Welcome back to The Bachelor where each week we watch as Upright Citizen Ben dates an ever-decreasing harem of women as he searches for The One. This week, Good Shepherd Ben has herded his flock from the tempestuous Bahamas to his childhood stomping grounds of staid Warsaw, Indiana. While Becca is used to disappointing hometown visits, after her time pretending that Chris Soules’ homes of Arlington, Iowa was a charming fixer upper of a community, the other women must feign interest in spending time in the Orthopedic Capital of the World.
After warning his parents that he brought six women home to meet them, he immediately ditches them to go get loved on by the women. Ben picks all six up on a boat and locks them in a lakeside McMansion to start practicing scenes from the inevitable Real Housewives of Indiana franchise.
Here’s what else happened on The Bachelor:
The First Date: Lauren B. has been wanting to talk to Ben alone since Leah cast aspersions on her reputation during the Great Bahamanian Showdown of ’16. Ben also wants to make amends with the flight attendant, so he invites her out on a date, but then gives her “only 30 minutes” to get ready, which is very passive aggressive. But not nearly as passive aggressive as the other women who can’t believe that Ben is doing such a bad job of pretending he doesn’t like Lauren best. For their date, Ben borrows a pick up truck (from Chris Soules, probably) to take Lauren on a tour of his town. “My what a big church you have, Ben,” says Lauren. Then he takes her to a hotel that used to be a movie theater where he had his first kiss. He might take her behind the bleachers if she smiles prettily enough! Instead, Ben takes her to the youth center that made him the man he is today. They play with the kids and then to really impress Lauren, he brings in the Indiana Pacers. Then some evil producer makes a kid cry just so Ben could go and cheer him up. Naturally, Lauren sees it and then her ovaries explode and it’s some Grey’s Anatomy level of drama.
After Lauren’s patched up and she’s said for the record that Ben would make a great dad, they kiss in front of the kids, who were hopefully vaccinated against cooties.
Later, after a conversation where Lauren proves her love for Ben, Ben decides she is trustworthy enough to be taken to his local dive bar and introduced to his friends (or some friendly strangers and/or Bachelor interns forced to do shots on camera). After the date, Lauren announces that she is in love with Ben.
The Second Date: Because Warsaw, Indiana can only support one round of date night activities per season, Ben exported Jojo to Chicago for their date. They suit up in matching Mr. and Mrs. Higgins jerseys and head to Wrigley Field. During a candle-lit dinner in the middle of center field (of course), Ben tells Jojo that she has not been vulnerable enough and has been holding back on him. Instead of pointing out that 1. women don’t have to be vulnerable, especially to some guy who is dating five other women and 2. it’s only been seven weeks, Jojo explained that she’s “scared” because she has given too much in the past. Ben convinced her that she should open up to someone dating multiple women on reality television, because it is going to be psychologically beneficial for her. And she fell for it — and him. Sucker. Now her next boyfriend is going to have to wait at least eight weeks before Jojo opens up.
The Group Date: Unlike any other Bachelor contestant in history, Becca prefers one-on-one dates to group dates. Too bad, because she is on a three-on-one date with Ben, Caila and Amanda. He takes them to a barn, they fly kites, they stare at the Date Rose for an unhealthy amount of time. Ben informs them that whoever gets the Date Rose will not only get the privilege of introducing Ben to their parents, but will also get a one-on-one date while the other two women will be sent home to think about what they’ve done. The women lay out their arguments: Amanda wants to introduce Ben to her daughters, Becca just likes Ben so darn much, and Caila never wants to go on a group date again. The producers leave the women staring at the rose a while longer. Ben finally hands the rose to Amanda, because he wants her to know that he’s ready to meet her children. He leaves Becca and Caila in the barn as his limo makes tracks in the dust. When Becca and Caila finally make it back to the McMansion, they are both in tears. They wouldn’t be crying if they knew Amanda and Ben’s date was just to work as temporary employees at the drive-thru at McDonald’s — and take jobs from hardworking Hoosiers, which apparently passes for fun in Indiana. After they work up a sweat slingin’ fries, Ben takes Amanda to a carnival where they are personally greeted by the town’s mayor. Ben then shows his vulnerability by screaming like a croupy baby on all the rides while Amanda calmly sits next to him polishing her lip gloss.
The Third Date: For their first one-on-one date, Ben takes Emily home to meet mom and dad. Emily is an especially young 23-year-old — even Caila at the ripe old age of 24 thinks Emily is a “bright-eyed puppy” and has a lot to learn in life. At his childhood home, Emily giggles and talks a lot and twirls her hair and announces, “I feel like I’m average at just about everything, but I’m gonna be an above average mom.” Ben’s mom diplomatically calls her “a fun individual,” but thinks she might be a bit young. Then Ben’s mom tears up as she struggles to figure out a way to tell her grown up child, “Oh hell no, son.” As he watches his mother cry, Ben finally realizes that Emily is not a good fit for him, so he takes her out on the boat and tells her flat out, “I can’t see you being my wife.” He then drops her off at the house, so she can be comforted by the other women. She weeps and wails and ugly cries on the couch, and it appears that the women have synced up because they all start ugly crying along with her. It’s sad to see a bright-eyed puppy cry after getting whacked on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.
The Rose Ceremony: Despite the fact that his father is, like, two blocks away, before the Rose Ceremony, Ben calls in Chris Harrison for some man-to-man advice. Chris chucks him on the shoulder, tells him to man up, and sends him in to face the Spanx-wearing firing squad. Ben hands the first rose to Lauren and the second to Jojo. The final rose is handed to Caila, meaning that Becca is once again getting tossed aside like a used Daisy razor. As Ben walks her to the car, Becca demands to know why he did that. He shrugs and mutters something about not wanting to get her family involved. In the limo, Becca wonders why she keeps putting herself in situations where she is being filmed crying in the back of a limo, testing the limits of waterproof mascara while wailing about wanting to find someone to love. We all wonder the same thing, Becca.
Next Week: Home town visits — and Jojo’s brothers may rival Desiree’s brothers for making a Bachelor feel very unwelcome.