Recap: The Bachelor – Finale

Stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers on the finale of The Bachelor with Ben Higgins (original air date: Monday, March 14, 2016). Seriously, STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHO BEN PICKED. We good? Cool.

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The Bachelor Ben Higgins. Photo source: abc.com

Alright Bachelor fans – tonight is the night we find out if Ben proposes to Lauren or JoJo (or no one, but come on) on the “emotional season finale”. So gird your loins and let’s do this! This is a three hour finale so hopefully you got enough wine. If not, it’s totally normal to start panicking right about now,

When we last saw Ben, he had told both Lauren and JoJo that he was in love with them – gasp! Then he went on ‘Women Tell All’ and announced that he was so in love he would marry the woman of his choice ASAP. So, when we go to studio for the live broadcast hosted by Chris Harrison, we learn that the producers have flown in the families of both women and that Ben and his intended will, in fact, get married on the After the Final Rose special. His pastor is literally on stand-by. I CAN’T EVEN.

Cut to Lauren and JoJo (separately, of course) in Jamaica all happy and in love but also starting to wonder if maybe Ben’s been playing a little fast and loose with the “I love you’s.” On his end, Ben swears he is in love with both women. He has no idea what he’s going to do because he can’t imagine saying goodbye to either of them, and they both love him too. For a guy who described himself as feeling “unlovable” he’s certainly found himself in quite the pickle.

It’s time for the last ladies standing to meet the Higgins’. Ben swears up and down that his mind is not made up, so he’s hoping that his parents can provide some clarity: Betty or Veronica. Err…I mean Lauren or JoJo.

First up is Lauren. Ben tells his parents how Lauren had mentioned wanting to meet them during their first date waaaayyyy back in week three, which played more adorable than stage 5 clinger. Lauren’s conversation with Ben’s dad is pretty innocuous. She saves the good stuff for Ben’s mom who looks great in shorts and is more than skeptical about Ben being in love with two women. Lauren asks how she can best be a good partner to Ben during the tough times. Good question, and she gets serious mom points. I don’t really listen to the answer but I’m sure it’s fine because Lauren and mom are holding hands which is in direct conflict with the ‘oh, you two think you’re in love, eh?…how adorable‘ vibe mom has been giving off so far. “I’d marry Ben tomorrow,” Lauren proclaims. There’s the Bachelor spirit! Her and Ben kiss and say goodbye and it’s all kind of boring.

When JoJo meets the parents she’s so nervous she’s shaking, but first impressions are amazeballs. She goes right into the ‘I’m in love with your son’ stuff and Ben talks about how they have had the most ‘amazing moments’ on their dates. JoJo tells Ben’s dad that there will never be a day when Ben doesn’t know how much she loves him (awwww). JoJo and Ben’s mom also hold hands (IS THIS A THING?) and JoJo says she feels “safe” and protected with Ben, which mom likes because Ben says the same about JoJo. Ben confirms that JoJo is a hit with the folks, and, when questioned by JoJo, says that a proposal in the end is definitely a possibility.

Based purely on the meet-the-parents shtick, JoJo comes out the winner but if the internet has anything to say about it, she’s heading for heartbreak. Ben’s dad is all ‘shit Ben, they’re both awesome – you have a tough choice’. Dad describes Lauren as “polished” and JoJo as a “best friend.” Mom says everything about both of them was “so wonderful.” Not the clarity Ben was seeking from his parents. Mom cries worrying about the fact that Ben still doesn’t know who to get engaged to but says whoever he picks is going to be “blessed” (and on the cover of US Weekly).

Back in the studio, the camera pans over Ben’s pastor who is literally reading the Bible. WE GET IT. Is he looking for a passage that will make the bridge less mad after seeing that Ben didn’t know who to propose to until, like, the night before?

