Hometown Visits and a Broken Heart: The Bachelorette, Season 13, Episode 8 Recap
07.18.17
Photo via Disney ABC Press

I love Hometown visits because it answers one of the core questions I have about this show: Where do they find these people? The answers may surprise you.

 

Eric

As a fellow Eric from Baltimore, I’m really excited about this visit. I’m looking for a cameo from my parents.

When Eric meets Rachel, he says that they’re in the nice part of the city but that’s not where he’s from. He name-checks the crime, the drug trade and the murder rate as they drive through a neighborhood of beautiful homes covered with boarded up windows. That scream you hear is the Baltimore Tourism Bureau watching its work go up in flames.

Eric and Rachel play basketball on an empty court as special guest friend Ralph ambles up. Ralph gives a lovely monologue full of compliments about Eric’s personality and tenacity. I’m obsessed with Ralph who seems hyper-aware that he’s on a television show and is super-not-be-on-television anymore as soon as possible.

Rachel and Eric sit on two basketballs in the middle of the court; in Baltimore, there are no chairs. Eric repeats his well-worn plot point about never bringing a girl home. Rachel feigns being nervous about it. The basketballs sigh in anticipation.

Eric walks into an apartment fit-to-bursting with a super warm, gorgeous black family. One aunt is wearing a sequined black top and has a blonde up-do and I am immediately in love. I need her potato salad recipe right now.

Rachel sits down with another blonde aunt; she goes by the name Verna and I’m obsessed with her as well. She’s got a sweet pixie cut, a coral top from the “Cool Auntie Who Loves Going on Cruises” collection and a lot of questions about how Rachel is handling being the first black Bachelorette. Give this woman a host chair on Good Morning America. I’m here for it.

Meanwhile, Eric is having a heart-to-heart with his mom. She says that she distanced herself from him as a child because she wanted him to meet his potential. She didn’t want him to fall into the trap of depending too much on her like she says so many men in their family have. Eric comes from a lot of pain and a seemingly equal amount of love. His journey gets more and more compelling every episode. I have to say, though, I’m not loving this edit. It’s a lot of baggage. Rachel seems to be here for all of it, but the producers are weighing him down a lot.

Bryan

This stands in stark contrast to the next hometown, Bryan’s Miami. It’s all upbeat music, warm colors and people playing volleyball on South Beach. I’m just saying, Baltimore has volleyball, too.

Bryan takes Rachel to Calle Ocho and to eat and dance to live music while Bryan gives a glowing mini-commercial for the charms of Miami. That sound you hear is not the mating call of a pod of humpback whales but Baltimore Tourism Bureau’s collective screams-turned-to-wailing.

Later, they enter a beautiful Miami apartment with lemon-colored walls. Bryan’s mom, Olga, is clearly not here for any of it. She has strawberry blonde hair and she can’t stop making “No thanks” faces. I’m obsessed with her. She makes a toast to Bryan and Rachel, which she tears up in the middle of, then drains the whole glass in one gulp. Get this woman on Real Housewives stat!

Later, she and Bryan talk one-on-one and Olga is the one person in the world who sees through this whole Bachelorette premise. She’s like, “You date all these girls and then you go on this show and fall in love? I’m shocked.” Honey, she’s about to blow this whole franchise wide open.

Later, Olga and Rachel talk. Olga says “Bryan is my life” in that way that says, “I will kill you.” And then she says, “If he’s happy, I’m happy. If not, I’ll kill you.” OMG, Olga has no subtext. It’s all text. In all caps. With letters cut out from a magazine.

Afterward, Bryan and Rachel sit on a bench and loudly smooch. Bryan tells her that he’s in love with her. In confessional, Rachel is grinning from ear-to-ear, saying that she’s feeling all the feels. That noisy kissing must be something else.

