This week’s Bachelor takes us away from the tropics and into Ben’s hometown, where he is the happiest he has been since his love quest began. Rather than stay in a ritzy hotel in the city, the girls live in a neighborhood home in Warsaw, Indiana. After arriving on a boat with Ben, Lauren B. is asked personally to go on the first one on one date. With no date card, this stirs up jealousy among the girls.
Ben and Lauren spend their date driving around the town, visiting the old movie theater where Ben had his first kiss. He admits that he didn’t know how to kiss and told the girl that, who laughed and proceeded to show him. The two then play with children at Baker Youth Club, where Ben once volunteered. He surprises everyone by bringing in members of the Indiana Pacers basketball team. The best part of this date was watching Ben interact with the kids, especially when he comforted a young boy named Eric who was crying. Later in the episode, while on a date with Amanda, Eric reappeared shouting for joy over having cotton candy. Adorable! Lauren and Ben have an open conversations over dinner about the negative allegations made in the Bahamas. After this conversation, the future appears bright for the the couple and Lauren expresses she’s in love with Ben.
Jojo and Ben spend the next date playing baseball in an empty Wringley Field, home of the Cubs. Jojo is given a jersey with the name “Mrs. Higgins” on the back which is presumptuous and could come back to haunt her, if things go south on The Bachelor. While the date was mostly cute and fun, the two did have a serious conversation about Jojo’s ability to trust Ben and allow herself to fall in love. Jojo gains a lot of confidence in her relationship with Ben following this. After kissing through the scoreboards, Ben and Jojo walk across the field hand in hand as Ben gushes, “Here I am at Wringley and I can’t take my eyes off you.” And Jojo adds, “I’m more Team Ben than I think I’ve ever been.”
The group date is refreshingly mundane. With just three girls, everyone gets equal time with Ben and the drama is kept to a minimum. Some reservations arise with Becca and Caila so it came as no surprise that Amanda was given the rose. Their trip to McDonalds after leaving Becca and Caila behind is both cute and annoying because it is clearly a marketing scheme. They serve food and attempt to eat a french fry like Lady and the Tramp eat spaghetti. When they leave the fast food restaurant, the whole town has come to celebrate their date at a carnival. Ben is incredibly adorable while on the rides, expressing his fear of fairs because of how quickly the rides are set up.
The last date of the episode is more dramatic than the others. Emily cries at the news of getting alone time with Ben for a whole date, but by the end, she’s sent home crying for other reasons. Emily meets Mr. and Mrs. Higgins at Ben’s childhood home and she is portrayed immature and overly talkative. I can’t tell you how many times she used the words um, you know, I know, and like. The whole Higgins family questions whether Emily is ready for marriage, which seems to be the main reason Ben sends her home immediately afterwards. The girls watch from inside the house as Ben declares to Emily, “I don’t think I can see you being my wife…I don’t want to [send you home], but I know its the best because I don’t see the next step for us.”
With that said, this wasn’t the most emotional parting of the episode. Ben struggles emotionally before the rose ceremony, finally deciding to send Becca home. At first, she is frustrated after asking not to be blindsided, but Ben promises her that wasn’t his intention. Before shutting the limo door, he hugs Becca good-bye saying, “I hope our relationship was good for you because it was really good for me.”
Perhaps the best part of the episode came after all the drama concluded. This week’s bloopers were filled with screaming girls and giant bugs. I promise you, if you didn’t stay up and watch these last few minutes of the episode, do it now. It will bring a smile to your face instantly.