Welcome! I've got lots of thoughts and comments on The Bachelorette this week, so I'm keeping this introduction very short, and I'm saving some of my thoughts for next week.

But, as usual, I've given you a fairly detailed straight recap of the show, so you can make your own decisions about whether or not you agree with my comments.

Internet Rumors and News

The biggest Internet news this week had nothing to do with this season of the Bachelorette, but, was instead, the official announcement that Meredith and Ian from The Bachelorette 2 have broken their one-year engagement. (Ian proposed to Meredith at the conclusion of The Bachelorette 2, about this time last year.) This news made me (and a lot of other Bachelorette fans) very sad. Watching Meredith and Ian fall in love was what got me hooked on The Bachelorette in the first place. I know it sounds corny, but watching Meredith and Ian fall in love for real (as opposed to a scripted love story) was, for me, a hopeful reminder that true love isn't just a myth, and I was rooting for their continued happiness.

But, as the song goes, "Sometimes love just ain't enough." Meredith and Ian haven't commented on the reason for their breakup, but, since they were engaged for a year, clearly they gave it their best shot.

Unfortunately for the couples involved, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are plotted for maximum drama, not to create an ideal situation for a couple to fall in love and get to know each other well enough to make a thoughtful decision about marriage. Instead, the men and women are isolated from normal life, and the experience is designed to force them into an engagement (or at least a commitment) after knowing each other for a very short time under artificial circumstances. On one hand, The Bachelorette tries to create that most romantic of stories, love at first sight that leads to happily ever after. But, the setup of the show almost guarantees that the opposite will happen. So, in some ways, we should be pleased (and surprised) that the show has resulted in even one marriage (and Byron and Mary from the last season of the Bachelor are still engaged).

Because of Ian and Meredith's breakup, my outlook on this season of The Bachelorette has changed. Despite my hopeless romantic tendencies, I'm going into the last weeks of this season still hoping that Jen finds a man she loves, but also hoping that there is no engagement--that Jen and the man she chooses decide to take some time for "reality" before getting engaged.

Enough heavy stuff....On a lighter note, JokersUpdates has now posted interviews with three of the bachelors—Mike, Stu, and Justin. All of the interviews are good reads, and provide information about the men and about the making of The Bachelorette show that we haven't seen elsewhere....Onto the recap.

Previously on The Bachelorette and Preview of Tonight's Show

As usual, "Previously on The Bachelorette" is mostly the same as last week. However, we do see scenes of the men's basketball game, as well as a brief reminder of Jen's one-on-one dates with John Paul and Fabrice...This includes the less than appetizing replay of Fabrice's kissing technique. Fabrice deserves the new nickname of "Tongue Man" except that he has already gotten far more attention than he deserves, and, unfortunately, gets more screen time tonight....Last, Josh and Keith are sent home with "shattered egos and lost love," leaving Ben, Fabrice, Jerry, John Paul, Ryan, and Wendell as the final six.

"Tonight the men are put to the test and have to pour their hearts out for a date with Jen"....The men are shown writing letters to Jen..."And, in the race for Jen's heart, who will take the opportunity and run with it?"...We see the men racing to the Empire State Building..."And at the rose ceremony, Fabrice comes out with a shocking announcement."...Hmm, interesting choice of words on the producers' part.... However, despite all the hype about Fabrice's announcement, I know that it's too much to hope for that Fabrice will announce his real sexual orientation..."Six men, four roses. Who will she choose? Who will she reject? Find out tonight on "The Bachelorette."