For their ‘final date’, Lauren and Ben kiss on a catamaran and talk about feelings and not being able to sleep. He looks at Lauren like he wants to devour her, but Lauren senses his “heavy mind.” Ben tells her it’s been “so perfect since the moment I saw you,” and admits he knew he loved her right away. In his voiceover, he questions his feelings for Lauren and talks about being freaked out because he felt so strongly about her immediately.

Later, Ben visits a nervous Lauren and she wants to know if he has any doubts or any questions. “I’m ready to spend my life with you,” says an emotional Lauren, while Ben continues to look slightly barfy. None of this would be happening if Chris Harrison had been around more this season to bro down with Ben and offer his awesome Harrison advice, I’ve decided. But I digress. Lauren and Ben touch foreheads while the serious Bachelor music plays, and Ben says “no matter what happens, you’ve made me a better person…you’ve made this worth it.” In her private on-camera interview, Lauren looks scared as fuck because she knows Ben could be equally in love with JoJo. “I can’t picture my life without Ben,” she says.

The next day Ben wakes feeling “uneasy” and can still picture “life with both JoJo and Lauren.” He now “has to compare relationships.” “I’m going to pray for clarity,” Ben announces.

He meets up with JoJo for their last date. They kiss like one of them just got out of prison and then hop into a jeep. They’re in the jungle and there’s a waterfall and it’s all very romantic when they Tarzan vine swing into the water and make out like teenagers. “If there’s anything left that I need to say to him, today’s my last chance,” JoJo says. That leads to them chatting about the future and JoJo tells Ben she’s committed to making their relationship work because she has “so much faith in you and I.” “My mind is in a thousand different places,” Ben admits to a visibly freaked JoJo, who we just watched realize that Ben is in love with her and Lauren. JoJo is hoping to hear something that gives her a bit of hope – because Ben admits to being torn between the two women – and says she prays she doesn’t end up “looking like a fool.”

For the evening portion of their date, JoJo is determined to pick up on any info she can that will confirm to her that it will be the two of them in the end. When prompted by JoJo, Ben says he has no fears or concerns about their relationship. “The next time I see you, you could make me the happiest person or I could be heartbroken,” she says. “Somehow in two months you became my best friend,” Ben tells her. But that’s not enough for JoJo who still wants to hear from Ben that he’s going to pick her, even though she knows he can’t give her that. Her strategy is to lock them in the bathroom, still mic’d, and tell him she’s losing her mind. “You love her too, am I right?” JoJo pleads. Ben confirms, and also admits to having told Lauren that he loves her too. She breaks down crying because she’s “so tired of competing with other people.” Off the bathroom floor and back on the couch, Ben says he doesn’t want to say goodbye and he cries a little and thanks JoJo for sticking with him through this whole process. They say ‘I love you’ for the millionth time and he leaves.

It’s starting to sink in that Ben is probs getting married on live TV within the next 90 minutes which means there’s a pretty good chance he’s not marrying me. That’s just science, people.

Neil Lane arrives for the ‘pick the ring’ part and it’s possible that Ben still hasn’t quiiiiite decided. NEIL IS A JEWELER, NOT A THERAPIST, BEN. Luckily, looking at the ring, Ben says he knows who it is. “I love two women, but I’m only fully in love with one woman,” he says. #finally

Lauren and JoJo get ready to get engaged or dumped. Lauren says when she met Ben she finally knew what people meant when they said they “met the love of their life.” For her part, JoJo is super sure that Ben is the one for her and she wants him to get down on one knee so they can start their life together. She thinks she’ll know if it’s her or not immediately when she sees him.

Ben awaits Lauren and JoJo and paces nervously, feeling “physically sick” over having to break up with one of them.

JoJo arrives in a helicopter (of course) and takes the loooong walk towards Ben. “From our first kiss on that rooftop in LA…to being able to finally tell you ‘I love you’…these are the moments where taking a crazy chance on love has been worth it,” Lauren says. “This is worth it…you are worth it. I’m never going to run from this,” she adds.

Ben starts with: “I, uh…”

Oh, crap.

