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'The Bachelorette' Season 9, Episode 8 Recap: Home Sweet Home Town

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Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 9, Episode 7 of ABC's "The Bachelorette."

We've made it through eight weeks of one girl's amazing journey to find love, and now there's only one more thing to do before Desiree forgoes all individual room keys in lieu of exotic fantasy suites. That's right, readers, it's time to head to the final four home towns of Zak, Drew, Chris and Brooks! I have to say that I always look forward to the entertaining ramblings courtesy of some wacked-out family member or nosy neighbor, but that didn't happen this season. And Des' brother was even back in the picture! Each date was an exact replica of the one before, which resulted in two hours of melba toast. But it did have its moments.

The Contemplation of the Future Surrounded by Nature
Home town dates always start off the same way. A dude stands alone, contemplating if he can see a future with a girl he's known for five minutes. Zak contemplated (and sketched) in a Dallas gazebo. Drew chose a cactus garden somewhere in Scottsdale. Chris deliberated in the mossy woods of Oregon while Brooks found sanctuary in a Utah meadow. Despite the varying difference in environment, Des greeted each beau with a squeaky salutation before running and jumping in their arms.

The Quirk
The home town quirk has become as traditional as the first night ice breaker. I have to admit that Zak's initiation of Des into the family snow cone business was adorable, but the family hoedown with his brother and sister singing a Shirtless Zak original was a bit odd to me. Drew's sister's insistence that he and Des play her version of the Newlywed Game wasn't unheard of and Brooks "almost" falling in the lake while canoeing Des around was somewhat endearing.

Someone should have explained the quirk factor to Chris and Dr. George. Who in their right mind would let their chiropractic father ADJUST THEIR NOSE WITH A BALLOON APPARATUS on national television? Why did they choose that moment, the moment where the camera angle disclosed all the snotty glory oozing from Chris' nasal passage, to discuss the validity of his relationship with Des? And he ended the exchange with a hearty blow into a Kleenex. Disgusting. Come on Chris, get your head in the game -- it should be easier now that it's clear.

The Family Blessing
Each suitor was overwhelmingly concerned that he would not receive the blessing of his mother. Most consulted a favorite sibling as well. To no one's surprise, Des is perfect for each of those families and blessings were bestowed by all who were graced with her presence. You'll be sad to learn that no hard questions were asked, no guns were pulled, no grandmothers were inappropriate and Desiree's brother was on his parole officer's version of perfect behavior. Even when she refused to grant his wish to "try and get inside the guys' heads," he left, only to return later to lurk behind a wall. I begged him to jump in the elevator with Chris Harrison as he went up to the rose ceremony to shake up this mediocre episode, but no such luck. Here's hoping he returns when we're down to two.

The Declaration of Love
Let the record show that Brooks has never confessed his undying love for Des. Of course, Des has admitted to anyone watching the show that not only is Brooks the frontrunner, but she is definitely, without a doubt, in love with him. This is still baffling to me.

This week, Chris was still stammering the three words while Drew took a bolder approach. He claimed he loved her, made out with her, shouted he loved her, made out with her again and then claimed it louder one last time for good measure. I think he's trying to convince himself. Zak, on the other hand, straight up bought her a promise ring and declared his love on the back of his Mama's porch.

A ring which Des swiftly returned before sending him off in the rejection limo after the rose ceremony. Adios, Zak.

"The Bachelorette" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Were you surprised that Des let Zak go? Is Brooks the one to beat? Or is Chris? Were you upset that Des' brother didn't get to intimidate his future brother-in-law? Sound off in the comments.

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