Welcome back to The Bachelorette. This week is a very big deal, because whoever survives the rope climb, pole bridge, hammer dodge, spider walk and the pipe slider over a pit of lava will earn his freedom. O.K., fine. That's not true, but you can't fault anyone who would prefer to watch Sasuke meets The Running Man over watching Bachelorette Andi Dorfman read aloud from Belgium's Wikipedia page: "Belgium is very unique, a melting pot, it has a lot of different languages, it has French, Dutch and Flemish."
Yes, The Bachelorette has seemingly been bribed by Belgium's accent-scarf and chocolate industries to bring its international key party to Belgium's cobbled streets. The six remaining men are on high alert (or at least Josh's pecs are) because if they survive the wall climb of death … er, delightful dates with Andi, they will be bringing her home to meet their mom next week on hometown dates.
Here's what happened on The Bachelorette:
First Date: This week, host Chris Harrison earned his salary by showing up to the gents' hotel room, cutting through the miasma of body spray, self-tanner and aftershave, handing out the contractually obligated accent scarves and reminding the men that hometown dates are next week and that there are no date roses and only one group-date rose. Before leaving on his one-man tour of Brussels' finest mussels, he handed the first-date card out. Last week, Marcus committed a Bachelorette no-no and told Andi that he was considering leaving, but stayed for her. Normally that would result in a summary dismissal, but instead, Andi invites him out for the first date and a Taste of Brussels, which is apparently what the kids are calling it these days. Andi and Marcus eat, drink and talk about Marcus' feelings. He has been journaling in his big-boy diary, and the process made him realize that he has real feelings for Andi. He adjusts his accent scarf and tells Andi that he is falling in love with her.
Andi tries to get the details about Marcus' family before their hometown date. Marcus' eyes go dark as he tells her that his dad abandoned the family and that his mom "did the best that she could." Marcus then airs all the family's dirty laundry and tells Andi that his grandparents "beat the best into her, literally, and that's how his mom did it to him." He fixed his relationship with his mother and she stayed up all night crying to him and now he sees his mom at least once a week. Andi can't give him a rose, but pretends that she is excited to meet his family. Then they make out and Andi declares that Marcus "is a man, a total-package man."
The Drama: A new date card is dropped off and when Dead-Behind-the-Eyes Nick realizes that his name is not on it, he gets in touch with his inner Courtney Robertson and springs into stalker mode. In a scene straight out of a Lifetime movie, he marches to the hotel's front desk and tells the clerk that he lost his key and can't remember his room number, but it's under the name of "his wife," Andi Dorfman. The clerk shrugs and gives him the key to Andi's room. Hopefully the hotel's Yelp page has now been updated to include something about the worst security ever. Nick runs upstairs to act out every scene from every Lifetime movie ever. Andi is surprised to see him, but happily agrees to go for a walk with him even though it breaks the fake rules of the show. They make out while walking the streets at night and Andi deems the breach of personal space and security hot, mistaking Nick's all-encompassing creepiness for "passion."
Second Date: It seems clear that Josh is the season's front-runner. He and Andi had an instant and easy chemistry and as they both live in Georgia, they could avoid all the awkward conversations about which one is uprooting their lives to live closer to some random they met and dated on national television. However, Josh is not being forthcoming about his feelings and Andi (and the producers) are determined to make him declare his love before hometown dates. Andi is concerned that he will break her heart if she doesn't hear that he is falling in love with her in the first four dates. Josh gets so far as to tell her that he is looking forward to her meeting the family, that he is nervous, that he is serious, and that he has "feelings for her," but he won't say the L word. Finally, in a castle in Ghent, he admits that he is falling in love with her. He is rewarded for his efforts with a make-out session in front of yet another band trying to avert their eyes while playing a private concert.
The Group Date: Farmer Chris, Coach Brian, Dead-Behind-the-Eyes Nick and Sad Dylan are escorting Andi on a tour of an old monastery. They are warned that the ground is sacred and kissing is verboten and one can only hope that someone tries to slip one in and God himself smites them, Old Testament–style, which would make for seriously must-see TV. Andi reminds them that there is a rose on this date, and the men are all determined to win it. Farmer Chris and Andi re-enact the only scene from Ghost that anyone remembers. They are allowed to sneak in a few kisses, because the pottery barn is off the monastery premises. Dylan's alone time with Andi is glossed over, which does not bode well for him. Coach Brian has a "strategy for winning" that he probably wrote down on a clipboard and is moving away "from his game plan." It's just too bad he can't wear an accent scarf and a whistle simultaneously. He tells Andi that he is falling in love with her. Sadly, he has never said those words before. He deems it a good feeling, which he squelches by dumping Gatorade on himself. Andi smiles politely. Nick tells Andi he knows he is going to marry her, because he knows she loves him too. Andi thinks that was hot and not creepy and hands him the rose while the other men make gagging noises. The men are swept away so Andi and Nick can have some alone time. As the men grouse that Nick is not there for the right reasons, Andi and Nick make out in a restaurant. When Nick finally returns to the hotel room, the men glare and grumble at him for prioritizing "the strategy" over Andi.
The Cocktail Party: Farmer Chris is determined to get a rose and bring Andi home to meet the cows. He tells her that he lives in "a really small town in Iowa, but it’s beautiful." Dylan promises that he will propose to her in three weeks. Coach Brian tries to convince Andi that Harrisburg is worth a visit, but gives up when Nick interrupts him and steals Andi away. Nick cries to the camera that he found "that person." (Presumably he means the person who will bring him to fame and notoriety.) Farmer Chris makes one last play: he tells Andi that he forgot to do something important and kisses her. Andi is a sucker for that sort of thing.
The Rose Ceremony: Nick has a rose already, and it's no surprise when Josh and Marcus are handed roses on their dates. The final rose goes to Farmer Chris.
Who Went Home: Coach Brian is going to have to come up with a few new plays and Sad-Backstory Dylan will have to find someone else to woo on a train in Connecticut. (By the way, in case you think Andi is heartless for dismissing Dylan, when he read this week's date card to the men, he prefaced it by saying, "Are you girls ready?" So he was dismissed for cause.)
Best Reason to Come Back Next Week: Join us for Oedipal Fun Time when it turns out that Josh's mom looks an awful lot like Andi!