Letters to Jen

Whenever the guys "just happen" to be waiting in the living room, we know that Chris, the messenger boy, uh, host, can't be far behind...Sure enough, out pops Chris to explain the next competition for one-on-one dates, "This time around, there'll be two one-on-one dates and a group date. You are each gonna write Jen a letter, telling her why you'd be the best husband for her. Based on the letter she likes best, she'll decide who gets the one-on-one dates. There is a little catch. You can't sign your name or put in any clue as to who you are in the letters. Basically, she won't know who she chose until you pick her up for the date. Everyone grab a pad and a pen, find a place in the house, wherever you want to go, start writing."...Ben tells us that when he heard what the task was, he was somewhat relieved, because he thinks that the process of writing a letter plays to his strengths...This would have told us, if we didn't know already by his columns in the Aspen Daily News, that Ben is more than a ski instructor/bartender....Wendell says that he started writing quickly so he could kind of "get in a "groove."...Wendell goes on, "I think it s*cks. I can't write down all my feelings in one letter in 20 minutes."...Jerry says that he has a hard time expressing himself.....Still, Jerry can't be too unsure of himself because he goes on to say, "I think that if Jen can read my letter and know that it's from me, then I think I may have a shot at a one-on-one date."....Chris leaves with the finished letters for Jen, and says he'll be back later with a video date invitation.....Hmm, I guess my excitement last week at the lack of the tacky video invitations was premature.

When the video arrives a little later, Wendell is designated to go downstairs to pick it up....Wendell comes into the living room and starts reads the winning letter to the other guys, "Dear Jen. I've been given the task of composing a letter to you, explaining why I would make a great husband."...As soon as Wendell starts reading, Ryan hides his head...Ryan says to the camera, "When Wendell started reading my letter, my first feeling was embarrassment, 'cause he was reading my words to the rest of the house. But ultimately, I was excited, and I felt proud that Jen picked my letter."...Wendell continues to read the letter, "Life is filled with great moments and experiences, and I want to be the one to share those with you. To be sure, there will be rough times as well. However, with the love and commitment we share, we'll overcome life's hurdles and only become closer."...I thought the letter was sweet, even if it isn't going to replace Shakespeare's sonnets....However, Fabrice pronounces the letter "a cliche and impersonal" and goes on to say, "This guy's just so stupid, you know?"....Geez, that's meaningful criticism coming from a guy who told Jen that her father had stolen the stars to make her eyes. And, didn't Fabrice say to Jen last week that Ryan is a really nice guy that she should get to know better?...The men play the video. Jen is wearing a tight tank T-shirt that reads "FDNY"....Jen says in the video, "Hey there! Please join me in meeting some of the city's greatest heroes. It'll be a special day we'll never forget. See you soon!"

Jen and Ryan's Fire Engine Date

Back at Jen's apartment, Jen says, "I'm dying to find out who wrote tonight's letter. All of the letters were really different. Whoever they may be, I'm excited to get to know them even better. The person that I felt wrote the best letter is getting the date with me tonight."...As Jen is saying this, Ryan comes to her apartment and is buzzed upstairs.....Jen: When the elevator door opened and I saw that it was Ryan, I was so excited. I think he's so cute. I don't know him that well, and I just wanted to spend time with him from the beginning....Jen and Ryan walk down the street, with Ryan's arm around Jen, and they look very comfortable together....Ryan asks Jen whether she has already picked out letter number two...Jen answers that she has, but she did pick her favorite letter for the first date.

Jen and Ryan are greeted at the fire station....They put on fire coats and ride in the back of a fire truck surrounded by hoses, as the truck races through the streets with the lights going and sirens wailing....It looks fun, but it also looks windy and cold...Jen gets right to the nitty gritty in talking to Ryan...She asks him, "Do you want to have kids soon, or are you somebody that wants to wait a long time?"...Ryan answers, "I don't want to be, like, a super-old guy. I guess I'm not ready to have them right now, but sooner than later."...I guess this was the right answer because Jen tells the camera, "For a brief moment, I forgot about the fact that I am dating five other men. At this point, it's just Ryan and I, and I couldn't be happier."....Jen tells Ryan, "I'm excited that they let us ride in their fire truck, and I'm happy to be riding with you."...Ryan replies, "I'm happy to be riding with you."...Both Jen and Ryan seemed to mean what they were saying in this last interchange, but didn't say it in romantic tones of voice. Based on other things they said later, I think they found the ride in the fire truck to be bumpy and maybe not as fun they expected, but liked being with each other.

