Ben takes the women to his hometown for fast food, farms, and family time

By Samantha Highfill
February 16, 2016 at 03:07 AM EST
Jean Whiteside/ABC
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How are we feeling this week, Bachelor lovers? Do you need some validation? Is your confidence slipping? Well…suck it up! Because we’re headed to Ben’s hometown of Warsaw, Ind. But in what decade? Or does everyone in town drive cars made in the 1930s?

Confirming that we are in fact in the 21st century — though they clearly wish they weren’t — the local diner has a sign that reads, “No we don’t have Wi-Fi. Talk to each other.” So in case you were wondering, I’ve officially found my personal hell. 

Catching up with his parents, Ben describes the six women he has left. Becca has a good side and a standoffish side. JoJo is “unbelievably beautiful,” and he feels he’s more himself around her than anyone. Then there’s Emily who got exponentially better once her twin left. As for Lauren, she stands out to him, but last week sucked, so there’s that. Caila, who’s also beautiful, is scared of not being able to fall in love. And finally, Amanda, who’s “shockingly beautiful” and has two little girls. Did Ben just say he hadn’t really thought about becoming an instant father? Because that’s totally not a big deal. Also, Becca, Emily, and Lauren: I think you’re JUST as beautiful as the others.

Mom and dad can tell Ben’s excited, but they can only keep him for so long before he has to go catch up with the women. Fun fact: Caila is the only helpful one when she single-handedly stops Ben’s boat from hitting the dock. Seriously ladies, way to show Ben you’re not ready for the lake life.

Looking around at Warsaw, the ladies are — for some reason — falling in love. JoJo thinks it’s a great place to raise a family, and as far as Emily’s concerned, she’s ready to pop out a few babies right here, right now. (You guys do know Ben currently lives in Denver, right?)

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Getting ready for the week, Ben sits down with the women and politely asks them not to look through his parents’ windows. And no, it’s not because he’s worried about embarrassing childhood photos. It’s so they don’t witness his parents in the throes of passion. More importantly, can we talk about why he felt the need to ask them NOT to look into someone’s windows?

Ben then asks Lauren if she’d join him on the first one-on-one of the week, and the other women can’t believe how much more “intimate” it is to see Ben ask someone on a date as opposed to a date card. Sure. Whatever.

Driving around town, Ben shows Lauren his elementary school, his high school where he was the quarterback of the football team — which instantly turns her on — his church, and the hotel that used to be a movie theater where he had his first kiss. Poor Ben tries to be smooth and reenact his first kiss with Lauren, but it goes right over her head. Hey, God doesn’t give with both hands.

Ben and Lauren land at Baker Youth Club, where Ben worked with kids for four years — and the clear explanation of why he was so great at talking to kids about sex on The Bachelorette. Returning to the after-school program, Ben’s ready to be admired play with some kids! Also, NONE OF YOU ACTUALLY REMEMBER, BEN. Kids are such liars.

But it’s Ronnie, the “half-court king” of Warsaw, who steals the spotlight by sinking a half-court shot and making Ben kiss Lauren. So yeah, the stakes on that bet couldn’t have been lower, but that’s Warsaw for ya. Props to the kid who says they “smoochie smoochied.” I’m jealous. I could never pull that off.

Ben, always with the surprises, brings in Paul George, George Hill, and the mascot from the Indiana Pacers, which excites Lauren and that one kid who thought they were the Harlem Globetrotters. 

RELATED: Chris Harrison answers our Bachelor burning questions!

NEXT: Lauren falls for the real Ben

After Ben plays some basketball with a toddler who’s way too young to need an after-school program, he finds a young boy, Eric, crying by himself. Ben’s reaction: Eric needs to have some fun today. So he’s intuitive. 

Watching Ben helping Eric, Lauren can’t help but swoon. As for the kids, they predict marriage in Ben and Lauren’s future as they yell, “We love you Ben and Lauren.” Well, you guys can’t break up now unless you want to shatter the hearts of all these children. GOOD LUCK!

Back at the house, Becca is blowing people’s mind with this never-before-spoken statement: “I 100 percent prefer a one-on-one over a group date.” Wow. How controversial.

But it’s JoJo who gets the date card as she yells, “That is such a relief” to all the poor women who didn’t just get a one-on-one, especially Emily who, at this point, isn’t far from turning into the little girl from Me Too!

On the date, Ben takes Lauren to his place to talk about what happened last week. She explains that she’s her complete self around him, and he reassures her that one comment won’t change how he feels.

And with that out of the way, Ben takes a confident Lauren to his favorite local dive bar, Rex’s Rendezvous, where they do shots with his friends. A little tipsy, Lauren declares, “I’m not in love with Ben, the Bachelor. I’m in love with Ben from Warsaw, Indiana.” So now you know it’s real.

