This week's episode was a pretty vanilla answer to hometown dates. The remaining guys are all... fine. Some of them are actually pretty good. There are no villains left, nobody whose lack of intellect is mind boggling. (Keep in mind here that we're comparing apples to apples. Or Bachelorette contestants to Bachelorette contestants.) In other words, boooooo.
Emily's had the best time travelling, but she's relieved to be home, where she can spend some time with Ricki. And the first outfit Ricki sees her mom in includes a t-shirt with a giant skull printed across it. Ricki wants to know what Momma's been up to, but Momma ain't talkin'. "Dead men tell no tales," says the skull, which used to be a pirate.
We get a recap of all of the guys: She and Chris have had a strong connection since day one. Emily saw something special in Jef since the beginning. She feels like she's known Arie forever. Forever as in having feelings for him since the start? Sean makes her feel safe and taken care of. But how have you felt about him since the beginning?! After contemplating her gentlemen, Emily puts Ricki to bed in what is the fluffiest bed I have ever seen. Ricki falls right to sleep, setting the tone for the rest of the episode.
Chicago! Emily meets Chris in his home city. She is wearing some seriously red pants. Chris says that it's going to be a themed day, and you'll never guess what the theme is... Poland! What fun! Chris' dad was born and raised in Poland, and everyone in the family speaks Polish. Chris says that on a scale of one to Polish, they're Polish. No Polish jokes necessary here! They go to a Polish restaurant where they recap last week's Rose Ceremony-gate. I don't think Chris and Emily have had a single conversation that isn't a recap of what we saw last week, saw five minutes ago, or will see in five minutes. Chris also wants to apologize for "being a little baby." Emily's already got a kid, dude.
Chris preps Emily for his family, telling her that they are great. His family is indeed very kind and lovely and normal. Emily gets along well with everyone, even Chris' sister Renee. Renee was teased as being the "problem relative" in all of the promos, but the only apparent issue is that Renee is wearing LIME GREEN PANTS. It's battle of the boldly colored pantaloons at the Chris' Last Name house. Chris rather awkwardly tells Emily that she makes him feel crazy good and that he's in love with her. And to round out a day of Polish festivities and love, a polish band with dancers and merry makers appear on the family porch. Totally normal Chicago stuff.
St. George, Utah's my name, and ranching's my game is what St. George, Utah's motto would be if they hired me to write it. Jef's family has a ridiculously gorgeous ranch made up of acres of beautiful land. Emily is super nervous about her date with Jef. She reminds us that he broke up with a girl because his family didn't like her. Good thing she won't be meeting Jef's parents. Just a million of his other relatives. Jef and Emily shoot skeet, and they're both pretty good. There's just something about a man in skinny jeans shooting a shotgun... Emily likes it, too. She's impressed that Jef is more country than he lets on. So country, in fact, that they sit and chat on a bunch of bales of hay... covered with a picnic blanket... under an umbrella. Hey, did production have something to do with this date?
Emily meets the family at a big picnic. There are probably a thousand people there, and one sibling remarks that "a few are missing." Everyone is blonde. Emily is fearful that something might go wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. Ominous music! No, not really. She's intimidated by Jef's family because they all wear skinny jeans. They have a lemonade cheers and Emily does the requisite awkward one-on-one chat with Jef's brother. They have an actual adult conversation about building a life on principles and goals and what it takes to stay in love. These are not the hilarious hijinks I'm interested in seeing on hometown dates. In a conversation with Jef's sisters, Emily offers that she is feeling love for Jef, but she's slow to "throw it out there" because she is contractually obligated not to. She actually says she's slow to say it "as a girl." What that means, I am not exactly sure. Jef's sister swoops in and saves Emily by saying "or as a mom." That one actually makes sense.
Post-family, Jef reads Emily a note that he wrote on the plane from Prague. He professes his love. Emily thinks it's the sweetest thing anybody has ever said to her. She is all glowy, and "it" feels perfect inside of her heart.
Emily's next stop on the Tour de Men is Scottsdale, AZ. She meets Arie at the race track, but instead of a normal greeting, Arie is in his car driving laps. Kind of an interesting way to start a date... You watch me drive around for a while, and be impressed by my skills. Emily says that she doesn't know anything about "Indy Cart," which I'm going to assume is some sort of real-world Mario Cart. Oh, no, it's actually called "Indy Car." It sounds a lot less fun than Indy Cart, and it probably has at least 50% less Yoshi. Emily suits up and Arie takes her for a spin. She's no Princess Peach, but she'll do.
