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'The Bachelor' recap: After hometowns, Arie chooses a surprising final three

For The Baltimore Sun

Arie’s journey to find love is winding down, which means we are getting to the juiciest and most dramatic episodes. This week marked one of our favorite parts of every “Bachelor” season — the hometown dates, where viewers across the nation sit at home wondering how the hell ABC is able to convince all of these poor, innocent families to pretend be OK with their child competing for love on national TV.

Kendall’s Hometown:

Arie’s first stop is Los Angeles to meet Kendall’s family. Kendall talks to the camera about how it is hard for her to meet people who really understand her, which we totally believe.

For the first part of the date, she takes Arie on a tour of a creepy taxidermy storage room. Arie tells the camera that taxidermy really isn’t his thing, but he’s still having fun with Kendall. He must be really into her, because if someone told us that their passion is taxidermy, my reaction would be “gotta go, bye.”

The second part of the date is more hands-on — Kendall tells Arie that they are now going to mount taxidermied rats. This is honestly starting to seem more like a nightmare than a date. Arie takes it in stride, though, and plays along. Kendall talks about how taxidermy is like the perfect relationship because it lasts forever. Something about that weirds me out.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Hmm no making out yet, I thought that Arie was the kissing bandit.” Don’t worry: Kendall and Arie use their newly stuffed rats to act out a fake wedding scene and have the rats “make out.” We were very uncomfortable watching this.

After they are done playing with their stuffed rats, they go to Kendall’s parents house for dinner. We find out that she has a twin sister named Kylie. Yes, you read that right: Their names are Kendall and Kylie. We actually think that this dinner goes pretty well, considering the fact that Arie and Kendall’s first time hanging out together one-on-one was that very same day.

Arie asks Kendall’s dad for his blessing to get married to Kendall if he decides to propose. Her dad gives him a very half-hearted yes. Meanwhile, Kendall and Kylie discuss whether Kendall is actually ready to get married. The answer is no, you are not ready, you barely know this guy and he has been dating 29 other women for the past few weeks. Instead Kendall decides to not use logic, and runs off to tell Arie that she is falling for him. At this point in the episode, it seems unlikely that Kendall makes it past hometowns since they really don’t know each other, but Arie lives for validation from these women so maybe this stunt will be enough to win him over.

Tia’s Hometown

Next, Arie heads to Weiner, Ark., to see Tia. He exclaims that he is “so excited to be in Weiner” but we are questioning how authentic he is. According to Wikipedia, the population of Weiner is 686 people, so we are pretty sure there is nothing for him to do there.

Tia takes Arie to a racetrack, which shows us that she knows how to make this guy happy. Usually hometown dates revolve around the contestant’s interests, not the lead’s, so we get the feeling that Tia is a bit of a people pleaser.

After a “fun” day of racing around a track, Tia and Arie head to her parents’ house. Tia’s family talks in the living room about what they expect. Tia’s father says that they will find out when they shake hands, because a handshake tells you everything you need to know about a person. We hope Arie has been practicing.

Tia’s brother pulls Arie aside to have a private talk. He starts it off by saying he’s heard some rumors that Arie is a “ladies man” and a “bad boy.” We guess this means Tia’s brother is also an avid follower of Reality Steve. Viewers might have a hard time seeing Arie as the rough bad boy ABC is trying to make him out to be, considering he wears as much foundation as Marikh. Whoops sorry, we didn’t mean to #glamshame you Arie.

Arie assures Tia’s brother that he is actually a big softie and this seems to appease him. Arie then talks to Tia’s father, who has a similar conversation about Arie’s “bad boy” behavior. Her dad ends the conversation by letting Arie know he can find him on Google if he ends up hurting Tia. Nice once Mr. Tia. We are sure that Arie is terrified of your computer skills.

All in all, Tia’s family seems to like Arie better than anyone else Tia has ever dated. We are afraid to imagine who she has brought home before. Tia ends the date by telling Arie that she is in love with him.

Becca’s Hometown

Arie’s next stop is Minnesota, where he goes with Becca K. on a date to an apple orchard. This seems pretty anti-climactic after Tia’s super cool race car date.

