It’s that time of the season to meet the families! Tayshia is nervous, naturally. She’s been married before and knows how big of a role in-laws can play in someone’s life. She’s not only on the verge of getting engaged to a virtual stranger, she’s also balanced on the precipice of inviting a whole lotta random familial baggage into her world. In short, choose carefully, girl!
All of the men agree – shit’s about to get real. Here to goad them on is Chris Harrison, fresh from breaking quarantine. He exhales heavily, and I see the guys flinch. The man who just pierced their elaborate bubble is here to tell them that Hometowns will be held on the lot of the resort because, you know, there’s this crazy pandemic going on. Well, thanks for LEAVING and then coming back to tell us that. Solid.
Hometown #1: First up is Brendan. The quiet, shy ghost of a man who we’ve barely interacted with this entire season, yet who is somehow in the Final Four, takes the lead. He has a very special day planned. His entire “planning” consists of taking advantage of the interns, because Brendan has not lifted a finger. (Also, all of the dates are totally over the top this round. I’m guessing the bulk of the budget has been allocated to Hometowns and Fantasy Suites, since there was no travel this year and it shows. That’s a lot of work, and I seriously want to buy the interns a round!)
Apparently, carnivals and fairs are a big thing where Brendan comes from, and he must share that with Tayshia! Forget anything personal or compelling, TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE CARNIVALS, Brendan! That dude must have a secret stash of edibles, because he’s about the lowest-energy person I’ve ever seen. In other news, I have no fears about his blood pressure.
Brendan reveals he can “see Tayshia as the mother to his kids,” but he’s hoping his family will “help assess the situation.” What? Will they weigh in on whether or not Tayshia has childbearing hips? Is this what happens at street fairs? We don’t have this service in Portland and now I feel ripped off.
Brendan’s niece arrives and she’s adorable. But then Brendan dances, and that’s decidedly less cute. (Btw, follow my dear friend Cheyenne - she's the best!)
The evening portion of this charade also goes swimmingly. Brendan’s sis-in-law comes the closest to starting drama as she presses for info regarding Tayshia’s last marriage. She says of divorce, “It’s the number one killer of reaching your destiny.” Holy crap. Bachelor merch!!! You are missing a revenue stream. You don’t think the Rosé All Day crew wouldn’t have this on a tote? Toute suite, baby.
Hometown #2: It is time for Zac. I remain wholly confused regarding her attraction to this man. He seems tightly wound and gives me the creeps. Methinks there’s a load of skeletons in that closet and I am worried for her. To that end, the most fun I had with last night’s episode was the rousing conversation regarding this with my Tweet peeps. There was dissension in the ranks and it was spicy! In Zac’s corner is The Date Card, and you should sign up for her ultra-fabulous newsletter (and follow her on Twitter, of course!). We may have differing opinions about Zac, but we agree 100% that her emails are the highlight of my Bachelorette morning after!
Suddenly Zac lives in NYC? I thought he was from elsewhere, but I’m too lazy to look it up. It’s all worth it to watch them hail a fake cardboard cab, though. More of this, please.
Zac exhibits his weird control issues when they “go out” for a bagel and Tayshia chooses blueberry. This woman has an absolute banging body and probably eats carbs once a year. LET HER ENJOY HER BLUEBERRY BAGEL IN PEACE, YOU MONSTER.
Tayshia says it would “be insane” if she ended up in NYC with Zac. I concur!
For everything I feel about Zac (sorry, I don’t know why – I just do), his family is a pleasant surprise. They are incredibly sweet and engaging. His father says to Tayshia, “I’m not comfortable doing this, but I am comfortable with you!” His mother chimes in with, “Everybody deserves love.” Okay, it might be time to reassess… Tayshia says she and Zac “are good.” This, I believe.
Hometown #3: Ivan is next, and he remains predictably adorable! That said, he’s another contestant that I feel we don’t know much about. I’m glad he’s still around, but I feel like we still don’t have much of a glimpse into their connection. Which is super weird, at this point. Like, they’re trapped at a resort. There’s nowhere else to go. Why have we seen so little of Ivan and Brendan interacting with Tayshia? Production has failed us.
But let’s take a moment to get to know him now! We kick off with a virtual cooking date featuring his insanely cute 6-year old niece, who treats us to the best recipe. The recipe of love! She was born when his brother/her father was in prison and Ivan stepped up to take care of her. Argh. The cuteness! I can’t stand it. Tayshia and Ivan proceed to have a lovely day bonding and sharing stories. It's near perfect.