“I came into this not knowing if I was going to find love…I found it with you…but I found it with somebody else more,” Ben drops. “I don’t want to let you go because I don’t want to say goodbye,” he tells a completely gutted JoJo. “Even on a day like today, I still don’t question that I love you…but you asked me to be honest and I’m trying to be.”

JoJo puts on a brave smile but admits she’s “confused and blindsided.” “Where did it go wrong?” she asks. When Ben tries to explain, she brushes him of and they start walking. He cries telling her he couldn’t imagine saying bye to her and doesn’t know how to explain why he is choosing someone else. They hug goodbye before he puts her into the Limo of Broken Dreams™. So sad…but JoJo for Bachelorette, right? RIGHT?!

Ben watches the limo pull away while inside it JoJo cries and says she wants to go home. “JoJo gets the raw end of this deal…she didn’t deserve this…I don’t deserve JoJo,” Ben says, in tears. Somewhere, JoJo’s brothers are cracking their knuckles and picking out their best asskicking cardigans.

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JoJo’s brothers

“I love Lauren so much that saying goodbye to JoJo had to happen,” states an emotional Ben before calling Lauren’s dad to ask permission to propose. Lauren’s dad says he has the whole family’s blessing and that they can’t wait to hug him and welcome him to the family. God dammit how does this show make me emotional? I thought I was dead inside by now. Gah!

Lauren emerges from her helicopter, her voiceover proclaiming she’s “at her best” with Ben. “Today will either be the best day of my life or the worst day,” she predicts.

“You couldn’t look more beautiful,” he greets her.  Lauren tells Ben that she hoped her first kiss with him was her last first kiss ever. “You are my person,” she tells him. While Ben briefly gathers his thoughts, his downcast gaze and slight pause result in Lauren’s eyes widening in complete fear. That fear quickly turns to relief when Ben says “Lauren, I never want to say goodbye to you.” “My desire from here on out is to live for you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you” he adds. He proposed, he accepts. The usual. Ben tells her she’s also his person and it’s pretty adorable and mushy. He presents Lauren with the final rose. “Yes! Give me that thing!” she laughs, showing the most personality she has shown in weeks.

And there you have it! Pretty predictable, but I did think for a split second after the meet-the-parents part that he would maybe pick JoJo.

Hit me up in the comments – did Ben make the right decision?

Coming up, my recap of the After the Final Rose special.

The Bachelor (Sean) – Week 9

Stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers on week nine of Sean Lowe’s season of The Bachelor (original air date: Monday, February 25, 2013).

It’s down to the final 3 women and Sean and his dwindling harem are in Thailand this week. This week’s dates includes potential overnight stays in the Fantasy Suite. Though I’m starting to think that when it comes to Sean it’s more of a Let’s Hold Hands and Talk About Our Feelings Suite. I doubt any of the ladies will be queuing for Plan B at the pharmacy any time soon. 

First up is Lindsay. Lindsay arrives looking adorable in a minty green skirt and white tank. They head into a local village and visit the market. Apparently no trip to a Thai market is complete without eating a bug on a stick. So they do. And then they eat a grasshopper. Stomachs full of bug protein and high on a sense of adventure, Sean and Lindsay stroll to nearby Yong Ling beach and talk about how much fun they have together and how much her family loved Sean when they met him during hometown week. They make out forever on the beach because Sean says she’s “the best friend I’ve been looking for”. Later Sean and Lindsay go for a sunset swim and the beach is covered with monkeys from the movie Outbreak. Or just regular monkeys. Whatever. I’m not an expert on any monkeys that haven’t spent time in an IKEA. Then they make out forever in the water too.

Time for a bug-free meal! Sean and Lindsay head to dinner, and in his private interview Sean says he can totally see Lindsay being his wife. Sean asks her if she would be open to moving to Dallas if they were to get engaged and Lindsay is a big YES. But she can’t seem to tell Sean that she’s in love with him. Last week she said she was ‘falling in love.’ After some hemming and hawing she’s juuuuuuuuuuuust about to say it when a troupe of Thai dancers comes in to perform for them. Classic.

