Listen, I think we're all a little skeptical of Colton Underwood. "All" now encompasses me — the bystander — a few of the fans, and the families of the four remaining contestants. Never has a Bachelor struggled so deeply during his hometown dates. Colton Underwood, apparently, doesn't seem trustworthy. At nearly every home he visits, the parents seem wary of Colton's whole image. Well, sure, he's a good guy, but we're all savvier than that. "Good guys," especially ones whose personalities are 90% based on a love of puppies, are rarely all that good. Or, at the very least, they are rarely all that reliable. So! Colton Underwood, you seem untrustworthy, which is making your love-searching difficult.
The first hometown is the easiest: Caelynn brings Colton home to Virginia, where her family is only too happy to meet him. Her stepfather John is slightly skeptical, but as soon as Caelynn tells him that she wants John to bestow his blessing on Colton, he gives. Their interaction is one of the sweeter moments of the episode; there are times The Bachelor seems like an exercise in forcing people to communicate. Is it possible this is the first time Caelynn has told John how she feels about him? Based on his tearful reaction, maybe.
The dates actually only get worse as the evening progresses: Caelynn's date is just peachy; Hannah G.'s is relatively smooth, save for some virgin talk; Tayshia's father is stern but ultimately pretty kind; and Cassie is surprisingly closed off during her home visit. Ironically, Colton only seems more invested when the dates get tough, which is why Caelynn finds herself on the chopping block later in the evening.
Hannah G. has felt like a foregone conclusion since she arrived on the show. She was likable enough to make it to the very end of the season, but she was never enough substance to win the race. Ever her hometown date feels slightly feigned, and only partially because they take an etiquette class together.
Which, while we're here, could have used more depth. Etiquette is interesting! I only recently learned that to avoid talking with your mouth full, you are supposed to take smaller bites. Which, of course, is what the teacher tries to teach Colton with a slice of bread, but Colton isn't accommodating. Colton also has to learn how to walk with good posture, something that I hadn't noticed him struggling with earlier. Nevertheless, the Bachelor always deserves an activity that makes him look like a doofus — the contestants have had to do silly things all season to compete for his love. The tables have turned!
Speaking with her family, Hannah G. is warm, but not effusive. “He makes me feel safe," Hannah tells her mother of Colton. Her mother, the true star of the date, is taken aback, but she supports whatever Hannah wants.
Says Beth, “You go get it, girl.” If only Beth could have Chris Harrison's job. (Chris does appear in this episode, a return from his hiatus last week.)
Hannah's cousins and her best friend are nervous about Colton's virginity — they rightfully point out that it's something to be dealt with. Hannah is undeterred, and later tells Colton that she's falling in love with him. That's two contestants so far dishing out "love."
Tayshia's date is more eventful. First, she and Colton go skydiving, an activity awfully similar to their first date in Singapore. When she blindfolds him, she notes that this "isn't the Bird Box challenge," a clear and present reference to Bird Box, a movie that arrived at least a month after The Bachelor stopped filming. Bachelor sound editors, we see you.
“I thought you hated heights!” Colton cries. She does, actually, hate heights! But now, doing scary heights-related things is their "thing," and it's admittedly kind of cute. Few relationships this season have developed to the point of we-have-cute-patterns.
After their jumps, Colton meets Tayshia's family — according to commercials, this was supposed to be the most tense family meeting. Tayshia's father Desmond is certainly more critical than the other parents thus far, and refreshingly so.
"You don't microwave relationships!" he tells Tayshia. "That's what's going on!" He has his finger on the Bachelor's one big issue. It's producing love, but it's doing so in a petri dish, a place where bacteria can fester and grow in different ways. In the wider world, things won't be so neat.
When Colton asks for Tayshia's hand in marriage, Desmond is struck. "“Colton! Wow. Man, you’re laying it on me," he says. "I appreciate you, if you will, laying it out, but I just met you.” Desmond first respectfully declines, but later, after a talk with Tayshia, he allows for the blessing. Crisis averted. So far, John, Desmond, and Hannah's dad have given their blessing.
Only one left.
Cassie has been a heavy hitter this season, bringing us sexy dates like her beachy Thailand escapade, and consistently keeping drama to a minimum. Her hometown date is surprisingly drama-ful, though. For starters, her father doesn't give his blessing to their union.
"He seemed like a guy," Cassie's dad, Matt, tells her, being frank. And he is! There is nothing spectacularly great about Colton. He's just some dude with the hots for Cassie, and that may not be what's right for her.
“I literally think that you’re perfect. So I want you to be with someone who’s perfect," Cassie's sister Michelle tells her. There's a general sense that this family thinks they are above Colton. (On a related note: Cassie's sister Michelle is apparently dating Runaways star Gregg Sulkin.)
Then, finally, Cassie doesn't tell Colton that she is falling in love with him. She's the only person who hasn't done so yet. She tells her sister Michelle that she may be falling in love with him, but she seems skeptical of the feeling herself. "I feel like maybe I am falling in love with him — that sounds so weird," she says. She is having a crisis of confidence.
Despite Cassie's indecision, Colton keeps her around, instead decision to cull Caelynn instead. Caelynn, the girl who was the quickest to admit that she loves Colton. Caelynn, the center of two dramatic situations.
She tells Colton, "I feel like an idiot.” Actually, Caelynn, I think we all feel like idiots.
The Dearly Departed: Caelynn