Previously on the Bachelorette: Trapped on an island with five Bachelorette contestants and Desiree Harstock, the residents of Madeira hid indoors; the English language perished; Dez and Brooks sat in the clouds like they were in the dream sequences from Brazil; a federal prosecutor met his fate.
Pour yourself a drink—there's a lot to cover this week and, what the hell, you've earned it. The Bachelorette returns stateside for the four family visits and the editing is lean. The setup here is we get a little, tease pre-game date to, I guess, loosen Dez up for the family dinners and parental interrogation.
Zak leads off with enthusiastic decency.
"I had a dream last night," he says, and introduces this weird fever dream where the sun destroys Dez and himself, then ice rains into cups, then children appear. It's some real Master and Margarita action.
Zak runs away, and for a moment, it looks like he might escape.
As it turns out, Zak's family owns a sno-cone truck. He and Dez proceed to drive around town so they can provide children with sno cones. (Zak fever dreams topically.)
They are immediately swarmed.
"I just want to start throwing sno cones, see who can catch it," she says, from Sparta. Children hassle them, Zak dresses up like a cartoon penguin, traditional romance.
We head over to Zak's family's house where his relatives reveal themselves to be (sincerely) great. They are very excited to see Zak. Also, they immediately provide Dez with a drink. This is a quality group.
Zak's family is hilariously like "what the hell" when it is revealed that their son/brother exited a limo shirtless in a segment that will be broadcast, nationally, at a later date on television.
The general deal here is that Dez is actually not at all into Zak, but equivocates when anybody questions her about that fact, because she's just an old artistic soul.
Zak and his vocally talented siblings sing a song for her (it is not Miguel's "Do You…"), which Dez acknowledges as one would acknowledge someone's giving a drunken toast—at once bashful and vaguely pained. Zak escorts her outside, tells her he loves her, and gives her a ring of promise.
Okay! On deck: Drew. Dez arrives in Arizona; Drew and she make out near a cactus. His father and mother are divorced; his father is a recovered alcoholic; he has a severely disabled sister, whom we meet.
Toward the end of dinner (which is all cheerful), though, there's the obligatory round of parental interviews.
Drew's dad has four questions for Desiree (two are in reference to Drew's sister, which are heartfelt). Here are the first two:
- What first attracted you to him?
- Have you grown more attracted to him?
Which … is fine on the page there, I guess. Try it at home! (Don't.)
Anyway, he clearly needn't worry, because Dez immediately runs outside and jams her tongue down Drew's throat.
Off to Oregon next, where Chris and his family await. When we meet Chris, he's standing in the woods and wearing a flannel shirt over a waffle t-shirt, with a real-estate-website-acoustic-guitar's version of what grunge might sound like.
The music for this entire episode is a mix between a teeth whitening commercial (emotional moments) and Peter and the Wolf (wacky family hijinks).
Chris played professional baseball, so their warm-up date is "having a catch" (some regional dialect BS (update: Apparently this is not some regional dialect BS! This is just a phrase some people say that still doesn't make sense)).
Desiree can throw. It's very passable. She would not embarrass anyone in an office league softball league, if she ever works in an office (ha ha).
She shares some drawings she's done with Chris. It's all going fine.
And then we meet Chris' family.
Chris' dad is a chiropractor. Chris' dad volunteers his services at dinner.
AND DESIREE AGREES TO AN ADJUSTMENT IN THE BASEMENT. (She doesn't seem to feel great about this in interviews.)
He actually adjusts her neck! Her neck! I don't know if you've ever had this done, but I have and let me tell you, as somebody who does not often drink, I'd have to be about five G&T's deep to be up for it.
Chris' sister explains at length how much she, her mother, and her grandmother did not care for Chris' previous girlfriend (somewhere in this country last night there was a girl who likes baseball and bad poetry who dropped some knowledge). Then Chris' mom starts crying at dinner? I mean, it's just a disaster.
Desiree kisses Chris, then blows that joint. As an aside, Dez is exclusively ferried around in a series of Suburbans and Navigators with rims in this episode.
After the break, she looks rather chipper about not being in the state of Oregon anymore.
Awfully loose and limber, too. Brooks is, of course, batting cleanup. They canoe.
Then they head over to meet Brooks' large family (he is Mormon, as it turns out!), including his mom who seems like a real nice lady.
And what can I tell you? It's a boring dinner, in which we hear no actual conversation or thoughts, and people with manners enough to not express their genuine favor or distaste on television do not express their genuine favor or distaste on television.
In L.A., Dez is visited by her brother, who is awesome.
We flash back to last winter, weirdly through the Barbara Walters View filter, when Dez's brother told this yahoo below, "I think you are just a playboy."
Dez's brother is basically Winston Smith in 1984. I want him to be the next Bachelor.
Anyway, it's the rose ceremony and, despite watching his exit, Dez's brother is still lurking around the hotel in plain view behind a column.
"There's nothing holding me back from finding my husband," Dez says in voice over as he looks on, accompanied by the crescendo gasp sound effect that horror movies use—cut to break. So I figured he was going to, you know, kick Drew in the shin or something. But we don't see the brother again. He just disappears into the night.
Almost needless to say, Dez drops Zak. Decency is too much for Dez. She needs amazing.
Per the music that accompanies his exit, the Bachelorette producers believe Zak is returning home to Cold Mountain. Alas, I hesitate to believe anything anyone says on the Bachelorette, but just sort of idly speaking in the car ride out, Zak says this and you really can't help feeling for the guy (fingers crossed he's not the next Bachelor):
"I thought…hometown date, and I tell her that I love her, and she cries? And I'm here now? I don't get her. Now I'm going back home to kind of a dark place…I'd been trying to get out of that slump that I've been in for so long. I really thought this would work out for me. I don't want to go back to the life I had, because it's a lonely life—I've spent too many years alone, I just want to spend my life with somebody."
"NEXT WEEK ON THE BACHELORETTE," Chris Harrison hilariously and immediately cuts in without a beat, much less a pause, practically convulsing with joy.
Next week on the Bachelorette, y'all? Dez cries a lot.