Pat yourselves on the back, rose lovers — we’ve made it through hometown dates! Eight weeks and countless showers later, Colton is down to his final three women. If anyone else out there is worried about what Team Bachelor will have to tease after the fence jump finally airs next week, please know you are not alone.
Until then, let’s talk through these hometown dates, shall we?
Date No. 1: Caelynn
Location: Fredericksburg, Va.
Family members present: At least 16 people, including Caelynn’s stepfather John, her apparently nameless mother, and her lookalike sister Ariana.
“We’re going to have a great day!” gushes Caelynn. She and Colton ride through the streets of Fredericksburg in a horse-drawn carriage, with Reality Steve’s phone-wielding spies hot on their trail.
After a quick ice cream break, Caelynn and Colton arrive on her family’s doorstep. Though Caelynn says her biological father is “not part of my life at all,” the man who raised her — her stepfather John — is bringing plenty of protective papa energy to this family gathering. “I’m going to do everything that I can to make sure that they are not making any hasty decisions,” he says. (Dude, you’re about two months too late!) Her sister Ariana wastes no time telling Caelynn that she’s “skeptical” that Colton is “sincere” — but I am absolutely being sincere when I say that I literally yelled “Dayum!” at Ariana’s ample décolletage.
Sorry. Anyhow, Caelynn’s mom is very honest with the Bachelor about her concerns. “It’s hard to wrap my head around it,” she says. “This could end in an engagement… It’s scary to know that that could be my daughter. So, I don’t know if you’re ready. I don’t know if Caelynn’s ready.” It’s also kind of adorable how John tries to convince Caelynn to just be friends with Colton instead. “What’s the difference?” he asks. He seems like a really sweet man, and when Caelynn thanks him for being such a good father to her, it was eye-leakage city at my house.
The Traditional Asking of the Blessing™ is, as always, awkward but ultimately successful. When Colton first asks, John pauses for seven long seconds before posing a question to him: “Are you ready, truly, to get married?” The Bachelor’s all, “Yup!” and promises John that it would be a “lifelong commitment.” Spoiler alert: It won’t. As we’ll discover later, this whole conversation — and Caelynn’s “I’m fully in love with you” declaration — will end up being moot.
Date No. 2: Hannah G.
Location: Birmingham, Ala.
Family members present: Hannah’s mom Beth, her dad Tom, three cousins, and a best friend.
“We do things a little bit differently here in the South,” says Hannah G. before informing Colton that she’s about to make him sit through an “etiquette class.” The instructor is impressed with the Bachelor’s impeccable posture, but when it comes to putting butter on his dinner roll? Well, her expression says it all.
I agree with Colton, though — who has time to butter a roll piece by piece by piece? Even after the bread debacle, Emily Post gives the Bachelor a passing grade and says he and Hannah make “a beautiful couple.” We’ll be the judge of that, lady.
From the moment Hannah and Colton arrive at her family’s house, her mom Beth seems a little on edge. For one thing, she’s definitely not feeling Colton’s toast at dinner.
“First I was like, ‘Wait a minute — what are you saying to me, guy who I just met three minutes ago?’ I was taken aback,” says Beth. “She’s always been mine.” Hannah tries to assure her mother that what she and Colton have is real-ish: “He is somebody who I truly, truly see possibly working out at the end.” Huh? Ultimately, Hannah’s tearful insistence that she sees a future with Colton wins Beth over. “It really surprised me because she left here a mama’s girl,” says Beth, “and she came back a woman in love. It was scary but it was also something that I needed to embrace.”
Naturally, Hannah’s dad Tom starts off dubious, too. “You’ve known each other for, what, a month now?” he asks Colton. And when the Bachelor asks for “permission” to (possibly) marry Hannah, Tom takes several beats before telling Colton what he wants to hear: “If it continues working the way it is, I’d give you my blessing for sure. Absolutely.”
Hey, guess what? Hannah’s “falling in love” with Colton — and he’s falling right back! Who could have predicted that?
Date No. 3: Tayshia
Location: Santa Ana, Calif.
Family members present: Tayshia’s mom Rosario, her dad Desmond, her little brother Bryce, and her older brother Desmond Jr.
Welcome to the O.C., bitch! Tayshia’s got a trust exercise for you all planned out.
After giving him a mild concussion on the car ride over, Tayshia tells Colton to remove his blindfold and informs him that they’re going skydiving. “I’m f—ing terrified!” Colton tells Ward, their safety officer. (Ward’s “follow your instructor down the long tunnel to the white light” joke doesn’t help.)
Truth be told, rose lovers, I practically blacked out just watching these two jump out of the plane.
They plummet to the ground as the soft-rock strains of some guy named Ben Rector fill the air. Congrats, Colton — you will live to talk about being a virgin another day! In the post-not-dying adrenaline rush, Tayshia and Colton exchange mutual “I’m falling in love with yous.” For those of you keeping score at home, Colton has now admitted to falling in love with three of the four remaining women. Put a pin in that thought, because it’s time to meet Tayshia’s family.