At the men's house, Fabrice has been designated to pick up and read the next letter....He opens it, gets on one knee and starts to read..."Dearest Jen..." and Jerry exclaims, "Oh sh*t."...Jerry tells the camera that as soon as Fabrice started to read, he knew it was his letter. He was excited that he was chosen for the one-on-one date, but at the same time had to prepare himself for the ridicule he was going to get from the other guys.....And, Fabrice plays it for all it's worth, still on one knee, reading the letter to Jerry in a dramatic voice, "I would like to thank you for entering my life at this time because I fear that, in years past I may not have been able to fully appreciate how beautiful you truly are."...Once again, Fabrice the literary critic, has strong opinions, "Jerry's letter is just total cr*p and the worst letter I'd ever seen in my life. And, it wasn't even finished. I had to make up words in the middle. I can't believe that somebody writes something that dumb."...On the invitation video, Jen is in her apartment wearing a fuchsia satin camisole, and says, "Hi, there! I'd like to treat you to a private concert overlooking the city. Put your best foot forward, and I will follow. I can't wait to see you!"...Jerry exclaims, "Oh, my god. I'm a terrible dancer. Somebody teach me tonight."....Wait a minute. Isn't this the guy who's been trying to teach Jen to dance practically every time he sees her?

Next, we are back with Jen and Ryan at Jen's apartment, where the two of them have returned with takeout food after the fire truck ride...Ryan asks Jen, "What was it about my letter that gave me the honor of eating with you and riding on a bumpy fire truck?"....Jen replies, "A couple things. I liked the whole part about romantic partner but yet friendship, which is very important to me. And then I liked 'Make you feel like you're the most beautiful person in the world, because you are,' which I thought was sweet. (And) whatever the last line was – 'That's what I have to offer and maybe more.' That was really sweet, too."...Then Jen gets embarrassed, but she goes on to tell Ryan that she suspected that it was his letter, and she was glad that it was...Then Jen says in a voiceover, "After dinner, I really wasn't ready for Ryan to leave just yet so I thought I'd ask him if he would join me in the hot tub."....Of course, the hot tub "just happens" to be surrounded by lit candles....Jen and Ryan tell each other how comfortable they make each other feel, and share several long kisses.....This wasn't a wild passionate scene. The two of them are sitting next to each other, and Jen has her legs pulled up to her chest...But, when Ryan leans over to kiss Jen he puts his hand under her head—it's very sweet. There is definitely chemistry here...Ryan tells the camera, "I feel great right now. I feel warm and relaxed, and I feel like she's kind of my girl now, in a way."...Jen echoes Ryan's feelings, "Ryan just makes me happy. I feel like I'm smiling every time he's around. And he makes me feel so comfortable, and I'm totally myself with him. I'm really attracted to Ryan at this point. I've always felt a little something for him, but tonight that attraction was definitely in full force."...The two of them kiss goodnight at the elevator and have a hard time saying goodbye, and give one last wave as the elevator closes.

Jen, Jerry, and Jazz

At the bachelor house, Jerry and Fabrice are still kidding each other (with sort of a mean undertone) about Jerry's upcoming date with Jen....Jerry: Hopefully (my date with Jen) isn't as miserable as you said your date was with her...Fabrice: I am not worried....Jerry: I know you're not worried. That makes two of us...Jerry tells the camera that, as bad as his letter was, he thinks Jen had an idea it might be from him and is expecting him tonight...The guys say good-bye to Jerry at the door, and Ryan admits to the camera that it was hard to watch Jerry going out on a date with Jen.

At her apartment, Jen has put on a black, sparkly halter dress...As she gets ready to go, she tells the camera: If the person who wrote this letter is who I think he is, then there's definitely a crush involved. And tonight I'm looking to see if it's just a crush....So, when the elevator doors open and it is Jerry, she is very excited...They take a limo to Jazz at the Lincoln Center where they are to have a private concert and dinner.

