We’ve finally arrived at the traditionally most wildcard week of the Bachelor Season, Hometown Dates. This season does not disappoint. Between incestuous brothers, an alcoholic mother, and a Zodiac-killer-style letter from an ex-lover, the families fuck up the women’s only chance at true love– and that was just during Jojo’s Hometown. For this week’s pensive “debate your love choices” shot, Delicate Ben poses draped over a rock, gazing into the ocean.
Sexy-baby-voiced Amanda’s Hometown Date
In Laguna Beach, Ben runs to meet up with Sexy-baby-voiced Amanda. She builds up him meeting her kids again and we finally bring in the terribly-named-but-adorable children.
Ben’s face while watching Amanda meet up with them is a mess.
Ben introduces himself to the children as if they are adults, saying “it’s nice to meet you finally. I’ve heard a lot of great things.”
They all frolic on the beach before things turn sour in the car ride and the kids start crying.
Before meeting Amanda’s parents, Delicate Ben posits that “Amanda’s family will be extra protective of any man that comes into her life,” and as he’s seeking protection, this should be a perfect fit. Ben tells Amanda’s parents how the day took a lot out of them all since they “chased about a thousand seagals”. Sea-gals. Maybe he would have been great with the Twin who didn’t know what a swan was.
Amanda’s Dad describes Ben as a “deer caught in headlights” and her sister correctly questions if he’s ready to “be an instant Dad.” Ben thinks, “today could not have gone better. The girls didn’t hate me."Update: his #unlovable fear extends to children.
The child is still weeping. Amanda’s Dad questions Ben if he’s ready and Ben responds that he “loved coloring with them and running with streamers” aka the totality of fatherhood.
Amanda’s Dad tries to scare him: “There are going to be times when you can’t–you used to go to the gym with your buddies, or you used to go, doing whatever. There are going to be times when you can’t do what you ‘want to do.’”
Delicate Ben reads a book to the children, trying to simplify his and Mommy’s “love story.”
This date makes Amanda realize she’s in love with Ben and she’d be “completely crushed” if she gets sent home after today. Spoiler alert: crushing is imminent.
Lauren B.land’s Hometown Date
I am flabbergasted that Lauren B.land is from Portland. She is so deeply un-nuanced. She meets up with Ben downtown and we see a lot of rose imagery.
They see a “Keep Portland Weird” sign and can’t stop laughing. It’s so, so, so funny.
They go to a butter cart and we learn Lauren’s second interest beyond lawns: “This is everything. I love butter.” Ben confesses, “I don’t know if I could picture a better way to die.”
Ben force-feeds Lauren B.land grilled cheese, further pushing the Portland deep-throating motif, while simultaneously mocking her career as a flight attendant: “Everybody buckle up. Look at the exits. This way and that way. And in the chute!”
Lauren B.land brings Ben to a “Whiskey Libary”. She says Libary. Ben is shocked by this surprise: “Oh my gosh. This is just. You!”
Lauren: “I could sit in a room with Ben and not speak a word and feel more fulfilled and more content than in any other situation I’ve ever felt in my entire life.” STOCKHOLM SYNDROME ALERT.
Ben meets Lauren’s family. WE DON’T GET TO SEE LAUREN B.LAND’S DAD’S LAWN THAT HE’S OBSESSED WITH. I WAS PROMISED A LAWNGASM. Lauren’s Dad is her twin, calls her Lolo, and they have a possibly toothless 18-year-old dog.
Ben looks like a lesbian on this date.
Lauren’s sister looks like Taylor from RHOBH and she thinks Lauren should be the Bachelorette. I love how that’s in the back of every girl’s mind. Oh, I can pick Delicate Ben or have 28 other dudes compete over me? Ummm… tough call…
Ben attempts to assuage Lauren’s sister with words first: “There’s something about your sister that I can’t put words to. Um. I don’t know. I feel really lucky. I do. Um. (starts crying). Sorry.” Every time Ben can’t come up with something to say in this episode he cries.
Lauren tells her sister she loves Ben and then they almost make out.
Lauren’s Dad: “You’re talking to three other fathers and that’s hard for me. How are you coping?” Ben: “Not well.”
Lauren’s Dad tells Lauren: “There are three other girls in the mix. There are three other encounters that he’s having.“
Caila’s Hometown Date
Ben’s at a “precipice” with Caila. She’s worn her hair like a school girl for their date.
Caila’s hometown despite her 17 different childhood homes takes place in Hudson, Ohio. Caila takes Ben to her high school and shows him her “special bench”.
Caila takes Ben to a toy factory and she is so excited to explain that they’re going to design a toy house. I want whatever drugs she takes everyday. Caila: “It’s fun to think about one day in our near future. Ben could, like, be taking me into our new home. And we could just make out in our kitchen or on our front lawn… in our toy house or in our real house. Who knows?!”
