This week, Rachel headed to each of the remaining candidates’ homes to meet their families.
Baltimore Hometown with Eric
We begin the episode in Baltimore, meeting Eric’s family. Eric seems a lot more at ease in his home city, and Rachel is all over him. Eric starts off speaking in third person, which is always a turn-off.
We are getting an inside glimpse of his city, and it looks run-down, which feels cliché, since he is the only remaining Black contestant. Cliché number two happens when they end up shooting hoops together on a basketball court.
One of his friends slinks up from the background, seemingly outta nowhere, and introduces himself as one of Eric’s oldest friends. He then proceeds to do what Best Friends do: gas up Eric about how much he admires him and his accomplishments. He is an excellent hype man, and I wish this guy had been on all season; we got to experience more unapologetic blackness in five minutes than we have seen all season.
The rags-to-riches trope is pretty tired, and while I’m empathetic to the struggle of growing up in an inner city, I wonder how this is being received by ABC’s target audience.
OMG, Eric’s family is so cute. A room full of beautiful brown faces warmly greets Rachel. When Rachel expresses feeling at home, I am not surprised. This is the Blackness that I struggle to find represented on television, portraying the acceptance, love, and happiness of Black families. At one point during this meeting, one of Eric’s aunties pulls Rachel aside to break it all the way down. Sympathetic music is used to soften the blow because I know Eric is going (or, uh, staying) home this episode.
As Rachel is talking, my husband overhears that there have been twelve Bachelorettes before her, and that she’s the first Black one. He bursts into a fit of laughter that it has taken ABC this long. Watching the show, I wish there could be more, but the future of the franchise and inclusiveness seems at stake, with all of the shenanigans that have happened this season.
ABC just never quite seemed like they figured out how to handle the topic of dating and love intersecting with race.
At this meeting, Eric’s mom still seems skeptical. She doesn’t seem sold on Rachel just yet. Eric is still figuring love out, and I don’t think he’s ready for marriage, but crazier things have happened. Even if Eric doesn’t find lasting love with Rachel, it seems like this reunion was a very emotionally healthy event for him, as he and his family connect with one another on-screen.
Eric finally says he loves Rachel, but it seems to have a caveat at the end. “I love you… but that means I really care about you,” isn’t exactly what you want to hear if you’re looking for a proposal.
Bryan's Hometown in Miami
“Hot, steamy, something sexy” are the words Rachel uses to describe Bryan. She rolls up to meet him in Miami, and he is dressed as his typical F*ckBoi self again. Wearing skinny sweatpants and a polo shirt with white sneaks, he greets her with a line from the chorus of the Will Smith classic “Miami,” off the critically-acclaimed Fresh Prince solo album Big Willie Style.
Bryan takes her to play dominos and then out for salsa dancing. Bryan is prepping Rachel to know he is an only child, which any woman knows can be an entire can of worms. We’ve all seen how mama bears are with their cubs; it’s often similar to that between only children and their mothers, especially boys.
But it’s cute that Bryan confesses he is obsessed with making Rachel smile. As much as I hate Bryan, he honestly seems like only one who is even remotely interested in a real future with Rachel.
His mom is so cute, but def seems like she will be hovering throughout the relationship, considering she refers to Bryan as “the most precious thing she has in this life.” She goes on to say he is “Her love, life, and pride.” Moms is cockblocking already.
I hate meeting his parents, to be honest. It’s uncomfortable, and induces such anxiety, even though we aren't in a relationship with this extended unit of the family. It is very ominous that his mother is already making threats on their first meeting. She has unwavering eye contact, as she tells Rachel, “You’re marrying the family too.” Bryan is tossing around the L-word. Bryan needs a shave. But he finally confesses that he is in love with Rachel.
D.C. Hometown with Peter
Rachel greets Peter by jumping into his arms. They make out for a bit, then head to meet Peter’s friends. Peter’s friends show up, and they’re both Black guys, who both seem to be dating white women. Things are pretty awkward around the table, and there’s some uncomfortable laughter about how all of Peter’s besties are Black.
To be fair, Washington, D.C., has a predominately Black population, which explains Peter’s comfort levels around a Black woman. Regardless, Rachel definitely receives Peter’s friends’ seal of approval, one even cautioning Peter not to mess this up.
Peter has too much doubt in his mind to marry Rachel — he is in like with her. Rumor has it that he is gearing up for his own spot as the next Bachelor. I dunno... I used to love Peter, but he’s too flaky when it comes to sealing the deal to be a husband.
His mom has a “can I speak to the manager” haircut. Rachel’s clock is ticking, and she’s getting googly eyes seeing Peter with his nieces, but she needs to stay focused — this man is playing games. If you have to ask a guy’s mom if he is ready for the next step, it’s probably not right. She is tired; ain't nobody got time for a boyfriend at the end of all of this.
He says he’s “sold...” Like how is this still a question? There are only two episodes left. Peter is just not ready.
Hot Mess Express: Hometown with Dean
After wasting my time on that nonsense, it’s time for more ultimately futile interactions with sweet baby Dean. Previews have shown us that we are ready to take a ride on the Hot Mess express, and that’s exactly where we end up.
Rachel and Dean roll up on a shack, and his father is wearing a turban. Dean’s dad has been a converted Kundalini Yoga sikh for the last six years, and he has a new wife who also practices this lifestyle. He plays a gong and hands out symbolic feathers.
After walking into the house, Dean is clearly not having it. Dean hasn’t spoken to his father in two years, and their relationship is visibly strained. His dad is rambling on about chakras, and Dean wants to cut right to it. He’s confronting his dad on national TV about how their family fell apart after his mother died when Dean was fifteen, after which both Dean and his sister say his father wasn’t there for them.
Dean’s sister breaks down because Dean is clearly the backbone of the family. Not really sure what this has to do with Rachel, but OK. After responding to his son saying that he loves him anyway, Dean’s dad responds with a dismissive, “Whatever,” which makes it seem like the whole yogi spirit vibe may be a sham. Anyhoo, Dean is Fine AF. I would make out with him for sure.
Thank God this episode is almost over. I think the show would be way more interesting if they created a polyamorous season because this doesn't seem like monogamy.
Dean is sent home; this is kind of shocking because Dean said he was falling in love. It was kind of ice-cold because Dean had finally let his guard down and was very emotionally vulnerable.
I really cannot express how uninvested I am in how this season ends. There was a moment that I honestly wasn’t even sure if Rachel would get a proposal because the men who are left seem so indifferent. But she was on FB Live recently and said she’s engaged, so there is some light at the end of the tunnel. I think Rachel and I are on the same page: Bryan is the only one who confessed his love so he should win because these other dudes are duds.
The only thing remotely entertaining about next week’s episode is seeing a glimpse of Rachel’s sister and mother interrogating these men. My sisters and mother are the toughest and wisest people in my life to ever walk the globe. From the little snippet of Rachel’s family we see in the preview, I look forward to them playing the same role for her in the decision process.
So until next week, we’ll see how this ends... and hopefully things get a little more exciting.
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