good answer about worrying about what she would have done if he hadn’t signed off on the marriage and that he might do it differently if he had it to do over again. It’s a surprising conversation for these typical hometowns.
Bruce then does give his blessing, more or less. He then talks about falling in love with little 4-year-old AshLee when they adopted her and, um, is it getting a little dusty in here?
When Sean goes to leave, AshLee voiceovers that they’re in love and she’s ready to marry him, like, now. Wow. She’s going to take it really hard if she’s not the one.
Now we whisk off to Seattle, where Sean and Catherine have fun on the city streets, including fish-tossing at the market. Ew. Also, these two are really fun together and Catherine seems great and is super beautiful, but we just don’t see much of a romantic spark between them. They seem like friends more than luvahs.
She then squees over his “big, beefy arms,” which is just a personal icky thing for us, but we hate when men are described as “beefy.” Then there’s some dorky dancing and a disgusting bubble gum wall.
Sean is meeting Catherine’s mom and grandma, but then also her two sisters are there. He jumps right in with rolling Filipino egg rolls with her mom, then weirdly does push-ups for everybody. (I’m assuming that was Catherine egging him on, and not just Sean randomly busting those out.)
Her sisters kind of grill her about if she’d marry him. She says she would say “yeah” to a proposal because she wants to “try things out.” Hmm. That should be the reaction to being asked on a second date, not for your hand in marriage (though we harbor no illusions about how the “winning” couple definitely gets to know each other better after the show wraps).
The sisters are skeptical, but Catherine insists she would not have dragged them into it if she didn’t care for Sean. But the sisters kind of convey to Sean how they don’t necessarily think Catherine’s ready to settle down.
Her mom then warns Sean not to lead Catherine on and she doesn’t really give her blessing about proposing. This is … not the easy family time that he had with AshLee. Catherine is understandably nervous after how that went.
Now we’ve got the girl where it seems like the basis for their spark is making out, so maybe they’ll show us some more depth this time around. Lindsay’s hometown is Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, because her dad’s a two-star Army general. That’s intimidating.
Maybe Sean should lead with how his little girl came up to Sean on night one wearing a wedding dress.
They walk around Lindsay’s town square and they come upon a business and she goes, “I used to work here” and it’s a strip club. No, it’s not. It’s a restaurant. But it would’ve been awesome if she did that as a funny joke.
He wonders what he should call Lindsay’s dad (“mister” or “general”) and she goes, “Call him Mark.” Um, no. A guy with Sean’s manners is not going to call a girl’s dad by his first name without being told to by the man himself.
Then to add to how weird I find this couple, she makes him put on some Army duds, mock yells at him about kissing other girls, smacks him on the butt and then makes him do push-ups and sit-ups and kiss her. Just like in basic.
At Lindsay’s house, it’s her parents plus a little brother. Lindsay voiceovers that if her dad didn’t like Sean, that would be a dealbreaker.
Then Sean leads with the wedding dress! Ahahaha! Her mom seems delightful, she’s cracking up. Lindsay’s dad seems less amused. It’s great how her mom is judging Sean based on how happy her daughter looks, because that’s important and a huge indicator.
Things go well with them, and Sean astutely observes that Lindsay’s mom would make a great mother-in-law. For sure. She seems terrific. But then it’s dad time. It goes alright at first, but then Sean asks for his blessing if he wants to propose and Mark … blathers on about a paratrooper thing and then gives his blessing, as long as Lindsay says yes.
Honestly, I’m surprised anybody ever gives their blessing on these dates — they get only a couple hours to get to know Sean and they know he’s dating other women. How could you give that blessing in this situation?
Mark then gives Sean a set of dog tags. Huh. That went way better than I was expecting.
I’m still not sure I see the same chemistry as he has with AshLee, but he seems to fit with Lindsay’s family the best so far.
This promises to be a doozy. But first … Dez runs into Sean while out for a jog? Why is she dressed like that? Oh, they’re going hiking. OK. Anyway, they head to Dez’s home (not her parents’ home) and they cook dinner for her family, it’s very cute.
But before her family comes over, a guy knocks on the door and wants to talk to her, asking the cameras to be turned off. He then just blurts out that he loves her and says he’s been calling and texting — what? And then the guy goes, “You’re gonna be with this actor?!” and the camera zooms in on Sean’s clenched fist. Dramatic chipmunk!
Then Dez acts like she’s going to confess something and it turns out that’s Nick, some actor. So she pranked him back, ha ha! It was a great prank, in theory. In practice, the “actor” was terrible and Dez was even worse. So, the execution could’ve been way better.
Finally, Dez’s parents and brother Nate arrive. Her mom recognizes how glowing Dez is around Sean and they really gloss over the parental talks. Because we have to get to the brother drama.
