First of all, how dare you. How dare you make us even think about love a mere 24 hours after love as we all know it has died. ABC, it’s impossible for you to know the tender state of my heart and the hearts of almost all of America, but couldn’t we have waited just a beat or like an extra day after our beloved Chris Pratt and Anna Faris announced their separation on social media? Is nothing sacred anymore!?
Second of all, and you may snark, but I thought that was the best Bachelor/ette finale in years. It was also incredibly frustrating and I wanted much better for Rachel, but a snoozefest it was not. Maybe my bar has just been shoved lower and lower over the past few seasons thanks to the Chads and Lees and Twins of the world, but I. Was. Riveted.
Having Rachel sit there with eternal hype man and active, non-licensed therapist Chris Harrison watching this thing play out live was a bold, brilliant move. There were so many incredible moments. So many sass-filled stares from Rachel and honest acknowledgements that she didn’t really want to be there. Chris was even giddier than when he introduces bloopers. There may also have been a very tactical take down of a potential Bachelor lead, but more on that later. We have three and a half dates, a Rose Ceremony™, and a wildly blustery proposal to get to.
Real quick though, Juan Pablo got married, reached out to ABC, and asked them to “spread the word?” Alright.
Peter’s Fantasy Suite™ Part 2
Beautiful, beautiful Peter begins to lay the ground work for his exit by refusing to commit to a proposal, but they Fantasy Suite™ it up anyway because he’s Peter. Just look at him. They awake the next day and pop out of windows in Rioja like background characters in the opening musical sequence of Beauty and the Beast. Rachel says she’s starting to consider picking Peter even without the proposal, because just look at him.
— The Bachelorette (@BacheloretteABC) August 8, 2017
Bryan’s Fantasy Suite™
Rachel arrives in full Rachel Green garb for wine tasting. Bryan says that it’s surreal! It’s a fantasy! It’s a dream! These are red flags though. Bryan starts to feel awkward and Chris Harrison interrupts for the first of several intense integrated ads.
At dinner, Bryan is still insecure, and it’s actually kind of refreshing to see Bryan show anything but hard core machismo and confidence. He’s a real boy! Of course they go to the Fantasy Suite™ where Bryan talks about breaking down walls.
(Does anyone else obsess over the morning after sequences like I do? I study them frame by frame like they’re the Zapruder film. They’re all so different, and yet so telling. Like, what would your morning after style be?)
Bryan is confident again.
The Final Rose Ceremony™
Oh yeah, Eric’s here!
We all saw this coming right? When Chris Harrison says that everyone in his live audience was shocked when Eric got sent home I choked on my wine a little bit. But guys, Rachel and Eric’s breakup style was enviable. They both clearly have a good therapist and I would like those therapists’ numbers.
Rachel: I want you to know that I love you, but I’m not in love.
Eric: Thank you for allowing me to get what I need.
Eric and his beard arrive to the live show and he looks good. Like real good. As the kids would say, he was all “glowed up.” Eric and his beard win the night for sure, and I’m pretty sure the most important love story to come out of this season is Eric letting himself fall for the first time and realizing that his life will be better for it. It’s as beautiful as his beard and I love it whole heartedly.
In the most frustrating live moment of the night, Chris Harrison lures Rachel into using the word “humbled” inappropriately when he asks if she was “humbled” to be Eric’s first love. Honored and humbled are opposites and damn you, Chris Harrison.
Bryan’s Final Date
We literally have to watch these two go on another date within a 30-minute time span, and it’s basically a remix of all of Bry’s greatest hits. The mouth eating! The watch! Were leather jackets a Bryan thing? They feel like a Bryan thing.
Bryan continues to go all in on this. An actual quote: “I think it would be a mistake if you didn’t choose me. I can’t even envision it. I’d be the most heartbroken I’ve ever been in my life.” Intense. He gives her a pretty cute Spanish dictionary with phrases like “lips,” “chemistry,” “wife,” and “Big Rach.” My eyes dart down for just a moment to find my wine and by the time I look up Bryan’s kissing eating Rachel’s face. Whatever works, you two!
At the live show, Chris once again talks about how much he LOVES having Rachel there. Rachel awesomely says that she’s just meh about it.
Peter’s Final Date
They go to a monastery and Peter says he’s developing feelings of love, which sounds like a weird parody of “Seasons of Love.” Peter can see futures with farmers market dates and wine nights with painting. You the best, Peter!
Then, we get one of the most intense breakups these eyes have ever witnessed, including my own breakups.
Here’s the thing, and this may be controversial, but I deeply respect Rachel for dumping Peter. I have a theory that, although Peter did develop real feelings for Rachel (who wouldn’t?), he was just in it to be The Bachelor. I mean, I still kind of want him to be The Bachelor, but all this engagement means marriage stuff seems rehearsed. Was it real when he ripped his sweater off to wipe his tears away? Yeah I think it was! Man was sad! But I also think that this was a guy that never wanted to get engaged to The Bachelorette, no matter who she was, and Rachel was smart enough to eventually realize it, even if it took her a while to give up hope and she did cry her eyelashes right off. But who can blame her. Just. Look. At. Him.
Big Rach does get her revenge for Peter’s “go find someone to have a mediocre life with” (slay) comment on the live show. While Chris is malfunctioning over the fact that the word “goodbye” was never uttered, Rachel slips in this sentiment about Peter: “I just don’t think this world, this process, this journey, this show…. I just don’t think it’s for you. You need more time.” Peter nods silently. Did Rachel just destroy Peter’s chances of being The Bachelor?
“I’m not living a mediocre life. I’m living my best life.” YES, RACHEL.
— The Bachelorette (@BacheloretteABC) August 8, 2017
The Proposal / Everybody Hates Bryan
Unfortunately, we now realize this life is with Bryan, who, if Twitter is to be trusted, everybody hates. I mean, I’m not Bry boy’s biggest fan either, but as I scrolled through my Twitter feed during the show, I couldn’t find one, not ONE kind word about the chiropractor from Miami. He’s not Courtney Robertson. He’s not Chad. He’s not even Olivia with her supposed bad breath. He wasn’t a bully and he didn’t lie to Rachel (that we know of). He’s just kind of a smooth talking guy with fake cheeks. Why do people hate him so much? Is it just that we’re all too in love Peter? Is it the cheeks? I really don’t know! But I trust Rachel, and if she loves Bryan, then gosh darnit I’m going to try to believe in that love. I want a happy ending for our girl.
The rest of the show is pretty dull except for Rachel’s dress. Neil Lane brings his Coldstone Creamery of diamond rings (halos on halos on halos) and Rachel awaits at the top of the castle like an actual princess. The most magical thing that happens is that the Final Rose™ doesn’t get blown away.
I’m going to miss Rachel so much.
Thank you all for going on this journey with me. If anyone wants to have deep discussions about Bachelor in Paradise, you know where to find me! (It’s at @CaitlinClark on Twitter.)