The Bachelorette recap: Don't go away mad
The saddest season of The Bachelorette... EVER continues as Andi learns of Dylan's agonizing past and then has an angry farewell fight with Eric.
Connecticut welcomes you, rose lovers! Well, at least it’s a step up from New Jersey. (I kid because I love.) Part two of this week’s “exciting” Bachelorette “event” begins in this “quaint” and “charming” part of New England, where Andi and co. are parking it for few airfare-saving days before heading overseas. The men arrive at Mohegan Sun (oh great, now I have the song from that really annoying commercial stuck in my head), where they pig-pile into the giant tub and raise a toast to Andi. Let’s see how buddy-buddy they’re feeling after the first one-on-one date is revealed…
Dylan! Oh, thank God. The poor guy has a lot to get off his chest. Fortunately today he and Andi have the whole Essex Stream Train to themselves for a scenic journey. Dylan works his way up to the heavy stuff, first with the “What was your longest relationship?” talk (hers: 3 years; his: 8 years) and then easing into the “Why did it end?” talk (Andi: “I would have been settling”; Dylan: “same thing”). All of this gives Dylan a perfect segue into his brother’s death, as his 8-year-relationship ended the day after his brother’s funeral. Sadly, though, Dylan can’t bring himself to “open up” to Andi about everything else that happened with his family; try as he might, the topic of his brother’s death causes Dylan to shut down, and after a brief silence he changes the subject. It doesn’t help that the train ride along the banks of the Connecticut River, a fixture from his childhood, is flooding Dylan with memories of his late sister and brother. Despite his reticence, Andi knows what’s up. “I can sit across from Dylan and feel that he just wants to burst out with this story,” says the Bachelorette. “I think until we…talk about it and I hear it, it’s like we can’t start yet.”
Perhaps a change of scenery to the Essex Clipper Dinner Train will do the trick? And like the prosecuting attorney that she is, Andi wastes no time laying out the facts for her date. “I want to see the real Dylan sooner rather than later,” she tells him, as the date rose taunts him silently from the table. “I figured, one-on-one time, like, I owed it to both of us to try and get past [your] nerves.” You want the truth, Andi? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH. Oh wait, yes you can. As Dylan methodically recounts the sad details of his siblings’ deaths, the Bachelorette focuses on him with that concerned, “I’m really listening” duckface she makes — and remains intensely attentive as Dylan tearfully finishes his story. She even wipes a few tears away herself, because she’s not a robot. “When he said that, you know, being in his hometown made him think about his brother… I just felt bad,” the Bachelorette tells us later, weeping. “Like, did I bring up bad memories for him?” Still, she insists to Dylan that the flower in her hand is not a “pity rose,” so just take it, pal. (And five points to Dylan for his Jim Halpert-like glance into the camera during the post-rose hug.)
NEXT: The Rosebuds serve the Five of Hearts a big bowl of Loser Krispies
So how many takes did you think Team Bachelorette needed to get footage of Andi getting the ball in the basket? It’s group date time at the Mohegan Sun Arena, and the guys are psyched. “This is my game!” gushes Brian, who I forgot until this very second is a high school basketball coach. But then five extremely tall women from the WNBA arrive to help Andi emasculate her dates with a little friendly competition. Jokes Lindsey Harding of the LA Sparks, “I really hope they have more game off the court than they do on the court.” BURN! Once the WNBA players are done embarrassing the guys, Andi tells her suitors that they’re going to break into teams and battle for a nighttime date.
Apparently, though, Team Bachelorette only had enough professional jerseys for one team, The Rosebuds (Nick, Cody, Andrew, Eric, Marquel, and Brian), so the remaining guys (Josh, JJ, Chris, Patrick, and Tasos) have to make due with inside-out jerseys decorated with hearts drawn in sparkly silver puffy paint. (Um, Mr. or Ms. Continuity Supervisor, why do the silver hearts keep appearing and disappearing on the guys’ jerseys?) At halftime, the score is tied at a blistering 6-6, so either each team is only making a basket every eight minutes or the entire game is 12 minutes long. Rosebud teammate Marquel is feeling pretty cocky — “They’re going to go back to the hotel and eat some cereal, or whatever it is that losers eat” — and in the end, his assessment is correct: “We wake up in the morning and we breathe excellence.” That actually doesn’t make much sense, but the bottom line is the Rosebuds win, and Five of Hearts are heading back to the hotel… but not before being subjected to the Rosebud’s muffled cheers through the locker-room walls.
Some of them might not want to celebrate too soon — particularly Eric. “I definitely feel like our relationship is not progressing,” Andi confesses. “That’s something that I need to talk to him about today.” It turns out he has some concerns of his own — primarily that attempting to have a normal date with someone on a reality TV show is (shocker) a lot harder than it looks. “Every one-on-one time we’ve had – it’s so formal,” he complains to Andi. “Even the way that we’re sitting and the way that we’re dressed. This isn’t really me.” Eric hopes they’ll dispense with the “formality” of the situation and get down to real, human-being dates soon enough — which is a lovely sentiment but a total pipe dream. “It worries me that we don’t thrive in [this] setting,” the Bachelorette tells him, adding that she still doesn’t know anything about Eric’s family.
Oh God, Andi, did you have to? I mean, I know there’s no way she could have possibly predicted any of this… but her question prompts another gut-wrenching-in-retrospect answer from Eric about visiting everyone in his family before coming on the show “because I didn’t know how long [before] I was going to see them again.” Oh man, and now he’s talking about how he was raised Mormon but left the church – a hard decision because he thought it also meant “giving up my family.” La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la please cut to another scene Team Bachelorette this is brutal la la la…
NEXT: “There’s no crying in rappelling!”
