The Bachelorette: In Florida, we only need one button

It’s hometown week, and Jojo arrives in Highlands Ranch, CO to begin what is arguably the best episode of every season. I love meeting all these families and seeing exactly where these kooky contestants come from!

Chase

JoJo is in Colorado to visit Chase. I personally think Chase is the best option JoJo has left. He’s cute, he’s got a great voice, and I’m still not over that tantric yoga date they shared all those weeks ago. The other girls I’m watching this with don’t agree – they think Chase is going home this week.

Chase and JoJo hike through snow and sit on a fur blanket on a boulder overlooking a mountain range. I lived in Colorado for roughly three years, and I can tell you that sitting on furs in the snow is a very common pastime of the Colorado people, so this is totally normal and not at all staged.

Chase, somewhat uncharacteristically, begins to open up to JoJo by telling her there’s something that’s been weighing on him; she’ll have to meet his parents separately. Their marriage ended in a terrible divorce, and it’s not possible for them to be in the same room. Chase is really opening up to her – more than he has before – and it’s about time. If he keeps this up, he may just stick around until the end, which is great for me since he’s the last one remaining on my team roster. They make out on that fur blanket, then pack things up and head to Chase’s house.

The first and only thing I can pay attention to is the fact that the staircase in Chase’s house has no railings whatsoever, which is a glaring safety hazard. It’s as if he was building a new staircase from scratch one day, just about to put on those banisters, when The Bachelorette called. “Be a contestant on the show? JoJo? Now?” He’d have dropped everything, hammer rattling to the ground, put on a shirt (I assume he’d be shirtless) and run to the airport to catch the first plane to L.A. “Those handrails can wait!” he’d yell as the plane flew overhead.

Chase’s dad arrives, and Chase and JoJo talk with him about his parents’ divorce, and how his dad has found true love now. It’s a sweet conversation, and everyone is tearing up, and the girls are tearing up, and so am I, as usual. JoJo understands Chase now more than ever. Chase sees a future with JoJo. Things are looking up.

Now, it’s nighttime, and Chase and JoJo arrive at Chase’s mom’s house. His whole family is there – siblings, nephews, mom and stepdad. JoJo and Chase’s mom separate themselves quickly for some one-on-one time.

At this point in the season, it has become apparent to me that JoJo is familiar with the Five Love Languages, as she immediately begins talking about the fact that Chase is not a Words of Affirmation kind of guy. His mom knows exactly what she’s talking about. This is confirmed during a simultaneous conversation between Chase and his sister Brittany in which he reveals he has never said the word “love” to a woman before.

Later, Chase’s mom asks him if he’s ready to propose, and he assures her, “There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m ready for that chapter of my life.” They cry together, even though they’ve made it clear they’re not the cryin’ type of family.

Finally, it’s time for JoJo to leave and meet another one of her boyfriends’ families, which no one seems too weirded out by. She and Chase make out by the car, and then Chase grabs her and whispers that he’s falling in love with her. This is the sexiest thing to me, and I am totally feeling this with my whole heart. Seriously, the other girls in this room are eating cheese and artisanal pickles, and I am glued to this t.v. like the third wheel in this relationship. Something about Chase is just so yum. Don’t break his heart, JoJo! You’ve just helped him open it up!

The girls in the room are starting to change their minds. Maybe Chase isn’t getting kicked off this week after all.

Jordan

JoJo is now in Chico, CA, where she is scared to death by a deer stampede while talking to the camera. Part of me is wishing that Jordan is riding one of the deer to come and pick JoJo up, but that doesn’t turn out to be true. He meets her in a field, his hair blowing violently in the wind as they kiss. She is so comfortable with him and always initiates their kisses – that’s a good sign for Jordan.

Jordan takes JoJo to his high school, which looks exactly like every California high school you’ve ever seen in a movie. (Unless “10 Things I Hate About You” was supposed to have taken place in California. If so, that’s the exception. So don’t picture that one, but picture every other California high school you’ve seen in a movie.) They meet his J.V. football coach and some teachers, they make out in the library fulfilling what was very likely a fantasy of Jordan’s since he was a wee boy, and then they find the Rodgers’ brothers photos as part of a collage in a locker room. JoJo points out a photo of Jordan’s famous brother, Aaron, and Jordan is immediately defensive. Aaron is clearly not something he talks about.

