There will be tears! Although the actual episode is far from the sob-fest that the preview insinuates, as this season of the “The Bachelor” gets down to the wire, Ben and the final six women get emotional — and, no, not because they heard Adele perform at the Grammys.
After Olivia’s dramatic departure last week, the final six take a trip to Ben’s hometown, Warsaw, Indiana. The show really emphasizes how quaint the small town is, but don’t worry — Ben actually lives in Denver, so compared to the last Bachelor’s home on a farm in Iowa, the stakes this time around are much lower. Warsaw: slightly less boring than a cornfield! As our adventure begins, Ben rolls around in a pickup truck. “Good to see ya!” he yells out the window at no one in particular.
Before the waterworks commence, the whole first hour is mostly tear-free, and focuses on two frontrunners: Lauren and JoJo.
Date 1: Ben and Lauren play ball
Lauren (we can finally start omitting her last initial because, finally, she’s the last “Lauren” standing) spends time with Ben in Warsaw. They drive around and see his high school, his church and the place where Ben had his first kiss — a movie theater that has since been converted into a hotel.
To emphasize Ben’s good-guy narrative (as well as reinforce that there is absolutely nothing to do in Warsaw), Lauren and Ben spend the date at the Baker’s Youth Club — a local center where Ben used to volunteer.
Lauren and Ben have fun playing with kids at the center, but to keep everyone at home from completely falling asleep, the show brings in a few NBA players from the Indiana Pacers to up the ante. “I can appreciate when the Indiana Pacers walk through the door,” says Lauren with all the enthusiasm she can muster.
The only tears on this date come from the adorable ducts of a small blonde child, Eric, who doesn’t want to play. Good-guy Ben cheers him up, and gets him back in the game.
Date 2: Ben and JoJo also play ball
The date card tells JoJo that she and Ben are going to “The Windy City.” Never ones to shy away from a mystery, all six girls work together to determine what that could possibly mean. Maybe they’re staying in Warsaw? I mean, it is windy there. In the end, they settle on Chicago. Nice work, ladies.
JoJo and Ben spend their date in an empty Wrigley Field, filmed by a crew and projected onto the jumbotron. Because “The Bachelor” is nothing if not rooted in sexism, JoJo gets a Cubs jersey that says “Mrs. Higgins” on the back. “Mrs. Higgins… sooounds good…” she says skeptically.
The two eat dinner on the field, and everything goes well. At long last, the normal, romantic date portion of the episode is over.
Date 3: Becca, Caila and Amanda get ballsy
There’s only one rose on this date, so the three ladies are out for blood. To start things off on an awkward note, the they pair up to row boats: Ben and Caila pile into one while Becca and Amanda paddle awkwardly from a distance. Next, they fly kites for no reason other than for the show to emphasize “nature” and “Indiana.”
All three women are nervous during their alone time with Ben (and rightfully so), which generates some uncomfortable moments. “I picture myself as moss,” Caila explains, using a fairly unromantic metaphor that ends up sort of making sense. In the end Amanda gets the rose, and Becca and Caila are left staring at the ground while the other two finish their date.
Cue the waterworks: Becca breaks down, and wonders where her relationship with Ben could go from here. Then Caila crumbles over her insecurities because she moved around a lot growing up. At this point, the cracks are definitely showing. Becca and Caila go back to the house and Becca cries some more. She asks all the big questions including, “What am I doing?” and “Why am I here?”
Perhaps Becca and Caila would have been less upset had they known that the rest of Amanda’s date would be… a giant commercial for McDonald’s! Ben tells us he wants to take Amanda to McDonald’s because “That’s a normal thing for me.” After ordering breakfast (did you know that McDonald’s now serves all-day breakfast?!) Ben and Amanda go behind the counter to work the drive-thru window — isn’t it fun to pretend to be a commoner? The two wrap up the date by — no joke — reenacting “Lady and the Tramp” with a McDonald’s fry.
Then, they go to a carnival because Indiana doesn’t just have fast food — it also has fried food. Eric — the kid who was crying earlier during Lauren’s date — is back at the fair. Now he’s happy! He got cotton candy! Warsaw really is filled with so much small town charm (and apparently a limited number of adorable children).
Date 4: Emily loses her marbles
But if the McDonald’s sequence was a cringe-worthy date (and oh, it was), that was nothing compared to Ben’s date with Emily. Emily goes to meet Ben’s parents, and her conversations are so painful to watch, it almost seems like the producers paid her off, or at least knew that if she talked for long enough, her crazy would show.
“I have so many dreams to accomplish,” she tells Ben’s mom before elaborating that those dreams involve being an NFL cheerleader. (Wonder if she thought that would go over well because Ben likes football? It doesn’t.) “I feel like I’m so average at everything in life,” she says, not exactly selling herself. “I will be an above-average mom, and an above-average wife.”
Ben’s parents are not impressed. Last week, Ben gave Emily a rose while Olivia starred from a distance. This week, in another unfairly staged elimination, Ben breaks up with Emily while all the other girls watch from the house. It’s brutal, but not surprising. Emily cries. The other girls cry because Emily’s crying. It’s a disaster.
The episode wraps up with a rose ceremony where Ben also breaks up with Becca. The whole episode signaled that this was her week to go, but it’s still painful to watch the return contestant leave yet again. With only four women left, next week is hometown dates.
“The Bachelor” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Did Ben make the right choice sending Becca home? Do you think she is gone for good?