Monsters and Critics columnist Liz Long recaps The Bachelorette, Season 16, Episode 11 with a little help from a glass of pinot (or two) …
Hello my Rose-Lovers! We are at hometowns! And guess what! They’re not through a Zoom call!
As Chris tells our Final Four: “Your families are here! They’ve gone through quarantine and testing.” So hometowns are here, boys because you must never leave the La Quinta Bubble! EVER!
All but Ben are emotional. Hey, Ben revealed that he can’t cry–he doesn’t know how–so he’ll just watch Brendan over there weeping like a baby at hearing his big brother–a father figure to him–has come to meet Tayshia.
And what a nice segue because Brendan is our first contestant up on “How Can I Bring My Hometown to the La Quinta Inn?”
Pour a glass, friends. Let’s recap!
Ah, here comes Tayshia, doing the classic run/jump hug that is specially reserved for Hometowns. And, by golly, here comes little Aliyah, Brendan’s niece, who is dangerously close to a run/jump hug of her own! Do I spy a young Bachelorette fan in our midst?
Brendan treats Tayshia to a little carnival-style date, where by far, the best part was Brendan showing off his “swaggy” dance moves. And the worst part was …
Oh who am I kidding, you guys. It’s Tayshia we’re dealing with here! It was dang near picture-perfect. We had the sweet older brother, who Brendan told how much he loves and admires. We had the sister-in-law telling Tayshia, “don’t let shame from a divorce kill your hopes and dreams.”
And, of course, we had Tayshia being the amazing woman she is, all while the little child Aliyah looked up in awe and wonderment. You had them at one round of flippy-cup, Tayshia.
Unfortunately, there is only one Tayshia to go around. And she must go meet family number two in Suite 102!
So step right up, Zac C.! You’re the next contestant on “How Can I Make Tayshia My Wife?!” By the way, Aliyah, this is the guy she is really into. I mean like really into. So don’t get too excited just yet, sweetie.
Zac C.’s “Hometown”
No joke. I was smiling ear-to-ear watching Zac’s whole New York hometown date. From teaching her how to hail a “TAXI!” to poking fun of her on how she likes her bagel (blueberries?!), to making out in the fountain where they shared their first wish … this was it, folks. I don’t think it gets any better than this.
Well, perhaps if Zac wasn’t sweating so profusely to the point of making me having to turn slightly away from my screen, but did that phase our Tayshia? Nah. Thank goodness she has a high sweat tolerance because the beads didn’t stop there. Yes, they continued into the family portion of the night.
But who cares. The main thing is Zac and Tayshia turned the Clarks from pessimists to love champions all in one night. They just had to see a genuine smile on Zac to believe in the magic of this journey, and now Zac’s “cute as a button” mom Beatrice can have those grandkids she always wanted.
It’s just always been there for these two. (Well, at least since my last recap.) And while I don’t do spoilers, my guess is this guy’s “the one.”
So Ivan’s hometown, Part I, was nice enough. We had another cute kid make an appearance. Kahlani, Evan’s 4-year-old niece virtually taught them how to make her favorite Filipino dish. Tayshia even busted out her pseudo-British accent while cooking – “Wait, Ivan. I’m like obsessed with this!”
Now I feel Zac (and not Ivan) is the kind of partner who would call her out on her silly little accent. But now I’m just being nitpicky. So cook away, kids!
Tayshia gets to meet Ivan’s lovely parents, and kudos to Ivan’s dad–who suffers from a host of health problems–but traveled to the La Quinta mid-pandemic nonetheless. Plus, his name is Clarence, and that just feels right to me.
I mean, he had a Morgan Freeman-type voice and a depth of wisdom about him that made our usual energetic Bachelorette tone it down (just a bit) to listen in and take heed. (The girl knows how to read her audience, doesn’t she?)
Add a surprise visit from Ivan’s brother, Gabriel, who described The Bachelorette as a “righteous endeavor” and this was yet another “hometown” knocked out of the park. (I’m still favoring Zac C.’s family the most though, but it was a valiant effort, Ivan.)
Up next is Ben, our final contestant of the night. What you got, Ben? I’m nervous.
Ben has planned a little cruise on rollerblades Venice-beach style around the La Quinta, a date remarkably similar to his one-on-one date with Tayshia last week!
It doesn’t hurt that Tayshia is about to meet Ben’s sister, Madeline, and lifelong family friend Antonia, who both practically fangirl over Tayshia. I have a sneaking suspicion these two are lifelong Bach Nation members because, well … let’s just say a lifer recognizes a fellow lifer when she sees one, okay.
Ben already has told Tayshia that Antonia “eerily reminds him” of her, and I’m like, she better be amazing Ben or this is quite the little pickle you’re getting yourself into.
Now Antonia was fine and all, but the best part was when she asked Ben if he loved Tayshia, and Ben was all “I don’t know – I’m not sure,” and Antonia was all …
“You do, Ben. You do.” Trust me, we are not letting Tayshia escape that easy. You do.
That’s all it took to convince Ben, but he still couldn’t convey those three little words to a visibly disappointed Tayshia. “Classic Ben,” he says.
And that was enough to write Ben’s ticket home.
Meanwhile, Tayshia is bewildered that Ben didn’t show an ounce of emotion during their farewell, but we the viewers already know that the man simply doesn’t cry, despite his sis saying he wears his heart on his sleeve. Also, Tayshia didn’t see this face in the limo:
Chin up, Ben. You’ve come a long way this journey and we root for you. There’s always Bachelor in Paradise where you will no doubt find Blake and Bennett roaming the island, so consider this a warm-up exercise.
We have two episodes again next week folks, and I do believe we will nab our Tayshia a husband after all! Zac C., anyone? It’s a good thing New York is on the cooler side. I’d say my sweat quota has been fulfilled for the year, and it ain’t on account of this here pinot.
Til’ next week, Rose Lovers!
The Bachelorette airs on Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.