Welcome back to The Bachelor, which is like The Running Man, but with less clothing, more crying and a greater risk of catching an STD. This week the final four contestants threatened their parents into their best behavior and hid their prettier sisters as Bachelor Ben visited Lindzi, Kacie, Nicki, and Courtney in their hometowns. So what happened:
Deja Vu All Over Again: Ben visited Lindzi at her parents’ home in Ocala, Fla., and, once again, she rode in on a horse. Get a new gimmick, Gypsy Rose Lee! Since Ben doesn’t know how to ride, Lindzi put him in an Amish-style buggy and drove him to a picnic. Over a bottle of wine she finally opened up to Ben. But who cares about her feelings, Ben? Pick her — she may be rich!
Strangest Party Game: Then, Ben and Lindzi rode their buggy to the main house, where Ben encounters her parents, who seem totally fun and carefree. Or at least carefree enough to name their daughter “Lindzi.” To induct Ben into the family, they force him to race buggies and when he loses he had to drag them home in the carriage. He doesn’t hold this against them, but only because they make him s’mores and say he has their blessing to propose to his daughter (and her horse).
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Greatest Greeting: To introduce Ben to her hometown of Clarksville, Tenn., Kacie B. threw him a parade with a marching band and her at the helm, twirling her baton.
Most Obvious Tip-off: After Kacie informed Ben (a winemaker) that her father (a probation officer) doesn’t drink, Ben began to get nervous. (Ben brought her parents a bottle of wine as a gift anyway, because he’s classy.) But when he told Kacie that she shouldn’t be offended if he didn’t kiss her that evening, Kacie giggled that it was a sign of respect, when in fact it was a giant Red Flag of Doom.
Wisest Parents: Ben sat down with Kacie’s dad for a manly heart to heart, in which Kacie’s dad let it be known that he wasn’t really into Ben or the show. But mostly Ben. Kacie’s dad was this close to calling shenanigans on the entire production of The Bachelor, but a producer shot him with a tranq dart before he could get the words out. Then Kacie’s mom told Ben that there would be no living together with her daughter before marriage, which implied NO FANTASY SUITE. Sorry Kacie, Ben is so out of there.
Most Crying by a Non-Contestant: After Ben arrived in Fort Worth, Texas, Nicki’s dad expressed remorse for “giving her away” to her first husband too quickly. But once Nicki assured her father that she really liked Ben, he cried and then gave Ben his approval despite only knowing him for a few hours. Maybe Nicki’s dad can go take lessons on being stern from Kacie’s dad.
Savviest Move: After Nicki’s father gave his blessing, Nicki pulled Ben aside and announced that now she was in love with him, to which Ben responded, “Oh really.” Then they made out on her mom’s bed. As he left, Ben claimed he had “great gut feelings about Nicki,” but that could have just been the Texas food.
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Biggest Surprise: For all of Courtney’s talk about not being sure whether she was ready to bring Ben home to meet her parents, the second Ben arrived in her hometown of Scottsdale, Ariz., she introduced him to the ‘rents. The real surprise though was when Courtney apologized to the camera for treating the other women poorly. Maybe Courtney stores her soul in her parents’ garage next to unstrung tennis rackets and damp copies of Sweet Valley High.
Best Fake Marriage: Courtney really wanted to win this competition. In order to prove her 100% genuine guaranteed feelings for Ben. staged an entire marriage ceremony complete with rings and vows that appear to have been ripped word for word from Sex and the City. Haven’t seen a ceremony this fake since when they pulled the same stunt on The Bachelorette last season.
The Result: Ben’s feelings for Kacie B. weren’t strong enough to risk her the wrath of her father. After getting hugs from Nicki and Lindzi (Courtney was busy eating her hair) Ben bid Kacie farewell with a “Sorry” that was as emotional as a shrug. In the limo, Kacie weeps. “Why am I not good enough? What the f*ck happened?” Oh Kacie, your father happened. You know someone is getting shafted at Christmas this year.
Come back next week when The Bachelor heads to Switzerland to test that nation’s legendary neutrality. You know the whole country is Team NotCourtney.
What did you think of last night’s episode? Let us know in the comments below.