This week on The Bachelorette, we're back in Charlotte, N.C., so Emily can spend some QT with her sweet girl, Ricki, before heading out to meet the guys and their families for hometown dates.
She runs through the final four, evaluating where she is in her relationship with each: she always has fun with Chris (I'm not buying it); she feels comfortable with Jef and thinks he'd make a great dad; she had an immediate connection with Arie; and she feels safe and confident with Sean.
Off to Chicago to meet a clean-shaven Chris! Emily could "totally see herself falling in love with Chris," so she wants to meet his family. Before the meet and greet, Chris leads her into a little Polish restaurant where he rehashes his apologies from last week, effectively putting out any flame between them.
Chris finally introduces her to the family -- his mother, father, and two sisters (one of whom he failed to mention in the prep session beforehand?). His sister, Renee, asks Emily what she likes most about him, and she replies that he's "open." How romantic.
They wrap up the dinner and Polish dance festival, and Chris decides it's time to announce his love to Emily. As he's hugging her goodbye, he beats around the bush, looks everywhere but her face, and tells her that he's falling in love.
I don't really buy it, but Emily keeps trying to convince herself, so I, too, will play along for now.
And we're off to St. George, Utah, to Jef's family's ranch. The tone of Emily's voice changes so drastically when taking about Jef (as opposed to Chris), it's almost laughable -- she is so excited to see him!
They take turns shooting fake pigeons, and Emily pretends she doesn't know how to hold a gun. Surprise, surprise -- Emily takes gun lessons at home and hits three for three. Jef needs a moment to collect himself after seeing that, gushing to the camera how impressed he is.
Since Jef's parents are doing "charity work" in South Carolina, Emily gets to meet the rest of the crew, including 15 of his closest siblings, their spouses and their children. The sisters sit Emily down and make her feel welcome, while Jef's brother insults him a bit by saying he doesn't picture him wanting a family right now.
This apparently doesn't faze Jef, and he leads Emily to a picnic blanket overlooking the ranch. He reads her some "notes he jotted down on the plane ride back from Prague," which brings a tear to Em's eye. "That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me," she manages to get out. I really loved his confessions, but I wish he would have told her he loved her to face instead of reading it. First he used the marionettes to "say" it, and then he used the piece of paper to say it again? Fishy.
Onto Scottsdale, Ariz., to see Arie and his family! Naturally, she meets him on the racetrack, where he has her change out of her dress and heels into racing gear (still looking stunning, of course). He takes her for a ride and then a drink to prepare her to meet his "very European parents." No pressure, Em -- it's just going to be "tough to impress my mom," he says.
She's introduced to the family, and, almost immediately, they all (rudely) start speaking Dutch. Emily, looking confused and hurt, sits awkwardly while they chatter on about her (Arie's dad switched over to English for a second to confirm that they were, in fact, talking about her), until Arie feels bad and translates. He says his mother asked him how it was going, to which he replied, "it couldn't be any more perfect."
Mama Arie takes Emily to the other room and wants to know what went wrong with Brad, and Emily asks if she thinks Arie is in a place to balance a family with the life of a racecar driver. Mama thinks so!
Arie kisses Emily goodbye, and he is confident he's going to marry her soon.
One more hometown to go, and we arrive in Dallas, Tex., where Sean lives. As the family sits outside in the backyard, Sean has something to tell Emily. At 28, he still lives with his parents. Emily, the nice southern girl she is, forces a smile and allows Sean to show her his room.
"My mom could have picked up a bit in here," he says, referring to the half-eaten cookies, overabundance of stuffed animals (all named, mind you) and gym clothes scattered about the room.
Just kidding, Em! Sean doesn't really live here with his parents! I knew it -- who would honestly take a bite of a chocolate-chip M&M cookie and leave it on the counter?!
Sean's dad pulls Emily aside and tells her how much he likes her for his son, and I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Sean kisses her goodbye outside and sends her off... but not before he chases after the car to give her one last smooch. "When you want something, you have to go after it," he preaches.
It's time for a quick chat with Chris Harrison before handing out the roses, and Emily gets tearful at the thought of sending someone home. She said there was no obvious choice, so she had to base her decision on her feelings (I thought those were the rules?).
Arie gets the first rose (I guess Mama Arie didn't scare her after all!), Jef gets the second, and Sean gets the last, leaving Chris a few minutes to get all worked up.
She walks him outside to chat quickly, and Chris just does not understand. In a mature move, he gives Emily a stiff hug and kiss on the cheek, wishes her well, and gets into the limo. Then, he proceeds to curse and put the other guys down, which only highlights the fact that he is too young for Emily and not ready to be a father figure to little Ricki.
With hometown dates out of the way, it's time to fly to Curacao with the last three men! I can't believe how fast the season has gone by -- we're almost at the finale, which will air on Sunday July 22nd with the first-ever LIVE After the Rose!
What did you think of the guys' families? Did you really think Sean's family was serving roasted armadillo for dinner? Drop me a line below, and see you next week, Bachelorette fans!
More:Emily Maynard The Bachelorette Recap The Bachelorette Emily Maynard Emily Maynard Hometowns The Bachelorette Hometowns
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