Tessa and Bevin have both stepped up their game now that this race is coming ‘round the final curve. Tessa’s game is to add just a little more Sierra Gold power bait to her fishing line, then lure Dandy in by flicking it in front of his face. Bevin’s game is to masterfully reenact a Damsel-in-Distress role while adding the passionate I-Can’t-Keep-My-Hands-Off-You ploy. Then there’s Amber and Danielle, who have been cast in decidedly supporting roles - perhaps when Bevin drops her Divorce Bomb one of these two ladies will kick it into high gear exposing their cards. After being cut loose by Dandy last week, Tina and Stephanie left the show in tears, but this is all so last week, and tonight is my favorite episode of every season - come meet the mamas and papas and get grilled. Bring it on!
Dandy tells us he’s had enough of the group dating…it’s crunch time and he’s ready to meet the folks. At this point he feels he could be with any of them so either he’s got a choice to make or I’m thinking ABC is looking for a spinoff similar to HBO’s Big Love. Dandy reminisces about each finalist beginning with Tessa. He describes her as dynamic, mature and sophisticated. He wants to win her over, but feels she hasn’t put her heart on her sleeve, and he’s toying with establishing a long-lasting connection (drink!) with her. He feels Danielle is the most invested in him. She’s tough and they’ve bonded over lost loved ones - her college boyfriend and his uncle. Because of her loss he sees her as a strong woman, but wonders if she’s a friend or life-long partner. He says he’s really into Amber, and thinks she has a beautiful smile, but he has a problem with her being only 23. If I’m not mistaken, she’s been 23 this entire time...did he just suddenly figure this out? He says he typically doesn’t like younger women, because they’re immature, but seeing her with the kids on the charity date touched his heart. The chemistry with Bevin is very natural, and every time he sees her he feels an electric current, and he’s continually impressed with her. He loves her athletic side and the way she interacts with children - he says she just keeps getting better and better.
In Heaven With Bevin
As Dandy arrives at a park in Seattle, Bevin is waiting for him. They run to each other, she hops into his arms, and he says he’s in “heaven with Bevin.” He looks tired, and I’m guessing he was up all night working on that quip. They take a walk to some beautiful waterfalls, and she tells him she used to come here with friends when she was in high school. Dandy wants to know if he’s the first “boy” she’s brought there. She gives a faint, unconvincing “yeah I guess” answer, and I don’t know about you, but she’s not fooling me. Bevin knows the time has come to finally disclose to Dandy that she is divorced and the thought of talking to him about it is freaking her out. I’m freaking out because they mention they can feel the mist from the falls, so naturally I’m concerned about that electric current that they’re always yapping about.
They settle down to a picnic including the requisite glasses of wine, and as Dandy chomps away, she cautiously begins telling him that everyone has a past, and she was once a teenager. *gasp* I’m stunned at this confession, and I wait for Dandy to react, but apparently he’s okay with that. She wipes her hands on his leather jacket and adds that she was a stubborn teen, and did some things her parents didn’t want her to, and one of those things was getting married for a short time as a teenager. She adds, desperately trying to put a good spin on the disclosure, that she doesn’t regret it because it’s part of who she is, and next time she’ll be wiser. Dandy has finally stopped eating, and says he’s idealistic about the way he views marriage, and he doesn’t take this news lightly. He wants to know how she feels about marriage now, and she says she’ll put 100% into a relationship before she gets married again. At the time, she thought her marriage would be forever, and she hopes that he understands. He says she’s the most mature of all the women - excuse me while I pick myself up from the floor - yeah she’s mature, Dandy, if you describe maturity as crying at the drop of a hat and pouting when feeling ignored. In voiceover Dandy tells us he never suspected she was married before, and it worries him.
After ‘the talk’ Bevin and Dandy arrive at her father’s house to meet the family. Everyone is sitting around a firepit on an outside patio overlooking a beautiful lake. Dad rises to his feet and hugs his little girl. Dandy kisses Bevin’s mother, stepmother, and sister offering flowers and Hawaiian coffee beans. My first impression is that Bevin definitely got daddy’s nose, but then I realize her mother has the exact same nose. What are the odds? If they lived in Hollywood, I’d suspect for some strange reason they bought those noses from a plastic surgeon - but this is Washington, so I'm at a loss. Dandy and Bevin begin filling the family in on their Bachelor Tales, including the ‘ankle incident’ and the trip to the hospital. As they’re talking, Bevin raises her pantleg to show her ankle, and the family gasps at the sight. The camera doesn’t pan down, and I’m no Bevin fan, but in her defense, the family’s reaction tells me it must still look pretty ghastly.
