'The Bachelor' recap: Meet the parents -- and the nanny

For The Baltimore Sun
"The Bachelor" recap: We're in the home(towns) stretch.

It's hometowns week on "The Bachelor," which means Nick will travel to the homes and meet the families of the four remaining women vying for his love. 

But first, as a quick reminder: Last week, after walking into the women’s hotel room without knocking, Nick sent Kristina home last minute. So Corinne, Vanessa, Rachel and Raven are “in shock” and concerned about what “crazy” thing Nick will do next. I’m hoping he just calls it quits and this awful season will be over, but he’d never give up on TV time, so that’s a wash.

Instead, he offers a rose to each of the final four, asking them if they’d welcome him to meeting their families. He then cries and talks about how he’s been in this situation before, because it wouldn’t be an episode of this season if we made it without that happening. And, dollar. 

HOMETOWN DATE: RAVEN

Raven, and her terrible Southern accent, drives a four-wheeler to greet Nick, who is standing in the middle of a swamp, because Arkansas.

She has him hop on and takes him to a grain bin, because apparently in the South that’s where important conversations are had. I’m guessing that means a lot of unsuspecting men find out they’re going to be fathers there, but before I can find out, a police officer shows up. Surprising to no one, this is a prank and the cop is Raven's brother. Hilarious, except not at all.

Back on the four-wheelers, Raven and Nick race around the swamp before undressing to make out in said swamp. Hoxie, Arkansas, is a place I hope to never visit.   

Once they’ve showered (I hope) they arrive at Raven’s parents’ house and sit on tiny furniture to chat with her mom, dad and a different (I think) brother.

Before Raven and Nick can talk, Raven’s parents tell them that her dad has just been declared cancer-free. Nick starts aggressively clapping because he’s trained for television and everyone looks at him like the doofus he is.

We learn that Raven’s parents are concerned Raven won’t be able to say “I love you” to Nick because of past relationships. Nick asks Raven’s dad for his blessing should Nick ask Raven to marry him. Raven's dad basically says “whatevs,” and then Raven fails to tell Nick that she loves him.

Wouldn’t it be funny to watch ABC try to film a wedding in a swamp? Chris Harrison wouldn’t know what to do with himself.

HOMETOWN DATE: RACHEL

I’m annoyed that I have to watch this because we know how their relationship ends, since Rachel has already been named the next Bachelorette. Either way, they’re in Dallas and I’m surprised because Nick is in slacks and a dress shirt rather than skinny jeans and a henley.

It doesn’t take long for us to learn why.

Rachel, our next Bachelorette, tells Nick they’re going to be doing something he’s never done before and I think: Speak without a lisp? Have a proposal accepted on TV? Turn down a broadcast opportunity? But instead, she takes him to church. It’s a predominately black congregation, which sets the tone for this entire date and I’m guessing the upcoming season of "The Bachelorette."

Nick gets to meet everyone except Rachel’s father, who is said to be tied up at work, but I’m guessing he’s as over this season as the rest of us and didn’t feel like participating. Don’t worry, we’ll meet him in a few months.

One by one, they all ask him if he’s ever dated a black woman before, and that’s the entirety of the date.

HOMETOWN DATE: CORINNE

In Miami, Corinne, this season’s villain, tells Nick that they are going shopping at one of the most exclusive malls in Miami. She also says she and shopping are like white on rice, and I laugh out loud given the timing after the hometown date we just watched. 

As they’re shopping, Corinne pulls another trick out of the ol' lady book and buys Nick a $3,000 outfit, to show him she can buy his love if his upcoming season of "Dancing with the Stars" doesn’t go well.

After she’s clothed him in a new outfit to meet her parents, she wines and dines him and then says “I love you” to really seal the deal, in her mind.  

During this date, we learn that Corinne’s parents and her nanny are all concerned that Nick doesn’t make any money and they’re going to have to support the couple if they get married. Corinne says she’s totally fine being the “breadwinner” and Nick says, “I’m so grateful she said that.” So like, what a catch.   

To top it all off, as Corinne and Nick say their goodbyes, she says “I love you” and opens the car door for him. Like a real breadwinner.   

HOMETOWN DATE: VANESSA

I was going to make a joke about Nick being in Canada to meet another contestant’s family, but Kaitlyn’s family met him in Malibu, so that’s not going to work.

Anyway, they're in Montreal, where Vanessa, the perfect combination of Andi, Kaitlyn and Jen, takes Nick to meet her students (she's a special education teacher). When the two of them arrive, her students are emotional because they’ve missed her so much. Again, she is the perfect combination of Andi, Kaitlyn and Jen.

Nick and Vanessa spend some time hanging out with the students before heading to meet Vanessa’s mom’s side of the family.

When they arrive at her mom’s house, they are greeted by like three dozen people. This doesn’t faze Nick because he has 107 siblings of his own.  

Nick talks with Vanessa’s sister and they both cry; Vanessa talks with her brother, who I’m pretty sure is a leprechaun, and they both cry; Vanessa speaks to her sister and they both cry; Vanessa rounds it out with a conversation with her mom and … they both cry.

Because there were so many tears shed, neither Vanessa nor Nick is feeling great about tonight. But have no fear — they have another side of the family to meet.

Nick asks Vanessa's father the same question he’s asked the other fathers, about getting permission to potentially marry their daughter. Vanessa’s dad calls Nick out by asking him directly if he has already asked this of the other three dads.

Honestly, this is the most entertaining thing that has happened all season. Nick stutters through a response, and a stuttering lisp is everything I didn’t know I’ve ever dreamed of. 

Vanessa and her dad reconvene, and it’s revealed that Nick has asked all four dads for permission to marry their daughters. Vanessa is not pleased.  

In the next scene, Nick is all of a sudden in Brooklyn, N.Y., and wearing all black, because he’s in Brooklyn.

While they prepare for the rose ceremony, Raven, whom I forgot about already, shares that she’s nervous because she may be the only one who hasn’t told Nick she loves him; Corinne is super confident in their relationship; Rachel says something I don’t care about because she’s not going to “marry” Nick; and Vanessa is still upset about what her dad told her.

As Nick contemplates the rest of his life while overlooking the Brooklyn skyline, there is a knock at his door. It’s Andi Dorfman, the first Bachelorette to dump him on national television. It makes zero sense for her to be here, to be honest, but these "Bachelor" kids love their TV time.

Obviously we get a “To Be Continued…” and I just want to remind you that I hate this season. 

ELIMINATED

No one. Boring.

FINAL TWO PREDICTIONS

Vanessa, because she is the perfect combination of Andi, Kaitlyn and Jen.

Corinne, this season's villain. 

LINE OF THE NIGHT 

“I told him today I loved him. I mean, we’ve been dating for a month and a half.” – Corinne to her dad.

Let me know what you think on Twitter @abbydraper. See you next week.

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