Happily, my fears were unfounded.
The cocktails haven't even come out at the pre-rose mingling portion of the evening when Megan asks to speak with Soules. Alone, she asks him how he feels about the fact that there seems to be little progression in their relationship.
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Perhaps she was expecting him to reassure her of his feelings for her. Perhaps she was expecting him to declare his undying love. What homegirl probably wasn't expecting was to be sent packing before the first commercial break.
Soules swears sending her home is breaking his heart, but what's even more heartbreaking is the moment Megan tearfully says, "It's been a while since I've been proud of myself, but I'm proud of myself."
How do they manage to wrangle up so many girls with such low self-esteem? The least they could do is send them home with a Tony Robbins audio tape box set and a bottle of wine or something.
Or, in Megan's case, a trip back to the "beachy resort town" of Sante Fe. No? Old Mexico, then?
Back inside, the remaining girls are trying really hard to seem broken up while also rejoicing at the thought they might get a bye for this week. One down, none to go?
Uh, not so fast. Host Chris Harrison busts up the party to break the news that there will, in fact, be a rose ceremony and I'm afraid poor Carly might actually spontaneously combust into a vaporized cloud of insecurity and ankle booties.
Soules takes Harrison aside, though, to tell him he wants to skip yet another rose ceremony. What is this guy, allergic to the rules?
The girls are understandably pumped and even manage to maintain that enthusiasm when Soules tells them he's taking them to his stomping grounds. The state should capture that 16 seconds of sheer joy and use it for every promotional video henceforth, since that will quite likely be the only time five women will be psyched about going to Iowa.
Unless they get an Ikea. Then that would be another story.
Carly is especially relieved to be headed to Soules' home state, exclaiming, "Yes! We're going to Iowa!" before committing to a faux faint that would have given Kelsey a run for her money.
The next thing you know, the girls are all in Des Moines, which Soules describes as a "metropolis" and the girls are surprised isn't full of street roosters and Dolly Parton impersonators.
Jade snags the first date card, which asks her to join Soules in his actual hometown of Arlington... population: 400.
Here's the thing. I'm from a small town. But Arlington? Arlington makes my hometown look like New York City. And, well, it's pretty obvious Jade is thinking the same thing. Exhibit A:
Ah, it just warms my heart thinking of them showing those photos of Mom's WTF-is-this-podunk-town-for-real facial expressions to their kids one day.
Once at his house, she tries to convince herself it wouldn't be that bad. It sounds romantic, she says. A slow-paced life could be nice, she says. His bachelor pad just needs a feminine touch, she says.
Unfortunately, no one is there to say, "Hey, sweetie... your face still reads, 'Oh, hell no.'"
Soules doesn't exactly help matters. He tries to woo her by introducing him to his cows, Jessica and Bennett, and then suggesting they name one Jade. Where he's from, livestock is kind of a big deal so he likely meant it as a compliment... but, still, just no.
For future reference, Soules — women don't like being compared to cattle.
When he follows that up by taking her to the downtown area, I'm 85 percent convinced this is part of some master plan to scare her off.
"Here's the meat store my parents used to bring me to when I was growing up... to buy meat." Uh, speaking of meat, somebody stick a fork in this date — it's done.
Back at the hotel, Britt is beginning to become unhinged. It's only fair, right? She can't be that beautiful and have her shit together. Not only is she jealous that Whitney has landed the next one-on-one, but she's also still spinning her wheels about Jade being on the hometown one-on-one.
Little does she know, Jade is currently contemplating whether the children of the corn are going to descend upon her soon and offer her up in some rural ritualistic sacrifice.
And, also, "What do you mean there are no bars?"
She is still feeling overwhelmed when Soules surprises her with their date plans — a high school football game! Hmm.
Soules is pumped to relive his boys-of-fall glory days with Jade on his arm and, listen, she tries to fake it for him. She really does. She just can't quite get it up.
She does get to meet his parents and, y'all, how adorable are they? PS, ladies, Pops is still looking pretty good, so that bodes well for you.
Britt is still freaking out back at the hotel. "I'm so in my head right now. It's shaking me in a part of my soul that I'm not used to being touched in," she says, and it's weird that something that was supposed to sound genuine just comes out sounding dirty.
