Stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers on the finale episode of Sean Lowe’s season of The Bachelor (original air date: Monday, March 11, 2013).
Seriously. Stop reading now if you don’t want to know. I may reveal it before the last paragraph. Just saying.
So here we go.
It’s Sean’s final week and he’s gots to pick his future wife, or future ex-fiancée. Semantics.
We start live with Bachelor host Chris Harrison in a studio that I assume must smell of hair bleach and desperation. We are promised an “historic” night. Oh my!
Sean’s family arrives in Chiang Rai, Thailand, to grill/meet the final two women: Catherine and Lindsay. His (so-adorable he gets you right in the cuterus) nephew Smith (yup) promptly reminds Sean that “Emily didn’t pick you”. Hahahahaha. Sean’s brother-in-law is so distractingly handsome I almost miss the part where Sean practically begs his brethren to give him the “clarity” he needs to choose between his final two women.
Sean brings his parents, sister and brother-in-law up to speed on Catherine, who will be arriving first. Catherine arrives and gets a warm welcome from the Lowe brood, particularly Sean’s dad who is officially the World’s Nicest Man. Sean’s mom Sherry and Catherine wander off for a private chat, and Catherine tells a cute story about how early on she was writing Sean little notes and he sent her one that said he liked the way her nose crinkled or something. Catherine confirms to Sherry that she would totes accept a marriage proposal from Sean in the end, and Sherry tells Catherine she’s lovely and would be a welcome addition to the family. When Catherine sits down with Sean’s dad Jay, he asks her if she believes in the Bachelor process and she says she does and is “consumed” by Sean. Jay goes on to say that “If it’s you that Sean ends up marrying you will never have a bigger fan than me….I’ll love you like my daughter.” Sniff. Catherine starts to cry. I can only imagine how touched she was, given that her dad has been in China for most of her life battling mental health issues (and I’ve also heard some rumblings about domestic violence on his part too). Catherine wants in with the Lowe family. She wants in bad. And clearly they were super impressed with her too.
Sean greets Lindsay the next day, and in his voice-over says he’s “in love with Lindsay” and is super excited to introduce her to his family. Lindsay is anxious to make a good impression on her potential future family. She blends in seamlessly with Sean’s family, who seem very similar to her own as we saw during hometown week. Lindsay tells Sean’s dad she’s the “only monkey in Missouri” and they joke about Lindsay’s first night meeting Sean, when she got out of the limo tipsy on champagne and wearing a wedding dress. Jay and Catherine talk and Lindsay says that Sean challenges her, supports her and makes her feel beautiful. Jay wants to know what a married couple do when they come to a crossroads on a major decision, and Lindsay says it takes a lot of prayer and communication. Smart play with the religion card, Lindsay. Jay gets misty-eyed, telling Lindsay that they’ve been praying for Sean to meet his wife since the day he was born. Could Lindsay be the one? Jay tells her that if it is her, he would be thrilled.
As I’ve mentioned before, my only hesitation about Lindsay is that she seems to lack a bit of depth and seemed a little…vacant. But she really impressed me during the meet-the-parents gig, especially when she asks Jay’s permission to marry Sean should they get engaged. Cute! When Sherry and Lindsay sit down for a tête-à-tête, Lindsay says that her first date with Sean felt like their fifth date, and that they want the same things in life and share the same values. “Our relationship is real and it’s normal,” Lindsay insists. Then Lindsay pulls out the big guns: her and Sean have discussed waiting until after marriage to live together. Sherry is thrilled. Lindsay seems to be as in love with Sean’s folks as she is with Sean. Heck, I would marry Sean’s family. I’d marry the shit out of them. “Well, shall we vote?” jokes Sean’s dad when they’re all back in the same room. Touché. And with a “Bye baby”, Lindsay is off.
