“I’ll be your savior, steadfast and true. I’ll come to your emotional rescue.” The Rolling Stones- Emotional Rescue
Hello everyone. I know this recap is a day late (or, if we are being technical, a week and a day late) but I was on vacation last week. And, quite frankly, I kind of needed a little break after that “dramatic 4 hour event” a few weeks ago. I had every intention of posting while I was away, but if I’m being honest, the lure of the cold pool and the icy rosé overruled watching what was sure to be a throwaway episode, because there was absolutely no part of me that thought her top 4 weren’t already locked in 3-4 episodes ago. I mean, did any of you really think she was going to choose Creepy Doll Guy and Penguin Suit over the other men she’s been heavily making out with since the very beginning? Neither of those two ever even got a one-on-one or scored the group date rose. All I really took from the episode was a bit of foreshadowing that really played into the hometown dates, like Bryan’s claim that he may have some “mommy issues” or Dean’s “emotional baggage” that made him hesitant to bring Rachel to meet his family or Eric talking about his intense family issues or Peter’s uncharacteristic semi-racist comment that he’s never dated “a…black…one.” I’m going to chalk that up to him not realizing how it sounded because A) I don’t think he’s a racist and B) I still say he’s her soulmate. But I definitely did cringe a bit in that moment. And also, Peter is being pretty clear that he may not propose at the end of this, which I’m sure the producers are loving, so that when he actually does, it can seem “surprising.” But enough about last week’s episode. Let’s dive into the depressing soul suck that was the hometown dates.
We start with Eric, who brings Rachel home to Baltimore. They play a little basketball and meet up with one of Eric’s childhood friends, who tells her he’s never brought a girl home to meet his family. Eric grew up in a tough neighborhood and made himself a promise when he was young that he wasn’t going to follow in his family’s footsteps and go “on the streets” so he studied hard, got straight A’s (apparently the word “facade” never bested him on a spelling test prior to this show) and worked to get himself to a better place. I have to say, it’s the only time I’ve ever even slightly understood why she likes Eric, but I was a little scared to meet this supposedly crazy family, which I’m sure Rachel was, too. And then, just like that, we enter into a room full of people who seem… perfectly lovely. His mother, father, and aunt all came off well, and it kind of seemed like his parents were taking the opportunity to apologize to Eric for anything they may have done wrong when he was a kid. It was a nice moment for all of them and they seemed to really like Rachel a lot. Eric didn’t say he loved her, per se, but he did admit that he really cared about her, which she felt was a lot for him, so she seemed happy.
Next, we meet up with Bryan in Miami, and as usual, there is a lot of sexual heat between them. If they haven’t already boned, I’m sure the fantasy suite is going to be one wild ride. They play dominos with some locals, they dance and then they head over to Bryan’s parents’ house. He tells Rachel that his last relationship ended because his girlfriend and his mom didn’t get along, so she’s nervous to make a good impression, of course. We meet Bryan’s mom and dad and some other chick (not sure who she was, but I know it wasn’t his sister because he said he was an only child.) Bryan’s dad was very quiet (I don’t think he said a word the entire time) and his mom was the polar opposite. She was the typical overbearing mother who thinks her son walks on water (I can recognize this because I am the same kind of mother and will continue to be this way well into my only son’s adulthood, so good luck to the girl who wants to date him) but is also afraid of any woman taking her baby away from her. I think she liked Rachel, but at one point she said “If Bryan is happy, I am happy” followed by “I’ll kill you” if he’s not. Good on you, Mrs Bryan’s mom. Show that girl who the boss is straight out the gate. Bryan later tells Rachel that he loves her and she seems very happy.
We then find ourselves in Madison, Wisconsin for her hometown with Peter. They meet up with some of his friends first and they tell her how great Peter is, and also what a big cheesy dork he is. Even though I find him cute, this tracks. I could see him telling a corny dad joke now and again and thinking it’s hilarious. They meet up with his family and Rachel is enamored by his relationship with his niece. His parents seem nice and they seem to like Rachel just fine, even though Mama Peter tells her that he’s not necessarily ready to propose, but that she does think he’s ready to commit. This seems to give Rachel some pause, as she’s been very clear that she doesn’t want to leave this “journey” with just another boyfriend, but I still thinks she will choose him in the end. And if not, then he will definitely be the new Bachelor. (Full disclosure- I wouldn’t be mad about watching a whole season of Peter.Im just saying, it would be a welcome treat after a third go with Nick Viall and his tight jeans.)
For our fourth and final hometown, we meet sweet Dean in Aspen. He seems nervous and admits that he hasn’t talked to his father in two years. Dean has been very open about the fact that he felt very emotionally abandoned by his father when his mother died (he was 15) and that they have a very strained relationship. But his dad went from being a very traditional, bread-winner, white collar dad to a Sikh yoga-instructor/faith healer/meditator named (and I had to google this and I’m still not certain I got it right) Paratroop S Khahsa. Rachel wasn’t sure what she should call him and Dean seemed uncomfortable with the whole thing. They roll up to PSK’s house, and Daddy Dean has them lie on the floor and feel some energy for a bit. At first, I think Dean is embarrassed, especially when his dad feeds Rachel some weird mungbean stew, but at the episode goes on, it becomes clear that this is the source of some deep emotional pain for young Dean. And it’s moments like these that make me hate myself so hard for watching this show, because even though he knows what he signed up for, it all seems exploitative and gross. PSK and Dean have a pretty intense disagreement and daddy leaves and doesn’t want to talk about it anymore. And further, PSK also refuses to discuss it with Rachel, and I wonder if maybe he really is the only enlightened one who realizes that these issues are better worked out off camera. Later, Dean tell Rachel he’s falling in love with her and she tells him she’s falling in love with him, too. What the WHAT? The L word is typically not uttered by the lead until the last episode, so this is either very good news or very bad news for Young Dean.
At the rose ceremony, the roses go as follows:
Sorry, Sweet Dean. That means you’ve got to go. She seems sad to say goodbye to him and basically says it’s because she doesn’t think he’s ready for what she’s ready for. Unsurprisingly, he’s a perfect gentleman upon departure, even while bringing up the fact that she reciprocated his “falling for you” comment. She says she meant it, offers him a sweet goodbye and sends him on his way. And for the first time ever, I felt like I turned on Rachel a little because poor, sweet Dean is already an emotional wreck over the mom and dad stuff, but then I remembered that he’s young and cute and will be made semi-famous by this, so I think he will be just fine. And he’s going on to Bachelor in Paradise, so maybe he can have some fun hookups there.
So, just like that, we are left with the final three- Bryan, whose tongue barely leaves Rachel’s mouth long enough to say much of anything sincere, Eric, who I’m warming to slightly, but still don’t think she will choose, and Peter, who is clearly the front-runner, in my opinion. Unless of course things don’t go well in the Fantasy Suite, in which case she will ultimately choose Bryan so she can continue playing tonsil hockey with him. I guess we will have to wait until next week. See you all then.