Home, sweet hometown dates! Episode eight of The Bachelor's 18th season took Juan Pablo's remaining four ladies back to their roots and respective cities to reunite with their loved ones -- most of whom seem surprisingly open to (if slightly puzzled by) the idea of their daughters finding a spouse of national television. Let's recap!
Pediatric nurse Nikki is the first to get a hometown date with Juan Pablo, who meets her in Kansas City, Mo., for some "cowboy" training. Nikki's from the midwest, y'all, so she wants to "how cowboy Juan Pablo can be." Lucky for him, Nikki's idea of a cowboy has nothing to do with actually wrangling cows -- unless you count the beef brisket on the menu at the famed Oklahoma Joe's Bar-B-Que. The two chow down on ribs and pulled pork and lots of other delicious-looking grub before heading to PBR Big Sky Cowboy Bar, where Juan Pablo nervously tries his hand at riding the mechanical bull.
"It's pretty hot watching Juan Pablo on the bull," Nikki says. "It's hot. I think he did a really good job, you know? I was pleasantly surprised at how much of a cowboy Juan Pablo was." She stops short of saying anything like "he lassoed my heart," but she's clearly smitten. "I really want to tell him that I love him, but it's not right yet," she confesses. "I'm so close with my family, and their opinion means everything to me. So if they give me their blessing, I do want to tell Juan Pablo I love him tonight."
On that note, it's time to meet the Ferrells: dad Tom, mom Jennifer, brothers Eric and Alex, and sister-in-law Kayla. After dinner -- or, rather, midway through -- Nikki takes her mom aside to tell her "how serious" things have gotten. The gist of their conversation is that Nikki is ready to accept a proposal. The question is, is her family? Dad Tom has heart-to-hearts with both Nikki and the Bachelor, during which he tells his daughter he'll always support her and then counsels Juan Pablo on figuring out where his heart is. "It's just as important for Nikki to select him as it is for Juan Pablo to select her," Tom says wisely.
Later, as Nikki and Juan Pablo say goodbye, she wrestles with telling him her true feelings but ultimately can't bring herself to say anything. "It didn't feel right to tell him that I loved him," she says, though she insists she wants him to know. "I hope that I'm around next week to be able to tell him."
Assistant district attorney Andi and her hometown of Atlanta, Ga., are up next, and -- like Nikki -- she puts Juan Pablo to the test with a little "Southern initiation" at the shooting range. (Guns! So romantic!) "I am, like, salivating at making him a little uncomfortable," she says teasingly. She then proceeds to shoot a bulls eye through the paper target on her first try, which Juan Pablo describes as "hot." His aim, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired, though he does ultimately hit a bulls eye. Little does he know that the target will soon be on his back. "He's gonna come meet my family," Andi says, "and he has no idea what he's gonna walk into."
He's about to find out, though! Andi introduces Juan Pablo to her mom, Patti, and her dad, Hy, who is less than thrilled that his daughter is one of four ladies in Juan Pablo's life (and was once one of 27). "I saw the sense of disapproval in my dad's face within the first five minutes," Andi says. "And I did not expect to see that." Later, during a one-on-one chat with Juan Pablo, Hy makes his skepticism about the situation known when Juan Pablo asks if Andi's family would welcome him and Camila into the fold. "The person that is going to be good enough for my daughter is going to come to me and say, 'There is no one else in the world for me,'" Hy says. "If and when that happens, we'll have this conversation then."
Meanwhile, in another part of the house, Andi is talking with her sister Rachel. She admits she's "not there yet" with Juan Pablo but feels like she could be soon. Rachel isn't convinced -- she doesn't sense a real connection between Andi and the Bachelor -- but Andi insists she's "very, very close to being in love with him."
Single mom Renee is up next, and she's so excited to see her son Ben that she says she's "literally going to eat him." Her misuse of the word "literally" can be forgiven, though -- she's been away from her little boy for two months, which is about a month and 26 days longer than she's ever been away from him before. "This is insane. I can't believe I'm, like, functioning right now," she says. Her reunion with Ben at his Little League game in their hometown of Sarasota, Fla., is indeed heartwarming and adorable, and even Juan Pablo gets caught up in the moment. "Oh my gosh, I really want a son," he gushes.
Later, after the game, Renee takes Juan Pablo home to meet her mom, dad, and brother. "My family is very easygoing," she says. "I know 110 percent that my brother and Juan Pablo are going to get along." She's right; in fact, Juan Pablo seems to get on fairly well with everyone, though mom Brenda warns her daughter to be cautious. "I want you to be in love," she tells Renee. "Because we can love our pets, but you need to be in love with the man that you want to be with." Not a problem, mom. Renee is "totally madly crazy in love" -- even her dad says she has "the glow." Too bad she can't tell Juan Pablo. "It didn't flow," she says. "I wanted to tell him. I just...I didn't."
Moving on to hairstylist Clare, the youngest of several (five? six?) girls in her family. Clare asks Juan Pablo to meet her in the rose garden at McKinley Park in Sacramento, Calif., because it's one of the places she used to go when she was a kid. There, she tells Juan Pablo a little more about her father, including the fact that they already had their father-daughter wedding dance, since her dad knew he wouldn't be around to give her away. "When my dad died, I shut off all my emotions. I shut off all my feelings and that part of me that was vulnerable," she says. "This is the first time I've brought a guy home since he passed away."
In hindsight, maybe it would have better to get a trial run out of the way before going on national TV. Most of Clare's family is perfectly polite to Juan Pablo, but older sister Laura does not approve -- and she doesn't care to hide it, either. "To give a blessing, I don't think we're there yet," Laura tells Clare, who immediately tears up. "I'm not gonna let you manipulate mama," Laura continues. "I'm not gonna let mama be manipulated. You're not respecting mama." Clare angrily asks Laura to let her have some alone time with "mama," but Laura lurks nearby in the shadows, listening to everything.
Later, Laura commandeers Juan Pablo's time with "mama," too -- but this time she shows her softer side. "I just get very protective of [Clare]," she explains. "She's our baby. My two younger sisters don't have my dad here...And my dad was such a central part of everything." Juan Pablo assures her he's very "family-oriented," which seems to appease Laura, at least temporarily. "If he can look past my crazy family, I would love to marry him," Clare gushes. "I would love it. I would absolutely love it."
The Rose Ceremony
The next night, at the rose ceremony, Juan Pablo faces his four remaining ladies with just three roses. "My heart's beating like crazy right now," he tells them nervously.
Nikki, Clare, and Andi are then revealed as the final three, leaving Renee to head back home to Ben in the infamous reject limo. "I've never felt this way before about anyone," she tells a tearful Juan Pablo. "I did fall in love with you. And that's okay. Honestly, you kind of opened my eyes to a whole new world."
Tell Us: Are you sad to see Renee go?