Props to Beth, and French fries for all.
Meredith stands stoop-shouldered and thoughtful in her bedroom at the manse, wondering why Heloise never added a chapter about folding an elaborate series of scarves and shawls that could have gotten her packed and us out on these home dates two weeks ago, wrapping up this season before the snow melted, the summer came, and Trista and Ryan's divorce was announced, enacted, and finalized. Oh, and televised.
"This week, I'm traveling to four hometowns," Meredith tells us, the budgetary constraints of Next Entertainment (and its parent company Burning Hellish Inferno LLC) laid bare in the locations we're traveling to, two of which are in New York and two of which are in Texas. And even though the dates are portrayed as taking place in an order that bookends Texas (oh, look! A sentence with "Texas" and "book" in it! Never seen that before) with two New York dates as their creamy nougat center, I'm hard-pressed to believe that they didn't just sequester Meredith, the poor dear, in God's Country for the length of two hometown dates. Poor, destitute Bachelor franchise. Where fate brings two people together in the most unlikely circumstance possible...as long as those two people are able to be serviced by Song Airlines.
As we're "treated" to shots of each of the guys pulling a bag out of his bedroom, Meredith spells out her itinerary, leaving out the unfortunate "I can't get there direct, I have to change in Atlanta" that I'm sure falls somewhere in the middle of this jet-setting dossier: "First, Houston to see Matthew. Then Buffalo to visit Chad's family; on to New York to meet Ian; and finally Dallas for Lanny." Man. If only there were some cut-and-dried, producer-enabled, Bachelorette-ready soundbites illustrated by an overactive inner monologue to let us know how our heroine is faring in all this. Hey, wait! Don't touch that cue card...here's one now! "I'm hoping to find some answers. Especially how these men act with their families, and who's going to open up to me. Because I'm going to open up even more than I ever have." If I didn't know Meredith to be the stoic, expression-free ice princess she's admitted being, I'd think she was talking about hot sex. But she's not. Because she is water dipped in Kelvin.
A plane we're supposed to believe someone we know is on takes flight in the blue, stock-footage sky, and touches down in the middle of a main highway. We're at "Exit 36," also known as the "City of South Houston." And such a pity no one thinks to call it "Soho." Though if they did, I'd probably be all, "And do you know what people from South Houston call the city? They call it 'Soho.' Oh, it makes me want to laugh in a condescending urban fashion! Maw haw haw haw. Anyone want to go to the Angelika? Me neither! That place is so The Piano, circa 1993. Anyway, gotta go. See you at Pastis for dinner at 11! Don't be late, they won't hold the reservation. Kiss on one cheek! Then on the other! By-eeee!" But anyway, that'd just be me.