The Bachelor recap: Father Knows Best?

The hometown dates yield unexpected results, as Ben takes the wise words of one contestant's dad to heart, leading to a surprise elimination
Ep. 08 | Aired Feb 20, 2012

IS THAT BUSH LAUGHING AT OUR HATS? Ben and Nicki hit Fort Worth in some truly ridiculous cowboy gear

ABC

I have a dream, rose lovers. A dream that someday, during hometown date week, one of the parents who spawned a "lady" vying for the Bachelor's hand will have a complete emotional collapse on camera. "What did I do wrong?" this parent (most likely a mother -- let's face it) will sob, as her child looks on aghast. "What did I do wrong to cause you to hold yourself in such low regard that you're seeking approval from both a man who's dividing his attentions between two dozen women and an audience of judgmental viewers at home? I've failed you as a parent! Forgive me, my child, and for the love of God forgive yourself!"

This, however, was not that week. Ah, well. Maybe next year.

We start things off in Ocala, Florida, home to spur-wearin' Lindzi and her pretty horse, who reluctantly agrees to pull his mistress and the Bachelor around the track in a little carriage.  When that indignity is over, the horse nibbles some grass as Ben and Lindzi picnic nearby, discussing her "walls" and "vulnerability" and the "beautiful thing" known as being willing to give your hand in marriage to a virtual stranger. "Lindzi is really opening up!" marvels Ben. "I needed that from her." And it's true, Lindzi just can't stop talking about her breakup a year ago, and how very, very hard it was -- especially on her family, who apparently sustained some shrapnel wounds during Lindzi's emotional implosion. Or so Team Bachelor would have us believe. Every "lady" on this show needs a narrative, and this is hers.

Lindzi's parents, Margy and Harry, meet their daughter and her "boyfriend" in a lovely backyard area, where all parties are astonished to learn that Lindzi's parents got married at San Francisco City Hall... which is precisely where Ben and Lindzi had their first date! What are the odds? (Seriously. It's not like Team Bachelor could have found that bit of information in the public record, or something.) To help break the ice, Harry and Margy invite Ben to partake in a carriage race, which of course they lose. The punishment is fraught with symbolism: Ben and Lindzi must yoke themselves to the carriage and bear the weight of their elders' disappointment in them for the rest of their lives bodies all the way back to the house.

Before dinner, Margy and Ben discuss Lindzi's upbringing -- "We kept her away from boys and focused on the horses and her drill team and cheerleading, so she hasn't had a lot of experience dating" -- and how that may affect her ability to handle a temporary engagement. When the Bachelor asks Lindzi's dad for permission should he choose to propose to Lindzi, Harry artfully dodges the question in a way that says, I don't think so, buddy. "She's the only daughter we have and we do love her and we do want her to have a good and happy life," says Harry. "You're a really nice young man." Once the après-dinner s'mores course is through, Ben bids goodbye to Lindzi with lots of kisses and a fresh perspective. "I didn't expect for my feelings to grow so much in one day," he marvels. "I think that I might be falling in love with Lindzi." Yeah, I think the "might" is key there -- Ben is so insecure that he tends to be most "in love" with whichever one of the "ladies" flattered his ego last. And there are three more hometowns to go.

NEXT: Great, now I have "Last Train to Clarksville" stuck in my head

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