This week’s episode of The Bachelorette took us along as Rachel traversed the country (Baltimore to Miami to Madison to Aspen) on hometown dates with her Final Four. She has a good group, devoid of any villains. This season, Melissa Miller and I have been providing show analysis (be sure to listen to our discussion of favorite series moments). Here’s a breakdown of the week 7 episode:
Now that the guys aren’t interacting with each other, the on-display testosterone has abated. But Dean the Smile taking Rachel ATV riding in Colorado was a pretty macho date activity.
Dean was extremely self-conscious about Rachel meeting his family. With good reason. His dad, who has devoted himself to Eastern spirituality after the passing of Dean’s mother, greeted the houseguests by playing a gong in his living room. Dean was crawling out of his skin with embarrassment. The visit took a poignant turn, though, starting with Dad tearfully presenting Dean and Rachel with feathers in honor of his deceased wife. It was painful watching father and son try, and fail, to reconcile their estranged relationship. For all his nice-guy exterior, Dean is a powder keg of resentment and unprocessed grief.
Peter the Ironman is really into Rachel, but he has been making it known that he has misgivings about his own emotional progression with her. Even with that backdrop, it was a blindside for him to tell his Wisconsin friends and family that he may not be ready to propose should he garner the final rose. Better get into gear, Pete!
Scarves have been the fashion accessory of the season. But this week the guys smartly sported skinny pants with either white sneakers or brown boots.
Bryan the Chiropractor gave Rachel ample warning about his mom, Olga, on his Miami hometown date. Olga came to tears when toasting him (“the most precious thing in my life”) and chugged her glass of wine. Wow. She did her level-best to torpedo the whole process as soon as she got Bryan alone, dismissing that he could be serious about someone he just met on a reality TV show (she may have a point there). She then told him that Rachel should not mess with “the mother.” Olga warmed during their conversation, but Rachel should be wary about this potential monster-in-law.
I think Eric the Trainer is now the front-runner. We learned more about his upbringing in rough parts of Baltimore, where he grew up around crime and drugs. He said, “I always was the friend who took care of everybody.” He developed emotional self-sufficiency to the point of isolation, but he’s increasingly opening himself to Rachel and to love. She’s the first girl he has brought home. Although she was anxious about meeting his family, the excitement and affection they showed her melted her nerves away. Kudos to Verna, Eric’s aunt, for cutting right to the chase to discuss race dynamics and asking how Rachel has dealt with the pressure. As the visit wrapped up, Eric gave a great toast to his family for the support they’ve provided him. When sending Rachel off he confidently told her he loved her and then explained the many ways he cares about her.
Rachel Awesomeness Score
I’m giving Rachel a max score of 5 (“she is . . . wow . . . just, wow”) for how well she navigated these disparate hometown visits. She owned up to struggling with feeling selfish about her decisions, most notably having to say goodbye to Dean (great guy, but they weren’t meant to be together). She can and should be as respectful and kind when breaking someone’s heart, but she has to put herself first- she’s the Bachelorette!
Want more of our breakdowns? Check out last week’s recap here.