Welcome to Venice! Let’s sail away to romance! And drama, and tears, and lie detector tests, and arguments…We open with the boys sailing into Venice harbor on an old ship, yelling like a bunch frat boys on spring break. I’m sure the locals love that shit. Here’s Cody contemplating jumping into the water and getting the whole thing over with, because it’s week 7 and he’s the only one left that hasn’t had a one-on-one date or made out with Andi yet.
He tries to convince himself that she’s been waiting for a “very special spot” to spend some time with him. Yeah, pal. She’s mauled every guy on this show multiple times. She’s even made out with JJ, even though he makes her skin crawl. But she’s saving you for week 7, because there’s a very special corner of her heart reserved just for you. Keep repeating it; maybe you’ll believe it eventually.
Andi meets the guys on a dock and since no one has any idea where Chris Harrison is, she has to start the first date without the date card. Everyone thinks Cody is getting it, since he’s the only one that hasn’t been on a one-on-one date. Of course, Nick uses a Jedi mind trick to force Andi to say his name instead. “These are not the Bachelors you’re looking for…” Everyone is completely shocked; even Andi looks a little confused by Nick’s complete mind control. He’s a software salesman, right? This dude must sell more software than any man alive. Seriously, everyone does his bidding all the time.
Nick and Andi walk around Venice, eat pizza, go mask shopping, make out and get dumped on by pigeons. Why do people feed pigeons? No matter how romantic the setting is, they’re still rats with wings. They wrap up their stroll with a gondola ride, and Nick finally addresses the elephant in the room, namely his behavior from last week during the ridiculous mime date. What can he say? He doesn’t like striped shirts and talking with his hands. Nick does the only thing he can do – apologize, make no excuses, promise to do better – and the problem is solved; time to float around Venice and make out. Transition to later that night and Nick is tuxed up and Andi is wearing her most uncomfortable shoes yet this season. They meet inside an insane Medici villa for a dinner that is so romantic, I think JJ could get lucky in this place. Andi brings up the other elephant in the room, this time about the guys describing Nick as arrogant. Andi asks him if he thinks he’s the front runner. First, Nick invades her mind…
…and then he basically says that, yes, he is the front runner, but he wraps it up in fancier words. He even spins it that her doubts are a good thing, because it proves they can have difficult conversations together. He closes by throwing out the L-word, and his masterpiece is complete. Andi practically leaps across the table to give him the rose and maul him some more. She talks about Venice being the most romantic city in the world and looking back at this date and thinking about how this is where they fell in love, etc. Sorry Cody, but I think Andi was saving a special place for Nick.
While this is going on, the rest of the guys are brought to a hotel outside of Venice. You can see the look in Cody’s eyes; he knows he’s way behind everyone else. He’s moping around and when the card for the group date comes, Cody looks like he’s going to throw up. Josh, Brian, Dylan (he’s still here?), Marcus, JJ, and Chris are all called up, and Cody convinces himself there’s a glimmer of hope. Andi meets the rest of the guys in a palazza, and oh my god is JJ wearing shorts?! NO PANTS?! You’ve worn your own custom pants every week and you’ve made it to this point…I don’t know, man. Call me superstitious, but you just don’t mess with a streak. Josh could tell you that, seeing as how he was a former baseball player. But he doesn’t like to talk about that. But he was, you know. A baseball player. Don’t judge. They walk around a little bit and then Andi brings them to a torture chamber to take lie detector tests. No trust issues with this girl. Maybe later in the episode she’ll mention again about how she’s been cheated on before. Anyway, the guys are caught off guard, but they seem game for it. Except for Josh, that is:
“Wait, what? How correct are these machines? Does she not trust us? Why do we have to do this? Can we explain ourselves if they catch us lying?” To paraphrase Shakespeare, the former baseball player doth protest too much, methinks. They run the guys through the gauntlet, and the questions are pretty mundane. In fact, the only interesting information we find out is that Dylan doesn’t wash his hands after he goes to the bathroom and Farmer Chris is the secret admirer. 1) Dylan is nasty, and he’s so embarrassed about admitting it, that he gets sick to his stomach and has to go back to the hotel. 2) Farmer Chris writes love letters? I would have bet anything Nick was behind that, proving once again that I have no idea what I’m talking about. The two administrators (who are apparently confused about the difference between “fighting” and “farting”) deliver the results, and Brian waits approximately .03 seconds before tearing open the envelope and reading what Andi lied about. Class move, bro. Andi takes the high road and tears up the guys’ results; Josh looks like he’s going to pass out he’s so relieved and Brian just looks like an asshole.
Later that night at the cocktail party, Brian steals her away for a quick make out session. Then Marcus asks her if he can be “open with her”, and his voice is so gentle and soft that no one can hear what he’s saying, so she makes out with him just to stop him from whispering. Farmer Chris admits to being the secret admirer, so she makes out with him a little bit. There’s no footage of JJ, but I’m assuming he grabbed the back of her head and shoved their lips together while she fought tooth and nail to pull away from him. Then she sits down with Josh and, rather than make out with her like everyone else does, he decides to argue with her about the lie detector test instead. So, recapping the night: that’s 4 or 5 guys she made out with, and one guy she argued with. I don’t know about you, but I know which group I’d rather be in. Just to remind everyone, she never bothered to read the results, so Josh is starting an argument over literally nothing and the only thing that can possibly come from this is that she starts wonder what he’s hiding. Let. It. Go. This is where Nick and Josh go in completely different directions. Nick apologizes. Nick takes ownership. Nick listens to what she wants to hear and then tells her that very thing. Josh is competitive. Josh needs to prove he’s right. There’s an old saying, guys: do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy? Nick understands this, which is why he ends up making out with Andi throughout the entire episode while Josh argues with her until she cries. Anyway, Andi gives the rose to Chris the Anonymous, and then JJ (who’s apparently wearing his Limited Edition Slim Fit Bitchy Pants – buy 1, get 1 free!) gets pissy with Farmer Chris, and it’s all so lame that I’ve already written more about it than it deserves.