Meanwhile, I would trade my iTeeth to be able to hear Jade's thoughts as the football players double as the marching band and the cheerleaders cheer the
tuba players team on in jeans.
If there's no money in the budget for cheerleading uniforms, I'm pretty sure people won't plunk down money for organic cosmetics.
Roaming the halls of his old high school, Soules says, "Jade told me she's got a wild side. That's something I really want to see." Oh, you will. More than you could have imagined.
He then pins her against some lockers outside of his old English classroom and starts making out with her, joking that what they're doing is more like French, har har.
I sure hope Jade likes corn, 'cause if she marries Soules, she'll be getting a lot of it.
Then again, she's all too happy to profess that she feels like a giddy little schoolgirl, making out with him to the crowd's chants of "Kiss Chris! Kiss Chris!" and even partaking in a bit of Breakfast Club John Bender fist-pump action, so corny obviously suits her OK.
By the end of the night, Jade insists Arlington "really touched" her heart.
The second one-on-one with Whitney gets off to a much better start, but then again, it isn't in Arlington. He meets her at an art installation in Des Moines about people in love.
He then asks Whitney if she wants to take some pictures around the city to document their love story and, OK, how lame would it be to steal a date idea from The Bachelor? 'Cause this is actually really cute.
Whitney is on cloud nine, saying, "It's really surreal to think that I'm in a place I could call my home." Oh, honey. It's surreal because it won't be your new home. Arlington will be, and it ain't Des Moines. In Arlington, a hot date might include hittin' up the local Dairy Queen. And by Dairy Queen, I clearly mean that cow named Bessie that Soules chatted up earlier.
In the hotel, Jade gives Britt, Becca, Kaitlyn and Carly a play-by-play of her date, which causes Britt to burst into tears. Probably at the thought that the nearest Sephora is a solid two to three hours away.
Carly gets the bright idea that they should road trip it to Arlington, but Britt plays hard to get at first, explaining that she would feel bad about taking from Soules the experience of showing his town to her. Which makes perfect sense but, let's be real, this is The Bachelor and we don't like people who make sense.
They load into the car and are all like:
Until, that is, they get to Arlington.
"Wait, did we miss the downtown area?"
"Oh, my God, guys, that was it!"
"Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep." OK, so they didn't actually say anything here, but if they had, their thoughts would have looked like that.
Let's just say it wasn't love at first smell, that's for sure. Catching a whiff of the town, Becca jokes, "I'm not blaming anyone, but..." Ha, love that girl.
The truth slowly begins to dawn on Britt. "So I think it took us about three hours to get here, and a slow lap of Arlington took us about two minutes." Yikes.
Although the market, the library, the bar and, well, everything was closed, the girls did peek into Soules' church — and Carly was certain the Lord was at work in her life through a Jesus painting on the wall. True story.
Hilariously, the first local they stumble upon happens to be the pastor of said church who, wearing a Call of Duty T-shirt, no less, tells them that when people in Arlington want to do something, they "go somewhere else."
A ringing endorsement, I know. This man missed his true calling as a publicist.
Carly muses that she likes the town and Kaitlyn jokes that the sign to the town says, "You have to pop out babies or you can't stay here," which would be funny if it didn't seem so true. Why aren't any of these women asking what it is they would do for a living if they moved to a ghost town? Or is "making babies" the only thing their résumé will include?
Back on the date with Whitney, Soules is fast redeeming himself from last week's making-all-the-girls-cry debacle by professing that he feels like if he married Whitney, "We would want to work hard to be good people for each other."
Sorry, that got me in the feels.
They head to a restaurant in Des Moines next and Soules' three best guy friends show up to grill Whit about her intentions. She handles it like a champ and totally gets "the nod."
Whitney then opens up to Soules about her family situation, explaining that her mom passed away tragically when Whitney was 19 and that she doesn't have a relationship with her father — thereby earning the respect of Soules and, you know, everyone.
"That's why one of the things I look for is someone who has a big family and who has great parents, because I don't have any. I can't wait to call someone Mom and Dad again, and feel that kind of love," she says, and admittedly, I may be crushing on her more than Soules now.
