“Home, let me come home. Home is wherever I’m with you. Our home, yes I am home. Home is when I’m alone with you.” Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Home
Hello friends. Tonight, we saw the hometown episode, which is, in my opinion, the most boring one of the entire season, except of course for last season, when JoJo’s mom was pounding champs straight out the bottle and became a meme heard round the world, much to my delight. Tonight, however, offered no such gems- just a bunch of boring, old parents who behaved totally appropriately. Yawn. So with that, let’s get to the episode.
The first date was with Chase in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Apparently he still lives in the town where he was born and raised, and so do both of his divorced parents, which JoJo is informed she will be meeting separately. He set it up like it was going to be fraught with drama, but in standard Chase fashion, it fell a little flat. First dad comes to Chase’s house to meet JoJo, and the first thing I notice is that Chase’s house is “shabby chic,” except not really chic. At all. He’s spent a lot of time talking to JoJo about how his parents’ divorce has shaped his adult relationships, which I get, but he just doesn’t seem to have the emotional depth to back it up. But I still find him hot. I just don’t really want him to talk. Ever. He tells JoJo he’s had a lot of “highs and lows” with his father, but now his dad is happily remarried and the relationship between father and son seems to be on the mend. The conversation is all a bit awkward, but Chase and his dad trade compliments to each other and to JoJo and his dad leaves, seemingly giving the union his blessing, should it come to that. Though before he leaves, Chase’s dad does mention that he’s not crazy about the odds- “Four guys all fighting for the same girl? What if you don’t win this one?” Well, normally, pops, I’d say not winning really ups one’s odds of being the new Bachelor, but with Chase’s sparkling personality and witty banter being as nonexistent as it is… well, I’m going to say those odds ain’t great either.
They walk thorough piles of snow to get to Chase’s mom’s house, and for once, JoJo’s bulky sweater isn’t entirely seasonally inappropriate. It’s all or nothing with that girl- she’s either in a turtleneck and baggy pants or a crop-top and hot pants. There they meet Chase’s mom, stepdad, sister, brother-in-law and nephew. I didn’t bother learning any of their names, because frankly, I didn’t care. I had to rewind a scene at dinner,though, because when Chase toasts and says, “I hope you guys can see what I see in her,” I swear I heard his mother reply with, “You have a spectacular rack and that always goes a long way with me.” For the record, she said laugh, not rack. The mom and JoJo go talk outside. Mom tells her that she knows Chase is crazy about her. And JoJo tells her he’s better at demonstrating his affection than verbalizing it. His mom says the divorce affected him deeply, yada, yada, yada and it’s all a big, giant snooze. Meanwhile, Chase and his sister are having a virtually identical conversation inside. The producers must have really struggled to find a story line here, because it’s all so BORING. Eventually, Chase tells his mom he would be ready to propose to JoJo in the end, and then he tells JoJo he’s falling in love with her before she leaves. They both get teary. If it wasn’t for the bottle of wine beckoning me to finish it, I would have been asleep at this point.
Then JoJo heads to Chico, California, to marvel at the sight of some deer and excitedly wait for her one true love, Mr. Confidence himself, Jordan. He arrives in a shiny members-only jacket and a jean so slim I’d say he purchased it in the women’s department. He lives in Nashville, but has brought her home to where his parents live and where he grew up. And I swear I hear the faint sound of Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” as he takes her to his old high school. Pleasant Valley High, home of the Vikings, has the words “Welcome home Jordan and JoJo” on their reader board outside. They meet some old teachers and coaches. They look at photos of him on the walls. His hair flops annoyingly in the breeze and I wish he would wipe that smug smirk off his face. She always gets so awkward and giggly in his presence. He presses her up against a stack of books in the library and they go at it like horny teens. And obviously the producers want him to talk about Aaron, his famous brother, because there are photos of him pointedly scattered in with the ones of Jordan. JoJo wants to know more but he isn’t talking. The only thing she does learn is that the last girl he brought home was his previous serious girlfriend, two years prior. He admits that his family is skeptical of the process but assures her that they will love her.
