“The Bachelor” recap: Hometown dates lead to a shocking goodbye

This week, Joey met four families — and then sent a frontrunner home.

This week on The Bachelor, by the numbers: Four hometown dates, one shocking departure, and three final women for Joey.

Let’s recap!

Date No. 1: Kelsey
Location: New Orleans, La.
Relatives present: Kelsey’s dad, Mark, her younger brother, Matthew, and her older sister, Taylor.

Kelsey greets Joey with a #huju, as required by Bachelor law.

<p>ABC</p> Kelsey and Joey on 'The Bachelor'


Kelsey and Joey on 'The Bachelor'

The matchy-matchy duo rides a tandem bike around City Park, which Kelsey last did with her late mother. “I woke up a couple times last night. I felt like she was there,” says Kelsey of her mom. “I wish that she could meet Joey.” As she’s filming her confessional, Kelsey sees a butterfly, which makes her feel like her mother is visiting her. “It is difficult,” she adds, her voice cracking. Awww, man — we’re not even 10 minutes into the episode. Am I seriously already tearing up? Damn this show!

Later, as Joey and Kelsey stuff their faces with beignets, they spot a bride being photographed nearby. Joey wants to know how that makes Kelsey feel. Answer: Excited, but also “terrified,” because there are (say it with me, rose lovers) three other women involved. “All I can ask is for you to be honest with yourself, because that’s what I’m trying to do,” says Joey. Then a brass band just happens to stroll by with some Mardi Gras beads.

<p>ABC</p> Kelsey and Joey smooch on 'The Bachelor'


Kelsey and Joey smooch on 'The Bachelor'

Tourist moment achieved! Now, it’s time to meet Kelsey’s family. Did I cry again when Kelsey hugged her dad, Mark? Yes, I did. Kelsey fills her family in on her Bachelor travels, and jokes about how many butterflies she saw during the day. “Today, every time I would talk about mom, I kept seeing butterflies flying around,” she reports, laughing. “I was like, ‘She’s here! And she’s trying to get on camera!’”

Oh man, now Mark just pulled out the family photo album to show Joey photos of Kelsey’s mom.

<p>ABC</p> Joey, Kelsey, and Kelsey's dad on 'The Bachelor'


Joey, Kelsey, and Kelsey's dad on 'The Bachelor'

“She’s beautiful,” says the Bachelor. “I can’t tell you how much I’ve wanted to see a picture of her.” This MAN, y’all! He is a gem.

Kelsey heads off to chat with her big sister, who wants to know if she’s experienced any “complications” with Joey. “Not really,” says Kelsey. “The only thing is I don’t really know where he’s at with the other girls.” This is the main source of Taylor’s fears, too. “I don’t want you to have your little heart broken,” she frets. Kelsey has a good attitude about the whole thing, though. “If it’s not me,” she says, “at least I know that I really tried and I put myself out there.”

Meanwhile, dad pulls Joey aside for their all-important one-on-one chat. He wants to know if the Bachelor is a “protector” and someone who would “keep her happy” — and naturally, he is also worried that Kelsey will get her heart broken. “In a normal dating situation, ideally you would date one person at a time,” says Mark. “How do you know when you actually find the right one?” To his credit, Joey admits that he doesn’t know how he’ll know, but he insists that his feelings for Kelsey “are real” and that he’s “extremely hopeful” about their relationship.

This makes Mark feel a little better, but he still needs to talk to his daughter to find out how she’s feeling. Short answer: Emotional. Kelsey tears up as she praises her dad for being “such a good husband” to her mom and says that’s what she’s looking for in a man.

Okay, sorry, but I must interject with a tangent here. Look at Kelsey’s dad.

<p>ABC</p> Kelsey's dad, Mark


Kelsey's dad, Mark

If my (admittedly cursory) internet research is correct, this handsome man is 72 years old. And unless we’re missing something, he’s single. ABC *must* cast him on The Golden Bachelorette, right? Or maybe he can be the next Golden Bachelor? Discuss.

