Hometowns are next week! You know why I know that? Because this is repeated by someone every two minutes throughout this episode of "The Bachelorette." Still, I can understand why everyone is beating this particular drum. The hometowns are considered pivotal in this franchise, and for good reason. Getting the family stamp of approval is not only key, but not getting it is pretty much what sent Des packing in Sean's "Bachelor" season. No one can forget her asshat brother Nate picking a fight with Sean, and as we learn in the promo for next week, no one has been able to successfully lock him away in a kennel until this season is over. I'm not sure if getting cut this week is a more merciful plight than facing Nate, but never mind. The bachelors and Des are on the beautiful Portuguese Madeira Island, and all is well for at least a moment. 

Des needs someone to talk to about the abundance of man meat at her disposal, so Catherine, Jackie and Lesley from the last season of "The Bachelor" come out for girl talk . Catherine views the fellas through her binoculars, then passes them around. All of the girls girls seem to like Drew. They then have questions for Des. Who's the best kisser? Drew. He's also the best body. Zak W. is the most adventurous. And maybe Chris has the bleepiest bleep. I am thinking they're asking about, um, size, but really, who knows? ABC censors probably have a long list of stuff that gets their underwear in a twist. 

Wait, her friends aren't meeting these guys? They came to friggin' Portugal for chit chat? Is there a concern that one of them will fall madly in love with a remaining bachelor, stuff him into her luggage, and disappear into the night? This is disappointing, because I think Catherine and Lesley would have great fun ripping into these guys. 

Des' first one-on-one date of the wee is with Brooks. They're driving around in a teensy car and looking at stuff. Madeira Island is, of course, crazy beautiful and quite a bit more interesting than this date. Des and Brooks decide they need to make up adjectives to define the steps between like and love and gush over the scenery. Des is on the road to falling in love with him. They eat a picnic on a cliff. I'm not sure they need to worry so much about falling in love as they do falling to their deaths, but it's very romantic and possibly dangerous.

Brooks feels things are easy between him and Des. They discover that they both want to be in love with someone. Yawn. However, Des feels they've had a breakthrough in their relationship. "Picture the best dream you ever had, times that by ten, and then live in it," she sighs. She's living the fairy tale! I can understand her hormones are blinding her to the fact that Brooks only seems a little bit into her while she's ready for him to give her a ring, but this does not look like living the fairy tale, unless it's one of those twisted ones on "Once Upon A Time."

Back at the apartment, Chris gets the next one-on-one date. He's sure his connection with Des will totally trump the white hot passion she has for Brooks! Hahahahahaha!

Time for dinner with Brooks! He tells her that his family gets attached to the girls he dates. He's close to his family because of the sacrifices everyone has made for everyone else, so it's a big deal to introduce her to them. She's good with that. Oh, and they get back to the adjectives between like and love. Des announces they are stepping, skipping, running and crossing the finish line, which is love. These are verbs, more specifically gerunds, not adjectives. 

Anyway, given these new definitions of like-love, he thinks they're jogging, and she thinks they're going into a run. He likes that she's running. But he's a little behind in his emotional process. Come on, Brooks! You don't really have to marry her! Most of the people on this show just see it as a free vacation with kissing! But he still has questions. He won't be ready to start running until she meets his family. Oh, that Brooks, being all honest and stuff.

They make out on a roof top, and watch fireworks! Des is feeling them for Brooks! Boom, sparkle, hiss!

Poor Chris gets ready for his date. He wants to take Des home very badly, which sounds a little stalker-y, but okay. He's allowed, I guess. It's not like any of these guys has had a chance to read a newspaper or play a video game or anything, so they're all a little obsessive at this point. Des and Chris are going out onto the open sea aboard a yacht. She's all his! Okay, Chris, pushing the envelope into creepy here. But it's okay, because Des finds him attractive. He finds her attractive. They're out on a boat in their swimsuits all alone, give or take a film crew. There is kissing!

Back at the apartment, another date card arrives. Michael G. wants a one-on-one, because he's the only guy left who hasn't had one. And guess what? He gets his one-on-one. This means Zak W. and Drew will be on a two-on-one. Luckily, even though there is a rose for this date, it doesn't mean the other guy gets sent home automatically. 

Des and Chris go for a hike. Chris feels like one of the luckiest guys in the world! They sit down and talk. He loves that Des is independent. But she doesn't want to be so independent. I think this is a red flag, but we're skating right past it. They're going to write a crappy poem for a message in a bottle. Blick. Chris thinks it feels so natural to write bad poetry with Des! 

Time for dinner with Des! He can't wait to tell her he's in love with her. She wants to toast him for being a supportive and wonderful man. They discuss casual things, like breeding. She wants three kids. Three to four would be fun, he agrees. He's sure his family will love her! She'd love for him to meet her parents! He's nervous and sweating and fidgety. Calm down, Chris. She's going to think the special thing you need to share with her is a social disorder. 

Oh yay. He has to read his feelings to her. Another bad poem! It's a very, very long bad poem, too. Reading it aloud is taking forever. Blah blah blah blah, strongest word, blah blah blah, kiss, blah, blah. Finally he says, "I love you." Big kiss. She's blown away. She wasn't expecting this! He melted her heart! Really? I suspect Des cries in the greeting card aisle at Target. 

