It’s “hometown date” time on “The Bachelor”! It feels like only yesterday that Ben Higgins was meeting 28 single ladies. Now his search for love is down to four women — but there can be only one Mrs. Higgins at the end. What better way to narrow down the search than by stirring up some drama back home!
Amanda’s Hometown Date
Amanda gets the first hometown date in episode 8 and Ben meets her on the beach near her home in Orange County, California. But they’re not spending the day alone. Amanda reveals that someone is dropping her two young daughters off to meet them.
It’s the first time that Amanda has seen them since joining the ABC reality series, so it’s an emotional reunion. But Ben jumps right into the swing of things, playing in the sand the girls and helping them chase after seagulls. The fun and games don’t last forever, though. The car ride home turns brutal when they get cranky and start crying.
Ben meets Amanda’s family with a “deer caught in a headlight” look. And that worries Amanda’s parents. They trust that Ben has good intentions, but is he ready to be an “instant dad”?
“The Bachelor” star admits that he didn’t think about the possibility of falling for a woman with kids when he first started this journey, but that he was OK with it when he found out Amanda was a mother. He adds that he’s aware of the responsibility, and promises not to take on something he can’t handle. That’s good enough of an answer for Amanda’s family. But that doesn’t necessarily ease Amanda’s worries.
Lauren’s Hometown Date
Next stop on Ben’s date tour is Portland, Oregon, to meet Lauren’s family. Lauren’s ecstatic to see Ben again, especially since her parents and siblings mean so much to her. She’s ready to tell him that she’s in love with him. However, she wants to make sure that everything goes well with her family first.
Before Lauren and Ben head to meet the parents, the two have a laid back afternoon enjoying some food truck bites and lounging at a trendy bar. It’s the perfect opportunity for Ben to talk to Lauren about her feelings, something he worried about at the start of their relationship. But she reassures him that although she was skeptical at first, he has made her feel comfortable about the process.
Ben meeting Lauren’s family is a big deal. She hasn’t introduced many people to her family and doesn’t think that she could move forward with her relationship with Ben if they don’t give her their blessing. But Lauren’s family welcomes Ben with open arms.
Things get a little awkward when Lauren’s sister begins grilling Ben about his feelings. She even gets “The Bachelor” star to tear up when she asks him why he’s worthy of Lauren.
“I feel really lucky,” he admits.
And she doesn’t go any easier on Lauren. She wants to be sure that Lauren is thinking clearly because she hasn’t been single for that long. However, Lauren insists that she was “meant” to meet Ben. That’s not enough for her to tell Ben “I love you,” though. She chickens out and then worries that she lost her chance to tell him how she truly feels.
Caila’s Hometown Date
The third stop is Hudson, Ohio, to meet Caila’s family. Ben admits to the cameras that his relationship with Caila is the “deepest.” But that doesn’t squash his uneasy feelings. Despite having such a strong connection, Ben’s worried that Caila can’t reciprocate those feelings.
The two spend the afternoon designing and building a playhouse at her father’s toy company. After an afternoon getting to see a different side of Caila, Ben gets to meet her parents and younger brother.
Caila’s family is very accepting, but they warn Ben that she has high standards and hasn’t been able to find someone that is her equal. This doesn’t ease Ben’s worries. Meanwhile, Caila tells her mom and dad that she’s ready to tell Ben that she’s in love with him. They’re shocked, but encourage her to express her feelings. Surprisingly, Caila has a change of heart at the last minute. She tells the cameras that a scared feeling is lingering and that she’s not allowing herself to completely trust him.
JoJo’s Hometown Date
JoJo has the fourth and final hometown date in Dallas, Texas. She returns home to find a note and two-dozen roses on her doorstep. Thinking they’re from Ben, JoJo brings the flowers inside and sits down to read the note. However, it’s not from Ben. It’s an apology letter from her ex boyfriend. He wants her back – but is JoJo interested in rekindling things with her old flame?
Upset that this had to happen on her date night with Ben, JoJo decides that she needs to clear the air. She calls up her ex before Ben arrives to confront him about the note. He tells her that he’s grown and matured since they ended things and that he wants her back.
“I don’t want to lose you,” he continues as Ben walks to the door. “If you’re done with me tell me right now.”
JoJo doesn’t answer. Instead she opens the door for Ben, clearly emotional from her conversation. However, Ben doesn’t know what’s happened. He’s confused and JoJo fills him in on everything.
Needless to say, Ben’s a little uneasy after hearing that her boyfriend wants her back. He explains to the camera that he’s been down this road before and knows that it doesn’t end well. But JoJo promises that’s not the case. She reveals that she told her ex-boyfriend that they are through. That’s music to Ben’s ears — but things don’t stay on the up and up.
JoJo’s brothers warn her to keep her heart guarded around Ben because he doesn’t feel the same way as her. That upsets JoJo, who just got down telling her mom that she was scared to get hurt. Her mom encouraged her to open her heart and go for it. JoJo’s brothers don’t go any easier on Ben. They tell him that he has “brainwashed” JoJo by dating other girls to make him appear more desirable. They also accuse him of being coached on how to answer their questions. Ben insists that he’s been honest with them the whole time, and JoJo’s parents end the conversation before things get too heated. However, Ben leaves uneasy. He admits that this was the most unsettling hometown date.
The Rose Ceremony
Amanda, Lauren, Caila and JoJo return to “The Bachelor” mansion for the episode 8 rose ceremony. Each woman is extremely nervous and unsure about what the night holds for them. There are four of them, but Ben only has three roses to give out.
Lauren gets the first rose. Ben gives the second rose to Caila, narrowing it down to just Amanda and JoJo. So, who is going to get the final rose? Ben decides to give it to JoJo, eliminating Amanda from the competition.
“I’m sorry,” he tells her.
Amanda’s not angry, but she’s a little disappointed. She says that he should have told her then and there instead of making her come all the way back only to be sent home. Ben thinks that’s fair, but promises that he didn’t know during her hometown date that he was sending her home. He explains that he needed to go through the other hometown dates in order to realize his feelings for the other women are stronger.
“I’m going to miss you,” she says before leaving.
But did Ben make a mistake? “I would like her to know that I care a lot,” he says, tearing up.