In his voice over, Sean laments that he feels really great when he’s around Lindsay but is falling in love with Catherine too, and feels that he could have a long and happy marriage with either one of them. He hopes that now that his family has met both women they can help him make his final decision. Yeah, good luck with that. They love both women. And there’s a slight hitch. Mom doesn’t want Sean to necessarily get engaged. Um, have you never seen the show Sherry? That’s sort of the whole deal. But Sherry thinks that Sean should pretty much already know who he wants to be with by this point. Sean and Sherry step away for some mom and son real talk on wicker chairs, and Sherry flat out tells Sean he doesn’t need to be proposing. Period. Sean gets his back up a bit but ultimately he just wants mom’s support. Sherry gets emotional and Sean leads her away. The camera crew scrambles to stay close behind while Sherry worries about the impact of Sean’s decision. Sean assures his mom that he won’t do anything unless he’s positive. She reminds him that he doesn’t have to pick either of the women, and if he’s not sure who it should be then maybe the best choice is to not propose at all. Somewhere, a Bachelor producer is curled up in the fetal position, crying and whispering “he must pick, he must pick.”
Back in the Live!Studio!Audience! of lip injections and anticipation, Chris Harrison promises a huge announcement during the After the Final Rose live show.
The next day, Sean and Lindsay venture out for their last official show date. Sean’s wearing an Easter egg-coloured tank top and Lindsay is in baby pink short shorts. Matchy! The duo float along a river, giggle endlessly and kiss a lot while two Thai men silently steer their boat. Later they head inside for some champagne and feelings. Sean thinks a life with Lindsay would “never be dull” and Lindsay feels like she knows Sean “so well.” They agree they’re going to look hot when they’re old, and Lindsay tells Sean she loves him. Like, a lot. For the evening portion of their date, Sean and Lindsay drink some more and Lindsay is hyper-aware that in a few days she could be leaving Thailand with ‘everything she’s ever wanted’ or, you know, nothing. Sean thanks Lindsay for being such a surprise and Lindsay says “I don’t know what I would do if I lost you.” She’s nervous and there’s not much Sean can do to reassure her, of course. He assures her that she looks really pretty and he’s glad to be there. So, that’ll do for now I suppose. They wander outside and lo and behold there are three paper lanterns waiting for them. They write “family”, “love” and “happiness” and send them off into the night. According to Thai tradition, the wishes they will write on their lanterns will come true. Sean thinks Lindsay might be the one for him, and loves that she’s so thoughtful and loving. They look at each other all lovey dovey. End scene.
In a living room in Toronto’s Roncesvalles neighbourhood, the following conversation then occurred:
S: Where do you think those love lanterns will end up?
R: Wouldn’t it be funny if they all end up in one guy’s back yard? All of them, in this one guy’s yard?
Me: Yeah like in Columbia or something. His yard is just filled with hundreds of lanterns, on fire. More and more every night and he’s like “Fuck where are these all coming from?!”
S: And he looks out and is like “Oh no, my cocaine is on fire!”
Yeah, that’s how we do.
The next day Sean heads out for his final official show date with Catherine. First up is a ride on an elephant. Sean and Catherine are outfitted in bright blue harem pants and jump aboard. I joke that riding this elephant is the most action either one of them has had in months. Later on, they snuggle up on a balcony and talk about how awesome their day was. For the darker, sexy time portion of their date, Catherine wants Sean to know that she wants to be with him forever before he leaves to make his final decision. Catherine knows she can’t hold anything back, even though she’s been more hesitant to be forthcoming with her feelings throughout their time together. Catherine tells Sean that she’s nervous to put herself out there because she knows he can’t “express fully” how he feels about her. She loves how they can be completely themselves and she really, REALLY loves his family. Sean reassures her that he pictures what their lives together would look like and tells Catherine she’s always on his mind. Catherine adds that she can’t see herself not accepting a proposal from him.
In Sean’s private on-camera interview, he massages his millions of shoulder muscles and grunts that the only thing holding him back is that “there’s still Lindsay.” Sean prepares to take his leave and after hugging so tight we can actually hear their heartbeats through their body microphones, Catherine doesn’t want to let go. She shakily tells Sean that she loves him. He goes for a sweet ass pat and whispers “thank you for today.” Catherine runs after Sean, crying, and they hug some more. “I’ll go. You go,” she says grudgingly. And then tells the camera she feels like “shit” and is pissed that she can’t get anything out of him. She dramatically topples into her bed for some more crying. “He has to be crazy about both of us at this point,” she admits.
