How 'The Bachelorette' Handled Eric Hill Leaving

It's been tough watching certain parts of The Bachelorette since the death of Eric Hill. There's a mix of sadness and confusion that goes along with each interaction and a sense of hesitation due the fact that we're watching this with the knowledge of Hill's tragic passing. How should we feel about watching this person's life as he's eliminated on an ABC reality show? Is it fair that we, as a general audience, only get to know this man as Andi Dorfman saw him during four episodes? When something like this happens, it tough to keep our eyes fixed on the television. Yet there it was, on national television and we had to deal with it. Thankfully, ABC delivered an episode-ending tribute that gave Eric a more proper sendoff.

The season was dedicated to Eric and so, Chris Harrison explained, they decided to cut the rose ceremony from the episode and talk about Andi's experience with Eric instead. But that's no easy task.

Unfortunately, Andi notes that she's not thrilled about the last conversation she had with him on the show. In this episode, he approached Andi on their first group date in Episode 4 and said that he wanted to get to know her better. He said that he feared that because of the "formal" process, that they weren't getting the chance they deserved as a couple. Andi got a bit prickly upon hearing that, but they quickly moved past the moment and they even said they felt like they were getting somewhere. But when the night of the rose ceremony rolled around, Eric went bolder.

He pulled Andi aside and said that though he originally blamed himself for not being open, he'd actually shared a lot of himself with her. He told her about getting stuck in Syria and leaving behind his family when he decided their religion wasn't who he was. Eric was sure of one thing: He'd been open, but Andi hadn't been; he wanted to see more of the real Andi. Then he really made her stiffen up: "It's like you're a TV actress ... It's like you have a poker face."

Suddenly, Andi was done. She let Eric know that respected his openness, but that he's struck a nerve. Being the Bachelorette is difficult and it is a process. She has to send people home, she has to be aware of the cameras, but she was sure she was still being real. But at the end of the conversation, what it boils down to is that Andi felt that Eric was calling her "fake."

While Eric had some good points — the show is fake and it does force the Bachelorette to keep a smile on her face when she's not feeling great — Andi was clearly hurt. It is a contrived premise and this does send people into unrealistic situations, but people — like Andi — who are a part of this show put up with the long hours and the emotional badminton for a reason. At least a part of them thinks that this process is real. Why else would a woman with a kickass job give up two months of her life to do this (twice)?

Eric leaves shortly after the interaction, with Andi convinced that if he can't trust her to be real and to take this seriously, their relationship would never work, but he's disappointed. He says he feels she took his words wrong, and to some extent she did. Nonetheless, the verdict seemed to be that while he seemed to be a frontrunner, the relationship ultimately wasn't right for either of them.

And while Eric left because he felt that he wasn't connecting with Andi, it's clear that he left an impression on her. While she speaks to Chris Harrison during the tribute, she wells up with tears in her eyes, noting that she did connect with him and that meeting him and getting to know him meant so much to her. It was the perfect way for ABC and the series to have dealt with Eric's death and his dramatic final scene on the Bachelorette. While he signed up to be shown on reality television, there is more outside of this show and the series clearly respects that.

Image: ABC