Hometown date week has arrived! The "exotic" date locales are ditched in favor of awkward visits to the four women's hometowns, where Ben has to keep up the ruse of pretending he could potentially marry them all. But first, Ben deeply ponders everything on a rock by the crashing beach waves.
Ben's first hometown date is in Laguna Beach with Amanda, and truth be told I'm pretty disappointed the entire cast of the MTV show didn't crash the date. Instead the date has very special appearances by Amanda's two daughters who get to meet this guy on TV who they could possibly call Daddy Ben some day. Amanda is nervous about how Ben will be with her kids and, of course, he's wonderful as they build sandcastles and chase seagulls. The reality sets in as the kids cry in the car ride to Amanda's parents house and start getting fussy. Ben pastes on his happy face but it's clear he's uncomfortable at times. Amanda's family talk to Ben about the reality of what life with Amanda would be like since Ben would be an insta-dad and his life priorities would have to change. The family isn't totally sold on Ben yet but think he's a catch overall, basically just wanting Amanda to be happy and have a life. The night ends with Ben and Amanda sharing an extremely lackluster kiss that's clear this pairing isn't going to work.
Ben travels to Portland, Oregon to visit the hometown of clear frontrunner Lauren B who is hoping this family visit will lead to a big moment for her: telling Ben she loves him. Before meeting the folks, Lauren gives Ben a tour of Portland which includes food trucks (can someone bring me some Georgian cheese bread?) and this amazing whiskey library. What are the late fees at a whiskey library? Is there no talking there? I have so many questions. Lauren's family wants to protect her since this process moves so fast and introducing a guy she's dated for a month (who is also still dating other people) is a lot of risk. Lauren's sister is skeptical that Ben is saying the same lines to all the families, but once she sees Ben get emotional over Lauren she sees it's more real and eventually gives Lauren her blessing. Ben admits to Lauren's dad that this process is very tough and her cares for Lauren a lot. Since her family was kinda weird Lauren decides not to tell Ben she loves him and instead ends the night with a kiss.
It's off to Ohio for Caila's hometown visit, which is in the place she considers her hometown since she moved a lot as a child. Caila's dad runs a toy company so they visit the factory and build a toy house together, AKA best hometown date activity ever. Until they re-enact the ending of An Officer and a Gentlemen with the factory workers applauding and then I audibly groan. Ben gets to meet his first Filipinos ever and eat traditional food prepared by Caila's mom. Ben explains that Caila doesn't try to say the right things, but says the real things which Ben likes but also is worried she won't reciprocate the feelings. Caila tells her parents that she feels with Ben this is the one, it's love. I'd call this setup to make her the next Bachelorette. With the encouragement from her family, Caila plans to tell Ben she loves him, but stops short because she's afraid to trust him.
The last stop is in Dallas, Texas where JoJo is surprised with a bouquet of roses and a romantic letter... from her ex! Livid at this letter, JoJo calls up her ex about this declaration of love on paper and he responds with lots of corny cliche one-liners that this show thrives on. Ben knocks on the door and a teary JoJo fills him in on her morning mail drama and she's not at all torn, she's 100% into Ben and ended it with the ex for good. The day's drama is far from over though as Ben meets JoJo's overprotective brothers. JoJo tells her mom she is falling in love with Ben and is very afraid of being hurt. But her brothers think she's crazy thinking she's in love after only two solo dates (because group dates don't count in their minds), concerned that Ben isn't as emotionally invested in her. One brother tells Ben he brainwashes the women and doesn't think Ben genuinely cares about JoJo, thinking Ben is coached with lines to use and keep it vague, but Ben insists he cares. The whole family gets involved in the discussion with the parents sort of more into Ben than the brothers. It's all extremely uncomfortable, but Ben takes it in stride and says he'll prove his feelings by actions.
The women all return to The Bachelor mansion for their post-hometown Rose Ceremony, which gets right down to business because there's only 10 minutes left. Ben thanks the women for their families welcoming him and being so open. And then it's time to break hearts. Amanda the single mom is eliminated, but I'm not surprised given how much he's connected with the other women - not to mention the lackluster hometown kiss. Amanda wishes Ben dumped her after their hometown instead of making her fly to LA for a Rose Ceremony, but he insists he wasn't sure. But a kind parting speech leaves them on good terms and Amanda heads off in her limo.
[All images credited to ABC]