The big news this week is that In Touch magazine claimed Andi was pregnant after a night in the Fantasy Suite! She should never have taken that job at Hobby Lobby. The magazine’s source may have been a former Bachelor contestant who recently reported that the show doesn’t provide condoms to those enjoying the suite’s amenities. Andi was miffed at the cover story, despite it providing national coverage for her soon-to-be-obsolete punim, and tweeted that if it were true, her cramps were unaware of her condition. Sounds like that endorsement deal with Midol is sealed up tight.
It’s now the week before hometown visits. Andi takes visiting a bachelor family’s home very seriously, probably since she’s obligated to shop for a gift. We’ll learn whose hometowns she’ll be visiting while everyone spends time smooching in Brussels. Like Venice and Marseilles, the capital city of Belgium is deemed “amazing,” possibly for more than sprouts and Jean-Claude Van Damme. About the 19th-century Steigenberger Grandhotel, Brian declares, “It blows me away.” He read that in the Michelin Guide.
Chris sits with the guys to remind them that the hometown visits will be awarded to the rose-getters this week. “It’s heavy stuff,” someone remarks pensively. Launching a theme that is to be reinforced in this episode slightly more often than the NRA reminds us of the existence of the second amendment, Nick expresses his strongly held opinion that he is, in fact, the one Andi should ultimately choose.
There will be no roses given on the one-on-one dates, only on the group date, Chris explains before departing to eat waffles and tour castles for the rest of the week. Marcus gets the first one-on-one, and is pumped. He and Andi will spend the day exploring the city. She’s been hesitant about him since he told her that he almost left the show that time. It is unacceptable that momentarily, her happiness was not foremost on his mind. Over beer and mussels, Marcus assures Andi that it was only because he was afraid of how strongly he felt about her. Thank goodness, that explanation is satisfactory. As we have heard more often than “will you accept this rose?” or even “you’re not here for the right reasons,” it’s critical to Andi that the guys open up to her, and even better when they tell her how great she is. “This is the first time I actually feel like she’s my girlfriend,” Marcus says with relief, forgetting her five other boyfriends waiting back at the hotel.
Belgian-like music plays as they walk to dinner at the Academy Palace, adding to the seemingly endless list of historic landmarks that are willing to whore themselves out for ABC. Andi reminds us again how seriously she takes the responsibility of meeting someone’s family. In Marcus’s case, Dad is AWOL, since he left the family some time ago. Andi reassures her mournful date that his father’s abandonment was not Marcus’s fault. Then again, maybe he left because he was afraid of how strongly he felt about Marcus’s mother.
Marcus claims it’s hard to open up about his family, then proceeds to blabber on about them while the cameras roll for all of America to listen. He also sighs that he has never felt this way about a girl before. “This is a MAN,” Andi rhapsodizes. She said the same thing about Nick when he grabbed her and kissed her the other night. Personally, I think a MAN is someone who can change the oil and put up a shelf here and there.
Josh gets the next one-on-one date. He gloats about his good fortune. The other guys look crestfallen as Marcus returns triumphantly to the suite with Andi’s drool all over his neck. Nick is bitter at his lost opportunity. Impulsively, according to the script, he decides to visit Andi’s hotel room. He goes to the front desk, claiming that he forgot his key and that the room is registered under his wife’s name. The Belgian desk lady takes direction to pretend the cameras aren’t there, and tells him Andi’s room number. Let’s hope she didn’t just order up room service and is currently elbow-deep in frites like I would be.
She greets him joyfully, and with reasonably authentic-looking surprise. Maybe they didn’t tell her which guy was coming around for the unexpected visit. They go for a walk, once the director sets up the new shot. Nick tries to convey the intensity of his feelings, which likely involve painful sexual tension. Andi says the one word she would use to describe their relationship is “passion.” When he kisses her, she explains, she can feel his passion. Especially when he presses his crotch against her. Andi is thrilled at how determined Nick is to marry her, despite the rules of the show precluding her mentioning how she feels. Others might find that creepy, but not her. The more spray-tanned, waxed-chested guys champing at the bit for her, the better!
Next day, she gives Josh a brief history lesson on Brussels (“It didn’t get burned down during the wars”) before they continue on their date. Unsurprisingly, she wants to know what emotions Josh is feeling for her. She might also want to ask how he earns a living as a former pro baseball player. Josh admits it’s not easy showing his feelings for the person he loves. Andi doesn’t like that. She needs him to open up to her, and dare to be vulnerable. Not that she’s doing that for him, but hey, In Touch isn’t writing made-up cover stories about Josh, are they?
At yet another ancient castle, yet another dinner is to be served. None of these people are ever going to be able to settle for Chipotle again. Andi threatens that if Josh doesn’t open up, no way can she visit his family. They must also be a bunch of pathologically repressed robots. She brings up Marseilles again. Why would he want to deal with her harping on the same crap over and over again, anyway? Tears twinkling in her eyes, or maybe her contacts are dry, she expresses her fears that his feelings aren’t there.
Meanwhile, the group date is announced. Nick is on it. He’s sick of the whole thing. He just wants to win the show and be on Fallon already.
Andi asks Josh what his family is like. He assures her he will tell them he is falling in love with her. Finally, she smiles beatifically. “When I throw around the ‘I love yous,’ that’s the person I want to marry,” he offers, sounding like a scene in a John Wayne movie. She yanks him off into a corner to make out in smoky blue light, then they go to dance at yet another open-air concert by yet another cross-promoted duet. The producers are just phoning this stuff in by now. A cluster of Belgians gathered round merely look perplexed. They probably haven’t seen previous seasons. Coming up: Nick continues to be an arrogant jerk, which seems incongruous since he’s a dead ringer for Giovanni Ribisi.