Everyone sits down for dinner and Bevin’s sister wants to know what’s in their future. Dandy talks glowingly about Bevin and says he wants to kiss her even now at the dinner table. Stepmom gives him permission to do just that, but it doesn’t look like he takes her up on her offer. They all laugh, though, and later he tells us “these are my type of people.” Mom offers them a present (a pre-engagement present, maybe?), which is a landscape painting she made for them, depicting the Northwest as a memento of their visit. Dandy is genuinely touched and shows his appreciation with a hug. Bevin cries, and leaves the table with Daddy for some heart-to-heart talk. He wants to know if she loves Dandy and she sighs deeply saying she feels something for him. She breaks down crying and Daddy asks why she’s holding back - she’s holding back? She says she doesn’t want to get her heart broken and Dad advises that if she holds back now, she’ll always regret it which she knows is true. They have a wonderful, warm relationship, and it’s a sweet moment - however, I’m somewhat distracted by the fact that they’re sitting on a stark-white couch that’s gorgeous…and clean. Which makes me wonder if a) is it new, b) is it that they never entertain, or c) is that the piece of furniture no one is allowed to sit on it except for special occasions? Like entertaining on television.
The entire family and Dandy join them, and he and Bevin are very affectionate. He compliments them on having a wonderful daughter, and the family is enthralled with him - eventually he hugs everyone goodbye. He’s impressed with their warmth and thinks they’re amazing (drink!). Bevin confides to us that she’s falling in love with Andy. Andy? Who’s Andy? Oh, she must mean Dandy. Dandy confides to us that her divorce is a big deal, but he wants to trust, that in the end, true love will prevail. Hallmark, we’ve got a new card for you, just in time for all those upcoming June weddings, too.
Bonding Through Bellydancing and Drums
Danielle is next and Dandy runs to her in the snow. Danielle thinks they have a lot in common and that their relationship is almost perfect. Hm, almost? There’s a story I’d like to hear. One of the things they share is both of them have had a recent loss of a loved and because marriage isn’t always an easy path, Dandy thinks her strength is a great asset. He’s nervous about meeting her family but she assures him they’ll love him. Danielle’s mother, father and sister pass around hugs and Dad quickly gets down to the business of offering wine and beer to all. Danielle still lives at home (what? At 25?), so her family’s opinion means “everything” to her. Mom, sister and Danielle put the finishing touches on dinner in the kitchen, but really what they’re dishing is Dandy. Danielle shares that Dandy is genuinely looking for someone to marry and she thinks he’s “so put together.” Her mother is thrilled to see Danielle happy because she’s had a rough road. Dandy and Dad sit in the dining room and Dandy tells Pops he has an amazing, amazing daughter (that’s two drinks for those of you playing at home). Pops says she’s been nothing but a joy. Of course we know that’s not true - every parent has had those days when their child resembled nothing even close to joy at times. However, I do suppose some wouldn’t want to admit that on national television. As her father, he says he’s the provider and protector and she deserves only the best. Over dinner Mom voices a concern about Dandy taking their daughter to far away Hawaii, and wants to know if he plans on staying there. I’m not convinced Dandy answers the question to their satisfaction because he states that he has limited time in places, and Danielle could travel the world. He adds that long-distance relationships are “really hard.” Danielle says as long as you’re happy, it doesn’t matter where you are. Oh ho, only the young would say something like that. Could she be happy in a box, with a fox, eating lox? I don’t know. Forgive me, it's late...I'm tired and rambling... Sister says privately what worries her is the fact that he’s dating three other girls, she’s just concerned he’s going to break her sister’s heart. Danielle believes fate has brought them together.