Back to the recap. Dad tells Kelsey that he’s very reassured by how Joey is with her, and he just wants all his children to have “that feeling I had with your mom.” A big smile breaks out on Kelsey’s face. “I think I love him,” she admits. “I love you,” he responds, and they hug. UGH, this episode is trying to kill me. I’m going to need to open another box of tissues.

Before he leaves New Orleans, Joey sits down with Kelsey outside the apartment. “They were so loving and so honest,” he says of her family. “I’m really, really happy.” I really thought Kelsey was going to drop the l-bomb, but instead she and Joey just share several smooches. The Bachelor doesn’t seem concerned about her not saying those three little words; in fact, he says that he and Kelsey are “stronger” than ever.

Welp, on to the next!

Date No. 2: Rachel
Location: Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Relatives present: Her mom, Noela, her dad, Hakim, her sister, Amanda, her adorable nephew, Liam, her uncle, Al, among many others.

Though Rachel and her family are from Hawaii, it was apparently too far to travel given production’s turnaround time — so Rachel’s family flew to California for this “hometown” visit.

But before he meets the parents, Joey’s going to need a little tutorial on Filipino culture. Rachel explains the “mano po” — a gesture used to show respect to elders — and that he’ll need to address her father, Hakim, as “Mr. Nance,” at least until he’s part of the family. Understandably, Rachel is a bit nervous to introduce Joey to her family, because they LOVED her last boyfriend. “That breakup, my dad and my mom took it really hard,” she explains.

The family meeting takes place at Rachel’s aunt’s house, where a full-on backyard luau is in progress — complete with a roast pig! Joey is a quick study, and when he’s first introduced to Rachel’s mom, he executes a flawless “mano po” — and the family LOVES it.

<p>ABC</p> Rachel's relatives celebrate Joey's "mano po"


Rachel's relatives celebrate Joey's "mano po"

“Oh my gosh!” exclaims Noela, who is pleased at how Joey really “honored and respected my husband and me.” And the Bachelor keeps that streak alive after Noela informs him that in Filipino culture, a suitor who is interested in a family’s daughter must eat the ear of the roast pig. Our boy does not hesitate.

<p>ABC</p> Joey eats the ear on 'The Bachelor'


Joey eats the ear on 'The Bachelor'

Man, this is going so well! Even Rachel’s dad, who’s looked pretty skeptical this whole time, is supportive in his own measured way. “If it doesn’t happen the way you want it to happen, even-keel. Don’t get too high or too low about something,” he says. “You can go on in life, and you know you always have us.” But even dad gets emotional when Rachel assures him that he is the “number-one man” in her life.

<p>ABC</p> Rachel's dad gets misty on 'The Bachelor'


Rachel's dad gets misty on 'The Bachelor'

Am I crying AGAIN? Yes. Oh, look! Joey’s sitting down with Mama Noela! Is she ready to give Joey her blessing?

<p>ABC</p> Rachel's mom doesn't play


Rachel's mom doesn't play

Can’t blame you, mom. Noela gets emotional as she talks about her worry that Rachel will be hurt again. “I wish you the best, but obviously I wish my daughter the best more,” she says, choking up. “My concern for her is that there are three other women involved.”

Rachel sits down with her mom next, and things get emotional quickly. “Just guard your heart, sweetheart,” says Noela, tearing up. “You’re such an amazing young lady and I don’t want your heart to be broken.” Hakim echoes this sentiment when he talks to the Bachelor. “I don’t want to see my daughter hurt ever again,” he says.

Poor, slow-on-the-uptake Joey is starting to wonder if maybe, just maybe, Rachel’s parents aren’t on board with this whole “finding a spouse on TV” thing. “I see that her mom and her dad might not fully believe in this,” he says. You think? Still, the Bachelor plows ahead with asking for her father’s blessing — because “it would feel wrong” to propose to Rachel without it. Survey says…

<p>ABC</p> Rachel's dad has advice for Joey


Rachel's dad has advice for Joey

“If that time comes, she has my number,” says Hakim. “You can call me man-to-man.” If you ask me, that’s a great answer, but the Bachelor does NOT love it. “It wasn’t a no, but it just wasn’t a yes,” he says. All he can do now is ask Rachel how she’s feeling about her parents’ doubts about this “process.”

