Later he and Janice discuss other Big Questions in hushed tones – is he ready to get married? – and we finally get a glimpse at what Brooks is thinking. "I feel closer to that than I ever have," he tells mom. "It's been a very surreal moment to kind of realize the walls that I've put up around my heart." And then Brooks utters the single most endearing thing he's said all season: "Mom, you're my most favorite person in the entire world, and I love you and respect you so much." Even better is when Janice replies, "You're my favorite." At least she's honest about it!
At long last, we're back in Los Angeles, where Des will give hand out three roses -- but only after she talks to her jackass brother, Nate. "I haven't seen my brother since last season when Sean came to my hometown to meet my family," admits Des. "He pretty much ruined it for me." The purpose of this visit is so the Bachelorette can lay down some ground rules before her family meets the final three next week: "I don't want my brother to be there if he's going to be as negative and hostile as last time." Nate listens patiently as his sister rattles off all of the "amazing" "qualities" the final four guys have, and then makes a tentative effort to support her: "I'm happy that you're in charge of this moment and situation." But he's still harboring doubts as he pretends to leave the hotel. "My sister might get her heart broken again," he insists.
Des doesn't give any hints about who's going home during her pre-rose ceremony chat with Harrison. Yes, she still loves Brooks. No, he still hasn't said it. Yes, Chris, Drew and Zak have uttered the l-word. No, Desiree is not just chasing after Brooks simply because he's playing hard to get. Yes, she wants to marry Brooks. No, there's seriously no reason Team Bachelorette shouldn't go directly to the finale -- Ms. Hartsock has made her choice.
And yet, we go through the motions. Chris, Drew, Zak and Brooks arrive at the Beverly Hilton, where they remain blissfully unaware that Des' creepy brother Nate is lurking behind a column in the lobby like the world's most shabbily-dressed assassin. The rose roll call comes down to Brooks, Chris, and Drew, which means Zak with no c must take the long walk to the Pity Bench. "You of all people in this whole world -- whole wide world -- you deserve the absolute most," Des tells Zak tearfully, before giving him back the promise ring. Zak tries to process the night's events in the Reject Limo, but he's in shock. "Tomorrow I might be heartbroken. Right now I'm still trying to figure out what the hell just happened," he says. "I really thought this would work out for me." Hang in there, sir -- somewhere out there is a nice "lady" who will accept those abs. And ask a PA to search the roadside for the ring you tossed -- store credit is nothing to sneeze at.
We're so very close to the end, rose lovers! Can anyone beat Brooks? Is anyone interested in having Zak be the next Bachelor? And most importantly, pancakes or waffles? Post your thoughts now! Then be sure to check out Chris Harrison's Bachelorette blog over on PopWatch. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go shove a balloon up my nose.