Leg four of Andi’s traveling love circus puts down stakes this week in Venice, Italy. And unlike previous stops where romance was merely optional, Andi promises us, “You cannot help but be romantic in Venice!’’
The First One-on-One Date
The first date card arrives and damned if it doesn’t have Nick’s name on it. So just to get this straight: Nick threw a tantrum last week because he was relegated to the group date, and Andi’s response is to give him the first one-on-one? Jeez, this lady is gonna have a rocky time with motherhood.
Leaving a group of unhappy guys behind, Nick and Andi head off on a romantic gondola ride through the Venetian canals. Remembering the hot water he was in last week, Nick commits to being on his very best behavior today. He skips through the streets, tries on masks in a costume store, and even lets a pigeon sit on his head (“Look Andi, I’m so goofy and carefree!’’). Andi likes his new outlook. Batting her heavily mascaraed eyes, she shares that according to legend, eternal love will be theirs if they kiss as their gondola sails under the Bridge of Sighs. When the time comes, Nick obligingly swallows her face.
At dinner in an Italian masquerade hall, we get to the main attraction of the date – a.k.a. “Andi Confronts Nick About His Bad Attitude: Part Two.’’ Andi renews her concern that the other men seem to hate Nick and she doesn’t like the idea of dating an unlikable guy. But Nick and his silver plated tongue turn things around with a few well-executed phrases, including the clincher admission that he’s “definitely falling in love.’’ “It feels good to hear it from Nick,’’ Andi tells the camera, a sense of accomplishment in her voice. At this point, Nick’s receipt of the rose is just a formality, and the pair slow dance into the night.
The Group Date
The next date card is delivered by an unassuming end table outside the guys’ hotel room door – it’s group date time! What humiliating experience do the producers have in store for our six lucky participants (Chris, Josh, Marcus, Dylan, Brian, and JJ)? Just a routine interrogation by two stern Italian men and a lie detector machine. Group dates this season really are a special form of torture. Not that we’re complaining–we just can’t wait to see whose pants are on fire!
While the men wait outside for their turn with the polygraph, Josh is totally freaking out. After all, trust is really important in a relationship, and he doesn’t like his integrity being questioned. Either that or he doesn’t want to answer a question about how many women he slept with during his stint as a pro ball player.
We see a montage of each guy answering some choice questions, and then the Italian interrogators return with the results. Turns out half the men lied on at least one question and two lied on three. After teasing us viewers with a large manila envelope, Andi does the meanest thing ever and rips up the results before reading them. Wah. We can only hope that those answers find their way into Chris Harrison’s hands and he spills at the “Men Tell All’’ special.
Later at the group date cocktail party, Andi does her usual rounds and we learn the following:
– Brian finally got the memo that the fastest way to Andi’s heart is through her saliva glands and asks her, without prompting, if she wants to “make out.’’ Yes Brian, she would.
– Dewy-eyed Marcus confesses that his feelings for Andi have progressed from a liquid (falling in love) to solid state (being in love).
– Josh complains that he didn’t appreciate having his honesty tested. Andi complains back that she doesn’t appreciate him not appreciating it. These two have the “bickering like an old married couple’’ act down pat.
– Remember back on episode 4 where Andi received a letter from a “secret admirer’’? Yeah, neither do we. But it turns out that the mystery writer was Farmer Chris. Sadly, that’s the only secret we learn this episode.
Farmer Chris’s secret admirer play is well-received and he gets the rose. Unlike the other guys, JJ won’t pretend to be happy for him. Fair enough. After all, the more roses that go to other people, the more likely it is that JJ is going home alone. But Chris, whose many gifts do not include a good command of rhetoric, heatedly accuses JJ of “sour grapes.’’ Dissension in the ranks? Uh-oh.
The Second One-on-One Date
Cody, who has spent the episode lamenting his similarity to various sad animals (“the odd duck out,’’ “the pet dog’’ of the group), finally gets called up for duty. And the hulky personal trainer– bless his heart– is beyond psyched for his date. Little does he know that Andi’s objective today is to confirm her growing suspicion that the two will never be more than friends. This does not bode well for earnest, if occasionally aggro, Cody.
The unlikely pair wander the city of Verona, stopping by the Juliet Club, a society that answers the thousands of love letters sent by people around the world to the spirit of Shakespeare’s Juliet. The whole day has an unfortunate Make-A-Wish vibe to it with Cody acting almost over- the-top grateful and Andi being patronizingly nice to him. It’s supposed to be a date, people, not an act of charity.
Perhaps sensing his own tragic end in Verona, Cody resolves not to take it lying down. Over dinner, he passionately appeals to Andi to give him more time. But Andi cannot humanely let him go on. She interrupts Cody’s plea, tearfully breaking it to him that he will be the first man on the season not returning from his one-on-one date. Cody, who actually turned out to be a real sweetheart, packs up the gun show and heads home roseless.
The Final Cocktail Party and Rose Ceremony
With 4 roses up for grabs and 5 men without them, the final cocktail party is particularly tense. Before Andi has time to say hello, Nick commits one of the cardinal “Bachelorette’’ sins and whisks her away for the first alone time despite already having a rose.
Feeling threatened, the remaining guys step up the pace with a range of last-minute romantic declarations, verbal and otherwise. Ultimately, the successful few are: Dylan, Brian, Marcus, and . . . Josh. Way to make him sweat, Andi.
A teary-eyed JJ is the only man left standing without a rose, and Andi personally escorts him into the rejection limo.
And then there were 6.
Post-Show Power Rankings
For the first time, we can do a definitive ranking of all the remaining contestants! Let’s see what Andi’s working with going into the homestretch.
1) Nick: Could awful Nick actually take this thing? We kind of hope he does win, because the only thing worse than seeing him end up with Andi would be having to endure an entire season with him as the next Bachelor.
2) Josh: We still have no idea what Josh actually does for a living, but he and Andi would make a very attractive unemployed couple. He slides a rung on the ladder for the weird and suspicious fuss he made about the lie detector test, but he’s still well in striking distance of victory.
3) Marcus: Hot Marcus gets points this week for dropping the first full-scale L-bomb. But he’ll only have a real shot if he can transform from puppy dog to bulldog. And quick.
4) Chris: Chris, we liked you so much better before you resorted to this “secret admirer’’ nonsense. Still, if we don’t get to see Andi visit your farm in Iowa, we will be sorely disappointed.
5) Brian: Nice guy Brian is hanging in there, but barely. And we’re really not sure anyone over the age of 15 should be asking someone to “make out’’ with them.
6) Dylan: Dylan has been flying safely under the radar but not for long. He’s the only guy remaining who hasn’t gotten a kiss and given the importance of physicality to Andi, this is clearly a red flag.
Next week, we get to see which four lucky guys are headed to those coveted hometown dates! See who makes the cut on Monday, June 30 at 8 p.m.