Oh, thank the Lord for Brian! He grabs Andi next for a little one-on-one time on the basketball court for some flirting on the hardwood. When he sinks the shot from half-court, you can almost see Andi ovulate — but Brian’s too dense to notice how she keeps maneuvering her body to put their faces in prime kissing range. “I am so bad at reading signs!” he tells us later, stating the painfully obvious. “I froze up, I guess.” But Andi’s still all hot and bothered, so she tracks down Nick and pulls him into a make out session on a nearby couch. Still, Brian gets the rose. You know the old saying, Nick: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk behind a pillar in a casino hotel?
The final one-on-one date of the week goes to Marcus, and man, is it way overdue. I mean, I thought we were going to have to wait four whole weeks before Andi forced someone to confront their fears of heights/commitment and take a Leap of FaithTM off a building/into the final frontier of love. So harness up, buddy, and strap that helmet cam onto your head, because come hell, high water, or dangerously strong winds, you two are going to rappel down this building if Mike Fleiss has to climb up 30 flights of stairs and push you off the roof himself. “Any last words?” Marcus asks Andi, who replies with a grim, “F—.”
You know what follows: A lot of terrified yelps and “Oh my gods” from Andi, and plenty of stern “Don’t look down, look at me” and “Trust the ropes” from Marcus. “I’m not gonna freak out,” he explains. “I need to be the man in this relationship and hide my fear.” (Be a Man and Hide Your Fear — if that isn’t a million-dollar t-shirt slogan then I’m just a dumb woman who doesn’t understand business.) I’ve gotta hand it to him, though — his attempts to distract Andi by asking her about her mom (who, we soon learn, plays golf and mahjong and is nicer than her own daughter) seems to work, and soon the Bachelorette is comfortable enough to smooch Marcus while dangling in midair. Fortunately they do it before they lower themselves past the guys, who’ve figured out what Andi and Marcus are doing on their date and taunt them from the other side of the glass. (“There’s no crying in rappelling!” scoffs Brian at Marcus and his watery eyes.)
The “we’re still alive!” celebratory dinner takes place at a homey little restaurant at the Griswold Inn which, unfortunately, does not appear to be owned by the family from National Lampoon’s Vacation. But Marcus can’t enjoy himself until he tosses a napkin over the date rose. You see, the guy hasn’t had a case of the feels since his ex-girlfriend dumped him “out of the blue” three years ago — but now he can’t stop hemorrhaging romantic emotions. Rose, John Pardi, and a premature declaration: “I am falling in love with you,” Marcus yells into Andi’s ear over the twang of John Pardi’s guitar. “It’s the scariest thing in my life right now.”
NEXT: “I came on this to meet a person, not a TV actress”
After receiving a mash note from a “secret admirer” who wrote it from his soft-focus lair somewhere in the hotel, Andi’s in a great mood going into the cocktail party. (Her bedazzled strapless gown looks to be held up by nothing but optimism and a smile.) Marquel, bless him, uses his one-on-one time to teach Andi some UFC-approved self-defense moves, but getting Andi to put him in a “rear naked choke” hold is as close as he gets to a kiss. It’s all fun and games until “E-Money” (aka Eric) interrupts to steal Andi away. He’s feeling defensive about their last conversation, and wants the Bachelorette to know it. “I’ve been really open with you,” he begins. “I feel like you’re not being [the real] Andi with me… I came on this to meet a person, not a TV actress.”
Oh, snap. Now this is going to get all kinds of weird. Normally I’d be bouncing on the sofa and gleefully hooting “Oh no he didn’t!” at the TV. But watching Andi get increasingly upset at Eric for claiming she walks around with a “poker face,” well… it just makes me cringe for her (can you imagine how wretched she’ll feel watching this scene back?) and feel awful for any of Eric’s loved ones who decide to watch tonight’s episode. “Am I comfortable and natural all the time? Not a chance,” fumes Andi. “But do I work my ass off and stay up late so that everyone knows that I’m here for them? Yeah I do. You have no idea how exhausted I am! You have no clue how it is to look at them in the face and send them home!”
Okay, so she’s crying now. I get why Team Bachelorette included this fight — I mean, catching emotional confrontations on film is their raison d’être — but boy do I wish they had trimmed several minutes out of this dust-up. The man is dead — was it really necessary to devote nearly five full minutes to footage of him making Andi cry? (Though, by the way, his concerns seem completely genuine.)
Anyhow, Andi and Eric bid each other a tense goodbye, and then the Bachelorette marches back into the party to spray some rage shrapnel at the rest of the guys. “If any one of y’all thinks that this is a joke to me… you can just say it now and you can walk your ass on out,” she bawls, her voice steadily climbing up several octaves. “Every single day this is real to me.” And with that she storms out, while Team Bachelorette calls Eric a cab. Godspeed, sir.
Fortunately Team Bachelorette also realized that cutting next to the rose ceremony would be, at the very least, tacky, so instead they devote the final segment to Harrison and Andi reminiscing about Eric. “My last conversation with him – it’s not ideally the last conversation I would want to have with somebody,” admits Andi. “That’s a tough pill to swallow.”
Indeed. So, goodbye Eric, and a much-less-significant goodbye to Tasos, who got the boot at the rose ceremony that shall not be shown. And goodbye to you, rose lovers — at least for two weeks, when Andi and her man-harem will be back. If you haven’t collapsed from emotional exhaustion after tonight’s episode, let me know what you thought of how Team Bachelorette handled Eric’s goodbye – and be sure to head over to PopWatch to read Chris Harrison’s exclusive blog about the painful send-off. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to indulge in a good old-fashioned cry.