Oh shit. Eric revealed that he is an ex-Mormon and THEN got kind of aggressive about Andi's alleged fakeness in front of the cameras and THEN she got really offended and eliminated him and THEN he was tragically killed in a paragliding accident. So, um, no rose ceremony tonight.
And not to get all Sliding Doors on things, but if Andi had kept Eric around for hometown dates, HE LITERALLY WOULD BE ALIVE TODAY! I think Chris Harrison was trying to get her to admit this very thing during the awkward show-ending interview that we had in lieu of a rose ceremony, but she kept her alleged poker face in tact. (Eric was RIGHT! RIP.)
So, this is pretty terrible, isn't it? And I have to admit that I kiiiiiiiiind of feel like an asshole here for, like, recounting how Andi got a stupid fake letter from a fake secret admirer and also thinks it's hot when dudes play basketball. But then also the SHOW is kind of an asshole for being 95% normal and then pretending to retain some level of dignity (HA) by not having a rose ceremony, and then next week just going back to having a MIMING DATE. I guess the answer here is that we're all automatically assholes for living in a time when The Bachelorette even exists for ten seasons. (When historians want to pinpoint the precise moment when my downward spiral began, please direct them here.) But I mean, at LEAST we're not Andi. Yikes.
Anyway, I guess we must sally forth with highlights of the episode. It's what Eric would have wanted. (?????????, ugh.)
Mohegan Sun: Apparently Bachelorette Andi and the dudes are going on a journey around the world, and the intuitive starting point is a Connecticut casino. What the fuck? And Mohegan Sun is like an hour from my house. HOW is it possible that I wasn't there? The wonder of it all! Wait, that's Foxwoods. Anyway, there's a lot of talk about how great Connecticut is, which I assure you is a lie.
Dylan: The only thing that's possibly more depressing than Eric dying is Andi's one-on-one date with Dylan. They take a steam train ride along the Connecticut River, and Dylan has the world's most awkward segue into mentioning his brother's funeral, THEN gets weird and distant and looks out the window for a while. Finally at dinner he tells Andi that his sister died from a drug overdose and his brother is 100% braindead, also due to drugs. And then she eliminates him for being such a downer. KIDDING! Andi says she's never in her life been this moved, and when she gives Dylan the date-rose he says it's basically the only happy moment he's ever had. Maybe these two belong together after all.
Testosterone: For the group date, the guys play basketball at the Mohegan Sun Arena. I once saw Dolly Parton perform there, so these contestants are in fact on hallowed ground! First the dudes play against a team of WNBA all-stars, but they get smoked so badly that production has to improvise. And so the guys split into two teams and play against each other, with the winning team getting to par-tay with Andi later. And BOY does Andi love raging testosterone. This plus her POKER FACE is what makes her an ideal Bachelorette. The Red Team, led by actual basketball coach Brian, wins.
But when Brian gets a few moments alone with Andi in the empty arena, he doesn't realize that a lady ALWAYS wants you to kiss her after you make a swish-shot from half court. So Andi gives him fish-face and in response he hugs her. He soon realizes his mistake but alas! It is too late and his life is RUINED. He gets the group date rose anyway, and says it's better than winning a state championship. Just the words that every girl yearns to hear! Before the rose ceremony, Brian goes for a re-do and Andi is much relieved to find that he's a great kisser.
Homoeroticism: First the guys pile into a hot tub together in their pimped-out Mohegan Sun honeymoon suite. And then after the Red Team wins the basketball game, they spray bottles of champagne in the shower and it's more or less like the YMCA scene in Can't Stop the Music. And isn't this really why we all watch this show?
Eric, Part I: So, at the basketball afterparty date, Andi pulls Explorer Eric aside to talk. She feels like their relationship has stalled. Because she's been busy making out with six other guys? Nay, it's because she thinks he's holding back. So he drops that he was raised Mormon, which I guess explains the Osmond resemblance, but left the church when he was 26. This reignites the spark for Andi, because she is turned on not only by sweaty sports but also by uncomfortable forced confessions. TO BE CONTINUED.
Nick: Unlike Brian, Nick wastes no time in starting to make out with Andi the moment he gets her alone on a couch. She thinks that Nick SEES her. Every PART of her. (Boobs?) He's chagrined when Brian gets the group-date rose, though must realize that it's only so her favoritism isn't too obvious.
Marcus: Andi and Marcus are both terrified of heights, so someone thought it would be a great idea to have them go rappelling down the side of a building for their one-on-one date. To his credit, Marcus is pretty awesome and supportive when Andi almost shits herself. It's a good strategy, as she's totally going to want to bone him when they're back on solid ground, even after rappelling right past the window of the guys' suite. Marcus of course gets the date-rose, and later when they're dancing to a country band in the romantic Casino of the Sky he says he's falling in love with Andi. Andi thinks he's perfect. She's also very tired and possibly wasted.
Andi's Secret Admirer: Andi gets a love letter from a secret admirer who writes with a really cheap pen. A) This is the dumbest. B) OH MY GOD WAS IT ERIC????
Eric, Part II: Just when Andi is having a good time learning self-defense methods from Marquel, Eric whisks her off for a rather intense talk. He's rethought their earlier conversation, and says that HE has been very open and doesn't understand where her questioning is coming from. What's more, he thinks that SHE is the one with the poker face. He says, "I came on this to meet a person, not a TV actress." Which, ouch. Andi gets VERY offended and is all, "DO YOU THINK THIS IS EASY???" And it's true that she secretly looked a little sick of everything this episode. Eric says that when the cameras are on he sees a different side of her. Andi is insulted, and doesn't even wait for the rose ceremony to give him the boot and then go freak out on everybody else about how exhausting it is to be The Bachelorette. Before leaving, Eric tells us he didn't mean to be offensive, even though I think he kind of did. In any case, Eric says that he's now really ready for love. Which is too bad because…
Eric, Part III: Eric's dead, y'all. Chris Harrison shows up on screen to let us know he was tragically killed in a paragliding accident in Utah, and that showing a rose ceremony at this moment would be really tacky. (He does let us know that non-entity Tasos also was eliminated, though.) Andi is forced to show up for an interview and endure Chris noting that Eric actually died while she was on one of her hometown dates. Andi's awkwardness mirrors our own, because having an actual serious and tragic event juxtaposed with a dumb reality show is the kind of thing that sends you hurtling toward an existential crisis, or at the very least makes you feel really gross. RIP, Explorer Eric, and know that pointing out some of this show's bullshit on camera is not, in fact, a terrible legacy to leave.
In two weeks: Andi makes out with dudes some more. Also: MIMES.