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‘The Bachelorette’ Recap: Rachel Is Feeling All the Feels (and It Feels Good)

This week of “The Bachelorette” is important. Why, you ask? It’s hometown dates week! Why, you still ask, slightly irked and unsatisfied? Well, if history stays consistent, one of these men will become the next Bachelor, two will end up on “Bachelor in Paradise” and/or fade into obscurity, and one will win Rachel’s heart … and maybe, probably break things off six months later after a spinoff, or moderately successful run on “Dancing With the Stars.” OK, I tried, there really aren’t any stakes. Despite that, this episode somehow manages to get emotional. Maybe I’m a little sleep-deprived, and a bit of an open emotional wound, but — I’ll admit it — I teared up more than once. What “Game of Thrones” premiere? There is only one throne on television that matters (Rachel’s heart’s throne, come on!) and it will be won by one of four men: Eric, Bryan, Peter, or Dean. Each of the four get a chance to introduce Rachel to his family, starting with Eric.

Eric’s date is arguably the most straightforward of the four, and therefore I will use the least amount of words to describe it. Eric has a seemingly lovely family, and Rachel fits right in. The only thing about her relationship with Eric that gives Rachel pause is that he’s never been in love before, whatever that means. By the end of the date that changes (sort of). Eric tells Rachel that he’s been thinking, “I really love this girl,” meaning Rachel (we hope). He follows that up in the same breath with “and let me tell you what that means.” Rachel sounds like she wishes it had been a little more straightforward, but I, for one, think Eric took the perfect approach. It was heartfelt and sincere, but not crazy and over-eager. Great job, Eric!

Next, Rachel goes to Miami where she meets Bryan’s family. We know that Bryan’s last relationship didn’t work out in large part because his girlfriend didn’t mesh well with his family, specifically his mother. Before we get to meet the matriarch, Rachel has to play dominoes while Bryan tries to play translator with two older men who seem to be (and I could have not been paying close attention) complete strangers.

Rachel expresses nervousness that Bryan’s last girlfriend had a difficult time with his family, and Bryan happily throws his ex under the bus. “That was not on them (his family), but more on the other person (his ex).” Rough! Anyway, Bryan’s family basically corroborates his story. Bryan’s sister says his ex felt threatened by his mom’s possessiveness. “I don’t even know how that’s a threat … she’s his mom,” the sister says. The mom in question put on a tough act, including this gem — “If he’s happy, I’m happy. If not, I’ll kill you.” — but in the end breaks down in tears because she’s ready to give her son away. Rachel passes the test, and Bryan, in the most Bryan way possible, professes his love for the Bachelorette. Next!

Rachel meets Peter in Madison, where he introduces her to his friends … who are conspicuously … diverse. Rachel throws Peter under by telling the friends that he told her, “I have ten close friends. Eight out of ten are black.”

“Did he pull out his black card?” one friend jokes, but it’s only sort of a joke because it really sounds like that’s exactly what Peter did. Regardless, Rachel wins over yet another group of strangers. “She seems super genuine,” Peter’s friend tells him. “Don’t f— it up.”

Rachel then meets Peter’s family, and “melts” when she sees the way that he plays with his niece. Rachel’s adamant about wanting to start a family, but Peter’s mom cautions that he may not be ready for marriage — for now she might have to live with “commitment.” Peter is the most reserved of the four when it comes to professing his love in that he … doesn’t. “I’m very happy,” he tells Rachel. “Good for you,” she responds. Kidding! She says, “I’m very happy too.” End scene.

And enter Dean! The final date comes with the most anticipation. Dean has seemed wary about introducing Rachel to his family to the point that he was possibly trying to get her to send him home last week. He’s also warned Rachel several times that he has an abnormal family life and his dad is “eccentric.” On this episode we learn what he means.

Dean’s mom died when he was 15 years old, and from the sound of it, his dad was financially available, but that’s about it. He has since become a Kundalini yogi, and changed his name to Paramroop. “His name is Paramroop,” Dean tells Rachel. “What does he want me to call him?” Rachel asks calmly. “Paramroop,” Dean replies.

Dean apparently hasn’t seen his dad in two years, and for them to reunite on the show seems, at the least, uncomfortable to watch, and at the worst, exploitative. There’s an interesting moment when Dean’s dad serves everyone food, but Dean won’t touch it. He claims that he’s full. Later, we learn that Dean’s dad had to learn how to cook after his wife died, so the bowl of food that he put in front of Dean on television was much more than its physical properties. These are the layers of baggage that we are confronted with on what is otherwise a more-less silly game show. The date ends in a shouting match between Dean and his father. When Rachel tries to talk to Paramroop, he tries to walk away, saying, “I regret it. This doesn’t work.” The date ends with Dean and Rachel lying on the ground. “I know that I’m falling in love with you,” Dean tells her. “I’m falling in love with you too,” she replies.

That is, until she sends him home. Seriously! After all that, Dean goes home. The end!

Do you think Rachel made the right choice? Do you think that it makes perfect sense that Peter wouldn’t want to get married right away? Do you think that was a loaded question? Weigh in below.

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