As we all know, “The Bachelorette” contestant Eric Hill passed away earlier this year, and it definitely casts a pall over the show that no amount of creative editing can take away. I had hoped that perhaps Andi wouldn't find him attractive on that first night so that we (and she) wouldn't get too attached. Too often the only way to get off this show with your dignity somewhat intact is to either win the whole thing or go home that first night. Along the way there's just too much opportunity to get into a fight with an idiot bunkmate, say the wrong thing to the Bachelorette, or get blotto drunk (they really push the booze on these shows). But not only did he make the cut, he clearly made an impression.
Eric nabs the first one-on-one of the season, and during the date Andi just can't stop gushing over the guy as they go from sea to snow to a romantic little cabin to roast marshmallows. The show even busts out the helicopter (which we see buzzing around while the theme song to the biggest romance movie never made plays) so we know it's a very big deal. When did helicopters become so glamorous? I mean, they're fine, they get you where they need to go, but I tend to think of them as the things traffic reporters are stuck in for the better part of their day, screaming into a headphone mic because you can't hear yourself think from all the noise. But when you barely know your date, that's romantic!
Anyway, Andi can't stop telling us (and him) that he's better than any other human. He's traveled everywhere! There's nothing he's not good at! And he's nice! He tells her a chilling story of his trip to Syria, then assures her he's getting all the crazy and dangerous stuff out of his system before he has a kid (sigh). From this first date, I get the impression that Eric isn't going anywhere for a while. Yes, he gets a rose. I'm not sure if there are the fireworks Andi clearly feels with Josh M., but I don't see him going home soon.
There's only one guy I would be shocked to see next week and that's Craig. In the group date, we get the usual male strip show. It's nerve wracking (and poor professional golfer Nick S. has to be a stripping robot), but most of the guys throw themselves into it. Later, Brian assures Andi he brought his A game for charity… and, oh yeah, her. Sharleen and (I think) Kelly show up, but we never hear a peep from them. I've got to think they'll be back once Andi winnows the field further, because Sharleen will be a straight shooter, no matter what.
Unfortunately, what we learn after the strip show is that the way Craig fortified himself for getting near-naked was drinking. And then drinking more. And then more. He gets belligerent, stops making sense, and gets into the pool fully dressed. Needless to say, Andi isn't impressed. During the cocktail party, he pulls out a guitar to serenade Andi — badly — with a song about how he messed up and really wants to stay. Never doe he mention anything great about Andi in that song, mind you, but then I'm not sure it would make a difference anyway.
Still, the group date has its up side. Marcus, in his sweet and bashful way, assures Andi he's there for her (I think “right reasons” was said at least three or four times this episode, but I'm sure I'm underreporting) and she gives him the date rose. Aww!
The second, and final, one-on-one date of the episode goes to Farmer Chris. It's a sweet little date, and there's a little old couple they chat with about marriage and such. The producers always seem to find a couple that's been married for a few decades and jams them into one of the dates; I just wonder if they cross their fingers that someone shows up to fit the bill or they cast two complete strangers to look adorable together. Who cares? Andi and Chris are charmed/snowed and that's all that matters. They want to be married for 55 years!
It isn't just cutesy stuff for these two, though. Chris admits he was engaged before, but it was a decision he made with his head and not his heart. I hope the pressure of an ABC producer dragging him to Neil Lane will not confuse the issue with him if he makes it to the final round, but it's good to know he won't do anything he regrets.
We skid through most of the cocktail party stuff, but it looked awesome. Brett does hand puppets! Plates are broken! Nick V. gives Andi a date card! It's like a romcom run amuck! One thing we do get to see, though, is Josh M. babbling to Andi about how much he likes her and then, yes, kissing. Andi does not mess around, people!
Anyway, a rose ceremony means roses. Eric, Marcus and Chris have them. The rest go down like this:
Andi kicks Carl the firefighter to the curb. I'm not sure if he was the mysterious guy who was also in the pool (if someone can clarify in the comments, that would be great — watching this on Slingbox means massive, distorting pixelation), but if it is it would explain his exit. Really, he looks so cute in his glasses and vest I'd be hard pressed to send him packing otherwise.
Nick S. the pro golfer/robot stripper is also gone, and he's sad. He wants to love someone! I'm a little surprised Andi bothers to stop Craig to tell him how much she respects him and likes him, since there's no reason — he certainly wasn't thinking about her when he got drunk. Still, he's so disappointed — hopefully in himself. He has to live with his mistake for the rest of his life. Yup, Craig, you do.
Next week, Boyz II Men. And basketball. And crying. And someone has a girlfriend! I die! It's also a two-night extravaganza, so set your DVRs on Sunday.
Were you surprised by Craig's behavior? Do you think Josh M. is the front runner? For whom are you rooting?