Amanda's Hometown - Laguna Beach, CA
First up was Amanda. Ben met her at the beach where she prepared him (yet again) to meet her children and what the day would entail. Then the little cuties got there! Her kids are so precious and she was so excited to see them. It was a really sweet moment watching Ben get emotional seeing Amanda get emotional with her kids. The girls were a little shy at first, in fact her three-year-old daughter asked "Where's Ben?" and then when Amanda asked if she wanted to meet him she said, "But I'm so shy." It was the cutest.
Turns out she's not that shy though, she warmed to Ben pretty quickly and played chase with him all over the beach. The younger girl was a little less open with him but at least didn't cry when he picked her up. He's very good with the kids and it's clear he will one day be a good dad. But is he ready to be an "instant dad" as Amanda's mother asks? That's to be determined.
After the beach Amanda and the girls brought Ben to meet Amanda's parents. They are concerned, for good reason, because getting an instant family is something very serious and they want to make sure Ben understands the responsibility of it.
All in all the date went very well, a few bumps with tired, crying children but it didn't seem to scare Ben off, although it did exhaust him. Amanda is very clearly a great mom and she really deserves to find someone to make her happy who can be her partner. Seeing Ben with the girls made her fall in love with him.
Lauren's Hometown - Portland, OR
Is it weird that finding out that Lauren is from Portland made me like her even more? I don't know what it is but she seems so down to earth and really normal and I like the "weirdness" of Portland. Plus, there are a few Bachelor alums/successes who have settled in Portland so maybe it's lucky!
Anyway, Lauren walked Ben around the city, they ate at the food trucks (some truly amazing and horrible for you food covered in butter) and ended up at Multnomah Whiskey Library which looks like one of the coolest places ever and now I really want to take my whiskey loving husband there on vacation. So basically it was like a normal date and I loved it!
After their day, they went to meet Lauren's family. Up to this point, Lauren knows she is in love with Ben but she doesn't want to tell him until she has approval from her family. Her family is really important to her and if they aren't on board with him she would have problems with that.
The first big test for Ben is his conversation with Lauren's sister who is nice but also very intentional in her questioning. One thing I noticed about Ben this episode is that he has a really hard time verbalizing how he is feeling for each of the girls to their families. I think that's only natural. It's hard to meet just one girl's family, he is meeting four and having to tell each of them why their daughter could be better for him than the others. Ben is a really genuine person, and I think it's hard for him to have these talks so he was a bit closed off. However, when talking to Lauren's sister about Lauren, he starts to cry because he's overcome with emotion for how grateful he is to have met her. That, in combination with Lauren telling her that Ben is "her person" and that she was meant to meet him sealed the deal for the sister.
Dad was a little harder to convince. He's happy that Lauren is feeling so strongly for Ben but he's a little more guarded. He doesn't want her to get hurt and there are still other girls in the mix so he's not ready to welcome Ben into the family just yet. Lauren understood where her dad was coming from, but it did make her pause on telling Ben that she loves him.
So far both Amanda and Lauren are IN love with Ben after hometown dates.
Caila's Hometown - Hudson, OH
Last week we learned that Caila moved around a lot growing up and that she doesn't really have strong community behind her. That being said, she takes Ben to Hudson, where she went to high school and where her parents still currently live. First up they went to her high school campus which was so beautiful. On campus there is a bench that Caila has always thought would be a romantic place to bring someone special. Ben is definitely "bench worthy"!
After chatting on the bench for a while, Caila brings Ben to her dad's toy factory where they design and then build their dream toy house. It was a really cute, very "Bachelor" kind of date. When they finished the house, Ben carried Caila out of the factory, the music swelled and all the factory workers applauded. That was a bit much. Just typing this makes me feel like this is a fairy tale and not reality. It doesn't seem as authentic as Lauren's date to me. Not saying that Caila isn't an authentic person, it just doesn't feel as real to me as the others.
