Tears fell, cultures clashed, and babies cried this week on "The Bachelorette" as Emily met her four remaining suitors' families for the first time. Despite their best efforts, one family would soon be welcoming their heartbroken son back into the fold.
Date No. 1 -- Skeptical in Chicago
Chris interrupted the rose ceremony last week with a last-minute declaration that he was falling in love with Emily -- a desperate move that seemed to both impress and frighten her a little. His relationship with Emily has been lagging behind, but his impromptu plea for her heart won him another week on the show and a coveted hometown date in his native Chicago.
Chris seemed to relish the chance to show off his city to Emily, and to be away from the incessant touring of castles and dungeons that had characterized their European dates. They sat down for a beer at a Polish restaurant like the ones Chris had frequented in his childhood, and Chris announced, "On a scale of one to Polish, we're Polish." Emily would find out how true this was later in the evening.
The family's reception of Emily was amiable enough, but all of Chris's relatives seemed preoccupied with the possibility that he might get his heart broken. Chris' sister Christine was especially skeptical of Emily's intentions and asked Emily to ax her brother the minute Emily decided they didn't belong together, rather than dragging out their romance.
Chris kept his heart firmly attached to his sleeve all evening and ended the date with a proclamation of everlasting love for Emily -- apparently, seeing her with his family had catapulted his emotions to the next level. A Polish musical group in full traditional costume was there to top off the announcement, and Chris and Emily did a painful polka among his relatives.
Date No. 2 -- The Testosterone Test
Jef might look like the keyboard player of a prepubescent hipster punk band, but he's also handy with a shotgun. Emily was put through a few action-packed hoops upon her arrival in Salt Lake City, including a breakneck ride in an all-terrain vehicle and a tense skeet-shooting contest. Emily coquettishly pretended not to know the first thing about guns, only to hit every single one of her clay pigeons, sending Jef into a frenzy of arousal.
Jef had dumped his last girlfriend because his family didn't approve of her, which understandably made Emily queasy at the prospect of trying to impress his folks. As it turned out, she needn't have worried -- his parents were away on a Mormon mission, and his affable older brother, Steve, had taken on the role of patriarch in their absence. His family was friendly, relatable, and attractive enough to have spilled from the pages of a Ralph Lauren catalog.
Emily looked relieved to gab with Jef's three sisters and asked them whether they thought Jef was ready to settle down and be father. There was a painful hesitation, and a baby began to cry ominously in the distance. The sisters tried to reassure her, but it's obvious that they don't think their pompadoured black sheep of a brother is prepared for family life.
Jef expressed no such reservations himself and announced to Steve with his usual eloquence, "I'm totally, like, falling for her dude. She's like the coolest girl in the world." Steve agreed that they were a good match, but he seemed just as dubious as his sisters when it came to "wild" Jef's future as a 26-year-old father.
Like Chris, Jef had a post-SUV-departure surprise for Emily. He read her a speech detailing all the reasons that he loves her, bringing her to the brink of tears and resulting in the only heartfelt make-out session of the episode. "That was honestly like the sweetest thing anyone has ever, ever said to me," she said.
Date No. 3 -- Hearts A'Racing
Emily's next stop was Arie's hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona, and she immediately found herself at the local racetrack watching her beau do laps. As the former fiancé of a race car driver, Emily is very much at home at the track, and she showed off her comfort level by peeling off her dress, donning what looked like an astronaut suit, and hopping in Arie's car.
Sadly, the date soon took a wrong turn. Arie warned Emily that his mom would be difficult, but Emily wasn't prepared for the rudeness she encountered. Arie's mom pointedly conversed in Dutch over Emily's head during dinner as Emily got madder and madder. She might have hoped to fluster Emily by interrogating her about her failed relationship with Brad Womack, but she ran up against Emily's charm, charisma, and carefully rehearsed responses to any and all questions about Brad. Arie's mom had met her match, and she surrendered graciously. "They would make an awesome couple," she finally conceded.
Arie snagged some alone time with Emily and confessed, again, that he's raring to marry her. They made out passionately, which is what they do best.
Date No. 4 -- Puppy Love and Pranks
Emily looked genuinely happy to see Sean in Dallas, Texas, and to be introduced to his two adorable dogs. Sean divulged that it had been a while since he'd brought a woman home, despite being so "wholesome and well-rounded," as Emily put it (clearly, the stuff of fantasy).
Sean's family was warm, welcoming, and shockingly wealthy-- all qualities that Emily happily took in stride. But her contentment evaporated when Sean admitted to her that he still lives at home. He then showed her a bedroom scattered with food crumbs, dirty laundry, and a disturbing number of stuffed animals, each of which Sean called by name. Emily looked ready to run for it, but Sean quickly revealed that it was all a prank, ha ha! Of course he doesn't live at home -- he's 28! Emily chuckled indulgently, but she was extremely rattled and took a while to recover from the shock.
TV cameras seem to be an emotional laxative for the normally withholding Sean, and his family marveled at how open and vulnerable he was acting around Emily. "I realize now that there's something magical going on here," Sean's dad observed. The couple kissed goodbye passionately, and we were treated to an uncomfortably extreme close-up of the lip action.
Emily was whisked away in her SUV, but Sean spontaneously sprinted after her to kiss her one last time (fortunately, a lot farther away from the camera).
The Cocktail Party -- 'The Hardest Ever'
Watching Emily spill her guts to Chris Harrison is all the more scintillating now that the tabloids are alleging a romance between the two, but Emily kept the week's debriefing sensible, getting emotional only when reflecting upon how much everyone had liked her.
Arie received the first rose, and Jef the second -- leaving Chris and Sean to sweat out a few terrible moments. To nobody's surprise except Chris's, she awarded the rose to Sean, sealing Chris's fate and sending him home. Chris reacted by aggressively demanding an explanation from Emily, much like Ryan had when he was dismissed two weeks before. "I told you I loved you," he said with hostility, causing her to backpedal and admit that she might have made a mistake. He promptly proved that she hadn't by brusquely taking his leave and belligerently saying, "I'm 10 times the man than [expletive] all those dudes that are still in there right now." Tsk, tsk, -- no daddy material there.