And we're back. It's a big night. Hometown dates. JoJo claims she's "so connected" to all four guys. But these hometowns are going to show her some magic she doesn't already know. Naturally.
Let's get to it.
We start off in Colorado. JoJo is driving in a car in a really chunky sweater-robe situation. I hate it. Chase is ready to share it all with JoJo. Share it all except, um, you know, LOVE. Chase shares that he's nervous because he comes from a broken home and JoJo's parents have been married a long time. He seems to be worried about this.
They set up a picnic on the edge of a cliff with a great view. Chase confesses his parents had a nasty divorce back in the day, and he's going to have her meet his dad apart from his mom. JoJo didn't realize this wound was so deep; she's impressed with the wall-dropping. I am less impressed. They kiss. Then they go to Chase's house. She oohs and ahs about his house. The doorbell rings and JoJo starts acting ridiculously giggly and stupid and I want to sock her.
Chase is telling his dad about JoJo and has said "JoJo" about 6 times in as many sentences. Then Chase asks his dad why he couldn't make it work with his mom. It seemed like a conversation that would have been better off-camera. Chase and his dad have a private (from JoJo) talk, and it's therapeutic for Chase, but not all that interesting to the viewing public.
Back from commercial, Chase and JoJo are now going to meet his mom and the rest of his family. Chase's mom is "thrilled" to meet JoJo and compliments her laugh. Hardy har har.
The mom steals JoJo away to talk. JoJo tells the mom that Chase shows his emotions well, but doesn't talk about them. The mom responds, sober, about how Chase has processed the divorce--slowly--but thoroughly. I got the impression from JoJo's expression that she was hoping for a less intense answer.
Chase and his sister have a heartwarming conversation about how their past has made it hard for them to drop "the L-bomb." His mom asks if he can propose to her at the end of this. He says he'd like to be there emotionally.
At the limo when it's time to say goodbye, Chase tells JoJo he's falling in love with her. Chase's confidence level now is "outta this world."
On to the second date at Jordan's hometown-- Chico, California. There's lots of deer frolicking.
JoJo and Jordan walk through a field. JoJo is wearing impractical shoes for walking. They meander over to Jordy's old high school. The sign there welcomes them. JoJo says it's sweet. I think it's lame. I'm distracted by how Jordan walks like he's holding in a fart. His steps are teeny and his butt is clenched. It's totes awkward.
They walk around campus kissing. JoJo sees old pictures of geeky high school Jordan. When she sees a photo of Aaron (his famous football-player brother he doesn't talk to or about), Jordy clearly doesn't wanna talk about it.
They show up to the parents' house and go inside after JoJo makes him feel her pounding heart. They sit down at the table for a meal. His brother's girlfriend has a weird puffy combover hairdo. Lotsa hairspray up in there. JoJo notes to camera how there's two empty chairs at the end of the table. JoJo speculates that the family would love to have Aaron there.
JoJo sits down with Jordan's other brother, Luke, a puffier, bearded version of Jordan. JoJo goes right for the jugular and asks about Aaron immediately. It's kind of annoying and insensitive considering she already talked about it with Jordan and asked if the family would talk about it and it seemed like he didn't want them to all discuss it. Also, she seems a tad preoccupied with the subject. (Although, just like Chase's story line is his reticence to say "love," Jordan's story line is his estrangement with his famous bro. Editing. Whatever.)
JoJo sits down with the dad. She talks up Jordan to his dad, but when she says something to the effect of "I know lots of people say Jordan only got where he is because of his brother and I don't agree with that at all. He's his own man and I respect him so much," the dad's eyes changed the exact same way Jordan's and his bro Luke's changed when she brought up Aaron. Like, dude, JoJo, STOP mentioning Aaron!
Jordan and his mom--who talks in a whispery soft voice; she maybe should do guided meditation CDs-- have a talk. I noted nothing of interest. Just like this entire episode so far. God, what a snooze.
Ooh. Here's something finally! Jordan and JoJo are talking on the bench after the date, and JoJo confesses she's still scared. Will Jordan definitely want it to be forever at the end of this? He's annoyed. JoJo tells the camera when Jordan says he loves her, she wants to say it back, but that Ben told her everything she wanted to hear and broke her heart. Now Jordan is telling her everything she wants to hear and she's so scared it'll happen again. (Go with that feeling, JoJo. I'm sorry; I just don't trust Jordan.) He tells her "don't ever doubt this" but he's bothered because she's still doubting. He says he wants to marry one person in his entire life and wants it to be JoJo, but what can he do except tell her he'll prove it?
What indeed. I wish this whole thing wasn't so formulaic. I've seen the same exact dates with the same worries, same conversations, same dilemmas over and over and over and over on this show. After the commercial break, we're going to see Robby's date. This is the one around which they've chosen to make big (fake) drama for the preview. The previews show that Robby's mom tells him that there's rumors flying that he broke up with his ex girlfriend just to come on the show. Then, presumably, JoJo confronts him, demands the truth, and cries in a fancy blue dress.
