Monday's episode of "The Bachelor" brought Brad Womack to Charlotte to meet Emily Maynard's little girl Ricki, and to get a feel for what Emily's life is like away from the cameras.
You never know how kids are going to act when they meet mom or dad's new "friend," so naturally, there were plenty of nerves to go around.
But before Brad got to Charlotte, he had a few other stops to make.
The first hometown date was in Seattle to meet Chantal's family, and they are sooooo rich. I mean, crazy rich! If for some reason Donald Trump moved to Seattle, he'd totally buy that house from Chantal's dad. Chantal's family actually seemed really nice and Brad got along well with her parents -- and more importantly, with her little dog and two cats.
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Then Brad went to Maine to visit Ashley's family, who were "very down to earth" (that means they weren't stinking rich). Ashley's dad made sure Brad knew that Ashley would be finishing her dental school work whether she ran off with him or not. They were nice, but all I can think about is how loaded Chantal's family is.
Next Brad went to Chico, Calif., to tour Shawntel's funeral home and meet her family. We all get that she's into her work (it's a family business) and that's great, but having Brad lie down on the embalming table to prove he's "comfortable" with her job? Maybe a bit much. Her family seemed nice enough, but they were not loving the fact that Shawntel might not be coming back to Chico to work in the family business, and that was awkward for everyone. Dad even threw a really lowdown guilt trip on her about how she wasn't there for a family friend's funeral while she was off doing the show, but Shawntel stood up to him and told him she loves Brad and if he picks her, she will be leaving.
For his part, Brad didn't seem thrilled about any part of this trip, and I can already feel that Shawntel will be the sad sister at the end of this story.
Finally, Brad gets to Charlotte. First we see Emily meet up with Ricki in the park and they have a really sweet reunion with lots of hugging and kissing. She's a beautiful little girl, but even with it being just Emily and the camera, she's very shy. So it's no surprise that when Brad shows up (nervous as a cat), she's so shy she can barely look at him.
That's just how kids are. I like Ricki far more for her sweet shyness than if she had been precocious and showed off for the camera. You can tell she's probably a really sweet kid. It took her awhile to warm up to Brad, but after a picnic and some kite flying, we got the first flicker of a smile.
Brad then went back to their house and checked out Ricki's playroom and then got whipped by her in a game of Candyland.
Brad told the camera he feels great about the day and about the fact that he could "have a family -- fast." After they put Ricki to bed, Brad and Emily hung out downstairs, but Brad was still so nervous about the little girl being upstairs that he was afraid to kiss Emily. He tells her that he's going to leave and hug her and hope that means as much to her as a kiss, but Emily isn't happy with it. She tells him it's a sweet notion but she wants him to be himself.
"If this thing works out, she'll always be upstairs sleeping," she tells him.
Brad needed to man up and kiss her, but he just couldn't. He said he was worried Ricki was going wake up and come downstairs. "I guess I'm just a weird guy," he said. "No, I just hope that the day comes when you feel comfortable," Emily responds, but she tells the camera that she's very disappointed, even though they had a great day.
"I'm pretty bummed," she said.
But -- good for Emily -- she didn't let Brad escape unkissed.
"Brad Womack is not getting out the front door without kissing me first," she told the camera. "That's for damn sure."
So at the door she hugs him and tells him it's OK to kiss her, and they do kiss goodbye.
"Thank God above she told me not to worry about it," Brad said. "My God, kissing this woman is so perfect."
"This day was perfect," Emily said. "This is definitely the happiest I've been in a long time. Just genuinely happy. I am definitely ready for Brad to change my life forever."
Cut to the rose ceremony in New York, where Brad must say goodbye to one of the women. He gave his first rose to Ashley, and the second rose to Emily. Now it's down to Chantal/Shawntel, and I think we all know what's going to happen here.
Cha-ching! Chantal gets the rose!
Poor Shawntel is upset, but Brad talks to her about how he feels about her but I think it only makes her feel worse. He should just let her go. She's very dignified about it and shows a lot of class. She says several times that she's never been treated so well and that she will miss him.
But at least daddy will be happy that she's staying in Chico.
Previews for next week show the three remaining women in Africa with Brad, but when it comes to the overnight "fantasy suite" date, the clip shows Emily telling Brad that she's a mom and wants to set a good example. Poor Brad -- we all know what that means.
Follow Brooke's recaps of "The Bachelor" and more at the blog Happiness Is a Warm TV.