They take a seat outside, and Rachel needs a minute to collect herself. “These aren’t bad tears!” she insists. Though her parents urged her to protect herself, Rachel decides she’s just going to go for it. “I’m definitely falling in love with you,” she says. “And I see a future with you… I do choose you.” Awwww, that is very sweet. Joey thinks so, too.

<p>ABC</p> Joey and Rachel share a goodbye smooch on 'The Bachelor'


Joey and Rachel share a goodbye smooch on 'The Bachelor'

“I’ve been waiting for this for weeks,” he says.

Date No. 3: Daisy
Location: Becker, Minn.
Relatives present: Daisy’s mom, Julie, her dad, Brandon, her older sister, Josephine, her younger brother, Harrison, her grandpa, Ted, and her grandma, Gloria.

We begin with #huju number 2.

<p>ABC</p> Joey and Daisy on 'The Bachelor'


Joey and Daisy on 'The Bachelor'

And yes, we do appear to be on the Christmas tree farm where Daisy grew up, now called the B&J Evergreen Tree Farm. Though they filmed the date in October of last year, Joey and Daisy take a ride through the farm in a wagon festooned with Christmas decorations (and driven by a man in a Santa hat). Indeed, the whole place is decked out in boughs of holly — and Mr. and Mrs. Claus are even in attendance.

<p>ABC</p> Santa visits Minnesota early on 'The Bachelor'


Santa visits Minnesota early on 'The Bachelor'

Daisy and Joey get into the (very early) spirit, making Christmas tree ornaments and sharing some hot cocoa. Just when Daisy thinks the day can’t get any better, her friends show up to surprise her. Hugs, tears, squeals all around.

“I’m really happy,” she tells them, adding that being with Joey has even changed her “outlook on life.” Before she came on the show, Daisy feared that no one would want to date her because of her previous health issues and her hearing loss. But now, after experiencing the warm glow of Joey’s care and attention, Daisy knows that she is worthy of love. “Even if it’s not us at the end, which I hope it is, I’m going to have that forever,” she says. “I know what I deserve.”

Oh, my Lord, am I crying AGAIN? Damn this show. Damn it to hell.

All right, folks — let’s meet the Kents!

<p>ABC</p> Joey meets the Kent family on 'The Bachelor'


Joey meets the Kent family on 'The Bachelor'

After all the hellos and hugs, Daisy fills her family in on getting the first one-on-one date and sharing the story of her hearing loss. “She’s the real deal, Joey,” says Grandpa Ted, who is so adorable and sweet I already love him immensely. Daisy then asks her little brother how he likes college, and when he answers, she tears up. “Harrison’s voice sounds like Harrison!” she exclaims. It’s a big milestone for her as she adjusts to her cochlear implant, because initially some voices didn’t sound right. Now they’re hugging, and I’m crying again!

At this point, I need to buy stock in Kleenex.

Joey sits down with Daisy’s mom first. She’s got the same “what if you don’t pick my daughter” fears as the other parents, but she’s a bit more direct about it. “Have you guys said, ‘I love you’ to each other?” asks Julie. The Bachelor explains that while they have feelings for each other, Daisy wanted to wait until he met her parents before she dropped any version of the l-bomb.

Mom, who believes Joey “truly does love” Daisy, tries to get a little more information out of her daughter. “I definitely see you guys really care for each other,” says Julie gently, and it’s all the push Daisy needs to let her feelings out. “I thought that I would never feel this way towards anyone again, and now I’m, like, feeling this way toward him,” she says, breaking down. “I’m just worried that I’m not going to be able to, like, express it.”

Daisy shares these fears with her dad, and he understands. “I think it’s totally normal,” he says. “If you think that you’re falling in love with him… then shoot the shot.” And if Joey isn’t feeling, says Brandon, what’s the big deal? “It’s not like you’re gonna lose your hearing over it!” Gah, I love a family who bonds through gallows humor. “Oh my gosh, my dad’s awesome,” says Daisy. “He just brings me back to, it’s all about the love.”

Wow, is the visit over already? That was a quick one. Too bad we didn’t get to see more of Grandma Gloria. “Have a good rest of this… adventure,” she tells Joey as they hug goodbye. Look at how cute she is!

