Do you hear that, rose lovers? It’s Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro,” and that means two things: Someone on Team Bachelor loves A Room With a View, and we’re in Tuscany, y’all!!! Not only that, it’s the final week before hometown dates. Where does the time go? (In this case, directly out the window.)
Now for some shocking news: There will be no rose ceremony this week! Which, when you think about it, isn’t that shocking because usually by this point we’ve had at least four episodes without rose ceremonies. All the roses will be handed out (or not) on dates, the first of which goes to Becca K.!
Hey knuckleheads! You’re in the shot!
Arie says he chose Becca for this date because after their first one-on-one about 17 years ago, their relationship has been “stuck,” and he wants to “see if there can be romance” for them. They drive off to the quaint medieval town of Barga for a leisurely stroll and a picturesque picnic. Their conversation hits all the points you’d expect — Becca assures Arie she still feels their connection despite a difficult week in Paris, Arie responds with “I like that” — and then they make out under the Tuscan sun.
“We found that passion,” gushes Arie. Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Jacqueline is feeling anything but passion.
It seems our Ph.D candidate is starting to absorb the reality of the situation: getting a rose means bringing Arie home to mama. “I don’t think that introducing somebody to my family…. after a date where I had doubts is, like, the right way to go about my relationship,” a tearful Jacqueline tells Kendall. You are correct, honey. It is so rare that a woman on The Bachelor is able to recognize that there’s a difference between wanting something simply because you’ve been told to want it, and wanting it because you actually want it…well, let’s just take a moment to enjoy it, shall we?
[Brief serenity interlude]
And we’re back! Over dinner, Becca gives the Bachelor the rundown of who he’d meet in her hometown — which, by the way, she really, really wants to bring him to because she’s “falling” for him. That’s all Arie needs to hear. “I’m really, really, really hopeful for us,” he reveals. “I’m falling for you.”
“He’s comin’ to Minnesota!” says Becca, ecstatic. “To get the first rose for hometowns, I’m beyond happy.”
The Jacqueline drama is not over, though. Once Becca returns from her one-on-one, Jacqueline – who “doesn’t trust” herself to make decisions about her own future [brief sadness interlude] — knows she has to talk to Arie about her confusion. “I don’t know what kind of conversation this is going to be,” she says nervously. I do! It’s going to be the kind where you tell him you’re going home to finish your Ph.D.
“I’m worried I’m going to end up in Scottsdale with you, married, and wonder like, ‘How did I get here?’” Go, gurl, go! Jacqueline assures Arie that there are other “ladies” there more prepared to pack up and head to Arizona with him, and given that, “I don’t know how to stay when that’s the case.” Though the Bachelor tries to change her mind (“I don’t want this to be over,” he whispers), Jacqueline stays strong(ish) and sloooowly extracts herself from his room. Unfortunately, she immediately starts beating herself up about the decision, saying Arie is “perfect in every way” (incorrect) and that she “sucks at being happy” (possible, but fixable). Finally, a tearful Jacqueline makes her way to the Reject SUV… but something tells me she might be lured back for an all-expenses-paid trip to Mexico later this summer.
The next day it’s time for Lauren’s second one-on-one date in as many weeks.
We’re with you, Bekah. Anyhow, they meet in Luca for a bike ride and gelato. “It’s very Italian,” says Lauren of the quaint town. And that’s about the only thing she says for a while… which makes the Bachelor nervous. He tries to bring up hometown visits over pizza later (just writing about this date is making me gain weight), and Lauren admits the idea “freaks me out a little, I’m not gonna lie.” But production cuts their conversation short by bribing a local boy to kick a soccer ball over to Arie and Lauren’s table. The Bachelor’s doubts will have to stay on hold a little longer.
Will Lauren provide him with the “a-ha moment” he needs over dinner? In a shocking twist, the answer is yes. “It’s hard for me to put myself in a place where I feel like I can get hurt again,” says Lauren. But… “It’s very obvious to me that I feel like I’m starting to fall in love with you.” Now it’s time to play “Identify Arie’s Current Emotion”:
Is he stunned? Happy? Confused? Gassy? It’s really anyone’s guess. For once, Lauren is the one to break the silence. “You seem like you have something to say about that,” she prompts, but instead of answering, Arie gets up and leaves the table. Lauren, of course, feels “very confused” and thinks that maybe she was “too open.” Don’t be silly, Lauren! In fact, the real reason the Bachelor walked away to pace in circles by the bushes is because he’s “falling so deeply in love” with you, too! Hey, what’s that?
Is Lauren… smiling? This show really is magic. (Recap continues on page 2)