* JUST A REMINDER THAT THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE ZONE. WHEN COMMENTING PLEASE RESPECT THIS. *
“It's scary for me because I have two guys, Nick and Marcus, who are ready to get married, and I don't feel like Josh is at that point yet.” – Andi, because the third time in one week a new guy tells you he's in love with you's a charm.
Episode 7 brings us to Belgium, where the boys move into Brussels' Steinberger Hotel with scant excitement but very well-coordinated outfits:
Nick gets started nice and early with the role of Rebel both in attire and reaction:
We're treated to a very unique Chris Harrison Boy Chat where Josh amusingly takes Nick's saying he takes impending hometowns very seriously to mean that the others don't:
We're only five minutes in but Nick already realizes he can't say anything without being misunderstood. Plenty of this in our future:
I captured this photo simply because it's tragically the only Too Serious™ we get from Josh this week:
Nick just comes out and says “These Man Chats have taken their toll”, much to my delight:
Josh's cursing when Marcus got the one-on-one was another highlight:
One thing no one can dispute about is this season is that it has several guys who are legitimately falling for the Bachelorette. Say what you want about past seasons, very few of them had so many contestants this hardcore emotionally invested in the girl herself.
In addition to the Chris Harrison Boy Chat, there are a few other rare moments this week. The first is a solid glimpse of a camera:
It's exciting to see but it still doesn't do just how invasive they are justice. This makes it look like they're somewhat out of the way. They're not.
Marcus' date is pretty run-of-the-mill. The one thing that bugged me was Andi's equating Marcus almost leaving the show with his ability to “stick around through thick and thin”. Don't get me wrong: I know full well Andi is too smart to think one has anything to do with the other and is likely just saying what she's told to say. I just wish we weren't fed nonsensical lines like this for the sake of faux doubt concerning a contestant.
That is more than made up for with their very moving conversation during the evening portion. Kudos to Marcus for exposing his difficult past, and kudos to Andi for reacting very appropriately to everything he revealed. I particularly liked when – not dismissively – she said, “I'm not going to sit there and concern myself about someone who chooses not to be there. It's more about who actually is there.”
Back at the hotel, Dylan continues to taunt me with that hair:
What happens next is interesting. Dylan reveals Josh has the next one-on-one. There is a voiceover of Nick voicing frustration. This voiceover is during moment when he is smoothing a crease in his jeans:
Funny how the voiceover makes a simple, absent-minded move like this immediately seem loaded. He looks annoyed, doesn't he? Also, where is Dylan looking? I'm 99% sure at a producer, who is likely creating relevant (meaning Bachelorette-related) conversation. But you'd never know because all we hear is the voiceover of a mish-mash of Nick's frustrations.
Ohhh man. This reception skit was so staged I don't even know where to begin. First of all, no one can just LEAVE the hotel suite. Believe me. Nick had not only permission, but escorts, and I'm not just talking about cameras.
But perhaps the biggest giveaway is the fact that Nick is a terrible actor. He couldn't wipe the grin off his face the entire time, proving this whole scene was a just that. A scene.
The one authentic thing to happen is Andi's reaction:
Andi: This is week seven. Go for it.
I completely agree. I mean, hello – this is supposed to end with an ENGAGEMENT. Go for it.
It's obvious Andi likes Nick a LOT. The way she looks at him, and also how she just "is" with him: it's as though she's softer, or more demure. These two are very sweet together and they have serious chemistry. I think we've all caught glimpses of their chemistry before but in this episode it's official and for the first time really seems to rival the chemistry she has with Josh.
First off, notice Andi's ITM outfit... it's intentionally nondescript. (Also notice her cat-eye makeup and the background for later) She proceeds to talk about how Marcus has come out and said he is in love, is invested in their relationship, and how Nick snuck over and said, “I am going to marry you.” Then she says today is her one-on-one with Josh. This was almost definitely done later on, when editing decided to instill doubt around Josh because of his lack of effusiveness.
Okay. So, about that "lack of effusiveness." I don't think Josh isn't effusive. Or rather, that he's not effusive enough. But more on that later. For now, we have what I found to be a very frustrating exchange between the two.
First of all, I know this is just a sliver of a LARGE pie that is their day-long date together. Of course the one conversation that addresses Josh's (in?)ability to emote is the one to get plucked and aired. But in this conversation Andi really doesn't seem to trust Josh and, in this conversation at least, has a tendency to hear the worst in what he says and put words in his mouth.
Andi: How fun is it going to be for you to go home and, like, tell everyone where you went.