Later they went to Caila's parent's house and had some Filipino cuisine, which looked delicious! Caila's dad is clearly a straight shooter and he had some good questions for Ben at dinner, which first put Caila on the defensive, but turned out to have a pretty sweet sentiment. Caila told both her parents that she knows that Ben is the one, and they are surprised to find that Caila is in love with Ben since she has been so guarded in the past.
Ben knows that Caila has hinted at being in love with him for the last couple weeks but she's never told him so he's not sure. Overall, the date went really well with the family and even though Caila is bursting to tell him that she loves him, she doesn't.
In case you're keeping track, now three of the four girls are in love with him - but none have told him yet.
JoJo's Hometown - Dallas, TX
From the previews we already know that JoJo's hometown is a little rougher than the others. But the way the spots were cut made it look much worse than it was. First, when JoJo arrives at her place she finds a bouquet of red roses on her doorstep. She thinks they are from Ben and is really excited but upon reading the note included realizes they are from her ex. She stops midway through reading, saying "Wait, no! I don't want to read that!" She then gets really worked up and decides to call him.
Meanwhile, before we can see how the call ends with the ex, Ben shows up to pick her up for their date. She answers the door and is obviously still upset. Ben can tell that something is off and asks her about it. When she starts to tell him what happened he feels very uncomfortable with the situation because this has happened to him in the past with girls who go back to their exes. To be honest at first I was uncomfortable watching this as well. I think it was good that she called the guy to basically tell him that it wasn't cool what he was doing but it made me a little uneasy seeing how effected she was by it in the first place.
Luckily, JoJo explains that the reason she was so upset is because she didn't want Ben to get upset or to think that her heart was elsewhere because being with him is the happiest she's ever been in a relationship. This makes Ben very happy. Ah the trials of new love and figuring things out. These two have had a lot of hard conversations that are only making them a stronger couple. So things seem to be off to an okay start despite the unexpected drama.
Then comes the family. Ben met her parents and siblings, including two very protective brothers. At dinner, Ben is basically bulldozed by the family, because they don't want JoJo to move out of Dallas. They are very "attached" to her. So basically, they're saying if she's the one they would much rather have Ben move there. I feel like this will probably be something they end up discussing further. JoJo, chats with her mom and talks about how she feels that even though her instinct is to protect her heart, if she doesn't go all in and let herself fall it's not going to work. Her mom surprises her by agreeing and telling her to go in 150%.
Ben's conversations with the brothers don't go so well. Because he can't come right out and say, "Listen, I'm in love with your sister and she's not going to get hurt" they don't like him. And they tell JoJo that they think she likes Ben a lot more than he likes her which totally freaks her out. Ben tells them (and JoJo) that only future actions on his part will convince them and that they need to be patient for that but still the brothers can not be convinced.
|Ben's face while getting a verbal beat down from JoJo's family.|
Before taking off, Ben and JoJo step outside and compare notes. I think they leave things okay but Ben feels really unsettled about how things were left with the brothers. On the bright side, both JoJo's mom and dad are optimistic and genuinely like Ben. So yay on that part.
JoJo is falling in love with Ben but she hasn't let herself completely fall yet.
After the dates conclude we jump right in to the rose ceremony. I don't know how but I was personally SO NERVOUS for this ceremony! Lauren put it well when she said "It seems silly to say 'I want a rose this week' because it's so much more than that." You can really tell that this is how ALL of the girls are feeling and even though I felt like Amanda would probably go, I was still really nervous to watch.
Turns out, Amanda did get sent home and I was so sad for both her and Ben. As it happens, Ben is pretty good at break ups. They left things very amicably but both were a little heart broken. Amanda is such a sweet person and deserves to find love, and Ben really cares a lot for her. This was the hardest departure for him so far. I have a feeling the final two weeks will be really rough on him (and apparently on me since I'm already a wreck!).
Next week is the overnight "Fantasy Suite" dates, then we have a Women Tell All, and in just a few weeks we'll find out who Ben chooses!
Lastly, I don't want to toot my own horn too hard but I've been predicting that these ladies will be in the top since the beginning. So BOOM!
Until next week everyone!