Hello, rosebuds, and welcome to the Rose Rehash, our weekly summation of "The Bachelorette." This week's episode ends the whirlwind tour of Asia and finds Ashley and the Fab Four heading to hometown dates.
The episode opens in Philly — Ashley’s “hometown” — as she drones on about how tough things have been and how she’s excited and nervous about hometown dates.
She reiterates what she loves about these “four incredible guys” and the four “very different relationships.” Ashley loves Ben’s flowing locks and that he is so open with her. She thinks they have a “real connection” and that their life together would be “enriching and exciting.”
She says Connie was one of her faves from the start and swoons about how sexy he is. Ashley says Ames is “so unique” for the fifteenth time and we’re wondering if she can come up with another attribute. He’s also funny and humble and wait for it…unique.
Deirdre: Is he unique, Ashley? Is that what you love about him?
Carrie: Unique is her way of saying “I’m just not that into you.”
Ashley feels like she’s known JP forever—he makes her feels secure and relaxed. With JP, everything is there—here comes the whole package again! But she needs to be sure. So she hails a cab, off on her journey to “meet her husband.”
Ashley joins Connie in Cummings, Ga. in a giant field with some fuzzy Canada geese. He says he’s more excited than he’s ever been and both Ashley and Connie talk about how things are clicking more and more with them. Ashley says she’s “happy as a clam to see him” and he tells her his mom was confident from the beginning that he would be coming home with the lucky lady.
Carrie: Coming back home or crawling back home?
Ashley tells him he needs to have more faith in himself. Right back at you Ashley.
Off to Constantine’s family restaurant, Giorgio’s. Ashley loves how comfortable he is there and calls him “sexy” and “a stud.” Opa! It’s pizza time! They make a pizza with peppers, feta, pepperoni and LOVE. He’s laying it on thick—telling Ashley how beautiful she is and she eats it up. They take off their aprons and move the romance to the deck. Connie opens up to Ashley about how he’s feeling while the waitresses jam up against the windows to spy on the cozy pair. They squeal as he leans in for a kiss.
Next, they head to Connie’s parents' house, where they are greeted with blue and white balloons and a giant welcome home sign. The family is excited and think that Ashley “could be the one.”
Ashley and Connie sit down with his parents, Dmitri and Elleni, and his sister Maria, for some lamb chops and small talk. Maria says that Connie and Ashley are so cute together it makes her feel OK he’s been gone so long. Awwww.
Elleni pulls Ashley aside while her voiceover reveals she wants Connie to “find the love of his life” but warns they need more time. She asks Ashley the “Momma Question”—Is she willing to become a part of this? Is she willing to move to Cumming? Ashley doesn’t blink before responding she will and it’s “not an issue for her.” Ellenni is pleased as punch and they cheers to the future and pound the rest of their wine.
Connie and Dad are cashing in on some guy time and Connie says he brought Ashley home because he trusts his family’s judgment. Dmitri likes Ashley, but doesn’t want them to rush—love takes time. He imparts some married wisdom—he and Elleni have been married for 32 years and their relationship isn’t always perfect; it takes work. But, if Ashley is the right person, Connie has his father’s blessing. They bear hug it out. Cut to the whole fam on the couch where Ashley says she loves it there and exclaims she’s “moving in.”
Deirdre: Too bad you still have three more stops to make on the love train, Ash.
Carrie: Their dog is wearing a dress. And has ribbons tied on each ear. Nerves.
And suddenly—it’s My Big Fat Greek Bachelorette! The extended family busts in as a surprise. Everyone dances while Grandma sits on the couch clapping and we are all having a great time. Ashley loves how Connie interacts with his family. Meanwhile, one of the family members is making it rain, showering the crowd with twenties.
She can envision a life with Connie, and all the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. Mom calls Ashley an honorary Greek and Dad says he’d like Connie and Ashley to be “in love forever.” Ashley calls the night amazing and is "so happy." Connie gives her a big hug and kiss goodbye as the family cheers behind them.
Next, Ashley joins Ames in Chadds Ford, Pa., where Ames is rocking a serious plaid shirt. Ames says he feels like he and Ashley are boyfriend and girlfriend. We feel more like they are brother and sister and feel bad for Ames.