In order to lighten the mood, Dad takes everyone downstairs and he goes to town on his drumset. His face lights up and you just know he’s probably picturing himself on stage with his name in lights while playing. He invites Dandy to “take a whack at it” and for a moment I think tonight’s show is moving on to an X rating. But no such dice, he’s offering to let Dandy play the drums. Dandy finds him endearing and thinks her mother is a “blast.” Mom gets everyone, including Dandy, to don sarongs and they belly dance together, and Danielle jokingly warns him not to dance too close to her cute sister. By the way, one of my darling sisters-in-law is an awesome belly dancer, but she’s never gotten Mr. Rose or her hubby to entertain us at our family get-togethers. I’ll have to work on changing that…I’ll keep you posted.
As the evening winds down, photos are brought out and Dandy is shown a picture of Danielle and her father crossing the finish line together during a race. Knowing Dandy likes to compete, I’m sure this was a big topic of conversation for them. It would be great for Dandy to have a running partner - Mr. Rose and I have run many races together, and it was a wonderful - after all you’ve got hours of running together with lots of time for talking. Dad thinks Dandy is genuine, and says his daughter is very happy right now. He also thinks the sound of “Mrs. Lieutenant Andy Baldwin” has a good ring to it. Danielle has worried since the death of her boyfriend that she’d never feel love again, but she feels like she has great possibilities with Dandy. He and Danielle kiss goodbye on the front porch, and a brand new American flag is waving in the breeze overhead. How do I know it’s brand new? You can still see the folds in the flag from the packaging, hee. Whether Dandy picks her or not, I want to live next door to this family.
That’s What Friends Are For
Another snow date for Dandy as he once again runs into the arms of a waiting admirer, this time Tessa. He describes his romance with her as a roller coaster and he hopes she opens up to him. She explains they’ll be going to her mother’s house, and her father, sister and BFF, Samantha, will be joining them, too. Dandy says it doesn’t hurt to have a little fun with the girl you like before you meet her parents, and once again I’m thinking we might be headed into some X-rated material, but damn, foiled once again because he’s talking about a snowball fight. *sigh*
Dandy brings wine and hugs are passed all around. Tessa says it’s been a while since she’s brought a man home to meet the folks so this is a big deal. They sit around the living room talking about their dating adventures when Dandy mentions he watched Tessa try on dresses. Dad immediately picks up on this comment and says, “what do you mean you watched her try on dresses!” Ha. Everyone laughs as Dandy explains well, no, he waited outside the dressing room. All I’ve got to say is it’s a good thing this didn’t happen with the dad who had a fondness for rifles from one of the previous seasons, remember him? Tessa leaves to change her clothes, and speaking of being armed, Samantha has come from Denver to D.C. and begins firing questions at Dandy. He looks ill at ease but she wants to know what his faults are and he says he can’t sing, and he’s not a good cook. She then asks if he’s a suburb or city kind of guy. He tries to slide by, saying he’d like to own several homes but she’s not letting him off that easy and forces him to commit. However, we don’t get to hear his response, then she fires off another question: do any of the other girls have qualities that Tessa doesn’t. He says the other women have been quick to show their affection, but she’s taking her time. He feels that often times in this process he’s had to “court her.” Well, yes, Dandy, it’s called d-a-t-i-n-g and typically does involve ‘courting.’ Her sister asks the best question yet - does he keep the other ladies around because he has to, but again, we don’t get to hear his answer. Rats. In voiceover Dandy tells us how difficult it is to enter a room of skeptics and if her family doesn’t approve of him, it’s over. He’s sweating bullets, which delights me to no end. Stick a fork in him, he’s done.