Peter

Next we’re in Madison, Wisconsin, Peter’s hometown. Peter seems to be most interested in using this hometown as a real meet-the-parents visit, testing the chemistry between his family and this woman that he’s very into. So, a normal objective. Rachel, in confessional, says that Peter is holding back and that “in this journey, you need to move fast.” This is, I guess, true for the show, but nonsense in reality.

Anyway, Peter introduces Rachel to four of his friends, two black men and two white women. The guys vouch for Peter’s wokeness and it’s just as awkward as you’d imagine. Peter then steals the guys away and tells them that he’s nervous about having to make the huge commitment of a proposal in three weeks. It’s hilarious that Peter continues to treat The Bachelorette like this is real life. What an earnest salt-and-pepper snack he is.

Peter’s family lives in a huge home with burnished coral-colored walls and a stone fireplace. There’s a tiny niece and nephew in the mix that Peter wrestles with adorably because this show is trying to make everyone’s ovaries explode.

Peter’s mom has a chic salt-and-pepper Kate Gosselin cut and super dangly earrings that keep tapping her collar bone. Living for it. Rachel asks her if Peter is ready for marriage. His mom gives a very reasonable response that he is ready for commitment but possibly not a proposal. The music gets super sad, as though any sane mother would tell a woman her son met eight weeks ago — on television — that her son should definitely propose immediately. Rachel laments, “I don’t want a boyfriend at the end of this.”

After the date, Peter tells her that he’s very happy. “I…am very happy, too,” Rachel says, and you can almost hear the echoes of Bryan’s declaration of love bouncing through the silence between them.

Dean

Finally, Rachel makes it to Aspen, Dean’s hometown where, the promos promise, we are about to see a man in a turban banging a gong. Before the gong, however, they ride ATVs at a leisurely pace that has been pre-approved by the show’s insurance agents. They retire to a pile of hay bales, where they recap Dean’s estrangement from his family. Dean says that his father is a converted Kundalini Yogi and Sikh who has assumed the name Paramroop Singh Khalsa. Rachel presses him on why he and his father don’t talk. “Have you ever said, ‘You weren’t there for me?’” she asks, putting on her best Iyanla Vanzant hat.

Dean’s family lives in a modest house with wood paneling and curtains on every wall. It’s warm and welcoming. They are all sitting on the floor when Rachel and Dean walk in. Dean is already shook by this.

Dean’s dad asks everyone to lie down on the floor with their heads pointed toward the gong as he plays it. Dean is clearly embarrassed but as far as Meet The Parents go, this isn’t so bad. Olga threatened to kill Rachel, after all.

Dean and Paramroop have a one-on-one. Dean’s dad says that Dean has changed dramatically. “You’re talking through your male chakra; I didn’t think you had it in you,” dad says. I’m pretty sure that’s a yogi read. Dean challenges Paramroop’s skills as a father and brings up the arguments they had when Dean was in high school after Dean’s mom died. Paramroop says, “I didn’t have the arguments; you did,” which is a stunning rhetorical switch. Make this guy the White House Press Secretary.

Dean and his dad have it out about Paramroop’s response to Dean’s mother’s death. Dean feels abandoned and Paramroop seems either uninterested or unable to move their conversation or their conflict forward from where they left it a decade ago. At the end of it, Dean’s dad storms out into the yard.

Rachel approaches cautiously and asks to chat with him. He makes a small effort before shutting it down. He tells Rachel he’s basically done and he wishes her the best but he’s not here to play the game. It’s actually awful that this fractured family has to go through all of this on television, especially Dean who is clearly hurting and looking for healing while also, by his own account, falling in love with Rachel. This is too much.

After the date, Rachel meets Chris Harrison (remember him?) and goes over the dates. She says she’s surprised by how hard this is because she has feelings for four men.

Rachel struggles through her Rose Ceremony speech, telling the person that she’s sending home, “You’re an amazing person and I’m so sorry that I have to do this.” She gives roses to Bryan, then Eric and finally, Peter.

