'The Bachelor' recap: Ben plays hometown hero, gets some help from mom

For The Baltimore Sun
The Bachelor recap: In a visit to Ben's hometown, mom gets the final say.

On Episode 7 of "The Bachelor," the remaining six women competing for a Neil Lane diamond on national television are headed to Ben’s hometown of Warsaw, Ind.

When Ben arrives, he meets his parents at a diner for breakfast, because Indiana. His mom wants to know about the women he is still “dating” and he briefly explains each relationship. What I hear is, “JoJo is really hot, Caila is really smart, Emily is definitely going home, Becca doesn’t put out, Lauren will probably be my wife and Amanda has kids.”

Also, Ben’s dad is a silver fox.

Ben leaves his parents to greet the women and take them to the house they’ll be staying in while in Warsaw.

As soon as they arrive at the home, Ben says, “Today’s date starts right now. Lauren, you have 30 minutes to get ready if you accept.” She does, and while she gets ready, the other women complain because they feel like this is more of an intimate date than they’re used to — as Ben actually asked her to her face and didn’t have another woman he was dating read a note card with a bad pun written by an intern.

FIRST ONE-ON-ONE DATE

The date begins with Ben driving Lauren B., the flight attendant with airport puns, around Warsaw in a red pickup truck, because Indiana. He points out the high school he went to, the church he is a member of and a hotel that used to be a movie theater where he had his first kiss in seventh grade, which was like five years ago for him.

They continue driving around Warsaw until they arrive at the Baker Youth Club, which is of course where Ben worked when he lived there, because it’s a place where kids can go after school when they have nowhere else to go and he’s Ben.

When Ben and Lauren B. walk in, everyone is excited to see Ben. The man working calls him “Big Ben” and I assume the two of them have spent some time together in the locker room.

Ben and Lauren B., the flight attendant with the airport puns, interact with the kids by doing athletic things. If I’m going to sweat on a date, it better not be because I’m jumping rope with a bunch of 8-year-olds.   

One kid makes a half-court shot and Ben has to kiss Lauren; another kid is crying in the corner and Ben gives him attention because he’s used to people shedding tears in the corner to get his attention. Ben tells the kids that he has a surprise for them — a few Indiana Pacers basketball players and its mascot are there to join in on the “fun.”

Back at the house, the second date cared arrives and Caila, who should just spell her name Kayla like a normal person, reads, “JoJo, let’s find love in the windy city. Ben.”

For the second half of their date Ben takes Lauren B., the flight attendant with airport puns, back to his place, which apparently means Ben has a home in Warsaw and in Denver. Does “Big Ben” also have a big wallet?

They sit on the couch, reassure each other that they share mutual feelings, and kiss before he finally takes her to a bar.

Basically this date was, “Here are three buildings I spent a lot of time at as a kid; let’s play with a bunch of random kids for a few hours; now we’re going to hash out our feelings; because of how terrible this was I’ll buy you a drink.” Terrible.

Lauren B. feels much differently than I do because at the end of their date she tells us, “I am not in love with Ben “The Bachelor” anymore, I am in love with Ben from Warsaw, Indiana,” and I’m not sure which one is worse.

SECOND ONE-ON-ONE DATE

JoJo, who stepped out of the limo the first night wearing a unicorn mask, is picked up in a car and after five minutes, Ben is greeting her in Chicago. I Google how close Warsaw, Ind., is to Chicago and its a two-and-a-half-hour drive. I refuse to drive to a date in Santa Monica, Calif., which is 12 miles from where I live. A two-plus hour car ride? Never.

They’re in Wrigleyville and obviously they have total private access to Wrigley Field, because "The Bachelor." Ben has JoJo put on a jersey (are they called jerseys in baseball?) that reads “Mrs. Higgins” on the back, and now I know what JoJo will be wearing as pajamas for the rest of her life. Even if he doesn’t pick her.

They do boring baseball things until they have dinner in center field. Dinner conversation replicates last week. Ben essentially begs JoJo to tell him she loves him and JoJo says she is scared 184 times.

After that grueling conversation, they stand at home plate making out and the camera zooms in on an overly illuminated McDonald’s logo. Now I know how Ben was able to gain private access to Wrigley Field.

GROUP DATE

Back in Warsaw, there is another date card and Lauren B., the flight attendant with the airport puns, reads, “Caila, Amanda, Becca …” and Emily, the twin who wasn’t sent home, starts crying so I don’t know what the rest of the date card said.

