Tonight is the cringiest episode of The Bachelor of the season: hometowns.
Why? Because the contestants drag their poor families into this mess.
It’s driven Pudding, much like her mother, to the White Claw.
(It actually says Whisker Claw Hard Setlzpurr on it).
We open in Poquoson, VA, Susie’s hometown. Clayton says, “It may very well be that I’ve started to fall in love,” like it’s a viral infection and he’s in the asymptomatic stage.
Susie practices Jiu Jitsu so they go visit her trainer and he teaches Clayton some moves. Of course they make all the positions super sexual. Later Susie talks about how her dad is sick and she worries he won’t be able to walk her down the aisle.
Later they meet Susie’s parents and her best friend.
Her dad tells Clayton that Susie would sleep next to his bed when he was at the worst place in his illness. He also says he can see the chemistry between her and Clayton. He says if Susie loves him, the family will love him.
Her mom asks Clayton if he’s in love with Susie and he hedges and says he has strong feelings. Later Susie’s mom tells her to “proceed with caution.”
Next up we go to Gabby’s hometown, Denver, CO.
We learn she was a Denver Broncos cheerleader for five years. For their date they go hiking, and Gabby gives him a pocket knife in case he needs to fight off a bear.
First of all, if you’re fighting off a bear, you’re already in a bad fucking situation. Secondly, a pocket knife isn’t going to cut it. We have black bear around here and I absolutely would not fuck with one if I had only a pocket knife or, frankly, at all.
She takes him to a place called Proposal Rock.
“Gabby’s being romantic?” Clayton teases.
“Don’t tell anyone. I’ll kill you,” she replies.
I like Gabby.
Then of course we get a random hot tub in the middle of fucking nowhere. I feel so bad for the poor intern who had to figure out how to schlep a hot tub up a mountain side. “Here’s some bear mace, Jimmy. Be careful out there, remember that we don’t have workman’s comp.”
Gabby says that Clayton will be meeting her grandpa, aunt, uncle and cousin. Her dad’s girlfriend is sick and because of Covid he can’t be there.
We need to talk about Gabby’s grandpa, John, because he’s a real pip. I want him to be my grandpa, too.
Gabby admits that on the very first night she made a face-sitting joke when she first met Clayton.
“I think it’s great!” Grandpa John says. He asks if Clayton is blushing (he is).
Grandpa John asks to talk to Clayton to see if he’s good enough for Gabby because “I don’t give a damn about anything else.”
Grandpa John says, “Obviously I care about my granddaughter a lot. […]I would advise you and her not to be in a hurry, you really need to get to know a person. I encourage you to not run into it.” Then he adds, “So far I like what I see…but it’s early. I might change my mind about you.”
Later Gabby asks her grandpa what he thinks of Clayton. “Can I be honest with you?” he asks. “I think he’s full of shit.”
I LOVE THIS MAN.
“Anyone who could like you is obviously full of crap,” he teases as he and Gabby laugh. He adds that he’s excited for Gabby and adds, “Make sure because this is going to be for life. If it isn’t for life, I’m gonna come back and haunt you.”
He adds, “I love you more than I could love anybody.” We also find out he still wears his wedding ring even though his wife has passed.
Can we just have the rest of this season be Grandpa John roasting Clayton and sharing loving memories of his late wife?
So then we hear a car horn. Gabby’s dad has shown up and his holding up cardboard signs Love Actually style. They say that Gabby is the most loving, intelligent and beautiful daughter, and that she’s the glue that holds the family together. They also say she deserves the best and he hopes that is Clayton.
This is sweet, but I feel compelled to point out that Love Actually is extremely fucked up and the only way that movie would work for me is if Emma Thompson murdered Alan Rickman in a glorious rage at the end.
Gabby tells Clayton she’s falling in love with him.
“There it is!” he crows.
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Then it’s on to Oklahoma City, OK, to meet up with Serene. They do this aerial obstacle course where they basically have to walk a tightrope really high up on this structure (they have safety harnesses and are clipped to another line). Clayton freaks out but Serene acts like its NBD.
Later they meet Serene’s family and her brother, Roland, tells Clayton, “It takes so much for her to be vulnerable with her family, and she just met you. I was shocked when she said–like for our grandma [she died] two years ago, our cousin, [died] two months ago. The fact that she told you is huge. That’s still an open wound for her, for sure. That tells me she sees something in you. So please, be really careful, she’s really fragile.”
Then Roland asks if Clayton loves Serene. He says he hasn’t told anyone he loves them and he’s “not there yet.”
We cut back to the inside of the house where Serene is talking to her mom. She tells her mom that she told Clayton about how she and her late cousin would chase fireflies and Clayton (an intern IRL) gave her a mason jar with fairy lights in it. Her mom side eyes the jar like she’s thinking, really? That’s it all takes? $10 at JoAnn’s?
Serene’s brother is skeptical and says, “You ain’t afraid to be hurt again. I trust your judgement, I do, but be careful.” He tells her she’s been hurt in the past and he doesn’t want to see it happen again
At the end of the date, Serene tells Clayton she’s in love with him.
“I can’t stop smiling now,” says a giddy Clayton.
I don’t think Clayton wants to be in love. I think Clayton wants people to be in love with him.
Next up we go to Rachel’s hometown of Claremont, FL. They go kayaking. Clayton is nervous about gators.
They paddle under a sign that says Kissing Tree and make out.
Rachel says she’s stressed about her dad meeting Clayton. It’s immediate that her dad, Tony, is not here for this.
That is not a happy man.
Rachel’s mom says this is the first time she’s seen her daughter so in love. Rachel says she could see Clayton as her husband.
Meanwhile Tony is interrogating Clayton. He asks if he knows that Rachel wants to be a pilot and if he’ll support her. He then points out Clayton is still with four women, and he’s skeptical of Clayton’s intentions (and by extension this bullshit process).
“I really can’t give my blessing because I haven’t talked to my daughter,” Tony says. “Right now you’re just another face until she says, ‘Dad, this guy is really special to me.’”
So after a commercial break it’s time for another Dreaded Rose Ceremony. Clayton tells Jesse that he’s falling in love with all of the women.
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So there’s a bunch of delays and dramatic string music, but in the end Serene goes home.
Roland is going to kick Clayton’s ass.
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