Sean hands Lindsay the overnight date. Will they use the fantasy suite (despite Sean recently revealing in the media that he’s a born again virgin) or take separate rooms? Lindsay says she wants to spend the night together (natch). They head to the fantasy suite and start drinking some champagne. Now with some liquid courage in her thanks to the champs, Lindsay tells Sean that she loves him. And the romantic music swells…….. Peace out, camera crew. Funny to think that it seemed Lindsay would be sent home at the first rose ceremony given that she showed up in a wedding dress, got shitfaced and kept trying to make out with a guy she’d known for about 6 seconds. And now here she is, in the final three and spending the night in a fantasy suite with Sean where they are probably holding hands and calling each other pretty. Maybe Lindsay is trying on Sean’s v-neck t-shirts. That is not a euphemism.

Sean’s next date is with AshLee. As I’ve mentioned the past two weeks, her ‘I was abandoned by my birth parents and now have major control issues and a stick permanently lodged up my ass’ routine was starting to aggravate me. AshLee is gorgeous and sweet and obviously very caring but it’s all a little..too much. Too heavy. Too serious. She connects EVERYTHING – every date, every moment – that happens with Sean into a metaphor for her abandonment issues. Like he’s her personal saviour or something. That’s a lot to put on a guy, even if Sean does say he enjoys being her protector. Clearly, she’s done just fine on her own up until now. Sean needs someone with a goofy side. Someone a little..lighter. Someone who can let her hair down and eat a bug or two.

Sean and AshLee are heading to a private beach but in order to get there they have to swim through a dark cave. AshLee is a little freaked (and I don’t really blame her – the cave is dark and more than a little creepy), but they eventually make their way out and onto a beautiful, pristine private beach. AshLee gushes that she doesn’t “feel like there are two human beings that belong together more than him and I.”

That night, AshLee remains ‘head over heels’ in love with Sean and is nervous about the overnight date card. Sean tells AshLee that he can picture them spending the rest of their lives together. When he presents her with the Fantasy Suite date card, AshLee is visibly nervous. Sean reassures her that he has only the best intentions and just wants to talk. AshLee is super relieved and agrees to it. They head to the Fantasy Suite, and Sean tells her that from the first time they met he knew AshLee had a “special heart.” In response, AshLee describes her ideal wedding band: a “cushion ring with diamonds all the way around the band.” Size 6 ½. You know that sound a car makes when it comes to a screeching halt? Insert that sound here.

Sean’s final date of the week is with the cutesy Catherine. They meet on the beach and Sean has really missed Catherine, but still has a teensy bit of doubt about their compatibility in terms of life goals. Translation: will Catherine give up her life to join his in Texas? They boat around for awhile, Catherine doing the cringe-worthy ‘I’m The Queen of The World’ bit from the front of the boat, Titanic-styles. Catherine’s also been missing Sean and is “happy” when she’s around him. She worries that Sean hasn’t seen enough of her serious side, but confesses that she’s been more vulnerable with Sean and has tried to show him that she is fun and silly but can also be serious. Getting down to the nitty gritty, Sean comes right out and asks Catherine if she would come to Dallas to be with him and settle down if they were to end up together. He admits that it can be easy to say ‘yes’ to a question like that when the cameras are rolling and they are on some fantasy date. She seems open to it and confesses she was kind of annoyed at her sisters during hometown week because they weren’t being as supportive as she liked and seemed not to think Catherine was ready to settle down. They snorkel (jealous!) and kiss in the rain.

