The Bachelorette hometown dates recap: 'I just really feel like they hated me'
Tonight's hometown dates episode of The Bachelorette was so jam-packed, rose lovers, there wasn't even room to include every hometown date! (Sorry, Aven. See you next week, buddy.) Rachel had a rougher go of it than Gabby, but both Bachelorettes endured their share of awkward family moments.
The Bachelorettes begin the week by saying buh-bye to the Valiant Lady and then traveling by map back to the States. Gabby begins the next leg of her "journey" in…
Louisiana! Thanks for the visual aide, Team Bachelorette.
Date: Gabby and Jason
Location: New Orleans, LA
Family members present: Jason's dad, Michael; his mom, Karen; his sister, Kelsey; and Kelsey's boyfriend, Brendan
Before we get to the date, rose lovers, I want to take a minute to discuss how truly nuts this whole situation is. It didn't really occur to me until I discussed it with Reality Steve on his podcast, but Gabby and Rachel are going into hometowns having only had one date — or in Zach's case, two dates — with each suitor. And Tyler's never even had a one-on-one with Rachel! Normally by this point in the "journey," the Bachelorette has spent twice the amount of time with the guys… so I'm not sure how Gabby and Rachel are supposed to find husbands in an even shorter period. That said, we all know Paradise is even faster — and that show is better at producing marriages than the OG series. So, who's to say this won't work? (Don't answer that.)
Gabby and Jason begin their date with a stroll down Bourbon Street, a place where nobody blinks twice when you start making out in the middle of the road.
The dude on the scooter is all, "Outta the way, ya maroons!" And it wouldn't be a stop on Bourbon Street if Gabby and Jason didn't throw some beads to tourists from a balcony. "I want to get an old man to show me his d---," says Gabby. Gotta love a little equal opportunity harassment. Alas, when she makes the request to a gentleman in a tank top, he demurs: "That ain't happening." (She tosses him some beads anyway.)
Jason's parents are separated, so the family visit takes place in two parts. First up is his dad, Michael, who arrives with flowers for Gabby a box of beignets for them both.
Michael bursts into tears upon hugging his son, and now I'm getting all misty. Damn you, stupid show! "Some people need to wear their brand, their logo on the outside. Jason wears his on the inside," says dad with a sniffle. "He's a good kid. A good man."
Michael and Jason peel off for a private talk, and dad says he "got a little emotional" just seeing his son with Gabby. "I could feel her warmth, her easiness," he says. "And you're projecting happiness and calmness and ease with it… No matter what, I'll always support you 100 percent. If it's the real deal, I wanna be the best man at your wedding." Awwww! (I will not cry again.) Now go ahead and eat those beignets!
Part two of the visit comes at night, and Jason's mom also bursts into tears the moment she sees her son. This family is freaking adorable.
Kelsey pulls Gabby for a chat first, and she gets right to the point: "What dirt do you want on Jason?" All the Bachelorette wants to know is if Kelsey thinks her brother is ready for a "long-term relationship," and her answer is a resounding yes. "It's weird, but it doesn't feel that far-fetched to think that Jason might be ready to propose," Kelsey tells us.
Gabby is concerned that she might be too outgoing for Jason since he's so reserved, but mom shuts that down immediately. "I feel something really good between you," she tells the Bachelorette. "I just want you guys to have fun and be happy." That's some excellent advice — I hope Gabby understands that she owes the show nothing more than what's best for her and her chosen man.
When Jason sits down with his mom, he informs her that he's taking his relationship with Gabby "one day at a time." Then comes the real bombshell: "I could never see myself getting engaged," he says. "It's just not realistic to me." That's because it's not realistic at all! Let's celebrate the fact that we have a suitor exhibiting common sense: Maybe getting engaged after a couple months isn't the best idea. Of course, he hasn't said this to Gabby yet — and his mom is worried. "You're so distracted by everything around you; I just don't want you to lose something because of the distraction," she says tearfully. Me too, Karen! I like these two together.
