Warning: This recap of The Bachelorette Episode 9 contains spoilers.
Week 9, y’all! We’re still in Dallas, where last week Rachel blindsided Dean and sent him home after a particularly grueling hometown date. But put all that sadness behind you, rose lovers, because we’re down to three guys — Bryan, Eric, and Peter — and Rachel is “excited” about the fact that she’s “falling in love” with all of them. Personally, that seems more “terrifying” than “exciting” to me, but tomato, to-mah-to, right?
Rather than heading straight to the “exotic” “overnight” “fantasy suite” dates — which is what normally happens at this point in the season — Rachel is keeping the guys together in Dallas to meet her family. “We’re doing it a little different because my sister’s pregnant, eight months, and she can’t travel,” explains the Bachelorette. “This is the only time you get to talk to my family.”
Peter, you’re up! And just so you can get a taste of what it’s really like to be married, Rachel’s dragging you along on errands that you’d rather avoid.
Time to shop for baby clothes! Peter happily goes along with it, primarily because at the rose ceremony Rachel left him dangling until the last second, and he thought he was going home. Now Peter wants to explain that whole “I might not be ready to propose” thing, something he now regrets saying.
So before they head inside to meet Rachel’s family, Peter asks for a minute to “clarify” his statements.
“I’m falling in love with you too,” says Rachel. Premature declaration of near-love, check! Let’s go meet the family. Present at the gathering today are Rachel’s older sister, Constance; her brother-in-law Alex; her mom, Kathy; and her Uncle Jeff and Aunt Connie. Once again, Papa Judge Lindsay will not be appearing on camera, because he would like to maintain his dignity, both professional and otherwise.
Over lunch, Peter informs Rachel’s family that his parents got engaged after knowing each other only a month. “And they’re still married!” declares the Bachelorette triumphantly. The family listens politely as Peter talks about his “instant connection” with Rachel that may have been “brought on by a greater force.” Even though he was a skeptic, Peter continues, now he knows: “I’m not ready to lose Rachel. I don’t want to lose Rachel.” It seems that Constance likes what she hears…
…but she’s not ready to sign off just yet. “When you came back last time with Nick, you were excited too,” she reminds Rachel. Mom, meanwhile, sits down with Peter to grill him about why he wants to propose to Rachel — if, in fact, he does. “I want to pursue a relationship with her,” Peter says, but “I don’t necessarily know that in two weeks I could feel that certainty” to propose. For that reason, Peter says he’s not going to ask for Kathy and Judge Lindsay’s blessing quite yet. “I want to wait until I know for certain that your daughter is the person for me.”
After a brief and terrifying silence, Mom gives this plan her seal of approval — with a caveat. “I would hope that the dating is as serious as marriage,” says Kathy.
Stop everything! We have found Copper. I repeat, WE HAVE FOUND COPPER!
Anyhow, Peter’s family visit went swimmingly — so well, in fact, that Rachel’s cousin Andrea prompted little baby Alister to call the suitor “Peter Winner.”
Next up is Eric, whose narrative going into this date is Guy Who Has Never Been in Love. Whey they take a sightseeing trip to Reunion Tower, Peter and Bryan stay behind at the hotel and have a “casual” chat about their feelings in front of the camera. Peter freely admits that he did not ask Rachel’s parents for their blessing to propose — a fact Bryan seizes upon in his passive-aggressive way. “I’m hoping to show the family how much chemistry we have,” he tells Peter. “Show them the bond that we have, and know that it’s right, and go ahead and give me the blessing.” Peter sees this for the manipulation that it is.
“Like, damn, dude,” Peter scoffs in his confessional. “It’s ballsy and arrogant — and it’s annoying.” Agreed.
Back to Eric.
Though Peter “set the bar pretty high,” cousin Andrea promises to be “open-minded” and “fair” during Eric’s visit. The conversation gets serious quickly, as Eric tells the group about his somewhat “dysfunctional” upbringing. “I’ve never seen my mom and dad together,” says Eric. “I’ve seen a lot of unhealthy relationships going up.” Now, though, he aspires to have a “family love, family bond” in his life — and God help me, I believe him. Constance watches him with a furrowed brow, and admits to us in her confessional that she doesn’t think that Rachel and Eric are “on the same playing field, relationship-wise.”