Later, we watch Catherine and Sean pretend to eat dinner, and his voiceover says he can totally see himself married to her. Out loud, Sean asks Catherine where she sees them in 5 years. Catherine says they’d be married with a kid. She’s “pretty traditional” about relationships, apparently. Sean tells Catherine he can see himself marrying her. She brings up the Fantasy Suite and says she thought about it even before coming on the show and was originally a big ‘no’ on the whole thing because she’s “a lady.” But now that she’s gotten this far, may as well right? Actually, the real reason Catherine accepts is so she can spend more time with Sean. He makes it clear that he, of course, only has the best intentions. So Fantasy Suite is a go. 3 for 3 Sean!

Upon arriving in the Fantasy Suite, Catherine proclaims Sean’s a beefy hunk. She never thought someone like Sean would be into her. She was teased about being chubby as a kid so she’s typically avoided being in a bathing suit. Um, if I looked like Catherine I’d be walking around naked in the frozen food aisle at Sobey’s right about now. Sean tells her she’s ‘smoking hot.’ They pop back into their bathing suits and make out in the water under the stars. Catherine feels they’re “meant to be together”.

The next day, Sean appears refreshed and ready to dump someone. He reminisces about feeling blindsided when Emily Maynard sent him home on her season at this exact juncture. Sean meets up with host Chris Harrison and confesses that he had spent that whole week thinking about his future with Emily and was shocked when he ended up being sent home. He’s not looking forward to hurting the girl he has to send home tonight. He’s 100% sure who that will be and is certain it will be more gut-wrenching than sending Des home last week. He watches the video messages from Lindsay (really cute), Catherine (calls him a hunk again), and AshLee (blah blah she built a ‘wall’ and Sean broke it down, she cries, she’s not broken anymore). This is total conjecture and based entirely on me reading into Sean’s facial expressions, but I think AshLee’s the girl who’s going to have a sad gal meltdown in a few minutes. Sean steps outside and spends a few pensive moments staring at his feet.

Cue dramatic drum beat. It’s raining. Sean is trying to focus on the two remaining women that will be left after the next rose ceremony, and is heartbroken to send this one girl home. He’s worried she “won’t be okay.” Yeah, It’s gotta be AshLee right?

Chris Harrison arrives and announces the start of what is essentially the last rose ceremony of the season, because next week one of them might be getting a marriage proposal from Sean.

Sean enters and tells the ladies how beautiful they all look and tells them he is “so blessed” to have spent this week with him in Thailand. He admits it “kills him inside” to know how much he will be hurting one of them.

The first rose goes, predictably, to Lindsay (who, come to think of, it has NEVER appeared stressed during a rose ceremony) and then to Catherine. AshLee is indeed the woman going home.

Sean looks like he’s about to cry and AshLee looks like she’s about to never talk to another man ever again. Ever.

She abruptly leaves the room without saying goodbye to the other ladies and seems like she’s not going to stop to let Sean say goodbye/apologize, but she does. Sean rushes to explain that he thought from the very beginning that AshLee was going to be “the one”, but that there was “a lot of intensity there.” He tells her it was the hardest decision he’s had to make and he didn’t want to hurt her. Ashlee is totally silent this whole time (but oh if her eyes could talk they’d shout THIS IS MY ‘YOU NEED TO DIE NOW’ STARE) and finally whispers something that sounds like “okay” or “whatever” (?) before getting into the SUV of Broken Dreams. This is unprecedented (maybe?). I’ve not watched every season of The Bachelor/Bachelorette (in fact, I’ve only actively watched for the last 2 years or so), but has any other rejected Bachelor/Bachelorette contestant ever not said a departing word before, espscially this late in the season? I’m curious.

In the car, AshLee states: “This wasn’t a silly game to me. This wasn’t about a joyride and laughing and joking and having fun.” Yeah, she sounds like a really fun life partner if that’s the case [sarcasm]. She goes on to say that she really loved Sean and this is the “ultimate reject.” To be honest, AshLee holds it together waaaaaaaaay better than I thought she would. Perhaps this surprising show of composure will help her chances at being the next Bachelorette? Hmm….

Next week it’s the ‘Women Tell All’ special. Meow. And in two weeks the 3-hour finale.