Jen and Jerry sit at a table in an empty room....Jerry admits to Jen, "I like you. And I think that's crazy. How is this whole thing supposed to work out where I'm supposed to like you? I've had great expectations in realistic proportions, but I'm intrigued."...Jen replies, "I've been in your position, and I know how it feels. Is it that you like the person or that you just want to have the chance?"....Jerry says, "I am single and available, but I'm not desperate. So there's no reason for me to go through this if I didn't think it was worth it. I'm not gonna go through it if I don't feel something."....But Jerry admits to Jen that he still has some fear that Jen is going through this to correct the first time around...Surprisingly, Jen doesn't get offended, but does stand up for herself, "Oh, like I'm coming back to redeem myself? I mean, that's the reason not to do this, because it's just why do I want to put myself out there again?"...Both Jen and Jerry are nervous...Jerry half kiddingly asks Jen: Are you flirting with me again?...Jen: I am....Jerry: Really? Jen: Yes. Are you flirting with me?...Jerry: I've been flirting with you since the second I saw you....Jen: Am I making you nervous?...Jerry: You make me nervous, too, in a very high-school-crush way....Jen: I like that.

At this point, a curtain comes up to reveal an orchestra and Peter Cincotti at the piano singing and playing....(Note: Apparently I'm the only one in the universe who's never heard of Peter Cincotti.)...One of the most impressive things about the stage is that the back of it is made of glass and has a beautiful view of the lights of Manhattan....Peter Cincotti sings a romantic song about, "Waiting on the moon for you," that seems to set the right romantic atmosphere for Jen and Jerry....We see Jen sit with her head on Jerry's shoulder, and later they share a long kiss and a very slow, close dance, ending with a long kiss....In an interview, Jerry gushes, "The view was great. My company was obviously great. It was the perfect band for the perfect way of capping off the evening, and thanks to them, we had our first full dance. This was the best first date I have ever had ever in my whole life. I hope that this is the last first date that I ever have."

Talk about romantic. Whew! As we know, editing can do a lot, but, this was one romantic evening. Is there chemistry between Jerry and Jen? No question.

The Race to the Empire State Building

The remaining four men—Wendell, Ben, Fabrice, and John Paul—are scheduled to meet Jen at a restaurant in Little Italy where they will learn to make pizzas...Jen admits to the camera that after her one-on-one dates with Jerry and Ryan, the other four men will have a lot to live up to....At the restaurant, Jen calls John Paul and Ben over to help her learn to make pizza, and the three of them put on chef's hats and practice throwing dough in the air.... Ben tells the camera: I think there is a disadvantage in not having had one-on-one time with Jen. But I'm hoping that, as we move forward that maybe something will change....Jen says to JP and Ben that, with the hometown dates coming up, are they afraid to take Jen home?...Ben replies, "I love the prospect of showing you where I live, but it's also very odd. It's very quick."...Jen: Like, "Here's this girl that I've gone on some group dates with and made pizzas with."...Ben: It'll be in many ways, the first time we would actually have to hang out....Ben tells the camera that he's frustrated with the fact that he and Jen haven't had an opportunity to get to know each other and time is running out.

Jen calls Fabrice over to a table so that they can talk for a bit. Although it's Jen doing the inviting, she looks a little scared about the prospect....Fabrice tells the camera: When I sat down with (Jen), I felt I had to let her know that I had serious doubts....Fabrice says to Jen," It started well, but, you were with Jerry yesterday. You were with Ryan the day before. I see them all the time in the house. That freaks me out right now."...Jen reassures Fabrice, "I know that you're apprehensive about this, and I understand. I've been there, too. But I wouldn't necessarily want you to give up on something just because the situation is difficult. I would ask that you would keep an open mind about everything."...Fabrice replies. "I'll see how it goes."...Jen says to the camera, "I cannot for the life of me figure out Fabrice. Every time I talk to him, I see a different side to him. With Fabrice, I don't know what's going to happen, but I can pretty much guarantee it won't be boring."