So much so, I can almost forget she sounds just like Sandy from SpongeBob SquarePants. Almost.
Touched, Soules takes her outside to surprise her with a mural of one of their pictures he had a local graffiti artist paint. Undoubtedly, he had to paint it on a wall in Des Moines since all the walls in downtown Arlington say "Foreclosed."
She freaks out in the best possible way — and rockin' those pleather pants, no less —and Soules is grinning from ear to ear, too.
"No question," he says, "she would make me want to be a better man." She admits that she fell in love in a moment. Guuuurl, we all did. We all did.
The next date card comes to the hotel and the girls are convinced it will be Britt, Carly and Becca on the group date since Kaitlyn hasn't had one-on-one time with Soules in a while. But, surprise! Kaitlyn's name was called for the group date.
She seems super bummed, which is, well, a bummer. Britt is worried they'll be going ice-skating, but Carly calls her out on always saying she's going to suck at stuff and then being the best.
That face? Yeah, Britt isn't amused.
Carly then breaks out the funniest confessional skit ever by turning her hand into a Britt puppet, but she's started to get so catty I expect her to end all of her confessionals with "XOXO, Gossip Girl."
As Whitney tells the other girls about the "best date of her life," sweet Becca is thrilled for her. Jade, though, is all, "Meh, I've seen better."
Or so it seems, until she reveals to Carly she has been preoccupied with a secret: She has posed for nude pictures in Playboy.
And, c'mon, Carly's got a point — no one really wants to have to utter the words, "Hey, Mom, don't google my wife."
On the group date, the girls find out their suspicions were spot-on. They will be ice-skating. Fortunately for them, Soules breaks the ice... with his ass.
Britt steals Soules away, dragging him outside to prattle on about how much the sunset over Arlington stole her heart and she could see herself starting a family there.
Soules is all like, "I can't imagine bringing someone that dynamic to somewhere as simple as Arlington." Read: He would be stoked to be the guy with the hottest girl in the sticks.
Carly is having none of that, though. After Britt returns Soules to the rink, Carly seizes the opportunity to reveal that Britt said she could never, ever see herself living in Arlington. Uh oh, SpaghettiOs.
Later, at the coffee shop, Soules decides to do some digging. He pulls Britt aside and, having learned perhaps from the Ashley I./Kelsey meltdown, subtly asks Britt what she really thought of Arlington.
Naturally, she lies through her pretty white teeth — although she was straight-up dropping context clues like cookie crumbs. "I like to reinvent myself... this is a good place to try." "You're not choosing the town, it's part of the package." "No matter where I am, I want to be a mom."
Kaitlyn nails it when she says, "I don't think Britt is being honest with herself."
When she gets her time with Soules, she shares her insecurity about lagging behind the other girls and Soules reassures her by surprising her with a rose.
In the other room, Britt is starting to spiral. When Carly wonders what is taking Kaitlyn so long, Britt breaks out some bizarre German voice: "Ver's Kaitlyn?" 'Cause that wasn't creepy at all.
When Kaitlyn and Soules return to the room, it's obvious Britt is about to lose her shit and I can only hope and pray she does it in the creepy German voice.
Cracking her knuckles and staring Soules down, she tells him she doesn't want her husband to see her as second, third, fourth, etc. She wants him to want her, she says as the other girls awkwardly look on.
He shuts her down, all manly-like, and it's hot. I would recap the convo, but it's all a little blurry because I was distracted by another Prince Farming in the grain bin fantasy.
After he leaves, Britt whines to the girls that this week is more important for her, because she only has one family. Whew, I'm so glad she clarified — I was laboring under the false impression that everyone has one family. Clearly, the other girls have backup families on retainer for use in the event of reality TV cameos.
Carly is beside herself with joy over Britt's breakdown and it's almost as creepy as Britt's bizarre German-voiced alter ego.
Let's hope Soules doesn't have any bunnies on his farm, because these girls are one rose ceremony away from a Fatal Attraction bunny boiling meltdown.
Tonight's episode includes more Britt breakdown, two rose ceremonies, Jade's Playboy bomb and four home visits, so it seems safe to say the best (or worst?) is yet to come, my friends.
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