We’re in Brussels, and Andi is selling how great the city is so hard that one wonders whether Belgium is in contention to receive a rose tonight or if the Belgium Director of Tourism is just outside of frame holding a baseball bat. This is the last week before hometowns, and things are (as always) getting real.
Harrison greets the guys in his “I’m not a regular host, I’m a cool host” casual cool blazer and v-neck outfit. Meanwhile, half the men are wearing matching scarves while the other half are in the slight variations of the same hoodie. Guys, it’s hard enough to tell you apart, can you at least wear unique ensembles? Nick got the memo, because he’s the only a-hole wearing a skin tight leather jacket. Dude, you gotta stop buying your outerwear at Limited Too.
Harrison tells the guys that there will be two one-on-one dates and one group date, and the only pre-ceremony rose will be given out during the group date. Marcus, despite wearing perhaps the most offensive of the hybrid plaid/tie-dye scarves, gets the first solo date.
Today’s date is all about making sure Marcus is there for the right reasons, since at one point he mentioned that being on a television show where you compete for someone’s love is just A TINY BIT WEIRD. Marcus and Andi sit down for some mussels, and Marcus references his journal. Oh god, there’s nothing I love more than a serious talk about journaling. Marcus tells Andi that he’s been writing about his feelings for her, and once again tells her that he’s in love with her so it’s balls to the wall from here on out.
At dinner later, Marcus gives the low down on his family, including the fact that his father walked out at a young age. “That’s not your fault,” Andi says, fixing years of abandonment issues, I’m sure. Marcus continues to talk about his family, and how his mom was tough to grow up with, referencing some abuse. Yikes. The tension with his mom was especially difficult in his “early 20s” which, if I’m not mistaken, was like last year. Andi says that she knows more about Marcus than she does most people in her life, which makes me really sad for the state of Andi’s friendships. There’s no rose on this date, but given how many times Marcus has dropped the L bomb and how many times his tongue was in Andi’s mouth, I think we all know he’s making it through.
Back at the hotel, the next date card arrives for Josh. After Marcus makes it back to the hotel, Nick decides to take matters into his own hands, and go sneak into Andi’s room. He goes to the front desk, manned by a lovely young woman who does not do a very good job pretending that this “I need a key to my wife’s hotel room” thing wasn’t vetted by producers. After some initial confusion over whether Nick was there to drop an emotional bomb, the two go for a walk so that Nick can act nervous and love-y and try to lock up the group date rose before the date starts. Andi is loving every minute of this, especially when Nick pushes her up against a tree to hardcore mack on her.
The next day, Andi has hopefully washed Nick’s saliva off of her and is ready for her date with Josh. They wander around the city as Andi explains in confessional that she NEEDS Josh to open up about his feelings for her, since he hasn’t dropped an L bomb yet and she is getting antsy.
Later, Andi and Josh are having dinner in some sort of castle, where Andi can hopefully bully Josh into telling her he loves her. Since Nick and Marcus are both dropping L bombs like they are going out of style, Andi needs to know that Josh is ready to marry her. The thing that makes this so predictable is that because Josh is going to be the last one to say it, it’s going to feel bigger and more important, somehow, and that’s going to propel him right into the front lines.
Andi pretends that she cares about Josh’s family, but only long enough to get to the real question: when his family asks him how he feels about her, what’s he going to say? He hedges for a moment before finally saying those magical words. He is falling in love with her. Not Marcus level “I’M IN LOVE AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT!” but it’s enough for Andi to nearly jump off the couch with excitement. Hey, Andi? Let’s work on that poker face, girlfriend. They furiously make out in a number of locations before finding a semi-private concert, where they harsh everyone’s buzz by making out even more.
Chris, Nick, Brian and Dylan are joining Andi to check out some sacred ruins and vie for the first group date rose. Nick is certain that it’s his to lose, and spends some time shitting all over all the other dudes in his confessional. Ugh, Nick. Why you gotta be like this? Andi takes Chris aside first, playing Ghost in a pottery barn and making out a little. When they get back to the group, Andi tells them that once she hands out the rose, the rest of the guys will leave and she’ll spend the rest of the evening with the winner.
Dylan gets about 3 seconds of screen time in this date, so you know he’s doomed. I mean, let’s be honest. The only thing that anyone is going to remember about Dylan is that he doesn’t wash his hands after he uses the bathroom. Sweet, sweet Brian tells Andi that he’s falling in love with her, and she smiles in the same way one might smile at a kid who doesn’t realize that he has chocolate all over his face.
Nick, who has quickly become an arrogant nightmare , antagonizes all the guys by talking extensively about how this rose means so much, and how he’s PRETTY confident. Man, his editing has taken a TURN this episode. I feel pretty confident that he’s been this weirdly competitive and cocky in all his interviews, but now that the winds are blowing Joshward, we’re seeing what Andi hasn’t been privy to thus far. If by some chance he does end up taking this thing, he’s going to have some ugliness to explain to his bride to be.
Unsurprisingly given his midnight tryst, Nick gets the rose. The guys are furious, and return home to explain the situation to Josh and Marcus. This leads to a super interesting conversation, where Josh mentions that Nick knows every season of this show top to bottom (LOL same) and that he’s strategized every move accordingly. Then Marcus says that he thinks he’ll make it to the top two and leave, because he wants to be The Bachelor. OMG Marcus is going to look like such a baller if that’s true.
Nick returns to the hotel and refuses to take off his terrible scarf and his terrible jacket because Nick LOVES ill advised outerwear. After a few moments of truly delightful awkward silence, the guys all launch into their attacks, calling out his gameplay and strategy. Nick, to his credit, remains infuriatingly calm, protected by layers and layers of bad fashion choices.
Andi’s wearing another super heavy, mirror covered dress that is truly offensive to look at. Josh is first to get some time, but the audience and the editors know that he’ll be safe, so we don’t waste much time there. Chris tells her about Iowa, not so subtly hinting that he would be unwilling to move if they end up together, but also that he’s falling in love with her. Dylan uses his time to desperately say that he could see himself proposing in three weeks, which causes Andi to look like she could blow chunks at any moment. Brian gets about two words in before Nick interrupts to pull Andi aside for more kisses.
The rose ceremony is about to begin, but Chris grabs her for one last conversation. Nick looks like he’s going to be sick, but Chris just wants to steal a kiss, not to shit on his frenemy.
So! Who’s getting roses? Unsurprisingly, Josh, Marcus and Chris are the other three getting the hometowns. Dylan and Brian both cry in their interviews, and it’s kind of sad until you remember that Dylan admitted that he doesn’t wash his hands on national television and then you laugh and laugh and laugh.
Next week! Hometowns!