It’s been eight mostly boring weeks dodging conflict, spreading covid, and shutting down drama at every turn, but Zach Shallcross finally reached that most pivotal moment in any relationship.
It’s time to meet his girlfriends’ parents.
Two hours of Ariel, Charity, Gabi, and Kaity taking turns parading him around their hometowns with the hope that he’ll dump the other three and want to propose to them in two weeks.
Every little girl’s dream.
Gabi + Zach
Zach broke the hometown seal with Gabi who met him in Vermont for a day of sticking their fingers in maple trees. They cuddled close and described the sap as “warm, sticky, and wet” while music you’d hear in a movie your friend’s creepy dad rented behind a curtain at Hollywood Video played in the background.
I like to imagine Vermont as a nonstop party of Bernie Sanders bathing in maple syrup so this was on track for me.
Then Zach did a blind taste test and ended up picking generic store-brand pancake syrup as his favorite.
Is anyone surprised?
That night Zach met Gabi’s sweet family who welcomed him with open arms. Her mom took a more pragmatic approach but her dad was all in on the romance. This was almost enough to convince Gabi to tell Zach that she was falling in love, but not quite.
Instead, she hedged her bets and told him that she sees a future with him. Then she cried and cried because she won’t see him for a week while Zach is off meeting his other potential in-laws.
Ariel + Zach
A quick commuter flight later and Zach was meeting Ariel in Manhattan for a day exploring her Jewish heritage through food.
Ariel’s parents escaped Jewish persecution from the Soviet Union which makes her a first-generation American and a native New Yorker. In other words, she’s just incredibly too cool for Zach.
Ariel is all big city speakeasy vibes and Zach is more tailgating hot dad of Disney.
I can’t imagine them meeting outside of this context and having anything in common. I just keep thinking of how cringe this is all going to feel for her once she’s out of the Bachelor bubble.
Who cares! Let’s drag her family into it.
That night, Zach absolutely bombed with Ariel’s family. He didn’t know her birthday or her middle name. Her brother asked why Ariel should pick him before he settled on “I have a big heart and I’m a good cook.” Then when his dad asked how it was going Zach told him that he changes his mind week to week.
Nice work, buddy.
Ultimately, however, Ariel is a 28-year-old woman who doesn’t need her parents’ approval so she told him that she’s falling for him.
I honestly do not know why.
Charity + Zach
The next stop on Zach’s national tour of girlfriends was Columbus, Georgia where Charity introduced him to her perfect Southern family.
If the rumors are true and Charity is the next Bachelorette, The Bachelor knew exactly what they were doing by having the family portion of this hometown go first.
Everything from her dad’s soft accent, to the perfect garden party, to her supportive friends, made Charity the ideal candidate to be America’s next sweetheart.
What it didn’t do is seal her chances with Zach.
After meeting her family, Zach and Charity spent the evening country line dancing. She closed her eyes and held him close while he looked exhausted. In the end, she told him that she was falling for him.
Zach responded, “That’s crazy!”
Kaity + Zach
Finally, Zach traveled back to his own hometown of Austin, Texas where Kaity also happens to live.
I’m once again pointing out that we could have wrapped this whole season up after one glass of wine and a Bumble matching binge.
Kaity and Zach have chemistry. It didn’t matter that they spent the day grocery shopping and doing household chores around Kaity’s new place, he was into it because he was into her.
That night he met Kaity’s family, but most importantly he met her mom. Kaity has discussed at length how her dad and stepdad abandoned them so it has always been her mom who she depended on. Luckily, her mom saw how happy they were together – and how they couldn’t keep their hands off each other – so she gave her stamp of approval.
As he was leaving that night, Kaity told Zach that she was falling in love with him to which he replied, “Wow!”
Sean Lowe is back for Hometowns
For some godforsaken reason, Sean Lowe was back again to hear Zach talk about his women. As a mostly proud member of Bachelor Nation, I like Sean, but he really isn’t offering anything new to this season.
Anyway, Zach told Sean that Gabi is fun to be around, Ariel is his greatest surprise, Charity has an awesome family, and Kaity makes him feel like himself.
Sean was like, “I wish I could say it gets easier but it doesn’t. Sucks to be you.”
Back to the Bachelor Mansion
Before we knew it the four women were exiting limos in front of the Bachelor mansion again for the rose ceremony.
In my professional opinion, Kaity and Gabi were on lock so I was SHOCKED when Ariel got the first rose.
The next rose went to Kaity. It all came down to Gabi and Charity.
Sorry Charity, better luck next time, Gabi got the final rose.
Charity Says Good-bye
A clearly shocked Charity said her goodbyes to the other women before being walked out by Zach for a debrief. She held her composure and grace until he said, “I might be making the wrong decision.”
Boy, no. You don’t get to do that.
Charity shut that line of thinking down, but when he said, “You deserve all the love and I couldn’t give it to you.” her face dropped and she was done.
She left for the limo in tears and her time on the Bachelor came to an end.
Tonight is the Women Tell All! Then next week we’ll get fantasy suite week where Zach is going to completely botch his self-imposed sex ban. Only two weeks to go, we can do it.
Heidi is currently obsessed with watching people make bad decisions on TV, being a coastal elite, artificially avoiding any sign of aging, reading feminist romance novels, and getting the biggest laugh at her own expense. She has a husband, 3 kids, a dog and anxiety.