The Bachelorette Recap - Rachel Lindsay Episode 8: The Least Humorous Hometown Dates in Bachverse History
When we left off last week, Rachel had picked four men to take her home to their families and attempt to explain how strong their feelings are despite the other three suitors. One is from a very rough part of Baltimore; one has a mother responsible for his last breakup; one has less faith in his family than Michael Bluth; one is from Wisconsin. Seems like an easy choice to me, but let's see who pushes through to the overnight dates with strong performances in Episode 8 of Rachel's season of The Bachelorette!
Hometown Date: Rachel and Eric in Baltimore, Maryland
After stopping in a nicer part of town, they head to where Eric grew up. They play basketball on the court he frequented as a kid, and Rachel looks remarkably competent given her footwear. I think she could take Lee one-on-one, even in heels.
One of his friends shows up to play wingman, talking Eric up and reminiscing a bit. Eric tells Rachel about the trouble his family and friends got into while he followed a straighter path, and the story is pretty impressive. I'm still not sure about the seating situation, though:
Rachel's nervous coming to the front door as the first girl Eric has ever introduced to his family, but they receive a very warm welcome when it opens. She gets a chance to talk with Eric's aunt first, who immediately asks about the pressure of being the first black Bachelorette. She handles the question well, and transitions to ask if Eric is ready for marriage; Eric's aunt says he definitely is.
Eric and his mom have a deep conversation about their relationship dating back to his childhood, then talks to his dad, who apologizes for some of the hard times he put him through. It's heartwarming, which is very much not in my Bachelorette wheelhouse. Moving on...
After dinner, Eric tells Rachel he recently thought to himself, "I really do love this girl." Rachel, like most people would, focuses on the omitted "I love you," becoming concerned about his level of conviction. This is a classic example of misunderstanding your competition. I don't know if it will bite him this week, but you've got three other attractive men competing for Rachel's attention, all feeling pressure to string together those three little words. Someone is bound to do it, so if you're willing to dip your toes in the pool, you might as well jump in.
Hometown Date: Rachel and Bryan in Miami, Florida
Bryan and Rachel pick up where they left off, tongue-to-tonsils in each other's mouths. They come up for air and play some dominoes before moving on to Calle Ocho for some delicious-looking arepas:
After a little dancing to live music, Bryan and Rachel head off to meet the family. After Bryan tries to work Rachel into the welcome-home hug his mom is giving him, they toast and recap their relationship to-date.
Bryan steps away with his mom, and tells her he's feeling strongly about Rachel. She's skeptical, explaining it should take time to develop strong feelings (preach, Bryan's mom). The worst you could accuse her of at this point is exuberance, but the family's word choices are a bit dramatic:
Rachel gets one-on-one time with Bryan's mom, and wisely leads with a long list of compliments. His mom counters with, "if he's happy, I'm happy. If he's not, I'll kill you." She laughs quickly enough as to not make it awkward, and gives some advice on finding the right husband.
With a few tears, the family says their goodbyes. After snogging a bit more, Bryan tells Rachel, "I'm in love with you." It's a bit closer than Eric's, but not close enough to count for our drinking game. Still, it seems to earn him full credit with Rachel.
Hometown Date: Rachel and Peter in Madison, Wisconsin
Peter begins by bringing Rachel to a farmer's market. They pick up some flowers, pickles, and honey sticks, which, I can assure you, is neither cheese nor enough food to drink on when meeting someone's family. They stop into Peter's favorite bar where he introduces Rachel to four of his friends, two black men and two white women. They touch on the issue of race and attempt to ease any concerns Rachel may have about Peter's comfort bringing a black woman home to his parents. Peter takes some light ribbing, then takes the guys aside for a private conversation, where he admits to being concerned about proposing in as little as three weeks. Luckily, he gets some classic guy-to-guy advice:
The next stop is Peter's house, where his family awaits to hear the story of their relationship. Privately, Rachel asks Peter's sister and mother if they think he's ready to get married, and they both give partial yeses; his mom thinks he's ready for a commitment, but not necessarily a proposal. Rachel seems unsatisfied, wanting more than a boyfriend at the end of the show. Don't worry Rachel! The success rate on this show suggests the free diamond ring at the end is more a symbol of temporary exclusivity than commitment. It's free, after all. I think you'd see a spike in the proposal rate among your friends if engagement rings suddenly became free.
On the way out, Peter and Rachel get a bit of a snog in, but he doesn't even approach saying, "I love you." He's very conscious of his decision, and I support his commitment to acting like a rational human being, regardless of how it affects him in the Rose Ceremony. Knucks, Peter.
Hometown Date: Rachel and Dean in Aspen, Colorado
Dean is objectively a good-looking guy, as is virtually everyone on this show. He is also wearing an objectively too-long hooded sweatshirt.
After riding some ATVs around a pasture, they settle down for a nice little champagne picnic to discuss the awkward state of things in Dean's family. He gives her a rundown of his family, ending with his father, a "converted kundalini yogi, like a Sikh." This could turn into the most fascinating hometown date I've ever witnessed. I'm more curious now than I was waiting to discover if Corinne's nanny's "cheese pasta" was just macaroni and cheese or some new creation (don't get excited, it was just macaroni and cheese).
Dean is convinced the experience is going to be terrible as they approach his father's house, and after a welcome like this, I don't blame him:
Dean explains his father's conversion from a traditional man to a Sikh and admits to the camera he's suppressing every emotion he's having at the moment. His dad plays the gong for everyone before discussing presenting Dean and Rachel with feathers representing the love he had for his deceased wife.
Unfortunately, things take a turn for the awkward at dinner when Dean avoids his food. With some time alone, Dean's dad observes a different power out of his son since they last spoke. They start to discuss how things went after Dean's mom passed, apparently for the first time. It ends poorly, as his dad (in my clinical opinion as a Bachverse psychologist) gets defensive and storms off.
Rachel, fresh from a positive conversation with Dean's sister, tries to engage Dean's dad, who stops midway through a sentence and returns to the house. Rachel goes to console Dean, who tells her, "I'm falling in love with you." They snog a bit before walking to the car.
The Rose Ceremony: Dallas, Texas
Chris Harrison makes his first appearance since Episode 6 (his job just keeps getting easier) to offer guidance. They run through the hometown dates one-by-one, Rachel citing the following reservations:
- Eric's "I really do love this girl" might be more infatuation because he's never been in love before
- Bryan's family is very protective
- Peter is emotionally reserved
- Dean's "I'm falling in love with you" might be a product of heightened emotions rather than twue wuv
This Week's Survivors: Bryan, Eric, and Peter
Heading Home: Dean
Don't be too hard on yourself or your family, Dean. You were by far the youngest, and likely the least prepared to start a family with someone soon. Besides, you looked all kinds of swag on your way out.