Welcome back to Ben’s hometown of Warsaw, Indiana.
Ben explains “Denver’s the place I am now, but Warsaw is the place that made me who I am” Ben doesn’t live in the heart of the Rust Belt anymore, but ‘twould be improper to send the Young Ladies to the heart of the Pot Belt.
After canceling their standing Saturday lunch reservation at the club, Ben meets his parents at a greasy spoon (where Mrs. Higgins wipes down the table with a napkin before sitting). He describes each of his 6 remaining Young Ladies:
- “There’s a really good side of Becca that I can’t get enough of, but last week I saw a side of her on the group date that was very standoffish.” Speaking of sides, way to tell a one-sided story, Ben. Nothing about how your overt favoritism of a certain blonde stewardess may have caused Becca’s behavior?
- Ben reveals that he’s more himself around JoJo than anyone else. Oh! Well in that case, it’s over right? Everyone can go home now?
- He tells his folks that Emily came here with her identical twin sister, and Papa Higgins lets out a pervy laugh.
- Last week “wasn’t a great week” with Lauren B because Ben entertained a false rumor spread by Leah.
- Ben makes sure to mention Caila is like “really scared that she won’t be able to fall in love.” Way to put ’em at ease!
- Last, Ben tells them about divorcee Amanda and her two daughters.
Mama Higgins: “Is that something that you’ve ever even…”
Ben: “I haven’t thought about it really.”
Glad to know Ben’s taking this seriously!
To review his parents’ take-away, that’s:
- 3 shrews
- 1 nickname Mrs. Higgins doesn’t care for
- 1 Playboy Bunny
- 1 Teen Mom
He heads over to escort the Young Ladies to their lakeside airbnb. The women ooh & ahh over how “family oriented” Warsaw is even though they’ve been here all of 45 minutes. With street names like “Country Club Road”, “Country Club Drive” and “Whites Only Lane”, one can only assume.
Master Date #1
Ben tells Lauren B she has 30 minutes to get ready. Only 30 minutes? she whines. That’s right, better pencil a smile onto your lip line real quick lest Ben detect you’re in a sour mood! This is the first time that Ben has asked a woman on a date to her face, and the others note how “intimate” that is with jealousy (hear that Harrison? You and the intern with bubble-letter penmanship better step up your date card game).
Ben gives Lauren B the grand tour of the town. Highlights include the high school where he played QB on the football team, the megachurch that fostered his belief in manifest destiny, and a hotel that used to be a movie theater. That theatre was actually where he had his first
hookup, until the town shuttered the cinema, deeming it a cesspool of delinquent activity kiss. Bonus points to Ben for obtaining consent with the floozy whom he knew had -GASP- already kissed someone before him.
The last stop is Baker Youth Center, where Ben spent time as a kid and worked as a college graduate struggling to find employment in a recession economy. Today, he and Lauren will volunteer with the kids whose parents signed the release.
Ben gets to kiss Lauren because Ronnie makes the half-court shot. But shouldn’t Ronnie get to kiss Lauren if Ronnie makes the half-court shot?
If the small child wearing an “ARMY” t-shirt while sobbing for no discernible reason in this middle american youth center isn’t some heavy handed Kubrickian symbolism, then IDK WHAT IS.
Master Date #2
JoJo’s date card says “Let’s find love in the Windy City.” A debate ensues about the meaning behind Chicago’s tagline, since “I mean, it’s windy here.” But Warsaw’s slogan is “The Orthopedic Capital of the World” so GET IT STRAIGHT.
JoJo & Ben take separate cars from Warsaw to Wrigley Field to avoid 2 hours of awkward silence. They meet up outside the stadium and are greeted by an electronic billboard with a whole lotta personality, cracking jokes like “HEY JOJO, SHOULDN’T YOU BE AT THE GRAMMYS RIGHT NOW? ”
The Chicago Cubs are Ben and his dad’s fave team, so this is a big deal for him. Like, when they saw each other the other day, all Papa Higgins wanted to do was talk Cubs. Let the record show that Ben’s father was more eager to discuss a team that hasn’t won the World Series since 1908 than his own son’s chance at love on The Bachelor.
They change into Mr. & Mrs. Higgins jerseys, which is a great idea for the Cubs themed wedding of Ben’s dreams, but a bit premature for date #2. A “couple plays baseball together” activity ensues, which always seem like an expectation vs reality meme waiting to happen. Flash forward and they’re lying on the grass suggestively while Sassy Electronic Billboard announces “HOME RUN!!!”
Caila, Amanda, and Becca compete for the first Hometown date rose. The foursome rowboats and flies kites–and I’m pretty sure they edited out Caila pulling an Olivia and forcing Ben to be her partner for both activities.
Eventually they hunker down in an exact replica of the barn where Chris Soules dumped Becca last season– spruced up with different Home Goods knickknacks, of course. Becca is overcome with the strangest sense of déjà vu and heads into her one-on-one frustrated about
her first time smoking being New Leah: “I feel like everyone’s getting something I’m not and I’m like what is it gonna take for me to feel that?”
Caila feels insecure about not having “deep roots” because she moved around a lot growing up. “Are you steady enough to stay in one place for a while?” Ben wants to know. “I’ve been molded to be adaptable. I could move a lot, or I couldn’t”–luckily, Caila’s programmers considered technical specifications to support a range of environments.
Amanda’s 1-on-1 The McDonald’s Commercial
McDonald’s has had its eye on a partnership with The Bachelor for some time now. But for a franchise that’s infamous for its innumerable locations and low quality control, it’s all about cherry picking. Cue Ben Higgins and his frozen-in-the-50s hometown, where employees like Patricia somehow smile and make small-talk rather than look dead inside because they have to go on welfare despite working two jobs.
And cue Amanda, the woman McDonald’s cherrypicks for the advertorial date to say YES when Ben asks if she brings her kids here. SEE AMERICA?? MOMS FEED THEIR CHILDREN THIS GARBAGE. In reality, this is a foreign experience for the Cali-based esthetician raising her kids gluten free or whatever pocket lint diet du jour.
After throwing up their meals, they head over to a mobbed carnival where we see some familiar faces like the crying child from Baker Youth Center. Except now, he’s grinning from ear to ear cuz he gets to rock a fringe jacket rather than a t-shirt promoting the military industrial complex.
Master Date #3
Emily’s date card says “home is where the heart is” because she’s meeting Ben’s parents so it looks like they came up with the idea that she’s awful, then boarding a flight home to Vegas.
They boat across the pond to the Higgins’ lakeside property, where Emily makes nervous chitchat. She loves the ducks (Judge Not Lest Ye live in the Mojave Desert, where you just don’t see anatids everyday), her dream is to be an NFL Cheerleader (Denver Broncos would be a great team to cheer for!), she’s mediocre at literally everything (what all future in-laws want to hear), and she loves movies (netflix & chill).
Mama Higgins starts to sob in despair that her son would ever consider Emily for a spouse, while Ben puts Emily back on the boat. “Where are we going? You’re not taking me home right?”
Even though Becca implored Ben not to, he eliminates her in an Official Rose Ceremony (or, “blindsides” her as the women call it). Becca insists she feels sad that Ben didn’t want to meet her family, though it’s hard to tell since she can’t use 90% of her facial muscles.