On Monday night a little bird flew into my apartment (for the 2nd time in 3 years which is a whole lotta birds as part-time roommates) so I was home to freak out about that AND to watch Rachel visit four lucky suitor's hometowns! (Note: the bird ended up in the empty bedroom in my apartment--I'm currently seeking another roommate--where I simply opened the window and the screen, shut the door, and prayed that the bird would find its way out. It did! All is right in the world!)
The episode kicked off with Rachel visiting Eric's hometown of Baltimore, MD. Rachel looked cute in her casual getup of jeans, cute boots, and a white-ish plaid button down while Eric represented Canadian nuptials (that is, a Canadian tuxedo) in a denim-on-denim ensemble. The pair canoodled at the basketball court and then Eric's hype man, Ralph, showed up to assure Rachel that Eric was a stellar student, scholar, athlete and great friend who managed stay positive despite his chaotic surroundings. Eric expanded on that to Rachel, saying how his mother was so unemotional and obsessively self-sufficient, that he became very "hard" (I feel like I should up that in quotation marks but also using those makes me feel like a reeeeal suburban dummy) and unwilling to let in romantic love. He said that his friends had never seen him be romantic or touchy-feely with a woman, which I found fascinating--I'm sure that in his younger years he saw that as weak.
Eric and Rachel head over to "Auntie's" apartment (and Auntie is Verna, who, it seems, was a nurturing mother figure to Eric AND SHE RULES, unsurprisingly) with flowers and gifts. The entire family is assembled---Auntie, Eric's mom, Eric's dad, seemingly other cousins, Ralph--and they all cheer and clap when Rachel and Eric entered the apartment, which warmed my heart. Verna has a conversation with Rachel and brings up race, which I appreciated. I love how Rachel has been willing to address that head on but not let it CONSUME her time as The Bachelorette. As she said, her journey shouldn't be any different than the previous 12 bachelorettes, though she admitted that she feels a lot of pressure to do right by the black community AND everybody else. That's a lot of pressure.
The crew enjoys a lovely lunch with heartfelt toasts and sweet conversations. Assorted family members were more than willing to have some pretty HEAVY conversations (Eric and his dad, Eric and his mom). Eric and his mother's conversations was VERY revealing and it made me want to hug Kiddo Eric. She claimed that she was distant and not there for him very much ON PURPOSE to toughen him up. Ooof. That seems like some unnecessary tough love. Unsurprisingly, one of her first questions to Eric was asking him if he was ready to get dumped/OK with getting dumped. Thanks for the vote of confidence, mom!
Rachel says goodbye to the family and to Eric, then heads to south to....
Rachel and Bryan arrive at the family home with flowers, gifts and are greeted by Bryan's mom, dad, sister (I think?) and other people? Who cares--BRYAN IS HOME!!! Bryan's mom, Olga, immediately proposes a toast to Bryan, "the most precious thing I have in my life." Hoo boy, Olga, do you know that your husband and your other child can hear that??? Do you realize that? Oh, you do and you only care about SONS because daughters are worthless and also, your own partner doesn't deserve your respect? Cool, cool. Also, now I can see why Bryan is SO FRIGGING CONFIDENT. His mother has convinced him that he's a goddamn angel. As she gives this toast, she starts crying then chugs the drink for a while. Move over, Jojo's mom chugging out of the champagne bottle--there's a new boozin' mama in town and it's Bryan's mom throwing back a shot!
|This season, the role of "Jojo's Mother" will be played by "Bryan's Mother."|
During the course of the visit, Olga says "my son is my life," and literally says to Rachel, "if he's happy, I'm happy--if not, I'll kill you," later calls Bryan "the love of my life." NO PRESSURE, RACH. JUST DO NOT GET IN THE WAY OF A MOTHER'S BURNING HOT LOVE FOR HER ONLY GODDAMN SON!!! If I were Rachel, I would run as fast as I can. But she doesn't! Instead, she listens to Bryan's sister badmouth Bryan's ex because that bitch had the nerve to try and get between Bryan and his mother. WHAT AN IDIOT!! Doesn't she know that Bryan is dating his mother? Or wait... what???
Rachel and Bryan escape the Mom Love Vortex and go outside to make out HARD beneath some BRIGHT lights that producers must have bought in. Rachel says goodbye to Bryan and somehow isn't freaked out by his family.
Up next is Madison, WI where Rachel will meet Peter's family and ALL OF THEIR RECLINING COUCHES! Holy shit I didn't think it was possible to wedge THAT MANY crummy looking recliners (WITH CUPHOLDERS!) into a living room, but Peter's family is going for gold in that event!
|"Mommy, where do overstuffed recliners come from?"|
"Bernie + Phyl's, OF COURSE!"
