Ah, hometowns. When things finally get real.
How else could Desiree discover, for example, that a man who says his occupation is “drilling fluid engineer” actually drives a snow cone truck for a living?
That’s right. Zak, 31, doles out icy treats on the daily back in Texas. Or maybe he doesn’t. He called the truck his “family business,” but seemed to know how to operate the whole thing pretty intricately. He also had no hesitation about putting on a penguin suit to persuade local kiddies to buy snow cones.
It’s not good when your potential husband looks cuter in a fuzzy, aquatic bird suit than out of it.
Listen, I actually feel kind of bad harshing on Zak because he seems like a genuinely kind-hearted person. Just one I find no physical attraction to what.so.ever.
It seemed even Zak’s family was surprised that he’d made it this far in the competition. When he told them that he’d shown up shirtless on the first night, his brother, Jeff, simply shook his head in disgust.
“So you were that guy, huh?” Jeff said.
Anyway, things at home went pretty well. Zak’s mom, Maryann, was particularly sweet. And then they broke out in song. Yep, the entire crew penned a little ditty for Des, replete with the lyrics: “You light the fire inside his eyes / You’ve given hope that love survives.” Glad to see they took a cue from Chris on the rhyming front.
Usually just the dude competing on “The Bachelorette” is looking for a record deal. Now his whole family is in on the gig too?
Shockingly, Des somehow found the act impressive and started tearing up. I guess she could also have just been envisioning her future with the Von Trapps and wasn’t able to hold back the tears. Either one.
As she ran screaming for the door, Zak stopped her and said he had something for her. Oooh! Was it a framed illustration, ripped from the pages of his sketchbook? Sheet music to his family's song? A matching penguin suit of her own?
No: A RING. That’s right, Zak went rogue. Who needs your free $150,000 sparkler, Neil Lane? Zak bought his own ring for Des in Atlantic City! Home to some of the finest diamonds in the country!
He didn’t propose per-se, but told Des he loved her and to “hang onto” the ring.
With that, she was off to Arizona to visit Drew.
Things got off to a much more serious start there, as Drew introduced Des to Melissa, who he described as “severely mentally handicapped.”
Though Melissa was unable to communicate verbally with Des, their meeting went well, and she handled the situation delicately. Des’ sweet demeanor with Melissa, Drew would tell his mother at their house, was part of why he’d started to feel like she was his soul mate.
While all of this was genuinely touching, I couldn’t stop thinking about the season promo we saw a few weeks back when Drew seemingly up and leaves Des. I have a bad feeling he may end up being about as real as Zak’s diamond ring.
Meanwhile, Drew’s dad, Malachi, was extremely enthusiastic about the prospect of the “gorgeous” Des becoming his daughter-in-law. Also: How does a man named Malachi name his son Drew? These are the things that keep me up at night.
“If you want to marry this girl, I’ll throw a party. Go for it, pal. Really,” Malachi told his son. “Bring this girl back into our family, would ya? Thatta boy.”
The whole thing had a slightly icky vibe, as if Malachi was instructing Drew to bring a deer back from a hunting trip or something. Still, the pep talk instilled confidence in our little Ken doll.
“The next time I see her,” he said later, “I will be an engaged man.”
That’s super cute, editors, setting him up like that. I see what you did there.
Let’s go to Oregon! That’s where Chris grew up.
Standing in a plaid shirt looking all lumberjack-like in the middle of the woods, Chris greeted Des with a bouquet of wilting flowers that he’s just picked. Which I hate. I don’t want, like, three crappy daisies that probably have ticks on them. Go get me some peonies. Trader Joe’s stock will do. Thanks.
A one-time professional baseball player, Chris took Des to a local field so they could “play sports.” He looked so cute throwing pitches Des’ way that I nearly forgot about his attempts at “poetry” last week. BRB, shuddering.
Actually, let’s just let that creepy feeling roll for a bit. At Chris’ house, Des had barely walked in the door before George, Chris’ chiropractor father, offered to adjust her back. Apparently, she had tweaked it while falling off a rock on one of the pair’s exotic dates. The hazards of dating, yo.
It was uncomfortable to watch George cracking Des’ back, but not nearly as bad as seeing him give Chris a nasal specific adjustment. What is a nasal specific, exactly? Oh, NBD. It’s just when some kind of metal instrument goes up your nose an attempt to widen your sinus openings. Super pleasurable. And even more fun to watch!
During this event, Chris was telling his dad how he thought Des could be the one and yaddayaddayadda. George, meanwhile, seemed more interested in Des’ workout regimen.
“The way you eat and the way you take care of yourself are really important,” he said.
I’m glad I’m not dating Chris, because I’m pretty sure George wouldn’t find my patented pizza-and-"Bachelorette"-viewing workout too impressive.
It’s unfortunate that even vaguely weird stuff had to go down on Chris’ date, because he’s probably my favorite dude and now I feel like his chances are even further diminished. Not that Chris felt he’d lost any ground.
“There’s no possible way that these feelings are being expressed with anyone else,” he told his family of Des’ affection. Totally! Also, unicorns are real.
Time for Brooks -- the only remaining dude who seems to have a rational approach to the show. That’s right, guys, heading into his hometown date in Salt Lake City, he “didn’t know entirely” how he felt about Desiree.
Fortunately, Des showed up with some sort of papier-mache rose she had constructed and a list of memories to refresh Brooks on why their love is legit.
“I will always remember sitting on the Hollywood sign,” she began. “The moment when you were on the ground in so much pain, but still so adorable. That was a good moment.”
I know, right? When he broke his finger and passed out at the hospital when they had to re-set it? This is the stuff memories are made of!
At Brooks’ home, there were many people. Fortunately, they had smartly decided to don name tags, which made things easier for both Des and me. Thanks, folks.
His family wasted no time in trying to figure out how legitimate Brooks’ feelings for Des were. So what does he like about her, anyway?
“Des is really remarkable at finding gratitude in the little things,” he said. “She made a list of our best moments, and they’re all little moments.”
Totes. Getting restricted access to the Hollywood sign, a trip to the ER -- it’s those little things that count.
Jokes aside, I respected Brooks’ family for asking him probing questions about his relationship. If she was gone from his life, would he do anything and everything to get her back? Could he live without her for the rest of his life? When you leave, is it hard to leave Des behind?
I don’t have a good feeling about those answers. But I’m also suspicious of the edit we’re getting. Why is Brooks’ “I’m just not that into you” vibe being played up so hardcore? When Des went to talk to Chris Harrison about her final four, she said she sees a proposal “with Brooks.” I’m almost certain the “with Brooks” sound byte was dubbed in, because it sounded totally stilted and unnatural. And I feel like they want us to think Brooks is going to be the one to leave her when it’s really going to be Drew! Is nothing sacred?
Apparently not. Because when Des decided to let Zak go, she gave him back that Atlantic City ring. And he was so distraught that he then tossed it out of the limo window. That precious diamond! Now laying in the gutter outside the Beverly Hilton!