Screen: ABC

Throw Momma From The Train (And Juan Pablo From The Helicopter)

The Bachelor heads to the ladies' hometowns to do some wooin'. But will the families allow themselves to be wooed?

I had oral surgery on Friday and recovered just in time to watch this mess. So, was The Bachelor this week more fun than having my gums sliced open or did I wish I had doubled up on the Percocet before watching? Let's find out!

Nikki's Hometown (Day)

Nikki thinks today is "make it or break it" for her relationship with Juan Pablo. Laboring under the delusion that Kansas City, Missouri is located in the Wild West, she wants to see "how cowboy" Juan Pablo is. She takes him to a barbecue place and then makes him ride a mechanical bull in an empty barn as she leers at him from the sidelines. Later, she hems and (yee)haws over whether to tell Juan Pablo she loves him. Such a dilemma! Such stakes!

Nikki's Hometown (Night)

Nikki's dad gives a gushing speech at dinner and toasts "to new relationships," while Mom gives a skeptical side-eye before realizing the camera is on her. Nikki tells her mother that "not only is there a physical attraction, there's also a mental attraction." Well, it's definitely mental. When Nikki's dad asks her what she sees in Juan Pablo, she says, and I quote: "I just feel like he makes me feel really comfortable around him, and like, there's just something about him, and I can't really put my finger on it and I can't explain it, but it's just awesome, like, it's like, magical." So, in other words: TRUE LOVE. Nikki also explains that she feels like she's prepared to be a stepmom, because she herself has parents, therefore, QED, she's ready. It's the transitive property, guys. Nikki's dad takes all of this in stride because seeing your daughter go on a reality show is "part of seeing your daughter grow up." Everyone goes through it! Just part of being a parent!

By the way, as a general note, does anyone else feel like even though we're near the end of this season, we barely know any of these people? I mean, we know Juan Pablo's a douche and the "ladies" are twats, but no specifics. Like, how EXACTLY are they twats? I demand more details!

Andi's Hometown (Day)

Andi, Esq. surprises all of us by being from Atlanta. I don't know, I would have guessed Chicago, maybe because I could totally see her bribing an official? She takes Juan Pablo to the shooting range and seems really charmed by her own edginess. Snore.

Andi's Hometown (Night)

Right off the bat, Andi's dad, Hy, seems hugely Not Impressed with this whole thing. Andi does not help matters by telling her parents, in excruciating detail, the long saga of how Juan Pablo kept inviting her on group dates rather than one-on-ones. Hy is really not into it. He says it seems like his daughter and Juan Pablo are just "infatuated" with one another. Bingo, Hy. But, Andi points out, Hy and Mrs. Hy got engaged just six months after meeting, so therefore, according to math and science, Andi's ridiculous sham of a relationship with Juan Pablo is totally valid. Hy later asks Juan Pablo why he went on The Bachelor, and every single one of the reasons Juan Pablo gives ("people will know who I am"; "people will know I have a daughter"; "people will know I want a family") could have been accomplished much more simply through filling out an online dating profile. The look of unbridled disgust on Hy's face as Juan Pablo talks is so refreshing!

Andi, meanwhile, is telling her sister that she and Juan Pablo have great chemistry and she's trying to "dig deeper" so that she can fall in love with him. Spoiler alert: you've dug as deep as that particular well goes, girlfriend. Andi's sister isn't sure that this relationship has legs, and points out, reasonably, that Andi herself seems ambivalent about it. By the end of the night, though, Andi has determined that tonight's decidedly lukewarm visit has pushed her over the precipice into "falling in love" with Juan Pablo. Oh, brother.

