Well, that was awkward. We knew the moment was coming when "The Bachelorette" would have to deal with an unfortunate real-life situation, as it was all over the news before the show even began airing (and was mentioned during the season kick-off). Still, I didn't see this playing out quite the way it did, even though we'd seen snippets leading up to it. Yes, ABC promo department, you fooled me again.
Even though we'd been led to believe that Andrew was going to be in Andi's crosshairs tonight, the person who made her burst into tears and rage against the machine was actually... Eric. Nice, sweet, former Mormon Eric. I think what caused this epic meltdown was really miscommunication. During the cocktail party, Eric pulled Andi aside to tell her that, even though she had asked him to be more open and revealing, the reality was she hadn't been equally so. Unfortunately, he started talking about the cameras and Andi's "poker face" and how he didn't want to date a "television actress," which pretty much made Andi go completely berserk. "I am exhausted! You have no idea what I'm going through! Aaaaah!"
I don't really think Eric thought Andi was fake, but he probably had a point that she was trying to follow instructions. I doubt anyone on this show doesn't get a little coaching, and Andi probably gets more than most. But in trying to tell Andi he wanted to get back to those little moments they shared on their one-on-one in which she seemed relaxed and happy, he pretty much shot himself in the foot. To his credit, he let her vent, then took his cue to go.
As we know, he died during a paragliding accident in Utah, which apparently happened just after Andi had finished her last hometown visit. We know that because, after we saw Eric take a cab into the Connecticut night, we cut to Chris Harrison and Andi sitting in studio. We didn't get a rose ceremony because "it didn't seem right," so instead Chris Harrison gave us a synopsis (Tasos gets kicked to the curb) and invited Andi to talk about Eric.
Andi did get choked up, and she did have nice things to say about Eric. Still, when Chris Harrison gave her an opportunity to say what she would have liked to say to him instead of what she did (which, let's face it, wasn't all that nice), she only admits, "The way he left is not ideally the last conversation I'd want to have with somebody." Really?
I think, watching the tape, it's pretty clear that Eric was trying to communicate a very sincere concern, and things were just coming out the wrong way. In trying to tell Andi he didn't feel as close to her as he wanted to feel, he made the mistake of using the words "poker face" and mentioned the cameras, then made that comment about "I don't want to date a television actress," and it all spiraled down the rabbit hole from there. Still, I think he just wanted to give her an out -- maybe we're not connecting because there are cameras in our faces -- and she didn't get it.
But then, maybe she didn't get it watching this time, either. I would have hoped she might have said, "Wow, I was really tired; I wish we'd had an opportunity to talk a little more," but no such luck. She did make a good point, though, that their ugly goodbye would have been quickly resolved during the Men Tell All episode. "He probably would have said something, I probably would have laughed, and it would all be water under the bridge." True, true.
Still, I'm relieved that Eric didn't emerge as a jerk or a cad who collects restaurant hostess' phone numbers or some other kind of monster. He didn't cry, he didn't freak out. Even in those awful final moments, he just took in Andi's freak out, realized there was no righting the ship, then nodded and got in his taxi knowing that he was ready to find love elsewhere. I'm sure a lot of women were watching thinking he was great boyfriend material. How sad he won't be. R.I.P. Eric Hill.
A lot of other things happened in this episode, but as Chris Harrison implied, it seems weird to be rehashing the frippery in light of Eric's passing. In short, Andi had the best date ever with Marcus, who not only didn't freak out during their rappelling adventure, but managed to talk her down and keep her calm despite his own fear of heights. Dylan got a one-on-one and finally spit out all of that sad story about his dead brother and sister, which made Andi cry (well, she held it together with him, to her credit, then cried later).
There was that entirely predictable guys vs. guys battle during a group date with the winners getting to spend time with Andi, and Brian won Andi's heart (and got a rose). Oh, and Andi got a love letter from a secret admirer, who I'm sure won't be a secret for long. Eric may be gone, but the game goes on. I'm sad that he's passed, and also sad Andi didn't see what seemed so obvious in those final moments -- that he wanted to be honest, and connect honestly, and he was just trying to understand where they were going wrong. Too bad it all ended on such a miserable note.
Did you like Eric? What did you think of the way the show ended? Do you think Andi misunderstood?