‘The Bachelor’ Fantasy Suites Are About to Be a Tearful Trainwreck

It’s been more than a full month since The Bachelor producers dangled the prospect of a heartbroken Joey Graziadei over our pretty little heads, and now, it looks like we’ve finally reached this season’s dramatic final act. As always, the waters started getting choppy during hometowns. Maria Georgas, frontrunner for either Joey’s final rose or her own season of Bachelorette, went home in a painfully awkward rose ceremony, and now, season previews indicate that Joey is in for a note bearing the four most dreaded words in any relationship: We need to talk.

The Bachelor' Fantasy Suites Are About to Be a Tearful Trainwreck

Oh, boy…

This week, Joey tried out the Taylor Swift lifestyle, flying here and there for a series of back-to-back cross-country trips as he visited his four remaining women’s families. First up was Kelsey Anderson, aka Kelsey A., down in New Orleans. Before we got to that, however, the episode kicked off another ominous flash-forward—this time, to a preview of Maria’s hometown visit overlaid with some deeply unsettling music. The immediate cut over to Kelsey’s upbeat, jazzy hometown music might be the funniest edit we’ve seen all season.

Assuming that Joey doesn’t go home alone, as producers desperately want us to believe based on our tearful foreshadowing of him crying on the beach with a single unclaimed rose on its tray, Kelsey feels like one of our strongest contenders. She and Joey have been heating up since their one-on-one date in Spain, where she opened up about having lost her mother at a young age. Whenever she sees butterflies, she said, she believes her mother is nearby in spirit, and this week, as she and Joey stood together on a bridge during her hometown date, there were butterflies everywhere.

Things couldn’t have gone any better for Kelsey; her brother Matthew and sister Taylor both seemed to love Joey, and her father seemed very supportive of the match. (Even if he did express the usual fatherly concerns about his daughter dating someone who also has three other girlfriends.) Also, was it just me, or was Papa Anderson a smoking-hot silver fox? Could he be our next Golden Bachelor? Inquiring minds want to know! In the end, Kelsey told producers that she loves Joey, and her chances of making it to the end in Tulum, Mexico seem more than decent.

Next up was Rachel Nance, who seemed more hesitant about bringing Joey home to California to meet her parents. Like every other woman this week, Rachel said it was very important for her to get validation from her parents before she could fully relinquish control and open up. Joey was happy to partake in several Filipino traditions to win Rachel’s parents over, including eating the ear off of an extremely succulent-looking roasted pig. (He confirmed it tasted as good as it looked.)

Joey and Rachel on The Bachelor.

Rachel’s parents both seemed a little more hesitant than Daddy Anderson—her father didn’t quite give Joey a “yes” or a “no” when it came to blessing a potential engagement—but overall, both he and Rachel seemed pleased with how the day had unfolded. Crucially, she also told him she was falling in love with him—although notably, he stopped just short of reciprocating. That brings us to our next date, which seemed to go by far the best.

Daisy Kent hasn’t gotten too much screen time this season, but longtime Bachelor watchers know better than to assume that means she’s headed home. Often, the show’s producers will hide the actual winner from us until later on in the proceedings to maintain suspense. That alone is not confirmation that Daisy is destined for the final rose, but once you combine that with the fact that Joey confirmed to her that he’s falling in love, things start looking pretty promising.

As we already know from her introduction, Daisy grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Minnesota. As a Bachelor setting, her hometown date was about as picturesque as they come. The alpacas were out and about, Joey was in some cozy-looking knitwear, and the autumn leaves were doing their thing. If this were a Hallmark movie, it’d be an instant classic. Daisy has been hesitant to go all-in with Joey this season, but her friends could clearly tell she’s smitten. If that wasn’t enough, Joey also seemed to meet most of her family—her mother, her father, her sister, her brother, and her grandparents.

Daisy’s father was by far the most enthusiastic of the season, and he also wins the award for Best Sense of Humor. As he told his daughter, she might as well go all in with Joey, and if worse comes to worse, she’s already gone through far harder experiences after losing her hearing to Ménière’s disease. “It’s not like you’re gonna lose your hearing over it,” he said as she burst out laughing. “It’s just love.”

Cue the magical moment when Daisy finally confessed to Joey that she’s falling in love, a feeling he reciprocated without hesitation. As all of us at home swooned, our Bachelor told producers, “I can see Daisy being my wife.” She doesn’t have it in the bag yet, but this does seem like a strong sign.

And then, finally, we got to Maria, whose date was always going to be the rockiest—and not just because they met up on the New York side of Niagara Falls. (Also, side note, why did they meet up on the New York side if she’s Canadian? Did they ride the Maid of the Mist to the other side? Did they swim across after downing their maple whiskeys?)

Joey and Maria on The Bachelor.

Understandably, Joey was not feeling super confident about Maria after she flirted with self-eliminating last week. He also didn’t seem to like hearing that she’s never brought someone home to meet her parents before, although truthfully, that feels less fair. Is it her fault if she’s never met anyone as dreamy as he is? We don’t know her life! All of that said, the scary music at the beginning of the episode was a red herring. Maria’s friends and family members were all lovely, especially her father—who looks something like a cross between actor Eric Roberts and an ’80s rock star.

Maria has already opened up to Joey about the two life-threatening car accidents that she survived as a baby, and the wedge that the traumatic experience caused between herself and her mother. While speaking with Joey this week, Maria’s father said that since the accident, he and his daughter have been inseparable. “To me, she’s my angel,” he said. “She’s my princess.” And while Papa Georgas seemed hesitant at first, he made like Daisy’s dad in the end and told his daughter to stop holding back. He even gave Joey his pre-emptive blessing, assuming Maria picked him back.

“You were glowing,” he told Maria, “and I haven’t seen that in a long time. I know you’ve got your guard up. Put it down.”

After that beautiful line and a truly delightful compilation of home videos, it was devastating to watch Maria choke when she tried to tell Joey that she was falling in love. She immediately regretted having frozen, but even though she tried to confess her feelings to Joey at this week’s very sparse airplane hangar-based rose ceremony, it was apparently too late.

The other women did not look pleased when Maria pulled Joey aside, but it didn’t make a difference. Going into fantasy suites, his final three will be Daisy, Kelsey A., and Rachel. It was a hard decision, he told Maria, but in the end, he had to trust his gut. It’s hard not to wonder what might’ve happened if she had opened up earlier in the season, but on if she becomes the Bachelorette, we’ve already gotten a hell of a backstory.

“I should have told him how I felt a lot sooner than I did,” Maria told producers during her van ride home, “and that’s my biggest regret.”

Next week, things will get a lot more cheerful (and chaotic) as we fly off to Tulum. Golden Bachelor contestants Susan, Leslie, and Sandra will apparently be on-hand to offer some sage wisdom, but more forebodingly, Joey is also apparently going to “need to talk” with someone—a conversation he fears could derail everything. Is this just another classic Bachelor misdirect, or could there actually be trouble in paradise? Something tells me it just might be both.

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