Chris gets climbing
Time for the date, and Emily admits that she's "a little bit nervous" because he's "so cute". Laying her cards out on the table, then! But she explains that she feels "unbelievably comfortable" with Chris. That's all very well, but she won't be comfortable for long... the duo have to climb up the outside of a building before dinner! Chris is alright with this anyway - "She looks unbelievable in a harness." Steady on.
Anyway, Emily's pretty nervous about the climb - especially when some movie-style thunder and lightning kicks in - but she wanted to do the climb to check Chris is a man who'll stay by her side, and he passes the test! To be fair, he's got the thought of a kiss to keep him going... but decides now is not the time when he reaches the top. Instead, he settles for a slightly lame but kind of adorable high five.
Dinner, and Emily's feeling impressed. In fact, she stumbles a little and says she would not talk to Chris if she saw him at a bar. Luckily, she quickly explains that she'd just be too nervous, instead of it just being an insult. But when Chris admits he's only 25, she's a little surprized and thrown. Could this be a dealbreaker? Emily says it's "maybe a red flag" - could Chris deal with Emily's daughter?
Luckily, Chris answers well, explaining that given his life history, he's ready to start a life with someone. Whatever he says, Emily admits that she knows in her heart that she likes him... and she gives him the rose! "No words could describe what I'm feeling right now," Chris admits. But the night's not over - Emily takes Chris to dance to a live performance by Luke Bryan!
Chris thinks this is his time to make a move, and asks Emily if he can kiss her. She apparently gives the typically amazing Maynard response: "Why don't you try and you'll find out", and it turns out this is Chris's lucky day! He describes kissing Emily as the "greatest thing" he's ever experienced (wow!), while Emily says she knows she could fall "head over heels in love" with him. "I hope that I end up madly in love and that it lasts forever," she admits.
Hitting the park
Tony's missing his son really badly, but here's a distraction - a group date! The lucky men being told: "Let's play" by Emily are: Charlie, Alejandro, Stevie, Ryan, Alessandro, Sean, John, Michael, Doug, Jef, Tony and Travis. Tony's determined to focus on Emily and get some one on one time with her... but he might not get that chance!
Emily meets the men at the park, gives them a football and walks off, leaving them all looking like lost puppies. In fact, she goes to meet some of her girlfriends, and tells them that she needs them to interrogate the men (with nothing off limits!) The women seem a little excited about the task, to be honest... while when they hear about it, the men seem terrified.
So they should be - Emily's friends don't hold back with their questioning... or their demands. So before long there are men dancing, exercising and squirming all over the park. Sean, meanwhile, who's been hoping to get some personal time with Emily, impresses her friends. And Wendy in particular - she gushes that he'd be a good superhero as he'd look good in a cape or "some spandex", and then sits on his back as he does topless push-ups. Yikes! In fact, she's very pleased with him: "Sean is like a genetic gift to the world. And then when he talks about his family he's just better looking, if that's possible."
Emily's enjoyed her date, but now she needs to get the gossip, so she sends the guys off to play... with a group of kids! "Some of the guys had so much fun with it," she says, seeing a number of the men going on slides, swinging, or playing tag. But though Ryan is enjoying play time, he also wants some time with Emily, so he crashes girl talk for a chat. That might have been a mistake - things get a little awkward when he hints that he wouldn't be happy if Emily got fat after marriage. He says he'd still love her... just not love on her. You can just see the women's faces drop. Seriously, Ryan. "Not a good move," Emily murmurs later.
Anyway, the women eventually pick out Sean and Doug as the best men for Emily (though Ryan also gets a vote). So it's time for Emily to see for herself - she takes the men to a bar! First up, she finds time to talk with Sean - and they sit holding hands! Sean impresses with his words, too, as he says he's "selective" about the women he dates and is inspired by his father, who's still romantic with his wife after all these years.
Then Emily asks to speak with Doug, explaining that she knows about his life as a dad - what else is there to him? Offering his life story, Doug begins to speak about his father who had epilepsy, his death, and Doug and his sister's time in foster care. It's certainly a moving story... and Emily ends up in tears as Doug flusters: "Gosh, we'll change the subject." But Emily says she's impressed that Doug's not angry despite what he's been through.
