Stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers on week eight of Desiree Hartsock’s season of The Bachelorette (original air date: Monday, July 15, 2013).
It’s hometown dates week! Thus, the Penis Parade is a Parade no more. The men await the arrival of Desiree in their individual hometowns.
To kick off the week, Desiree is in Dallas, Texas, to meet and greet with Zak’s “crazy family.” Oh Zak. I’m still shocked you’ve made it this far but I have to admit you are growing on me. Des meets up with Zak and he launches into a detailed recap of a weirdo dream he had the night before that involved them melting and then freezing or something? But it’s all a joke because really he was setting Desiree up for the next part of their date: hopping aboard the family snow cone truck. Upon parking in a school parking lot, the duo are almost immediately swarmed by a bunch of kids demanding satisfaction and cold treats. Zak jumps into the melee and meets his new best friend, a kid who shouts “I LOVE SUGAR!”. Precious. He then dons a penguin costume because…um…I’m drawing a blank. “The penguin’s my boyfriend,” Des tells the kiddies (confusing them for life). Cut to 10 years from now and one of those little girls is 16 and looking for love at the zoo.
Zak brings Desiree to meet her “future in-laws” and show her where he gets his “lunacy” from. It turns out that Zak has the most ridiculously amazing and supercute family. I would totally poke a hole in that condom just to have his mom Maryann grandmother the shit out of my kid, but I’d rather get it in with Zak’s handsome brother Denton. Zak tells his family that he’s been completely naked at least three (!) times since going on The Bachelorette, but Des confirm she hasn’t peeked at the goods yet. Maryann (LOVE) whisks Desiree away for some one-on-one time and it’s obvious that she is as smitten with Des as Zak is. Maryann sees something “really special” between them. Zak’s sister Carly brings Desiree up to her room, and is a bit concerned when Des admits that her relationship with Zak started off as more of a “friendship”. Carly, despite thinking Des is a “wonderful person,” is worried that her brother is going to get hurt in the end. Zak is in love with Des, in particular her creativity. I’m in love with Zak’s family. I just don’t think Desiree is in love with Zak. Like, at all.
Back in the family room, we’re treated to a Partridge Family-style sing-along, with Carly and Denton singing a song that Zak’s written about his feelings for Desiree while he accompanies them on guitar. I cringed so much I think I gave myself a wrinkle, but even my icy heart melted a little. Des cries, y’all. CRIES. Zak and Desiree pull away for a bit of alone time, where Zak presents her with a ring to symbolize the moment he knew he was falling in love with her. Lord have mercy. He tops it off by stating: “Des I love you. I do.” Oh man. Des is off and Zak is already planning their wedding.
Next up is Desiree’s visit with Drew in Scottsdale, Arizona. They reunite in a parking lot (?) and kiss a lot and Desiree screeches that Drew looks “adorable”. Drew gives her the low down on what their meet-the-family deal will look like. Desiree and Drew will be heading to the home of Drew’s mom Linda, along with her husband Bob (Drew’s step-father) and his birth father Mal will be there too. Drew admits that his parents are “on good terms” but this will be the first time his dad has visited his mom’s house since the divorce. Drew promises that his folks won’t “grill” Desiree. But before they head to the family home, Drew and Desiree first go pick up his sister Melissa who’ve we’ve already been told is severely mentally handicapped. They arrive at the home Melissa shares with other adults who have similar disabilities and it’s really cute and sweet and Melissa is smitten with Desiree’s long hair. After arriving at the family home, Des and Drew’s family (including possibly the cutest baby ever) gather outside for dinner, and Drew and his mom soon break away for a chat. Meanwhile, his father Mal has cornered Desiree and asks her an “odd question”: “Do you believe in angels?” Desiree confirms she does. “Have you ever met one?” Nope. “Yes you have. Melissa.” Oh great. Now I’m crying. Drew’s dad says that Melissa has taught their family things they never would’ve learned without her.
Back in the house, Drew confesses to his mom that he’s ready to propose to Desiree. Linda tears up saying she can see it too. GOD GUYS STOP BEING SO CUTE YOU’RE MAKING ME FEEL MY OWN FEELINGS. Or maybe that’s the white wine talking. When Drew speaks to his dad, he gets the thumbs up. Dad thinks Desiree is gorgeous and would “throw a party” if Drew married Desiree. Desiree is totes on board with Drew’s clan and would love to join his family, like, right now. Upon saying their goodbyes later that evening, Drew tells Des, very firmly, that he loves her and wants her as part of his life. Nicely done, Drew.
Desiree is now in McMinnville, Oregon, to meet up with Chris, who is looking particularly handsome. Chris hands Des a small bunch of picked flowers, setting the scene for a really cute date. They get decked out in sporty duds and ‘play’ baseball (complete with groan-worthy puns like “you’re a catch!”), and Chris is thrilled that Des is actually good at it. He was a professional baseball player right? I think I remember him mentioning that in an early episode. Des asks when Chris most recently brought another girl home. It was kinda recent: a year-and-a-half ago. And we quickly learn that his family was definitely NOT a fan of his ex. Pressure’s on for Des: in her voiceover she exclaims “they have to like me!”
Chris introduces Desiree to his family with all their “weird quirks,” and upon sitting at the dinner table his dad toasts them all with: “here’s to the ones that I love, here’s to the ones that love me, here’s to the ones that love those that I love, and to those that love those who love me.” I thought that was kind of nice! Des and Chris answer some questions about their ‘journey’ thus far, and Des lets it slip that she hurt her back a bit on one of their recent dates. Dad is a chiropractor, so before you can say ‘fairytale,’ Desiree is laying face down on a chiropractor table with Chris’s dad giving her an adjustment.
