Pack your bags, everyone, and throw in an extra bottle of Xanax. We’re headed to Seattle, Washington; Madawaska, Maine; Chico, California; and Charlotte, North Carolina to meet Chantal, Ashley, Shawntel, and Emily’s families!
But before we go, there’s something you should know: Brad’s been “thinking a lot” (flashbacks of previous dates with the final four, exclusively) and he’s wearing a terrible, terrible hat.
Okay, let’s go.
First up, Seattle, Washington, where Brad meets Chantal O. in a park with beautiful views of the city, but not in time to save her from a life-threatening scarf that’s wrapped its way around her neck like Michelle’s hands. Still, Brad “can see himself traveling there a lot.” Chantal takes Brad to see her house and meet her dog, who has dressed for the occasion in a fitted black sweater, and her cat, Jinxy, who goes for the lethargic look and plays the part of a disinterested sibling. “He isn’t too excited, is he?” says Brad. Um, no, he’s not. And he’s a cat. Brad and Chantal talk a little bit about his loft (“Does it have enough closet space?” “No.”) and then drive four streets over to the Chantal’s parents house, which happens to be very, very large and richly decorated. (Hey producers, what happened to those “shocking” plot twists?) There, Chantal’s mom, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Susan Lucci, offers Chantal her ear and offers little advice while Chantal’s dad takes Brad round the grounds to witness—and yes, we do mean witness—a giant statue representing the Self-Made Man. Because nothing says “I relate to people who start out with nothing” like a giant man carved in bronze. Then they sit in some large leather chairs and level with each other about their own uncanny similarities, like having absent dads and wanting to be “damn good fathers.” But soon their off to
show off another room of the house the wine cellar for the ritual giving of the father’s blessing. Or as my viewing partner this week put it, “Look at all that wine!”
At last, it’s time for Chantal and Brad to say goodnight and goodbye. “I’ll miss you, alright?” says Brad. “Okay, sounds good,” says Chantal.
The next day Brad’s in Maine with Ashley, who takes him to the restaurant where she held her first job. “Isn’t that cute? I used to work in a bar!” she says. Ugh. There they order her favorite local dish, French fries covered in cheese and gravy, and she makes Brad eat it with his fingers (she’s so messy-cool!). “Good job!” she squeals when the first bite makes it into Brad’s mouth. “And I saw your crown.”
After lunch they’re off to pick up food from a local stand, and it’s there that Brad realizes that what he really, really wants. No, it’s not a wife and a family. It’s to live somewhere where a lone fruit cart is governed BY THE HONOR SYSTEM. To be clear, Brad says, “I’m realizing that this is what I really want!” What he gets, in addition to some free produce (okay, fine, it’s possible they paid, but we’ll never really know) is a scream fest with Ashley’s family, who literally curl up at Brad’s feet to hear him talk and shout back their responses. “She wants to share her life with someone who is just as excited. About the future,” says Ashley’s sister. Yeah, and French fries drenched in cheese and gravy. Whether or not that’s Brad, Ashley’s still not sure.
But it’s another day, another city, and now Brad’s in Chico, California to visit with Shawntel, who, now that’s she at home, makes Wednesday Adams look like Doris Day. Shawntel has Brad meet her at her family’s funeral home for a tour the crypts, the crematory, and the prep room, where she has Brad lay down on one of the embalming tables, oblivious to the fact that Brad is suddenly looking like death itself, too. “I don’t need to see a dead body, I really don’t,” he says. Either do we, but thanks for threatening. (Un?)Luckily it’s time for dinner with Shawntel’s family. There’s some salad, some easy laughter, and one really uncomfortable discussion about the family’s plans for Shawntel to take over the family business, which are now in jeopardy thanks to Brad. Shawntel’s dad pulls her aside to clear the air ( restate his feelings) and Shawntel’s mom puts Brad to work making cocktails in the kitchen (where’s Ashley when you need her?). Despite his hopes and dreams, Shawntel’s dad ends up offering the couple his blessing, but the way Shawntel put and then left her glass of red wine down on the family’s white carpeting has us fearing the worst.
By the time he lands in Charlotte, Brad if feeling “rock solid” with his feelings for Emily, who brings her daughter, Ricky, along on their date at a local park. It takes a few minutes and a super cute butterfly kite (courtesy of Brad!) but “Little Ricky” (Babaloo!) and “Mr. Brad” end up bonding quite nicely! Back at Emily’s house, they play some board games and eat some macaroni and cheese before putting Ricky and Mr. Monkey to bed. Alone at last downstairs, Brad tells Emily he feels uncomfortable kissing her while Ricky is sleeping upstairs, which for a moment, threatens to ruin the whole date. There’s no time for Brad to call his therapist and work this out, but luckily that’s okay: Brad ends up kissing Emily anyway. “I am definitely ready for Brad to change my life forever,” she says.
But before he can—and before the episode is over—Brad, Chris Harrison, and the women make one last trip. To New York, where hearts are broken. There the group settles in for a rose ceremony. “I am here to find a wife, to find love,” says Brad. “With that being said, I have to say goodbye.”
Receives a rose: Ashley, Emily, Chantal
Says goodbye: Shawntel
And with that, we’re off to South Africa for the fantasy dates. See you next week!