Things got real on The Bachelorette this week—a little too real, maybe. This episode was a tough one to watch, as Andi Dorfman and her remaining four men learned of the tragic death of former contestant Eric Hill, resulting in what might be the most real, human moment on all 28 seasons of The Bachelor and Bachelorette. It was also the week of hometown dates, so there was more crying than usual anyway, from the moms and their sons. Let's recap.
Nick's Hometown Date
Andi's first "meet the family" date is in Nick's hometown of Waukesha, Wis., but they start out in nearby Milwaukee. He takes her to a few of his favorite places in the city—namely, the public market and the brewery, where they sample a special beer named in their honor (Nick and Andi: The Perfect Brew) and then attempt (unsuccessfully) to do some kind of dance. Afterward, they head to Nick's house to meet his very large, very curious family. (Ten siblings, plus spouses!)
Nick and Andi have individual heart-to-hearts with his mom, Mary, his sister Maria, and his kid sister Bella. All three of them can see that Nick is in love, and are happy to give him their blessing. "It's becoming more and more impossible to say goodbye to Andi," he says at the end of the night. "I don't think of her as the Bachelorette anymore. I just think of her as my girl." (Tell that to Chris, Josh, and Marcus, buddy.)
Chris' Hometown Date
Speaking of which...Andi's next date is in Chris' hometown of Arlington, Iowa, where he and his family own a farm. Atlanta-native Andi is a little apprehensive about being in a place with just 758 residents, but her concerns are temporarily assuaged when she sees Chris looking all hot and manly in his plaid shirt and jeans, and again when she finds out he owns an actual house on several acres of land. After a quick tour of the property, he takes her for a ride on his big ol' tractor—and, no, that's not a euphemism.
Later, over a picnic lunch, they talk about what Andi would do if she moved to Iowa, leading Chris to awkwardly suggest she consider becoming a homemaker. He also notes, however, that Cedar Rapids is close by, and that there are options for her to practice law there. Good save!
Wait, did you hear that? It's a bird, it's a plane, it's—oh, it's actually a plane. And it's towing a giant sign that reads "Chris Loves Andi!" Subtle? No. Sweet? Weirdly, yes.
Things only get better from there. Chris' family is the sweetest, and they absolutely adore him. Andi has lovely chats with both his mom and his three sisters, all of whom are warm and welcoming and down-to-earth. "I really saw Chris for who he was, like saw a life with him," the Bachelorette gushes. "There is definitely huge momentum with Chris."
Josh's Hometown Date
Next up: Tampa, Fla., to spend some time with Josh's super tight-knit, super sporty family. The visit starts with a trip to the baseball field, where Josh and Andi have a catch, run the bases, and then talk—again—about why he quit the sport. (He realized what was important in life! Love!) That leads into a discussion about his younger brother Aaron, who's in the midst of getting ready for the NFL draft. Andi's worried Aaron's big moment will overshadow her own that night—and she's not entirely wrong.
Josh's family starts talking football as soon as they sit down to dinner that night, and Andi suddenly sees her future if she winds up with him: Football games every Sunday from now until forever. Josh's sister Stephanie eases her fears, though, telling her they'll both have to make compromises with their families. In the end, even Josh's mom concedes that his priority would be to Andi if they got married—and good thing, too, because he's hearing wedding bells. "I think about that last day, proposing, and I'm 100 percent ready for that," he says.
Marcus' Hometown Date
From Tampa, Andi heads to Dallas, Texas, for her final hometown date of the week. Marcus can't wait for her to meet his family—he was pretty much ready to propose after their first one-on-one. Andi, however, isn't ready to say yes. "Today and tonight is about, like, can I catch up to those feelings?" she admits.
The date starts with a visit to an empty club, where Marcus reenacts their first date and performs a sexy strip tease for her. There's no doubt about their physical chemistry—Andi says he's one of the hottest guys she's ever dated—but their emotional chemistry seems a little one-sided. He's madly in love, but she's madly in lust...and dating three other guys.
Later that night, Marcus gets emotional talking with his family about Andi. His mom, Halina, says she's surprised that he's so open with her about his feelings, because he's normally very reserved. This makes Andi feel special, but also a little scared. Though she admits that "life with Marcus would be a fairy tale," she doesn't seem too excited about a happily-ever-after with him. He, on the other hand, is already picking out china patterns and baby names. "Andi is my soul mate. I feel that with her," he gushes. "I'm ready to propose to her."
Normally, this is the point in the week when the Bachelor or Bachelorette would reflect on the various hometown dates and then agonize over which potential match to send home. Unfortunately, Andi has other, more serious things to contemplate. Chris Harrison calls her and the four remaining men to his house in L.A., where he breaks the sad news of Eric Hill's death.
"You all know Eric Hill. Adventuresome, loved to travel. He, a couple days ago, was in Utah, paragliding, and he was in a serious accident," Chris begins. "We knew he was hurt bad—we just didn't know how bad. And we learned this morning that he passed away."
The tragedy hits everyone hard. Andi immediately starts crying, while Nick, Chris, Josh, and Marcus cover their heads with their hands in shock. Even the crew is emotional; at one point, the camera operator sets his equipment down on the floor, and everyone working behind-the-scenes joins Andi and the guys in grieving the loss of one of their own.
It's incredibly sad, of course, but also incredibly real, more so than anything else on this show has been. It might be too real, actually. Watching everyone break down in the next room feels a little invasive, like spying or eavesdropping on a private moment that isn't ours to share.
The rose ceremony the next day is just as emotional. Andi can't stop crying during her heart-to-heart with Chris Harrison. "There's a part of me that doesn't even know how to comprehend everything that's happening," she says. "Tonight was always gonna be tough, but I don't think anyone could've imagined that it would be like this." She breaks down again before handing out the first rose, but ultimately composes herself enough to give boutonnieres to Josh, Chris, and Nick, leaving poor Marcus alone and brokenhearted.
"I feel like an idiot," he says through tears in the reject limo. "I shouldn't have told her I loved her...it just blew up in my face. I believed in something that wasn't there. The sad thing is, I'm still gonna miss her. I'm still in love with her."
Tell Us: Do you think she sent the right guy home? What did you think of the way the show handled telling Andi and the guys about Eric Hill?