I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again this season: I love the hometown visits. They are so revealing and such a good indication of who these people truly are. With that said, I can’t remember a season when the final four people stacked up like this. In my opinion, Ali narrowed it down to four great guys who all could probably make her happy in different ways. Usually at this point, there’s one person or family that makes this decision a little easier on the Bachelor or Bachelorette, but this wasn’t the case for Ali. On the contrary, things only got harder for her this week and it led to easily the most emotional rose ceremony we’ve had with her.
Ali’s week started in Tampa with Roberto. I did find it a little funny how Ali told a little white lie to his family when they asked about her first impression of Roberto. I don’t think she wanted to say that to the family that she initially thought he was hot. You can clearly see Roberto comes from a beautiful, loving family, and it’s easy to see why he’s such a good, caring man. Quick question for you: Did the baseball uniform work for you like it did for Ali? She was really excited to see him in uniform.
If Roberto’s hometown visit was great I don’t have the words in my simple little head to describe Chris’s hometown in Cape Cod. If you didn’t get emotional while watching this, you seriously need to check and see if you have a heart. Chris is such a terrific guy who has such perspective on life, and he obviously comes about that honestly from his family. His “pops” Ed is such a dear, beautiful man. You truly have to marvel at the attitude and outlook he has on life and love after the year he and his family have just had. The scene where Chris and his dad were talking on the porch about what his mom would think was moving to say the least. Fortunately, the other guys don’t get to see each other’s hometown dates, because after Roberto and Chris, who would want to try to measure up to that?
Kirk was next in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This hometown goes back to why I love this episode so much: You get to see such diversity across this great country and what makes people who they are. Yes, Ali was freaked out by Kirk’s dad’s workshop with all the dead animals, but that’s who he is and what he does. It was something so foreign to Ali, but that’s part of getting to know somebody’s family. Kirk’s family dynamic was obviously different than the others, but in the end it really didn’t seem to matter. As Ali said, he may not have had the best example of marriage, but he is loved and supported like no other, and that’s what counts.
Frank’s hometown visit in Chicago was by far the most interesting to me. While overall they had a great time and Ali ended up giving him a rose, they both continue to struggle with each other. Ali continues to worry why she can’t quite figure him out, and Frank continues to struggle with this process. He gets inside his own head so much that he begins to over-analyze the situation and their relationship. Ali is starting to worry now about the fact that it may not be the process he’s questioning, but rather it’s her he’s not sure about. This is clearly not over, and as you saw in the previews, it will come to a head next week in Tahiti.
After traveling around the world it was nice to be back in the old Bachelor/Bachelorette pad for the deliberation and rose ceremony. After all these years, there’s something very comfortable about that place. Somebody asked via Twitter this week about that house and who owns it. It is privately owned, and we have rented it out over the years to shoot all our shows. I feel a little bit like it’s my second home now as I’ve spent so much time there over the years. It probably didn’t look like it on TV, but deliberation was extremely difficult this week. Ali was exhausted and not at all looking forward to this rose ceremony. As I said above, I can’t remember a season where the final four have been so evenly matched. I felt for Ali; she was about to break up with somebody who had given her absolutely no reason to do so. She so wanted one of these guys or families to give her a reason, but instead they all made it that much tougher. It was an emotional, difficult night and it took us quite some time to shoot that deliberation.
In the end Ali chose to send Kirk home. Like last week when she sent Ty home, it was really more about her feelings for the other guys than anything that was wrong with Kirk. Ali just sees herself with Roberto, Frank and Chris more than she can with Kirk at this time. Next week we are off to Tahiti for exotic dates. I’m sure you’ve heard or seen in our previews that the situation with Frank comes to a head in this episode. Like the Justin situation, this is something you may think you know all about, but you truly have to see and hear it unfold for yourself. Something like this happening at such a late stage in this process will set in motion a series of events that will shape not only the rest of this season, but also Ali’s final decision and the future of all remaining on the show.
Follow Chris Harrison on Twitter @chrisbharrison.