It should have been a happy day — aka Bachelorette’s Hometown Dates, a fan favorite episode — but instead, we were left reeling with emotion. In the July 7 ep, Andi Dorfman and her four remaining guys — Josh Murray, Nick Viall, Chris Soules, Marcus Grodd — found out about recently-departed contestant Eric Hill’s tragic death in a paragliding accident. We were wondering how ABC was going to handle the situation, and we’re still not sure what to make of the final cut.
Adventure traveler Eric, 31, was seriously injured while doing the extreme sport with some friends in Utah on April 20 — just weeks after he was sent home from Andi’s Season 10 of the show. Though he was no longer filming at the time of the accident, the show was still in production, with the four final contestants bringing Andi by their family homes. When he passed the following day, his sister took to Facebook to share their loss, sending a shock through Bachelor Nation.
Not long after, it appears that Chris Harrison and the rest of production thought it was best to tell Andi and her guys right away, just 24 hours before the scheduled rose ceremony. In the ep, we saw Josh, Nick, Chris, and Marcus arrive first at Harrison’s (temporary?) home, followed shortly by a confused Andi.
The host, clearly shaken, begins, “You all know Eric Hill, adventuresome, loved to travel. He, a couple days ago, was in Utah paragliding and was in a serious accident. We knew he was hurt bad we just didn’t know how bad. We learned this morning that he passed away. I’m really sorry to be the one to have to tell you, but as soon as we found out, I definitely wanted everyone of you guys to know as fast as we could.”
All five of them were understandably speechless and moved to tears, and Marcus even briefly got up and left the room to take a moment on the porch before coming back in with Andi. The Bachelorette then told the guys through sobs, “As tough as it is, I’m glad we’re all doing this together. It just puts it into perspective there’s so much more to all this — it’s life. People have lives here, you know?”
Then, in an unprecedented move, the film crew put their cameras down and the cast and crew embraced, which was captured by a camera still filming on the floor. It was one of the more brutal things to watch on TV this year, and definitely pulled the curtain back on the true reality of a reality show. The fact that these intimate moments were shown on camera might leave some people unsettled — though others could see it as a fair and honest tribute. We can’t make our mind up, to be honest.
So we’ll ask you: What did you think of the way the show handled Eric’s passing? Vote below, then hit the comments.