On this week's episode, The Bachelorette world tour makes its final stop before the hometown visits with a trip to Lisbon, Portugal and later, Jake and Vienna take their sides of the story to Chris Harrison for one final showdown in front of all of America.
Before we get to round 100 of the he-said, she-said debate, it's time to see who makes it to the hometown visits. Also raising the stakes? This week, there are four dates and zero roses before the big ceremony, which means everyone is in it until the very end.
Roberto gets the first one-on-one date with Ali and is invited to come be the king of her castle. Cue yet another confessional video of Frank complaining it's not his date when he actually just had one with Ali. But at this point in the game, everyone is a little freaked out and both Ty and Chris are visibly jealous they're not going to be the king of Ali's castle.
The date between Ali and Roberto starts off on a very carefree note, with the two taking goofy photos in the city square and just general enjoying each other's hotness. Ali says she needs to find a stronger connection to Roberto, but she's not in too much of a rush to get that.
At the hotel, Ali apparently can hear Frank complaining from afar and he gets stuck on a two-on-date with her and Ty. If someone had to get sent home, I would be much more worried for Frank (remember how much he stinks on group dates?). But, hopefully at this point in the game and after their last date, he will know to refocus his energy on solidifying his connection with her and not spend too much time quietly trying to stare down his competition and complaining to the cameramen about being on the group date.
Back on Ali's date with Roberto, talk quickly turns to next week's family visits. Roberto says he's not nervous, just excited about Ali possibly meeting his family, but Ali says she still needs to figure him out a little more. Sure, he tells her that she's beautiful, smart, yada, yada, yada, but their date is annoyingly superficial and Ali is getting way too caught up in her physical connection to him. She's a little too gaga and not nearly practical enough when it comes to Roberto, despite the fact that she openly admits she needs to know more about him.
The next day on the two-on-one date, the hometown visits are taking up most of Ali's headspace and it's clear her head isn't in the game the way it needs to be at this stage. The three go on a cute helicopter ride, but the date quickly becomes awkward by the time dinner rolls around. Luckily for Ali, Ty and Frank are both eager to break the tension and if there is anything Frank has been since Day 1, it's funny and he quickly breaks the silence.
Ali quickly gets her game face on and takes alone time with each guy to figure out where they stand. Ali's biggest issue with Ty is from their one-on-one date last week, when he finally opened up about his failed marriage. Unfortunately, despite his chemistry with Ali, he sent up flare signals left and right with his admission that he and his wife had problems because he wanted a more traditional home life and she was all about her work (hello, Ty, Ali is exactly the same).
In her alone time with Frank, he finally decides to open up to Ali about the face that he lives with his parents, something the audience knew from Day 1 but he conveniently forgot to tell Ali up until this point. She doesn't seem concerned at all about his current living situation, since he was it his decision to change fields and start over and something she seems to have admired in him all season.
Ali tells him that he's everything she wants, but also everything she fears, further setting up his "big betrayal" later in the season. Ali is extremely level-headed about Frank's reveal and almost commends him for waiting this long to tell her he lives with his parents. As Ali herself says, at this point she's so crazy about him; she could care less where he lives. If anything, Frank's sacrifice probably makes Ali like him more even more because she can relate to his career-oriented ambitions and the big life changes he's made to get to where he wants to be, just like she has.
At the end of the night, Frank comes out a little bit more of the winner than Ty does, but luckily for both guys, no one has to pack up (today).
Ali's third date is with Kirk and, yet again, the hometowns are on her mind, but Kirk isn't doing as well as Frank and Ty did to bring Ali's focus back on the present day. They share a few laughs at lunch over beers and share a romantic ride up to a big castle, but they don't cover a lot of personal ground and their date seems to be far from a fairy tale. It's hard to tell whether the date is uneventful because Ali's mind is simply stuck elsewhere, or if she and Kirk are starting to hit a wall in their relationship. Their chemistry has never seemed super strong, but at the same time it's not as flat as her total lack of spark with Craig.
Just like with Ty, Ali is able to bring up her biggest issues with Kirk at dinner, mainly his complete lack of long-term relationships. She says she's worried she won't end up being good enough for him in the end. Kirk is very reassuring and expresses again how excited he is for Ali to meet his family. After dinner, Ali and Kirk take in a romantic serenade and she says they share a very emotional connection.
It's hard to tell whether Ty's failed marriage or Kirk's sparse romantic past will prove to be a bigger factor with Ali, but she still has one last date with Chris.