The three women arrive at a farm and start their date by doing farm things like rowing boats and flying kites in heels.

Afterward, they walk into a barn that looks like Pinterest threw up in it and I wonder if Becca, the virgin from Chris Soules’ season, has a flashback to a very similar barn she was recently dumped in.  

Ben tells the women that whoever gets the group date rose will get to spend the rest of the day with him while the other two will head back home. He tells them this is incredibly important because next week is hometown date week. No pressure or anything.

He pulls each woman aside to talk about their individual relationships, and I am certain Ben is the guy who wants to talk about everything in a fight instead of just having hate sex to get over it.

Ben decides to give Amanda, the mom from Orange County, the rose, and when she accepts, they ditch Becca, the virgin from Chris Soules’ season and Caila, who should just spell her name Kayla like a normal person. This is the second time Becca has been dumped in a Pinterest-covered barn.

When Ben and Amanda leave, Caila worries that if she has a hometown date, Ben will only meet her parents because she didn’t grow up in one town like Ben did. I think this is wasted imagination on her part because I’m pretty sure her boyfriend has no desire to meet her childhood friends.

Becca cries because she feels like Ben hasn’t given her the validation he’s given the other women at this point. If Becca is the next Bachelorette, she better put out in a Fantasy Suite date because I can’t handle another season of this much boredom.

On their date, Ben tells Amanda — a tiny woman from California, where we prefer In-N-Out if we’re going for a fast-food burger — that he wants to do the things he would normally do while he’s home in Warsaw, so he takes her to McDonald’s. After ordering from the all-day breakfast menu that McDonald’s is currently pushing way too hard, Ben tells the cashier he’s always wanted to work behind the counter and asks if he and “his date” can do so tonight. Naturally, the cashier say’s “yes” because, you know, customer service? I think tomorrow I’m going to order a Diet Coke from McDonald’s and see how they react to me asking to work behind the counter for a few.

Amanda, the mom from Orange County, pretends to be excited because what girl's dream isn’t to serve $1 hamburgers and spend the rest of their night smelling like greasy french fries?

Clearly someone in public relations at McDonald’s is a fan of "The Bachelor" franchise because this episode is basically the world’s worst McDonald’s ad I’ve ever seen. And that says a lot.  

After their Egg McMuffins and french fries for dinner (gross), they head outside to find that a carnival has been erected. Which is basically another excuse for Ben to show a woman that his hometown loves him as he kisses children and is welcomed by the mayor.

They ride some rides, Ben plays with more kids and they kiss on the Ferris wheel.

THIRD ONE-ON-ONE DATE

Emily, the twin who wasn’t sent home, and Ben hop on the pontoon and I finally learn that the date card said, “Home is where the heart is,” so Ben is bringing Emily to meet his parents.

It's every mother’s dream: Her hometown hero of a son bringing a “professional twin” from Las Vegas home for brunch.

Ben’s mom pulls Emily aside to chat and Emily just biffs. She says things like, “I feel like I’m so average at everything in my life” and “It’s been my lifelong dream to be an NFL cheerleader” and “I am super, super young but I’ve really blossomed through meeting Ben.”  

It’s very clear when Ben regroups with his mom that she didn’t like Emily — mostly because his mom cries when trying to talk about it.  

As they leave his parents' house, Ben and his pontoon take Emily back to the house, where she nervously asks, “Are you taking me home?” He tells her he (his mom) doesn’t see her as his wife and sends her home with the rest of the girls watching.  

COCKTAIL PARTY

No cocktail party tonight. Unless you’re at my apartment, because with five minutes to go, I desperately need a glass of wine.

ROSE CEREMONY

The remaining women are brought to stand outside in the cold while waiting to see if they’ll be chosen for a hometown date.

ELIMINATED

Emily, the twin who wasn’t sent home. Until now.

Becca, the virgin from Chris Soules’ season.

HOMETOWN DATE PREDICTIONS

Lauren B., because airport puns.

Caila, who should just spell her name Kayla like a normal person, because she feels like Ben’s type to me. Since I know him so well and all. 

LINE OF THE NIGHT 

“There’s only one rose on this date and he can give it to only one person” – Becca on the group date.

As always, let me know what you think on Twitter @abbydraper. See you next week!

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