(If you haven’t seen the episode yet, stop reading now to prevent spoilers.)
The 19th season of “The Bachelorette” is nearing a close, which means engagements and proposals are just around the corner. Things are, no doubt, getting serious for our leading ladies Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia – well, as serious as they can in a matter of six weeks – so it’s time to bring other people into the prime time picture.
Monday night, Gabby and Rachel traveled to their remaining contenders’ hometowns to meet their families in what’s usually one of the most eventful episodes of the series. Families offer an opportunity to pop the reality TV bubble and bring the contestants down to Earth, often with some tough love.
Gabby went home with three men instead of the traditional four, since sending home frontrunner Nate from Amsterdam because she wasn’t ready to meet his daughter and step into a motherly role. And she survived the hometown trips seemingly unscathed.
First, she joined Jason, the super quiet and unassuming investment banker many folks didn’t think would make it this far, in New Orleans, where the couple did all the must-do things in the French Quarter, from eating beignets to asking passersby to flash them for beads even though it was clearly past Mardi Gras season.
Next up was Johnny, the too-cool-for-school realtor who thrived during the Red Light District challenge in Amsterdam. He brought Gabby to Florida to meet his family and enjoy a romantic sunset boat ride. Finally, Erich the Real Estate Mullet™ took Gabby to New Jersey, where he introduced her to his family, including his father who was battling terminal cancer.
Our bachelorette’s experiences were uncharacteristically and overwhelmingly positive. But it’s what wasn’t said that may come back to bite.
In conversation with his mom, Jason let slip that he doesn’t realistically think he’ll be able to propose in a mere two weeks when the finale is slated to happen. To which all of Bachelor Nation said, “You seen this show, bro?” Johnny, too, suggested maybe he wasn’t ready for such a “big commitment,” but his dad quickly put that to bed.
“You say you’re not ready. What, emotionally? You seem ready,” dad said.
Denver's Gabby Winder took Erich, a real estate analyst from New Jersey, on the very first one-on-one date of the season with her grandpa. He's now in the top three contenders. (Provided by ABC/Craig Sjodin)
Denver's Gabby Windey and one of her top three, Johnny. Johnny, took Gabby to meet his family in Florida, but admitted me may not be ready for such a "big commitment" as marriage. (Provided by ABC/Craig Sjodin)
Jason, left, is one of Gabby Windey's top three suitors who took her home to meet their families. He's very quiet and emotional, which is what Gabby likes about him. (Provided by ABC/Craig Sjodin)
Still, neither Jason nor Johnny told Gabby to her face they might be reconsidering the premise of the show, and they may not get to before the next cut. Traditionally, the show jumps straight into a rose ceremony following hometowns. Viewers, however, won’t see who gets a rose and who gets the axe until next week.
Comparatively, Erich told Gabby that he was falling for her over martinis post-meeting the family. To which Gabby responded that the feeling is mutual.
“After today, I can feel comfortable saying I’m falling in love with you,” she said. The episode seemed even more heartfelt in retrospect. According to E News, Erich’s father passed away shortly after the filming. Monday’s night episode was dedicated to him.
While all of Gabby’s suitors’ family were unusually supportive, it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing for Rachel Monday night, who got absolutely grilled by Tino’s parents during her hometown trip to Santa Clarita, Calif. Tino’s mom and dad kept reassuring the couple they were living in a fantasy and his dad accused Rachel of being disingenuous because she was “saying all the right things,” but hadn’t had enough time to truly get to know his son.
The episode covered three hometown dates for each woman, which means Rachel still has one before the women whittle down their would-be future husbands. The next rose doubles as a ticket to the Fantasy Suite, too, so there’s plenty more action to come.
But first, next Monday all the former contestants regroup for the season’s “Men Tell All.” You’ll need extra patience and possibly an extra bottle of wine to get through this episode, as the dudes bare their claws and get caddy in what’s largely regarded as try-outs for the next season of “Bachelor in Paradise.” See you then.
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