8:56pm PT by Christina Schoellkopf
'The Bachelor': Ben Accused of "Brainwashing" the Women to Fall for Him
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Season 20 of ABC's The Bachelor.]
Four women left. Three roses to go.
This week on The Bachelor, tension was high and things got very personal as Ben Higgins went home with the four remaining women — Amanda (the sweet esthetician and divorced mother of two), Caila (the confusing software sales representative), JoJo (a real estate developer with perfect hair) and Lauren (a flight attendant who captured Ben’s heart when she stepped out of the first limo). Here's a breakdown of the highs and lows on each hometown date.
Amanda’s Hometown: Laguna Beach, Calif.
Is there anything more adorable than seeing Ben in “dad mode”? The bachelor headed to sunny Southern California for quality time with cute mama Amanda. The two had quite the romantic reunion, literally running up to each other along the sandy shore to share their first kiss back in the Golden State.
Finally, it was time for the moment Amanda and Bachelor diehards have been waiting for — Ben met her cute daughters, Kinsley and Charlie. Though the girls initially gave him the cold shoulder, Ben won them over making sand castles and playing a fun game of tag. Take a look at how they got along in the clip below.
Ben got a thumbs-up from the little ones, but would the bachelor get parental approval? Amanda's dad seemed pretty skeptical, asserting, “There’s a big difference in thinking you want children in your life and actually having children in your life.” Meanwhile, her mom also shared her concerns, “He seems like he’d be a great dad. But is he ready to be an instant dad?” Regardless, the date ended drama-free! At the end of the night, Amanda confidently said in her private interview, “I feel like I am in love with him. I can 100% see him being a great dad to my kids and being a great husband.”
Do you think Amanda is right in thinking Ben would make a great dad? Let’s hope he would be better than her ex-husband, who Amanda says cheated on her and did not make their kids a priority. (Her ex, Nick Buonfiglio, at least shows love for one of his daughters in his LinkedIn profile picture.)
Lauren’s Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Ben said goodbye to SoCal and headed up North to pay Lauren and her family a visit in Portland — ironically, nicknamed the City of Roses. Upon laying eyes on his blond crush, Ben lit up and gave her a smooch on the spot. Later, the two walked hand in hand to grab a bite to eat from a food truck, and Ben did the cheesiest thing; he hand-fed her a grilled cheese sandwich.
After sitting down for a chat in a “whiskey library” (happy hour, anyone?), Lauren brought Ben home to meet the fam. Immediately, Lauren’s sister kept it real, expressing her concerns for “LoLo” bringing home someone she barely knows. She stole Ben away to ask a big question: What makes Lauren stand out? Ben’s reaction might surprise you. The thought of how much he cares for Lauren made him tear up! See for yourself:
Could this mean Ben is in love with Lauren?
Caila's Hometown: Hudson, Ohio
With her typical so-happy-your-cheeks-hurt smile, Caila greeted Ben in her hometown of Hudson. To Ben's surprise, she had quite the unusual date planned. First, she took him to her high school, where she said she "became [her] own person" and first "felt like [she] was home." (Did this strike anyone else as odd to take him back to school? Well, it got even weirder.) Caila introduced Ben to what she considered a very special...bench, even telling him he was the first person "worthy of the bench."
The date took a stranger turn when Caila asked Ben to design a home with her. After coloring an imaginary house, Caila surprised Ben by revealing they would build a real toy house, courtesy of her Dad's toy company. Check out a clip of their date below, which ended with a kiss in a hard hat and a weird round of applause.
Once Caila brought Ben home to meet her family, she shared the full range of her feelings with her mom and dad. The sweetest moment had to be when she whispered the words, "Daddy, I know this is it." But does Ben feel the same way?
JoJo's Hometown: Dallas
Finally, the drama of tonight's episode kicked in when JoJo's hometown date began. It started off with a promising start; JoJo came home to a bouquet of roses and a love note. She began to eagerly read it out loud — but to her surprise and horror, the letter and flowers were from her ex-boyfriend! (A prime reality TV moment, indeed.)
Upon realizing her ex, Chad, was trying to get back together, JoJo called him to break it off. He kept pouring out his affection, saying, "It’s taken me this time apart to mature and think about what I want for the future…and it’s you...I don’t want to lose you." She seemed to end it right then and there, but do you really believe she's over him?
With the worst timing, Ben showed up while she was still in tears from the tough phone call. After the Texan admitted she'd received a romantic surprise from her ex, Ben said, ”I feel very uncomfortable with this.” But for whatever reason, he decided to shake it off, comfort her and introduce himself to her parents and siblings. (Um...an ex is still in the picture and Ben felt that confident?)
Things only got worse once Ben met JoJo's family, especially when he sat down with her overprotective brothers. Her bros became very critical of JoJo actually falling in love after just two one-on-one dates and only about a month of knowing Ben. But their criticism screamed hypocrisy: One of the brothers, Ben Patton, had his own moment on a reality dating series. He was on the short-lived show Reality for Love on NBC. So can he really judge? Tension hit a breaking point when JoJo's older brother accused Ben of "brainwashing" the contestants to fall in love with him.
The Rose Ceremony
After four intimate dates, it was time for Ben to say goodbye to one woman. This week, he sent Amanda home. As he walked her to the limo, she called him out for bringing her back just to dump her: "If you were having any doubts it would have been nice to have let me know instead of sending me back to L.A. just to say goodbye at a rose ceremony." (You tell him, girl.)
In front of Amanda, Ben kept quite the poker face. But once she drove away, he broke down in tears.
Do you love or hate that Ben's a crier? Were you sad to see Amanda go? Do you think Ben will break JoJo's heart? Share your thoughts below in the comments.