I was hoping that Jason was going to pull Gabby aside before she left to explain how he feels about a rapid engagement… but I guess he's saving that for Fantasy Suites? On to the next date!
Zach greets Rachel in the sunny city of Anaheim, and within minutes he has her on a bike again… even though she almost wiped out when they went on a bike ride in Amsterdam. Fortunately, she and Zach make it safely to their destination:
A rooftop perch overlooking an airport runway! It's a callback to their first one-on-one date, where Zach and Rachel learned that growing up, they both used to watch planes take off and land with their dads. And yes, producers did make Rachel deliver this corny aviation pun: "Tonight, I'm just really hoping my relationship with Zach can take off to new heights."
Chapman pulls Rachel for a chat first. He's worried that Zach will wind up "broken-hearted," but he also knows that his son seems very "enamored" with the Bachelorette. "I mean, you go to the most romantic places on Earth, and you'll fall in love with a monkey," he says to Rachel. "What attracts you to him?" She says she and Zach bonded over their love of family, and that they're both ready to settle down.
Meanwhile, mom sits with Zach outside, and she tells her son that she can "see the love" in his face. When Zach says he's ready to propose, mom gets a little choked up. She just wants her boy to be happy, which is what she tells Rachel when they sit down for their one-on-one chat. "I don't want his heart broken," she says. "I really believe he has fallen in love with you."
Rachel LOVES it. "I think I have the stamp of approval from Zach's family tonight," says Rachel, before they all gather in the backyard to watch… a montage of her one-on-one dates with Zach! A little awkward, right? Not sure I'd want to watch that with my boyfriend's family. I mean, come on!
"You know, you're not married," jokes Chapman as everyone else laughs uncomfortably. Blech.
The evening ends with Zach dropping the L-bomb ("I'm in love with you, Rachel"), and though she doesn't say it out loud, she's feeling the same way. "I am falling in love with him," says Rachel. "He is so perfect."
Date: Gabby and Johnny
Location: Palm Beach, Florida
Family members present: Johnny's mom, Elizabeth; his dad, John; his best friend, Perry; his brother, Robert; and Robert's girlfriend, Jillian
"Johnny's super hot," gushes Gabby. "He knows it, I know it, you know it. He makes me feel so, so special." So today on this hometown date, Gabby is looking forward to making out with Johnny and learning more about him by meeting his family.
And guess what? She's meeting them right now! Do not pass Go, do not participate in some filler, "day date" activity. On to the DePhillipo household! And dang, this is a telegenic group.
Gabby sits with John Sr. first. "It's pretty amazing, after such a short period of time, the chemistry that you guys have," says dad. The Bachelorette is appreciative of his support and informs John Sr. that she and Johnny haven't discussed an engagement yet. Dad thinks Gabby is "great," and mom seems to like her as well. "The connection between you and Johnny seems very organic, whether it's for now or forever," she tells Gabby. "We're along for the ride."
Still, Johnny — much like Jason — is not itching to propose on such a tight deadline. "To just drop and get married, that's, like a huge step for me," he tells his mom. "I don't know if I'm ready for that yet." You're not! Mom agrees that it's a "huge" commitment, but dad thinks his son has nothing to fear. "Emotionally? I think you're ready emotionally," he says. "Financially? Go down the road together… Go with your heart. We met her, she's very lovely. You have my blessing."
Okay, then! For now, though, Johnny is not prepared to commit to anything except taking Gabby for a sunset cruise on his boat.
"It feels so good and so easy being with somebody who I know is ready for the next step," says Gabby. Uh… who's going to tell her? So far, Jason's not ready, Johnny's not ready — looks like it all rests on Erich and whether he's okay to propose. No pressure, buddy! For now, though, let's head to New Jersey.
Date: Rachel and Tyler
Location: Wildwood, NJ
Family members present: Uh, we never learned their names
Bachelorettes present at family visit: 0
"Tyler always makes me laugh, and we connect emotionally," says Rachel. But "we definitely are the most far behind." At least the citizens of Wildwood are rooting for him.