“I know that they probably have their guard up,” says Colton, “because they don’t want to see her hurt again like she was when she had to get the divorce.” Indeed, Desmond Sr. tells the Bachelor that the whole getting-engaged-in-six-weeks thing is a little hard for him to accept — nor does he buy Colton’s assertion that he’s “falling in love” with Tayshia when there are still four women left. “How could you fall in love — if you are in love — with more than one person?” Desmond wants to know. Good question! Colton admits he has no idea how it’s happening, but dude, it’s happening. All Dad can do is ask Colton to “have that respect for Tayshia” and “don’t lead anybody on.”
As for that blessing the Bachelor so nervously asks for?
“I just met you,” he says. “I need to make sure it’s the right thing.” Colton is “disappointed” that Desmond denied him a blessing… but hey, he could always ask Rosario! LOLOLOLOLZ, just kidding. (Fun fact: Desmond Jr. is a federal law enforcement officer — and warns Colton that he’ll hunt him down if he ever hurts Tayshia.)
Of course, Team Bachelor was never going to let Colton leave the house without a blessing — however tepid — from Tayshia’s dad. So after a long conversation with his daughter, in which he makes several valid points (“You don’t microwave relationships! That’s what’s going on”), Desmond tells Tayshia he trusts her and reluctantly bestows a blessing on the couple. Honestly, the guy probably just wanted to get all those damn cameras out of his house.
Date No. 4: Cassie
Location: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Family members present: Cassie’s dad Matt, mom Amy, and a boatload of telegenic blondes.
For their hometown date activity, Cassie tries to teach Colton how to surf — but it is not a successful lesson, to say the least. At one point, the dude fell off his board while trying to paddle on his stomach. “He’s, like, flopping all over the place,” giggles Cassie. “But he puts his heart into it.” Girl, I think you just described Colton’s first night in the fantasy suite. Hey-ooooo!
But for now, the Bachelor has bigger problems, in that he doesn’t know where Cassie is at emotionally. When he asks her point blank, her answer does not inspire a ton of confidence: “Ummm… I think, like, um… I don’t know. Like, I know how I feel, but I want to, like, be sure. That’s why you meeting my family is really, really important to me.”
Cool. Cool. Cool. Again: Colton has told Hannah G., Tayshia, and Cassie that he’s “falling in love” with them, and the only one who hasn’t said it back yet is Cassie. Am I overthinking this? Perhaps.
Let’s listen in as Cassie’s dad Matt shares his first impressions of Colton:
Oh. Okay then. In another room, Cassie and her sister are crying over how much they love each other. “I literally think that you’re perfect,” says Cassie’s sister. “So, I want you to be with somebody who’s perfect.” Yep, that’s totally realistic.
When Cassie sits down with her dad, things get testy quickly. “Marriage is the most important thing that you have,” says dad. “It’s just something that you don’t jump into.” Cassie insists that she’ll only say yes to a proposal if she’s “sure,” but dad isn’t buying it. “How can you be sure after that short a time?” he asks. “He’s still dating three other girls, and he started with 30 six weeks ago.”
Geez, dad! Don’t be so annoying with your reasonable concerns about rushing into marriage! As for his chat with Colton, Matt sticks to his guns and politely declines to give the Bachelor a “premature blessing” to marry his daughter. In even worse news, Cassie can’t even choke out a “I’m falling in love with you” before saying goodbye to Colton. The best she can do is, “Like, I don’t want it to be over.” Will these two strikes be enough to send Cassie packing at the rose ceremony, or will Colton take one more swing at her heart? (No idea why I went with a sports metaphor there — sorry, folks.)
Location: An empty Pottery Barn in L.A.
Family members present: Chris Harrison
Our final three are Hannah G., Tayshia, and… Cassie! Caelynn, we’re sorry. Take a moment, say your goodbyes.
Hey — language!
Maybe it’s just me, but Cassie did not look too psyched to get that final rose. Out on the Bye-Bye Bench, Caelynn tells Colton she feels “blindsided” by his decision. “I saw it being us at the end… I feel like an idiot.” She sobs for a while in his arms before climbing into the Reject SUV. “I 100 percent believed that I was getting engaged at the end of this,” she says sadly. “But Colton fooled me.”
Should the SUV just drive Caelynn back to the mansion so she can start her reign as Bachelorette, rose lovers? I think we all know it’s not going to be Khloe Kardashian handing out roses, no matter what you read on Mike Fleiss’ Twitter feed.
Here are a few more burning questions: Why did Colton just ask for a private chat with Chris Harrison? Why do the previews show Cassie crying in the back of a car? And is Colton setting himself up to fail by saying he wants his first time to be “the greatest thing that she’s ever felt”? I guess we’ll all have to wait until next week’s two-part extravaganza, with Fantasy Suite dates on Monday and the Women Tell All on Tuesday, to find out. Tears — and that long-awaited fence jump — guaranteed!
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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