The two meet on a bench, Ian handing Meredith one of those signature "It Is Our Pleasure To Serve You" blue New York coffee cups. Dude, at least get her the large. He tells us in a confessional that Meredith did the thing most unexpected last week for The Bachelorette and -- wait for it -- wanted to talk about her feelings. He hopes that, rather than talking, "Meredith learns what [Ian's] about by meeting [his] friends and family tonight." You mean your "friend and one member of your family," pluralization bandit?
Ian escorts Meredith into a pitch-black bar with black leather couches and a pool table that does not read well on television. They take sips of enormous liquory beverages I'll just call a Gentritini, while Meredith muses over the fact that she won't be meeting Ian's, y'know, family on these, like, hometown family dates. Ian: "I don't know how comfortable I am with you meeting my whole family at once." He adds that they're "out there" and "kind of not super-warm" and "not easy" and "we don't actually talk about things." So then, his parents are the wolves that raised him or he was cultivated in a Petri dish. Whatever it is, it's bizarre. So, instead, we'll be meeting Ian's brother, who is younger but understands Ian and takes care of him and knows what it was like "growing up in Brazil." Hi. Don't be throwing the random shit at us to make sure we're still paying attention. We don't have any choice but to pay attention. And we'll remain riveted through this sentence, custom-designed for the Bachelorette gag reel but here passed off as utter, heart-rending sincerity: "I'm not just, like, an American guy who knows how to speak Portuguese. Or Spanish. Or whatever." Meredith responds that that's what she finds most attractive about him. Whereas I think it's his Portuguese accent. Or Spanish. Or whatever. Yeesh. The day Ian is our standing icon for pure Latin machismo feels a lot like the day Antonio Banderas left his role in Nine and was replaced by John Stamos.
Ian and Meredith take a rickety-ass elevator I haven't seen put to use since it was hideously soiled in that scene in Fatal Attraction, and I honestly can't even figure out how they got a shot of Ian and Meredith riding up it because there is literally nowhere for that cameraman even to go. Upon entering, they meet Ian's little, smaller brother Erik and their friend Damian. It's a pretty darn nice apartment for the New York real estate market, but the existence of money and complete lack of parents does nothing -- NOTHING -- to make me feel better about this increasingly squicky situation. Sitting around on some couches, Damian tries to ask Meredith what she thinks about Ian, but this shit doesn't work, so Ian and Damian disappear and Erik lets fly with some questions I wish made me a little less nervous in their delivery: "In your ultimate scenario, would you come out of the show with a ring or not?" She says she wants to get married someday, but she doesn't know when, and we kick it to Erik in a confessional telling us, "She's very nice. Everything you'd look for. In a girl." Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Ian tells Damian that in his mind, "on a personal, emotional level, she's my girlfriend." But, back in the living room at dinner, Meredith says, "I'm ready for a serious relationship." Furrowed brows and some dark secret about Ian's not committing because he's about to get called back to the mother ship or something abound, and Erik adds in confessional, "To go out and get married that quickly, it's a little bit of a rash decision." And then he tries to kill me with his eyes.