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.
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…”
“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.
“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.