This episode started with Brad telling us about the four remaining girls. Chantal is different, like no other girl. He has so much fun with her, but he thinks she’s emotional (um, she’s a girl, dude, seriously) and that worries him. He feels like his time with Ashley is spent reassuring each other and not moving forward, and this is a big concern. With Shawntel, things are easy because they had an immediate connection and things are consistent. And according to Brad (and the rest of the population), Emily has set the bar high. He is scared, however because it is deeper than just them because she has a daughter. I am pleased when Brad gets into his car to head off to the hometown dates. He now is carrying a nice leather satchel instead of the stupid gym bag he used in the first episode. The stylish bag almost makes up for his ill fitted pea-coat and page-boy hat. I realize it is cold in Seattle, but that whole look was nothing but Rocky Balboa arriving in Russia in Rocky IV.
When Brad gets to Chantal’s he is glad that she is happy and not all tearful (emotional) and that she seems stable. Apparently Brad missed the fact that happiness is also an emotion. He makes it clear to her that he would love to visit her hometown, but that his home is and will continue to be in Austin. They arrive at her house where he meets her animals. She has two cats and a dog that wears clothes (don’t get me started). For the second time in Bachelor history, we see beer being consumed straight from the bottle (why, this is the most controversial season ever!). Is this because Brad owns a bar and realizes that real people drink from the bottle? Or is it that Chantal just got home and didn’t have time to prep a frosty mug? Brad admits that he needs to buy a bigger house. He currently lives in a loft in the downtown area, and there would not be room for all three pets, and the two of them, plus there would not be enough closet space for Chantal (especially since her clothes are bigger than all the other girls). She makes it clear that if her pets and parents don’t like him, then he is out. Glad to know the pecking order. They arrive at Chantal’s parent’s house. Of course, it is very nice. After all, her father owns O’Brien Auto Parts and is a former Seattle Seahawk. The whole family is attractive, unlike some of the other families (they say you should always look at a girl’s mother to see how she will turn out) and Chantal and her dad go off to talk. Her dad seems thrilled that she slapped Brad upon meeting him. She tells him that she loves Brad and all is well. Dad and Brad then go out and talk next to this statue of a “self-made man.” The learn that they both come from a family of masons and both built their own way from nothing. Chantal’s dad didn’t see his own father for the last 15 years of his life, so he empathized with the fact that Brad has no real relationship with his dad. This looks like the start of a beautiful bromance and Mr. O’Brien gives Brad his blessing. Mom and Chantal have a little chat, well Chantal talks and mom sits there, and finally mom is able to get in a few words and tells her daughter to trust her heart. At this point, I’m thinking Emily and Chantal will be the final two.
Next, Brad arrives at Ashley’s hometown. She lives in Philadelphia, but she grew up in upper Maine, so they are in Maine. One of my favorite shots is of the driver when Brad arrives. you can see him in the front seat behind the two as they reunite and he looks super serious, like he’s thinking about dead puppies and nuclear bombs so that he can keep from smirking. She uses the term disconnected right off the bat (will this girl never learn?). She takes Brad to the diner where she had her first job. Here she educated him about the French influence on the area. Brad continues to say over and over how he could live there, but he already made it clear he’s not moving, and she doesn’t even live there anymore, so unless he’s planning on moving there with Emily, it’s really a moot point. The waitress comes up and says something in French and Brad answers her with Si instead of Oui. They immediately cut to confessional footage of him saying what a moron he is that he answered yes in Spanish instead of French. Too bad politicians don’t have confessional footage. Think of all the heartache that could have been avoided if a few of our Presidents could immediately cut to confessional footage and say something like, “Oops! I don’t know why I said I didn’t have sexual relations with that woman! I guess I was really hungry and couldn’t think straight because I was thinking about that stuffed crust pizza at Pizza Hut.” Anyway, they order French (not Spanish) fries with cheese and gravy on them. Brad wants to use a fork, but Ashley insists they use their fingers. As she is feeding his big open mouth, she points out his crown to the whole world (very sexy, Ashley) and then she brings up that she wants to move forward instead of wasting time reassuring each other of their feelings. They go to a seafood shop and buy lobster and then to a road-side produce shack that uses the honor system. Next they go to the welcome sign at the city limits and take self portraits. When Ashley can’t think of any way to put it off any longer, she takes Brad to her parent’s house.
I was a bit surprised by her tattooed sister. Ashley seems the wholesome type and I didn’t see that one coming. Her dad lets us know that she’s actually not really a dentist, that she is in dental school. Brad tells her father that he wants kids, but her dad isn’t sure that she does. Brad begins to wonder if he will hold Ashley back from her full potential. Her sister says she thinks the time is right for Ashley to start a life with someone. It makes sense to take a leap now and then begin to build her practice. Her mother awkwardly asks if they can sleep over and then Brad leaves with a large paper bag filled with stuff. Did he get parting gifts? What’s in the bag; disposable toothbrushes and mini dental floss dispensers?
