JoJo travels the country to meet the families of her final four suitors

By Samantha Highfill
July 19, 2016 at 02:38 AM EDT
ABC/Michael LeGrand

The Bachelorette

S12 E8
  • TV Show
  • ABC

Welcome to hometowns week, everybody! This is JoJo’s chance to see where her suitors were born and raised, along with just how uncomfortable their poor families get around cameras. Let’s get to it!

Highlands Ranch, Colorado: The place where divorced people DO deserve happiness

We start with Chase, who meets JoJo in a very snowy Colorado — where he proves to have a reckless disregard for his feet, whether it’s standing in a foot of snow waiting for JoJo to arrive or dangling them off a literal cliff. All Chase is worried about is making sure JoJo knows what she’s going to be walking into: I know this is hard to believe, but Chase is a child of this thing called divorce. Divorce is when two married people decide not to be married anymore. And in some very rare cases, divorce doesn’t kill all the love in the whole wide world.

So while JoJo desperately yearns for some sort of sidewalk/path, I’ll let you wrap your head around that. Again, because his parents hate love are divorced, JoJo will be meeting his father separately so as to avoid all awkwardness.

At Chase’s house, JoJo meets Chase’s father, who somehow managed post-divorce to find the unicorn that is happiness when he remarried. As Chase and JoJo get a little too comfortable in the corner of the couch, Chase takes the situation he purposefully designed to avoid awkwardness and makes it hella awkward when he essentially asks, “Pa, how come you didn’t love ma?”

Chase’s father admits his desire to “climb the corporate ladder” interfered with his ability to be a good husband, though I have a feeling there’s more to that story if there were lawsuits involved. But I digress.

After Chase grabs JoJo’s face like he’s going to eat it, he leaves to talk to his dad, who seems impressed JoJo is beautiful, smart, and that she’s “got a head on her shoulders.” In other words, he’s impressed she’s not decapitated. Chase informs his father that he’s diving into this scenario with his whole heart, to which his father simply responds with a warning that his decisions influence other people’s lives. (Except he doesn’t have a family yet, dad. Keep your long-kept guilt to yourself.)

After meeting the father, JoJo heads out to meet the rest of the family, where she gets so nervous that her “heart is beating.” Once again, good on ya for being alive, JoJo. Heading inside, where the family barely gets off the couch for Chase, JoJo meets Chase’s mother, sister, stepdad, brother-in-law, and nephew Everett, who wins the entire visit with his mustache pacifier.

For Chase, this moment is so important because JoJo is meeting his “closest family members that mean the most to me.” SORRY, DAD.

Instantly, mom is a fan of JoJo’s laugh. And when she takes JoJo outside, they agree both of them “know how to have fun.” And can you believe Chase’s mom still knows how to have fun after a divorce?! The insanity!

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So while JoJo and mom plan a trip to Vegas, Chase reminds his sister about the time their parents got divorced. They reminisce about their childhood and talk fondly about how they struggle to say “I love you” because of the divorce. Then this happens:

Chase: “It’s just a word!”

Sister: “To us, it’s more than a word.”

Chase: “It IS so much more than a word.”

We are learning SO much on this trip.

NEXT: There are deer in California!

Sitting down with his mom, Chase instantly gets emotional. As far as mom’s concerned, JoJo’s golden if only because she has a great laugh, loves dogs, hates fish, and is fond of Chase. And when mom starts to get emotional, she informs America, “Crying is not our style.”

Walking JoJo out to the car, JoJo barely gets to tell Chase she’ll miss him before he word-vomits “I’m falling in love with you, JoJo.” JoJo can’t say it back, of course, but she does tell him, “I feel really good,” with an implied wink. And after a struggle, JoJo finally gets in the car and leaves Chase behind.

Chico, California: The place where absent brothers put a damper on everything

JoJo heads to California to meet up with Jordan, who has pulled out all the stops, even asking a few deer to run by in the background of the shot to show JoJo just how beautiful California is.

Because Jordan can’t let go of his glory days, he — a grown man — decides to bring JoJo to his high school to show her off and prove he can get a hot girl! See Spanish teacher, women love me!

In what might be the most uncomfortable statement of the evening, JoJo says, “Maybe I’m his new little high-school sweetheart.” Also, I know it must’ve been hard being in Aaron’s shadow, but let’s all just take a moment to realize we just met Jordan’s JV football coach, who wouldn’t start him. HE DIDN’T START ON JV. Sounds like a bit more than your brother’s shadow was holding you back, huh, bub?

Sitting in the stands of the football stadium, JoJo realizes she’s the first “complete stranger” Jordan’s brought home. (Side note: Was his last girlfriend’s name Boo?!)

After he asks JoJo to basically avoid talking about Aaron, Jordan takes her home, where she discovers she’s dating “the spicy child” of the Rodgers family, which doesn’t mean what you think. Apparently, Jordan used to threaten to run away a lot as a child. And while mom talks about that for five minutes, we miss something great as his brother whispers something about how he once kicked a teacher?! Do not reproduce with this man, JoJo.

Talking to Luke, JoJo does the unthinkable: She asks about Aaron. All Luke really says is the family doesn’t talk about him much because they miss him. However, Luke will say Jordan is a “great dude” who stands up for the people he loves. And as far as I’m concerned, if JoJo still loves Jordan after seeing that borderline sociopathic photo of him, they’re golden.

Luke tells Jordan he approves as JoJo gets to know the family patriarch, who DOES bring up Aaron. Or rather, he mentions their family has been exposed to media pressure before, but he’s confident it won’t affect Jordan.

While JoJo tells America that Jordan is “nobody’s brother. He’s a man that I am falling in love with,” the man in question convinces his mother that JoJo could be his “destiny,” which earns “the spicy child” an awkward, overly clingy hug from mom.

