Gabby and Rachel travel the States to meet their suitors’ families with declarations of love, skepticism and at least one brutal and heartbreaking rejection.
Hometowns are when things start getting serious on “The Bachelorette,” so it was a little surprising to hear how many of the guys were flat-out telling their families they were definitely not ready for an engagement.
But that was nothing compared to the poor guy who had his date — and entire journey — cut short just before the Bachelorette would have met his family. It couldn’t have been more cringey or painful to watch. And even that wasn’t the worst thing.
Production saved the absolutely worst for last as one family outright rejected the Bachelorette, the show, the whole premise and the very idea that anyone could find love this way. It was savage in a way that left us as stunned as the Bachelorette and even the family’s son.
In other words, this season continues to live up to its reputation as one of the most dramatic and unpredictable yet. Who’d have expected Gabby to only take three guys to Hometowns. And who’d have expected one guy to get dumped before anyone meets his family?
Making that situation worse, we got to still check in on his family as they eagerly awaited his arrival with a Bachelorette on his arm only to have their moment shattered right alongside his heart.
Next week, the “Men Tell All” promises more explosive confrontations and ugliness. But we don’t have to wait that long for ugliness. We have some of that awaiting us this week, too!
Jason let loose a bit in a surprising way back home in New Orleans with Gabby, actually spontaneously dancing with her on the streets alongside a band. The normally reserved guy has an unexpected side in there.
Upon meeting his family, we quickly see that as reserved as he his, Gabby was right to note how deep his emotions are. They met his father first, who was an emotional wreck right away, and his mother proved even more prone to tears.
This is a family that loves deeply and wears their hearts on their sleeves. That could be why it’s been such a struggle for Jason all season. He even admitted to Gabby and his family that he nearly walked at the beginning of this whole process.
What Gabby doesn’t know, though, is that he also told his family that he’s definitely not ready for an engagement after this. He’s someone who takes his time and thinks things through, so he conceded that could change in two weeks, but it could also not.
Meanwhile, Gabby is definitely hoping for her journey to end in an engagement, and admitted to the cameras at least that she’s falling in love with Jason. Honestly, though, we’re still not seeing the chemistry between them.
Maybe it’s because they are so very different, but we struggle to see this close bond that she talks about. Certainly it’s not as apparent as it is when she’s with almost anyone else. The fact that he’s also not ready doesn’t bode well for a future together.
Zach has been our favorite for Rachel for quite a while, and that string continued with an incredible chemistry on display throughout this entire date. The biggest red flag we got that we might be wrong didn’t come form the couple at all, but from production.
Almost from the moment they met her, Zach’s family seemed to be all in on the two of them together, as if their very will could manifest a win for Zach at the end of this season.
His dad showed a bit of skepticism about how genuine Zach and Rachel’s feelings could be in this heightened world-traveling reality show format, but ultimately, they seemed to support their son and his feelings on this one.
At the end of their date, Zach updated his previously stated “falling in love” with Rachel to tell her that he now is simply “in love” with her. Rachel still wasn’t ready to reciprocate with that message, but she was happy to hear it.
We find ourselves wondering if she’s doing as some leads do and just holding back tossing that l-word around. It’s not a bad thing to do, though we’ve seen some people get very upset to not hear it back. But with multiple people still in the game, it puts the lead (or leads) in a tricky spot.
Everything about this Hometown was perfect, if not almost too perfect. Zach and Rachel share a wonderful chemistry, and his family was ultimately completely enamored with her — and fairly convinced that she would choose their boy at the end.
Watching enough reality TV over the years tell us this reason alone could spell doom for them. Add to that the cryptic conversation we see him having with Jesse in the teaser for what’s coming in two weeks, and there could be something major coming down the line with him after overnights.
As it turns out, despite Gabby thinking Johnny is super-hot (she’s not wrong!), they aren’t as on the same page about everything as she thinks they are. The truth will out when family is involved.
The Hometown date itself appeared to go great, with Gabby meshing extremely well with his family, and all of them totally enamored with her. The biggest shocker came when Johnny abruptly told his mom he wasn’t ready for an engagement.
Just like that, Gabby was two for two with guys who don’t think they’re ready to commit her — and neither of them have had that conversation with her yet. Her perceived experience on this Hometowns is so different than the reality.
Interestingly for a parent on these shows, Johnny’s dad actually pushed back at him saying he wasn’t ready because it sounded like Johnny was saying that in general, and not specifically because it’s Gabby or because of this show.
At some point, you have to decided that you’re either ready to go for it or you’re just never going to be. John encouraged his son to get out of his own head so he doesn’t miss out on life. Will he do it?
This relationship has never felt like it had quite the same depth as Gabby’s other connections, which could have to do with those feelings Johnny revealed. It’s as if he’s kept her at a close distance, and she’s kept him because what she does know she likes and beyond that — well, he’s just so damned pretty.