He's going to need it, ma'am.
As you may remember, Tyler and his family own some carnival games on Wildwood Boardwalk, so that's where today's visit begins. (And ends, but more on that in a bit.) Any good boardwalk is stuffed with stalls selling fried food, so naturally Tyler and Rachel stop for a corndog. I just wish Rachel's corndog wasn't so…
Never mind. From there, they eat some (non-phallic) fried dough, play some carnival games, ride the bumper cars and the merry-go-round… it's all very cute. Tyler's very into it, and Rachel seems to be having a good time, too.
And yet… she's also feeling uneasy. "It's been such a good day," says Rachel. "But this is getting so serious." As Tyler introduces her around — there's his best friend Sal, there's Sal's dad, there's Tyler's cousin, Laurie — Rachel realizes that she's running out of time. Does she really want to meet Tyler's entire family if she's just not that into him? "It just feels like I'm having a bit of a struggle," she says. "I just definitely feel like I have other connections that are stronger."
While Tyler closes up shop on his family's basketball game stall, Rachel shares her fears with a producer.
"I feel like a horrible person," she frets. "It just isn't enough time. Like, I don't feel like I'm ready. I don't know what to do!" After retreating to the bathroom to cry it out, Rachel knows what she has to do. She sits down with Tyler on a nearby bench, and the poor guy doesn't notice that she's clearly been crying. He just keeps going on and on about how great the day was. Ugh, Rachel — time to pull the plug.
At first, the Bachelorette is barely able to get more than a few words in. "You're the most incredible person," she begins, before Tyler jumps in and starts talking non-stop about how SHE'S so incredible and how happy he is to be with her, how important it is for her to meet his family. And he tops it all off with this: "I'm not falling in love with you — I am so in love with you."
For God's sake, dude, read the room! Stop talking and let her finish! (I'm guessing that deep down, Tyler knows he's about to get dumped, and that his logorrhea is just a defense mechanism… but it's still painful to watch.)
Finally, Rachel cuts him off and delivers the news. "We've had the most incredible day, but I'm still feeling not 100 percent confident," she says shakily. "And I don't know if I'm ready to meet your family." Rachel apologizes through her tears and tells Tyler how amazing he is. "I wish I could get there, I do," she says. "You're going to find everything you deserve." With that, the Bachelorette climbs into a waiting SUV, while Tyler heads home to see his family. Dang it, look at them all waiting there, excited to meet the woman who
could won't be Tyler's future wife!
"I just have this feeling that he's going to walk in with a smile from one ear to the other," says Tyler's mom. Oh man, this is so rude of producers to make Tyler tell his family on camera that he was just dumped (also on camera). "I loved her, and I still do," says Tyler, his voice catching. "All I've ever wanted is somebody that would feel the same towards me." Well, at least they didn't drag this Bachelorette-less family visit out. Time for the next date!
Date: Gabby and Erich
Location: Bedminster, NJ
Family members present: Erich's mom, Donna; his dad, Allan; his sister, Elyse; his grandparents
Like Johnny, Erich wants to go see his family before he and Gabby do anything else. First, though, he fills the Bachelorette in on his dad's current health situation. Allan has been battling terminal cancer for the last three years, and the family does not know how much time he has left. That makes it even more important to Erich that he can introduce Gabby to his dad now.
Side note: How freaking cute are Erich's grandparents?
"I watched you on the Bachelor show!" says Grandpa. "I said, 'I know Gabby!'" Too sweet.
Erich checks in on his dad, who says he has good days and bad days. "Gabby was an ICU nurse," he tells Allan. (Wait, did he say "was" or "is"? I truly hope Gabby doesn't give up her day job after this show is over.) Allan gets teary when he talks about the nurses who cared for him when he was in the ICU for 40 days. "I really admired the ICU nurses," he says. "They're so sharp." Erich's dad reveals that his cancer has returned, and he has nothing but praise for his wife and the care she's given him. "She's really hanging in there," says Allan. "She's gotten sweeter."
