Chris Harrison blogs 'The Bachelor' episode 8

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water now that Tierra is gone, we take you to hometowns. The truly interesting thing about this week was the incredibly different dynamic each woman’s hometown possessed. Sean started things off in his home state of Texas, meeting AshLee’s family in Houston. As Sean said, Ash has been a frontrunner since day one and it’s easy to tell how much in love she is with Sean. The experience of being on The Bachelor is so unique and hard to explain, I find it compelling when these women — who are so engrossed in their journey — try to convey to their families how madly in love they are.

AshLee’s parents are amazing on so many levels for what they have done for her. They are loving, caring people who opened their lives and loves and created a home for a little girl that needed it. To hear her dad tell the story of how he found her was incredible. As AshLee said, it is a true love story. I’d say it’s safe to say this was a successful hometown date on just about every level. AshLee came into this week as a frontrunner and it seems that she’s still right up there at the top in Sean’s heart.

Up next for Sean were the ladies in Seattle. Catherine explained before this week that her dad isn’t in the picture anymore so it would be just the women in her family. While Sean and AshLee’s relationship seems serious and mature, Sean’s relationship with Catherine is fun, light and easy. They both seem to light each other up and that’s a great quality. One thing many fans should be satisfied with is the fact that Sean and Catherine ate on camera. I get asked all the time if they ever eat the food on these dates. The answer is yes but you don’t always get to see it, so I’m happy you finally got to see some people eating.

One thing I really appreciated about Catherine’s family is how serious they took this. They were very tough on Sean and Catherine and really examined their relationship. Catherine’s mom didn’t exactly give Sean an overwhelming warm feeling about this working out. That’s the good thing about family though: they truly have your back. Sean left Seattle feeling great about Catherine but not exactly feeling great about the family’s feelings towards him. That would obviously weigh heavily on his final decision during the rose ceremony.

Sean’s next stop was one of the most intriguing hometowns we’ve ever had. Ever since Sean learned Lindsay’s dad is a two star General in the United States Army he was thinking about what this hometown would be like. He was incredibly nervous about meeting Lindsay’s dad, but what guy in his right mind wouldn’t be? The man is a true American hero and Sean is talking about possibly stealing his little girl away. It was funny watching Sean try to figure out what to even call the man. All of a sudden he looked like a five year old because he was so nervous. In all seriousness, I’m glad we showed even a brief glimpse into military life in this country — and let me take a moment to thank all the service men and women who serve our country and sacrifice so much for us. You could tell how nervous and on edge Sean was talking to Lindsay’s dad. It took all he had to muster the courage to ask his permission to possibly marry his daughter. His answer to Sean’s request was one of the best responses I’ve ever heard to that question: You’ve gotta have the authority to make the right decision. Turns out after being so nervous, Sean and Lindsay’s dad really hit it off. Sean really appreciated Lindsay’s dad extending the gift of the ID tags. This is a family Sean could easily see himself becoming a part of and that is something that’s very important to him.

The final hometown with Desiree was easily the most explosive, and in such a weird way. Sean felt so strongly about Des heading into this hometown I don’t think any of us really thought anything could tear that down. The start of the date couldn’t have gone better. It was kind of sadly ironic that Des played that practical joke on Sean with the fake ex-boyfriend being aggressive, because when the family showed up, it wasn’t a joke and it got bizarrely worse. The odd part is, there was a conversation we didn’t show between Sean and Desiree’s brother that took place earlier in the night. The reason we didn’t show it was it didn’t make any sense to any of us. The conversation went really well and Des’ brother was supportive and happy about their relationship. Then the guy did a 180 and just kind of lost it. When he got a chance to talk to Sean again he got really aggressive and a little verbally abusive, and Sean’s not one to sit back and just take unfair abuse. Sean is also very sensitive about being considered a player. The guy was already on edge after the practical joke, and then to have her brother absolutely question his intentions and integrity was just a bit much for him to handle.

Sean’s really big on picturing himself as a part of these families and as much as he didn’t want this to affect his relationship with Des, I think it did. If you think about the two women he was struggling with sending home this week, it was the two families that he would probably have the toughest time fitting into. In the end I think it’s safe to say that Des’ brother sabotaged his sister and ruined their relationship. At this point in the game there’s very little separating these four women. Des’ final plea really shook Sean up and, as you saw, made him second-guess what he was going to do. This was easily the toughest decision Sean’s made so far. It was tough to see Desiree going home knowing she had done nothing wrong. It just didn’t feel right watching them say goodbye. Des even said herself that Sean was making a huge mistake. Only time will tell if she’s right and if Sean will ultimately regret this decision.

Don’t miss tonight, as we have a one-hour special, Sean Tells All. This special will go much deeper into his decision to let Des go. It’s really a great special that will answer a bunch of questions you might have about this season including, of course, Tierra. You’ll also get to see a lot of never-before-seen footage that will make you laugh as well as shed some light on decisions Sean has made throughout this process. I hope you will all tune in to check this out. Then, next week we are off to Thailand for some of the most spectacular dates in Bachelor history. See you there.

More Bachelor from EW:
Bachelor episode 8 recap: Sibling Rivalry

Plus, check out Sean’s blog on people.com

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