Becca K. explains to Arie that when her dad died, her Uncle Gary stepped in as a father figure, and that he will probably have some questions for Bad Boy Arie. Uncle Gary is a pastor, so we wonder how this will go considering that Arie has admitted to being a — *gasp* — atheist earlier in the season.

The date seems to be going well, and Arie is getting along with Becca K.’s family. Arie and Uncle Gary have a great heart-to-heart talking about Becca K.’s dad and his love for duck carving and hunting. Arie even gets a bit emotional, which definitely helped him win points with Uncle Gary.

Arie is then grilled about religion. We knew this was coming, so we aren't too surprised, but we are impressed by how Arie skirts around this question. Arie states that he isn’t as “far along in his spiritual journey but is open to getting there.” Good save Arie.

Becca’s mother is a bit more reluctant to welcome him as her new son-in-law. She says something along the lines of, “We trust our daughter, so if you two end up together at the end of this I guess it’s fine.” Aka: Please don’t choose my daughter, we don’t approve.

Lauren’s Hometown

The last hometown date is in Virginia Beach, Va., with Wallpaper Lauren. We have a feeling that this one is going to be excruciatingly boring, because we have yet to see Arie and Lauren exchange more than 10 words this entire season. Maybe they have been communicating telepathically, though, because they keep talking in their direct-to-camera interviews about how into each other they are.

Back at Lauren’s house, the family is getting ready for dinner with Arie and they wonder out loud if he knows how conservative they are. We are a little concerned about what this comment means. We learn that Lauren’s dad is a military man and he seems very intimidating and serious. This family really doesn’t seem like the reality TV type.

Arie is super nervous at dinner and seems to be bombing this date. At one point he leaves the table because he is sweating so much from nerves. There is a lot of awkward silence, which is reminds us a lot of Arie and Lauren’s last one-on-one date. We actually start to feel bad for the guy.

Lauren’s dad asks Arie if he knows anyone in the military. Arie says no, and that’s one strike for him. Her dad then asks him if likes to play golf. Arie’s answer is, again, no. Strike two. Arie and dad then go outside to chat a little more. We are expecting a third strike, but instead Arie miraculously figures out how to charm him: by telling a story about how he went with other race car drivers to do a promo tour for the troops in Iraq. Lauren’s dad goes from steel to sunshine as soon as Arie mentions Iraq. Congrats Arie, even if you don’t end up engaged at the end of this show, at least you found the key to Lauren’s dad’s heart.

Arie gets the dad’s blessing. We aren’t too surprised because as soon as Arie mentioned the words Iraq, military and vets, Lauren’s dad started planning his daughter’s wedding in his head.

The Rose Ceremony

Arie’s foundation is way too dark and orange for his face, and we are thinking that maybe production needs to get him a new makeup artist. Arie talks about how he is falling for all of the girls. For whomever he ends up choosing, it has got to be hard to watch your fiance say over and over that he is falling for three other girls.

Arie comes out to greet the women, but then gets upset and immediately walks away into the other room. We sense a pattern — every time Arie gets emotional or has to deal with something difficult he runs away. We hope that this doesn’t foreshadow how he handles conflict in his future marriage.

Before starting the rose ceremony, Arie pulls Kendall into another room because he needs to clear things up with her. He asks Kendall if she is really ready to be engaged. She says that she is ready to get engaged but needs more time to see if Arie is “the one.” We are assuming that she is going to be out since she was the only girl to not say she is definitely ready for marriage.

Arie gives his first rose to Becca, the second rose to Lauren and then he shocks us all by giving the third and last rose to Kendall. This honestly makes no sense and we cannot believe that he picked her over Tia. We hope ABC makes her the next Bachelorette so she doesn’t have to go back to dating anyone in Arkansas. Tia cries in the limo and Arie fake cries in the driveway. Looks like her dad might have to look him up on Google after all! Better watch out Arie.

Out: Tia.

In: Becca, Lauren, Kendall

Makeout count: Becca, Lauren, Kendall, Tia, two stuffed rats

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