"The Bachelorette" said goodbye to Eric Hill during Monday's episode, and paid tribute to him in an emotional conversation that replaced the show's traditional rose ceremony.
Hill died in April after being severely injured in a paragliding accident in Utah. The 31-year-old had already been eliminated from "The Bachelorette" at the time of his death.
His heated final exchange with Andi Dorfman and subsequent departure from the show was dramatic, and made all the more sad for viewers who watched it knowing what would happen to him not long after.
Hill was part of the group date that took place with Andi at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. There, he and 10 other guys were split into two teams to play a little basketball. The winning team got to have an evening date with Andi, while the losers went back to the hotel alone.
The Rosebuds (Nick, Cody, Andrew, Eric, Marquel, and Brian) ended up beating the Five of Hearts (Josh, JJ, Chris, Patrick, and Tasos) handily, cheering and celebrating as the others sulked back to the locker room.
It was during that later date time that Andi confessed she felt her relationship with Eric was "not progressing." She pressed him to be more open with her, and it turns out he's got some concerns too - namely, that dating someone on a reality TV show doesn't lend itself to the most genuine of interactions. "Every one-on-one time we've had -- it's so formal," he told her. "Even the way that we're sitting and the way that we're dressed. This isn't really me." But he did talk to her about his family and how he was raised Mormon but left the church.
Later, at another cocktail party with all the guys, Eric pulled her aside again to continue their conversation. He disagreed with what she said earlier, and told her he felt the opposite. "I've been really open with you," he said. "I feel like you're not being [the real] Andi with me... I came on this to meet a person, not a TV actress."
That did not sit well with Andi at all. She got increasingly upset at his claim that she has a "poker face" and ultimately told him to leave.
"Am I comfortable and natural all the time? Not a chance," she fumed. "But do I work my ass off and stay up late so that everyone knows that I'm here for them? Yeah I do. You have no idea how exhausted I am! You have no clue how it is to look at them in the face and send them home!"
"I think at this point, you and I both know that this is not gonna work," she said. "I think you see it, I see it, right now, in this moment. I cannot fight for somebody who doesn't believe in me, and I don't think you do."
They bid each other a curt goodbye and Andi heads back to put the rest of the group on notice. She tells them if anyone else thought she had a "poker face" or that this was a joke to her, they could "walk [their] ass on out." Through tears, she adds, "This is real to me. Every single day this is real to me." She leaves, and then Eric is shown waiting for a cab.
It's at this point in the show that the rose ceremony is normally shown (and Tasos was sent home). But instead, the show cut to a sit-down between Andi and host Chris Harrison in which they talked about Eric, how he left the show and how his death affected them and the rest of the "Bachelorette" cast and crew.
"To be honest, the way Eric left and my last conversation with him is not ideally the last conversation that I would want to have with somebody," Andi admitted, noting that usually she'd get a chance to talk things out with him during the "Men Tell All" special later in the season. "I can't have that [other] last conversation with Eric. I can say I feel like if I had that last conversation with him, he'd probably say something, I'd probably laugh, and it'd be water under the bridge. But unfortunately, we don't get to have that last conversation, and that's a tough pill to swallow."