Hometown dates are probably the most telling of all Bachelor(ette) episodes. Most people didn’t grow up in a hot air balloon overlooking the island of Ibiza, so it’s a chance for the couples to connect in a much more realistic setting than what we’re accustomed to seeing on the show.
This episode did not disappoint, and in fact gave some insights as to how Des’ season will wrap up.
To start, Zak meets Des in Dallas, TX; he picks her up in a snow cone truck, the family business, and they hand out icy treats to a group of kids who seem to appear out of nowhere. Zak is very sweet and shows off his future dad skills, parading around in a goofy penguin outfit. Back at the house, Des tells Zak’s (super good-looking) family how he showed up shirtless to the very first cocktail party. They seem incredulous that she’s kept him around. Frankly, so was I for a long time, but I have to admit, Zak has grown on me — he’s not very sharp, but he’s loveable, like a golden retriever. Zak and his siblings perform a song they wrote for Des (“Oh Desiree, now we can see your place among our family”) and he professes his love for her, giving her a promise ring.
Next Drew shows Des around Scottsdale, AZ. Together, they pick up his mentally disabled sister Melissa — a big moment for Drew. He’s nervous about how the women will react to each other, but seems please with Des’ relative ease.
“It went flawlessly,” he says.
Drew’s dad tugs at Des’ heartstrings when he tells her that Melissa is the family’s angel.
All the while, the couple makes out copiously and before parting ways, Drew boldly proclaims his love for Des — like, four times.
Chris wins the prize for oddest hometown date.
He and Des play baseball in his native McMinnville, OR., where Des impresses with her batting capabilities. Then they meet the folks. Chris’ dad, a chiropractor, puts Des on the spot when he offers her an adjustment — she ends up face down on his table in the basement. Even more awkward is Chris’ own session with his dad. He gets a “nasal adjustment,” essentially a fancy way of blowing your nose, but — in Chris’ case — with the camera located right under his nostrils. Not a pretty sight. That aside, Chris gets both of his parents’ blessings and says he’s more in love with Des than ever.
“There’s no possible way that these feelings are being expressed with anyone else, it just feels too right and too real,” he says.
Finally, it’s time to hang out with Brooks’ enormous family in Salt Lake City, UT. The couple goes for a canoe ride, and Brooks talks through some of his hesitations —mainly, his concern that the relationship is stopping and starting constantly. Brooks is clearly Des’ favourite, but his doubts about the relationship are becoming more and more apparent, especially in light of the blind confidence voiced by the other men. He asks his sister what to look for in a partner he’d like to be with long-term. That’s great advice to ask for, but on the other hand, when you know, you know — and it’s not a good sign that he doesn’t. Des, later on, tells host Chris Harrison that she’s hopeful the finale will end with a proposal from Brooks.
Things get a little cryptic when Des confronts her crazy brother Nate about his behaviour on the last season of the Bachelor. She tells him she doesn’t want him to grill her suitors like he did Sean. Nate sort of agrees to tone it down, but says to the camera, “This is not going to go well for her. If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be.” Foreshadowing, perhaps?
After handing out roses to Brooks and Chris, Des pauses, and for a minute I think she might eliminate both Drew and Zak. But in the end, it’s only Zak who gets sent packing. He’s devastated and tosses the ring he gives Des (she returns it) out of the limousine’s window.