by Crissi Dillon

Date week with the girls proved to put Ben in the hot seat – a situation he hasn’t seen himself in since last season’s Bachelorette. But here he was, about to meet the families of the girls who made it to the final 4.

See photos from the dates

Lindzi’s date with Ben had him realizing his feelings for her were stronger than he initially realized. They shared a horse and buggy race in the field before Ben finally sat down with Lindzi’s father to discuss the marriage that might possibly by in the not-so-distant future. However, Ben seemed to appear frustrated with Lindzi’s father throughout a mildly tense conversation. Her father explained that Lindzi is his only daughter, and that it’s his hope that Ben and Lindzi get a chance to know each other better before walking down the aisle. Interestingly enough, he never did give Ben a straight answer as Ben asked him for permission to possibly marry his daughter. Most interesting in this part of the episode? The cool glasses Lindzi’s family used. Be prepared to see Mason jar goblets making an appearance on dinner tables across America.

Next was Kacie, (formerly known as Kacie B). I don’t care how cute and adorable you are, starting out a hometown date with a marching band and a baton seemed a little….high school. Ben seemed caught in the headlights as Kacie twirled and tossed her baton before finally running at him and jumping on him. But it was nothing like the awkwardness that ensued when he finally met her family, particularly her father who doesn’t drink. Ben, a winemaker, found this interesting since his “business is booze”. He gets it from both parents as Mom tells him that moving in before marriage is a huge no-no, and Dad is adamant that these two crazy kids get to know each other before making huge decisions. In fact, Dad tells Kacie that he would say “no” if Ben asked for her hand in marriage. He also makes a request of Ben: “If Kacie isn’t the one, I would hope that would be communicated soon to keep her from getting hurt more.” Apparently, these bible-belt parents aren’t so thrilled that their daughter is falling in love with a guy who is schmoozing 3 other women. Weird, right?

Nicki pulled a City Slickers move and had big city Ben shop for boots, a hat, and a southern drawl before settling down with beers at the bar. “Finding the right boot is like finding the right partner,” she explained. “You have to find the right fit.” For the first time, we get to see the real Nicki peek out as she talked about her divorce, fears, and hopes. And while her parents were both concerned about the hurt their daughter might go through in the wake of healing from her divorce, they both give their blessing and seem to genuinely like Ben.

Courtney. Oh, Courtney. Where do I start? First off, Courtney’s human side is briefly revealed when she realizes she hasn’t been very nice to the other girls. However, it disappears completely when her revelation is more in line with how it’s jeopardizing her relationship with Ben, and less about just being a decent person. But she does admit that it would bother her is she ended up with someone who rubbed people the wrong way. Meeting the family was almost comical. Puppy dog Ben sits down next to Courtney where she and the family talk about him as if he weren’t even there. Courtney gushes about how smart and funny he is while Ben speaks only when spoken to. He’s pretty silent for dinner. Courtney’s mother even questions her decision-making in front of Ben, not completely sold on the idea. Dad, however, seems especially eager to be getting rid of his daughter. He tells Ben that marriage is a gamble, starting out the conversation in a serious tone. But moments later he discusses future grandchildren.

The next part is where Courtney showers him with creepiness. An altar (an idea not-so-secretly taken from Ashley’s season), stands in the background as they share a quiet moment away from the family. Suddenly they’re writing their vows and standing in front of a minister in a mock wedding where they exchange makeshift rings. Ben recites admittedly beautiful vows easily and effortlessly to Courtney. Courtney, in return, shares hers with nervousness and hesitation.

“I am looking for love. Real love. Passionate, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.”

Wait. Haven’t we heard those vows before? Oh right. Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City: “I am someone who is looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other-love.”

In the end, she tells him that she loves him. And the whole wedding scene leaves us to wonder, is she crazy, or brilliant?

Think about it. The girl has just had him envision what it will be like to go through a wedding ceremony with her. Weeks earlier, she planted another vision in his head when they went skinny dipping. The girl has been calculating her moves meticulously in efforts to plant memories and thoughts in his head that are hard to ignore.

The girl is a mad scientist.

It was unsurprising when Kacie was given the boot at the rose ceremony. Between her parent’s reservations, her mother’s no-shacking-up rule, and her father’s vendetta against booze, the poor girl didn’t stand a chance.

Next Bachelorette: Emily Maynard

Next up is Switzerland. Courtney’s evil side is coming to bite her in the….. And a surprise guest shows up on Ben’s doorstep. Our sources reveal that it’s one of the contestants that Ben has broken up with this season, there to try and help him dodge a bullet.

Also revealed is the next Bachelorette, Emily Maynard, and a teaser about who her first date is with. However, don’t get too excited. This misleading tease is actually referencing her “date” with former Bachelorettes Ali Fedotowsky and Ashley Hebert.

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