Tyler could not stop smiling as he took Rachel to the Jersey Shore to see his game there, and meet some of the people he works with on the boardwalk and pier. He’s smiling and beaming and so excited to have her there and for everything that’s happened.
We’re not sure we’ve ever seen somoene so grateful and appreciative of the connection they’ve made on this show, and so vocal about it. All we could say was, uh-oh.
And immediately, this concern was founded and grounded. Rachel before has abrupty come to realize that her connection with someone isn’t want she needed it to be in that moment … and this was a big moment.
After their day at the carnival, they were poised to go and meet Tyler’s family. It was too real and she didn’t feel they’d progressed that far, and so she realized she needed to tell him and break it off before involving his family.
What followed was the most uncomfortable expression of affection and praise from Tyler as Rachel politely let him go on way too long knowing what she knew she was about to say to shatter all his happiness in an instant.
It was painful to watch for both parties, with a foreboding sense of dread rising and rising with each passing moment. And when it dropped like a hammer, we felt a concussion of embarrassment and discomfort we’re still not over. Poor Tyler, he took it like a champ, proving what a sweet man he is, even as his heart was shattered.
We then followed him back to his place to meet with his family — alone. Rachel cut Ethan just before Hometowns. Would she have gone through with meeting his family? Ironically, that means Rachel also only did three Hometown visits this season.
Erich has been on the rise for us with Gabby — or maybe it’s just that we’re not as enamored with Jason and Johnny as she apparently is. He seems to be such a sweet and genuine guy, though.
He also sacrifice a whole lot to even be a part of this show, as his father is dying from a rare form of cancer. Allan was able to be a part of this Hometown visit, but it was clear that he wasn’t doing well.
Conversations with his wife Donna were also tinged with her building grief and the challenges she faces every day as his primary caretaker, knowing that the final chapter of their 35 year love story is upon them.
The message from the family was that marriage means something, making that commitment means for life and they mean it. You don’t take that step if you don’t mean every word of those vows and that proposal.
It was emotionally powerful to see how fiercely this family loved, and their love for their son was evident in the fact they allowed this obnoxious TV show into their lives at such a vulnerable and challenging time to help him on his journey toward love.
After their family meet, Erich revealed to Gabby that he’s falling in love with her, and she reciprocated. That’s another reason to feel really good about him, because these ladies haven’t been telling anyone they’re falling in love with them.
At the close of the episode, we learned that Erich’s father Allan lost his fight with cancer sometime between the taping of this episode and when it aired.
What an absolute disaster. Did Tino’s parents know what show he was going on? Did they tell him it was a terrible idea from the outset? We’ve seen some brutal Hometowns, but this was easily one of the worst.
Rachel was treated terribly by virtually everyone in Tino’s family, and particularly by both of his parents. Tino was hit pretty hard, too, but no one told him that he was just ready to get married and it didn’t matter who it was.
Rachel showed incredible restraint when Joe told her that this was her second go-around, referring to Clayton’s season of “The Bachelor,” and maybe she’s just looking to fill a slot with any man who would have her. He didn’t use those words, but it was close and the sentiment was clear.
By her expression, she was probably so ready to say so many things. We found ourselves wondering how Gabby — who is way more outspoken in moments like that — would have taken it. It was disrespectful to the show, which is one thing, but it was also disrespectful to her character.
Clearly, Tino’s parents don’t think the show can possibly work and that they’re delusional if they think they can fall in love in this short a span of time. The show doesn’t have a great track record, but it does afford a heightened sense of connection and communication, as that’s really all anyone is focused on during their time.
After a disastrous visit with his parents, Rachel came out of it convinced they hate her. We don’t see it as personal, just that they hate the whole idea of this show. And yet, TIno tried to convince her that they adore her. She wasn’t buying it.
He then made a case for him as a front-runner on Rachel’s side by telling her that he’s falling in love with her, apologizing for not teliing her the depths of his feelings sooner. And unlike Zach, Rachel told Tino that she’s been falling in love with him for awhile, too.
We’ll get this next week before we delve fully into the “Men Tell All” special, because seven Hometown visits is a lot to pack into two hours. We get it. It’s fine. Hopefully, it’s a smooth visit. There was no drama in that portion of the teaser for the next two weeks, at least.