JoJo doesn’t pick up this hint, of course, because she brings Aaron up again as she and Jordan are sitting on the bleachers outside at the football stadium. She asks if Aaron is something she should discuss with his family later that day, and he flatly tells her no, “Aaron doesn’t need to be a topic,” with little explanation. I believe the producers want you to think this secrecy is out of some pain that Jordan has against his brother, but in reality, I think a lot of it is P.R. – he just can’t talk about his famous brother on national reality television.

They travel to Jordan’s parents’ very, very green house. Sitting around a table together, Jordan’s parents tell JoJo a cute story about him, and then JoJo steps aside to talk with Jordan’s brother, Luke. Proving to all that she is an excellent listener and keeper of family secrets, JoJo immediately asks Luke about Aaron. Not surprisingly, he doesn’t want to talk about Aaron either.

What I would like them to talk about is Luke’s wife’s extremely voluminous hair, which I’m sure she got styled at the local Chico salon before the camera crew rolled in. Further investigation proves we’ve got yet another Nashville connection here – Luke and Hair Wife live in Nashville. Gotta love those Southern girls and their big hair (full of secrets about why the family doesn’t talk to Aaron anymore.) Unfortunately for JoJo, those secrets remain securely hairsprayed in Hair Wife’s head.

JoJo sits with Jordan’s dad, who kind of resembles Squidward to me, but of course I only mean that in the best way. Jordan talks to his mom, who can tell he is so happy. Jordan’s mom is beautiful, but I can’t get over the fact that she and Jordan have dangerously similar hairstyles. One thing’s for sure – this is a family with fantastic hair.

JoJo and Jordan sit on a bench outside before she leaves. She had a wonderful time with his family, but she’s still scared that Jordan will break her heart. This is one of many times JoJo has expressed this fear, and I shout to her that she needs to trust her gut. If everything is going well and you should be so happy, but something in your gut is making you unsettled? Well, you gotta listen to that voice, girl.

“If she picks him at the end of this,” my friend Ashley says, “I guarantee you they’ll be broken up within six months.” No one in the room disagrees with her.

Robby

Now, JoJo is in St. Augustine, Fla. Robby shows up and his shirt is nearly completely unbuttoned – with the exception of the very bottom button. This raises so many questions, I fear my head might explode. What is the point of buttoning only the bottom button of your shirt? Is this a Florida thing? What does JoJo think of this? How can a self-respecting person stand in front of a mirror, pull their favorite pink shirt (freshly pressed) off of the hanger, put it on over a thin white tank top, button only the very bottom button and feel prepared to walk out into the world?

“Robby has so many different sides to him,” JoJo smiles to the camera. Seeing as I’m still 90% sure Robby is gay or has, at the very least, made out with another muscley dude in an Olympic swimming pool, I nod in agreement.

A horse-drawn carriage arrives to whisk them around St. Augustine. They appear to be having so much fun, but I literally can’t hear anything because Robby’s abs are shouting at me from his one-buttoned shirt.

They arrive at a restaurant and drink mai tai’s together. Robby says, “Oh my God, this is where I come all the time to drink mai tai’s with my gays – I mean guys!” Ok ok, he doesn’t say that, but that’s what he’s thinking.

JoJo asks him about his ex-“girlfriend”, Hope, whom Robby broke up with only three months before The Bachelorette started filming. This is obviously an issue for her.“You told me that you loved me fairly early,” JoJo says, “but I want to make sure that I’m not just filling a void for you.” He assures her that his love is true, and she ain’t filling no void other than the soulmate-shaped hole in his heart.

Now, drunk on fruity drinks and Maraschino cherries, they walk up to Robby’s parents’ house. We meet Robby’s family, and all of the women look exactly like JoJo. It’s uncanny – I keep getting them all confused. They sit around a big table, talking and drinking white wine together.

JoJo and Robby’s mom remove themselves for some lady conversation. JoJo asks about Robby’s ex-girlfriend, which seems like a bold move to me, but whatever. She’s afraid he didn’t take enough time for himself before coming on the show. Robby’s mom assures her that Robby’s heart is true. JoJo confesses that she’s falling in love with Robby – this is the first time she’s told anyone that.

