Welcome to hometowns! If you haven’t been paying attention to this season of “The Bachelorette” until now: Congratulations. You haven’t missed much. This is the point where the sea of six-packs and Ken-doll hair has been whittled down to four men: Peter, 27, a pilot from Westlake, Calif.; Tyler, 26, a general contractor from Jupiter, Fla.; Luke P., 24, an import/export manager from Gainesville, Ga.; and Jed, 25, a singer-songwriter from Nashville.
As Bachelorette Hannah Brown meets their families, she’ll explain that yes, Mom and Dad, even though she’s still dating three other men, she does indeed have strong feelings for your son. She’ll expect the guys to each say they’re in love with her, and she’ll ask their parents whether their son is Really Ready to Get Married. One of them will hop into her SUV as she is about to pull away, and another will take her into a recording studio to make a truly bad country song. After those visits, Hannah should have to make a difficult decision about whom to cut. Instead, Hannah asks host Chris Harrison for an extra rose and keeps them all. Lame, Hannah, lame. You’re here to make tough decisions — not keep everyone just for participating. Also Luke should have been outta here weeks ago.
Here are the biggest moments from each hometown date.
Peter, 27, from Westlake, Calif.
Did Peter get cast because producers were wandering just outside the mansion and got lost? Was he the pilot for a helicopter date on another season . . . and just lucked into a spot on this one?
According to Tinder, pilots get the most right swipes on the dating app. It’s a profession that is well-suited to this show, which frequently launches contestants into the sky — or drops them from a plane — to create instant romance. Peter is cute, sure; he looks like a younger, more innocent Nick Viall. Perhaps he cuts down on the show’s production budget, as his presence on this date means that no additional pilot need be hired. He hails from Westlake Village, Calif., a mere three miles from Agoura Hills, where the Bachelor Mansion is nestled and which he points out on their flight over the Pacific coast. But like many others this season, he doesn’t have much personality. Even though he tells Hannah that he does everything safely, in the middle of their flight, Peter takes his eyes off the skies to kiss Hannah. How secure is that autopilot setting, Peter?
Peter tells his parents he feels like he’s found “his person.” Mom and Dad have both cried while expressing their concern for their son and his potential to be hurt. Peter’s path through the rose ceremony may have been smooth, but here at Bachelor Air Traffic Control, we predict he’ll hit some turbulence up ahead.
Tyler, 26, from Jupiter, Fla.
“I can’t wait to show you my family,” Tyler tells Hannah as their date is beginning. Moments later, he pulls off his shirt and does just that, showing her the only “family” that really matters here: the sextuplets on his abdomen.
“There’s no doubt that there is some sexual attraction between me and Tyler,” Hannah tells the camera in a cutaway interview. We believe you.
Inexplicably, though, she doesn’t spend the whole date staring at Tyler’s six-pack. Instead, they hop onto his terribly named boat, Reel Clean, which, like his workout regimen, seems like it was probably very expensive. “Jupiter is my everything,” Tyler says, gesturing to the beachfront community they are cruising past. Surely distracted by his river-rock-round shoulders, Hannah probably wonders what he has against Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
Later, they dance at an outdoor tiki bar, arms flapping to the beat like characters in the opening credits of a forgotten late-’90s sitcom. Hannah joins the band onstage and strums aggressively at an invisible guitar, a deeply humiliating act that Tyler beatifically forgives. Later, she flings herself at him, as if in an unplanned imitation of Jennifer Grey in “Dirty Dancing.” Plucking her out of the air, he almost lifts her aloft, perhaps stopping short in the name of safety, and perhaps by way of admission that, in this regard, at least, he is no equal to Patrick Swayze.
Eventually, they make their way to his family’s McMansion, where no one is quite as attractive as Tyler but everyone is very nice. His father, recovering from a grave illness, speaks in a raspy whisper. “You can’t plan to fall in love. It just hits you right between the eyes,” this ailing patriarch declares, his face crinkling mischievously. Tyler, for his part, seems as delighted to see his father on his feet as he is to spend time with Hannah.
And what does Hannah think of all of this? “They’re awesome,” she concludes after they leave the homestead. At first, she appears to be talking about his parents, but as she pulls him into SUV after her, it seems possible that she’s still thinking of his abs.
Luke P., 26, from Gainesville, Ga.
Maya Angelou once shared an important life lesson: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” But because Hannah probably thinks that Maya Angelou was one of the members of Destiny’s Child, she has spent episodes of this show searching for the Real Luke P., despite a veritable color guard of red flags showing her the way.
So it’s off to the Potemkin village of Gainesville, Ga., to meet Luke’s family and hear about how he is not a bad guy at all, no way, he is a wonderful person who has never had rage problems and definitely doesn’t have terrifying pitch-black eyes that make you wonder if his soul has left his body. “I want to understand why he is the way he is,” says Hannah, who seems desperate to latch on to any explanation other than: “He has a personality disorder, sweetheart, that’s why.”
First, because Luke is religious, they go to Sunday school, and he delivers a speech about his struggles with partying and drinking: “College, it was just crazy. I was chasing sex, and I was entangled and caught up in sin of all kinds. I remember getting in the shower, I remember feeling like I had all this weight on me. … I remember hearing God talk to me,” he says. “He said, ‘Luke, let go and follow me.’” Everyone falls all over themselves to tell Hannah that Luke is good.
Next, we meet Luke’s family. His father and brother look like they could be Civil War reenactors, but for the wrong side. Hannah alludes to Luke’s difficulties getting along with other men, and the whole family goes into damage-control mode. “That’s not like my son,” Luke’s dad says. “Hearing what you say, it’s not who Luke is,” his brother says. And because Hannah only hears what she wants to hear, it works! She rides off in her SUV, content. The house exudes a powerful, sinister energy. Luke’s dark forces grow stronger for the final battle ahead. Somewhere in Washington, as Luke P. receives a rose, the vanquished Luke S. awakes in a silent scream.
Jed, 25, from Knoxville, Tenn.
Members of Bachelor Nation held their collective breath when Hannah arrived in Knoxville to reunite with singer/songwriter Jed — otherwise known as the Guy With the Girlfriend. A month ago, Nashville singer Haley Stevens made some juicy claims to the tabloids: She said she had been dating Jed for four months, right up until he left to film “The Bachelorette.” Apparently, he told her that he was just going on the show to promote his music career, and afterward, they would continue their relationship. Then, once he returned to Nashville, he ghosted her.
Jed has kept quiet about this looming disaster, aside from an Instagram post pleading for angry viewers to stop harassing him and his family. So fans carefully parsed his hometown date for clues, particularly an eyebrow-raising toast from his mom, who says: “Here’s to everyone trusting their intuition and their gut every day. When you stick to your truth, it’s beneficial to everybody.”
Yikes. During a chat with Hannah, Jed’s mom expresses doubt that her son is ready for a serious relationship. (“His path is different,” is her polite euphemism.) Hannah admits that this “definitely sets off a few alarms in my head.” The rest of his family also seems less than thrilled to meet her. But after Hannah and Jed sit down in a recording studio to write a truly terrible song together — “We are falling in love/ And I can’t get enough/ I don’t want to leave; I cannot believe, we’ve come this far/ It’s written in the stars” — Jed says the magic words: “I love you. I can feel it.” And that’s enough for Hannah.
“Every girl in their wildest dreams wants a guy to write a song about them,” she gushes. Bachelor Nation is less convinced.