It’s “show me the love” time on The Bachelorette, as Rachel prepares to take her final three to the fantasy suite. And, yes, that means one of fancy-socked Wisconsinite Peter, backbreaking bad boy Bryan and dancin’ Eric is two short weeks away from publicly announcing he is the betrothed future Mr. Lindsay.

Rachel thinned the field in predictable fashion last time, deciding that even if Dean wasn’t the guy she wanted to sleep with the least, there was no need to risk creating a new scar with all those old ones his dad hides under his turban. Plus, there’s the added bonus of keeping a man of color around another week.

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Eric’s family was a pleasant surprise that contrasted the description of his childhood, but I’m still banking on an id-versus-ego Bryan/Peter finale. Sure, they’ll make it seem like the fellow gap-toother is uncertain and that Rachel’s relationship with Eric is hitting new highs, but the writing is on the wall. 

I don’t know if she’ll follow in the footsteps of, I dunno, nearly everyone, in picking the unrealistic want over what’s good for the future (kudos to Ashley and Sean Lowe, in particular), but it appears she’s at least willing to ignore that over-possessive mothers are the epitome of red flags.

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Rachel kicks things off with a curve ball because before they head to Spain for a trio of overnight dates, all three men will be meeting the family. Her sister is eight months pregnant and can’t travel, so this part of the journey is happening a week earlier than usual. 

Peter is up first, and they pick out baby clothes before heading off to Casa de Lindsay. His interest for tot apparel undercuts even that of his underwhelming exuberance for pooches, though he attributes his aloofness to his previous inability to express emotions.

So before they go inside, he takes steps to erase her doubt by admitting he’s falling in love.

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Everyone’s Coming to Dinner

Waiting to meet Pete are Mom Kathy, Rachel’s sister and brother-in-law, and her uncle and aunt, and you’d have to be literally colorblind not to immediately notice that both spouses are white. Judge Pops, unfortunately, could not be present. Anyone else starting to think he might be opposed to this process?

Peter’s intense feelings don’t stop him from expressing his reservations about getting married, and his relatively monotone delivery does little to calm any skepticism. Still, Rachel sees herself in his hesitation, and the family seems to buy into the fact that he genuinely doesn’t want to lose the girl.

Mom’s guard is up, which means she is especially comfortable with only giving permission to date her daughter, whilst speaking on behalf of her absent husband. So it’s an honest and appreciated first impression but not a spectacular one.

Lowering the Bar

After a sightseeing tour atop Reunion Tower, a nervous Eric (who has only met families twice before — prior to his prom and once during college seven years ago) connects with Rachel’s relatives over his “humble” beginnings. The fact that he has never been in love prompts them to question whether he is emotionally ready for marriage, but Kathy trusts her daughter enough to offer the nuptial blessing.

Then … it’s Bryan’s turn. They have brunch with the friends/co-workers who signed Rachel up for the process because she needs two more people to back up that Bryan is full of shit. She admits that she initially thought he was a douchebag, which is bizarre since she gave him the first impression rose. 

His overconfident manner doesn’t fly with the family either because no matter how hard he tries, he never appears genuine. Their guts tell them to doubt his sincerity, and they press the issue until Bryan politely excuses himself. Rachel blames them for killing the energy, despite Bryan’s best efforts. 

The family subtly screams, “You’re being delusional,” while punching with kid gloves softly enough for Rachel to defend the relationship. Even his request for parental approval is off-putting, as he basically says, “We’re going to do this. This is what’s going to happen. And we’d love your blessing.” Kathy reiterates that she trusts her daughter. And as if to illustrate the point, Rachel leaves, believing all went swimmingly.

I would honestly feel sorry for how the family treated Bryan if I didn’t 100% agree that their intuition and bullshit detectors were on point.

The Running of the Bulldogs

That title has nothing to do with what’s happening in Spain, but it’s presently my wife’s favorite commercial. (We own a French bulldog named Ned.) After arriving in the wine country of Rioja — and inexplicably leaving a half-full glass of wine on the table — Rachel whisks Eric away on a helicopter ride to a gorgeous cliff-side monastery. 

They ring a church bell and make wishes — while inexplicably leaving behind full glasses of champagne — all while Eric longs for the right moment to profess his undying love. He opens up over a romantic dinner, and only when she presses is he able to drop the solemn L-bomb. 

The fact she doesn’t have to guess anymore prompts an invitation to forego their individual rooms, and they retire to express their love in a way Eric never has before. I hope he doesn’t cry afterwards. 

The next morning, she’s amazed that Eric was once again able to take their relationship to another level — as I predicted in my opening paragraphs.

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Hold the Spanish Fly

Peter and Rachel enjoy a memorable trip to a vineyard in the Spanish countryside, where they explore a mystic wine cellar built on passion, love and commitment — or at least that’s the claim of the old guy who started the business decades ago with his partner and who serenades the happy couple.

Rachel asks about Peter’s conversations with her family, and the consensus is that they’re “a great balance for each other.” Seriously, can you feel the heat coming off that tepid pot of day-old coffee? This is exactly the reason why Ben Flajnik chose that model who went skinny dipping.

Peter makes it clear he’s falling in love but has hesitations about proposing, and then they get distracted by an adorable little girl before they all stomp grapes together. Still, it’s clear that Peter’s layers of enthusiasm go: 1) dogs, 2) kids’ clothing, 3) kids themselves.

He briefly wins her back with a family tradition of writing a sentiment on significant wine corks, but she needs more reassurance since she’s not looking for a boyfriend at the end of this. Proposals carry different weights for them, and she’s moved to tears when his response to the idea of compromise is “I don’t know how to get through that … I don’t know where to go from here, to be honest.” 

To Be Continued…

It’s the cliffhanger I imagined in my opening statements, and I’m still confident that it’s drama building for the predicted final two. But it’s all quite silly if Peter lets this lead to his elimination when he’s the safe, logical choice. (It sounds negative, but it could be the bedrock of the best marriages.)

I understand the significance of an engagement, but c’mon, man, are you really going to let your potential wife walk away over semantics? You’re going to break up with her now because you might end up breaking up with her later? Even though it’s still before you take any sort of vow?

It’s like meeting your potential soulmate but refusing to date them because he or she slept with you right away. It’s completely shortsighted and you’re both in the same seemingly judgment-free boat, but I guess the shallow heart wants what the shallow heart wants.

The Men Tell All is up next, and then three men survive until the epic, obviously most dramatic Bachelorette finale in history.

What do you think? Are Peter’s concerns legitimate or is he making too big a deal out of something that won’t matter regardless of the outcome? Was Rachel’s family too hard on Bryan or were they justified in pressing their concerns? And does poor Eric have a chance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Bachelorette season 13 airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC. Want more news? Like our Bachelorette Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Bill King

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Emmy-winning news producer & former BuddyTV blogger. Lover of Philly sports, Ned, Zoe, Liam and Delaine…not in that order