Then, Robby sits down with his mom, and JoJo moves on to talk to the other ladies. Robby’s mom very concisely tells him, “There is, right now, an issue, a little bit, in the world, that your ex’s roommate has, um, made it look like you broke up to go on the show.” Robby is teary-eyed and red-faced. He’s scared because he doesn’t want this to rattle JoJo.

I have a hard time digesting this information, though, because now I am so distracted by the amount of glitter that is sparkling all over Robby’s face. Is he wearing bronzer? Did he sneak away to the gay club down the street while JoJo and his mom were talking? Was he trying on his sister’s prom dress from 2003?

Robby needs to talk to JoJo about his ex right away. He interrupts his sisters’ conversation with her so he can address the rumors. “Apparently, people are saying I’m not here for the right reasons,” he confesses.

“Is this true? Did you break up with her when you found out you were going to be on the show?” JoJo asks him.

“No, no, not even close,” he says. But then, he explains that their relationship had ended about nine months before they actually broke up, which clarifies that yes, he did technically break up with her when he found out he was going on the show, but it barely matters.

Poor Jo was concerned about this already, and now she’s even more worried. “What if we get out of all of this, and it’s you and me in the end, and we’re still dealing with your ex?” she asks. JoJo is scared and has “no clue” what she’s doing.

JoJo says goodbye to Robby’s family, and he escorts her outside, shielding her from the rain with his parasol. They both look unsettled as she drives away.

Luke

Finally, we meet JoJo in Burnet, TX. She’s excited to be back in Texas, her home state, and she feels really good about Luke. She loves his silent confidence, which I actually interpreted as a stone-faced serial killer’s glare, but tomato/tomahto.

Luke picks her up in a truck that has been strategically placed by Chevrolet, and they drive down a dirt road to a picnic with 50 of his closest friends and family. This is straight out of a country song. They sit around, talking and eating, and it all seems so nice and comfortable.

Then, Luke and JoJo ride horses to a field to be alone together. Someone has set up bales of hay by a campfire, so they sit and talk and kiss, and she stares into his cold, dead eyes. She starts to cry. She says it’s a good cry, but I think we can all tell that she’s realized Luke is not the one for her.

To make matters worse, Luke walks her from the hay, through the grass to a candlelit path that leads to a large heart made of flower petals. “I want you to know that my heart is yours,” Luke tells her. They embrace as a country song softly plays in the background. JoJo looks nauseous.

Rose Ceremony

One by one, the guys pull up in limos to an airplane hangar, where they line up for the Rose Ceremony. The three men who JoJo selects will jump on a plane right then and there and fly to their next destination, but the one who’s not chosen has to go right back home to his adoring family.

Once the men are in place, JoJo arrives, wearing a beautiful blue gown. She cries to the camera. “I think I know what I need to do. I need to say goodbye to Luke.”

This is not a shocker to me, based on the look of pure terror she wore on her face while hugging Luke before the last commercial break, but the fact that she’s telling us this must mean a twist is on the horizon.

JoJo stands by the three roses, facing the men. “I honestly care so much about each one of you. All of you have impacted my heart more than you know.” She picks up the first rose – but before she can speak a word, Luke interrupts and asks to pull her aside. He needs to tell her that he loves her.

“I want to be sure you know where I stand,” he says. “I don’t know if I said the right things or waited too long, but my heart is yours. When you left, I felt like I needed to tell you that I’m in love with you.  I want you to know that.”

Now more than ever, JoJo looks like she is going to puke. All over Luke’s stony glare, all over her shiny blue gown, everywhere. She doesn’t know what to do. Luke takes his place back in line, and JoJo just wanders around the runway, crying and talking to the camera. This girl cannot control herself. How will she know what to do? What if she makes a mistake?

And then we’re hit with the biggest shocker of the night: TO BE CONTINUED.

I am disappointed in myself that I didn’t see this coming. Who will be sent home? Where will JoJo take the three men from here? And who will she choose in the end? I can hardly stand the suspense.

 

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