They head over to his parents’ house and JoJo is nervous. They kiss obnoxiously in the driveway while his parents wait for them to come in. They will just make out anywhere, won’t they? They meet his mom and dad and his brother (the one who isn’t Aaron) and his girlfriend. Again, no idea what the names are. His mom tells JoJo that Jordan was “spicy and well-behaved” as a child and that he would often threaten to run away. Jordan throwing a bratty tantrum for attention? Surely you jest, Mrs Rodgers. They cut pointedly to the two empty seats at the table as they make it clear that they really want Aaron’s absence to be the main story here. She tries to get the other brother to talk about it a little and again, comes up goose eggs. The camera work shows me that we are in a sad, glory days rabbit hole- pictures, trophies, awards- but comparisons to the higher-achieving brother abound. Jordan and his brother talk. The bro is concerned, but Jordan does his best to come off sincere and pretend he’s ready to get engaged. I think his brother buys it about as much as we all do. JoJo chats with Jordan’s dad and he says he’s not sure about the process and has seen how fame can change people. I guess he’s referring to Aaron? But JoJo assures him that Jordan would never let it change him. Which I agree with- how could he possibly become more of a fame-whoring phony than he already is? JoJo goes on to say that “people assume Jordan is where he is because of his brother.” And where is that, exactly? An unemployed ex-football player who is on a reality show. I mean, I don’t think his brother even wants credit for that. She says, “Jordan is nobody’s brother.” Well, um… that’s technically not true. But okay.
Jordan’s mom tells him he looks “all lit up” and he tells her it’s because he’s in love. She has no such qualms about the method to this madness and says, “This could be your destiny.” As they are leaving, Jordan again tells JoJo that he’s in love with her and once again, she gets all insecure and basically grills him as to whether or not he will propose. She says she wants to say she loves him too but doesn’t want it to turn out the way it did last season, when Ben fell in love with two people. Ugh, more Ben talk. When will it end? Jordan ends with the oh-so-romantic declaration that “If I’m getting on a knee, I want to walk up every day and work on our relationship.” Ugh. That’s the only word that comes to mind when I think of Jordan.
We cut to St. Augustine, Florida, where Robby confidently strolls into frame wearing a pink shirt. She’s wearing a romper. My husband is already annoyed- no fashion trend has ever irked him so much, with the exception of perhaps the jumpsuit. (Full disclosure- I own several of both, and wear them every opportunity I can.) Robby gets JoJo to whistle, for some reason, and a horse drawn carriage appears like magic. Because it’s The Bachelorette, so of course they ride through the streets in a horse and buggy. She calls Robby the first one she had an emotional connection to. I find them so boring together- even more boring than her and Chase. They’re just so vanilla. She goes on to say that her fear is that his last relationship ended so recently that he’s not fully over it. He tries to reassure her that isn’t the case, as he gently caresses her face, and we see that he’s wearing a leather bracelet. As I look at him, I get the feeling he colors his hair and his beard with Just for Men. And I feel like it’s a big case of foreshadowing when Robby says, “I don’t see how anything could possibly go wrong.”
They arrive at Robby’s parents house and it looks like mama might already be tipsy. So at least we know she and JoJo’s mom have something in common. They meet his mom and dad, his two sisters and his two brothers. The whole family is very vanilla as well. Robby’s brothers say she fits in with the family well, after knowing her for about 15 minutes. But I guess that’s all in keeping with the tone, as Robby “fell in love” with her about five minutes after meeting her. JoJo and Robby’s mom talk about how in touch with his feelings he is. And then JoJo grills mom about the ex and whether he’s ready to be engaged so soon. Mama doesn’t do much to reassure her, telling her that in any relationship there’s always a chance you will get hurt. JoJo then tells the mom that she’s falling for Robby.