Outside, Jordan tells JoJo he’s in love with her, but a part of her is still scared they’ll get to the end of this and he won’t want her forever. He tells her not to doubt what they have, but JoJo’s still struggling. And for now, she’s taking her doubt to Florida.

NEXT: Rumors about Robby

St. Augustine, Florida: The place where exes suck

Heading into his hometown date, Robby’s feeling so confident that JoJo’s feelings are going to grow for HIM that he’s wearing a salmon-colored shirt. For the day, Robby has rented a horse-drawn carriage and is ready to give JoJo a tour around his town. Have we just discovered Robby’s occupation? I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to bet “former competitive swimmer” means “current tour guide.”

After Robby assures JoJo “I’m honest” — which no honest person says — it takes him about an hour to mention Uruguay and how he said “I love you” to JoJo. It takes him another 20 minutes to mention it two more times. But JoJo’s still hung up on how recently he dated his ex. She asks if she’s filling a void for him, but he swears his ex is in his past and is going to stay there. Furthermore, he promises her that “with the love I have IN you.” No comment.

Heading to Jacksonville, Robby brings JoJo to meet his family — all of whom he’s bought individual presents. The first thing he brings up? Their private fireworks show in Uruguay, a.k.a. the place he told her he loved her. Remember, JoJo?!

However, the real revelation might be Robby telling his family they “literally” had ashes falling in their eyes during the fireworks show. Because that totally happened.

Talking with his brothers, Robby quickly gets their seal of approval as they all toast with their wine tumblers. Elsewhere, JoJo is talking to Robby’s mom about her concerns. But don’t worry, mom puts JoJo at ease by completely avoiding her question. All she tells JoJo is there’s always a chance you’re going to get hurt in life, but if Robby “envisions you in his future, there’s no turning back.” Quick, JoJo! Check the doors! I’m half convinced you’re locked in and this show will be the only thing we have to remember you by!

In a surprising moment, JoJo decides to tell Robby’s mom, “I’m certainly falling in love with him,” which either means Robby has this thing locked or JoJo ran out of talking points.

But when mom pulls Robby aside, she has some news: It seems his ex-girlfriend’s roommate has made it look like Robby broke up with said ex in order to go on the show. Wanting to “nip it in the butt,” — or, you know, bud — Robby cuts off his sisters’ moment with JoJo to tell her everything.

When JoJo asks if there’s any truth to what’s being talked about, Robby’s response isn’t “no,” but rather it’s, “to what?” RUN, JOJO. JoJo gets more specific, asking, “Did you break up with her when you found out you were coming on the show?” Robby says there’s no truth to that, explaining their relationship was over for nine months before he actually ended it (which again makes me wonder if he did use the show as the final excuse). But in the end, JoJo decides not to question why Robby’s ex slapped him and instead, to trust him.

She leaves the hometown feeling “okay” about it all, so that’s great.

Burnet, Texas: The place where grandpa keeps it real

Saving Luke for last, JoJo whips out the cowboy boots he bought her for a day in Texas, where she’s hoping for more “emotional depth” from the cowboy who’s 90-percent passion and 10-percent hair.

Proving just how much smarter he is than everyone else, Luke flips the day around, using the day to meet family and leaving the night for alone time. Bringing JoJo to a picnic, Luke introduces her to his mom, dad, sister, and 50 of his closest friends. Does that mean he has MORE than 50 friends total?! (Did I just reveal too much about myself?)

All JoJo seems to care about is an adorable baby. As Luke tells her, “You should see him sleep,” because that’s a specific skill only this toddler has.

NEXT: Luke channels his inner Meredith Grey

Talking with his dad, Luke gets some love advice. Luke’s father tells him that after working away from his mother for a bit, he realized he couldn’t live without her, and that was when he knew he’d found his life partner. As far as Luke’s concerned, he’s ready to tell JoJo he loves her.

After grandpa keeps it real — informing JoJo that Luke can’t even boil water, much less make brisket — Luke takes JoJo off for another surprise: Riding out on horseback, he takes her to a little haystack bench he’s made where they can watch the sunset — and where he tells her, “I want this future. I want us.” And in what’s either a great moment or a terrible moment, JoJo cries.

She claims they’re happy tears, but all she says is, “I wish I had more time with you,” meaning she’s not quite where she wants to be. But when Luke pulls a Meredith Grey and lines a path with candles leading her to a heart made out of flowers, he seems to win her over by telling her, “My heart is yours.”

But as much as the producers get credit for blasting Rascal Flatts, something seems off with JoJo.

Los Angeles, California: The place where dreams love goes to die

This show is not messing around. Example A: This week’s rose ceremony is being held at an airport hangar so the three remaining men can hop on a plane with JoJo to their next destination. And that’s when JoJo tells us she’s going to send Luke home. Translation: Those were NOT happy tears!

But before JoJo can hand out any roses, Luke pulls her aside and says there’s something he has to get off his chest: “I needed to tell you that I’m in love with you,” he explains, as the rest of us sit there feeling sure she’s going to stop him. Right? RIGHT?!

But stop him she does not. Instead, she thanks him, sends him back inside, and proceeds to freak out. “Of course it changes things,” she says, losing control of her emotions. The question is: Was Luke too late? (And can she really give him up pre-fantasy suite?!)

It’s a question we’ll have to wait another week to answer, as we end the week with the dreaded “to be continued.”

While we wait for what comes next, I hope you’ll join me in really thinking about what we’ve learned this week. I mean, say JoJo does pick someone and they don’t make it. Say they even — gasp! — get divorced. Remember what we learned in Colorado? Divorced people can find love again!*

*Side effects may include emotionally stunted children.

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The Bachelorette

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