Off to Verona for Cody’s one-on-one date! Andi spends a lot of time talking about Cody’s amazing eyes, because the producers need her to say something nice about him and that’s all she could come up with. Right from the beginning, Cody is playing from behind and he’s showing it. He’s a little too happy, a little too excited, and trying a little too hard and it’s all looking a little forced. They go to the Club de Guilietta, which is essentially like Santa’s workshop for people that have been dumped. Cody writes a pretty nice letter to a kid in a situation similar to his own, only Cody doesn’t get beat up for writing letters to a fictitious character from a 400 year old play. Andi is truly impressed by Cody’s depth, and she gazes intently at him, wondering how she’s going to send him home tonight:
They meet for dinner, and Cody is saying all the things about Andi that Andi was saying about Nick on her last date, which would be fine if Cody was the Bachelor and the decision on whether or not to stay was his. Unfortunately, the situation is reversed, and as much as Cody pours his heart out, there’s simply no fire to spark here. Another note for my future talk with the boy: when you’re telling a girl how much you love her and she looks like this:
…it is not a sign to pour it on some more. There’s a fine line between selling yourself and begging, son, and when you see that look, it’s time to back off and salvage some pride. Andi mercifully cuts him off and explains that he’s a great guy but all they have is a friendship and it’s not fair to keep him around, so off to the airport he goes. Any chance Cody could be the next Bachelor? A little goofy, but he seems like a genuinely nice guy that might appeal to a lot of viewers. Get him a new wardrobe and a better haircut, and he might be able to pull it off. He couldn’t be any worse than Juan Pablo or Flajnik.
Cocktail party! And Nick the Assassin pulls Andi aside first, which of course sends everyone into a tizzy. For Andi’s part, she loves it. They barely make it around the corner before they’re all over each other. Nick comes back and the guys get into the same boring crap they’ve gotten into for the past 3 weeks – “you’re arrogant, Nick!”, “no I’m not”, “yes, you are!”, “am not!” – whatever. He should just come out and tell the truth – “Andi’s gonna make out with at least 4 out of 5 us tonight, and I’d rather be first in line than last. Enjoy my seconds.” As if proving Nick’s point (which was actually my point that I pretended that Nick said – ummm, what?), Marcus whispers ever-so-gently for awhile and then he and Andi make out. Next, JJ pins her down while she frantically tries to figure out the Italian version of 911. Brian reads a poem and they make out. And then Josh, showing that he’s incapable of letting anything go, decides to argue about the lie detector again. Another note for the future talk with the boy: You never get anywhere telling a girl she’s wrong, son. Maybe it really has been 5 years since Josh has dated anyone.
Suddenly, there’s a Chris Harrison sighting! We’re 1 hour, 38 minutes into the show, and we see him for the first time. This has to be some kind of record. He sits down with Andi and asks her what happened this week.
“You don’t know what we did?” Andi asks.
“Well,” Chris replies, “Some intern gave me the rundown on the flight over but I was in the middle of an intense game of Candy Crush Saga, so I wasn’t really paying attention.”
“What is it you do?”
“I nod a lot and ask a lot of open-ended, superficial questions that generically apply to any situation. You could pretty much replace me with a bobble-head doll and a voice recording from 2007. Isn’t it great?”
Andi voices a lot of concerns about getting her heart broken, which strikes me as weird. She has a lot of insecurities about this process considering she’s in the driver’s seat. Shouldn’t she be more confident when all the guys are telling her that they love her, and she can pick and choose between them? I have a sneaking suspicion this girl hasn’t gotten over the guy that cheated on her in her past. There’s definitely some baggage in the overhead compartment.
At last, we reach the rose ceremony. Already with roses:
Nick the Jedi – Andi is sprung over this guy. Unless something completely random happens, he’s winning it.
Farmer Chris – Could this guy be the next Bachelor? Good looking, salt-of-the-earth kind of guy; He’d kill the Midwest demographic
Dylan – What?! This guy has been tuned out since Connecticut. I would have bet my left arm he was going home tonight.
Coach Brian – getting more boring by the minute. But, he’s more manly than Marcus, so he might make the final two.
Marcus – if he talked any quieter, he’d still be a mime from the last episode. Lovely Better Half thinks he’s the next Bachelor. I hope he’s not; but if I have to listen to an entire season of this gentle flower and his barely audible voice, the producers damn well better give me subtitles.
“Gentlemen, this is the final rose. Annnnnd, my 9 minutes here are done.”
Josh – who manages to looks smug, even though he’s the only guy who didn’t get any action this week. Is it possible he actually thinks he played this right?
This means JJ is heading home. How best to describe his expression as Josh, the guy who beat him up in high school, takes the final rose? Pantsfallen? Pantspondent? Dispantsolate? Pantsimistic? Whatever it is, he looks sad and, to be honest, a little bit crazy. He looks like the he’s going to lock himself in his room, listen to a lot of Morrissey and write letters to the Club de Guilietta. I’d keep him away from sharp objects for a while.
Next week, Brussels, a city I know so little about, I can’t even make a joke. It’s the final week before hometown dates, so we’ll be waving goodbye to Farmer Chris and Dylan. Is it time to pick my final two? Why not. I think Josh is coming apart at the seams and Marcus is getting way too sensitive for Andi, so I’ll go with Nick and Brian, with Andi picking Nick in the end. The only thing I see derailing the Nick Train is hometown dates. With 10 brothers and sisters, you figure at least one of them has to be flat-out bonkers enough to scare her off.
See you in Belgium…