It’s decision day and Sean is mulling over his choice the only way he knows how: shirtless with a towel wrapped around his waist. Oh the anticipation! I shoved about 3 jalapeno poppers into my mouth (ok, like 6) while Sean’s voiceover presents a run-down of both ladies. Sean feels like he’s with his best friend when he’s with Catherine, but him and Lindsay have a “spark that has grown into a massive flame.” He’s made up his mind though.
Up until this point I strongly suspected that Sean was going to end up with Lindsay, who I saw as a sure bet. She’s easy breezy and a cute, girl-next-door type with a similar family to Sean’s. And then Sean said this: “I woke up this morning and I just knew that there was a woman that I couldn’t stand to live without.” And I started to think maybe it was going to be Catherine. She’s the thinking man’s choice, I thought. And that was quickly followed by “Ugh I ate too many jalapeno poppers but I’m going to eat more now.”
Jeweller Neil Lane shows up and Sean easily picks out a cushion cut diamond for his future fiancée. While getting dressed, Sean is preparing “to love in a way that I’ve never loved” and he’s super pumped that he came on The Bachelor. He starts to cry in his interview. And every woman in North America sighed a collective “awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.”
Lindsay is crying too and is ready to see Sean. Her “whole life is going to change,” and while that happens she’ll be wearing a silver sheath dress and hooker heels. Catherine, meanwhile, feels “overwhelmed” and “emotional” in a gold lamé number. Sean walks to the Possible Proposal Altar and is dreading breaking up with one of the woman.
Back in the studio Chris takes an informal poll of the audience, asking who they think Sean will choose. Catherine gets the most jumpy claps and ‘woos’. He then walks over to chat with former contestants Lesley (Catherine’s BFF on the show), Sarah, AshLee and Jackie. Lesley thinks it will be Catherine in the end. The rest of the ladies think it will be Lindsay. The best part is when AshLee says that she sees a spark between Sean and the final two women who are more “laid-back” and share Sean’s sense of humour and are more playful (than she was).
You may recall that back around episode 5 the show previewed the finale episode and showed Sean receiving a letter at the altar. Chris now asks Jackie who she thinks the letter is from. She thinks it’s either from Sean’s mom, urging him not to propose if he isn’t sure, or from Catherine (dumping him at the altar maybe?).
A car drives up and…Lindsay steps out and takes the precarious walk over a bridge to Sean. I try not to jump to conclusions. The first person out isn’t necessarily the one getting dumped, right? I’ve only seen a few seasons of this show so I’m not positive but I think maybe sometimes they switch it up?
Sean tells Lindsay she has been “such a surprise” and he didn’t anticipate the depth he would find in their relationship. He’s amazed at her love and generosity, and Lindsay blows him away.
Then there’s an “um…”
That “um” sounds like it precedes vomiting. And then:
“Lindsay, this is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do….”
And there it is.
Lindsay’s face falls. Sean’s breathing heavily.
His heart has led him somewhere else. Sean tells Lindsay he has been “praying for clarity” and has finally gotten it. He tells Lindsay that he loves her, and that’s the hardest part. Lindsay stammers “It’s ok. Just don’t. It’s ok.” And then: “Is it me?” I actually shouted “NO!” at the TV. What can I say, Lindsay got to me this week. And THEN: “Ok well I’m gonna go. Because this is just really, really painful and this is my nightmare. I didn’t see this coming. I’m happy for you, I’m happy that you found love but I honestly can’t imagine my life without you…” Ouch. My heart hurts for her!
As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve not watched many seasons of the Bachelor/Bachelorette and am by no means an expert, but am I right in thinking that Lindsay’s reaction in that moment was the classiest ever, as far as final two goes? Or at least on par with Lindzi Cox in Ben’s season? Lindsay handled it SO WELL. And taking her heels off to walk back across the bridge was one of my favourite TV moments ever. She wasn’t going to be humiliated AND risk twisting her ankle.
A sniffling Sean escorts Lindsay back to host Chris Harrison and tells her how blessed he was to get to know her. Lindsay departs with a “good luck.”
