Forget Mexico! Forget Vegas! Forget literally every other city and country on Earth, because this week on The Bachelor, we’re about to experience a locale so exotic, so sophisticated, it makes Paris look like Gary, Indiana. It makes Rome look like the alley behind a Jimmy Johns in Cleveland. It makes Tokyo look like a creepy guy named Gary. It’s Warsaw … INDIANA!
Warsaw: The Orthopedic Capital of the World!
Warsaw: Home of Tom Metzger, founder of the White Aryan Resistance!
Warsaw: Come for the Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts! Stay for the book-burning!
The ladytestants descend upon scenic Warsaw like a swarm of moths attacking the very slouchy sweaters they’re wearing. Oatmeal drives around to where he had his first job, his first kiss, and went to school. No surprise, they’re all in the same building. WARSAW IS TINY! Thank you, folks, I’ll be here all week! Oatmeal meets up with his parents, Amy and David Higgins, and tells them not to hold back before they hug him, which is a terrifying thing for an adult son to say to his parents. His mom looks like a mom whose teen daughter loses her way in a Lifetime movie. His dad looks like he coaches basketball in a Capra film. In other words, they are the exact people who would sire Oatmeal.
His parents ask him to tell them about the women who remain, and Oatmeal describes them in ways that definitely reflect their complex personhood. He calls Amanda “shockingly beautiful,” and the first words he uses to describe Emily are, “She’s an identical twin.”
Meanwhile, the ladytestants are managing their anxiety by having a leaf fight and walking along a pier in ankle booties. Oatmeal approaches on a boat. Caila, driven mad by the prospect of next week’s hometown visits, attempts to lift the boat out of the water with her bare hands.
Everyone is a little on edge this week.
The ladytestants are staying in an Airbnb next door to Oatmeal’s parents’ house, and Oatmeal tells them to invest in some earplugs and not to look in the windows because Amy and David still bang each other’s brains out. This is an important week.
Oatmeal tells Lauren No-Longer-B. that she’s got 30 minutes to get ready because the Quakers are stepping out! Lauren No-Longer-B. and Oatmeal head for a drive around Warsaw to see all the sights. From the church to the hotel that used to be a movie theater, no stone goes unturned on this tour! Oatmeal and Lauren end up at the youth club where he used to mentor kids.
Okay, this part is legit cute.
Also, this section of the episode featured Ronnie, a young blond kid who hits half-court shots like a goddamn pro. Someone get this kid to the halftime show of an NBA basketball game. Unfortunately, he uses his powers for evil and forces Lauren and Oatmeal to kiss in front of a crowd of squealing children. Lauren jumps rope with a single rope, and they play one-on-one in matching white T-shirts. They are the single whitest couple on our Goddess Beyoncé’s good green Earth.
Back at the Airbnb, JoJo gets the next date card and Oatmeal is taking her to the Windy City, and the other ladytestants speculate for a little too long about what it means. “It’s pretty windy here,” someone offers.
Oatmeal takes Lauren to a bar to hang out with a group of American Eagle models hired to be his friends, and they talk about how about Leah was a total bitch who made up that mean story about Lauren. Lauren ends the date by staring into the camera during her confessional, then pronouncing she’s in love with Oatmeal with dead shark eyes. Ah, young love.
But there’s no rose for this one-on-one date.
It’s time for JoJo’s one-on-one date in exotic Wrigleyville! Even though it’s the mid-afternoon, the streets are lined with frat bros and the girls who yell at them because I can’t believe you were just going to talk to Tracey in front of me! JoJo and Oatmeal step over some Old Style cans and walk right onto Wrigley Field. The two play catch and have a candlelit dinner on the storied grass.
Oatmeal says it’s endearing that JoJo doesn’t even realize how much he likes her. Because that’s really hot — deep insecurity and uncertainty in your relationships! Oatmeal engages in a weird Bachelor trope wherein the ladytestants must ignore any and all reservations they have about falling in love. They have to give in to the whole falling-in-love process and expose deep, dark things about themselves, or they’re not seen as in it. There’s value placed on the women being vulnerable, and being forced to expose that vulnerability and trusting the Bachelor before he actually does anything to earn it. He’s dating other women in front of them. That’s a pretty good reason to hold back a bit.
I don’t have a joke about that. It’s just a shitty thing women are forced to do on this show and in the world.
Oatmeal is wearing a hideous tweed sweater and an oatmeal-colored sweater. He’s a parody of himself.
Oatmeal eventually cajoles JoJo to reveal that she does like him and wants to trust him but can’t, but she’s going to try, or something. Whatever.
There’s no rose for this one-on-one date.
Twin gets the news that she’s also going on a one-on-one date and bursts into tears. She only finds out she’s going through process of elimination when the other date card arrives. Caila, Amanda, and Becca go on a group date to a farm. (Don’t worry, this isn’t even the worst date of the episode.) Everyone is freaking out because hometown dates are so important that the pressure causes Caila to jump into his arms. Becca takes a different approach and tells Oatmeal that she doesn’t feel like he’s validated her in any way, so she’s basically ready for him to send her home.
Oatmeal reveals that there will be a rose for this date, and the other two losers have to go home for the evening. He gives the rose to Amanda, and the pair — I kid you not — go work a drive-through shift at McDonald’s. Had that been my black ass when he suggested, “Can we get back behind the counter?” I would have sent myself home. I would have shredded any and all roses I came in contact with for the next three months. But I’m not Amanda. Homegirl strapped on that headset and handed out apple pies.
It’s time for Twin’s one-on-one date. Oatmeal takes her to hang out with his parents, and she word-vomits about how she wants to be an NFL cheerleader and doesn’t know what swans are. Oatmeal keeps repeating the same line about how he totally didn’t keep her there out of obligation after Other Twin went home. Sure. Oatmeal’s mom weeps while talking about Twin because she’s so scatterbrained and so young. Yikes.
Oatmeal takes Twin back to the Airbnb and lets her down gently by telling her he doesn’t see her as his wife. Double yikes. The other ladytestants gather ‘round and try to read Twin’s facial expressions like robots. “They were talking and now they are not talking. That means sadness!”
It’s time for the Rose Ceremony, and Oatmeal can’t keep it together. He’s scared to do the one thing he’s contractually obligated to do all season. You’re the Bachelor. You hand out roses to women who don’t need to wear Spanx. It’s what you do. Host Chris gives him a pep talk, and it’s time.
The roses go to JoJo, Lauren and … Caila.
Becca gets sent home again. She asks herself why she keeps putting herself through this. Does she know she can stop? Nobody has to go on The Bachelor franchise television programs. You’re a pretty blonde virgin. SOMEONE will want to date you, and Liam Neeson will hunt down anyone who hurts you.
Next week: Hometown visits! Someone’s brother will get drunk on BL Platinum and yell at Oatmeal!