That said, Eric is able to allay some of Constance’s concerns during their one-on-one chat. Though he’s not yet “in love” with Rachel, Eric says that “there’s nothing I’m not willing to do to get to that point.” He’s ready to “provide, protect, and take care of everything” — plus, he wants kids. Constance is sold: “I see that he is ready to settle down,” she says. “I like that he’s very into her.”
One formidable woman down, one to go. Mama Kathy sits down with Eric and asks him what marriage means to him. “Commitment on all cylinders, compromises, communication, sacrifice, understanding,” he replies. “Something real, something strong.” With all that said, Eric has one final request: Mrs. Linday’s permission to take Rachel’s “hand in marriage.”
After another intimidating pause, Kathy renders her verdict: If Rachel wants Eric, “I feel comfortable with that.” A ringing endorsement if I ever heard one!
As we’ve seen from the “coming up” teases, Team Bachelorette saved the most awkward family visit for last. When Rachel arrives at the hotel to pick Bryan up, Peter notices that his rival is wearing the “magic watch” Rachel bought him on their reverse Pretty Woman date.
“I’m going in there with confidence,” Bryan informs us. “I think they’ll be impressed.” As irritating as that is to hear, Bryan does have reason to be more confident than the other guys — because before Rachel introduces him to her family, she’s bringing him to meet her friends. That’s serious.
Meet Maryssa and Lauren — the women who signed up Rachel for Nick’s season of The Bachelor way back when. Bryan tells them all about his life in Miami as a “chiropractic physician” (reminder: Chiropractors are not, in fact, medical doctors) and assures them that he’s “ready to settle down.” The women are impressed by Bryan’s confidence — though Rachel admits that confidence was something that worried her at first.
Change “thought he was” to “think he is” and we’re with you, girl. Sadly, Bryan’s douchebaggery works its magic on Theresa and Lauren, and he walks away from the brunch feeling that he “won them over.”
Enjoy your victory, pal, because things are about to get real. Right from the outset, Constance isn’t having it.
Mom seems a little suspicious too.
And that was before Bryan declared he has “a tremendous amount of love” for Rachel. Kathy wants to know where Bryan’s loyalties would lie, should Rachel and his beloved mother ever “bump heads” in the future. Bryan assures the family that he would always be loyal to his wife first — but it’s clear that Kathy doesn’t buy it. Rachel is definitely not happy with this line of questioning.
Maybe lunch will go better. Uh-oh … did Bryan just say that he considered Rachel to be his girlfriend on “day one”?
“My gut is telling me Bryan’s a charmer — he’s direct and he’s open, but I don’t think there’s the sincerity factor in it,” says Constance. “So my guard was up.”
In what is likely an act of deceptive editing, we see Rachel’s Uncle Jeff ask Bryan, “What qualities does she accentuate in you?” But rather than answering, Bryan excuses himself from the table.
“I’m frustrated!” Rachel says. “I’m frustrated because the energy is totally different than it was the other two days with Peter and Eric.” Oh, girl, maybe it’s because Bryan is an insincere d-bag and everyone at the table except you can see it? “You have to understand, you are in a bubble,” Mom tells Rachel. “We are outside that bubble. … We need to get clarity.”
Speak for yourself, mom. Uncle Jeff just needs to eat.
When lunch is over and everyone’s had a minute to cool off, Constance sits down with Bryan and straight-up tells him she questions his sincerity. Why does Bryan have to be all proclaiming his love for Rachel — and her family — so damn fast? “It’s only been, like, an hour and a half,” counters Constance, like the hero that she is.
Kathy is “really uncomfortable” to hear Rachel says she’s “falling in love” with Bryan, because she refuses to believe her daughter has reached I-can’t-live-without-you mode in two damn months. Rachel chooses to agree to disagree with her mom, because she subscribes to the Snowflake Theory of love: Every one is different.
