By Chris Harrison
Updated July 20, 2010 at 05:00 AM EDT

Image Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABCSomebody asked me via Twitter this week how the show changes after we get to the hometown dates. That’s a great question, especially because it really had an impact on what happened with Frank this week. Once we get to the hometown dates, everything is cranked up a notch. The guys really don’t see each other anymore — except at the rose ceremonies. The process becomes a lot more personal and emotional, and each guy has a lot more time to think about his own relationship with Ali — or in Frank’s case, to think about other relationships as well. I’ll give you my thoughts on Frank in just a bit, but first let’s discuss our final two men.

Although it was a wild rollercoaster ride to get here, I truly believe Ali has narrowed it down to two really good men. As you heard on their date, Roberto opened up and told Ali he’s falling in love with her. This was huge for Ali, as she’s always been a little worried Roberto was just too good to be true. One funny story from their date to that heart-shaped island of Tupai: Roberto picked up Ali and ran into the water. Well, guys do that expecting the water to get deep, and therefore they dive right in. Except that in Tahiti, it never really gets deep unless you run out about half a mile. Roberto quickly realized this and just stopped and laughed.

Ali also heard what she needed to from Chris this week. How moving was it when they were sitting by the pool in the fantasy suite and he hugged her and said “God I love you”? You can just tell with Chris that it’s taken a great effort for him to get to this point, and he seems almost relieved to feel this way again about a woman.

Now let’s talk about Frank. I knew he was going back to Chicago to see his ex Nicole before he joined us in Tahiti. It was my understanding that Frank felt like before he could fully give himself to Ali, he needed closure on his relationship with Nicole. I understood this and actually respected the fact that he felt that strongly about it. Obviously, everything changed once he saw Nicole. The day I went to talk to Frank, I was still under the impression he had officially ended things with his ex and was ready to move on with Ali. Once I heard he wanted to talk to me that morning, I assumed something was up. Talking with Frank was difficult. I had gotten to know the guy pretty well, so I knew this was tough on him. Even though I knew he would be hurting Ali, and I was disappointed in him for that, I have to admit part of me felt a little sorry for him. I think he overthinks situations and — though I hope I’m wrong — I’m not a hundred percent sure he knows what he really wants right now in his life. I do hope I’m wrong, and I hope he and Nicole truly do love each other and find happiness together.

Much like Jason Mesnick did with Molly, Frank took a huge risk, knowing full well that most of America would be angry with him, but he did it anyway. As you could tell, Ali had absolutely no idea about any of this when she arrived that day for what she thought was going to be a romantic date. She was floored. Looking back at their relationship, though, was this really a huge surprise? Ali and Frank always seemed to have something hanging over their relationship. How many times do people try to change the bad boy, fix the problem, or become the caretaker in a relationship, and how many times does that actually work out? We’ve all done it, and we can all relate to exactly what Ali went through with Frank. I do have to give Ali major props for the line she delivered to Frank when he said that he, too, gave up everything to be here. She quickly replied “apparently not everything.” Well played, girl.

When I walked out to sit by Ali on the beach, she was crushed. I felt so bad for her. I know it’s hard for viewers to understand, but even on a good day, this process will make you question everything about yourself. For this surprise to happen this late in the process made Ali so vulnerable and feel so weak and helpless, and I hated that. This situation was completely different than Justin leaving earlier. Her relationship with Frank was very real, and she could already see a life together with him. To have the rug pulled out from under you at this point can be devastating. I was really proud to see that after a good night’s sleep and time to reflect, she showed up to deliberation with a really good perspective on life again.

I really look forward to reading your comments on Frank this week. How do you think he handled the situation with his ex Nicole? How do think he handled the situation with Ali? Does is make any difference to you if he ends up living happily ever after with Nicole? Again, the guys don’t see each other before the rose ceremonies, so they had no idea Frank was gone. You couldn’t really tell on the show, but once Roberto got there, I walked off as if I was going to get Frank. I was really just waiting for Ali to get ready. I walked back up the stairs alone, and Chris and Roberto were completely confused. Ali did a super job explaining the situation.

Some of you might ask: Would Frank have gotten a rose if he had stayed? The answer is maybe, but we’ll never know. As you saw at this point, Ali is in love or falling in love with all three of these guys. There is very little separating them at this point. That’s what makes this season so compelling. In seasons past, it’s been more cut and dry, and the choice seemed obvious. That’s just not the case this year.

Before I sign off I want to say a little something about the beautiful country of Tahiti and the island of Taha’a. Because of this show I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to the most beautiful parts of this planet. It’s very rare that you’ll hear so much hype about a place, and that place will live up to all that hype, but Tahiti absolutely did. As Ali told you, next we’re off to Bora Bora, but before the finale, it’s the “Men Tell All” episode. I’m looking forward to seeing most of the guys again. We have some great stuff planned that I know you’ll enjoy. Is it true what I heard about Kasey? Guess we’ll all find out together next week!

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The Bachelorette

Chris Harrison hosts the romantic reality competition series in which one single woman searches for her future husband amid a sea of studs. Will you accept this rose?

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