<p>ABC</p> Grandma Gloria and Joey


Grandma Gloria and Joey

With the goodbyes over, Daisy knows she’s got to do one more thing before Joey leaves Minnesota. “I want you to know, I am falling in love with you, and I’ve been falling in love with you,” she tells the Bachelor as they sit outside her family home. “You make me so happy.” You know he LOVES it. “I leave tonight feeling very confident,” says Joey. “I can see Daisy being my wife.”

Put a pin in that thought, sir. You’ve got one more family to meet. Onward!

Date No. 4: Maria
Location: Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Relatives present: Maria’s dad, Nick, her mom, Lori, her brothers Steven and Soto, and her friend Brittany.

Two questions: Why aren’t they meeting in Canada? Also, did producers add that rainbow in post?

<p>ABC</p> Maria and Joey visit Niagara Falls


Maria and Joey visit Niagara Falls

Joey and Maria begin their date on the Maid of the Mist — you know, where Jim and Pam got married! An auspicious beginning, right? They don their ponchos and do a shot of Canadian maple whiskey, but we don’t ever see them get wet. Maybe there wasn’t time for Maria to blow-dry her hair before the family dinner? Who knows.

After disembarking, Maria and Joey sit down to talk about her minor(ish) meltdown last week. “I don’t know what I was doing,” admits Maria. “You’re literally the epitome of what I’ve ever wanted in a man. It was just hard to see you with anyone else.” Joey says he doesn’t mind that she was afraid to get hurt — but he needs to know she’s 100 percent certain she wants to be with him before he meets her family. Maria says she is all in, but the Bachelor isn’t sure. “I want to believe what she’s saying,” he explains. “I guess I just feel like I should feel a lot more confident than I do right now.”

And Joey feels even less confident when he learns that Maria has never brought a guy home to meet her family. Like, ever. “I’m like, ‘How has she gone this long in life without, like, opening up to someone?'” he marvels. Okay, so maybe this isn’t such an auspicious beginning. Buckle up, Joey-Joe. It’s time to meet the man who could make (or break) your day.

<p>ABC</p> Maria's father, Nick


Maria's father, Nick

Papa Nick is clearly not looking forward to meeting the man who could take his daughter from him. “What are you gonna do if they’re hand-in-hand?” one of the kids asks him. “Ooof,” says Nick. “I’ve never seen Maria affectionate with a guy.” As some Godfather-esque string music plays softly in the background, Nick informs us that Maria is “100 percent daddy’s girl,” and if she gets hurt, “it would be a problem for Joey.”

Cool. This should be fun. The good news is, Maria’s family put together a Greek feast, and Joey gets to eat the food.

<p>ABC</p> Joey downs a stuffed pepper on 'The Bachelor'


Joey downs a stuffed pepper on 'The Bachelor'

Sorry, but time for another quick tangent. Maria’s brothers are ridiculous, and I mean that in the best way possible.

<p>ABC</p> Maria's brothers Steven and Soto. I have so many questions.


Maria's brothers Steven and Soto. I have so many questions.

Steven’s hair! Soto’s choice of dinner jacket! I am obsessed. Does MTV Canada have their own version of Jersey Shore? If so, sign these dudes up now.

End of tangent.

While Maria has a BFF chat with Brittany, Nick grills Joey like a stuffed pepper. “So,” he begins, after an awkward silence. “I know you have feelings for my daughter, right? I would hope so.” Dad goes on to say that he and Maria have been “inseparable” since the day she and her mother were almost killed in a car crash. “She’s my princess,” he says. “If you’re telling me, ‘I’m falling for her,’ and you’re telling the other three girls that you’re falling for them — to me, that doesn’t mean anything.”

Joey responds that he hasn’t said anything like that to Maria or any of the women, because he wants to save any expressions of love for his final pick. But the Bachelor says he does have feelings for Maria and that he’s trying to be respectful as possible. To that end, dad, can Joey have your blessing to propose (should it come to that)? “If I know you’re the guy that she chose,” says Nick, “I would have no problems giving you my blessings.”