I hope Dandy is getting his running time in because once again he sits down to a large family dinner. Dad orchestrates the sitting arrangements and opens the wine. Mom is very curious about Dandy’s current medical career and he explains that he’s a primary care physician for a special ops dive unit, and eventually hopes to be an orthopedic specialist. Mom also wants to know if he sees a marriage proposal at the end of the show. Once again, no answer, then Mom wonders where he would take all of them on the honeymoon. I think she’s kidding, but Tessa’s had enough and grabs the bottle of wine to distract everyone. When Mom asks if he likes to cook he says he likes to do dishes and uses the timing to begin clearing the table, ha. Dad joins him at the sink, and Dandy privately tells us he believes he survived the gauntlet of questions still standing. I'm thinking he may have dishpan hands, but he is still standing, nevertheless. Dandy asks Dad if Tessa has brought many men to meet the family and Dad noncommittally says “some.” It’s hard to know if Dad is intentionally being vague or if he’s completely baffled at trying to load the dishwasher - he’s definitely struggling with that kitchen duty. Dad tells Dandy that Tessa came on the show for the fun of it, which raises some red flags for Dandy because he feels her coming on the show for fun “is not good enough.” While the men are in the kitchen, Samantha asks Tessa if she’s happy she’s done the show, and Tessa says she “thinks so,” adding there are three other girls who he “really, really likes.” Dandy asks her family if Tessa is looking for a partner to which her sister replies “Tessa marches to her own beat.” Dandy’s feeling a little insecure, ladies and gentlemen, and for the first time I’m thinking there’s a strong possibility Tessa isn’t The One.
When the two of them are finally alone, Dandy flat out asks her how she feels. She’s truly uncomfortable and sputters that she has a natural compulsion to question whether he’s genuine or not. He says she is incredible, and he feels a wonderful attraction to her - if she feels it too she should go for it. She worries that she’s setting herself up to getting really hurt, but he tries to assuage her worries and asks what she wants. With great prodding from Dandy she eventually stammers she wants to fall in love with him, and he responds that he wants to fall in love with her, and they kiss. He leaves amid hugs and goodbyes from everyone - phew, I’m exhausted and that was simply painful to watch. I need a nap - I can’t imagine how he feels.
The Saddest Hometown Visit. Ever.
No snow during Amber’s hometown visit, the sun is shining brightly and cows are happily grazing, which lulls me into a false sense of security for her. Dandy meets Amber at the school where she teaches and as they walk inside he tells us she’s sweet, beautiful and makes his heart beat fast. She brings him into her classroom (sans kids) and he sits at one of the desks. I’d make a joke about them playing “naughty teacher” but frankly I’ve heard one too many news stories recently about real-life inappropriate goings on between teachers and students lately. The kids enter the room, and they all hug her as she introduces Dandy to everyone, including a signer for her class. As Dandy talks about Hawaii, she ‘signs’ what he’s saying, and he teaches them all the official hang loose hand sign for Hawaii.
Amber takes Dandy out to the playground but this isn’t playtime for them. She has to inform him he won’t be meeting her parents (she has a “rocky relationship” with them and they don’t support “this”) but was supposed to be meeting her aunt and uncle instead. However, something has just come up and her aunt may not be able to make it either. She tells us in private she’s worried because he’s probably met other wonderful families, and she was hoping he could at least meet her aunt who she loves. She finds out via the phone that her aunt can’t come, and to Amber’s credit she doesn’t express her immense disappointment until she hangs up. When she does, she breaks down and Dandy wipes her tears away and hugs her. Dandy tells her it’s okay, he got to see her classroom, and it’s her he’s here to see. We all know he’s lying, but it’s sweet of him to not make a bigger deal out of it than it is…it’s obvious she’s crushed. She says if she could ask for one favor in the world it would have been to have her aunt there. Damn, ABC, you made me cry. *shakes fist*
Not one to let this monumental disappointment ruin the day for her (yes, I’m looking at you, Bevin), she hopes Dandy meeting her roommate and dog will make for a great day anyway. They arrive at Amber’s apartment - her Pomeranian is a bundle of energy, and her roommate is a giggly blonde with cleavage. Roomie does know how to cook, though, and as she fiddles with something on the stove, she tells Dandy she’s heard he’s a doctor for the Navy. He says he’s a diver as well but she doesn’t know what that means. Um, okay. He tries to explain it more clearly but I don’t think he’s getting through to her. The dog pees on the carpet next to where they’re eating and a lot of time is spent with the girls giggling together. Dandy feels like he’s at a sorority house, and looks extremely uncomfortable. He says there is a different dynamic going on during this hometown visit compared to the others. Understatement of the year, Dandy.