Bryan, too, just keeps forging ahead with his vote-for-me campaign, informing Kathy that he “will be proposing” at the end if Rachel gives him that Final Rose. So, uh, can he get her blessing? And mom’s answer is … maybe? “You have my blessing to take this initial love and just build on that,” she tells Bryan. Dude, that’s as good as it’s gonna get — take the lukewarm approval and run!
With the familial firing line out of the way, Rachel and her ever-shrinking man harem head to La Rioja, Spain, for some “private alone time.” Eric’s up first, and he’s ready: “I always say, ‘One-on-one, full of fun.’” A helicopter tour of the beautiful countryside ends with a roadside picnic overlooking the water. What better place than this for Eric to drop the l-word?
Hold that thought, buddy! First you must approach the Magic Monastery Bell, which will grant your wish should you ring it properly.
That night, over a candlelit dinner, Eric finally “hits the target” — meaning, after some persistent nudging from the Bachelorette, Eric finally says the words Rachel wants to hear: “I’m just here to say that, um, I’m in love with you. … Rachel Lindsay, I love you.” We all know what that means, rose lovers:
All in for the win! Eric accepts, and Team Bachelorette is dismissed for the night. I’ll admit, I could have done without the gratuitous morning-after bed shot, though.
No pressure, Peter, but you’re up. The date begins underground, with Vitorino, one of the Bachelorette’s patented Charming Older People With an Enviable Marital History.
“This wine cellar, this vineyard, was built on love,” gushes Rachel, right on cue. In addition to treating Rachel and Peter to a hearty serenade, Vitorino also gifts them with an entire locker full of personalized wine. “I want them all,” says Rachel, sensible as always.
Once back aboveground, Peter informs the Bachelorette that he “didn’t feel comfortable” asking for her family’s blessing to propose, but he did ask Kathy for permission to date Rachel once the lights and cameras all pack up and go home. Peter wants to know how Rachel feels about this, so let’s go to the videotape:
Yeah, our Bachelorette does not like what she hears … but before she and Peter can get into it, they are interrupted by some tiny Spanish cuteness.
The little girl is bearing flowers, a diversion that will allow Team Bachelorette to push the Serious Talk portion of the date until later in the evening. For now, we stomp-a the grapes!
Darkness falls, and Peter kicks off the evening by introducing Rachel to his family tradition of writing notes on wine corks from special occasions and saving them as keepsakes. Though Rachel is delighted by the romantic gesture (“Peter for the win!”), she’s got a singular focus: Pinning Peter down on the proposal issue. “I didn’t come this far and put my life on hold … to just have a boyfriend at the end of it,” she explains. “That’s not what I want.” Though she doesn’t expect a proposal to lead to immediate marriage, Rachel continues, she needs her Final Guy to get down on one knee as a symbol of his commitment to their future.
Peter’s all, I hear you, but … no. “My belief in engagement is that engagement is marriage,” he says. “I want to do it just as many times as I get married, which is hopefully once in my life.” In other words, Neil Lane can show him all the ginormous diamonds that he has in that suitcase, but if Peter makes it to the final two, he’s gonna pack that ring away for a later date.
“If we really want this and want each other,” says Rachel, “then somebody’s gotta bend.” Unfortunately, Peter’s not willing to compromise his stance on the matter — nor does he want Rachel changing her position just to please him. It appears, rose lovers, that our lovely couple is at an impasse.
“I was hopeful for what Peter and I could be, and then just like that, I didn’t see it,” Rachel tells us. “Tonight, for the first time ever, I’m thinking Peter and I may not work out.”
Welp, there we have it. Rather than talk about the extended Men Tell All promo, I’ve got a question, rose lovers: Lots of us want Peter to be the Bachelor, should he in fact get the boot from Rachel. But are producers really going to want to hand him that all-important job if he’s (rightfully) not ready to propose after nine weeks? Theoretically they could talk him into believing that he’ll be ready, but we’ll always know the truth — and that’ll make whatever season-ending proposal he offers seem even more hollow than usual. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but perhaps we should put our money on another guy.
Let me know your thoughts below! And be sure to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive behind-the-scenes blog right here.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.