Home is where the heart is and that definitely showed on last night's episode of The Bachelor. Ben takes the ladies and us home to Warsaw, Indiana where we get to meet his parents, play basketball, hang out at Wrigley field, go to McDonald's and ride carnival rides. You know good old Midwestern fun.
We start the episode with Ben meeting his parents at the local diner for some good grub. Now Warsaw is no where near as small as let's say Arlington, Iowa and it has a lake, not just a bunch of farmland, but it definitely is a cozy town where everyone seems to know each other. After talking about the ladies to his parents he informs them he needs to run to meet them and jumps on his pontoon boat to pick the ladies up at the dock. Fancy stuff. All the ladies marvel at how great Warsaw is and can definitely see themselves raising their kids their, but am I missing something as I thought Ben lived in Denver? The girls move into a lake house a few houses down from Ben's parents house and await the first date card, which goes to....You guess it, front runner Lauren B. Can we stop calling her Lauren B. now that's she's the only Lauren left in the competition? Anyway, the other girls are starting to sweat and fully admit their intimidation by Lauren and Ben's connection. The journey is getting real y'all.
On the date Ben picks up Lauren in an old red truck and they head off for a good old country date. Ben takes Lauren to the spot of his first kiss...not weird at all. On the way he let's her know that he played quarterback in High School and we immediately see Lauren get turned on. Well, I don’t blame her.
They then head off to a youth center where Ben mentored a bunch of kids. Here is where Ben melts all our hearts. He just has "it". He has connections with these kids. He's able to coax a shy kid named Eric from the corner and out onto the court and get Ronnie the Half Court King to score from half court in order to get a kiss from Lauren. Couldn't have been planned out any better. Well wait, then a few of the Indiana Pacers come out to support the kids and Ben and Lauren as a couple. The date played out perfectly.
They finish the night discussing the craziness that was Leah last week and both come to the conclusion that whatever was going on was silly and that they are super hot for each other and have some sort of boring but strong connection. Side note-Lauren's cheeks sure get red when she drinks and she's in love with not Ben from the Bachelor but Ben from Warsaw, Indiana.
The next one on one goes to Jojo who in her talking head interviews said she needed this. The ladies debate where the windy city is. Is she going to Chicago or is she staying there, because it has been pretty windy? They must be really bored. Jojo jumps in the car for the drive to Chicago to meet Ben in front on Wrigley Stadium. When Jojo gets out of the car she does the overly excited thing and runs to Ben and wraps her legs around him. They head inside Wrigley and I catch how many times Jojo says Ben. She really does like saying his name. The date involves playing some baseball in personalized Mr. and Mrs. Higgins jerseys and playing around inside the scoreboard.
At dinner, I can't get over Ben's tweed brown coat and brown/tan shirt. Brown on brown. It was a statement, but still looked good. They discuss Jojo holding back. She talks about how she always loves more then the person she was with so she is guarded. We get a better understanding of why she is like this, but I still feel like she didn't open up but that doesn't matter to Ben, he feels like he can be more himself with Jojo and they end the date positive about where their relationship is going.
The group date is tense. This group date is probably the biggest one yet because whoever gets this group date rose is guaranteed a hometown visit. Becca, Amanda and Caila receive the invite to hang with Ben, meaning Emily get's the last one on one, which she is beyond ecstatic about. The girls go to a farm for their date where they go canoeing and fly kites. A bit too G-rated for my taste. The tension is in the air when Ben announces that whoever gets the rose will also get to continue on with the date. Ben spends a little time with each girl and Amanda seems normal, Becca tells Ben to please not blindside her and Caila is moss to his tree — he decides to give Amanda the rose and spend the rest of the day with her. The other two head back to the house. Becca is really upset. She doesn't understand how this is happening. She expresses that with Chris she needed the time. That she wasn't there when he was, but with Ben she can see herself being engaged and doing this. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Ben is moving as quickly as she is. Amanda and Ben continue their date at McDonald's which would be a dream date for me. Then they head to a fake carnival set up just for the show where most of the town has showed up. Ben speaks one truth — he's afraid of carnival rides. He doesn't get how they can be safe when they are set up all in one day. Preach brother. The other thing that stood out to me on this date was when Ben cussed on the ride. It made him feel more relatable and not so perfect and stuffy. What stood out to me about this date is that Amanda stated that she could see herself falling in love with Ben, but didn't say she was in love with him yet. All the other girls have already admitted that they are in love. I understand that she has to take it slower because she has kids to protect.
The last one on one was with Emily who gets to go home and meet the parents. The girls all feel this could go either way. Emily is nervous about having conversations with the 'rents, but is pumped about the date. At the house, Ben's mom seems excited about having a solo convo with Emily, but things take a bad turn when Emily's nerves get the best of her and she gets diarrhea of the mouth. I literally had to pause the show because I got uncomfortable watching. She spoke about her dreams of becoming an NFL cheerleader and freely admitted that she wants to accomplish a lot still since she is young. Not what a mom wants to hear about her future MIL. Ben's mom takes him aside and literally cries when telling Ben that he thinks she is sweet but a bit young and not ready for the commitment. Not a good recommendation from mom. Ben takes this all to heart and decides to send Emily home as he doesn't see a future with her. Poor Emily. She is a sweet, positive girl, who one day will make an amazing wife, it just wasn't her time.
At the rose ceremony there is a weirdness in the air and Jojo is yet again wearing another dress that I own. Her and I have some sort of wardrobe connection. Caila starts contemplating if he is second guessing her, but instead it was Becca who didn't get the rose and was not happy to be blindsided after specifically asking him to not do that at the group date. Ben explains himself and Becca leaves in the limo wondering why she keeps getting herself in this mess.
Next week hometowns...home stretch!