Welcome to Brussels! And the most important thing you need to know about Brussels is that BELGIUM CAN SUCK IT! USA! USA! (World Cup Fever – catch it) Andi gives us an abridged history of Brussels (French, Flemish, and something else…) and then tells us that she takes going into a family’s home very seriously. I don’t. I’m pretty apathetic about it, actually. Hand me a drink, don’t pepper me with a lot of questions, and we’ll get along just fine. Of course, I wouldn’t make it past week 2 on this show, so what do I know. The boys show up after their meeting with the production stylist, split up into 2 teams of 3 guys each – hoodies vs. scarves. Seriously, this trend over the past couple years of having all the guys wear the same clothes is getting ridiculous. And what’s with Dylan’s top-knot? Has he gone samurai on us?
Farmer Chris looks particularly out of his element. Those are not hoeing clothes. At least not the kind of “hoe” he’s used to. After his no-show in Venice, Chris Harrison decides to come to work this week and drops off the first date card. Is it possible the producers had to talk to Chris about his continued absences? Or did he just happen to be in Brussels because he was meeting with the EU parliament to discuss the dissolution of the Euro? “We need to put this meeting on hold, guys; I have to drop off a date card. Be back in 30 minutes; don’t do anything while I’m gone.” This week, there will be no roses on the individual dates, but there will be one rose available for the group date. The first date card is for Marcus – Let’s get a taste of Brussels. Marcus says, “whisperwhisperwhisper scared hushhushwhisper feelings mumblewhisperhmmm Andi” and then gets ready for his date by changing from a scarf to a hoodie.
Andi and Marcus walk around Brussels, look at old buildings and eat some mussels. Marcus is scared of his own emotions. At least, I think that’s what he said. He could have said he’s “spared of foamy lotions.” It’s hard to tell, because NO ONE CAN HEAR HIM. Whatever he says, he still has those amazing eyes and baby-soft hands, and Andi likes looking at him. They have dinner that night at the Academy Palace, which is pretty over-the-top. Andi reminds us that she takes meeting someone’s family very seriously, and she starts badgering him for a hometown preview. Marcus shares his family history, which is pretty broken and traumatic, and we get some insight into how a guy this good-looking can be so insecure. For all the crap I give him, he does seem like a pretty nice guy; he’s just insecure and young. In another 3-5 years, I bet he gets a little more comfortable with himself and finds his own voice (ha!). Regardless, Andi feels closer to him and says he’ll be an amazing husband and father someday…just not with her. But, he’s sweet and cute so he’ll definitely make it to hometown dates.
Next date card comes, and it’s for Josh – Let’s Gent it on. He’s very happy, and Nick looks like he wants to brainwash JJ into killing him in his sleep (“He picked on you in high school! He stole your girlfriend! He pulled your pants down in gym class! Now, who do you kill?!”; “I kill Josh!!!”). Marcus comes back from his date and gives the guys a recap. Nick, realizing he doesn’t have a one-on-one date this week, decides he’s sick of talking to a bunch of dudes, and he’d rather talk to Andi instead. In a brilliant move, he goes to front desk and manages to get Andi’s room number. I’ll say it again, this guy must sell more software than any man has ever seen. He then knocks on her door and invites her out on the town. Sure, Nick’s breaking the rules a little bit, but does this girl look disappointed to you?
Andi talks about how it’s week 8 and these guys need to go for it and she loves a guy that goes after what he wants (Are you taking notes, Brian?). They walk around Brussels, and there’s lots of hand-holding and smiling and kissing. He says he’s going to marry her, she pees herself she’s so happy and then she says “When he kisses me, I can feel what he’s thinking.” I know what you’re feeling Andi, and it’s not his thoughts. It’s much closer to the bathing suit area.