Phew. That went better than I expected. Finally, Maria sits down with her dear daddy, who encourages her to tell Joey how she really feels. “He looks like he cares about you, and you look like you care about him,” says Nick. “I know you got your guard up. Put it down. Give this a chance. He’s a good guy!”

Maria is shocked — shocked! — to learn that Joey asked her dad for his blessing.

<p>ABC</p> Maria cannot believe her ears


Maria cannot believe her ears

“Wait, I don’t know if you were supposed to tell me that,” she whispers. “That’s really nice.” (Who wants to tell her that the Bachelor almost always asks every set of parents for a blessing? Anyone?)

The evening ends with Joey and Maria cozying up on an outdoor bench and watching old home movies — while Maria’s family watches creepily from the window. Okay, girl, it’s the perfect time for you to tell Joey you’re in some version of love with him. You can do it. We have faith in you! Cut to:

<p>ABC</p> Maria can't quite get the words out


Maria can't quite get the words out

Dammit — so close! Maria knows she flubbed it. “I don’t know why I didn’t say it,” she sighs. “I just froze. It sucks that he’s going to leave today not knowing how I really feel.”

Aaaaand we’re back in Los Angeles. As she gets ready for the rose ceremony, Kelsey reflects on how “weird” the situation is to be competing with three women she’s close to for the love of one man. “You don’t want your friend’s heart to be broken,” she says. “But also, the way that I feel about Joey, it would be devastating not to continue this with him.”

For whatever reason, the rose ceremony is at that old Bachelor standby, the Sun Air Jets hangar in Camarillo, Calif. One by one, the women arrive and take their place on the red carpet.

<p>ABC</p> The women gather in the 'Bachelor' franchise's favorite airplane hangar


The women gather in the 'Bachelor' franchise's favorite airplane hangar

Fortunately, producers don’t make Joey pretend like he just arrived on that private plane in the background. The plane is just there for ambiance, people! The Bachelor walks in from around the corner and begins his rose ceremony preamble, but just as he’s about to call the first name…

<p>ABC</p> Maria pulls a Hail Mary on 'The Bachelor'


Maria pulls a Hail Mary on 'The Bachelor'

Oh, Lord. Girl, this is not a great look. And generally, when a woman pulls a Bachelor for a “private” chat at this air hangar, it does not end well. But Maria is determined, so she pulls Joey to the far corner of the hangar and steps behind a helicopter so the other women can’t see them. “I don’t want to have regrets coming out of this,” says Maria. “But saying goodbye to you the way that I did, I feel like I didn’t do it in the best way. I told you that I can see myself falling in love with you, but the thing is, I can’t — because I am falling in love with you.”

Rose lovers, it’s too little, too late. Don’t believe me? Just look at Joey’s face.

<p>ABC</p> Joey's already made up his mind, folks


Joey's already made up his mind, folks

Having stated her case, Maria heads back to the potential wife line-up. “What was that about?” Rachel asks her. “I don’t know,” Maria whispers back. Rachel, bless her, is so over Maria’s antics and she’s no longer trying to hide it. “You don’t know?” she shoots back. “You don’t know, but you asked him to talk?” A flustered Maria says it’s something she had to do “in the moment,” and apologizes. Welp, time for the rose ceremony roll call! Our final three women are… Daisy, Kelsey, and Rachel!

That means it's the end of the road for Maria, our wonderfully weird queen. After she and Joey take a seat on the Bye-Bye Bench, the Bachelor tells her how difficult the decision was for him. “I hope you know I was trying my best to get there,” says Joey. “But tonight, I felt like it would be dishonest to you to move forward with the amount of doubts that I have.”

Maria’s all, “It’s fine,” and then she climbs into the Reject SUV without even stopping to give Joey a goodbye hug. It’s understandable; who among us haven’t had our flight response activated after a bad breakup? “It sucks,” she says, as the SUV drives away. “I should have told him how I felt a lot sooner than I did.”

Okay, rose lovers, we’ve only got three episodes left! How are you feeling about Joey’s trio of finalists? Would you like to see Maria as the Bachelorette? And who do you think leaves Joey the “we need to talk” note shown in the preview? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @KristenGBaldwin or Bluesky

The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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