Hometown week! Sean has said no fewer than 43,000 times that family is important to him. So I think we can assume that this week is important for him. If mom’s pot roast isn’t up to snuff, your ass is grass.
-First we go to Houston to meet AshLee’s family
AshLee, Sean, and her dog have a picnic. AshLee carries her dog around instead of letting it walk. That’s a big red flag for me. I need a dog that is here in the park for the right reasons: marking territory, chasing rabbits (real or imagined), and sniffing butts. AshLee reaffirms that she’s madly in love with Sean so she’s feeling extremely vulnerable. Foreshadowing?
Sean meets with AshLee’s parents and he seems to pass their test with flying colors. AshLee’s dad tells the heart-wrenching story of adopting her, and how his only wish is that the next man in her life loves her as much as he does. I got no jokes, that was frigging emotional.
Verdict on AshLee’s family: Sean seemed to get along well with her parents. There was no drama, no fireworks. I tend to think that on this show that a “boring” hometown date is probably a good sign
-Next up is Seattle to visit Catherine and her family
They’re at a public market, where they force Sean to participate in the throwing and stacking of fish. Sean doesn’t drop any, Catherine one-hands it. Impressive on both fronts.
At the family house, Catherine’s sisters express very reasonable concerns about the process of finding love on reality television. It seemed reasonable to me, but Catherine got ultra defensive. Catherine’s sisters tell Sean that Catherine is very serious about relationships for a little while and then she gets bored. When Sean asks permission to propose to Catherine [should he decide Catherine is the winner], Catherine’s mom gives tepid approval to the whole thing, and Sean is disappointed.
Verdict on Catherine’s family: That was lukewarm. Sean had a fun time with them. But between Catherine’s sisters expressing doubt and her mom not giving an express endorsement was also a stick in his craw. Could be trouble for Catherine.
-Next up is Waynesville, Missouri for Lindsay’s family. Lindsay is an Army brat, so Waynesville isn’t quite a hometown, but it is where her dad has been stationed for the last few years. It looks like a charming town, and MY GOD CHECK OUT THIS LADY
Lindsay puts Sean through a semi-boot camp to get him ready to meet her dad. The whole thing has some really weird sexual undertones. It was like the flimsy backstory of an Army-themed softcore porn movie, with Lindsay slapping him on the ass and yelling “ABOUT FACE” so that she can kiss him. Maybe the producers just came up with that because there wasn’t much else to do in Waynesville, Missouri. Or maybe Lindsay has a really weird fetish that Sean just became aware of.
They head to Fort Leonard Wood to meet Lindsay’s family. Including her dad, a two-star general. If things are going poorly, I guess Sean can say “hey, what’s the matter, couldn’t get more than just two stars?” That would be a sick burn.
Sean gets along great well with Lindsay’s mom and dad. Sean asks for Lindsay’s dad’s blessing. General Lindsay’s Dad says that he is a paratrooper, and that paratroopers have to be independent and make decisions on their own. So he extends paratrooper rights to Sean and gives him his blessing to make the decision on his own. That was actually pretty awesome. For good measure Lindsay says she is falling in love with him.
Verdict on Lindsay’s family: It went great. No negatives there so you have to figure Lindsay is in great shape. Better shape than that lady on the street.
-Finally we head to Los Angeles for Desiree’s hometown date. Desiree is not actually from Los Angeles but is currently residing there, so her family is coming here to meet Sean. That’s a total cop-out. He had to go to bumfuck nowhere in Missouri to see Lindsay, I’m sure Lindsay would have liked it better if they could have gone to a real place.
At Desiree’s house a dude shows up and claims that he’s in love with her. It turns out this was just a prank to get Sean back for the art show date earlier this season. In the moment I’ll bet that seemed genuine, but to us the viewer that seemed pretty fake. The dude did not sound genuine at all and Des was basically laughing throughout the entire thing. Even though the execution didn’t work out well for the cameras, I give props to Des for the joke.
Desiree’s actual family shows up. Desiree’s mom and dad seem to give this their seal of approval, but her brother is skeptical. He’s a little skeptical of how Sean could have feelings for Des while also having feelings for three other girls. He calls Sean a “playboy,” and that seems to offend Sean worse than calling him a Sooners fan.
Verdict on Desiree’s family: Mixed bag. Just like with AshLee, there were no fireworks with the parents which is probably a good sign. But the brother was a big obstacle, but I think his concerns were coming from a good place. He doesn’t want to see his sister getting hurt, and he’s watching her fall for a guy who is simultaneously courting several other women. Reasonable, right? But he wasn’t very delicate in his skepticism and it definitely got under Sean’s skin. Tough to say how this is going to play out.
-AshLee and Lindsay get quick roses at the rose ceremony. Sean takes an extra few minutes to think about who he wants to get the final rose, and it goes to Catherine.
Sean is clearly conflicted during the goodbye to Desiree. He tells her she has everything he’s looking for, that he isn’t fully confident in the decision, and that he’ll miss her. There’s a moment where you think maybe he’ll ask her to stay, but she ends up going. Not that she was a slam dunk over Catherine, but it is hard not to blame this on her brother. The grilling from Catherine’s sisters bugged Sean a little bit but he was obviously bothered by what happened with Desiree’s brother at a much higher level. Over/under number of years before Desiree speaks to her brother again?
Worst Moment: The Desiree goodbye. It was painful. We can’t know if it was really because of her brother, but if it was that guy has to be kicking himself. Anyone in Sean’s position is clearly alright with family members being a bit skeptical. If Desiree’s brother had expressed his skepticism in a reasonable/coherent manner without using the word “playboy” so much, she might still be on the show.
3. Catherine (Fish catcher, 26)
I think she narrowly avoided the ax this week, but I don’t think she is out of this race. Just watching them walk around the market, she and Sean have great chemistry. Her sisters essentially admitting that she is the type of girl who falls in love fast and then gets bored is a red flag, because that seems like the exact kind of girl you want to avoid if you are Sean. It’s easy to get bored when your dates go from helicopter rappelling in a tropical locale to eating burgers and watching Dez Bryant fumble on TV at a bar. But still, it is impossible to deny the connection between Catherine and Sean. She is behind AshLee and Lindsay, but not by much.
2. AshLee (In love, 32)
AshLee can’t shut up about how in love with Sean she is. And Sean seems to really like that. She has completely, 100% sold herself on this. That raises thousands of red flags in my mind, but for Sean that might be refreshing. Honestly at this point she is so emotionally invested that I kind of hope she wins just for her own sanity’s sake.
1. Lindsay (Army brat, 24)
She and Sean clearly have a strong bond, possibly stronger than any of the other two. I think to some previous bachelors she would have gotten the boot already due to the fact that she errs on the goofy side of things. But Sean seems like he may be looking for someone who is a goofball in addition to being a “romantic partner” (his words, not mine. I’d never say romantic partner of my own free will). She doesn’t have this competition locked up by any means, but she is the front runner right now.
Next week should be the infamous fantasy suite week. There has been a lot of talk in the tabloids about how Sean is supposedly a “born again virgin,” and that leads many people to think there won’t be any action in the fantasy suite. I disagree. If Sean was a legit virgin, I could see him forgoing the fantasy suite. But he’s a born again virgin. So he knows that he can do whatever he wants in the fantasy suite and then re-virginize himself again a week later. My prediction is that Sean dishes out fantasy suite cards. He might throw around words like “values” and “respect” and “stay away from Chris Harrison,” but those cards are getting cashed in this season.