Y’all, based on the number of tears in the previews for this episode, this seems like it is surely going to be the Most. Dramatic. Episode. Ever. I, personally, am more excited for this episode than any of the others, because this week, we’re in Warsaw, Indiana – my hometown-in-law! I am really looking forward to this.
We open with beauty shots of Warsaw and its neighboring town, Winona Lake. We see Ben driving around town in an old red truck, waving hello to empty sidewalks and giving thumbs ups to nobody. Sure feels good to be home.
Ben meets his parents for a meal at B Mac’s restaurant in downtown Warsaw. He explains that he’s brought his six girlfriends home with him, and he mentions that, a few weeks ago, he was dating twins. The twinkle in his dad’s eyes when he hears this is remarkably similar to the look on Ben’s own face when he saw the twins get out of the limo. Like father, like son. His parents are so proud.
And now we see the girls walking through Warsaw, doing normal adult lady things like wearing crop tops on a chilly fall day and giggling in piles of leaves. This is essentially the outdoor version of a lingerie pillow fight.
The girls walk to the end of a pier, and Ben sails up on a boat. Caila leans forward and uses her brute strength to stop the boat as it approaches the pier, which seems completely unnecessary. The ladies board the boat and speed around Winona Lake.
So far, this is remarkably similar to most of my visits to Warsaw, and I’m feeling a little nostalgic watching these ladies discover that cute little town.
“This is a great place to raise a family,” nasals Jojo from the boat, which is also something I’ve said in likely that exact same spot on that exact same lake.
Ben takes the girls to their lake house, where they settle in on the couch and reminisce about Ben’s childhood. Then, unpredictably, Ben announces that he is going to take Lauren B. on the week’s first one-on-one date.
“You have 30 minutes to get ready,” Ben tells her, and the look of panic on Lauren B.’s face is one I know all too well. “Only 30 minutes!? In your hometown, where I want to look extra cute!? DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG IT TAKES ME TO GET READY, BRYAN?!”
Anywho, Lauren B. manages to pull it off somehow. Meanwhile, the other ladies are so so sad and jealous because this is the first time Ben has asked one of them out directly, without the use of a date card.
Date 1: Lauren B.
Ben and Lauren drive around in his shiny red truck again, and he shows her his elementary school, his high school and his church. They drive past the movie theater where Ben had his first kiss, and then he leans over to kiss Lauren while he is still driving down the road, which seems dangerous. But whatever, he clearly loves her.
Back at the house, Amanda is talking about the potential that Ben might meet her kids next week if she gets a hometown date, and all the girls are like, “Wait, whaaaat? You’ve got kids?” The second date card arrives, and it’s for Jojo.
Meanwhile, Ben and Lauren B. pull up to Bakers Youth Club, where he used to work. Adorably, it appears that in the 30 minutes Lauren had to get ready, she chose to wear the exact same outfit as Ben, and they make the cutest matching pair.
They meet the kids at the youth center, jumping rope and doing cartwheels. Wait and WHAT now the Pacers are showing up?! Wow, I was only a Hoosier for five years and I am a SUCKER for this episode. Hey, Paul George!
After shooting some hoops, Ben and Lauren make out all around the gym, which seems super inappropriate for children to see? But who am I to know for sure? Children are a mystery.
At nightfall, Ben invites Lauren to his apartment for a glass of wine, which I love. This date is so casual and normal. (I mean, except for the playing basketball with the Pacers part.) It’s a nice change of pace, and it’s just so clear that Ben loves Lauren and wants to start living his real life with her right now.
After clearing up what Leah said about Lauren B. last week (though we barely even remembered it because their love is overcoming all odds) Ben takes Lauren to Rex’s for drinks and friendship. Lauren B. tears up as she confesses to the camera that she is in love with Ben, and if I’m being honest, I’m tearing up, too.
Date 2: Jojo
Wow, I had so much fun on Lauren and Ben’s date that I’m sad for it to end. Here we are, though, on date 2. Jojo is feeling apprehensive because she knows that Ben’s first date went really well, but, she’s going to try her best to shake that off and make the most of today. She is driven to Chicago, where she meets Ben at Wrigley Field and they are invited to come inside. For real, they have the whole field to themselves?! This episode is like every Midwesterner’s fantasy!
Ben explains that being on this field is his lifelong dream, and when Jojo tries to talk about love, he’s like, “Hey, Jojo – stop – just stop talking. Will you just sit over there on that bench and leave me alone so I can enjoy this moment?” Just kidding, he doesn’t say that. They play baseball and have fun and it’s wonderful.
What I’d like to know is, what are the other girls doing in Warsaw while Ben and Jojo are in Chicago? Probably shopping in downtown Winona at that cute wooden spoon store.
Ben and Jojo say lots of sweet things to each other and discuss her insecurities, but blah blah blah it all ends up ok, as usual.
Date 3: Group Date
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: The group dates on this show are horrible.
Today’s group date includes Caila, Amanda and Becca. The ladies meet Ben at the lake for a fun-filled day of paddling around in small boats and flying kites at some barn. Special. Ben explains that he will hand out one rose on this date, and whoever gets it will have the pleasure of spending the rest of the evening with him while the other two girls cry into their pillows at home.
Ben spends one-on-one time with each girl and asks Amanda if her kids are “ready to be squeezed,” which seems incredibly inappropriate, though I’m sure he has good intentions.
Becca tells Ben that she’s been stressed out and insecure watching him go on dates with all the other ladies. He reassures her that everything will be ok, but will it, Ben?