The next day, it’s JoJo’s turn to find love in the windy city, which the ladies guess is Chicago. It’s official: Nothing gets past these women. 

Welcoming JoJo to Chicago, Ben takes her to Wrigley Field, the home of his favorite sports team, where they put on Mr. and Mrs. Higgins jerseys and JoJo makes a fool of herself by running. 

After they wear themselves out, they take a quiet moment to relax in the outfield, where the Bachelor producers play their video feed on the Jumbotron. So if you’ve ever wanted to watch yourself make out on the big screen, here’s your chance! If you ask me, it’s like putting a mirror up in the hospital delivery room — the people experiencing it really don’t need to see it.

So while JoJo and Ben check their form, Becca leads a therapy session to help the women through this rollercoaster of love. I mean, clearly it’s affecting Emily because I think she’s gone goth?

The next date card arrives, and it says Caila, Amanda, and Becca are going on the group date. So Emily, take off that black shirt because you finally get your chance! Emily instantly bursts into tears because she truly didn’t expect the one thing she’s been talking about all week.

NEXT: JoJo explains it all

For the evening portion of the date, Ben and JoJo are back at Wrigley Field, where their dinner for two has been set up in centerfield. (This just in: They’ll never be invited back because the lawn workers despise them.)

Ben knows that JoJo’s been holding back, and he wants to make sure she feels comfortable being vulnerable with him. In other words, it’s JoJo’s turn to cry and prove she’s not a sociopath!

JoJo explains that her past experiences — the classic “I liked him more than he liked me” — have left her feeling scared because she does see qualities in Ben that she wants in a husband. And after an adorable, “Come on, Mrs. Higgins,” JoJo tells him that she cares about him more than anything and is simply scared because of how much she cares. She doesn’t burst into tears, but it’s enough for Ben. As she tells him, “My heart is ready to give to you.” Yeah, she’ll work on that last part.

In another adorable moment — I’m being sincere for once! — she tells him that she’s Team Ben, more so now than ever before. Also, she gets points for slipping in that ass grab during their makeout session. #priorities

The next day, Becca, Amanda, and Caila head to a farm for the group date, where they row around in boats, fly some kites, and Becca probably has a few traumatic flashbacks to Arlington, Iowa. 

The twist is that this date does have a rose, and not only will the woman who receives it be guaranteed a hometown date, but she’ll also get to spend the rest of the day with Ben while the other two go home. After Ben informs all three women that this is the week things get personal for him — and next week is when it gets personal for them, in case they were wondering — he pulls Amanda aside.

She talks about how she’s ready to show him another side to her, and he seems into it. Becca, however, can’t get over how she actually CARES this time around. (Sorry, Chris!) She feels like there’s a big difference in what Ben feels for her versus the other women. All she asks is that Ben doesn’t blindside her. If he’s not feeling it, let her know.

Also feeling a bit unsure is Caila, who can’t get over Ben’s deep roots in Warsaw, Ind. (I never thought someone would be so jealous of life in Warsaw, Ind.) Having moved 17 times before she went to college, Caila’s worried that she doesn’t have the same sort of roots to show to Ben, and what if her parents aren’t enough?! (No offense, people who raised me!)

The best quote from this entire conversation: “I picture myself as moss, and I’ve always been trying to find the perfect tree to grow with.” I mean, don’t we all picture ourselves as moss? I know I do!

That moment is only topped by the brief second when Ben ALMOST asked Caila if she’d describe herself as “stable.” 

When it comes time to hand out the rose, Ben declares that every week, when he says he has amazing women, he’s talking about these three. So basically, sucks to be Emily, JoJo, and Lauren. As for which lucky lady gets the rose, that honor goes to Amanda.

So while Becca and Caila head home — where Becca confirms she can feel with actual physical tears! — Amanda gets a romantic date at…McDonald’s?! Maybe THIS is my personal hell. Take me back to the diner where I have to talk to people. I don’t care!

NEXT: Do you want fries with that?

Apparently, Ben wants to do something “normal” with Amanda, but instead of making dinner together or watching Netflix, he decides that means working the drive-through window at McDonald’s. And now I officially welcome you to the part of the show where we, the viewers, are supposed to believe that these skinny people eat McDonald’s on the reg. Also, Ben has to be the first person to ask to see behind the counter at McDonald’s. Talk about taking a risk.

Once their shift ends, Ben and Amanda pull a quick Lady and the Tramp by sharing a fry, after which Ben proclaims, “They make it look so easy in cartoons.” 

(As for Amanda’s rose, it’s currently sitting on a McDonald’s tray and has never been so offended in its entire life.)