Chris has been my favorite from the beginning, but it's for the exact reason Ali seems to start having issues with him, aka he's NORMAL! Ali says from the beginning of the day she is worried that her connection and relationship with Chris is moving more slowly than her other relationships and fears things aren't moving fast enough to warrant a hometown visit. Chris seems like one of those guys where he would have an extremely close and warm family that would melt Ali's heart and put him farther ahead in the race than he could get all on his own. Plus, they are both from Massachusetts so she's automatically inclined to love where he's from. The only problem is: he needs to get that hometown first.
Ali and Chris begin their date by riding around town on a moped, but Chris has a little bit of a problem getting adjusted to this mode of transportation and they slowly spurt around town (just like their relationship, as Ali says). Figuratively and literally, Ali takes the wheels and she pushes him to open up a lot more about his family and his mother. However, even after he opens up about his family and his late mom, Ali says his honesty may still be too little, too late. One of my biggest concerns last week was that the very spoilery preview did not show much of Chris at all, so now my worries are only heightened to the tenth degree.
At a local winery, Ali and Chris talks about the hometown date and Chris tells her how much his family will love Ali. In one of my most awe-worthy moments of The Bachelorette in recent memory (yes, I am a little biased), Chris presents Ali with a beautiful "Dennis" bracelet named after a family friend who made jewelry for his mom and his sister. Chris says he had the bracelet made before he left specifically to give to Ali sometime before the hometown visit and it easily wins Ali over. Not only does it demonstrate to her how thoughtful and caring Chris is, but it makes Ali begin to think that the relationship has made huge leaps on the date and that it has potential to go the distance, despite its delayed kick-off.
Because every guy got a date this week, there is no cocktail hour and Ali dives straight into the rose ceremony. As soon as the camera captures the bracelet Chris gave her, she hands the first rose of the night to Chris. Ali also gives roses to Frank, Roberto and, finally, Kirk, which leaves Ty out. It's kind of surprising to see Ty go home after Ali's extremely lackluster date with Kirk, but then again Ali had to split her attention between Ty and Frank on their date, and Frank came out the winner. Ty really stuck the nail in his coffin last week when he said his last marriage didn't work out because he wanted a more traditional wife. Even if that was true, there were so many better ways to say it than the way he did and after all of Ali's sacrifices for her career (in front of all of America, no less), Ty should have known better.
The Jake and Vienna Interview
Alright all you bloodthirsty Bachelor fans, here is the interview you've all been waiting for (on top of giving ABC proof that The Bachelorette could easily be an hour rather than two).
First, Chris Harrison invites Jake out to tell his side of the story. Jake says the whole scandal came out of left field. However, he also says that before he left for Atlanta to shoot Drop Dead Diva, he knew the relationship was going downhill, but he thought it could still be saved.
Chris then invites Vienna to come out and Chris gives her a hug while Jake moves her but avoids making any eye contact whatsoever with her.
Chris asks for her version of the relationship and the break-up. Vienna says the first month was great, when "he was crazy about me," but after that, she says, things started to go downhill and began changing. Vienna says it felt like they weren't even in a relationship, except when they were on a red carpet and cameras were rolling.
Vienna says she felt lonely and wanted Jake to want to be around her and be in a relationship with her. Chris brings up Vienna's accusations about emotional abuse and she claims Jake has an "emotional temper." She says she had to ask to be kissed — all while Jake is staring off into the distance and not making any eye contact whatsoever.
When Chris asks Vienna why she went to the tabloids so quickly, she says she only did it to make sure she had a voice and because she "knew Jake" and knew he was going to run to the press as soon as they split. She wants people to know she did try in this relationship and that she did love him, but she had to leave.
Jake interrupts Vienna and says he's so mad at her and that he's disgusted with her for selling him out for payment to a magazine. They very quickly begin arguing, with Vienna saying he's only out for the publicity (a "fame whore" to be exact) and saying Jake wasn't affectionate at all.
Jake laughs at the fact that Vienna claims she broke up with him and then kept text messaging him that weekend (he says he has the texts to prove it). However, she shoots back saying she believed she was in a relationship with a pilot and that they were going to move to Florida and Dallas and live a normal life. However, they ended up living in Los Angeles so Jake could pursue his acting career, where Jake then quips that he at least has a career.
Vienna says she now has a marketing job (more on that later) and also brings up his refusal to forge a connection with her family, which prompts him to bring up her questionable relations with other men. She then calls him "the biggest fake liar" for accusing her of cheating him (presumably with Greek's Gregory Michael). Vienna vehemently denies cheating with the actor to Chris and says she hardly knows the guy, to which Jake again quips, "he seems to know you," citing his on-the-record interview with various magazines about his possible relationship with Vienna.