Next scene: Josh’s one-on-one date. Andi says she wants Josh to talk about his emotions, but Josh just wants to hold her in an uncomfortably tight bear hug and not let go. We see more chocolate and old buildings, then a goose parade (?). The ex-athlete has some trouble opening up, but he realizes that it’s the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, and he’s at the plate with 2 strikes and he really needs to step up and get a big hit; so he finally opens up and uses the L-word during dinner. Then he says he wants her all to himself and he doesn’t like watching her talk to other guys, which sounds like one of those tip-of-the-iceberg statements to me. Controlling, much? Personally, I’d ask him to elaborate, but Andi conveniently ignores it because Josh is hot and she wants to make out with him some more. Then they go listen to some country band (American Young?) singing in the middle of a square, with a bunch of confused and expressionless Belgian people looking on.
He’s loving himself some American Young!
The last date card comes for the remaining 4 guys – Nick, Dylan, Brian, Chris – True love is sacred. Oh, Dylan – first a pony tail and now pink pants? Not a good look, my friend. Is this really the way to get more airtime? And did you have to buy those from JJ or did he give you a pair for free?
Nick doesn’t even try to hide his hatred for group dates, which pisses everyone off, because Nick basically can’t breathe without these Sallies getting frustrated. They meet at the ruins of an old castle somewhere in the Belgian countryside. Dylan says “these ruins have stood the test of time and I’m hoping our relationship can also stand the test of time.” I think he’s confused on what “ruins” actually are. You might want to find a different metaphor than an old, crumbling fortress. Josh, on the other hand, might want their relationship to be like a fortress, where he can keep Andi locked inside and away from people that might want to talk to her, and she can be his and his alone. But I digress. They walk around for a bit, and then Andi leads them to a rail bike, where the guys have to pedal up a long hill to a monastery (which looks miserable to me, btw. Again, between the stripping, miming and pedaling, there’s no way I’d make it past week 2. “You want me to do what? No. That’s not happening.”). Andi leads them inside, and in the bombshell of the night, announces that there’s no kissing allowed inside the abbey walls! What will they possibly do if they can’t make out? Actually talk to each other? No way this works. First off, Andi and Farmer Chris go to a room to reenact the pottery scene from ghost. Chris is giving her instructions, so apparently he’s done this before. To summarize, he writes anonymous love letters and makes pottery. Gee whiz, that’s some clean, wholesome fun! One thing he doesn’t do is respect the religious beliefs of Belgian monks, because he starts mauling her in the workshop. Hey, meathead! NO KISSING! They rejoin the group and Andi lets the guys know that whoever gets the rose will get a one-on-one for the rest of the day while the other 3 go home. Farmer Chris says he feels like a “nervous Nancy”. It’s amazing how this guy can go from a ladies man to a lady in the span of 30 seconds.
Coach Brian immediately falls apart after Andi makes her announcement. I bet this guy gets nervous walking across the street. It’s starting to get painful to watch. Being a basketball coach, shouldn’t he be able to handle pressure situations a little better than this? What do his players say when he starts sweating and throwing up on the sideline? Do they have to hold his clipboard for him while he shakily draws up the next play? Of course, Nick jumps at the opportunity to fuck with him a little: “This rose is huge. If you get it, you go to hometown dates. If you don’t, you’re completely up in the air. This is the biggest rose of the season. This might be the most important moment of your life.” He is completely in Brian’s head at this point.
Anyway, I don’t like how this is going one bit. Watching Andi and Farmer Chris run off to the pottery room to grope each other and then seeing Brian implode is causing a serious problem for my final four predictions. I hate to say it, but I think the Farmer just leapfrogged past Coach this week. We see about 7 seconds of Dylan and then more interviews with Nick, who says “If I was anyone else here, I’d just go home.” Seriously, Nick? Even for me, that’s getting a little too cocky. Even if you’re thinking it, you don’t say it. He tells Andi he feels her falling in love with him and he’s going to marry her, and there’s not a single ounce of her body language that denies it. Andi leans in for a kiss, but (despite the fact that everyone thinks he’s a two-faced scumbag) Nick actually respects the rules of the abbey and decides not to kiss her. What do you think about that, Farm Boy?
