‘The Bachelorette’ recap: Eric Hill’s farewell is both bitter and sweet

In the “Bachelorette” season premiere, host Chris Harrison dedicated the season to the memory of Eric Hill, a contestant who died in a paragliding accident in April, shortly after he finished filming. In tonight’s episode, the second half of a two-night event, we found out how he left the show, and it wasn’t on the best of terms.

‘Bachelorette’ recap: Three men leave on a sour note at start of two-night event

Recognizing a feeling of disconnection between himself and bachelorette Andi Dorfman, he confronted her with the possibility that the reality-television format was preventing her from being authentic. “I came here to meet a person, not a TV actress,” he told her, leading to a tearful fight that ended when she dismissed him from the show early, not waiting for the rose ceremony to make her feelings known.

There was a rose ceremony soon thereafter, which resulted in the elimination of wedding event coordinator Tasos, but we didn’t see his exit. Instead, Chris Harrison and Andi closed the show by paying tribute to Eric.

During their talk, Andi expressed regret that she never had the opportunity to reconcile with Eric during an eventual cast reunion. His accident occurred while the season was still filming; the cast and crew learned the tragic news while Andi was returning from hometown dates with the remaining contestants, so we may see how his sudden passing further affects the show in later episodes.

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Though Andi’s relationship with Eric had stalled, the remainder of the episode saw her feelings deepen for several other suitors, with whom she traveled from Los Angeles to the Mohegan Sun resort and casino in Connecticut, whose amenities got at least as much screentime as any of the bachelors.

She went on her first solo date of the week with accountant Dylan: a train ride and a dinner that began with shyness but ended with Dylan revealing deeply personal details about the recent death of his brother. She rewarded his candor with an early rose.

Their one-on-one was followed by a group date during which 11 bachelors were divided into teams for a head-to-head basketball match, the winner of which would receive a group dinner with Andi. The “Rosebuds” won, so its team members — Andrew, Brian, Cody, Eric, Marquel, and Nick V. — got the benefit of more face time with the bachelorette.

Brian, a basketball coach, assumed from the start that the date would go his way, though recently ousted opera singer Bradley thought he had a similar advantage during Sunday night’s musical date, and we saw how that turned out. Unlike Bradley, however, Brian’s confidence was rewarded: after he spent more quality time with Andi and sank a basket from half-court, he scored an early rose.

Andi’s third early rose of the week went to Marcus, with whom she went on her second one-on-one date of the week, but they didn’t have to go far: their date took them to the roof of the hotel, from which they rappelled in order to overcome their mutual fear of heights.

Is Marcus the man to beat? Click here to see our ‘Bachelorette’ odds

Marcus was the first one off the ledge, remaining calm and collected while Andi panicked. He explained his role in their budding relationship by saying, “I need to be the man in this relationship and hide my fear,” ironic given that a recurring theme of the night was the men’s willingness to open up about their feelings.

The remaining contestants are as follows:

Andrew, 30, a social media marketer from Culver City, CA
Brian, 27, a basketball coach from Camp Hill, PA
Chris, 32, a farmer from Arlington, IA
Cody, 28, a personal trainer from Chicago, IL
Dylan, 26, an accountant from Boston, MA
J J, 30, a pantsapreneur from San Francisco, CA
Josh M., 29, a former professional baseball player from Atlanta, GA
Marcus, 25, a sports medicine manager from Dallas, TX
Marquel, 26, a sponsorship salesman from Las Vegas, NV
Nick V., 33, a software sales executive from Chicago, IL
Patrick, 29, an advertising executive from Newport Beach, CA

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What did you think of tonight’s “Bachelorette”? Did Andi make the right choices? Below, predict who will be eliminated next, and click here to make your complete predictions for season 10 of “The Bachelorette.”

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