Time for Michael's date. Michael seems like a really nice guy, but I don't get the sense he and Des have any chemistry together. Still, they wander around a market and eat things. He thinks that if there were 47 criteria for the perfect woman, Des would have 48. He tells Des he feels he was meant to meet her. She thinks he's the sweetest person she's ever known in her life, which sounds like the thing women say right before they give a guy his walking papers.They kiss. They drink wine. They toboggan down a hill with two gondoliers. This looks fun! I want a toboggan! At least this hasn't been a total waste of time for them!

Des wants to see vulnerability from Michael. They have an entirely pleasant, sparks-free dinner. Des seems a little bored. But wait! Michael is going to make an attempt at bonding. He talks about his biological dad and his diabetes and how his dad is kind of a jerk. He forgives him, though. He wants his tombstone to read loving husband and father. Des can tell he's ready to be a daddy. That will be important to some other women he probably hasn't met yet. I feel so terrible for Michael, until I realize he is going to return home and find himself knee deep in women. 

Another date card, which we know is for Drew and Zak W. to tackle a two-on-one. Given that we've seen footage that suggests bad thing about Drew (although that could easily be creative editing), I'm a little worried for Zak W., who seems to sincerely want a relationship with Des. There's something that seems too slick about Drew, and I just don't trust the guy. 

But first, back to the date with Michael. He tells Des about his girlfriend cheating on him. Des thinks he's one of the greatest guys she's ever met! They listen to street performers in a little square. They kiss. It's not hot. He should probably pack when he gets back so he doesn't have to rush and possibly forget some toiletries in the bathroom. 

Finally, it's time for the dreaded two-on-one. Drew wants the rose. Zak W. wants the rose. Whatever will these dueling bachelors do? Probably be mostly nice to one another. I think they've exhausted their vitriol on James and Ben this season, so I think we're going to see good bachelor behavior from here on out. 

They're going to race go carts. Des has the guys race one another, and Zak W. wipes the floor with Drew. Then, the awkward threesome cuddles by the side of the track. How… weird. 

The guys take turns dragging her away. Zak W. walks Des through a sketch book of their favorite moments (because they had an art class together! Zak W., you are good at this!). "You do something to me, you know that," he says.

 "I like seeing you happy," she replies in a not-very-convincing way. They kiss, but it's not hot. Oh, Zak W. He's definitely grown on me throughout the season. He still seems a little nuts, but he's nice-nuts. 

Next, it's Drew's turn. Drew wants Des to meet his mentally handicapped sister. Des would be honored to go with Drew to pick up his sister. Drew tells Des he's fallen in love with her. He's never had these feelings before! I think Drew gets the rose. When they kiss, Des tells him she's fallen for him, too. Yup, play the handicapped sister card and add in a dose of "love ya" and no sketch book can compete with that. 

Time for the rose… Drew gets it. Zak W. can't understand this! Poor Zak W. I think he may be going home if Michael isn't. 

Anyway, time for the rose ceremony. But first, time for Des to talk to Chris Harrison. Des says that Drew is so sincere in everything he does, and he's husband material. And he's hot. Brooks is the next topic. She thinks they can be witty, sarcastic, creative and imaginative together. Really? I haven't seen evidence of wit or sarcasm at all this season. Tears, yes. Goofing around, yes. But not wit. Anyway, Des thinks she's crossing the finish line with Brooks. But… Brooks hasn't said he loves her yet. Hey, Des, look! There's a little guy off in the distance waving a flag and yelling for you to slow down! 

She feels comfortable with Chris. And she's falling in love with him. Des doesn't mention Michael or Zak. One is going home tonight, and one is going home next week, I'm pretty sure.

Okay, NOW it's time for the rose ceremony. This will be quick, of course. Des declares the week in Madeira refreshing, as if it's a wine spritzer and not a location. 

First rose goes to… Brooks. Of course.

Second rose goes to… Chris.

Third rose goes to… Zak W.

Go figure! I'm happy for Zak W. even though I'm a little sad for Michael. Let's see if he still finds the silver lining in this scenario. 

Des tells Michael she wants him to know how special he is. He's heartbroken, but whatever. She thinks they had a great foundation for friendship! Michael wanted her to see the house he grew up in! His family would have loved her! But maybe it's a blessing that she didn't meet his mom, because she'd have gotten her heart broken when Des ultimately dumped him. Hey, he did find the silver lining after all!

In the limo, Michael confesses that he feels as if his heart exploded in his chest. He's tired of being rejected by women. He wipes away the tears, then calls his mom. When he tells her what happens, she trumpets, "Here we go again!" like she's in some bad '70s sitcom. Yow. Maybe Des dodged a bullet cutting Michael before hometowns. 

Next week, Chris' dad readjusts Des' back and Zak W.'s family is all kinds of wacky. This should be fun! Oh, and Nate is going to get involved, which will not be fun. I wonder if the producers are paying him a little extra to bring his best crazy. I'd almost forgotten about Nate, but I suspect if he screws up love for Des this time around, she'll get a restraining order as she should have last season. 

 

Do you think Nate will mess up Des' relationships? Were you sad to see Michael go? Do you think something's up with Drew or was what we saw creative editing?