Now, I can't help but point out here that, interestingly enough, JOJO herself was in this exact position last season. On hometowns, she received a vase of roses from, she thought, Ben, but it was actually from her ex who sent a letter all about how he wanted to be with her. She ended up telling Ben. He made constipated faces, asked her if she was sure she didn't want the ex, she offered up her reassurances, and the whole thing was over. Just as this shit with Robby will be. (And it should be noted that if JoJo is freaking out whilst in a fancy blue dress, it's not on the hometown; it's obvi before the rose ceremony since that's how she dresses for those and not the dates. So this is editing.) All this to say: the whole drama is all going to be a non-issue.
Ok, rant over. Let's see if I'm right.
For the third date we're visiting Robby at St. Augustine, Florida. (I went there as a kid. It's an interesting historical place to visit. Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth is there. It's gross tasting, though.)
They take a horse-drawn carriage ride through town. It's making me want to go back there.
JoJo is wearing a paisley romper. It's super 70s. I'm not a fan.
Robby keeps reminding JoJo that he told her he loved her back in Uruguay. Dude, we get it. You told her. Good for you. You don't get a prize for being the first tool to lie to the bachelorette.
Anyway. JoJo confesses that she's concerned about "filling the void" for Robby so soon after his last relationship ended (only 3 months ago). Like, is he really sure that chapter of his life is over? She doesn't want to fall madly in love with him only to find out later that that chapter isn't done. Makes sense. He reiterates that he's done with the other relationship, that he told JoJo he loves her because it's true, that she doesn't have to worry, she's everything to him, yadda yadda.
I'm sorry. I just DO NOT see these two together. I don't. I hate his stupid pompadour hair. Ooh, Robby just said he doesn't see anything that could possibly go wrong. Sounds like a dare, ABC. Bring on the drama!
Robby is a former competitive swimmer. What is he presently, I wonder? (Besides a tool.)
The fam hoots and hollers when JoJo and Robby walk in. I will hoot and holler when this episode is finally over. Robby is regaling the family with stories of past dates--the fireworks on the beach in Uruguay, etc. They are duly impressed. I am duly bored.
Robby talks to his brothers and says he's had several panic attacks this week and got no sleep thinking about how JoJo is going on 3 other hometown dates. That's how I felt this week, too, thinking about how I was going to have to watch the hometown dates episode.
Robby's mom and JoJo have a chat about Robby and JoJo's worry about his past relationship. JoJo tells Robby's mom a big secret! She's falling in love with Robby. Shhhh... Robby's mom pulls him aside now and she drops the bomb that Robby's ex's roommate has made it look like Robby broke up with the ex to come on the show. Robby acts all upset because JoJo has already expressed concern over this very topic! What a conundrum.
Robby wants to get ahead of this situation and immediately goes to the bedroom where JoJo and Robby's sisters are dishing about Robby, and he ruins the mood big-time. (Something tells me this isn't the first time he's ruined a bedroom mood.) He tells JoJo the bad news about how the ex's roommate is putting it out there that he's "not here for the right reasons" (the show uses this phrase WAY too often). JoJo clearly struggles with this information. She's all, "What would the roommate have to gain by saying that if it wasn't true?" (Meanwhile, my question is this: who gives an eff?) JoJo says "It scares the shit out of me." Though the "shit" is bleeped. JoJo asks him point-blank if there's any truth to what the roommate has said. Robby, in a really suspect manner, repeats the question, "About me leaving her...???" That's not at all evasive, Rob... He then said "no, no, no" because everyone knows that things become more true the more times we repeat them. JoJo wants to know if they've been on and off or whatever. Robby says they'd been over for 9 months before the actual end when there was a blow up fight and Hope (the ex) slapped him. JoJo guzzles her wine and mutters "I don't know" and "I have no clue what I'm doing"-- she's clearly freaking out because she is worried that it could come down to the two of them--Robby and JoJo for evs--and the ex will rear up and cause stress in the relationship. JoJo says she trusts Robby. He says he won't disappoint her.
Ooh! I love that clear bubble umbrella they're using! It's big and deep. I want one! (Here it is!)
Anyway, is it possible that Robby could go all the way to the final two? I just...didn't think he was an actual contender. To me, he's about as blah as...well, all the other guys, actually. (Seriously. I think I only just realized how drippy all the final contenders are. Snoooooooze.) But I've felt like he was a throwaway for weeks. Is he going to sneak in there and surprise me? I hope not.
Final date (finally). Wow. Luke has referred to his bow-leggedness before, but I never realized until just now how true that was. He's walking toward the camera around an invisible horse! Anyway, JoJo is back in Texas. She's with Luke. She wants to see more emotional depth from him. He has a surprise for her; he won't tell her where they're going.
