Episode 8


“You don’t microwave relationships.”

—Desmond, Tayshia’s dad, dropping the mic

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CAELYNN’S HOMETOWN

Hometown week first brings us to Fredericksburg, VA, where Caelynn greets us with that classic Bachelor “cadence” you’ve heard me mention before

Right on Hometown schedule!

Right on Hometown schedule!

This Hometown’s prett par for the course. Caelynn shows Colton around town via horse-drawn carriage (nothing we haven’t seen before) and in the evening, there’s standard skepticism from her family to the tune of ominous skepticism music (because God knows we wouldn’t recognize skepticism without it). The obvious highlight of this date is Caelynn’s ridiculously sweet stepdad, John. Seriously, who had a dry eye watching this conversation (and John’s I’m-not-gonna-cry face scrunchies)??

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As I said on this week’s The Morning After, moments like this really encapsulate what a Hometown is about. They’re like a “Loved Ones Visit” episode from Survivor (you guys know I love my Survivor references!), under the guise of being about introducing the Bachelor to your family. You’ve been off the grid, with zero contact with your friends and family, and in the emotional pressure cooker for 7 or so weeks. (Compare that to Survivor where it’s been 30 or so days—though of course I know there are those living-off-the-land and starvation things to settle the score.) My point is, a Hometown is about telling your loved ones what they mean to you and vice versa, things you might not even realize or notice, much less think to say in real life. The lead may be the vehicle, but the best Hometowns are the ones that don’t revolve around him at all.

Finally, there’s an exchange between Colton and John that at first I was not a fan of, but after watching to the end of the episode, it changed my perspective…

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When I first saw this it felt like a cop out answer, like Colton couldn’t really articulate what he and Caelynn shared and thus didn’t really try. I wrote in my notes: “Great. What every dad wants to hear from his daughter’s boyfriend, especially right before being asked for his proposal blessing.” Now, I still don’t love that Colton did ask for John’s blessing given he had to know at this point he would never need it, but I do feel like there’s heavy producer pressure for leads to ask it of all the ladies’ fathers. (You know, to add some sort of drama to the evening.) I know Colton himself “needs” his future fiancée’s father’s blessing (ugh, that’s a topic for another day), but I doubt even he needs it from all FOUR of his girlfriends’ dads. That said, watching this back after having seen Caelynn go home at the end of the episode, and parental blessing aside, I respect Colton’s overall behavior on this date. He may have told Caelynn he was falling in love with her last week, but this week, when she told him, “I am IN LOVE with you now”, he only responded with a kiss. In general, it felt like he made a modicum of effort not to build her up as high as humanly possible before sending her home.

HANNAH G’S HOMETOWN

Hannah G’s Hometown brings us to Birmingham, AL. Hannah G takes Colton to an etiquette class with the explanation being that he needs to be turned into a “Southern Gentleman” prior to meeting her parents. Despite this having nothing to do with Birmingham or Hannah G’s upbringing (once again we were somehow robbed of getting to know her), I was all for this activity given it was the clear comedic relief of the episode. My favorite part was, while being taught to tear off single bites of bread, the zoom-in of Colton’s (appropriately) incredulous expression…

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The evening is more standard Hometown fare, with more standard skepticism (this time from Hannah G’s mother). Meanwhile, Colton gives Hannah G’s father his Fatherly Blessing speech. See if you can spot why I made this .GIF (prior to scrolling below and reading my rant)…

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Let us dissect: “Continuing down this path with her, I can see myself at the end. I would love nothing more [than] to have my feelings be strong enough to end with an engagement. And something that I feel like is very important is a father’s permission.”

Umm… Where the hell is any of this about Hannah G? It’s all about HIM. Why can’t he see THEM at the end? Would it not be nice for THEIR feelings to be strong enough to end with an engagement, or at the very least to have those feelings of his be reciprocated by HER? And A father’s permission? This is literally the least personal, most self-involved fatherly blessing request in the history of the world.