In the car, Lindsay tearfully admits she feels like an idiot and wonders how Sean could do this to her. She thought she had found the one she would have a family with and grow old with. She also doesn’t “want to be alone.” A quick reminder here that Lindsay is 24. Just saying. Oh kitten, I predict you’ll be engaged to a brunette version of Sean in like a minute.
Back on the Altar of Recent Rejection, Chris hands Sean a letter…from Catherine. My view crew started freaking out because there was only 5 minutes left of the official 2 hour episode before the After the Final Rose 1-hour special and there’s no sign of Catherine. DOES THIS MEAN THE LETTER IS FROM HER, DUMPING SEAN? THAT IS NOT ENOUGH TIME FOR A PROPOSAL BEFORE 10 PM!!!! And now we’re back on Chris Harrison and the studio audience goes on a groaning spree. I stopped breathing….
Oh you producers, messing with our hearts and our hormones is cruel!
You tricked us by carrying over the 2 hour finale into overtime. We come back from commercial and Sean starts reading Catherine’s letter aloud. And it’s a good one! She tells Sean how excited she is to build a family with him and that they aren’t perfect, but they’re perfect for each other. Sean starts to cry again and Chris arrives with Catherine. Sean begins by telling Catherine she looks amazing and that from the very beginning he knew she was someone he wanted to be around. Apparently, Catherine never ceases to amaze Sean, and he misses her every time they have to say goodbye so he doesn’t want to say goodbye anymore. Sean tells Catherine he wants to spend the rest of his life telling her he loves her. THIS IS HAPPENING.
Catherine looks like she’s just trying to remember how to breathe, and her nostrils are going INSANE. Sean gets down on one knee and asks Catherine to marry him. She, of course, says yes. And they hug and hug and hug. She doesn’t even look at the ring. She doesn’t forget to tell Sean how handsome he looks, though. It’s her favourite thing to say. And she adds ‘I’m so addicted to you!” and accepts the final rose. They ride off on an elephant. Cute overload.
In the ‘After the Final Rose’ special, we learn that we’ll hear from Lindsay, that there’s some sort of major announcement about Sean and Catherine, and that the identity of the next Bachelorette will be revealed. Squeal!
Sean comes out first to a screaming mass of still-moist women, even more in lust with him than ever now that they’ve seen him propose on national television. Sean is so excited that the secret’s out so he can love on Catherine in public. He describes Catherine as the light of his life. On breaking up with Lindsay, Sean confesses that he a) wishes he could’ve given her closure but he couldn’t find the words; and that b) he hasn’t cried like that since his grandfather died.
Lindsay joins Sean and Chris on stage in a demure cream-coloured lace dress. She says she watched the episode back stage and then asks Sean about 9 different ways what made him decide on Catherine instead of her and at what point did he know. Sean admits he really didn’t know going into the final week who he would end up with. God’s name is mentioned like a dozen times. But basically Catherine > Lindsay. Lindsay is super classy and holds up well. She’s genuinely happy for Sean and has grown “so much stronger from the situation.” She tears up recalling having to tell her family that she wasn’t the last woman standing. It’s the most I’ve ever liked Lindsay and for a minute I hope she’s the next Bachelorette, but that thought is quickly replaced by my real #1 choice for that role: Katie Holmes. Err..I mean Desiree. Fingers crossed.
Now we get to see Catherine and Sean together for this first time officially as a couple. They are so affectionate and sweet together and clearly overjoyed at being able to go public. They watch the clip of them getting engaged and they both tear up over it. Sean admits that he re-reads Catherine’s altar letter all the time. The big announcement is… that Sean and Catherine will get married on TV! So, that’s a great way to get someone else to foot the bill. They plan to get hitched sooner rather than later.
Last but not least is the announcement on who will be the next Bachelorette. We start chanting “Des, Des, Des” at the screen and…. yays! Desiree walks out! An emotional Desiree is super excited to start her journey.
Parting thought: The “drink every time someone says ‘journey’” drinking game I’ve taken a shining to this season has resulted in some really enthusiastic viewing nights (and some PowerAde-fueled Tuesday mornings). Highly recommend.