Poor Dean, with his beautiful teeth and his bright personality and his difficult backstory, is sent home. Rachel tells him she meant everything that she said to him. Dean is quiet, but clearly hurt. He can’t get over the fact that he told her he loved her and she reciprocated. “I thought I found someone for me,” he says. That sound you hear is me and the Baltimore Tourism Bureau crying.

Get more Pop Culture ?
  • Andrea Raymer

    I was at the gym during the first two dates and was only half paying attention to Peter’s because it was normal and boring. But I am really upset about Dean’s date. I did not appreciate the way that Rachel was talking to him about the situation and felt that she was very condescending when she was trying to give him advice. “Have you ever told him that” is not the proper response to a situation that has resulted in 10 years of pain. I am also really upset that the producers made hi do that at all. They could have easily just had them meet up with his siblings that he does see or meet up with friends, but they wanted to exploit this family’s pain for ratings. I am glad that his dad at least put it down after he realized that this conversation is not one for the cameras. It is very clear that he is still very broken from the loss of his first wife and they cannot heal their relationship on an hour of TV. This is also the first time I have thought a little less of Rachel because I felt like she was fairly dismissive of both Dean and his father’s feelings.

    • Macon

      I was also shocked by how Rachel handled the visit! It was not her place to insert herself into the situation, or tell Dean how to be with his father when SHE STILL BARELY KNOWS HIM bc this is The Bachelorette.

  • kjrobot

    Ugh. Dean (and his family except his Dad who can go jump) didn’t deserve this.
    Bad producers. Very bad.
    Dean’s man-puppy ways should be preserved and encouraged, not abused. Dean needs to get the hell away from this franchise.

  • Andrea Alyse Pillaro

    Maybe its because of everything that has gone on this season (Lee, BIP drama) but this is the first time I’ve ever felt truly ashamed to watch this show. It has always felt like a silly guilty pleasure, but seeing Dean’s family like that was too much. Maybe if this was a different season and this was the one thing that crossed the line I would feel different, but this just feels icky.

    BUT I am overall extremely impressed by Dean and lowkey in love with him.

  • jamie

    I die every time you call Peter a “salt-and-pepper snack” LMAO

    I feel for Dean. I do. And I don’t want to put words in anyone’s chakras or whatever. But Rach seemed like she was saying, “Why didn’t you take care of this dad/son mess before we got on capital-National capital-Television.” Like, camera crews shouldn’t be the reason you reconcile with your father? It’s obvi going to go over poorly????

  • Cait

    I’m totally smitten with Dean after I read this caption he posted on Instagram:

    “I’m asking for a favor: when I said my father was eccentric, I was not referring to his Sikh faith or the turban he wears on his head. I’m not asking you to spare his feelings (or mine) but instead to be cognizant and accepting of the millions of people that belong to the Sikh community. Although he and I are not close, I respect my father’s decision to follow his heart and pursue the life he has chosen. Let us not criticize him for his appearance or his beliefs because by doing so we are disparaging an entire faith and culture that includes millions of people. And I know we are all better than that.”

    Clearly it is down to Bryan and Peter. She should pick Peter, but she will probably pick Bryan because they always pick the wrong one. Dean and Peter are both too good for this shit; I’m voting for Kenny for the next Bachelor. Or maybe Alex because I would tune in every week just to see what he was wearing.

  • doublecurl

    Dean is a literal angel and we are not worthy. Rachel is so going to choose Bryan and I am NOT ABOUT IT. He is a walking assemblage of red flags. That gut feeling that tells you he’s too charming, that it’s a skill set, that he couldn’t possibly be so into you so quick without it being disingenuous? Yeah, that’s sleazy latin men (not all latin men to be fair, but the sleazy majority). Been there, done that, stay away Rachel!

  • nyc10yrs

    WHY didn’t I know about this (totally punchy and on point) Bachelorette blog prior to the end of the season? Love this. Love, love, love, love. Love.