Jen is sitting at the table eating pizza with the guys when Chris arrives to break up the party...He tells the group, "We're gonna have a little fun tonight. You guys game?"...Chris goes on to say that there will be another individual date tonight. There is a limo outside to take Jen to the Empire State Building, but she will be going by herself, and the men will be racing there....Chris then sends Jen out the door...After Jen is gone, Chris tells the men to empty their wallets and their pockets of all their money. He tells them to do whatever it takes to get to the Empire State Building. At the top of the ESB will be a podium with a bouquet of roses. The first man to the top is to grab the bouquet, and take the flowers to Jen, who will be waiting for him. If the flowers are no longer there, the man has lost....Hmm, hasn't the idea of a race to a destination without money been done before on another TV show? Like The Amazing Race? What's next, giving immunity from being sent home to the first bachelor who can make fire, then swim the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty, and light her torch?

Chris shouts, "Go!" and the men are off...We see JP asking a man for $10 and being refused....Wendell hails a cab and offers the driver a chance to make $300. He tells her to call a number he has written on a piece of paper and tell them that Wendell told them to send a check for $300 to the address...As Wendell sits in the back seat he urges the driver, "Just get there. This is a race. Oh my god, I appreciate it so much."...Meanwhile, Ben also convinces another cab driver to take him to the ESB, telling the driver there is a girl waiting for him there...At first I wondered why any New York City cab driver would be willing to take a guy to the ESB if he had no money. Then, I realized, "Duh. Each of these guys has at least one camera guy with him. This isn't just some random guy on the street."

At the top of the ESB, Jen is waiting outside, looking cold. But, she's excited, "The fact that I'm standing on top of the Empire State Building, waiting for a man who is competing in a race to spend time with me--are you kidding? It's like a movie."...On the street, JP has also grabbed a cab, but we see Fabrice walking along the street at a casual pace. He says, "I opted, rather than running to the Empire State Building, to just walk home. I think that Jen really likes me, and she knows I like her, so there's no reason to play games."

It looks like Wendell and Ben make it to the ESB pretty close to each other, but Ben waits impatiently at the bottom for an elevator that is currently on the 50th floor...Wendell opts to climb the stairs...At the top, Jen is standing outside when an out-of-breath Wendell turns the corner carrying a bouquet of roses...Jen makes sure Wendell is okay, then invites him inside where it's warmer...Jen tells the camera, "I'm not surprised that Wendell won the race. He's very determined, very resourceful, and I knew that if he really wanted to do it and win, he would."...Just as Jen and Wendell are toasting each other, Ben shows up, with a defeated look on his face...Ben tells the camera, "It was hard to leave and know that she was gonna spend the evening with Wendell. I was really holding out hope that it was gonna be me. What would have happened, right?"...A little while later JP shows up, and as soon as he sees Wendell, waves good-bye and walks back down the hall...JP tells the camera, "At the next rose ceremony, I'm gonna talk to Jen and tell her that I tried my hardest in the race, tried to do the best I could, but it was a game of chance, and Wendell came away with the win tonight. But I'll let her know tried my best."...Hmm, JP, maybe you should have offered the cab driver $300.

Wendell tells Jen that he was determined to be first to the top...Jen asks him why he was so determined...Wendell answers, "Cause I like you."...Jen says to the camera, "I think Wendell has the potential to surprise me. He's just like a breath of fresh air. He makes me laugh, he's easy to talk to, and I just enjoy being around him."...Wendell tells Jen, "You have to be completely honest and just open about things. And just so you know, I'm not gonna hide anything."...Jen chuckles, "I'm not really worried about that. You're pretty open."...Wendell: The problem with relationships is you build a foundation on dishonesty, and then it crumbles six months down the road, and it's not fair to anyone involved. I hope that I get a rose, and if I do, I can't wait for you to meet my family, and I know for a fact that they will love you. And you can be 100% confident walking in....Wendell says to the camera, "I think Jen's a great girl. I had such a good time tonight hanging out with her and talking to her, and I just didn't want it to end."...However, from what we saw at least, it doesn't appear that Wendell kissed Jen.

