Hey, did you hear that Eric's never been in love before?
Narratives got calcified in this episode, which saw the three remaining guys meet Rachel's family before jetting off to Spain for fantasy suite dates. Each guy has his own thing that could disqualify them from being the one Rachel chooses: Eric's never been in love or had a serious long-term relationship; Peter can't commit to getting engaged at the end of this; and Bryan is a mama's boy who generally seems kinda phony. All very legitimate concerns for their potential fiancée and her family, and all things that we viewers are very tired of hearing about. But there's a lot of show to fill, and these are real issues for the people involved, so this is what we get.
There was plenty of interesting stuff that happened in this episode. They made a point to mention that they're meeting the family before the fantasy suites because Rachel's sister is eight months pregnant and can't travel as if that change was a very uncommon thing, but we visited Ben's family on The Bachelor in Week 7 and Nick's family crazy early in Week 4, so it's not that big of a deal to meet them now. It's also fun that the real reason Rachel's father doesn't appear on the show is because he's a federal judge and can't.
Rachel's family is cool, except for her brother-in-law who looks like Seth Rogen and mansplained her feelings to her. I wasn't feeling that guy. But Rachel's mother Kathy and sister Constance did a great job meeting the guys. They liked Peter, who went first. Everyone likes Peter.
Everyone except Bryan. Before we saw Peter's date, we saw a scene at the hotel of Bryan telling Eric that he heard that Peter told Rachel that he may not propose even if he's chosen. How he heard this I don't know. I guess a producer snitched. Peter doesn't like Bryan either, and later in the episode he said a lot of things in Miami are fake — "fake boobs, fake asses and fake cheeks," implying that Bryan got cheek implants to make his face fuller. Earlier I wrote that Peter has never said anything memorably funny. I stand corrected.
Before they got to the house, Peter told Rachel that he's falling in love with her, and she said it back. Apparently Rachel didn't watch Ben's season, because otherwise she would know that it's a really bad move to tell multiple people you love them, especially if you're going to dump them later. She did with Dean last week, and it was the first time fans were like "Rachel, I love you, but I'm not with you on this one." Ben telling JoJo he loved her wasn't not a factor in why he and Lauren split, you know?
Once they got there, Peter made a good impression on Rachel's family. They were even a little bit happy with his hesitance to jump into an engagement, because it made him seem sensible to them. Any reasonable person would have reservations. But Peter's parents got engaged after a month and have been married for 36 years, so sometimes whirlwind romances work out, as Rachel pointedly said to her mother. Peter didn't ask Kathy for her blessing, but Kathy gave it anyway, should their relationship reach that point.
Eric was up next. He made a good impression, too. Rachel's family liked Eric's sincerity. There was a lot of talk about whether Eric is ready to get married. I don't know if you've heard this, but Eric's never had a serious relationship or been in love. But that may not matter if he's ready now, and Kathy gave her blessing to him, too, in her way that shifts the agency to Rachel, which is how it should be.
Bryan's date didn't go as well. They grilled him a little bit on his relationship with his mother, which upset Rachel. Before that, though, he went out to brunch with Rachel and her two friends from her law firm who submitted her to The Bachelor in the first place. Shout out to them for seeing the potential in Rachel and bringing her into our lives, and I'm sure getting this airtime on The Bachelorette will make their year. During this date, Rachel admitted that she thought Bryan was a "douchebag" at first, which, y'know, even if Bryan's a great guy in real life, I don't know, he's still got douchey tendencies. I submit his Instagram as Exhibit A.
Bryan said that his mother is "the No. 1 woman in my life always," and Rachel's mother pushed him on who he would side with on disputes between his mother and his wife. He unconvincingly said "the wife," and Rachel got mad at her mother. Rachel doesn't want to hear it about Bryan.
Constance, her sister, voiced the same reservation that Rachel has repeatedly voiced about Bryan, which is that he always has the right thing to say and just seems too slick. Kathy was uncomfortable with him saying he was falling in love so quickly, but like she did with Eric, she deferred to Rachel's judgement when he asked for her blessing.
If I had to rank how well the dates went, I'd say Peter, then Eric, then Bryan.
Then it was off to Spain. Eric got the first date. They took a helicopter ride, which he seemed nervous about. During dinner, which they were eating (well, not eating; they don't actually eat during dates) outside in the cold, he told her he was falling in love with her. She didn't say it back, but she kissed him and invited him to the fantasy suite.
Next up was Peter. They visited a vineyard. Like Twin Peaks: The Return usually does, the episode included a musical number near the end, in this case performed by the old beret-wearing man who owns the vineyard. He was great. Shout out to Vitorino the vintner. If this was Twin Peaks, he would have murdered them in that wine cellar, Cask of Amontillado style, but instead he gave them a locker full of wine. It could be argued that The Bachelorette is Lynchian in some of the ways its facade of clean-cut all-American romantic fantasy barely hides the darkness and rot at its core, but this moment was actually just nice.
The episode ended on a cliffhanger. Rachel and Peter had dinner, and they could not agree on a degree of commitment. Rachel is not leaving this show without a proposal, and Peter can't say he will propose to her if she chooses him. So they're at an impasse. This is where a lot of relationships end, on the precipice of a greater commitment. If it does end here, we know Peter's narrative on The Bachelor next season — "I wasn't ready to commit then, but now I am."
Next week is The Men Tell All. It's gonna be a weird one. DeMario is going to talk about the situation with his ex-girlfriend who showed up on the show, which is not even remotely what anyone wants to talk to DeMario about anymore.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.