Amber answers a knock at the door, and it’s her aunt who scoops Amber into her arms. I wonder if the producers called her and told her how crushed Amber was that no one was coming. Dandy hugs her and gives her a rousing welcome, probably grateful to have another adult in the room. Dandy privately tells us it was crucial to get to talk to her aunt because Amber confides in her a lot. She asks Dandy if he likes Amber, and he says Amber has a lot of his mother’s wonderful qualities. Her aunt assures Dandy that Amber is mature for her age. As if to prove this statement wrong, the camera cuts to Amber and her roommate in another room, and the conversation is this...honest:
Roommate: I really like him.
Amber: Like, I like him a lot, like it’s where it’s scary-like him.
Roommate: He looks like he really likes you.
Dandy tells auntie he’s ready to settle down and have a “little Dandy” - I’m willing to bet he already has a little Dandy, and I wait for auntie to point that out, heheh, but Auntie has more class than me, and lets it slide. She gushes that Amber would love to get married and have babies now, stating again she may be 23, but she’s a mature 23.
Cut back to the roomies and when asked if she’s ready to get married, Amber says she could definitely see herself being married to him because he was great with her students, and she feels he’s the “perfect guy.” Roomie says she thinks it’ll work out perfectly, and leaves so Amber can talk privately with her aunt. They agree he’s a great guy, and Amber says her aunt being there means the world to her. She confides that at the last Rose Ceremony he had toasted to meeting his future in-laws, which made her sad because she knew he wouldn’t be meeting her parents. She’s worried she may not get a rose at the next ceremony because of that, and rightfully worries that her aunt may not be “enough” for Dandy to feel comfortable. Honestly, I don’t care how terrific her aunt may be, he's got to wonder about these mysterious family members. Her aunt tries to reassure her, but it’s a very sad ending to the hometown visits, and I hope Amber can continue to do well for herself with or without her parents, or Dandy. Amber, call me, I’ll help you find someone, sweetie.
They hug goodbye and she says she can definitely see Dandy in her future. He thinks she’s sexy and good with kids (what more could you want in a woman, right?) but wonders if she’s ready to commit to marriage and a family at such a young age.
The. Most. Emotional. Rose. Ceremony. Ever!
It’s back to the mansion for everyone and as the camera zooms in, the ladies are already lined up waiting to hear their fate. Mr. Obvious, Chris Harrison, welcomes them back saying there are only three roses tonight, and one of the ladies will be boarding a plane back to her bleak, ordinary life. I must say, although they all look tense, Bevin and Amber look particularly haggard. Who can blame Amber with the horror she’s just experienced, and perhaps Bevin isn’t getting much sleep due to drawing hearts in her diary all night.
Dandy enters the room with a bright smile and says they are four of the most incredible women he’s ever met (of course he hasn’t met any of us). He says he enjoyed meeting their families and friends, and in the end they’re all searching for the same thing, true love - another Hallmark moment. Roses are passed out as follows:
Tessa - she throws her arms around his neck and quietly accepts.
Bevin - runs to him and laughingly accepts.
Danielle - she graciously accepts and Dandy whispers, “you smell good.” Hee.
Amber holds it together, says goodbye to the other girls, hugging the longest with Tessa. She approaches Dandy to walk her out, and something was obviously edited out because Bevin and Danielle exchange a weird look between them and Tessa stares numbingly at the floor.
Amber and Dandy sit outside and she is pissed. She doesn’t understand - she had the most amazing (you know what to do) day of her life, ever, yesterday and she needs to know why he's not keeping her. He acknowledges she’s been through a lot and is mature because of it, but he feels she’s just too young. She felt an amazing connection (yes, that’s two) with him and thought he felt it too. He says he does, but grapples to find the right words. She wonders if it’s because he didn’t get to meet her family, which he denies, but I think that’s exactly what it is. Rather than spill all that on national television, he’s desperately trying to find an easy way to let her down. He apologizes, but she is crushed. She wishes him luck, then sobs uncontrollably in the limo. She says she has no clue why she got cut, and could imagine them living together, waking up together, her cooking breakfast for him, going to work at the same time, working out together, watching television together… Yowza, this girl has one active imagination, and I’m not sure there’s a Hallmark card for that.
He walks back inside and although it was incredibly difficult to say goodbye to Amber, the three remaining women are “solid” and he’s excited to introduce his Hawaiian life to them next week. Aloha!
Does your family belly dance at gatherings? If so let me know via a pm here.