He immediately loses me when Dez says Sean makes her happy and he goes, “A lot of guys’ll make you happy. That’s not what it’s about.” Um, both parts of that statement are completely false, numbnuts. Seriously, though, he’s got a definite meathead vibe about him and while Sean may prance around shirtless at every possible opportunity (and do push-ups seemingly on command), at least he does not seem like a meathead.
Nate then snots, “You think that’s your best friend?” Well, how would you know?
He calls it stupid and is convinced this would never work out. You know, we’re all skeptical ’cause it’s this show, and family members are right to be protective, but Nate just seems like a complete moron and Desiree should not listen to him.
Nate takes Sean off and calls Sean a playboy and says he doesn’t think Sean is that into Desiree. He says he doesn’t see any connection and does accuse Sean of being “crazy about a lot of girls,” which, to be fair, is the line Sean has used on three dates already.
Sean is pretty disheartened and offended by being called a playboy and for some reason, it kind of rubs me the wrong way, too. Believe me, I’m not a sucker for this show, but it’s like — out of the recent Bachelors, Ben Flajnik and Jake Pavelka both seemed like drips, Brad Womack was annoying, Jason Mesnick seemed OK, until that stunt he pulled at the end (which has, admittedly, turned out to be the right decision for him).
But Sean actually seems like a decent guy and while maybe it says something that he’d go on this show in the first place, “playboy” is not the way I would describe him. Am I wrong in this? Am I being a sucker, getting played by the show’s narrative? Sean just seems like a genuinely good dude to me. And Dez’s brother seems like an idiot who is kind of a jerk.
Then at dinner (’cause I had paused the show to write all that above), Nate keeps being a flippant punk and Dez is embarrassed and possibly crying and her parents are embarrassed. Then as Sean goes to leave, Nate snots, “Aww, we were just getting acquainted.” Ugh, what a word-I-can’t-use-we’re-a-family-blog.
Sean very honestly says that he doesn’t want this to affect his feelings for Dez, but at the same time, it’s like — how can he be a part of this family? Well, not all families are created equal. You don’t always marry into the Cleavers, dude. If a girl is great, then how about treasuring how great she is despite her family. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Dez’s parents, they seem great.) But … you put up with the family. You marry the woman.
Poor Dez is super upset because her brother was such a pill. He really was. There are ways to express your doubts without being a punk. Dez’s parents insist that Nate is wrong about Sean and he smirks and … ooh, I’d want to smack that smirk right off his face. He’s being so disrespectful to her.
Shirtless Sean! Drink!
I Need to Talk to Chris Harrison
Sean says he’s actually more confused after hometowns than he was before. He knows it’s between Dez and Catherine to send home, which — yeah. He fit in like gangbusters with the other girls’ families. For me, I think the personal connection with Dez is way stronger than with Catherine. But that may not be how Sean feels.
The Rose Ceremony
Before he gives out any roses, though, Dez wants to speak privately. She is crying and apologizing for how rude her brother was. It’s … not much of a resolution, more of just a move to gain sympathies, you know? Not that Dez isn’t truly upset, but she didn’t really say much.
Anyway, AshLee and Lindsay (who is wearing some kind of Robert Palmer video cast-off) get roses. And the final rose goes to …. nobody. Sean walks out, to go stare at their pictures in the memory curio cabinet.
Confidant Chris walks in and Sean says he can’t choose. Chris’ genius advice is, “Get this right.” The “But if you don’t, we’ll have the drama of you getting to bring someone back and send someone else home next episode, so there’s that” is left unsaid.
Anyway, Sean decides “who will he miss the most tomorrow” is who he should keep, which is a weird way to put that. Not “I want you here more,” but “I’d miss you more if you were gone.” Hmm. He also confesses that he thought he was going to send Dez home, which is interesting. Maybe he’s got more going on with Catherine than we can see. Honestly, we felt going into hometowns that AshLee and Dez were the two frontrunners.
Sean finally returns and gives the final rose to Catherine! Whoa. Dez looks shellshocked. On the way to the limo, Sean says he thinks he might be making a mistake and she says that he is. But that doesn’t change anything. She even says, “Don’t let me go” and he doesn’t really respond. That says a lot right there — he’s not really that torn. He knows this is the right decision.
Was it really her brother? Or has he not been feeling it as much with her all along?
Tomorrow: It’s an hour-long I Need to Talk to Chris Harrison
Next week: Overnight dates in Thailand!
Just as an aside — most seasons, there’s some girl who I love so much that I hope she’s the next Bachelorette. but this season, I do not have that girl. Maybe Catherine? But even her I’m not head over heels for.