Not everyone's so happy - Tony's really finding it hard missing his son. Should he even stay? In his one-on-one time with Emily, he ends up having a little cry as he speaks about it. "Oh sweetheart!" Emily says reassuringly, adding that she knows how hard it is. She reminds him that he needs to remember it could be worth it in the end. In private, she says he's "such a great guy" and has a lot of things she wants... but it breaks her heart to see him so upset!
Tony has a little time with fellow dad Doug, who offers some genuinely lovely reassuring words. But Tony's still upset, and calling his son from an alley by the bar doesn't help - he ends up doing some serious crying. Emily comes to see him and eventually makes a decision - if she knew for sure that she could end up with Tony, she'd keep him around. But she can't lead him on when his son is at home. It's time for Tony to go home!
"I have no doubt you are going to make a wonderful husband to one lucky lady one day, and Taylor is really lucky to have you," she says, as Tony gets into a limo. She admits that the decision wasn't easy, because she doesn't want to hurt anyone, but Tony doesn't have any hard feelings. "I respect Emily," he says. He says it's "bittersweet"... but he can't wait to get home to his son.
So Emily goes to tell the other men about Tony's departure, and adds that she wants them all to feel like she's open and they can speak with her. But down to business - who's going to get the rose? It's Sean! "You backed up everything you've been saying since day one," she explains. Sean is thrilled, and also "anxious to see what lies ahead and anxious to get to know her a lot better". Ryan's less happy, but he feels like he's going to be around for a long time - things are building with him and Emily, apparently...
Dollywood and, um, Dolly
Arie's the next lucky guy to get a one-on-one date with Emily, much to Kalon's annoyance: "It's a human nature to get a little jealous," he huffs. Arie's excited, anyway, and trying not to think too much about the rose. But Chris isn't worried - he doesn't think anyone can have the same connection he has with Emily. We'll see...
Arie and Emily fly via private jet to Tennessee (that's already exciting enough for Arie!) In fact, Emily takes him to Dollywood - she used to go as a kid, and Dolly Parton's her "icon". There's fun as they win a toy for Ricki and go on a rollercoaster (which terrifies Emily - she scrunches up her eyes adorably). It's going well, though; Emily admits that Dollywood is out of Arie's comfort zone but he's being a "great sport" - "I think he might have a little country in him."
There's more to come, though - Emily and Arie begin writing a love song in the theater, when who should show up but the amazing Dolly Parton herself? Emily has never looked more likeable as her face goes into stunned-mode - she's properly thrilled. (As a side note, I love how Dolly's all: 'Who would have thought I'd be here? In Dollywood?') Anyway, Dolly sings Arie and Emily a song she'd written for them and then spends some girl time with Emily on her own.
"I could die," Emily gasps. "This is, like, the best moment in my life." Dolly offers her some love advice, and Emily tears up a lot! But it's soon for Dolly to say goodbye again, so she finishes with a performance of 'From Here To The Moon and Back' for Emily and Arie. If anything, I feel a little sorry for Arie, who's been totally upstaged on his date - Emily can't stop looking at Dolly when she's dancing with him! Still, Arie looks happy enough - and he does get to kiss Emily on the head.
At dinner later, Emily decides that she needs to find out whether she's compatible with Arie in "life and fundamental issues" (yes, we're getting heavy). But Arie's ready - he reveals that he actually dated a girl with two kids and got really close with them. In fact, they broke up because his ex didn't want more kids, and he did. Arie also asks Emily questions, about Brad, and about whether she'd be OK with his busy racing schedule.
There's still a rose staring at them, so Emily picks it up - and does a big fakeout, hinting that she'll be sending Arie home! But she can't look at the way his face has dropped and go through with it, so she apologises and hands it over quickly. "Bless your heart," she adds. Anyway, Arie at least gets the rose and suggests that this could "symbolize the start of something great". Then it's time for a ride on a carousel... and a little bit of kissing!