Vienna insists she didn't cheat and yells at the camera crew to get a "poly-a-graph" test. She turns the table on Jake, saying he also went to the press about the break-up before accusing him of leaving her stranded in Los Angeles with no money, no job, no car, no nothing despite the fact that she wanted to go to back to Florida. Jake says he doesn't want to get into a he-said, she-said thing, but only after saying he offered to move for Vienna several times.
Vienna opens up more about her tabloid interview, which she was paid for, and says she wanted to clear up that their relationship was not about trust or cheating issues, like Jake claims.
Chris then asks both to go back and think about when they got engaged and what they felt about each other. You would think it may force them to be more cordial with each other, but it just gets Vienna crying and makes everything ten times worse. Vienna says things went sour quickly after that and claims she gave Jake back the ring twice and they broke up twice, but he promised to change. However, Jake called the break-ups "little temper tantrums" and says Vienna could have left, but was just looking for attention.
Vienna says it also hard to leave because she feels she couldn't get a job while Jake was on Dancing with the Stars because his practices were moved around every week. She felt she had no stability and no idea of where in the country they would truly end up living. Vienna says Dancing with the Stars was hard on their relationship because he never acknowledged her and they were hardly a couple.
Vienna also reiterates her desire to be out of the spotlight, explaining her new marketing gig for a charity helping cancer patients. Vienna says the job happens to be in Los Angeles (to which Jake interrupts with a very sarcastic "big surprise"). Vienna says she hates Los Angeles, but she's now found a job and also doesn't want to go back home after her small town turned their backs on her during The Bachelor.
Vienna says she feels Jake is lying about the split, explaining that she had her bags packed and called him on Monday to call it quits. Despite her other claims, Jake denies telling anyone Vienna cheated on him, but doesn't seem to believe she was completely innocent with the actor who went out of his way to talk on the record with magazines about the entire situation.
Jake tries to get in his side of the story, but shows his far less diplomatic colors when he tells Vienna, "Baby, be quiet while I'm talking." Vienna turns to Chris and asks how someone can get sick of someone else in less than six months together. Jake poses the question of what guy in America would ever want to be intimate with a woman who undermines and emasculates and doesn't respect him.
Vienna begs for examples and he cites everything from constant interruptions, to when Vienna used the GPS and didn't trust his directions. Vienna then brings up an instance when they were moving their bedroom furniture and Jake details this big long saga of trying to best place a dresser and a bed in their room. Somehow, Vienna finds it relevant to argue "I never picked up a tape measure! I never picked up a tape measure" and this point, this entire interview is beginning to remind me of a very overhyped ninth-grade version of telephone.
Vienna than also brings up their lack of intimacy and sex, asking if it was because of his fasting or waiting until marriage or what? To which Jake argues there's more to a relationship than sex and intimacy, before Vienna begins to argue that he treated her more like a child than a companion and a partner.
Jake says their non-existent intimacy is tied to her undermining him all the time. Vienna tells Chris she doesn't think Jake will ever find happiness and Jake gets her back by saying he knows now he doesn't want a "selfish woman."
The selfish claim gets Vienna going and she brings up how she left everything behind (including her sick dog, which Jake says she never cleaned up after, or something completely meaningless). With a push from Chris, Vienna says she's sorry she went about things the way she did, but she knew she had to. As Jake denies this, Vienna tries to say something, to which Jake yells at her to stop interrupting and Vienna literally hands her head in her lap and starts to sob. She then stomps off saying Jake is the vainest guy she's ever met and runs out of the shoot crying saying that she's done.
Jake tells Chris he never raised a voice to any of his previous girlfriends and says he feels bad for doing that, but he reached his breaking point. He says somehow he and Vienna lost each other along the way. Cue the end of the most painful Bachelor interview ever. Actually, pretty much the most painful interview ever (that's at least what it feels like).
In the wake of this verbal blood bath, I think everyone will walk away a loser. This post-mortem may spell big ratings for ABC, but it only dilutes the Bachelor/Bachelorette brand further and reminds people how different what we see on TV is from what happens in real life and how often people are only these shows for fame, but not love. I, personally, found myself much more on Jake's side than Vienna's, but I still walked away with a lot less respect for one of my favorite Bachelors.
So first off, what did everyone think of The Bachelorette portion of the episode? Did Ali give up on the right guy? Who will do best during hometown visits? And who is the random chick Frank is seen hugging in the preview for the upcoming episodes?!?
Also, what did you guys think of Chris Harrison's sit-down interview with Jake and Vienna? Who did you side with? Do you think the interview was entertaining or just plain TMI (the cleaning up the dog part was definitely the latter)? Sound off in the comments below.