The Cocktail Party

Jen's limo pulls up in front of the men's house. Jen steps out wearing her first really ugly outfit all season. It is a white camisole top with a black striped pattern and a big black bow in front, worn with black slacks....As she walks up to the stairs, she says in a voiceover that how she can't believe that after tonight she's going to be down to four men and she'll be meeting their families, and it's a scary experience....Ryan tells the camera in a voiceover that the remaining men are starting to feel emotionally attached to Jen and they're actually now saying, "One of us could be the guy for Jen."...Jen walks upstairs and greets all the men, and says in a voiceover that she was a little bummed that Fabrice didn't show up at the ESB and surprised that he didn't put in the effort....Jen half-kiddingly asks Fabrice, "Hey, what happened to you last night?"...Fabrice says, "Honestly, I started running, and then this guy (pointing to Wendell) hopped in a cab and it went off...Jen says to the camera, "The fact that Fabrice bowed out of the race last night, it just was another reminder that he really didn't put much effort into this or didn't think this was such a big deal."

Ben tells the camera that he was hoping he'd get some more one-on-one time with Jen, because he didn't want her to think he was disinterested....So, Ben takes Jen alone out to the patio. Ben tells Jen, "I have to say I was kind of disappointed last night that we didn't get an opportunity to spend any significant time."...Jen replies, "And this whole thing has been rough because there are certain people I've spent more time with, and some of it's really out of my control, too. It makes me frustrated as well."...Ben goes on to explain, "For me, I guess, these things take time. I'm very cautious in general. And sadly, I realized last night that the one thing we don't have here is time. And for the very first time in this entire experience, I felt, like, raw emotion. And, then we had this race, right? I, sadly, didn't come in first, but I was running as fast as I could, you know? And I wasn't running for the view, if you know what I mean. And, so I don't want to leave here with any regrets. And, the biggest regret would be not getting to know Jen Schefft."...I thought that was an excellent speech—Ben is the most articulate of the men...Jen was impressed, too, because she told the camera, "Ben was more attractive to me than ever tonight, and I saw him sort of let his guard down. He showed me a little bit of himself, more than he has before, and it made me reevaluate my choices tonight."

Then Jen sits down alone with Jerry...Jerry tells Jen, "I feel like, here I am, I drop you off, and, 'See you at the next rose ceremony.'"...Jen: I know. It's weird....Jerry: I had a great time....Jen: So did I....Jerry: How are your toes? Do I owe you a pedicure? ...Jen assures Jerry that he didn't step on her toes (when they danced)....Jerry tells the camera, "Jen and I had such a wonderful time on our date. I would be totally baffled and blown away if she didn't ask me to come back and see her again. And for me to not receive a rose would mean that I totally read our date wrong."...Then Jen asks Jerry, "In real life, without all this, is this a point, the way you feel about me, would you be bringing me home to meet your family?"....Jerry looks surprised by the question, and asks Jen, "Where did that come from?"...Jen replies, "I want to know. I'm nervous about going to hometowns. And I don't want anyone to feel like they're obligated to take me home because that's what's next."....Jerry says, "It's definitely something that I haven't done in a long time, so I'm gonna be a little bit weird, so bear with me. I just want you to feel comfortable. I want you to, like, have a good time. It's weird. I'm so far removed from home. Like, I don't even--it's just small, quiet small town, USA. If you don't give me a rose tonight, maybe you can swing by upstate New York some other day and I can show you."...Much as Jerry has bugged me sometimes, I give him props for being honest with Jen about his family....Jen tells the camera, "I think I rattled Jerry a little bit by asking him point-blank, 'Do you want to take me home to meet your family?' I think what's scary to me is that that's just what the next step is."....It seems to me that, although Jen never uses these exact words, that she is feeling rushed, that visiting their families seems more serious than her relationship is with the men right now....Across the room, Jerry tells Wendell that he feels like he screwed up in what he said to Jen about his family....Wendell kids Jerry, "You're reading in [Bleep] way too much."

