Welcome to the hometown dates for Des and the boys. This was a very interesting and pivotal episode in many ways, and with all that was going on there were some things you may not even understand until you see the dramatic two-episode finale of this season. Des was looking forward to these hometown dates and was really hoping she would get answers from these guys and their families as to who is really ready to settle down and begin a new life together with her.

Des started in Dallas with Zak and his family. It was very cute watching Zak and Des serve the kids snow cones, but Zak needs to understand rule number one when wearing a penguin suit: You never break character! As you could clearly see, Zak has a very normal, loving family and they are very protective of him. They could clearly see Zak was in deep and had fallen head over heels in love with Des. This is always one of my favorite episodes, but one of the aspects I love watching the most are the intimate one-on-one talks the Bachelors or Bachelorettes have with their parents. Zak’s talk with his Mom was so telling of the guy he is and where he came from. We’ve seen Zak sing some songs this season, but this week we got to learn that the apple didn’t fall far from the guitar in this family. Zak’s siblings did their best Partridge Family impersonation and serenaded Des. To say she looked slightly uncomfortable would be a gross understatement, but the truth is she found it very endearing. The sister was actually pretty good but the brother was like a little pitchy dog. On an incredibly serious note, Zak very strongly professed his love and devotion to Des and there’s no question he was ready to propose to her and his family would be just fine with that.

Drew was up next in what may be the most emotional; touching hometowns we’ve ever shown. Drew is clearly in love with Des and he finally said that to Des this week. It was this love and trust that allowed Drew to feel comfortable enough to introduce Des to his mentally handicapped sister, Melissa. Des handled this touching moment with class and grace and it was a positive experience for everybody involved. Des seemed very relaxed and comfortable with all of the families. It felt like she was really in her element at these homes, sitting down with the people that could possibly become her future in-laws. Like Zak’s talk with his mom, Drew’s talk with his dad was incredible to watch. They can see that Des has captured Drew’s heart and it was special to hear his dad encourage Drew to go for it and bring Des into their family.

Last week Des admitted she has fallen in love with both Brooks and Chris, and their two hometowns were last. The moment Des sees Chris you can just see her relax and start smiling. I think I speak for everybody when I say we were all very happy to see Chris didn’t open his date with a poem. Instead, Chris ripped a page from Roberto’s hometown with Ali and took Des to the baseball field where he learned to play. When Des went to his house she quickly learned that all important things seem to take place with this family on a chiropractic table. Des got a quick adjustment before talking a little love with Chris’s dad, but that was nothing compared to Chris’ procedure. While talking to his dad about the future of his life Chris got a little nose adjustment. Whatever they did seemed to work because his nose looked straight and in the middle of his face where I guess it should be. It also seemed to have the desired emotional effect because Chris’ dad gave his son his blessing to propose to Des if he so wishes. Chris reconfirmed his love for Des and with that she entered Brooks’ hometown a perfect three for three in the love department.

Brooks is the only one up to this point who hasn’t professed his love verbally to Des. And while this hometown date was pretty good, Brooks still isn’t ready to take that leap and use the “L” word. One thing I noticed on Brooks’ hometown date is the different dynamic. On the other hometowns Des knew the guys love her and she’s really just meeting these families and trying to see if she could see a life with them. While Des was doing some of that with Brooks it really seemed like he was the one using the time to see if he was ready to take the big leap with Des. He really seems to be leaning on his family members looking for answers. It seemed by the end he got those answers. Like the other families, Brooks’ family loved Des and could very much see her apart of their son’s life.

Once the hometowns were over it was back to Los Angeles for the rose ceremony — but first the long awaited meeting with Des’ brother, Nate. It was interesting to hear the two pretty much haven’t talked and haven’t seen each other since the confrontation with Sean. The body language between Des and her brother was a little awkward and contentious. In the end Des explained she didn’t want Nate to interfere this time and he seemed to give his blessing to Des.

At the rose ceremony Des said goodbye to Zak. At this point I knew it was going to be tough because even if it’s the right thing to do it’s still not easy to say goodbye to anyone. Des was really impressed with Zak and knows he’s a great catch, but he’s just not for her. You just can’t compare the feelings she has at this point for Drew, Brooks, and Chris to those she feels for Zak. It was tough to watch Zak in the limo as you could clearly see he was blindsided by this breakup and was very much in love with Des.

Next week, as you saw in the previews, is the Men Tell All reunion show. We have much to discuss with all the guys, including what’s about to happen in the special two-episode finale! I’ll see you next week from the hot seat, until then I’ll see you on Twitter and Facebook @chrisbharrison.

More Bachelorette from EW:

Plus check out Desiree’s blog on