Tonight is HOMETOWNS. Ben has a creepy fixation on seeing where the four remaining ladies were “raised,” and by whom.
Amanda in scenic “Orange County” is first. I don’t want to body shame but I am concerned her top is going to fall off. Amanda, might I recommend something with straps? Every shot of her includes her pulling up her top.
Her kids are cute! I sort of wish their faces were blurred for the TV but their custodial parent is on TV so I guess blurry faces weren’t going to happen! Both girls are kind of confused about seeing their mom with some rando guy after several weeks of not seeing her at all, so they’re not exactly warm initially. But with that Boring Ben charm, he wins them over. Then he gets to meet her mom and dad and sister. They grill him about being an “instant dad.” (Just add reality show!) He meets with their approval, because obviously.
Now, it’s off to Portland! Lauren is wearing plaid. Lauren calls the food carts “food trucks.” I suspect she might not be from Portland. They go to the Multnomah Whiskey Library and I am mad that they sit and talk feelings instead of DRINKING EVERYTHING IN THE WHISKEY LIBRARY. Why would you not be trying everything at the Whiskey Library??
Lauren’s big secret is she’s in love with Ben but doesn’t want to tell him until he gets her family’s approval. Cool, that’s gonna work out.
CUT TO Lauren’s sister discussing the situation with her parents: “If I brought someone home after knowing him a month you would be concerned.” This is going to be great! Lauren’s sister interrogates Ben so intently he tears up. But it’s Lauren’s dad who provides the love block, because he’s aware that she’s on a reality show, and he reminds his daughter of that a few times. So Lauren doesn’t tell Ben she loves him, and he heads off to the next hometown.
Hudson, Ohio! Is not where Caila is from, but it’s where her folks live. As a person who has no “hometown” to speak of, I feel you, Caila. They walk around Hudson, and then go to Caila’s dad’s toy factory to design a toy house, and then actually make it in the factory. They recreate the end of An Officer and a Gentleman, like that movie isn’t a thousand years old in internet time.
At Caila’s house, Ben gets introduced to Filipino food, which is very unfair to those of us at home without pancit.
Caila’s dad is worried about Caila falling in love with someone after a month, which is pretty much what any reasonable dad would feel. Caila also does not tell Ben she loves him, although she wanted to.
JoJo’s hometown is in Dallas! There are roses at her front door! She sits down to read the letter left with the roses and halfway through reading it aloud to the cameras she discovers, horror movie style, that the roses and letter are from…CHAD!!! Who the fuck is Chad? Why, obviously, Chad is JoJo’s ex! So of course she decides to call him. I am on the ceiling shouting at my television as he declares “I now know what love is, you showed me what love is” and tries to get her back. JOJO NO. BAD JOJO. Ben arrives after this conversation with the ex. He’s understandably confused to find her in tears. Also he has a tragic backstory of a girl he dated leaving him for her ex. JoJo tells him in no uncertain terms that she’s done with the ex and they snuggle, so that’s something. Now it’s off to meet JoJo’s family. Her two brothers, Ben and Matt, question Ben about his intentions. Ben acts cagey, which sets them into a tailspin of suspicion. JoJo’s parents live in a house that is so eclectic in decor I immediately make plans to move to Dallas and get a big house with a lot of frescos and vases and whatnot.
JoJo’s brothers tell her that they’re suspicious of Ben. They continue the discussion in front of their parents, calling Ben “coached,” in his responses. In a magical moment, JoJo’s mom drinks directly from a bottle while the brothers interrogate him. Ben leaves “unsettled” by the hometown, in his words. Team JoJo’s mom.
Hometowns complete, all the women now return to where it all began, the Bachelor McMansion, for a rose ceremony. JoJo is clearly there fresh from killing her brothers.
Ben gives roses to Lauren, Caila, and…JoJo. Amanda went into the rose ceremony saying she was ready to get engaged to Ben, so this is painful. Ben cries. By my count, Ben cried more this episode than any of the ladies did. Equality!