Oof, this is pretty heartrending — especially knowing, as we do from the "In Memoriam" message at the end of the episode, that Allan has since passed away. Rest in peace, sir.
When Erich sits with his mom, she confirms that Allan is doing a "little bit" worse. "But I keep watering that flower," she says, "and he keeps coming back." Not this show making me cry again! This date is certainly putting things into perspective. It's all fun and games shopping for a husband on TV until your soulmate faces a massive medical battle. "You marry for life," Donna reminds her son. "It's an important decision."
Mom reiterates this sentiment when she sits down with Gabby. "Commitment in my family is really important," says Donna. "We don't give up on each other." Gabby is clearly moved by the whole visit — any person with a pulse would be moved by this visit. "Seeing him with his family, that really just made my feelings so much deeper for him," says Gabby. "I can't wait to tell Erich how I feel tonight."
Over drinks at the Gladstone Tavern that evening, Erich lets Gabby know that he's falling in love with her. "I really frickin' am," he adds for good measure. The Bachelorette is feeling the feels too. "After today, I do finally feel comfortable in saying that I am falling in love with you," she confesses. Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!
Oh boy, if only we could end the episode there, rose lovers. But producers are squeezing in one more date this week — and it's a doozy.
Date: Rachel and Tino
Location: Santa Clarita, CA
Family members present: Tino's mom, Sandy; his dad, Joe; and his brother, Matteo.
Producers just dumped Rachel in the middle of nowhere just so Tino could make a big entrance by driving up in a Jeep. True to form, Rachel is worried that Tino's family won't approve of her. "I want them to feel like I could fit in," she says. "Because I'm really serious!" Tino tries to assuage her fears, assuring Rachel that he's serious about her too, and that there's "nothing to worry about."
(Narrator: There is.)
Ugh, let's get into this. Tino says he's waiting for the right moment to share his feelings with Rachel, and he thinks tonight, "after she knocks it out of the park with my parents," will be the perfect time. (Again, with this guy and the sports metaphors! Also, there will be no knocking of anything!)
The family sits down with Rachel and Tino, who start regaling everyone with tales of how strong their connection is. "Everything disappears when we're together," says Tino. Immediately, Papa Joe comes in hot: "Yeah, but how much time do you guys get together?" As you can see, Rachel is a bit startled by Joe's tone.
Tino, however, maintains his confident exterior. When dad asks him how he sees the next two weeks playing out, he says simply, "She'll send the rest of the guys home and I'll propose to her." Joe responds with a hearty laugh. "What are you talking about? After two months?" Tino insists, and dad fixes him with a very pointed stare. "We're going to have to have a talk," he says gravely. Now Tino is also starting to feel a little shooketh. "Clearly, he's really skeptical about the situation," says Tino.
I'll say. The aforementioned talk begins something like this:
Joe wants to know "how in just five weeks" Tino could possibly be ready to propose. "Do you know enough about her?" he asks. The answer is obviously no, but Tino isn't about to admit that. Dad says that the "whole fairytale thing" has him and Sandy very nervous about what their son could be getting himself into.
Meanwhile, Rachel is getting to know Sandy inside. Let's listen in.
LOLOLOL. She's not wrong! And to be fair, all mom wants to know is if Rachel thinks she would be interested in Tino had she met him out in the wild, not in the controlled and contrived environment of a reality TV show. Because Sandy knows that whatever happens in the Bachelorette bubble will affect her, too: "I have to figure out, in a week or two, if I'm mending a broken heart or planning a wedding."
Sure, Sandy and Joe are being a little brusque, but I appreciate their clear-eyed evaluation of the situation. Too often on hometown dates, the parents treat the Bachelor/Bachelorette and their own kids like fragile little flowers who are going to disintegrate into a puff of sadness dust if they come in contact with the truth. Sandy and Joe are doing everyone a favor by treating everybody like adults. Not just adults, but adults who are about to make some very foolish decisions.
