We had your usual mix of family fun, though it was shockingly short of the typical "one family is really weird" make-up. I mean, where were the birds to be buried in the backyard? You really expect me to believe no one does taxidermy in their basement? C'mon people, this is national television. Let's fly our family freak flags proudly.
Strange happenings aside, we did have our normal range of the good (all of Constantine!), the bad (over-bearing, surly sisters) and the ugly (Ames' entire contrived carriage ride, complete with open containers of wine/champagne that were spilling all over. He wanted us to believe his picnic was totally spontaneous? Did they just stumble upon a horse-drawn carriage in the fields of PA? And why was the carriage moving at such a rapid clip? The first thing that popped in my mind was Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, not romance. The whole thing was weird and kind of yucky.)
Anyways, let's break it down by family.
Constantine and his big, fat, Greek family:
I love them! Who couldn't? I mean, aside from having the chance to know what Constantine is going to look like in 30 years (read: Dimitri), Ashley was able to dance, catch money, and hug lots and lots of relatives. She made a pizza, a very well-organized salad (that's my Smart Girl), and even took an order by herself. Who needs dental school? She has Gorgio's Italian Restaurant! (yes, it's Greek and Italian and American, as Constantine was quick to explain.) The night was capped off when Constantine's entire extended family descended upon the house, and I can only imagine what they brought to eat. I bet it smelled great. Ashley would put on a quick 15 pounds if she picks Constantine, but it would be worth it. I'm kind of in love with the whole crazy clan.
Ames and his strange, bucolic existence:
I was finally able to put my finger on what bugs me about Ames: he looks like an over-sized Sour Patch Kid. The hair, the teeth, the giant forehead. He's just a weird dude. And I won't be surprised if he later admits he paid actors to be his family for this visit, along with renting the house and the property. It was all just too much. Also, I think he might bat for the other team. Now that would be a Bachelor first.
Serena the sister took Ashley to task, and instead of asking her about herself, she promoted her brother. And then Serena had the audacity to tell Ames that while he has "the spark," Ashley, sadly, did not. So...huh? You don't think this girl is good enough for your brother, yet you are telling your brother to amp up the romance so he wins? Just weird. The whole family rubbed me the wrong way, from his unblinking mother to the scary dude that was his brother. Even the kids looked a little 'Children of the Corn: The Connecticut Version' to me. Weird vibe. Run, Ashley, run.
And then of course, was the whole "spontaneous" picnic under the magnolia tree. Personally, I hate picnics. Great idea in theory, terrible in practice. I don't want to sit on the ground, carry my own food, or have to carry dirty dishes back with me. But Ames was undeterred and even went on to school Dr. Ashley about Italian concepts of love. Ick, ick. You can tell Ashley is intrigued by Ames, but probably only because of his veneers and lack of affect.
Ben and his very, very sad family:
This is a tough one for me to comment on. Ben's father passed away several years ago, and it's clear the family is still hurting. There's not a lot of family left, either - just him, his mom, and his sister Julia. On the outside, they are gorgeous, from the baby grand in the entry way with white and green hydrangeas on it to the camel-colored pashmina worn by his mom. But they are a sad family. Ben apologized to him mom for "not being a better son" after his dad passed away, while Julia fretted that Ben closed himself off after the death. I don't know. I like Ben, but I wonder if he's ready for something like marriage. And I can't imagine Ashley would want to visit that house of pain anytime soon.
At least the family has lots of wine to drink. What an idyllic life Ben must lead, having to taste the barreled wine every few weeks. Um, yah. I could handle that.
JP: A Blast from the Past
I love JP. I do. I find him adorable and sincere and he seems to say all the right things. Yeah, he might get a little angry at times, especially when Ashley is dating other men, but he's just so darn sweet. I hope they are very happy together.
He took her on what can only be called the greatest home-town date, ever. Roller-skating to REO Speedwagon, drinking wine out of paper cups, and an old 80s-inspired pic of JP? Best date ever! He seems incredibly confident in the relationship, and I think if Ashley does pick him, it will be because he believes in their relationship so much. And he's so darn cute.
My only concern is this past relationship literally everyone keeps referring to. You know, the girl who hurt him so much. Who is his former girlfriend - Debbie Pelt? I mean, seriously. What did she do to him? And will Chris Harrison get a chance to interview her? I'm dying to find out more.
In the end, we all know it was the Sour Patch Kid that was sent home. He displayed absolutely no emotion, even as he told Ashley his normal composure was weakening. Oh wait, he did briefly close his eyes in the limo and rub his temples. That must be Ames' version of the ugly cry. Who knows.
Either way, it's a Constantine v. Ben v. JP finale (in Fiji!). Who comes to visit Ashley? What's up with her sister??? (by the way, I was laughing hysterically during the coming attractions...finally, we have a good family fight during the last episode! The tattoo'd sister gives Ashley a piece of her mind. Bring it, ladies!) Does JP really propose, or are we all just being led to believe that? And finally, how good does "The Bachelor Pad" look??? Jake + Vienna = train wreck television. Sign me up!