Robby then has some alone time to talk to his mom, where she breaks the news that “There is an issue…right now… a little bit… in the world…” Huh? Apparently, Robby’s ex’s roommate has been telling people (magazines? strangers? anyone who will listen?) that Robby broke up with his ex of four years to go on the show. Robby is afraid JoJo is going to hear this and not want to be with him. He immediately goes to tell her his side of the story. I get the sense he’s leaving something out, but he tells her that “Apparently people are saying I’m not here for the right reasons.” JoJo doesn’t seem to be buying it. She looks pissed. She says, “I’ve made so many mistakes in the past by trusting the person I was with.” Wow. That’s a grim take on relationships. She wants to know if there’s any truth to the claims and he denies that there is, claiming “the relationship was over nine months before it actually ended.” Also grim. And then he reveals that he and the ex had a major fight that ended with him getting slapped. They seem to be in a good place at the end and Robby says he’s more in love with her since she met his family. But he’s worried she will question everything based on their conversation and calls it “a dark cloud hanging over his head.” As she leaves, I realize that it’s entirely unclear if he still lives in St. Augustine or somewhere else. Or what his job is. Because I’m pretty sure “former competitive swimmer” doesn’t come with a very high salary or a health plan.
Next up, we head to Burnet, Texas, to meet Luke’s family and she arrives in WHITE CUT-OFFS AND COWBOY BOOTS. Good lord. Luke is in his ever-present skinny jeans, and my husband glances at the TV for the first time in an hour or so and absent-mindedly says, “Looks like that guy forgot leg day.” I mean, he’s not wrong. Anyway, they are in the middle of nowhere, driving on a dirt road. He says they are to be meeting his family and some buddies, but when they arrive, JoJo says, “Why are there so many cars?’ Turns out she’s meeting mom, dad, his sister and 50 of his nearest and dearest. Luke feels like she “fits in” and it comes out that he bought her the boots. But did he also tell her to pair them with the Daisy Dukes? That part is unclear. His mom thinks she seems like a nice, family-oriented girl who is into him. He talks to his dad about her and I am so bored I almost fall asleep. But I pour more wine and soldier on. Literally nothing is happening in any of these conversations. Once again, my husband glances up and says, “Who is that hot chick?” I think it’s Luke’s sister, so suddenly, my husband is very interested. Once again, he’s not wrong, though. She’s gorgeous. His gramps grumpily comments on Luke’s lack of culinary skills after JoJo compliments the food, and then Luke whisks her away for a “surprise.” I think that’s a pretty strong word for a horse ride to a few hay bales arranged to look like a makeshift couch. And for the record, I still find him creepy. He’s just so INTENSE. But she’s into him and always has been. He tells her he’s falling for her and sees a future. She cries and says she wants more time with him. They make out. A lot. As usual. Then they dance in the moonlight with candles and a heart made of flowers. But I can’t help but wonder if it’s a good idea to have so many candles near so much flammable hay, fire-safety wise? I think Smokey the Bear might disagree. Luke tells her his “heart is hers” and it’s so cliche that I almost throw up.
We go to the rose ceremony in an airport hangar. The three guys chosen will board flights to places unknown and the other will go straight home. She’s putting the Cleave in Cleveland with a blue dress cut down to THERE. The roses arrive and Luke asks if he can have some time with her. How convenient, since in her voice over she just said she thinks it’s time to say goodbye to Luke. He pulls her aside and tells her he wants her to know that he loves her. She freaks out and has a mini-meltdown, which seems a little fake. And then, To Be Continued flashes across the screen. I have never seen a season so hell-bent on stretching out the episodes. I think maybe it’s because they don’t have a lot of material this season. It’s been clear, from the beginning, who she’s into, and I still say Jordan will be the winner. But next week, we have a “special two-night event” with the overnights on Monday and The Men Tell All on Tuesday. I say it will be a breath of fresh after this boring episode. But I always think the hometowns are a snooze, mostly because you don’t get the added drama of the men interacting with each other. I mean, unless somebody has a drunk mom or a dad with a penchant for taxidermy (Ali Fedotowski’s season, I believe) not much is going to happen. But we are at the home stretch people, and then you can take me away to Paradise City, where the grass is green and the hook-ups are a plenty. Until then, stay strong and don’t let anyone tell you you aren’t here for the right reasons.