But before the trip to Bernie & Phyl's (talk about a LOCAL joke!), Rachel and Peter wander around a farmer's market in downtown Madison and are tailed by excited teenagers videotaping the couple with their phones (did anyone else see that in a shot or two). They buy flowers and the salesman is NOT having it, then they head to a restaurant to meet a few of Peter's besties.
|Doesn't his look quietly say, "get that camera the fuck outta my face'?|
Oh I almost forgot! Peter says that "today will be a major step in Rachel and I's relationship" and he has done this a FEW TIMES this season. Goodness gracious doens't saying "I's" feel WEIRD to you, gap tooted Wisconsin??? It's fucking MYYYYYYY--Rachel's and MY relationship. OK, rant over.
Rachel and The Guy Who Needs To Go Back to 5th Grade Language Arts Class head into a bar/restaurant and meet some of Peter's best friends (2 couples) then make a whole lotta jokes about people being black or white.
Soon it's time to head out to the super Americana town of Cottage Grove, WI where Peter's family lives. As I mentioned before, their decorating style can best be described as "comfortable" or "Superbowl Sunday every day" and Rachel meets Peter's mother (rocking a hairstyle called the Original Kate Gosselin), his father, his bro and sister-in-law (whose hair color was effortlessly perfect), plus their 2 kids. During Rachel's alone time with Peter's mother, Spiky Hair Mama Bear says that while Peter might not be ready for marriage or to make a proposal, he's definitely ready to commit and start a family. HUH? Like, are you talking Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell (companions forever, no need for a piece of paper) or are you saying that he's into kids, but can't be bogged down with a wife? That statement was very odd and, frankly, I doubt Peter truly feels that way.
Rachel leaves and based on the previews from next week's episode, we know that Peter gets sent home at the end of next Monday's episode. Not such a great job on the editing, Teach Bachelorette.
Up next is Aspen, CO for Rachel to meet Dean's father, stepmother, brothers, and sister. Dean is rocking skin tight maroon sweatpants (WHAT WERE THOSE?), a grey hoodie sweatshirt thing, and some BIG, sparkly teeth (as always). Rachel looks super cute and cuddly and they ride 4 wheelers, then head to the home where Dean's father (newly chosen name Paramroup) lives with his wife Santantar) and, in direct opposition to Peter's parents' house, there are ZERO couches. Talk about a switcheroo!
Dean is anxious and self-conscious about his father's new life (he is now a Kundalini Yogi Sikh after decades spent as a breadwinning, typical American father figure) and he shows that by being unwilling to engage in some of it (not eating, repeatedly calling his dad "Pops" which I suspect his father dislikes). The preview made it seem like his dad's a jerk and he's not, but he doesn't seem to have ANY sympathy for the fact that Dean lost his sweet mother at age 15 and felt completely abandoned and alone. Ohh Dean--my heart goes out to you, buddy. Honestly, between this and some of the issues brought up by Eric and family in Baltimore, I must give ABC major props for showcasing some REAL, true, candid family and societal issues.
In their alone time, Dean effectively asks his father to just ADMIT that he abandoned the family and essentially, just say sorry, say you fucked up--and his dad simply can't do it. It was all very hard to watch. They're both hurting and while Dean lost his MOTHER, which is brutal, Paramroup (or as he was probably called then, Steve or some shit) lost his partner/best friend/wife. It's so tragic all around. Dean's sister Sky tells Rachel that Dean was always the strong one and that he has been through so much. Poor guy. Man.
Later on, Rachel tries to talk by a fire with Paramroup and he abruptly exits, which I can completely understand. Dredging up these emotions--in front of cameras especially--must be exhausting and you gotta set some boundaries.
Dean and Rachel make out on the floor (again--my hell--I HATE mattresses that are too low to the floor or being stuck sitting on the floor for too long) and Dean tell Rachel that he's falling in love with her.
At long last, everybody reports to Dallas, TX to get dressed up and potentially dumped. Rachel sits down for a completely unnecessary conversation with Chris Harrison, then it's line-up time.
The guys are all dressed up and Rachel looks wonderful in a beaded gunmetal dress, sparkly grey/green eyeshadow, red lip (I would have gone with a light lip but to each her own), and a fun, beaded bracelet. She's struggling from the start as she hands roses to...
-Bryan - ugh, Rachel, are you SURE you want to marry into a family where your mother-in-law will FOREVER be reminding you that she was there first?
-Eric - YES!! His family is so wonderful and it's been SO nice to watch him come out of his shell and gain confidence around Rachel.
-Peter - who is definitely going home next week (he's just too serious, practical)
Rachel walks Dean out and they chat beneath a GIANT painting of oversized hummingbirds quickly. Dean seems angry and a bit upset, but Rachel responds that she's just not sure they are in the same place in life, which we all knew the moment the age of "26" flashed on the screen when Dean exited the limo on night number one!! Dean leaves with his head held high, though, saying that Rachel has some great guys in there and he hopes she finds what she's looking for.
Next week we had to SPAIN where, seemingly, we will see the last of Peter's salt and pepper hair and gapped toothed smile. Then it's down to Bryan vs. Eric and, from the looks of it, Bryan does NOT do well with Mama Lindsay. I can't wait to see how it all goes down!
Also, do you like to HEAR two hilarious comedians TALK about Bach??? Then listen to the latest episode of The Fantasy Suite right here.