It's the hometowns! This could be a potentially fraught episode, as we know that the hometown visit was the one that got Des booted from Sean's season of "The Bachelor." And guess what? Nate, the horrible brother who was so nasty to Sean, is back! Let the crazy begin!

Alas, Nate isn't showing up until later in the episode, like a bad plot twist. Instead, we kick things off on a happy note -- Des visits Zak in Dallas. Initially I thought Zak was a bit of a fruit loop, what with the "do you accept these abs" opening line (which was so groan-worthy I'm shocked she kept him around) and the jumping into pools and such. But as the show has progressed, he's turned out to be an awful lot of fun. More than that, he sincerely seems to adore Des. If his family is anything like Zak, this should be a good time for all. 

Before it's time to meet the family, he drags Des to a park and starts talking about a dream he had in which they were on a beach, and they melted, and it started snowing, and a bunch of other stuff that's just whole hella lotta weird. Zak is losing Des, and I'm not sure I have any clue what he's prattling on about, either. Finally, he tells Des he has to show her something, and he runs off to pull the family's sno-cone truck around. I love that the family is in the sno-cone business, and this seems very apropos for a guy like Zak. Des and Zak hand out sno-cones to little children, and Zak puts on a penguin suit. Des tells the kids the penguin's her boyfriend. 

I'm starting to wonder how Des could possibly NOT pick Zak for the final two. He's just too much fun. And let's face it -- Drew and Chris are nice, but boring as hell.  

On to meet the family, who seem upbeat and fun and very much like Zak. And hey, if things don't work out, Des, Zak has a cute brother! Kidding. Kind of. Anyway,I love that Zak's family thinks he's an idiot for showing up without a shirt to the first cocktail party.  

Then, Zak sits down with his mom Maryann and tells her ALLLLLLL the things he likes about Des. I'm amazed, because he clearly sees a lot more in Des than I ever have. While I think Zak is too much fun, there's a good chance he's more fun than Des, who seems to cotton to boring guys like Chris. Her loss, really. 

Then, Zak plays guitar while his brother and sister sing a song a song about Zak's love for Desiree. She's going to cry. But that's not all! Zak has a pillbox he bought in Atlantic City. Inside, there's a ring. So, I guess it's more of a ring box. Which is good, because I thought he was going to offer her three days' worth of antibiotics. He wants her to keep the ring and the box, and he tells her he loves her. She smiles. She does not swoon. 

I know she has non-stop heat for days with Brooks, but how can she not pick Zak now? I am getting too sappy, I know, but what a wonderful visit.  

Des heads off to Scottsdale to see Drew's family. As he points out, he's curious to see if she can hang with his family. Funny, I thought he should be more worried about whether or not she likes HIS family, since it's by no means clear that she wants to be a part of his family. The audition process works both ways, I realize, but he seems overconfident. This will be the first time his dad has ever been in his mom's house, but they're very cordial. Uh-huh.

They're off to pick up his sister, who's severely mentally handicapped. Drew thinks it might be a little overwhelming, since Melissa gets so excited she tends to act in ways that seem aggressive. There's some crying and some noises, but no violence. Des is so touched Drew took her along on an errand to pick up Melissa! Maybe next they can drive to Target or something!

At the house, Des will be meeting 11 new people. One is a little girl with a bow in her hair. And there's a baby. And there's a bunch of grown-ups. Des thinks this is awesome! She loves people!

Drew has yet to tell Des he loves her.  

While Drew's mom Linda wants her baby to tell her how he feels, Drew's dad Malachi interrogates Des and she sputters out answers. She first fell for his eyes! She loves that he's true to himself! And she believes in angels! Has she met one, Malachi asks. Yes, she has, he tells her, not waiting for an answer. Oh, that's Melissa. I would think this would be an uncomfortable moment, but Des thinks it's lovely.

Drew loves that she's ready to take on his mess of a family, and Linda thinks Drew is ready. Malachi likes Des so much he will throw a party for Drew if he wants to marry her. And he does want to marry Des. Des wants to join Drew's family right now! She wants to stay! Really? I was thinking Drew's family is a nowhere near as much fun or as interesting as Zak's, plus it comes with complications that might not be so easy to deal with day-to-day. But enough fretting about Drew, as I doubt he's making the final two anyway. 

Next, Des is off to Oregon to meet Chris! And play baseball. Well, as much as two people can play baseball. Chris is so happy! He found a  girl who can hit! 

Time to sit down and crack open some bad art! Des has sketched a really, really bad series of drawings of their dating journey. He loves it! She loves him! Apparently! They kiss. I notice, while Drew dragged Des to meet his family immediately, Zak and Chris spend some one-on-one time with her instead. Des really wants Chris' family to like her! 

What does this entail? Letting Chris' dad adjust your back, it seems. Des just shrugs this off as not weird at all, though most normal people would run screaming. Then, Chris' dad sucks stuff out of Chris' nose. Or something. This is gross. He's probably just thrilled to be getting all this free publicity. Pimp out your kid, get exposure on national TV, win-win! 

Chris' mom seems entirely miserable. She doesn't want Des to hurt her baby. Then, his cranky sister tells Chris she didn't like the girl he was previously serious about. She didn't like her at all, by the way. I think she hated her. Oh, and their grandma and mom also hated this girl. Yeah, this does not look like it's going to go well. Even if it does go well, my God, who'd want to marry into this family? 