The craziest thing about the above is it was shown with sentimental music, in the context of him being a brave and eloquent potential son-in-law or something. Like, Hannah G’s father was somehow impressed, responding with, “It’s hard to do, what you just did.” IS IT, THOUGH?? 🧐

Finally, as Colton and Hannah G kiss goodbye, we’re shown a Pick-up of hers. Notice how her words suggest this voiceover is one simple sentence but her hair suggests otherwise…

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TAYSHIA’S HOMETOWN

Next up we visit Tayshia’s hometown of Santa Ana, CA. This was my favorite Hometown because it gave good feels during by day while her father dropped #truthbombs by night. While skydiving might not have been the most Hometown-y activity—it was Tayshia’s own first time doing it, after all—I LOVED this. Something about the sheer joy on everyone’s faces, combined with the insanely good camera work and how it felt choreographed to the upbeat music, I totally caught myself grinning ear to ear watching this. I even rewatched it a few times, it was just such a joy-filled moment. Absolutely .GIF-worthy:

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I mentioned this over at Flare, but on this date (and throughout this whole episode, really) we got a good sense of Colton as a boyfriend (A+) versus Colton as The Bachelor (B-? What do you think?). The exchange with Tayshia before they headed into her parents house really showed that he listens, tries, and just cares

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Tayshia wasn’t kidding last week when she called her dad, Desmond, a “hard ass” and I loved every moment of his living up to that reputation. What I like about Desmond is his skepticism doesn’t feel generic; it feels specific and critical and based on truths (aka the Quote Of The Week, above). It was hard for Colton to get anything past him and in response to Colton telling him he was “falling in love” with Tayshia, Desmond practically took words out of my (and I think all of our) mouth(s)…

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The best thing about this Hometown is that Desmond eventually gave his “blessing” to the extent that he trusts his daughter and her judgment. It became more about how he and his wife raised their daughter and how he trusts her judgment, rather than about him wielding his fatherly power and deeming himself qualified to decide who or what is right or wrong for his daughter. YAY, DESMOND. 👏🏻👏🏻

CASSIE’S HOMETOWN

Colton greets Cassie in Huntington Beach, CA, where she gives him a quick surfing lesson and we get tons of hilarious footage of him not being able to stay on his board to save his life. I laughed out loud when Cassie helplessly exclaimed…

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I’ve got to mention: I tried beginner surfing at Sentosa, that island theme park in Singapore where Tayshia and Colton spent their 1-on-1. Going into it, I thought I’d be decent given my lifetime of snowboarding, but NOPE. I looked exactly like Colton in the .GIF above. So lest you think I’m making fun of him, I assure you I’m Iaughing WITH him. :)

During Cassie’s conversation with her sister, there’s a fantastic meta moment where Cassie recognizes and points out how strange it is to be saying (and to hear herself saying) that she might be falling in love. I also included the next sentence so we can all collectively ridicule the absurdity of a world in which telling someone the L-word is basically synonymous with “put a ring on it”…

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And let’s not forget: Cassie is 23 YEARS OLD. How crazy is it that a 23-year old is afraid to tell a guy how she feels because it automatically means she may get proposed to in a matter of weeks, whether she likes it or not? This show, you guys, this show… 🤦🏻‍♀️#SMH

Finally, Colton tries out the Fatherly Blessing speech on Cassie’s dad, Matt, and I just had to point out how terribly worded it is (yet somehow differently terribly worded than that other terribly worded Fatherly Blessing speech) …

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I’m sorry, but no father in his right mind could possibly be moved (in a good way) by this. You assume a question like this should come from a serious, sincere place, but with this wording, it couldn’t sound less formal, less confident, or less committal. Now, I don’t really have a strong opinion on Matt shooting Colton down (I do think this moment is more about trusting you raised your daughter to have good judgment, à la Desmond and Tayshia). But I have to admit, if I were in his position and some dude dating my daughter—while very publicly still dating 3 other girls—asked me for my blessing with the above sentence…. Well, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have relished shooting him down, either.

ROSE CEREMONY

It’d be impossible to not touch on that Rose Ceremony moment. You know the one. After Colton calls Tayshia’s name, Caelynn and Cassie realize it’s between the two of them and they look at each other. Caelynn whispers “This is BS”, but my personal favorite part is easily Colton catching it and looking like he wants to crawl into a hole and die…

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First, I know I give Colton a hard time, but moments like this really do make me enjoy him as Bachelor. Like, love him or hate him, he is painfully transparent. He just CANNOT contain or fake his dread, and it’s just great, squirmy reality TV.

As for Caelynn, I don’t share the opinion of some folks out there that this is a bitchy moment of hers. To me, this isn’t directed specifically at Tayshia getting a rose, but rather the fact that it’s down to her and her closest friend and that she’s very, very possibly going home. It’s just a shitty situation. But do I think it would have served her better to have shown restraint and kept her mouth shut here? Definitely. I also suspect the fact that it was shown and put out there for the world to interpret in many unflattering ways could suggest she isn’t our future Bachelorette. It could have been left on the editing room floor, after all.

