Welcome to the homestretch, with four girls left and at most two episodes left. Hopefully, you survived Week 7 without a recap. All you need to know is that Emily, occupation:”Twin,” was politely sent home after meeting Momma and Papa Higgins who were none too impressed by her youthful attitude. It was the end of the road too for boring ass Becca was sent, whose maiden vagina remained the most interesting thing about her even seven episodes in. This brings us to Week Eight and my second-to-favorite leg of this never-ending magical journey after Fantasy Suite week: The Hometowns. This time around, Ben H. will be meeting the families of Amanda, Lauren, Caila, and JoJo.
We start near the ocean in Laguna Beach, which is the only possible someone who looks like Amanda can legally come from, I think. Someone drops off Amanda’s two little girls who are so freaking adorable my uterus could die. Ben is super patient and seems to genuinely enjoy playing with them, as Amanda’s eyes light up with admiration and hope. Thankfully, playtime wears them out and it’s back to birth control time as we witness the flip side of parenting: weepy children crying in the backseat all the way home. Amanda is in her element though and puts her toddler right to sleep much faster than tthe previous episode’s preview montage suggests (we see you, Chris Harrison, you shady shady bat!)
Amanda’s family is super welcoming and asks all the question one might expect of a gentleman entering the life of a young mother, and express so worry that he may not be ready for all this baby jelly. Ben doesn’t give too much away but says he’s open to the whole thing. The rest of the day goes smoothly and Amanda bids him farewell, feeling pretty top-notch about her chances of falling in love and snagging a baby stepdaddy.
Next in line to welcome Ben home is Lauren B., the flight attendant from Portland, Oregon. So far, Ben’s done pretty well with choosing Ladies from hometowns that aren’t a drag to visit (and I says this having grown up in Reno, Nevada so–). Lauren takes him to downtown and shows him one of the city’s “Keep Portland Weird” signs, which for some reason Ben finds hilarious. Oh my gash, someone please blow Ben’s mind and tell him that there’s like an entire show about it! Just kidding. We all know Ben has not befriended enough hipsters to get the jokes. Lauren takes Ben to some food trucks and later to a whiskey library that looks like a perfect place to make out.
Lauren’s family is just as you would expect: wholesome, welcoming, worried, white. Mom encourages Lauren to go ahead and fall in love while Dad and Sister are a little more skeptical about the speed at which Lauren is catching feelings. But! By the end of the night, all seem taken in our Bachelor’s light and Ben saunters away, his mission of earning the family approval once more accomplished.
Though one can always pray for a life never requiring one to fly into Ohio, sometimes life hands you lemons, and when it does you may have to meet some Lady in Hudson, Ohio. Such was the case for Ben H. this week as he readied himself to meet Caila’s family. The date began with Caila and Ben designing their dream dollhouse and then going into her daddy’s toy factory (EVERYTHING ABOUT CAILA MAKES SO MUCH MORE SENSE NOW) to actually build one. Ben is super stoked by the original date and says something expected about seeing himself build a house to inhabit with the woman he once described as a sex panther.
Then, it’s off to meet the family: Caila’s dad who looks like he could be running a Presbyterian church on the side, Caila’s mom, and her little brother. Caila’s mom makes a delicious-looking Pinoy feast while her dad makes an interesting comment about how different it is to be married into a Filipino family. It sounds like he enjoys it but it’s hard to tell without further elaboration. Honestly, Ben looks like he could use a little diversity in his life so it’s probably great thing that Caila has a mixed background. Although her dad warns her about going too fast — a theme this week but also, honestly, with every single hometown date ever — the parents are pretty into Ben. Caila tries to muster the courage to tell Ben she’s falling in love with him but in the end, flounders. Let she who has not chickened out of being vulnerable and saying I Luh You first, cast the first stone!
Last but not least, Ben meets up with Jojo in Dallas, that bastion of cultural … just kidding. Dallas is the worst, but here we are anyhow. Jojo returns to her condo to find a bouquet of red roses awaiting her at the door, along with the thick envelope. She sits on her sofa and opens up the letter, giddy with excitement and awe at the sweet gesture. A few paragraphs in, however, Jojo comes to the awkward realization that the letter is actually from her cheating ex. The cameras continue rolling mercilessly as Jojo tries to sort out her feelings before Ben arrives. She calls the ex on loudspeaker and (we think, because the cameras sort of cut off here) tells him that there’s no chance in Texan Hell she’ll get back together with him. Ben knocks on the door and finds her a bit more frazzled and less happy-go-lucky the would have ben his preference. Jojo tells him about what just happened and reassures him that they are still good. Hard to tell how much of it Ben buys but he’s here now, so the date should probz go on.
They arrive at Jojo’s home where they are greeted by her parents, her two brothers — one of which is really sucking hot, lez be real here — and her sister, whom you will not see mentioned after this sentence because we never see her again. Jojo’s dad looks really sweet, kind of like a train conductor in a children’s book, although he is actually a poop doctor. Her mom encourages her to go for it and not hold back. On the other hand, Jojo’s super-protective brothers aren’t so sold on Ben’s sweet-chile act. Ben the Hottest One and Matt the Second Hottest One feel like Ben doesn’t seem as invested in Jojo as she is in him. And after pressing Ben to elaborate on his feelings and the fact that he could love her after only two one-on-one dates, the brothers conclude that Ben is giving them canned answers.
This may, for realsies, be the most uncomfortable hometown on The Bachelor to date. As for Ben, the more openly suspicious the brothers appear, the more closed off and tongue-tied he becomes, which only exacerbates the lack of chemistry between them. Jojo picks up on her brothers’ coolness to Ben and just prays at this point that they haven’t ruined her chances at Fantasy Suite week. Ben leaves on this note, tail between his legs on so many levels, to mull over the upcoming rose ceremony.
Ben meets the court Ladies back at Bachelor Mansion with three roses on the table next to him. Everyone is appropriately overdressed for the occasion, except for Caila who looks like she picked up the first dress she found on the sales rack at Urban Outfitters. For this reason alone, we should lobby Ben to send her home. Alas, Caila survives yet another day in the Mansion along with Lauren B. and, by some miracle, Jojo. Indeed, the glimpse into Amanda’s life may have proved a tad too real for Ben H. Amanda exits gracefully but does make the point to ask why the fuck Ben would bring her back to LA to dump when he could have just told her in Laguna Beach instead of taking her away from her kids one last fucking time (okayyy the latter part, she omits, but the subtext is clear as day).
High five, gurl. But also low five, because you’re sad and alone and wondering if you’ll ever be able to find a man who can complete your family 😦
And just so, we end up right back where we started, in LA, though not for long as The Bachelor promises Jamaica for Fantasy Suites week. ‘Til then, stay warm!