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Vicky Mochama on The Bachelorette’s Hometown Dates: "Not All Families Are Blood"

Things are about to get real, but the way the show is structured doesn't allow for the men like Eric and Dean to show Rachel their realest selves

(VICKY MOCHAMA)

(VICKY MOCHAMA)

Once again, “The Bryan and Rachel Show” seems to be at a whole other level compared to the rest of The Bachelorette’s love stories. She’s out here buying him expensive watches and giving him the driver’s seat of her Bentley, meanwhile Dean gets taken to Sunday morning mass with some old Swiss folks and Peter has to sit on a mountain during a blizzard.

Which of those things most sounds like a fairytale?

Eric picks up on this when he notes that the 1-on-1 dates have gone to guys who already appear to be Rachel’s favourites: Bryan, Dean and Peter. They each pick up a rose that gets them to next week’s round of Vague Conversations In a Pretty Setting. This leaves Eric, Adam and Matt with a 3-on-1 date where there’s only one rose.

Eric’s complaint is fair, but somewhat irrelevant. Things are getting real now: next week is Hometowns. Favourites must be played. You don’t mess with family.

It’s a little wild to me that the show has her meeting four families. That’s a lot of people who are being asked to make space for another person in their lives when there’s a 75 percent chance she won’t be back.

That said, I’m a big believer in introducing family—and friends—as early as possible. Families are, in my opinion, where swimmers swim and not-husbands drown. What’s the point in wasting months only to find out later the people you love most don’t rock with one another.

Rachel is looking for a husband, but she’s also picking up a family. Until now, the onus has been on the guys to prove their willingness to be there and to do what she asked, but now it’s Rachel’s turn to prove she can fit into their worlds.

Family dynamics are clearly top of mind for Eric and Dean. Eric’s challenging upbringing in Baltimore means he has never brought a girl home. For Dean, his father’s distance and increasing eccentricity (we get a glimpse of in the preview and… whew, it is a lot) makes him less than excited about his Hometown. In fact, he seems to be straight-up dreading it.

It makes me wonder if the gaps that are being shown—Prince Bryan vs. The Rest—are going to be much more pronounced next week. Bryan and Peter speak of their families in ways that suggest both happiness and conventionality; Dean and Eric do not.

It’s a failing of the show for me: this insistence on tradition and the structures of a time gone by; it’s really evident in the Hometowns. Rather than allow Dean and Eric to introduce Rachel to their found families—the people that have truly supported and transformed them—there’s an adherence to a traditional idea of family. Not all families are blood and not all blood families are good; the point shouldn’t to shy away from that, but rather to allow the men to show Rachel their realest selves, not their most damaged ones.

Basically, I’m low-key Team Dean and I’m worried about him.

Watch The Bachelorette Mondays at 8:00 p.m. EST on City. Then, head on over to FLARE.com/themorningafter for recaps from Vicky Mochama and Sharleen Joynt, plus loads of other Bachelorette content!

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