"Talking to Tino's mom, I feel like she's just skeptical about the whole thing," says Rachel, stating the obvious. "She grilled my ass, and now I'm, like, scared to talk to his dad." Oh girl, you should be.
I'm paraphrasing, rose lovers, but not by much. Joe tells Rachel that he can't wrap his head around the idea that two people could be ready to get engaged in a handful of weeks, so he asks her to describe Tino and what he's like. "Convince me that you know him," says Joe. "The real Tino."
As she did with Tino's mom, Rachel raves about Tino's "positive outlook" and how "humble and caring" he is. Joe's like, That sounds nice, but I'm not buying it.
"I genuinely almost cried because I thought it was going that bad with his dad," admits Rachel in her confessional. Well, it's not going great, that's for sure. When Rachel tells Joe that she's hoping for an engagement at the end of this "journey," dad once again does not hold back. "I mean… [heavy sigh] This is your second go-around," says Joe. "I was asking Tino, 'Is this person just looking to get married, or does this person really like you?'"
Now the Bachelorette seems offended. "I wouldn't put him in this position just so I could get married," says Rachel, and there's an understandable hint of chill in her voice. "I'm not that kind of person."
The very awkward conversation concludes with Joe reiterating that Rachel and Tino should "be honest with each other and make sure that it's right." The Bachelorette thanks him for hosting them ("This has been so nice!") and then goes to huddle with a producer.
Dude, you were right there! You know what happened! But I suppose it is his job to make Rachel say it out loud. "I just really feel like they hated me," she says. "So, I feel really sad… How do we go [on] from here?"
Side note: God bless the camera operator who zoomed in on this family portrait:
Not the barefoot group shot! It's simply too '90s to function. Before heading out, Rachel thanks Sandy and Joe for "welcoming" her (LOL) and for directing "all the hard-hitting questions" at her. But in reality, the Bachelorette feels like the family didn't give her a chance, and that Tino's dad never wants to see her again. "I don't know how I made it out of that house alive," she says. Cut to:
Oh my GOD, Tino, knock it off. Rachel shoots him a look. "I do not think they liked me," she says. "I'm not too confident. Your dad wasn't even giving me a chance. Tino, they were tough on me." Tino tries to brush it off, like, Oh, that's just how parents are. "Rachel, I'm so sure about you," he continues. "I'm proud and excited to tell you that I am falling in love with you. I don't… I don't want a future without you."
Phew, Rachel's waited all night for someone to say something nice to her. If she doesn't have Joe's approval, at least she can rest assured that Tino likes her. "I also feel like I have been falling in love with you for a while," she tells him. "That's honestly how I feel." Tino LOVES it — or, at least, he says he does. But the man never has any inflection in his voice, so even something as gushing as "That's actually the most incredible thing I could have ever expected" sounds about as flat as "Give me $20 on pump seven."
Even after Tino's declaration, in the back of her mind Rachel is still worried about the parental units: "It's really hard for me to think of an engagement when I know I don't have any support from Tino's parents."
Welp, it looks like we're out of time. Sorry, Aven, but your hometown date has been bumped to next week — where it will share the stage with the Men Tell All. And from there it's off to Mexico — not for Paradise, but for Gabby and Rachel's overnight dates. Based on the previews, it looks like Erich gives Gabby a version of the old "I don't want you sleeping with other people" speech; something goes wrong between Zach and Rachel after Fantasy Suites; and Gabby goes AWOL for the rose ceremony. Or none of that happens and it was all creative editing!
Before you go, rose lovers, I've gotta know: Do you think any of these "relationships" will end in a proposal? Should Rachel have cut Tyler loose before hometowns? And is Tino's dad a hero or a villain? Post your thoughts below!
One single woman searches for her future husband amid a sea of studs in this romantic reality series. Will you accept this rose?