Chris Harrison's Bachelor blogCredit: ABC
Credit: ABC
4. Season 5 (Jesse Palmer)

Every week, Bachelor host and executive producer Chris Harrison is giving EW his behind-the-scenes take on the latest episode.

Welcome back, Bachelor Nation. There is pretty much nothing more fear-inducing for a Bachelor than finally making it to hometown dates. Of course it’s remarkably exciting to get the opportunity to see where the women come from, but it’s also really terrifying to have to face their families as a man who is still dating three other women and convince them that you’re not just a total heel. And I really do have to give it to the families here, as across the board they were not afraid to ask hard questions and really try to get to the bottom of who Arie really is. And I also have to hand it to Arie this week, who never got defensive and never shied away from answering the tough questions.

I think in some ways Arie’s date with Kendall was one of the most bizarre hometown activities we’ve ever seen, but in some ways it was very much “them.” Kendall is right in acknowledging that because their relationship started a little bit slower, it’s worthwhile to just keep trying to jump in with both feet. If a man can’t grab a mouse-skin and stuff it full of cotton for you, is he really the right guy? Or something like that. It was also great to meet Kendall’s twin and her parents, who I think gave Arie some really good insight into who she is.

Tia’s family was about as straightforward as they come. They were not abut to let Tia get caught up with a guy they didn’t trust, but I really think Arie’s ability and desire to answer their questions really brought them over to his side. One thing that I noticed and appreciated this season is that all of the families, while expressing their concerns, also seemed to really want to defer to the women’s decision making rather than try to be overly prescriptive. They explained their feelings, they asked their questions, and then they let their daughter or sister or niece take the wheel. I think that makes a lot of sense and speaks to the character of all of these women and their families.

Arie’s date with Becca was really sweet and I thought it was really wonderful to see Uncle Gary step in on behalf of Becca’s father. Becca’s dad was clearly so beloved in that family, and it feels like he is with all of them in spirit at all times. You could feel the mood in the room shift when Arie finally got a chance to talk to Becca’s mother, and I think Arie really let her know just exactly how much Becca was focused on her family and her family’s happiness. This family wasn’t easy to win over (and there’s no reason they should be), but at the end of the day I think they felt as good as they could feel, given the situation.

Finally, Arie had his date with Lauren, and as you could see, it was a little different from the others. For some reason, Arie seemed the most nervous about this date. Maybe it was for the same reason he seemed so shaken on his last date with Lauren. Arie has had a hard time this season quantifying his relationship with Lauren (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), and I think he knew it was going to be tough to try to explain that to some appropriately skeptical family members. Arie’s relationship with Lauren is clearly different from the others and it will be interesting to see how that plays out in the coming weeks.

It was terrible to see Tia go home. She was so blindsided, as anyone would be, but we’ll get to hear more from her this coming Sunday at the Women Tell All. You’ll also get to hear from Bekah M., Seinne, and Krystal! It’s gonna be a wild one. Then, on Monday, the romantic overnight dates take us to the magical land of Ica, Peru! And don’t forget to catch one of the last episodes of The Bachelor Winter Games tomorrow night! See you then, Bachelor Nation!

Episode Recaps