Stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers on episode 8 of The Bachelor with Ben Higgins (original air date: Monday, February 22, 2016).
Welcome to hometown week, rose lovers! Ben is sitting on a rock, pants rolled up (wait, no, those are capris and I’m dying) watching the waves crash in Orange County. Pretty, slightly cartoon-voiced single mom Amanda runs towards him on the beach wearing very short shorts and some weird fabric pieces that I guess are supposed to equal a shirt?
Her two little girls meet her on the beach for a sweet family reunion complete with pigtails, and the older one is all “where’s Ben?” and it’s cuter than a basket of puppies. The girls mostly ignore Ben and play in the sand and then they bond over sand sculptures and chase him around and then chase some birds. Things get real when the kids get fussy in the car ride home and they arrive at Amanda’s parents’ house looking slightly weary. Her folks seem very warm and welcoming but dad notes that Ben is a bit “deer in the headlights.” I think that’s just his face. Ben often looks like he’s trying to remember where he parked his car. When Ben sits down with Amanda’s mom for a chat he admits he hadn’t thought about an insta-family going into the Bachelor process but surprised himself by being totally open to it. Mom feels that Ben is quite mature but also says it’s too early to tell. Amanda’s dad points out that there’s a big difference between thinking about having kids and actually having kids. “If she’s happy, I’m happy,” he concludes. Later they read a Bachelor-themed goodnight story to the girls and part ways with a kiss. Amanda is now certain that she’s in love with Ben.
The next hometown date is in Portland with Lauren. She’s wearing Portland-requisition plaid and brings him to some food trucks for lunch all boyfriend-girlfriend styles. Next stop is a whiskey library (THIS IS A THING!!?!!) which Ben loves. Ben confesses that he worried Lauren would bail on the show a few weeks back and she’s all ‘of course not!’ Lauren is in love with Ben but hasn’t told him yet. She’s waiting ’til after the fam jam. They arrive at Lauren’s family home where everyone is attractive and thrilled to see “LoLo.” Her sister is the first to grill Ben and is understandably skeptical. “What makes her stand out to you?” she wants to know, making Ben cry (points!) because he feels “so lucky” to have met Lauren. When the sisters gab it up we learn that Lauren hasn’t “been single for that long” but that she feels she was “meant to meet Ben” and is fairly certain that he is her person. They hug it out, wine glasses in hand (and don’t spill a drop!) and this is the first time in my life I wish I had a sister. Ben reveals to Lauren’s dad that the first time he saw her “the world stopped” but dad points out that although he felt the same way the first time he saw Lauren’s mom, they dated for a long time before getting married. Lauren describes Ben to her dad as super likable and he reminds her that she’s one of four women left. With this weighing on her, Lauren opts not tell Ben she loves him when they say their goodbyes.
Caila’s hometown date takes place in Iowa or Idaho or something like that and Ben describes their relationship as being on “the precipice.” Caila wants today to be a “fresh start” for them after some confusion on their last one-on-one in the Bahamas. They walk hand-in-hand looking like the couple that comes in the picture frame and eventually settle on a park bench to make out. Caila can see a future with Ben, and brings him to a toy factory where they build their dream home out of plastic. Fun fact: her dad is the CEO of the company. In her crop sweater and hard hat, Ben never thought he would find a toy factory “so sexy” (which is a relief). To be honest, I had forgotten Caila was still in this but this date is great so far. He carries her through the factory while people clap awkwardly. Later, sitting in front of what looks like a delicious Filipino family dinner, Caila’s dad asks Ben what all the “microwave dating” feels like and describes his own marriage as “magical.” But before they can eat, mom Rosanna (totally pulling off adult braces) pulls Ben away. WHY DO YOU NEVER LET PEOPLE EAT ON THIS SHOW, BACHELOR PRODUCERS? Ben describes her as joyful and sweet and bubbly and appreciates that Caila has been real with him instead of just saying “the right things.” Mom says that Caila has very high standards and doesn’t take any moments for granted. She says this part very seriously as if Caila has been involved in a high number of life-or-death scenarios. Caila, meanwhile, tells her dad that Ben is what she’s been looking for and she thinks “this is it.” Mom encourages her to tell Ben how she feels about him. “Jump on him and tell him!” she giggles, but Caila doesn’t. Ben is 0/3 on the “I love you’s” this week.