After the conversations, Jen sits down with all the men...Wendell kids, "This is the point where we need to get out of this house. You guys are all great, but it's time for all of us to just kind of go our own way and focus on what's going on."...As if this was his cue, Chris then walks in the room to take Jen away, and walks her down the stairs with his arm over her shoulder.....As Jen walks down the stairs, she says in a voiceover, "I'm just not looking forward to sending two men home, because I know what it feels like to get my heart broken, and it truly makes me sick to my stomach."

The Rose Ceremony

As usual, the men are lined up around the edge of the rug with solemn faces while Jen and Chris walk up the stairs...Chris delivers his standard lines about how there are six men, but only four will have the opportunity to take Jen to their hometown....Then Jen makes her speech, "This next step is one that I take very seriously, and for those of you who do accept a rose, I want you to know how excited I am to go to your home towns and see what makes you who you are. So thank you."

Then, before Jen has a chance to reach for a rose, Fabrice speaks up, "Jen, before you start this, there's something I--there's something I'd like to say."....Note, as Fabrice delivers the following speech, he moves closer and closer to Jen, so that by the end, he is standing in front of her....Fabrice goes on, "I think we all came here looking for love, and you know I'm a very passionate guy. I believe in a woman who makes me dream, who makes me laugh, who makes me cry. But right now, I...I don't feel that there's this kind of passion between us. I don't think it's here. I don't think it's ever gonna be here. So I just want to say that I, um... I... I don't want to marry you, Jen."....At this comment, Jen smiles at Fabrice and says, "That's okay."...Jen doesn't look hurt by Fabrice's confession—actually, she looks relieved....Fabrice goes on, "That's why I feel I should leave now. Uh... I just want to thank you for all the good times and thank you for the moments we had together. I enjoyed it. I wish you the best of luck. I just want you to find love, okay?"...Jen replies, "I want you to, too."...Fabrice and Jen hug, and then Fabrice turns to the guys and says, "So I'll tell you all guys goodbye and I wish you the best of luck."...However, unlike other good-byes between the guys, Fabrice's speech is delivered from across the room, and he doesn't shake hands or hug the guys, just heads down the stairs.

Next we see Fabrice head out the front door with his suitcase. In a voiceover, he says, "At the rose ceremony, it just was obvious to me. I just couldn't go along with that, because I know that Jen's not the right woman for me. I leave the house without Jen, and it makes me feel a little sad 'cause I was coming here, hoping that love will maybe cast a magic spell on me again. I will never regret following my heart."....Let me finish the recap of the rose ceremony, then I'll comment on Fabrice's departure.

Chris walks back to Jen, and says, "Well all right. Jen, still four roses to hand out. When you're ready." (Chris looks as if he'd like to say, "Now that that embarrassment is over...")...As the usual suspenseful music plays, Jen hands out the roses:

-- Ryan
-- Jerry
-- Wendell

Chris reminds the men that it's the final rose tonight:

-- John Paul (who is wearing socks this week)

As Ben says good-bye to the other men, and walks up to say good-bye to Jen, he says in a voiceover, "I came here looking for the possibility of finding love. This is something that takes time, at least for me. And I leave with but one regret--that I never really had the opportunity to get to know who Jen was. I would have liked to have gotten this next rose, but clearly, it's not the way I'm fated to meet the woman of my life."...As they say good-bye, Ben says to Jen, "These moments make us stronger, right?"...Ben's parting word to Jen is, "Take care of these guys."....In a voiceover, Jen sighs and says, "I think Ben is a great guy, but I had no chance to even get to know him. I felt sad to see him go, yet it's something that I can't force. I think it was a good decision on Fabrice's part to step aside tonight. I don't think that there was anything there between us, and I think we both knew that I wasn't giving him a rose tonight."

After Ben walks down the stairs, Jen toasts the remaining men, "Here's to meeting your families."