Of course, Nick gets the rose, and everyone is angry except the only two people on this show that count, namely Andi and Nick. Adding insult to injury, the producers make Chris, Brian and Dylan cram into the third-row seat of the SUV, which looks super comfortable:
A quick note: Brian is wearing a digital watch, and Chris has no watch at all, because he tells time by the sun. Plus, hoodies.
While the guys snuggle each other for comfort, Nick and Andi move the date to non-sacred ground so they can climb on top of each other. Andi is excited to talk, but all they do is make-out and then play word association games. Peanut butter or jelly? Pancakes or waffles? Big or small? (As a reminder, Nick has a size 10.5 shoe. It’s best to just say “medium” and temper her expectations). They talk about having kids, and then one more surprise! Fireworks on a hilltop! The Bachelorette production staff is checking all the boxes this season.
Meanwhile, the guys walk back into the hotel room and holy-crap-hotel-slippers:
Is Marcus worried the hotel carpet might chafe is dainty girl-scout feet? The five runner-ups embark on the most epic Nick-bitch-session of the season. He’s not here for the right reasons. What does Andi see in him? Marcus thinks he walks away on the last episode (What? Why?). Nobody trusts him. Blahblahblah…Nick comes back from the date and, after the world’s most uncomfortable silence, its feeding time in the lion’s den. It’s five on one and Nick is clearly over it. The guys accuse him of everything from being a liar to killing small puppies. Nick basically throws his hands up, says he’s here for Andi, doesn’t give a shit about what they think anymore and he’s done trying to defend himself. So, same shit, different week, essentially. The Lovely Better Half and I are on opposite sides of this issue, by the way. I think it’s just starting to dawn on these walking brain-stems that 24 out of 25 of them are going home, and they’re pissed that Nick is running away with it. There are no agendas or nefarious plans here; Nick and Andi just really hit it off from the beginning and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. LBH sees it a little differently. Even though there are no specific reasons not to trust Nick, she points out (correctly) that every single time there has been a personality conflict during a past season, it’s always been for a reason. The herd has been ruthlessly effective at isolating the bad apples, and there’s no reason to think this season is any different. So, who knows; maybe there is something wrong with Nick, but I certainly can’t pick it out.
The final cocktail party is at Chris Harrison’s Belgian Chateau (have I made that joke already this season? Yes, I think in France…) Andi shows up in another disco-ball dress that’s way too bulky and makes her look fat (channeling my inner Joan Rivers). She says she can picture visiting Marcus and Josh’s families, but after that she has no idea where she’s going. Translation: Coach and Farmer are fighting for 4th, and even then they’re still a long shot to finish. Josh smiles a lot, Marcus mumbles in hushed tones, and Chris works really hard selling Andi on Northeast Iowa. Dylan gets another 8 seconds of airtime while Andi looks at her watch. Nick decides to fuck with Brian some more and interrupts his alone time with Andi, and I have to admit that it’s kind if a dick move. Nick cries in the interview; again, I’m buying it, LBH thinks he’s faking it. Chris Harrison! His second appearance of the night can only mean one thing: the European debt crisis is solved and it’s time for the rose ceremony!
We’re going to your hometown y’all:
Nick – he hasn’t been this happy to move on from group living since he left home and his 10 brothers and sisters with it. Nick is sick of this shit.
Josh – homerun!
Marcus – Of course I accept this rose. Just don’t pin it to my chest so hard.
Farmer Chris – yeeeeeeeehaaawwww!
Which means we say goodbye to Dylan and Brian (and I lose one of my final four finishers). Dylan wishes he had opened up earlier. Umm, yeah. I haven’t seen a guy get this little airtime since, well…the last guy that none of us can remember being on the show.
Brian looks like he just lost the state championship. He gives a little speech about giving everything to a woman, and then completely loses his cool when he hears everyone laughing in the background. Easy, Brian; this is a coach-able moment. You can learn as much from losing as you can from winning.
Next week: hometowns! Moms, football, wheat fields! Can’t wait!
Now, let’s watch Dylan chase Brian around with a pickle…