But the night’s not over! Ben surprises Amanda with a trip to the Warsaw Carnival, where the entire town pretends to know him — half of these people have never seen him before — and poor Eric, the sad child from Ben’s date with Lauren, has now seen Ben kiss two different women in two days and will never have a healthy image of monogamy ever again.

But if you thought Amanda and Ben were just going to walk around the carnival and enjoy it like everyone else, you couldn’t have been more wrong! Instead, the entire town is going to walk around and watch them do everything. They’re even going to take pictures of strangers kissing on their personal cellphones. If there’s one thing to be said about the people of Warsaw, it’s that they don’t believe in personal space.

After Ben beats up a few children with an inflatable bat, he joins Amanda on the Ferris wheel, where they avoid being trampled and are allowed an OC moment all their own.

Looking down on everyone below, Amanda says she feels like she knows everyone in Warsaw. Fun fact: She does. And furthermore, they all now have pictures of her kissing Ben on their refrigerators.

The next day, Emily heads out on her date, where she learns about swans and Ben once again tells her how much more he likes her now that Haley’s gone. (Seriously, Haley, I hope you’re not watching this.) As for the women back home, Caila expresses her lack of concern. As far as she’s concerned, Emily — who’s one year younger than Caila — is a “bright-eyed puppy” who still has so much to learn.

And then there’s Lauren, who thinks Emily’s date is going to go one of two ways. (How perceptive.)

NEXT: And the hometown dates go to…

Taking Emily to his house, Ben gives her a quick tour before he invites his family downstairs — in my mind they were hunched up in the attic — where Emily gets a little worried because “talking to people can kind of be a hard thing for me.” 

Talking to Ben’s mom, Emily instantly starts listing all of her bad qualities, which is a great start. She then focuses in on her hopes and dreams of being an NFL cheerleader — every mother’s dream – before she ends things with this kicker: “I feel like I’m so average at everything in life.” 

Not surprisingly, mom walks away from the conversation feeling a little less than satisfied. Meanwhile, Ben is explaining to his father that Haley’s the worst thing about Emily Emily is a new woman now that her twin is gone. But all dad learns from Emily is that watching movies is her favorite thing in the world and she doesn’t like vegetables. So…she’s a child.

After her chat with Emily, Ben’s mother calls her a “really fun individual,” which is a nice of saying “not good enough for my son.” Ben’s mom then tells him that she’s not sure Emily’s mature enough to put someone else first. After all, how will Emily respond when life stops being polite and starts getting real?

And then…it happens: Mom cries. So yeah, Emily’s gone.

With the date winding down, Ben takes Emily home so that the women can watch out the window as he dumps her. As much as Ben’s been “amazed” by Emily, he tells her he simply can’t imagine her as his wife. But before she goes, he reassures her that the woman she’s been THESE LAST THREE WEEKS has been incredible. Get it? You were great AFTER Haley left. Seriously. Haley drags you down, Em. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?

(Haley, I hope you’re not watching this.)

Walking back inside, Emily says goodbye to the other women before riding off and winning the award for Best Dumpee. Her final words: “Whoever ends up with Ben is a very lucky girl.”

Next up: The rose ceremony! After Ben gets in a little bro time with Chris Harrison, he goes from being confused about his decision to realizing that there’s one woman here who’s not quite where the others are in terms of her relationship with Ben. So, with Amanda already holding a rose, he gives additional roses to Lauren, JoJo, and Caila. 

And Becca. Is. Pissed. Finally showing emotion, she asks him, “why did you do that?” as she drops his hand on the walk out. Once Becca reluctantly sits down, she explains that the one thing she asked of him was not to blindside her, but Ben promises he didn’t know what he was going to do until a few seconds ago. Once he realized he was uncertain about Becca, he knew he didn’t want to bring her family into it, so blindsiding her was the only way. 

Coming around, she agrees that it’s better to end it now than later, so she hugs him goodbye and gets in her farewell limo, the fanciest Depression Mobile of the season. Finally alone, Becca wonders what we’ve all been wondering: Why does she continue to put herself in this position?

Also alone, Ben takes a moment to sit on a bench and hang his head, which might be the most boring sentence I’ve ever written. On the upside, Indiana gave us a great bug montage with this line from Emily, the superior twin: “I hear them in my head. The bees are in my head.” And for those of you who like movie trivia, that was the original “I see dead people.”

Okay guys, we are a week away from hometowns! I hope you all feel confident and validated and reassured and all those great things. If you need me, I’ll be updating all my dating apps to read “Doesn’t consider going to McDonald’s a date.”

Chris Harrison hosts the veteran reality romance series. Will you accept this rose?
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