UGH, hometowns. Based on the “tonight on The Bachelorette,” this is about to be really exhausting. Andi, unlike me, is full of optimism as she talks about how incredible all four guys are, and how excited she is for this next step.
Nick is up first, and he’s brought Andi to the Milwaukee Public Market, his “most favorite place in the city.” OH for fuck’s sake. Most favorite? Seriously? They shop around and then go to a brewery, and this actually seems like a pretty fun date, but I’m not forgiving Nick for adding a qualifier to an absolute.
Nick brings Andi to his parents’ house, where she meets his mom, dad, sister, sister’s fiance, other sister, other sister’s boyfriend, yet another sister, brother, brother’s wife, another brother, another two sisters and a very cute dog. Missing from this brood is another brother, because Nick’s mom has a uterus that cannot be stopped.
One of the sisters, let’s not even try to figure out which, pulls Nick aside first. He confirms that he loves Andi, and reassures sister 1 that he knows he can be himself with her. The fact that she felt the need to ask this question reinforces my belief that Nick might be kind of a nightmare. When she asks if Andi makes him laugh, he replies, “she just makes me smile,” hahahaha Andi sucks at jokes.
That same sister then goes to Andi, and the two have a pretty boring conversation. Suffice it to say that if you were taking a drink every time someone said the word “vulnerable,” you’d be having way more fun than the viewing public.
Nick’s littlest sister is up next, and she is very cute and whips out some pre written questions, including “do you truly love Nick.” Throughout this fun-sized interrogation, Andi throws around a lot of BS about their mental connection and how she great she thinks Nick is. Later, the little sister tells Nick that Andi said that she loved him… or maybe liked him, who can really be sure? Oh, BELLA! You little pot stirrer! You were made for reality television!
Nick’s mom looks so sad as Nick gushes about how much he loves Andi, saying that he feels like she’s a part of him that has been missing. Through tears, she says she hopes he’s prepared to get sent home. Nick puts on the half smile that he always wears when he’s about to be annoying and tells his mom “I think I’m her favorite.”
Next up, Andi is visiting Chris in Arlington, Iowa, a town with a population of 758. He describes his town as “pretty simple,” and hopes that Andi’s on board since he’s not looking to move any time soon. Andi lies in her interview that she’s open to Iowa.
Andi is shokced to see Chris’s big house that he doesn’t share with anyone. The rest of the day may as well be a montage from The Simple Life, as Andi oohs and ahhs over Chris’s ability to operate heavy machinery and wear a quilted vest.
Once they settle in for a picnic, Andi asks what kind of work she could do in Arlington, since Chris is obvi not leaving. He jokingly says that being a homemaker is always an option (thanks for the fake out, promo), but then says that there are enough people in the town that they could figure something out. Well, based on Chris’s checkered past, it sounds like there’s plenty of criminal activity in Arlington. Maybe she could just be on retainer to represent him? Andi assures Chris that she’s not as much of a city girl as she looks like since her family has a lake house somewhere (sure, that counts) and then Chris has someone fly a plane with a banner saying “Chris loves Andi!” streaming from the back.
Later on, Andi meets Chris’s dad, mom, and three sisters and their husbands. Chris’s family is really nice, and his sisters spend their time with Andi talking about how great their brother is, rather than grilling Andi, which is refreshing and how most people would act when meeting a potential significant other of a family member.
Chris and his mom sit down for a chat, and when he brings up the concern about Andi moving to Iowa, she reminds him that she was once a city girl herself. His mom talks about all the opportunities that exist and how she’s proof that you can be fulfilled in a small town. Misleading promos aside, I am happy to report that not one person in this family seems to believe that Andi would be down to be a housewife, and that her finding professional satisfaction (whether that’s as a lawyer or a contestant on Dancing With The Stars) seems to be at the top of everyone’s mind.
Chris’s mom then sits down with Andi, and almost immediately talks about how good looking Andi and Chris’s baby would be. She’s not wrong. Mom lays it on thick, telling Andi that she already loves her and regaling her with tales of an idealistic place where one can have both a career and a family and the sun is always shining and the birds are always singing and money grows on trees and that place is Arlington, Iowa.
After dinner and some drinks, the family goes out to play some sort of hide and seek game out in the fields, because this is apparently a thing that they regularly do after a dinner party. Well, I don’t know about Andi, but I’m sold on Iowa.