“It’s not Paris.” –Jason (to Gabby about New Orleans)
“It’s close, the French influence. The French Quarter.” –Gabby
“You need some beads.” –Jason
“Why is there so many penises?” –Gabby
“‘Cause you’re in New Orleans.” –Jason
“It’s so weird, ’cause I was actually gonna leave.” — Jason
“Like in the very beginning. And then I was like, I wanna stay for you.” –Jason
“I could never see myself getting engaged. It’s just not realistic to me. As much as you have feelings for somebody or whatever, that’s just not something I could see myself doing at this point. Maybe it’ll change in the next two weeks, but I need space to process everything that’s happened.” –Jason (to Karen)
“So how would you feel without her? … It’s important to keep that feeling in mind.” –Karen
“We had an amazing time together. I am falling in love with him. I’ve never felt this way before and it feels like I’m in a dream.” –Gabby (about Jason)
“You go to the most romantic places on Earth, and you’ll fall in love with a monkey.” –Chapman (to Rachel about Zach)
“I can tell you that– I’m in love with you, Rachel.” –Zach
“Oh my gosh!” –Rachel
“The thing about Johnny is he doesn’t give his heart to anybody. And if Johnny were to say, ‘This is it,’ you’re in for a different Johnny and very fortunate.” –Elizabeth (to Gabby)
“To just drop and get married, that’s like a huge step for me and I don’t know if I’m ready for that.” –Johnny (to Elizabeth)
“Some of the things you say to me is like, ‘I’m not ready.’ Like, how? Emotionally? I think you’re ready emotionally. Financially? You go down the road together. And that’s kind of important. Go with your heart.” –John (to Johnny)
“It feels so good and so easy being with somebody I know is ready for the next step.” –Gabby (about Johnny)
“There’s no other way this day could have gone any better. Like, showing her my world and her saying how beautiful it is. I just want to be like, ‘It’s even more beautiful with you here.'” –Tyler (with Rachel)
“We have a strong connection, but I definitely feel like my last Hometown had a different feel going into the night than I feel today.” –Rachel (about Tyler)
“During my darkest times … I used to say to myself all the time, ‘There’s a reason for all this. Just wait for it. Wait for that reason.’ When I met you, that was my reason. Every single time taht I spend with you is just better and better each time and I’m just so happy … I’m not falling in love with you, I am so in love with you.” –Tyler (to Rachel)
“Right now, I think I’m just struggling because I just feel like tonight, we’re bringing other people into this. I just want you to know that, I’ve never met anyone like you who just loves so openly and who just isn’t afraid of anything, of being hurt. I just feel like we’ve had the most incredible day but I’m still feeling not 100 percent confident. I don’t know if I’m ready to meet your family when I still have this bit of reservation and I don’t know where it’s coming from. I just feel like there is something missing. I don’t know if it’s time or what it is, but I just– I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to get there with you. And hearing you say all those incredible things, I’m so sorry. Because I care about you so much.” –Rachel (to Tyler)
“I keep watering that flower, it keeps coming back.” –Donna (about Allan living with cancer)
“Commitment, to my family, is everything. You can’t quit. Ever.” –Donna (to Gabby)
“I’m really falling for you Gabby. In fact, I think now I might be falling in love with you.” –Erich
“Today was really telling, and seeing you with our family and all the things that they had to say about you that you’ve never said about yourself. They raised a really good man … I think I always wanted to be with someone like you, but just never knew if it was possible. After today, I do finally feel comfortable in saying that I am falling in love with you.” –Gabby (to Erich)
“She’ll send the rest of the guys home and I’ll propose to her in a couple weeks.” –Tino (to his parents)
“What are you talking about? After two months?” –Joe (to Tino)
“Yeah, 100 percent. When you know, you know.” –Tino
“We’re gonna have to have a talk, man to man.” –Joe
“I just have a hard time believing that what you can do on a whirlwind fairy tale trip is really gonna prepare you for marriage. I just want to make sure that your head’s in the right place.” –Joe (to Tino)
“You have a huge decision coming up. So I’ve gotta figure out in a week or two if I’m mending a broken heart or planning a wedding. I guess you do, too.” –Sandy (to Rachel)
“Don’t take this the wrong way. I mean it just sounds– I mean, you’re saying all the right things and it’s like, that’s all great but, at least in our mind, from 20,000 feet away, we see it as like this fairy tale thing.” –Joe (to Rachel)
“The hardest part about all this is just, this is your second go-around, and I was asking Tino, I was like, ‘Well, is this person just looking to get married, or does this personal really like you?'” –Joe (to Rachel)
“I would put him in this position just so I could get married. I’m not that type of person. I really want to meet someone that is gonna be my partner for life.” –Rachel
“I just feel shook up by them. I feel like I could do no right. I feel like I could be the most perfect person, and they wouldn’t have liked me.” –Rachel (about Tino’s family)
“Is he gonna be okay moving forward when his parents just aren’t gonna be happy?” –Rachel (about Tino)
“This is where I feel bad not saying all this to you earlier. Rachel, I’m so sure about you. You always make me feel appreciated and valued and loved every time we’re together. And that’s why I’m proud and excited to tell you that I am falling in love with you. I don’t want a future without you. I should have told you weeks ago and I’m so sorry about that.” –Tino
“With you being honest, I feel like I should be honest, too. And I think I also feel like I have been falling in love with you for a while. And that’s honestly how I feel.” –Rachel