It was hometown visits week on The Bachelorette, as Emily Maynard traversed the land in order to meet her prospective future in-laws. We didn’t have any of the historic flameouts of past Final Four weeks – no oddball taxidermists or embalmers – and I suspect the visits didn’t do much to change Emily’s overall thought process.
First up was Chris, and truth be told, he did seem slightly less ill at ease in his hometown of Chicago – which was welcome news coming on the heels of two weeks where he's looked ridiculous. Chris spoke warmly of his Polish immigrant father and his whole family, and it was obvious the brood is close. A couple of moments at the folks’ house proved telling. Chris’s sister Renee told Emily that her brother was emotionally vulnerable (no kidding!) and that it would be best not to string him along. And Dad’s chat with Emily somehow gave him the impression that she was admitting she was in love with Chris. He passed that info along to Chris, who was thus emboldened to make his own declaration of love to the Bachelorette. Oh … dear.
Onward to the gorgeous scenery around St. George, Utah, most of which is apparently owned by the family of Jef With One F. Don’t think Emily was not impressed by the sheer extent of their property, or by learning that Jef can handle a gun. Emily had expressed concern over his track record of dumping a girl because his parents did not approve of her, and that concern was not addressed on this visit because Mom and Dad had some unavoidable duties. Jef’s older brother, who was clearly running this show, had wondered if Jef was ready for the responsibility of being a stepdad, but seemed charmed by Emily (true, she’s not Mormon, but neither is Jef at this point). Afterwards, Jef took Emily to a quiet spot on the already quiet property and read her a love note. “It feels perfect inside my heart,” she announced. Awwwww.
Next up was Arizona and the family of Arie – the one off note in an otherwise pristine series of visits. Emily first headed to the racetrack, where Arie took her around the oval – if she ever had a period of discomfort with the racing world after her fiancé was killed, she is obviously long over it. But Arie was concerned that his European parents might come across as “different,” and it looked like that was the case. Arie’s dad, a onetime star of Indy racing, has been a public figure for decades, but seemed uncomfortable on camera; and Emily was obviously annoyed when the family members began speaking to each other in Dutch with her present. Arie's mother, Mieke, tried to address Emily’s concerns about being a racing wife, but all in all, the family rapport wasn’t there. True, that factor has never once stood in the way of someone on this show picking who they wanted.
Last up was Sean, who met Emily at a lakeside park outside of Dallas. I’ve thought all along that Sean is basically central casting’s idea of the sort of guy a young woman like Emily would dream of marrying, and the impression left by his family – complete with a mom who looks like she could be Emily’s older sister, and a niece and nephew named Kensington and Smith – only enhanced that feeling. Sean also played an elaborate joke on the Bachelorette, pretending he still lived with his parents and showing her around his disheveled “room” before admitting it was a gag. I think she wishes she was feeling it more with Sean, but all you have to do is watch the body language to see he’s behind Arie and Jef. Of course, he’s probably going to win now and make me look silly. Again.
The rose ceremony took place in Beverly Hills – the only California scenes in this entire season – and Chris was given the boot, as we figured was inevitable. Of course, he never saw it coming. He said he loved her and everything! All Emily could say in her defense was that she realized she might regret it in the morning, which sure sounds like a setup for Chris to make a “dramatic” reappearance in these last two weeks. Hooray.
Next week: Curacao and the “fantasy suites.” Look the other way, Ricki!