Andi can’t believe it’s the week before hometown dates and neither can we! Six guys enter Belgium this week, but only four are leaving with roses and the chance for Andi to meet their families.
In a nod to the importance of the occasion, Chris Harrison shows up for a little pep talk/therapy session with the remaining men. (“Sup boys,” he greets them.) Apparently, there are limited wardrobe choices in Belgium, as every guy is dressed in one of two accessories: hoodie or scarf. Chris warns them that this is going to be a particularly stressful week, and they need to be prepared.
Nick--who is on Team Scarf--is confident in his chances this week. He sounds like he’s planning a murder-suicide when he looks creepily into the camera and says, “I really feel like we will end up together.”
The First One-on-One Date
The first date card arrives and summons Marcus to Brussels for a tour of the city. Andi thinks they’ve lost a bit of that loving feeling since their first one-on-one date back in Connecticut and she wants to reconnect. Fortunately, nothing says love more than beer and chocolate.
Marcus is still in trouble for telling Andi he thought about leaving the show at one point, and, as usual, she will not be satisfied until he’s properly repentant. After Marcus deflects a few hints, she asks him point blank for an explanation over lunch. Marcus, who truly is a smitten kitten, is delighted to reiterate that it was a mistake and he’s in love with her. Easy as that, Andi is a happy camper again.
The rest of the date is pretty standard stuff, but Marcus is holding an emotional trump card: some painful personal information about his childhood. Turns out his dad packed up and left Marcus when he was a kid, and then his mom was abusive towards him and his sister. Fortunately, Marcus and Mom’s relationship is on the upswing, so if Andi makes the visit home it shouldn’t be too awkward.
Marcus continues to open up, shyly sharing that he’s never felt this way about any girl before. This is the most powerful aphrodisiac possible to Andi, and they make out at the dinner table and then outside on the street. With no roses on solo dates this week, Marcus will have to wait until the Rose Ceremony to learn his fate, but it’s pretty clear he’s got a hometown visit locked up.
Andi thinks her evening is over at this point, but really it’s just getting started.
We have already learned that Nick’s sense of entitlement knows no bounds. When Marcus comes home from the date, Nick sneaks out of the guys’ hotel room and cons the reception desk into giving him Andi’s room key. (Worst hotel ever—seriously, we fear for the safety of the guests.) Andi is at first terrified that Nick is at her door to announce his departure. But once she learns he just misses her, she is over the moon. They go for a late night walk and get busy K-I-S-S-I-N-G (and a little H-U-M-P-I-N-G) under a dimly lit tree. He even one-ups Marcus by telling Andi he’s not just falling in love with her, he can see them getting married. Well played Nick, you Machiavellian scumbag.
The Second One-on-One Date
Nick and Marcus have set the bar high for love professions. Can Josh “catch up” to them in that department? Andi isn’t sure but she takes him to the rustic countryside town of Ghent to find out. It’s all chocolate eating and goose parades and shoulder rubs until they pop a squat on a wall for a discussion about Josh’s vulnerability. Or lack thereof. Andi clearly has a preference for “tell, don’t show” (“Tell me what you’re thinking right now” is her frequent demand) and is frustrated that Josh won’t vocalize his feelings. Josh lights a candle in the cathedral they are touring and says a prayer for Andi to drop it already.
His prayer goes unanswered. Andi sets out on a fishing expedition over dinner, and she’s determined not to go home hungry. With enough goading from our former prosecutor, Josh finally mans up and says he’s falling in love with Andi.
Ding ding ding! Jackpot! Andi’s face lights up and she can’t stop grinning for the rest of the evening. Welcome back into the running Josh.
The Group Date
To definitively conclude a season of awful group dates, the final group date of the season is a romantic trip to a . . . monastery? Nick, Chris, Brian, and Dylan are the unlucky four who are along for the ride. To up the fun factor, Andi even announces that there’s no kissing within the sacred grounds. “Yay,” says no one.
There’s only one chance for a rose prior to the Rose Ceremony this week, and it’s going to someone on this date. The guys all crack the knuckles and promise to bring their A-game.
First up: cue the Righteous Brothers, Chris and Andi sneak away to a pottery studio and have a Ghost moment. Nothing’s sexier than wet clay and a potter’s wheel. Despite the clearly stated “no kissing” rule, they sneak a few smooches.
Brian, who correctly perceives that he’s falling behind, throws a Hail Mary, telling Andi that he’s falling in love with her-- and that he’s never said that to anyone before. Little does he know that Andi’s already riding high on three other such declarations. Falling in love with Andi is old news, kid.
Meanwhile, Nick is bored and looking to stir up trouble. “I can lump Chris, Dylan, and Brian into the same category: they don’t matter.” Wow Nick, do you realize you are in front of a television camera?
Unfortunately, this date happened months ago and Andi didn’t get the benefit of seeing Nick’s d-bag behavior on screen like we did. He gets the group date rose, and the other three men get sent home early in a shared rage of fury. When Nick gets back from his one-on-one time with Andi, he finds a convening of the “I hate Nick” club in progress. And the members are more than happy to read the meeting minutes back to him. Andi, for your sake, we hope you didn’t pick this guy and are now having to watch his bad behavior with his ring on your finger.
The Final Cocktail Party and Rose Ceremony
With hometown dates on the line, it’s a tense cocktail party filled with stolen kisses, confessions of love, and other displays of total and utter desperation.
In the end, Josh, Marcus, and Farmer Chris get the final roses. A tearful Dylan and an angry Brian make their way to the nearest airport brokenhearted.
Post-Show Power Rankings
1) Nick: Guys, we’re just going to say it: Nick is killing it. (And us.) We just hope Andi discovers how egomaniacal he is before he runs away with this whole thing.
2) Josh: The look on Andi’s face when Josh finally mentioned the l-word says it all. He may be the only man left with a chance of stopping Nick.
3) Marcus: Marcus is the dark horse candidate at this point. He came out of the gate too early in telling Andi he was in love, and now his sentiment is getting a little stale.
4) Chris: He’s still hot, but why do we stifle a yawn every time he comes on screen? Also, next week’s preview shows him suggesting that Andi could have the “opportunity” to become a homemaker. We’re guessing that’s not going to go over well.
Next week, the whole game changes when not only the men, but also their families are up for evaluation. Tune in when Team Bachelorette visits Anytown, America on Monday, July 7 at 8 p.m.Follow Kimberly and Meredith Liu on Twitter @kandmliu.