‘The Bachelorette’ recap: Real-life tragedy intrudes on reality-show romance

We knew from the beginning of the season that eliminated “Bachelorette” contestant Eric Hill had died in a paragliding accident while the season was still in production, and his fraught final appearance on the show was followed by a brief and slightly uneasy tribute; how do you honor a man who was dismissed from the show so angrily? In this week’s episode, following Andi Dorfman‘s hometown visits with her final four suitors, we watched the show further navigate the uncertain waters.

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The news of Hill’s death was announced to Andi and the four men after their hometown visits had concluded. Gathered together at host Chris Harrison‘s home in Los Angeles, Dorfman and company mourned the loss, as did the production crew members who were on hand to document it. At one point, the crew lowered their equipment and joined the cast in their grief, leaving just one stationary camera rolling.

The unforeseen tragedy certainly put the show’s producers, host, and cast in a difficult position. What is the best way to proceed with a reality show about fairy-tale romance and the promise of a happy ending after real-world loss barges in? Was it the right decision to proceed at all? And will Hill’s sudden death put the remainder of the season in a different perspective for Andi and company?

“The show must go on,” the participants seemed to decide. The week proceeded with a rose ceremony, as scheduled, and Andi narrowed the field from four men to three. Ironically, the man sent home was the one who had been the most effusive about his affections: Marcus.

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When he brought Andi to meet his family in Dallas, Marcus was already “madly in love” with her, and said she was his soul mate, but she confessed to his sister that she still needed to catch up to his emotions. By the end of the week, she decided she couldn’t reciprocate his feelings and, as our users predicted, sent him home, though she reassured him that he did nothing wrong.

That leaves three men: Nick V., Josh M., and Chris, who will embark on tropical fantasy dates next week (you can make complete predictions here). But that doesn’t mean her hometown visits with them left her without concerns.

With farmer Chris, foremost on her mind was whether she could continue her legal career in rural Iowa. Would there be a place for her there, socially and professionally? She was open enough to the idea to give him a rose at the end of the week, and she was impressed by his romantic gesture: hiring a plane to fly a banner across the sky that read, “Chris loves Andi!” She was also excited about the size of his tractor – and no, that’s not a euphemism.

With Josh, Andi worried about fading into the background. She learned Josh’s younger brother is pursuing a professional football career, so would she spend her marriage competing for attention against her brother-in-law’s NFL dreams? She wanted to know she would be Josh’s first priority, or maybe she just wants to avoid spending Sundays watching football.

Nick hasn’t told Andi he loves her yet, which may be a smart move considering how Marcus’s outpouring of emotions ultimately scared her off. But his mother, 10 siblings, and maybe even his dog picked up on his feelings when he brought her home to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The question, of course, is whether she is falling in love with him, or if she feels more strongly for Chris or Josh.

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What did you think of this week’s episode? Did the show handle Eric Hill’s death appropriately? And did Andi choose wisely from her remaining men? Use our easy drag-and-drop menu below to predict next week’s show, then share your feelings in our forums.

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