After being cracked and manhandled, Des and Chris’s dad have a brief and rather generic heart-to-heart. When Chris and his dad talk a bit later on, dad is super interested in knowing about Desiree’s health and athleticism (?), and then Chris himself gets an adjustment but it involves his nose and it’s gross and let’s move on. Meanwhile, Des and Chris’s mom are having a pow wow and mom is curious as to what drew Desiree to Chris above the other men (well, above almost all the other men). Inside the house, Chris and his siblings are playing a game of ‘we really hated your ex-girlfriend’. It’s awesome. When Chris chats with his mom afterwards he says that he thinks Desiree is “the one.” Mom (emotionally) approves, and says Desiree would be a welcome addition to the family. Phew!
The final hometown date is Brooks, and Des arrives in Salt Lake City to see the only man left who hasn’t told her loves her. True story. Get on that, Brooks. By now you’ve spent roughly 4 hours total with this woman. If you’re not ready to propose RIGHTTHISSECOND there’s something wrong with you. By Bachelorette/Bachelor standards. In the real world, you’re the most normal of the brunch. Des sees Brooks and literally skips over to him. Brooks isn’t entirely sure how he feels about Desiree at this point. He’s been thinking about chemistry fading if they don’t get to spend more time together. Des, on the other hand, is totally in love and ready to roll. Desiree wonders if the fact that Brooks is holding back from falling in love is because she’s “dating four other guys”. Um, you think? To drive home the fact that she’s into them and their relationship, Des reveals a list of all the special moments they’ve shared during their ‘brief courtship. To cap off the afternoon, Desiree and Brooks go out in a canoe on a nearby lake and point at ducks and almost fall in or something.
Later that day, Desiree and Brooks arrive at his parents’ house where there are roughly 372 people there waiting for them. Or maybe about 20. They’re all wearing nametags (clever) and they really love hugging. Desiree is enveloped into a hug 5 family members deep, and upon emerging alive (barely?) she is introduced to the fam. When Desiree speaks privately with Brooks’ mom Janice, mom confirms that Brooks will make a great husband and father and is ready for all that. Outside we find Brooks and two of his brothers, and I really wish that Brooks would stop saying that he “let” Desiree meet his family. Everyone knows this is all about her, bro. Brooks confirms that Des can totally “hang” with him. Mom gives Desiree the thumbs up and tells Brooks that they will love Des if he loves Des, and comments that they seem very compatible. I can’t help but laugh when Janice hugs Brooks and says “you’re my favourite.” I respect a mom who picks favourites.
Now that the four hometown dates are over and done with, Des is back in Los Angeles and is visited by her brother Nate, now infamous for his appearance on Sean Lowe’s season during hometown week. If you watched Sean’s season, you’ll remember that this was the week Des was sent home, and she (still) feels like her brother had a lot to do with that. He got super aggressive with Sean but as my friend R pointed out while we were watching last night’s episode, Nate’s instincts about Sean were right: he didn’t love Desiree and he wasn’t “the one” for her. Could he have gone about it in a nicer way? Of course. But it’s very likely that had Desiree made it to the final two, Sean would’ve still picked Catherine in the end. During the live post-proposal segment of Sean’s season, he indicated that the scenes with Desiree’s brother were heavily edited, and that the bulk of their conversations together were positive.
So back to the siblings. Nate and Des awkwardly hug and Des is clearly still pissed about what happened. “It was meant to work out that way,” Nate insists. Desiree does not appear to agree. After she briefly describes each man in very general terms, Nate comments that he’s happy his sister is “in charge of this moment and situation” but is worried that Desiree will get her heart broken again. He takes off.
The men arrive at the hotel for the rose ceremony, and Nate is still lurking around the lobby but there is no further drama from him (this week). Desiree and host Chris Harrison have a quick pre-ceremony huddle, and Desiree feels like all the dates went incredibly well. Chris jokes that she must have hoped a little bit that one of the hometowns would go to shit, so it would make narrowing the men from four to three easier. A giggly Chris reminds an even more giggly Desiree that she said she loved Brooks the previous week. “Oh yeah, I said that.” She still feels the same way. Desiree adds that Drew “boldly” told her that he loves her and that Chris is never shy about telling her how he feels. Chris Harrison suddenly turns into Captain Math and muses/taunts: “There are four guys here…three of them have said it….” While Chris believes that Desiree is in love with Brooks, he points out that after tonight there will still be three men left and the next week consists of overnight dates and after that it’s just a hop, skip and jump to the finale and likely a proposal. Desiree confesses that she’s hoping for a proposal in the end…from Brooks. Chris teases that if they ended the show right not she’s have more than one proposal.
At the rose ceremony, the first rose goes to Brooks (I don’t really get it), then Chris (yay, even with the whole poetry bullshit). The final rose goes to a terrified-looking Drew, meaning Zak-of-the-amazing-family is sent packing. Not shocking AT ALL.
Desiree walks Zak out and they sit down on a bench in front of the hotel so that Desiree can keep breaking up with him I suppose. A tearful Desiree tells Zak that he’s “so loving” and deserves the “absolute most,” and returns the promise ring he gave her a few days prior. “I hope you’re happy…best of luck,” he says before entering the sad sack limo. Driving away, Zak is in complete shock and is still trying to process “what the hell just happened.” He tosses the ring out of the car window. Cut to a production assistant on hands and knees by the side of the road hunting for that ring (to pay for a boob job).
Next week is the ‘Men Tell All’ special, so I’ll be back in two weeks to recap the July 29th episode: overnight dates with the final three dudes!