As for this…

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Honestly, and I know this might be disappointing, but I didn’t read into this much. This didn’t feel like some conspiring, inappropriate thing to say. To me, it felt like a natural “us against them” moment. Obviously, she and Cassie had been close and on the same team, and thus she’d naturally root for her close friend and teammate to “win” (especially considering Cassie might have told Caelynn she’d been struggling with feeling “ready”.) Maybe this is me giving people the benefit of the doubt too much, but I just didn’t think this was more complicated or sinister than it appeared to be. By all means, if you think there’s more to this, share it in the comments!

After Caelynn leaves, we get another meta moment, and this time a funny one, courtesy of Hannah G…

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On that note (the note of Hannah G being funny), and in light of all the Hannah B as Bachelorette discussion last week, the second we saw Hannah G rapping in the credits, my spidey sense tingled. We’ve hardly been shown her personality, so to see these little goofy bits of hers immediately made me wonder if she’s indeed the top contender. As of now, it does feel like a battle of the Hannahs, if our next lead is from this season.

As always, my immediate thoughts and predictions can be found over at Flare.

THE FASHION

Requests

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Since Caelynn couldn’t remember the brand of her earrings (they were from her Singapore shopping date), I hunted down some decent dupes, HERE and HERE.

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A number of you have been asking about Tayshia’s necklaces. The stories behind them are lovely: the coin pendant is a family heirloom, while the name necklace was a gift to herself for her 27th birthday. (She designed it and had her family’s jeweler bring it to life!) As far as alternatives go, there’s a similar-looking coin necklace selling HERE (I’m considering the set for myself), and super cute custom name necklaces (with the letters spread apart like with Tayshia’s) HERE. There’s also one with an option for a serif font (like Tayshia’s) and in solid 14K HERE.

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Hannah G’s Brandy Melville “Maura” top is sadly sold out but is still available (also in other colors/prints) HERE. Her belt is also Brandy Melville (and is a killer dupe for the B-Low The Belt “Frank”) and sells HERE.

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I’m sure some of you recognized this necklace! Not only was it worn by Bekah M last season, I also included it in an Instagram giveaway. Hannah G’s Irina Victoria wishbone necklace comes in silver and 14K and sells HERE and HERE, respectively. (Also, Cassie’s half moon earrings from last week are by the same brand, HERE.) Use PANDA15 to get 15% off your regular price purchase!

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Cassie’s Seafolly “Inka Stripe” bikini sells HERE (top) and HERE (bottoms). The brand also has a lace-up one piece in the same print that I love and am considering for myself (HERE). If you love Cassie’s bikini but wish it were wallet-friendlier, in my search I found a fantastic look-for-less, HERE.

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Caelynn’s Show Me Your Mumu “Casino” maxi dress sells HERE and HERE.

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Tayshia’s Amsale “Samantha” spaghetti strap sequin gown (in Latte) is sadly sold out (HERE) but there are a couple selling HERE and HERE.

Best Dressed

My runner-up for Best Dressed is Cassie with the jumpsuit she wore to visit her family…

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This is just adorable. There are some fun twists making it more interesting than a basic red jumpsuit (the youthful white buttons, the belted waist, the cropped length) and overall she looked super cute yet relaxed in this. Cassie’s Stevie Sister jumpsuit sells (on sale and for quite a steal) HERE. In my search I also found a cute denim option with a tie back, HERE.

Best Dressed this week goes to Caelynn with her Hometown look…

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I love how practical yet polished this look is. The magic is really in that jacket, which is such unique color and feels like a fresh alternative to yet another black jacket. Her edgy boots caught my eye as well, and I was certain they’d be pricey (I thought they might be the Alexander Wang “Kori” studded booties but I was wrong). Overall, this ensemble is simple but with a few fun, sophisticated twists. Caelynn’s Khrysos “Mint Dream” suede jacket sells HERE, but since the price isn’t for the faint of heart, there’s a (much) wallet-friendlier option HERE, and a faux suede option, HERE. Her Steve Madden “Conquest” booties sell HERE and HERE and are a great look-for-less for those Alexander Wangs.

Worst Dressed

Nothing offended me this week. 🤷🏻‍♀️ No Worst Dressed!

Until next week, fellow pandas!

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