The evening portion has me nervous as hell. Tayshia will be the second “girl” he’s ever brought “home.” And, indeed, his parents have showed up for this honor, despite the fact that his father has severe health problems. Why are they risking it all?! It’s not even the Final Two! Are you really going to chance losing your father over this when you still might get sent home in third or fourth place? What happened to Zoom? Everyone else is doing it! Join the legions of people who are chatting safely from the comfort of their homes! Holy hell.
Tayshia and Ivan’s mom chat. She is fire and remains “skeptical.” His dad is awesome. He reveals he was also previously married and asks Tayshia what she learned from her former union. He is gracious and lovely. He says he’s impressed with her (we all are). I hope he makes it out of this alive. Seriously.
Ivan reveals to his mom that he’s not ready to propose but alludes that he is ready for Fantasy Suites. I’m not awkward, you’re awkward! His sassy mom laughs and says, “If she keeps you around!”
Ivan’s brother – the former jailbird – is the surprise guest of the evening, and Ivan burst into tears. He seems very nice, but the two could not be more different and I am curious about everyone’s stories involved. He chats with Tayshia, and blessings are given. Specifically, he says he supports Ivan in this “righteous endeavor.” Amen.
Hometown #4: The final date of the episode goes to Ben! I love him. I have my unabashed biases. This is one. Tayshia says, “I want him to put down his balls,” and I am momentarily excited that we’ve skipped to Fantasy Suites. But no, upon further inspection after a rewind she said “walls,” not “balls.” So, I guess we’re still paused on the Bone Zone.
Ben lives in Cali and they have a “very Venice Beach date,” included rollerblading on the “boardwalk.” They hit up a juice bar and Tayshia’s like, “Ack!” Ben says he guesses the juice was “too strong.” Was it laced with tequila? Was it straight ginger? They’re both health nuts, so I’m struggling with this reveal that Tayshia would be a fresh-pressed juice novice. So many questions!
But not as many as Tayshia has for Ben, mainly with her mind as she tries to laser beam him into confessing his love. And he does – message received – unfortunately, something must’ve gotten crossed in transmission because he tells everyone but her how he feels about Tayshia. Whoops!
Ben says his life is full of strong, independent women and – I’m sorry, but how is he not declared the winner right this very second? He then introduces us to his adorable sister and her friend, Antonia, who just happens to be one of my favorite Top Chef alums! My mind is blown right now. Of all the reality TV shows mashups, I did not have this one on my Bingo card. I love that. (Hello, Arie.)
Antonia takes the reins and says what we all know – that Ben is totally, fully in love with Tayshia. He’s nervous and asks, “How do I say that?” She replies, “Just like you do to everyone else.” I need more of her no nonsense in my life. Antonia for everything!
And yet, Ben doesn’t heed her advice. Dude… why?! Why are you freezing at the finish line? Has he not watched the show before? You tell the lead you love her BEFORE you finish your Hometown date. That's what Hometowns are for!
But he doesn’t do it. He fumbles around. Tayshia gives him ample opportunity to say something – anything – before giving up and growing cold. You can feel the energy shift and it sucks. He tries to kiss her, but their once sizzling chemistry isn’t going to save him here. She’s shrugs and stalks off. He doesn’t follow her. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
She goes into the Rose Ceremony pretty pissed off. She says, “I’ve got your hearts in my hands, but your family’s hearts in my hands now too.” Speaking of hearts, she says she’s been following hers and she’s going to continue that streak tonight. With that, the first rose goes to Ivan, then Zac, then… Brendan. Yep, that means Ben is unfortunately going home, as we suspected.
He’s shell-shocked and is still unable to process or express his feelings. She walks him out and he repeatedly reassures her he’ll “be fine.” Dude, wake up! She does not want you to be “fine.” She wants you to be devasted! He could’ve potentially saved his ass here if he’d been able to emote, but no. It’s not until he’s in the van that he realizes he fucked up as he's driven off into the night.
And then there were three…
Next week: There are tears, tears, and more tears. Also, an airstream in the La Quinta parking lot? I guess they’ve exhausted every suite in the resort, so now we’re on to tin cans. Quell sexy! It’s a two-parter, airing both Monday and Tuesday nights so Bachelor Nation will have its work cut out. Until next time, Rose Peeps. xo