“I’m just picturing taking you home,” Caila tries as a pickup line. Heard that before, honey. Honestly, I can’t even look at Caila anymore after her weird showing in last week’s episode. I’m ready for her to go home.
After delightful conversation, Ben gives the rose to Amanda, saying he wants to reassure her about next week’s hometown date, and he can’t wait to meet her daughters Jarleigh and Kynzlee. Caila and Becca are jealous and nervous, and I think one of them just threw up in that hay pile back there.
Date 3 (Part 2): Amanda
You guys, this is so exciting. The only insider information I’ve known about this season is that there would be a date at a carnival in downtown Warsaw, and it appears that’s finally about to happen!
ABC would have you believe that this carnival is something that happens every year in Warsaw. Now, I don’t mean to ruin the magic of television, but unfortunately, that’s not quite the case. My sources (aka. my mother in law, Jane) tell me that apparently, the carnival was sponsored by the local Warsaw McDonald’s, staged just for this very date.
Which – WOW, ok this makes so much sense – because Ben and Amanda’s date starts with them EATING AND WORKING AT THE WARSAW MCDONALD’S.
Hand to God, if I was on a date that involved putting me to work in a fast food drive thru, I would throw a literal temper tantrum and leave. You think I get pissy when I only have 30 minutes to get ready? Oh, YOU JUST WAIT, my friend.
After their atrocious experience at McDonald’s, Ben and Amanda arrive at the carnival. They are welcomed by the mayor and the entire town before they take off to play games. Wait – is that Bryan’s dad running the carousel?
They ride on some terrifying carnival ride where they are at serious risk of throwing up all of the Egg McMuffins they just ate. Then, they hold hands all around the fair and kiss and kiss on the ferris wheel until the commercial break. I like them together, and I am excited to see what next week brings.
Date 4: Emily
And now, to the final date of the week. Ben and Emily start out by boating all around Winona Lake, and Emily can’t believe Ben grew up “like, here!” Ben introduces her to a species of bird called a swan, which apparently Emily had never seen before, and Emily is “genuinely so happy.”
Back at the house, the girls are speculating that Emily is going to meet Ben’s parents, and the jealousy is palpable. “Emily is a bright-eyed puppy,” Caila says. “She’s got so much to learn still.” Ouch.
Ben takes Emily into his childhood home, shows her around, and – the girls were right – introduces her to his parents. Wow!
“Talking to people can be a hard thing for me,” Emily tells us. “I get nervous and I just don’t want to make an idiot out of myself.” Uh oh, Emily. This seems like foreshadowing, and I am worried for you. Sweet girl.
Now, allow me to present to you a list of things Emily says to Ben’s parents:
- “I don’t travel a lot?”
- “I love ducks.”
- “I’ve dreamed of being an NFL cheerleader for as long as I can remember.”
- “I feel like I’m so average at everything in life.”
- “I love watching movies.”
- “I don’t like vegetables.”
Ben’s dad thinks Emily is attractive, obviously, but both of Ben’s parents are concerned that Emily is too young and naive. “She’s definitely a fun individual?” Ben’s mom says confidently. Then, she starts crying, which is never a good sign.
Emily and Ben leave Ben’s parents’ house, and she’s on cloud 9. “I would want nothing more than to be a part of this family,” she smiles. But, oh no. Here comes Ben to crush her heart.
“Wait. Where are we going?” Emily asks as she gets back in the boat. “You’re not taking me home… right?” WRONG.
They sit on a pier outside the house, and Ben wraps her in a blanket. Emily starts to gush about how happy she is, but Ben goes in for the kill. “I’ve been amazed at who you are,” Ben starts. “I just don’t think I can see you being my wife.” From across the lake, Mama Higgins lets out a sigh of relief.
The sun is setting on Emily’s sad face, revealing nary a wrinkle because she’s so so young. Emily comes back into the house, where the girls have been watching the breakup and waiting to hear what happened. Emily starts crying, and all of the girls start crying.
Emily is very classy as she’s driven away, which I really appreciate. We’ll all miss you, Emily! I know somewhere out there is a man who will shower you with all of the candy and ducklings you deserve.
The Night of the Rose Ceremony
We find Ben sitting on the steps of the Warsaw courthouse while the bell is tolling, and we understand this show has suddenly turned into a spooky Halloween movie.
Around the corner, the women are standing in the dusk, shuffling around in leaves, and they all agree that “something feels off.”
On the steps, Ben and Chris Harrison, who has finally arrived in Warsaw, are having a heart-to-heart. Ben is struggling. He just doesn’t know who to send home.
After a few minutes of contemplation, we see Ben walking up to the girls in front of the courthouse. They’re doing this rose ceremony outside in this scene from Hocus Pocus?! Ok, here we go.
The Rose Ceremony
Ben picks up the first rose and gives it to Lauren B. (Obviously.)
Rose 2 goes to Jojo, and Caila’s eyes say she knows she’s going home.
Chris Harrison chimes in. “Ladies? Ben? This is the final rose tonight. Ben, when you’re ready.” (I love that part.)
And the third and final rose is for [the tension!] Caila. Darn.
Tonight, we’re saying goodbye to Becca. This is sad for her, but it’s especially sad for me, as she and Emily were the two remaining bachelorettes on my fantasy team. Now that they’re gone, I’m officially out of the game. $20.00 down the drain. Thanks a lot, ladies.
Next Week on The Bachelor
Hometown dates! Amanda’s kids are crying. Everyone’s dads are giving Ben a hard time. Jojo’s brothers are intimidating Ben and accusing him of brainwashing? Are they about to get in a fist fight? Ben is crying and getting into a limo?! Oh, the drama!