After the break, the show starts with a commercial for Shawntel’s family’s funeral home. Did they pay for that commercial? They just got a national spot in prime time television. Then Chantal is at the funeral home instead of some park and there is organ music playing in the background. Could they make this any more creepy? Answer: yes, they can. Brad arrives at the mausoleum and they walk through the crypts. He sees the crematory which is like a giant pizza oven. When they come to the prep room, Brad says it’s fascinating, but his face reads total freak out. She explains embalming along with visual aids while he continues to freak out. Brad admits that he doesn’t handle death well. Shawntel tells him that it is a good and a bad thing, what she does, and he is impressed with her passion for her job. She lets him know that she can pick up embalming work just about anywhere (have job, will travel). Then they go to her parent’s house. They have dinner and her dad tells Brad that Shawntel helps them all loosen up. He tells Brad that he has been preparing Shawntel to take over his business. (I wonder what he has been preparing the twins for…a twins themed photo shoot at the Playboy Mansion, maybe?) Shawntel says in front of everyone that she is falling for Brad and that he lives in Austin and that if things worked out for them that she would move there. You could have cut the awkward tension in the room with one of Shawntel’s scalpels. She and dad excuse themselves for a chat. He tells her that she is in line for the business and puts a guilt trip on her about someone who died while she was away filming and whose family specifically asked for her. He acted like their grief was compounded by the fact that she was not there to drain their loved one. He thinks that if she leaves, she will be leaving the business high and dry. Did they not think about this before she went on the show? And why do they keep referring to the family business by its full name over and over? Was this all a ploy to increase business? Did she come on the Bachelor to find love or to shoot an infomercial? When they join everyone else in the living room, Dad just looks pissed off. He gives Brad his blessing, but I don’t think anyone buys it. When she walks Brad out, she tells him that she loves him and they kiss.
Last is Emily’s house. We see Emily as she is reunited with her daughter, Ricky. They share big hugs and Southern sweetness. She tells Ricky that she has met some new friends and that one of them is coming to meet her. Brad shows up with a gift wrapped in pink wrapping and bow. He is clearly nervous. Ricky is shy and hides behind her mom. When she sees the gift, she takes it and finally open it revealing a butterfly kite (a nod to Brad and EMily’s first one on one date when they flew a kite?). Brad has never dated anyone that has a kid before (which is evidenced by the fact that he picked out a kite). He is trying very hard to bring Ricky out of her shell but as Emily says, “she’s not having it.” After giving her some sugar, they get out the kite and she opens up. Soon they look like a happy little family, except that Brad stands about five feet away from them when they walk down the sidewalk. Emily’s house is amazing. It’s clearly not paid for with the salary from the hospital. I assume that having Rick Hendrick as a grandfather helps little Ricky live in luxury. They play games with Ricky and then tuck her into bed. Brad and Emily then have some alone time with big glasses of water and unidentifiable food on a plate. Emily is dying for him to kiss her, but he doesn’t even try it. Could it be that this whole day was alcohol free and he needs a little liquid courage? He is all weird because her daughter is upstairs asleep and he is scared she may come down at any moment. Emily explains to Brad that if they got together that she would always be upstairs and that he needed to grow a pair and kiss her. He confesses that he should have kissed her and not been such a pansy. She confesses that she’s disappointed that he didn’t man up. Brad really let us all down here. Emily has a kid; get over it. She also used to date Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and I’m sure Little E didn’t have a problem throwing it into high gear. Come on, Brad, this respect and honor stuff is getting tired. When she walks him out, she does what he can’t seem to do and kisses him. Of course, he reciprocates.
The rose ceremony is in New York City. Brad sits down with Chris Harrison (who has obviously watched the footage from the hometown dates) and they talk. Chris brings up his bromance with Mr. O’Brien, about how at home Brad felt with Ashley’s family, Shawntel’s love for her job and the importance of meeting little Ricky. Chris points out that he seemed most comfortable with Ashley’s family, however she is the only one that hasn’t told him that she loves him. Brad says he is making his decision based on how he feels and not how the girls have indicated that they feel towards him. During the rose ceremony, Chantal looks like a Spanish soap opera star. Shawntel looks like she knows she’s going home. And what’s up with Ashely? Did she not have time to fix her hair? Rose number one goes to Ashley. Rose number two goes to Emily. Rose number three goes to…make sure you pronounce it correctly…Chantal. As she goes to accept her rose, I just want to text her “red satin isn’t slimming, honey,” but I don’t know her number.
Shawntel looks shocked and confused. She and Brad go off to the side so “no one can hear them.” Um, isn’t this on television? So no one can hear you? have you lost your mind? He tells her that he didn’t feel the way a man should feel when a woman says they love them. He assures her that it has nothing to do with her family. In other words, it’s not them; it’s you. Way to let her down easy, Brad. He walks her to the car and they hug. After she leaves, she confesses that she didn’t see this coming and continues to ooze about how great he is and how no one ever treated her so nice before. She says he treated her like a princess. First of all, ABC paid for everything and you flew all over the world and stayed liquored up at all times. Of course, no one has ever treated you like that before. Real people don’t take six girls on a date, hire a helicopter and have “Mr. Seal” sing private concerts for them. Give me a break.
Back in the ceremony area, Brad tells the girls that they are all going to South Africa! The usual squealing takes place and they all raise a glass to the future. And that’s what happened on the Bachelor.