Next, Andi has traveled to Josh’s hometown of Tampa, FL. To kick things off, Josh is taking Andi to a baseball field, because heaven forbid we go one minute without remembering that JOSH IS AN ATHLETE, DAMMIT.
After Andi hits the ball a few times, she and Josh sit down so that he can pretend that his baseball career was much more impressive than it was. He talks about walking away from baseball so that he could be there for his brother. SO HONORABLE! Couldn’t possibly be that after five years of playing on a farm team for the Brewers and never getting pulled up it was just time to move on? Anyway, the brother is trying to get drafted into the NFL, and Andi does not seem pleased about the possibility of entering into a family where she might not be the center of attention.
At the house, we meet Josh’s mom, dad, sister and brother. Andi definitely looks like she could be another sibling in this family, just saying. Oh, also, there’s a really awesome dog named Sable who Josh adores and that makes me like him more.
At dinner, after a very nice toast welcoming Andi, Josh’s brother starts to tell him about all the meetings that have been happening leading into the draft. Andi’s annoyed that no one is fawning over her. Because, you know, how dare this family catch up on massive events that have happened since their son has been barricaded away on a reality tv island. Jesus, Andi.
Throughout the conversations with Josh’s mom and dad, Andi realizes that part of being with Josh would mean spending a lot of time watching Aaron’s football games. Well, yeah. She brings up this concern with all parties except Josh, because that’s a productive start to a relationship.
Josh and his mom talk, and she quickly says how in love he seems. He tears up as she tells him that after so many years of putting himself last, she’s glad to see him going after something that makes him happy. She interviews that she knows that Josh is ready to make his wife a priority. Tell that to Andi, lady.
Finally, Andi talks to the brother, and he talks about how exciting it is that Josh is starting his life, and this is apparently enough for Andi to believe that he’ll make a good husband. Again, really glad that this whole conflict and resolution happened without EVER speaking to Josh about it. Fairy tales!
Finally, we’re in Dallas for Marcus’s turn. For the first time, Andi admits in interview that she’s not quite sure that she can catch up to Marcus’s feelings, since he started saying he was in love with her after knowing her for approximately two minutes.
Marcus picks Andi up and takes her to… a strip club… so that he can strip for her. Because of their first date? Remember? So romantic! Luckily, Andi is all about it, saying how hot she thinks Marcus is about a thousand times. This relationship is simple: Marcus loves Andi, Andi loves Marcus’s body. How could that ever go wrong?
That night, Andi meets Marcus’s mom, brother and sister… I think there might have been someone else there, but if they were they didn’t get screen time so let’s move on. It’s been a long night, I’m losing track. Pretty quickly, Marcus’s sister pulls Andi aside, and they talk about how he has a history of over caring. The sister asks if that bugs Andi, and again she mentions being worried about catching up to his feelings. Uh oh! Methinks things are heading south for Magic Marcus.
Marcus’s mom, despite the rather tumultuous past, seems to have gotten to a good place with her son. Andi may not love him, but mom does. She tells Marcus that she trusts him and is proud of him. Before Andi can get out of Dallas, Marcus declares his love yet again, because overkill is his bag.
So. Here it is. The moment no one has been looking forward to. The final four men and Andi descend upon Chris Harrison’s home to learn that Eric Hill has been in an accident and has passed away. This whole thing is just terrible. It’s terrible to watch these people find out that someone they knew died. It’s terrible to watch the tiniest flicker of an eye roll cross over Nick’s eyes when Marcus walks out of the room and Andi goes after him. It’s terrible to realize that you’re looking for a reaction like that in a moment like this, but that’s what this show is. After some close ups on everyone, the camera goes shaky as it’s put to the ground, and a stationary shot from the floor captures the cast and crew grieving together, with Andi sobbing about their final conversation into the shoulder of a producer as everyone takes turns holding one another. It feels like an intrusion on a private moment, and it’s very uncomfortable and extremely sad to watch, and that’s probably exactly why the powers that be chose to invite the crew and all their cameras to capture it. Because ratings. Ugh.
So, the show must go on. There’s a rose ceremony, and there are even more tears than usual, and Marcus is sent home, regretting his many declarations of love.
Next week, we’ll pretend none of this ever happened and move merrily on to sex dates.