In Dallas, Texas, JoJo arrives at her apartment to find a bouquet of roses and card but they aren’t from Ben they are from her ex-boyfriend Chad. “No, I don’t want to read this,” she exclaims, dropping the card mid-sentence as if it’s on fire and pacing in her apartment in tears. She calls this Chad and puts him on speaker which seems an odd thing to do given that she could barely bring himself to read his letter. Chad claims it has taken this time apart to figure out what he wants (spoiler: it’s JoJo) which is just such a Chad thing to say. “Now you’re doing this?” she wails as Ben walks towards her front door and we hear Chad say “I don’t want to lose you.” D-R-A-M-A. I hope Chad is into getting dumped on TV. Cut to JoJo hanging up the phone and Ben knocking on the door. He can tell something is up because JoJo has obviously been crying and she tells him what’s what and fills in some details on what we didn’t see which was that JoJo put an end to things on the phone and told Chad he could shove it because this is the happiest she’s ever been. Both of them toss around the word “confident” and they kiss a bunch and I guess this is their day date (what a rip off!) because they head straight into the meet the family stuff. “Tonight I could potentially be meeting my future in-laws,” Ben says.
JoJo’s jacked brothers look like they would play cops or firefighters or handsome mobsters on TV.
Ben tells her family that he has felt super comfortable around JoJo since the moment he met her and adds that he would be open to moving out of Denver for a relationship. The brothers corner him and Ben can really only say that she’s incredible and means a lot to him. JoJo gushes to her mom that she’s falling in love with Ben but is terrified to get hurt. Mom’s advice is to go 150% which, yeah, is not a thing but it’s a cute moment. “You’ve only been on two dates with the guy,” older brother reiterates, and suggests she keeps her “heart guarded.” JoJo is worried that unless she let’s herself be vulnerable and open it won’t work out, and the brothers aren’t sure that Ben is as emotionally invested in her as she is. They confront him directly en masse while mom drinks straight out of the bottle in the background. True story.
“I don’t want to hurt her,” Ben assures them but older brother is like a dog with a bone, adding that he knows Ben has “probably been coached” on what to say but he is worried that JoJo is way more emotional then they are comfortable seeing. Ben holds his own and dad and mom seem to be on his side. Where are they locking up JoJo through all this??? As they say their goodbyes JoJo is supercurious as to what her family said to him and Ben sums it up with basically: mom and dad were cool but your brothers thought I had a poker face on. Ben leaves Dallas confused and JoJo is worried he felt ambushed. 0/4.
SIDENOTE: You guys, the internet has found Chad and his face totally matches his name. I am too lazy to post a link so just google it.
It’s rose ceremony night and whoever gets sent home can at least blame their family for ruining all of their happiness because things were great until then, right? Ben acknowledges that hometowns were harder than he thought. The first rose goes to Lauren and the second to Caila. It’s down to mom Amanda or Jojo. Ultimately, JoJo gets the last rose of the night.
Amanda wishes Ben would have cut things off during hometowns instead of at a rose ceremony but he claims he wasn’t sure of his feelings until that night. Amanda tells him she will miss him and they have a long hug goodbye. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start hearing choruses of ‘Amanda for Bachelorette.’ “I do think he’s a great guy,” she cries in the Sad Gal Limo™ while back in the driveway Ben is doing some crying of his own. He breaks down saying he, like, can’t even right now because it means so much that Amanda trusted him to meet her daughters and he cared about her so much.
And that’s it for hometown week! I’m staying off Twitter because no doubt everyone is yelling at Ben for dumping Amanda but ultimately they really just didn’t have as strong a connection. Caila is the wildcard here, but unless something goes really wonky between Ben and JoJo next week it’s JoJo and Lauren for final two I think.
Hit me up in the comments with your thoughts on this episode, and join me here next week for my recap of the overnights! We’re down to three women!