Josh: I'm just excited to see my family and talk to them about everything. That's what I'm most excited about. I can't wait. I cannot wait. (He is very sincere as he says this and it is actually very sweet) I want you to talk to them about it, too.
Andi: Maybe. (why say this?)
Josh: (endearingly nonplussed) Without a doubt, that's what I'm most happy and excited about.
Andi: Happy or nervous? (again, why?)
(Cue ominous music. This conversation sounds cut up here. What Josh says next doesn't sound in response to Andi's question, which makes me take this entire exchange with a grain of salt.)
Josh: You know, those are the only people that I, like, am vulnerable around. Family and people I love. It's always tough showing that.
Andi: You're not good at showing it? (NO, don't say this!)
Josh: (honestly) It's not easy by any means, you know? That's never the easy par–
Andi: (interrupting) Are you good at being vulnerable? (Noooooooooooooooo!)
Josh: (again, honestly) This is very tough. (Bless his heart.)
Then, even faced with this...
... a brave and resolute Josh continues...
Josh: I know what I'm here for. You're what I'm here for. But it's tough at the same time, you know? Especially with the feelings I have for you.
Andi: You have feelings? (Sigh.)
Josh: (grinning) Maybe just a little bit. (His making light of the interrogation saves them both)
Note the makeup and background for the ITM going into the evening portion of date, when Andi continues to voice her doubts that Josh "can even express what he's feeling." Her hair is pulled back but her makeup is the same, and – notably – the sweater is NOT the one she's wearing on the date.
My money's on this ITM being the same one as the one with the nondescript top, and that it was done awhile after the fact, when those date outfits were long gone.
Anyway, none of that really matters because Josh finally succumbs to Andi's leading questions and tells her he's falling in love with her. This obviously results in Happy Andi™:
It must be said, the only thing that rivals the way Andi looks at Nick is the way she looks at Josh. These two have serious sparks. This moment was so intimate I almost felt like I shouldn't be watching:
We get a VERY RARE direct-look-into-camera from the Bachelorette herself:
If your time together isn't even slightly weirdened by many leering middle-aged European men surrounding you, you know you have something special:
GROUP DATE (DUH DUH DUHHH)
First thing's first, Andi's hair was perfection on this date. I thought her hair looked so fabulous I dedicated a screencap to it:
Dylan steals Josh's Too Serious™ to take in the sights of Les Ruines de Montaigle:
The ruins are stunningly gorgeous and I've made a note to self to add Les Ruines de Montaigle to my bucket list. I mean, damn:
Unfortunately, Dylan sells out with a producer-fed metaphor: “The ruins stood the test of time, and I'm hoping Andi and I's relationship can also stand the test of time.”
Thankfully, when pedaling for his life, Dylan redeems himself with not one but two laugh-out-loud moments:
Dylan: Hey, can I have my inhaler?
Dylan: (as part of the ryhming game) I wish I had some car keys.
Who didn't fall in love with Dylan and his sense of humor in those three short minutes?
Another addition to my bucket list: Maredsous Abbey. Just, wow:
In a bout of foreshadowing who the fourth hometown recipient will be, Chris gets his own denim-clad mini one-on-one. The first thing I thought when I saw this was that poor Dylan, Brian, and Nick have nothing to do but wait while this transpires. This certainly includes ITMs and drinking, but it's still them waiting for everyone to have their turn.
The second thing I thought was that Chris has really nice hands. I have a potentially embarrassing confession to make: I always notice a man's hands and really appreciate nice ones. Nothing too manicured! Beautiful but masculine hands. Drool:
The third thing I thought was that Andi speaks truth: He DOES look good in that denim shirt:
That nondescript-outfit ITM was a very productive one:
Andi: I'm dreading telling the guys about the rose on today's date.
Nick grows weary of waiting his turn and delivers a fantastic direct-look-into-camera:
Brian knows he has to pull out all the stops which naturally means telling the Bachelorette you're falling in love with her:
Compare the above face with the one she gave each Nick and Josh at the same professions. You don't even need to watch until the end of the episode to know Brian's going home. (Sorry, Brian. I do like you.)
A shot of Nick killing time by pacing on his own, hands stuffed in his pockets and kicking turf, is used to make him seem petulant and like he has no friends:
Yeah, yeah, I know I've always been #TeamNick. But seriously, I found all of his dismissals of the other guys with regards to Andi not as mean-spirited as many seem to. He's in love with a girl, despite his many misgivings about the show and its process. I think either because of that, and perhaps also to justify his accelerated emotions, he's really confident. And frankly, Andi has given him every reason to be.
Insult is added to injury for poor Chris, Dylan, and Brian, as they're forced to sit on top of one another whilst...