Renee's Hometown (Day)

Juan Pablo shows up to meet Renee in her hometown and says "Welcome to Sarasota," like he owns the friggin' joint. Renee, who's apparently had time to stroll contemplatively along the beach but hasn't yet had a moment to actually see her child, says she is going to "literally eat [her] son" Ben when she sees him. Run, kid! Run! Ben shows up at a park to be devoured by his mother and my heart breaks for him. This is his long-awaited reunion with his mom and (a) it's being filmed for national broadcast, and (b) stupid Juan Pablo's there ruining everything with his stupid face. Ben seems happy to see his mom and baffled to see Juan Pablo. Juan Pablo tries to "bond" with Ben, rubbing his arm and asking him age-inappropriate questions like "How much does your mommy love you? A lot?" (The kid is EIGHT, Juan Pablo. He can probably beat you at Grand Theft Auto.) Renee and Juan Pablo watch Ben play baseball and it's obvious that Ben wants this Venezuelan weirdo his mom brought home to take a hike, but no such luck.

Renee's Hometown (Night)

Renee puts Ben to bed and then says it's really "hard" because she doesn't know when she'll see her son again. One solution would be to not go back on the dating show you're almost surely not going to win and stay at home with your kid, but that's just one woman's opinion. Renee's mom Brenda, meanwhile, tells us she's looking for a "sparkle" in Renee's eyes. If Renee's eyes are sparkling, that's enough for Brenda. Renee's dad, meanwhile, says that he sees a "glow" in Renee, and that’s enough for him. This all seems very logical; let's not question it.

Clare's Hometown (Day)

Juan Pablo likes Clare, he tells us, because he has a "good time every time [he's] with her." Except for that one time when he humiliated her and she cried a lot, which accounted for approximately 40% of their time together so far. But apart from that, things are going great! Juan Pablo can't wait to meet Clare's family to see "why [she is] the way [she is]." I'll admit I'm curious about that, too. Clare takes Juan Pablo to a park in Sacramento. She tells sad stories about her dead dad and haphazardly throws a rock into a pond with Canadian geese in it. The geese eye her nervously before skittering away.

Clare's Hometown (Night)

Juan Pablo shows up to meet Clare's five sisters, her mother ("Momma"), and her brother-in-law. Clare, who apparently isn't familiar with the premise of the dating show she's currently on, is impressed that Juan Pablo is "hanging in there, with all these women." We learn that Clare's parents were only acquainted for three weeks before they got engaged (incidentally: same with my parents, yikes, right?), so therefore, she and Juan Pablo should just go ahead and get married. Clare's sister Lisa, based on nothing, has determined that Juan Pablo is just like Clare's father, who was the "ultimate Southern gentleman." Oh, was Clare's dad also into slut-shaming and ocean sex? As the night wears on, there is much talk of Juan Pablo's supposed resemblance to Clare's father. The family fetishizes Clare's dad to the point where I kind of expect them to demand that Juan Pablo give a burnt offering at the family mausoleum before he can leave. (Clare to Juan Pablo: "You brought that fatted calf I asked you to pick up, right?")

Clare does have one skeptical sister, Laura, who makes it clear she is not on board. They get into a weird, tearful fight about whether or not the family is prepared to give Clare and Juan Pablo its blessing. I'm confused by the family dynamics at play, I guess because I'm an only child and the only outsider who ever butts into my fights with my parents is our dog. In short, though, Clare hates her family for stealing her joy. Eventually, Juan Pablo gets a chance to speak to Momma and they discuss the weather in Spanish for a few minutes before Momma determines that he is fit to marry her daughter.

Rose Ceremony

Tonight's rose ceremony is significant because Juan Pablo will, in essence, reject one woman's family wholesale. Quite literally the only factor in his decision is "Whose family sucks the most?" Renee (and, by proxy, her entire family) is given the boot. Juan Pablo gets all weepy and Renee tells him he opened up her eyes to "a whole new world." What, Korea? Juan Pablo pulls out his sole move, the old one-handed hair sweep, and tells Renee he respects her a lot. And there's the death knell for their relationship, sounding right on time.

Verdict

One must ration one's energy during this two-day Bachelor event, so watch this episode judiciously. It's not a total waste to watch Hy drop some truth bombs on Juan Pablo, and the simmering tension in Clare's family is a nice change of pace from the usual brainwashed parent-bots we see on this show. You can safely skip the rest.

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