Caila tells Ben they’re going to make the toy house they designed. Ben can’t believe it: “That’s– no way."We find out that Caila’s Dad is the CEO of the toy company. Her parents make the factory workers applaud for Ben carrying Caila out of the factory Officer and a Gentleman style and it’s so gross.
Ben meets Caila’s freaky-looking father and his hot mail-order wife. Caila’s Dad tries to create an internet meme by describing their process as “Microwave Fame."Ben talks to the parents about the various wife options and he could not be worse. Caila’s Mom asks what he loves about Caila and he responds: "My interest in Caila. It’s been really cool.” Then he delves into his #unlovable fears.
Caila whispers to both her parents, “I know he’s the one.” Caila’s Mom has braces and tells Caila to jump on Ben and tell him she’s in love. Caila: “That scared feeling is still lingering a little bit and I don’t know why.” Def couldn’t be Ben’s three other hot girlfriends.
Jojo’s Hometown Date
We save the best hometown date for last. Jojo finds roses and a note on her front door. She is stoked thinking it’s from Ben until she realizes it’s from CHAD, HER EX!!! She says, “that’s so fucked up.” How did he know when she’d be there or how to format the letter misleadingly so it could’ve been from Ben? We’ll NEVER know.
Jojo calls her ex. Chad says, “I’ve literally gone through so much since you’ve been gone. It’s taken me this time apart to grow and mature and think about what I want for the future. And it’s you.” Jojo: “You walked away from me so many times when I begged you to stay.” They are a Kelly Clarkson song. Ben finally comes in in a terrible sweater. Jojo explains what happened: “I think the reason why that letter made me so upset is because I’m just the happiest I’ve ever been. And I don’t want you to think for a second that my feelings are elsewhere cause they’re not.”
Ben’s response: “Thank you for making the phone call. And I wish I could’ve sat beside you during it, and um, been there for you.”
They move past that obstacle and meet Jojo’s family and it is wonderful. Jojo thinks, “Ben will fit in with my family perfectly. I have no doubt in my mind."Her family lives in a cartoonishly large house.
Jojo’s bros, V-neck and Collared-shirt are in love with her. Jojo’s Mom, Soraya, should start the Real Housewives of Dallas.
Jojo’s Dad tries to get Ben to move to Dallas: “If Ben moved to Dallas, we have two fine men that can give you a taste of Dallas and the kind of support and friendship and better your life.”
Jojo’s V-neck Bro: “I don’t want you to think our family is steamrolling you but it’s just, we’re really really, really attached to Joelle.”
Jojo’s Mom is drinking the whole time and doesn’t really understand what’s going on. She tells Jojo: “You’re not going to get hurt. You’re beautiful.” The most fucked-up advice ever. Jojo: “There’s three other girls involved.” Jojo’s Mom: “Oh.”
Jojo’s V-neck-Bro: “I’d love to say this guy is that terrific, but I just genuinely can’t say that."V-neck-Bro and I can agree on one thing. Ben tries to reassure them with comforting lines such as he’s "really excited at the idea of sharing life with somebody” and “I don’t want to make a ton of promises today.”
Jojo tells her bros they’ve only been on two dates and they’re worried. Jojo’s Collared-shirt-Bro: “My read is he’s not as emotionally invested in it as you are."Jojo’s Mom can’t handle this and is drinking out of the champagne bottle in the background of this altercation.
Jojo’s Bros attack Ben: “Ben, you brainwashed these girls way too much, man. To see my sister like that after two dates… You’re put in a position of you’re desired by a lot of girls, but psychologically, that all makes them want you… I don’t know if you were coached on your answer…”
Ben: “Yeah, um, I wasn’t coached to say anything.”
Jojo: “I don’t want Ben to walk away from tonight feeling like he got ambushed in any way.” Think the ship has sailed on that one.
Amanda: “If he were to get down on one knee and propose to me right now I would say yes."Yikes. Ben picks Lauren B.land and Caila. Jojo GLARES at Amanda for the final rose.
But Ben can’t bang a Mom on TV so he sends her home.
Then he cries to get out of talking again, “I can’t do this right now.”
Scenes from next week: all three say they love him and can’t imagine he’s got a connection that strong with the other women. YES. Sex panther Caila: “He might be waking up with these other women this week, but I want to be the woman he wakes up next to for the rest of his life.“ Rawr.
Tag: Lauren B.land’s brothers ask Delicate Ben about fantasy suites. Ben, the word-wiz, chugs his wine and then says, “You know, I would—I respect your—your sister a lot. Um. I’m not gonna put her in a position that is degrading to her at all. ”