Ashley meets the extended fam—Ames’ mom Jane, sister Serena, brother Jim and their families. Ames and Ashley share their travel stories and recap the terrible Thai boxing date. Ames might still have a concussion because he’s able to laugh about it. Big sis Serena pulls Ashley aside to get the scoop on her feelings. Ashley admits that things are progressing a little slower (code, Ames is going home) but saves herself from the sisterly staredown by saying that she does feel something for him and isn’t ready to “stop learning about him.” Once again she talks about how unique he is. Serena compares Ames to an onion and Ashley says she wants to keep pulling back the layers. We are now thinking about Shrek, food and our certainty that Ames is going home.
Next, Mom has a sitdown with Ashley and says how Ames and Ashley are so much alike and that she has tremendous faith in him. Ashley wants to feel the passion with Ames, but the relationship isn’t progressing like the rest. The spark isn’t there.
Serena sits down with Ames and lays it out for him—Ashley wants a ring at the end of this and he needs to step it up. Things are getting intense—the sister tells him he needs to show Ashley “The Full Ames.” Ames gets the message and is ready to bring on the romance. Lock it down, Ames.
For a last-ditch effort, Ames takes her on a picnic to his favorite tree, where they chat about boarding school, being a nerd and how they look at life the same way. Ashley tells Ames that he’s like no other guy and that the people who made him feel unpopular in school are stupid. He goes in for the kiss and calls it “the most amazing kiss ever” and that “he’s never had such a beautiful moment in his life.” Cut to Ames and Ashley on a Clydesdale-drawn carriage where Ames can’t hold back his excitement about how he’s falling in love with Ashley. She’s feeling it now and calls it a “storybook romance she could tell her children about.” We say it’s more storybook than romance and think Ames could be down for the count again soon.
Next, we cut cross-country to Sonoma, Calif., where Ben is excited to show Ashley wine country. She jumps into his arms and is overwhelmed by it all. The wine! The hair! It all screams sexiness to her.
Time for another picnic, this time at Ben’s vineyard, where they indulge in a little wine tasting. They toast with a young Bordeaux and Ashley says she wishes her mom were here because she’d love the wine. Ben says she can come visit over the holidays, and melts Ashley’s heart. And ours. Boo, rain ruins the picnic, so they cuddle up on the porch and Ben warns Ashley that he’s only brought one girl home before her, and meeting his mom is a kind of a big deal. Ashley asks what his dad was like—Ben calls him a gentle giant and says he would’ve loved Ashley. Hearing Ben open up about losing his dad makes us love him more. He’s such a nice and normal guy. How on Earth did he end up on this show? Emotional Ben can stay.
Ashley’s nervous to meet Ben’s mom and sister since she knows what they have all been through losing his dad. The stakes are high. We’re relived she’s finally wearing appropriate clothing that covers her back.
Over dinner, they joke about Ben’s hair and Ashley says how much she loves it. His sister Julia says she signed Ben up for the show. Ashley thanks him and it gets tense when Julia quips how she hasn’t really liked some of Ben’s girlfriends. It’s a tough crowd.
Julia says Ashley seems sweet but she’s skeptical and super protective of Ben. She corners him in the kitchen to find out Ashley’s intentions—does Ben feel like Ashley’s helped him to open up? Ben assures Julia that this has been a great experience, that he’s falling for Ashley and at the end if things keep progressing he would have no problem proposing.
When he sits down with Mom, Ben tells her that being with Ashley has made him think about the past and how he regrets that he shut down after his father died and should have done more for the family. Mom appreciates it and says that Ben’s Dad would be proud of him. Ben breaks down. As Ashley’s leaving, Ben says it’s times like these when he’s really happy and he wishes his dad could see it but he can’t. We are barely able to hold back tears. Ashley departs and talks about how the night was amazing and she could see herself spending the rest of her life with Ben. If she doesn’t, we will. Ben better be the next Bachelor.
Back on the East Coast, Ashley meets JP in his hometown of Roslyn, N.Y. Right away he says it’s nice not to think about the other guys and we’re already annoyed. Lame. To escape the gloomy weather they head to Hot Skates for some roller-skating and a trip back to seventh grade. JP says they need ambiance—and now Ashley REALLY feels like they are back in seventh grade as the lights dim and a giant shattered disco ball drops from the ceiling.