Next, they have a picnic at a "lake." Arie says that his parents are "so European," and he's a little nervous because Emily's the all American girl. Not to be confused with the American Girl Doll. I'd say Emily's a Kirsten, wouldn't you? Arie's parents have "different values" but are "very open," which he says like it's a bad thing even though being "very open" is the highest of praise on this show. And his parents speak Dutch! It's a multicultural bonanza on tonight's episode. If this date ends in dancing in wooden clogs, I will pick a tulip and visit a windmill.
Emily meets Arie's mom, dad, twin brothers and sister. His mom is wearing a straight up evening gown. She has clearly been watching the show and knows that there is no more formal an event than any event on The Bachelorette. A flurry of Dutch is spoken and Emily sits there awkwardly. She interviews that she can't get a read on Arie's mom at all. It's probably because she isn't speaking English, Emily. Arie's mom brings up the fact that Emily won The Bachelor, so what the hell is she doing on this show? But the conversation goes well, and Arie's mom thinks that Emily and Arie make an "awesome couple." Arie's dad is also on board and gives his son his blessing with a nice European kiss. Arie is ready to propose. He interviews that he is definitely going to marry Emily. Ruh roh.
Sean's at White Rock Lake deep in the heart of Dallas. He is walking two dogs. SOLD. Emily is very excited to see Sean. She missed him! And she sees their lives blending together very easily. Sean has gotten very tan and freckly and even cuter. The dogs are helping, too. Sean's story is that he's perfect in every single way possible. Kind of a boring story, producers. Emily's intimidated by all of the perfection. Could Sean just be a Marilyn in a Munster family?
No. No, he is not. His family is perfect as well. Sean is one lucky fellow. But perhaps the luckiest of the clan is Sean's niece, Kensington. And not just because Kensington, whose brother's name is Smith, is named Kensington. It's because she has one of those miniature mansion playhouse things that any girl between the ages of four and fourteen would commit Barbie-cide for. Once the family is gathered round, Sean thinks it's a good time to tell Emily that he still lives at home. She tries to play it cool, but she thinks it's a little weird. Because she is crazy! Have you seen that mini mansion? Done deal. Next, Sean shows Emily his bedroom. He has a menagerie of stuffed animals and has left chewed up cookies all over the place. Emily reaction to this is that she knows how to clean. The women's movement is dead. Long live the women's movement.
But guess what, everybody. It was a joke! It was all a joke. Sean doesn't live at home at all. It was an elaborate ploy to show Emily that not only is Sean the perfect guy, but he can also pull off a perfectly playful prank in which nobody gets harmed, jack-in-the-box surprised or angry. Emily does seem a little disappointed that Sean doesn't live there in the end. She's starting to feel at home, and she liked those stuffed animals.
Sean's family is fun, normal and sensible, and the date goes swimmingly. She says her goodbyes, calling Sean "honey" and drives off. But their horribly slow closeup kiss wasn't enough for Sean. He runs after her car for a last smooch. There are no "I love yous," but Sean is confident that Emily knows how he feels by his kiss. Sean knows this because his favorite song is The Shoop Shoop Song. What up, Mermaids?
Rose ceremony time. Chris Harrison welcomes Emily to Beverly Hills, but hasn't introduced himself yet, so it's hard to tell if it's really him. We get visual recaps of all of the dates, but the footage is screened through a glowing lens, like the last two hours are just distant, beautiful memories that won't live in cold high definition for eternity. Emily has no idea what to do, then decides pretty quickly because there are only five minutes left.
Arie gets the first rose. Next is Jef, and Arie winks at him? Or perhaps there is something in Arie's eye? And finally, Sean. Chris looks sad. Emily walks him out and they sit on a bench together. He's shocked, and she doesn't have an explanation. But Chris handles it surprisingly well, especially considering his behavior last week. Emily admits that she might wake up the next day feeling like she's made a mistake, but it isn't very likely considering her chipper mood when she returns to the rest of the guys. They're heading to Curacao! But it's more like they're heading to Curacao period no exclamation point, because nobody seems that excited. Because, let's face it: these guys probably think they're visiting a blue liquor bottle.