Next day, Chris, Nick, Brian, and Dylan go off on the group date. They gather with Andi in the countryside, where they roam around among some ruins, either to make a metaphoric statement or because the production budget is much lower at this juncture. Then they all clamber onto a rail bike to ride along some train tracks. The guys have to do all the pedaling, clearly a metaphoric statement for a future with Andi. They arrive at a monastery, which really does not promote the right mood for a group date. The guys are bummed that kissing is prohibited. Andi’s rabbi is just bummed in general.
There is the rose waiting on a picnic table, mocking them. Monks have picnic tables? Chris and Andi go off together to a pottery barn–a real one, not the retail chain. They try to reenact that scene from Ghost without offending the monks, or the memory of Patrick Swayze, but end up kissing anyway. Andi, you in danger, girl!
Andi explains to the guys that this rose guarantees a hometown visit, and whoever gets it continues on the date while the rest go back to the hotel. “It’s a pretty important rose,” she says loftily. She is so full of herself. Personally, I’d rather be at the swank hotel than this dreary old monastery.
Next, Dylan goes off with Andi. Will his hometown visit be at a cemetery? Andi, you in danger, girl!
Chris and Brian glare at Nick. They think he’s a weasel. Andi, you in danger, girl!
Brian tells Andi he thinks he’s falling in love with her, 100 percent. He says his mom would just see his face and know. So he’s a mama’s boy. Andi, you in danger, girl!
Nick thinks the other guys don’t matter. He is going to have a hometown visit, no question about it. The other guys are annoyed at his smugness. Thank goodness anyone who hasn’t been watching up til this moment can now be up to speed on this particular issue.
He sits with Andi next. He’s convinced she feels the same way about him as he does about her. Andi likes that he shows her how he feels, and doesn’t just tell her. She thinks a person can only show love one way, which the monks won’t allow here. Maybe she should consider exactly how limiting that stance could be in the event of future paraplegia or a shortage of Cialis or something.
Night falls, and it’s time to present the Important Rose. Andi lectures the group yet again about its enormous significance. She takes meeting the families very seriously, you know. Now she has to disappoint three guys, a development nearly as distressing as having In Touch announce you are pregnant. She then gives the damn flower to Nick. If you suspected she was an idiot, now you are assured.
The other guys stalk off, Chris in the lead looking manly and muscular, and clearly broadcasting his standing in the Rose Ceremony. None of them respect Nick, so it’s especially painful to be rejected this time. Worse, none of the three of them have had two one-on-ones–wow, that was a weird sentence. Less camera time on top of not getting a rose tonight! The free trips to Europe with luxury accommodations and five-star meals almost don’t make up for the disappointment.
Fortunately, Nick and Andi do not remain at the monastery for their date, so they can commence making out as their primary activity. The rest of the guys return to the hotel, and Josh and Marcus learn that Nick has the rose. They all complain about him, call him names, and accuse him of strategizing on a competition show.
Meanwhile, Nick and Andi are still swapping saliva. Then they start talking about themselves, discussing things like whether they enjoy pancakes and will beat their children. As fireworks burst metaphorically overhead, Nick reports that they have a hard time keeping their hands off each other. Andi marvels that “he can see every part of me.” That actually happens the week after next, Andi.
The guys are still grousing about Nick when he returns. They fall silent as he sits with them and grins his smug grin. So much dead air can’t be good–where’s the producer? Then Marcus accuses Nick of preying on people’s vulnerabilities because he watched previous seasons. Chris says Nick knows more about strategy than about Andi. The camera swivels back and forth like it’s covering a ping pong game as they snipe like a bunch of girls arguing in their bunk at summer camp.
“I can’t control what the guys think about me,” Nick says petulantly. It doesn’t matter, though, because he says he’s pretty confident he’ll end up with Andi. Oh, what a relief! As studies have shown, in reality TV, whether the participants are cooking, singing, or decorating, pronouncements like these are always proved dead wrong.
After the cocktail party, which is being held at a lovely chateau, two guys will be out on their tuchuses. Dramatic music plays as Andi drives up and enthuses that this was the best week ever. She’s falling in love! Her gown is slit to the thigh and covered, appropriately, in little mirrors. Chris goes out into the garden with Andi, and describes his hometown as “the middle of nowhere.” Definitely not a strategic move there, Chris. Next Dylan gets his chance with her. He gets cut off before he can declare his love, so he’s probably a goner.
As Brian is describing his family, Nick breaks in. He tells Andi he thinks it’s different with him than for the other guys, despite the genuineness of their feelings. His eyes dart around shiftily as he says falling in love with her is “pretty awesome.” Worse, he’s from Milwaukee.
Then Chris decides he didn’t say enough, and asks to speak to Andi again. All he wanted, though, was to kiss her. Iowa has not been redeemed.
Chris the Host arrives to get the ceremony going. Andi babbles once again about the importance of meeting family before the first rose goes to Josh. The second goes to Marcus, because this is so obvious. And the final rose goes to Chris. He heaves a sigh of relief. Josh kisses Brian goodbye, and America collectively leans forward on its sofas with eyebrows raised.
As Andi daubs at her eyes, Dyan sniffles about not opening up earlier. He deserves to fall in love again, and to stay in more expensive European hotels. Brian thought he would be going to Pennsylvania with Andi, the girl of his dreams, although that’s probably not the state of her dreams. Andi tells the rest of the guys that she is excited to meet their families. Those families better live up to her expectations. They toast with champagne.
Next week, we learn that Josh’s brother overshadows him, Chris has a mom straight out of Grapes of Wrath who thinks Andi doesn’t need to have a career out there in the Corn Belt, and the group first learns of the death of Eric. This stunning event requires Chris to interview Andi, her to flee mid-Rose Ceremony in tears, and more people to complain about the disrepectfulness of my jokes.