"I never thought in a million years I'd have the feelings I have this early," Emily says later. Plus, Arie reminds her of Ricki's dad - "That's really cool, because that's like the best relationship I ever had in my entire life. And it's scary." She adds: "Guys like Arie are really, really hard to find... I don't want to screw it up." Goodness!
The Cocktail Party
All the guys are feeling a little nervous about today's cocktail party, but here's Emily! She admits to the men she's started to develop a couple of crushes... but first, she wants to speak with Kalon. It starts off okay, with Kalon praising Emily for her handling of the Tony situation. But things take a turn for the worse when Emily asks about kids!
Kalon says he always imagined having his own kid first - which is fine, but when Emily interjects, he says: "I love it when you talk but I wish you'd let me finish." Ouch. Emily's face is absolutely brilliant though, and later she declares: "I like tall, skinny and funny. I don't like tall, skinny and condescending." I love how steely she is - Kalon, consider yourself on thin ice.
There's time to say a quick goodbye to Travis's weird egg (after speaking with Emily's friends, he figures it's time to smash it... and he lets Emily do the honors. I mean, he'd called it Shelly. Really.) Then Emily gets a chance to speak with Alessandro, but let's just say it's not the perfect date. Once again, kids are the sticking point - he says he thinks taking on caring for Ricki would be a "compromise". Oh my!
I thought it might be a language barrier, and apparently so does Emily - she asks just that. But Alessandro insists he knows what he's saying. "That makes me slightly more comfortable," Emily replies. "And slightly a lot more uncomfortable." She is not impressed - she says looking after Ricki should be an "honour" and the "biggest bonus ever". She ends up saying it's "one of the most bizarre conversations" she's had... And she doesn't even wait for the rose ceremony before sending him home!
Later, we also get to see Alessandro's chat with Emily's friends, where he calls himself a "gypsy king" who "can't even have a pet", reveals a former relationship with his third cousin, and admits to infidelity and a one-night stand. Yeah... he had a tough time ("He's not my first choice," Wendy says, brilliantly.) But he's "totally shocked" that Emily sent him home. He admits that his life as a gypsy king gives him a lot of freedom... but he was willing to "take a huge change" in his lifestyle. "It sucks," he sighs.
Emily's not happy either, describing Alessandro's comments as "disrespectful". And now she's starting to question who's there for the right reasons - "What I'm dying to do in my gut is just run away." But adorable Arie is there to reassure and comfort her, reminding her of their good date and then having some kisses with her (to the annoyance of the other men who are spying on them). But Emily's feeling happier - "It's great to know at least one guy is here for me." Plus, Arie makes her feel "special"!
Sean also makes time to sit with Emily, and reassure her that he's open to being a father. He says his father has shown him how to be a good dad, and now he's ready to "be the greatest father in the world". He adds that he doesn't want to get ahead of himself... but if he did marry Emily, he would consider Ricki his child "no doubt about it". Unsurprisingly, this is exactly what Emily needed to hear - she says Sean has "such a kind heart" and he can't thank him enough for being "so sweet". And she rewards Sean with a kiss!
The Rose Ceremony
So two men have already been sent home - Tony and Alessandro - and three are safe (Chris, Arie and Sean). But it's time for the rose ceremony! Emily tells them all that she knows the man she's supposed to be with for the rest of her life is among them and thanks them. Here we go...
Emily tells all the men that she takes this seriously - you know, if she didn't think it would work, she'd be at home in bed with her daughter! The lucky guy to get the first rose? It's Jef! He's followed by Charlie, Doug, Michael, Travis, Alejandro, Ryan, John and Kalon. The last rose... it goes to Nate! That means we'll be saying goodbye to Stevie (which seems to please Kalon...)
"It sucked," Stevie says. "It hurts. I saw something in her that I thought was great and I wanted to pursue. She obviously saw more in those guys than she did in me. I would love to fall in love, simple as that - it sucks."
So Emily has her men for the next week, and tells them she has a "fun week of dates planned". But it seems that there might be more drama to come - Ryan's not happy that he saw Arie and Emily kissing! "I know how to compete, so Arie's in trouble," he vows. "I'm going to make it interesting, I promise you." We'll see...
The Bachelorette airs Mondays on ABC.