Hometown dates on The Bachelor mean that things have officially gotten serious for the contestants. Meeting the parents makes everyone's emotions more valid in this process, and as we've seen in years past, a difficult hometown date can destroy a woman's relationship with the Bachelor. So, given the high hopes everyone has for the outcome of their individual dates with the family, who went home on The Bachelor week 8? After her family met Arie with major skepticism, Tia was cut from the competition, leaving Kendall, Becca K., and Lauren B. moving on to overnight dates with Arie next week.
The token overdramatic hometown date is essential to this stage of a Bachelor franchise show. On The Bachelorette last year, Dean (in more innocent times) had an emotionally unsettling reunion with his distant father, and although Bachelorette Rachel handled it well, the date only emphasized that she wasn't meant to be with Dean.
Meanwhile, in classic Bachelor fashion, Nick Viall's hometown dates last year mostly consisted of the women trying to convince their parents that he still had some semblance of a job. While I was hoping for a similar comical theme to appear in Arie's meeting of the families, such wasn't the case. Sigh.
However, several family members were vocally warier of Arie than most contestants' relatives usually are. Blame his out-of-the-blue return to the franchise or the fact that all of the women are basically a decade younger than him, but the men in these contestants' lives were not exactly welcoming Arie with open arms.
As seen in the episode promo, there wasn't a single date that Arie emerged from scotch-free. With Kendall's family in Los Angeles, he discovered that her dad didn't believe she was the "engagement" type of girl, seeing her as too analytical to fall in love. On top of that, her twin sister, Kylie, questioned if they were meant to be together. In Minnesota, Becca's uncle, aka her surrogate father figure, wondered if Arie's motives were genuine, while Lauren's family in Virginia Beach also wanted Arie to be more specific about his intentions.
In Arkansas, which should essentially start paying The Bachelor for its promotion of the state through both Tia and Raven's hometown visits, Tia's parents initially treated him with Southern hospitality. Other than that, Papa and Mama Booth were rightfully concerned about Arie having pursued multiple women at once. Tia's brother even brought up Arie's reputation of being a "playboy" with his nickname, The Kissing Bandit. "How can you prove to me tonight that's not who you are?" He asked.
In the end, it's Tia who is sent home, even though Arie claims he had the perfect date with her in Weiner, Arkansas. After Kendall got the final rose of the night over Tia, Arie took Tia outside to explain the reason he sent her home. Unfortunately the Bachelor didn't have much to say about the situation. He simply told Tia, "you didn't do anything wrong. You are an incredible woman, and anyone would be lucky to be with you." He explained his decision wasn't because he didn't have feelings for Tia – he just had stronger connections with the other women.
Next week, Tia joins the other eliminated contestants for the Women Tell All, which will inevitably be filled to the brim with drama. Krystal's back! Women you've never seen before claim to be contestants! Oh, the joy. Can I start Tia's campaign to be the Bachelorette now?
The Bachelor returns on Sunday, Feb. 25, for the Women Tell All special at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. The show then airs on Monday, Feb. 26, with its fantasy suite date episode at 8 p.m. ET.