Time for Chris to talk to his mom Becky. She is not convinced his feelings will last in the real world. She takes a deep breath, then says (as an ABC executive slips her a stack of bills) that she likes Des a lot. Why do I not get the impression she's actually happy? Still, she gives Chris her blessing to run off with that trampy girl he met on television. All of these people seem miserable. Des thinks she sees a potential husband in Chris. Well, yes, Chris seems okay, but his family isn't really helping matters.

Time for Brooks' hometown visit! She runs and leaps into his arms. She loves Brooks! Wait, isn't she NOT supposed to say she loves anyone? Maybe it's okay if she doesn't say it to his face, I guess. Actually, she told Chris Harrison last week, so I guess she can scream it from the rooftops. But Brooks... doesn't know how he feels about Des. 

This does not seem like a good situation. If Brooks wants this, he will get to propose to Des. But I'm not so sure he wants this. He's having a hard time with this process, it seems. Des thinks Brooks is holding himself back. Or he's just not that into you, Des. 

Des makes a list of the things she loved doing with him, which is basically everything. He's touched! He kinda likes her after all! They canoe, and Brooks almost sends her into the water. But that's okay, because she LOVES Brooks!

Brooks introduces Des to his enormous family. There are so many family members, in fact, they each wear a name tag, like this is a pharmaceutical sales convention or something. Is Brooks Mormon? Janice, Brooks' mom, thinks Des and Brooks are looking at one another with the eyes of love. She assures Des that all of her children have married well. 

Next, Brooks asks his sister what to look for in a relationship. Is Des his best friend? Does he want to be with her always? Brooks nods. I'm not getting the impression he thinks of Des as his best friend. She's more like the sock monkey he forgets under his bed unless he feels like making out. 

Brooks talks to his mom. She thinks the conversation with Des went... okay. She asked surprising questions, like whether or not Brooks is ready to get married! Does she realize he's on "The Bachelor"? Anyway, Janice  tells Brooks the family trusts his judgment, and she thinks he and Des are compatible. They hug, and Janice tells Brooks he's her favorite, I think. Or she says bees ash fabrick, because her words were kinda muffled by his sweater. 

I don't always love the little Twitter comments, but one just suggested that Brooks will curl into a fetal position in the first five minutes if he visits Des' family. Man, that is SO true. I just don't think Brooks is ready for her family's crazy or Nate, for that matter. Given that Brooks is tiptoeing around the whole relationship thing, I think he'll be easily scared off. 

Speaking of Nate... time for a talk between Des and her most hateful sibling! Nate doesn't apologize, by the way. He thinks things worked out the way they were supposed to. Nate thinks it would be "fun" to meet the guys she's seeing now! He wants to get in their heads! Why does he talk like a New York gangster?

Des seems slightly pissed, but that doesn't cool Nate's jets. He tells her he did what he did last time because he knew her relationship with Sean was wrong. But this time, if she's sure she thinks her perfect man is in the room... well, he just nods. Yeah, I wouldn't trust Nate to behave himself for a hot minute. 

Desiree thinks they had a good meeting! Nate, on the other hand, thinks it's  his job to make every guy in the finals run screaming from the room, sobbing. 

Back in LA (at the Beverly Hilton, plug, plug, plug), Des sits down with Chris Harrison. She still loves Brooks, who hasn't told her he loves her. But she is falling for Chris, and he has no problem telling her she's in love, so that's good. As for Zak...  she was speechless when Zak gave her a ring. That's not the same as happy or in love. 

Des says, basically, it's down to Brooks and Chris. WHY? She's clearly sending Zak home. Oh, I'm so sad. I understand Brooks -- you can practically see hormones leaping out of her body and glomming onto him. But Chris is dull, Drew is dull and slightly creepy, and Zak... well, he's a little nuts, but he'd be fun!

Wait... NATE IS LURKING IN THE DAMN LOBBY. I love it when ABC decides to manipulate the drama! It's not that we see Nate again, mind you. But the threat is there. 

Rose ceremony. Yay. Not. I just think this is going to suck. Des gets weepy talking to the guys. This is hard! She liked all the nice families!

First rose goes to... Brooks.

Second rose goes to... Chris.

Third and final rose goes to... Drew. Of course. Not that it matters. Drew is just going home next. It's Chris and Brooks for the finale, with Brooks for the win.

Zak looks crushed, which of course he is. She walks him out. Zak is shocked, and what he felt was real. Des cries. She doesn't want him to lose his happiness or something! She didn't want to lead him on. She has the ring and wants to give it back. He takes it. He just wants her to be happy. They hug goodbye. He sits in the limo and rubs his forehead. He's numb and confused. He let himself completely fall for her. He's going home to a dark place where he hasn't found love. He really thought this would work out for him. Oh, Zak. He doesn't want to go back to his lonely life. He just wants to be with somebody. And then, he throws the ring out the window.

Given that Chris and Drew are likely to be tossed aside next, I think Zak would be a lot more fun as the next "Bachelor." Bring it on! 

It's the Men Tell All next week! Whoot! In two weeks, Des cries. She just wants to go home... huh. My money is on Brooks backing out, but who knows? 

Were you sad to see Zak go? Do you think Drew is next? Do you think Brooks will bail?