Like Jen, I smiled when I saw Fabrice finally leave. It was time. However, to give Fabrice due credit, every Bachelor/Bachelorette has had its "designated villain" and Fabrice turned out to be a more complex and interesting person than the villains of previous seasons. That said, however, I've been trying all day to think of witty and thoughtful comments to make about Fabrice, but my brain has run dry, because I think I'm just tired of him. Joker'sUpdates has an upcoming interview with Fabrice, and I will be interested to see if he provides us with any more insight into his sexual preferences and why he came on the show.

As for Ben, I was sorry to see him leave tonight—he (along with Ryan) was one of my two favorite bachelors. But, I wasn't surprised that Ben didn't get a rose. Not getting a one-on-one date pretty much assures that a bachelor won't make it to the hometown dates. And, one thing that became clearer in tonight's show is that Ben tends to be move more cautiously in relationships than the pace of the show, so it was probably just as well that he went home tonight. The pace and the pressure is only going to increase as the bachelors take Jen to meet their parents next week. As I said earlier, I found Ben the most articulate of the bachelors—much more articulate (and probably also more intelligent) than Jen. So, I'm not sure that Ben and Jen (cute) would have made a good match in any case.

Next Week on the Bachelorette

For the past few weeks, the previews at the end of the show have been yawns—mostly repeats of what we had seen before. But, this season, until tonight's show, the producers have shown us almost no preview caps that were obviously from the hometown dates, so almost all these scenes were new...As usual, the producers mixed up a lot of photos from different hometown dates, so it's hard to tell who's who without a close analysis (based on the fact that Jen wears a different outfit to each date)...."Jen travels to the home towns of the final four bachelors."....Among other scenes, we see Jen hugging Jerry and ice skating with Ryan...."This time, the bachelorette has some very awkward visits with her potential in-laws."...We see a scene of a woman (I think she's from Wendell's family) say, "Andrew Firestone–he was one of the ones I didn't like."...."Some of the families have some serious questions for Jen."..."And Jen fires back with some serious questions of her own."....We see Jen on a couch with a young man (apparently a relative of Jerry's) and Jen asks him, "Do you think that he's interested?" And the young man answers, "I can't tell you yes or no."..."Will they accept her with open arms, or will some of the families want to send her packing?"...We see one of Wendell's relatives ask him, "She's been through this before. Is she into you?"..."Will she find true love with one of the bachelors, or will their families be too much to handle?"...."Four men, three roses. Who will stay? Who will go? Find out next week on The Bachelorette....By the way, we are shown scenes of Jen kissing Jerry, Ryan, and JP, but not Wendell. Poor Wendell. Does he lose out on a kiss again?

The outtakes over the credits are the funniest so far this season. Apparently in response to Jerry's request for one of the men to teach him to dance, the other men make up a life size "Jen" doll for Jerry to dance with. Even looking at the pictures, I can't tell exactly what they used to make her, but the resulting "Jen doll" is hilarious. Ben and Fabrice bring her in to Jerry and announce, "Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Jennifer Schefft! Here's your woman," and Jerry tells "Jen" how beautiful she is...The "dancing lessons" begin and Ben collapses on the floor he is laughing so hard...Jerry leans over to kiss "Jen" and one of the men announces, "Game over. Her clothes came off!"...Fabrice then grabs the Jen doll and heads down the stairs as Jerry yells, "Frenchy come back here! She's all I've got!"...The last scene we see is of Fabrice going into one of the downstairs rooms and closing the bedroom door behind he and "Jen."

Spoilers and Speculation

I don't have any new spoilers this week beyond what I talked about in previous recaps. I'm stubbornly sticking with my pick of Ryan as the final guy, despite Jen's strong chemistry with Jerry this week. Of the probable final three (Jerry, Ryan, and JP), I see Ryan as the one who would be best for Jen. I'll talk more about why I think that in next week's recap, when we finally get down to the final three. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to next week's episode to find out what happens that puts Wendell out of the running.

Until then!