This episode determines the hometown dates—you know, the ones where Andi gets shepherded around her suitor’s neighborhood and meets the friends and family who have been coached about what to say to her. But before we can get to all the manufactured drama of that fan-favorite episode, we must endure the tension of this week, in Brussels.
Marcus gets the first one-on-one date, and his prior admission that he was contemplating leaving the show because he was too scared of the process is discussed ad nauseam. “I’ve been writing in my journal about it,” he tells Andi. The consensus? He’s ready to stay and fight for her affections because he’s madly in love with her. Marcus also tells Andi about his rather dysfunctional family dynamics—his dad split a while ago and his mom freely admits that she was not the best mother. Personally, I think being honest about familial flaws before said family is trotted out to meet the blushing Bachelorette is the way to go, and Andi seems to agree. “I’m excited to meet his family,” she tells the camera.
Back at the hotel, Josh gets the next one-on-one date card. As he gloats unbecomingly, Nick looks on moodily. He decides that he’ll have none of this, thank you very much, and he slinks to the hotel’s lobby to ask the clerk to remind him of the room number where his wife is staying. “Her name is Andi Dorfman,” he says, holding back a laugh. This is the worst acting I’ve seen since Tara Reid in… anything, actually, but because this drama is staged just like everything else on the show, the clerk tells him where Andi is staying. Nick surprises her in her room—no fluffy hotel robe and matching turban here, as she’s still dolled up from her evening with Marcus—and proceeds to whisk her away for a romantic nighttime stroll and make-out session.
The next day brings a one-on-one date with Josh, in Ghent. For all his protestations that he’s no typical athlete, Josh has a lot of trouble expressing his feelings. Andi badgers her witness until he admits, “I’m falling in love with you,” but who’s to say whether it was a genuine expression of true love or simply a coerced confession? I’ll let you be the judge of that one.
Then, on to the group date—the only one in this episode with a rose at stake. The guys are understandably competitive, though both Nick and his upturned nose are above such pettiness. Andi takes the guys to the Maredsous Monastery, where, weirdly enough there is a pottery room. She and Chris do their best Ghost reenactment (just the pot-throwing part, not the murder or psychic parts), but alas, it’s not enough to get him the rose. As he snootily predicted earlier in the show, Nick is the one to get the rose and secure a hometown date, as well as some one-on-one time with Andi while the other guys are sent home. When he waltzes back to the hotel, even I could feel the frost radiating from the rest of the guys, who greet him with stony silence. Farmer Chris, appropriately, is the first one to lay down the metaphorical pitchfork and confront Nick about his subliminally sleazy ways. Nick remains undeterred.
The guys jostle for Andi’s attention at the cocktail party, which culminates in a desperate Hail Mary pass by Chris when he pulls Andi out of the room for a long kiss right before the rose ceremony. “You go, Farmer Chris,” marvels Andi, looking a little dazed. Chris gets a rose, but not before Marcus and Josh do. And we know Nick already has one.
Next week: the gang finds out about Eric Hill’s fatal accident amid the hometown dates. I’ve got no snark for you there.
Catch up on all the Bachelorette re-caps here.
Image: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/ABC