Upon returning to the hotel, they teach Marcus their ways:
All I can say about all that is I think they will be very surprised to watch this season back and see what Andi and Nick have.
Andi: When Nick looks at me I feel like he just sees me. It's like he sees every part of me, who I am, and I don't know... it's very powerful.
Nick: She just feels like my other half.
Back at the hotel, the guys criticize Nick for being intelligent, because his intelligence must mean he's using it only to get himself to the end. His confidence can't possibly translate to actual feelings for Andi. That's just impossible.
Nick returns to the hotel and we enjoy one of the most awkward silences in this series' history. Not Clare and Nikki proportions of awkward, of course (that would be too much to hope for) but still.
Nick avoids eye contact with the guys and, in doing so, gives more hilariously dry direct-looks-into-camera in a short span than ever before and it is EPIC:
The guys embark on an inane and inebriated-sounding Nick takedown:
Chris: What does Nick talk more about? Strategy or Andi?
Nick: Give me an example.
Brian: Because... I've had conversations with these guys... (gestures the other guys who also don't like Nick)
Nick: That's great, just give me an example other than, like –
Chris: The example is that I, I think, we all, everybody feels uncomfortable with the way you talk about strategy.
Nick: Give me an example when you say talk about strategy.
Chris: (proving to be quite nonsensical when he gets worked up) I won't... because it's ... I try to block it out. You literally go into like obsessively talking, like, what's gonna happen next, what the next date card's gonna be, who's it gonna be, who's gonna be on the date card, how's it gonna happen, what's gonna happen, who's, you know, and now who's gonna be the next Bachelor, those type of things are distasteful and things that disrespect the whole process 'cause we're here, like, trying to fall in love, not about workin' on some, some sss-- when I sss---- I don't strategize. (Nick thankfully tries to interrupt the nonsense) And I won't let you interrupt because that's your whole MO 'cause you can't help but not hear yourself talk (?), it's awesome, and we all hate that, but it seems like you're more of a gamer and you're not here for the right reasons. (Believe it or not I added punctuation generously to that.)
Nick reminds us why he's my favorite by reacting with:
The Rose Ceremony came and went with very few surprises, in my opinion. I wasn't in the least bit shocked by Brian and Dylan going home though it was sad since they're both so gosh darn likable. There was just one moment that I found sweet:
Andi: (in reference to Nick's interrupting Brian's one-on-one time) You've got a target on your back.
Nick: What do you mean?
Andi: You've got a rose! I'm worried about you. (I loved this. If Andi's not your favorite Bachelorette you're crazy.)
Chris' beautiful hands and drunken ranting both stood out this week, but his ensemble at the Rose Ceremony knocked it out of the park. His suit is SO perfectly cut for him and he manages to look polished yet still masculine. (not an easy combination) Plus, his tie adds just the right amount of interest while remaining oh-so-tasteful. I love it.
My favorite season to dress for is easily Autumn, and it seems Andi (and her stylist) feel the same. Though this was filmed in Spring, it must have been a bit brisk in Belgium. We have that to thank for many a covetable Fall look.
Although I own a few and never wear them, I never stop loving a cute cape. They're kind of impractical – pretty much your only handbag options are a top-handle purse or a clutch – but so cute:
I am seriously lusting after this black leather cape.
Her daytime outfit for Marcus' one-on-one was a head-to-toe win for me:
I love the turtleneck/riding boots twist on her usual white jeans slayage. And that cuddly cape-y cardigan is to DIE for.
Her evening portion dress wasn't as successful in my eyes:
While I LOVE the silhouette and very hot front cutout, I'm not a fan of the color-blocking. I personally would have preferred a solid color since the cut has so much going on.
I wasn't wild about her daytime ensemble for her one-on-one with Josh:
I mean, obviously the waist down is great because she was born to wear skinny white jeans. But I'm not into the shiny (silk? nylon?) jacket, nor the incorporation of a crop top on a day that requires a jacket in the first place.
My hands-down favorite look of the week was her über-hot nighttime ensemble:
THAT SWEATER. THE PONYTAIL. ARE THOSE ELEPHANT-GREY LEATHER PANTS??? Be still my heart. I am in love. And don't even get me started on the accessories:
Her group date daytime look was a near-win for me:
I this case I love the waist up, but I'm the first to admit I've never liked cargo pants or any variation thereof.
The Rose Ceremony look was nothing short of spectacular:
I love how everything's covered up with glitz and beading except for a fantastically daring slit. This intricate gown was a show-stopper.
DRINKING GAME WORDS OF THE WEEK
Until next week, fellow pandas!