They're holding hands in the car and wearing matching cowboy boots. They show up to a picnic packed with people. Surprise, JoJo! You're meeting THE WHOLE TOWN. Good thing he didn't overwhelm her. Bullet dodged.
Luke and his mom have as engaging a convo as you would expect Luke and anyone to have. Then he and his dad have a similarly boring conversation. His dad gets a little emotional praising Luke and Luke just stares at him. He tells his dad, "Love you" with about as much emotion as a robot. He's so...blank. I just can't imagine having a serious spousal conversation with him. I feel like he'd have the same reaction if he was angry or pleased.
If JoJo had any one-on-one convos with the parents, they must've been even more boring than the ones Luke had because they got NO air time.
JoJo praises Luke's dad's BBQ, and asks Luke if he's as good a BBQer. Luke says his dad taught him some stuff, and his grandfather is quick to interrupt that Luke can't even boil water. Thanks for the sell-out Gramps. Everyone has a big laugh except Luke who gives his creepy blank stare.
Luke excuses himself and JoJo to bring her to a remote spot with a hay-bale sofa (seriously--it's arranged in the shape of a sofa and is covered with pillows and a blanket. It looks so uncomfortable!) and they have a heart to heart. Luke turns on the Luke-romance. JoJo is all, "Shut up and kiss me." (Well, figuratively. That's what her eyes said.) I laugh out loud as I note how, once again, she wants to make out and he wants to talk. He's holding her face as he drones on, and she looks like she is straining to lean in to kiss him, but he holds her face away from him until he finishes talking. They kiss. Then he gazes (lovingly? murderously? I can't tell) at her. He's got an intense gaze. It scares me a little.
JoJo must be scared, too. She's crying. She claims it's because she's happy and wants more time with him, but I think it could be she's scared to be out in the middle of nowhere with him. haha. Just kidding.
Luke has one more surprise for JoJo. He leads her down a lit path to a heart of petals. He tells her his heart is hers. They kiss and hug as a romantic country tune plays (just for us-- the love birds can't hear it). Hmmm...Watching them, I am struck by one thought: this dude is a goner. Wow. That's surprising but...yeah. She's gonna cut him.
Now they're back in LA. Limos pull up at an airport hanger because the men who get the rose tonight get to "jet set" to the "next exotic spot" (as Robby put it). Also? It's fantasy suite week next week. Bow chicka wow wow.
JoJo cries to Chris Harrison. She feels sick to her stomach. She doesn't know what she wants to do. Is she about to make a huge mistake? She's sad.
Wait. Whoa. JoJo just said to camera, "This makes me so sad because I think I need to say goodbye to Luke." Ok. Let's pause (as I just hit pause to type this part before I see what comes next): A. I KNEW that look she gave Luke was not a good omen. But B. I now don't believe she'll say goodbye to Luke tonight because otherwise they would not have ruined the rose ceremony suspense early by having her saying it before actually handing out roses. Ergo, through some means--I don't have a theory as to why, however-- she will not cut Luke.
I'm surprised by this, though, as I thought she really wanted to do, er, I mean, love Luke. I can't believe she'd keep Chase longer than Luke. True, Chase doesn't have the scary intense-gaze, but he also doesn't seem to make her as amorous as Luke. Hmm.
Ok, let's unpause and finish up here.
JoJo is talking to the four guys and saying they've impacted her heart a lot, blah blah. Luke looks like he knows he's on the block. JoJo is taking her sweet time, holding the rose and heavy breathing. Luke just interrupted and said, "JoJo, can I talk to you for a second?" They walked off together. The other guys aren't impressed. They, well, Jordan, thinks the timing is "suspect" as Luke had a whole day to talk to her, etc.
Alone with JoJo, Luke is all, "Remember the other night when I said you have my heart? Well, I didn't say I love you and I need to tell you that." I kinda thought that the big heart and the words "you have my heart" implied the same, but evidently the sentiment doesn't count unless the actual L-word is uttered. Live and learn. JoJo says it's what she's wanted to hear for so long.
Luke returns to the guys and JoJo walks the other direction and full-on sobs and has an attack of "what if I make the wrong choice? What do I dooooooo?" I'm concerned she's going to tear that tight bodice. What WILL she do, people? (I'm looking at the time and am growing concerned they aren't going to tell us today...)
And guess what? They aren't! These ABC bastards are making us wait till next Monday night. UGH!
Just when the news feels like it can't get worse, they drop this bomb on us: Next week is a two-night "event." Monday is the "dramatic conclusion" of today's episode. Tuesday is the Men Tell All. They did a big tease of Chad's antics. No doubt they'll give him a chunk of air time. You know what else is next Monday? My allergy testing. I'm hoping I'm not allergic to peanuts. I think I'm in more suspense over that than the episode. (What are the chances I'll end up being allergic to this show? Is there a test for that? I'm hilarious, I know...)