Deirdre: All those broken mirrors have got to be bad luck.
Regardless, Ashley and JP take to the rink and before they manage one spin around the floor they are making out to “I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore.” JP falls, the music stops, and Ashley tells him it’s a cute fall and they kiss some more. She feels lucky to be there. Yet another picnic, this time with wine in paper cups in the middle of the roller rink. JP opens about how crushed he was when his last relationship ended. Ashley feels the insecurity flag start to wave and asks JP if he’s pretty certain about them and their relationship. He says he’s 100 percent certain. Not convinced, she asks how JP is so sure about them when he hasn’t been in the past. He talks about Ashley like she’s a drug and how he “can’t be without her” and she LOVES it. JP says he’s willing to risk it all to fall in love and whisks Ashley away to meet his family.
At JP’s house, there are hugs and tears and Ashley calls it a “great welcome.” Still, JP’s Mom Irene is worried that JP is going to get hurt. Ditto with his brother Roy.
JP sits down with Mom and says Ashley is terrific, BUT she doesn’t want to see his heart broken again. He says he doesn’t want to feel that way either, but he has to let go to fall in love. Mom asks if he’s in love and JP dodges the question and says there are signs that point to it. He says he “doesn’t think he’s going to get his heart broken” and he says if he feels it and is in love with her, he’ll propose.
Mom is still concerned, so she corners Ashley and tells her how hard it was to watch JP have his heart broken in the past. Can someone please give us the backstory on this already? What the heck happened to this guy? Mom is nervous because she saw JP look at Ashley with “love in his eyes”—Ashley is game and tells Mom she can put her on the spot with any questions she has.
JP and his bro talk once more about how no one wants to see him get hurt. We get it, he’s fragile.
Ashley says she’s “smitten by” JP and Mom is relieved. So are we. This date is making us uncomfortable and we’d like it to be over. Mom says Ashley is beautiful inside and outside.
Before she can leave, it turns out JP’s family has a surprise for Ashley too, in the form of a poster-sized framed picture of a teenage JP. He’s rocking a serious mullet and a sly smile and they decide he looks like a cross between Kirk Cameron and Doogie Howser. We still think he looks like Joseph Gordon Levitt and this confirms it. The picture is awesome. It’s making us like JP again. A little.
JP says things just keep getting better with Ashley but his fear is holding him back from telling her he loves her. Uh oh.
Ashley returns to Casa Bachelorette, and her backless clothing choices. She sits down with Chris and he reminds her the last time they were here was when Ashley cancelled the cocktail party because of Bentley. Ashley feigns surprise at the memory and tries not to cry when Chris says Bentley’s name. She claims it’s funny to her now and says she’s grateful for the experience because it brought her to where she’s at now. She needed to know the truth and actually says with a straight face that she realizes it wasn’t a real relationship. We’ve been saying this all season so we’re bored now.
We get a recap of the dates: she called Connie’s date the “best hometown date” and now believes their relationship has more depth. She calls Ames unique—shocker—and says he would be the best husband. Ben surprised Ashley by planning the perfect date and she saw a very emotional side of him. She felt really good about JP’s date and fell in love with his family. She has no regrets and is so happy with these four guys. Too bad someone is going home.
Ashley has to make a tough desicion because time is running out. At the Rose Ceremony, she tells the guys what a great time she had with their families and that it doesn’t make tonight easy.
Nevertheless, Ben nabs the first rose, followed by JP and no one is surprised when Connie gets the final one. Except Ames.
Ames looks confused and when his right eye closes in a wink we’re pretty sure it’s a nervous twitch. Ashley leads him outside to the Bachelorette Reject Bench and tells him this isn’t easy and she cares so much for him. He calls the experience beautiful and unexpected and handles his exit with class. We’d expect nothing less from you, Honest Ames. In the limo he says he feels numb and that it’s hard because he fell in love with someone who didn’t fall in love back. We hope Ames can find love and someone to share adventures with.
Next week: we’re off to Fiji, where three become two.