This season of The Bachelorette has been full of ups and downs. There have been high highs (The Whaboom meltdown fight is one of the funniest things I've ever seen, Dean's hometown date was riveting, and Rachel herself has been one of the best leads in franchise history, intelligent and charismatic in way that people in general rarely are, let alone people on this show) and low lows (a central storyline on the first black lead's season given to a racist, who even got a bit of a redemption arc). It's had some of the best guys the show has ever had (shout out to Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny King) and some of the worst (no shout out to Lee). It's been unfortunately overshadowed by the Bachelor in Paradise scandal. And there's no more fitting end to this consistently inconsistent season than Rachel being happy with a guy no one else likes.
Yes, it's the wildly unpopular doctor from Miami Bryan Abasolo to whom Rachel is betrothed. The whole nation is making the slant-mouth "welp" emoji face. Rachel's now our friend who's with that guy who we don't know what she sees in him.
They started with a new conceit — amazing how they still find new gimmicks on these live shows — where Rachel came out at the beginning and gave live commentary on the show, which she hadn't seen. She was there, she lived it, but she didn't see the guys' side of it. Chris Harrison explained it: producers spring these live things on her — remember during Nick's After the Final Rose she was surprised with four introductions (including Dean and Eric) — because they know she can handle it.
Then: the thrilling conclusion of Rachel and Peter's fantasy suite date. Rachel wanted a proposal, and Peter couldn't give it to her, because Peter has his eyes on The Bachelor. But then she cried, and then he was like "your crying just now made me move closer to being able to propose to you because emotion." Homie is playing the game, dog! And then they went to the "super cute" fantasy suite (Peter's words). You know what else is super cute? Peter's double-breasted blazer! Sartorial flex, dog!
The next morning, things were pretty good. He still wasn't ready to propose, but she wasn't ready to send him home.
Next up was Bryan. It was pretty weird that we were still having fantasy suite dates in the finale, but that's what happened. The pacing was off this season. Bryan remained as endlessly blandly positive as ever, never expressing any doubt or complexity or vulnerability. Homie is insincere. But she was still thinking about Peter, and Bryan picked up on it. He said the date was "awkward" and didn't go as he planned, which is as forthcoming as Bryan is gonna get. He has shown us no personality beyond being whatever Rachel wants him to be so he can be chosen.
During dinner, Bryan said he felt a different energy from Rachel and asked what was bothering her. And she apologized for making him feel a little down and not giving him her full attention. Hmm. At least Bryan acknowledged that maybe she had a lot on her mind right now.
You know Bryan really relished closing the door to the fantasy suite, like "yeah, you know what's going on in here." I'm surprised he didn't wink at the camera.
Then it was time for the rose ceremony. Rachel channelled The Bachelorette's Spanish Game of Thrones connection and wore a dress like Cersei Lannister would wear. It had, like, chainmail down the sleeves. She gave a speech about wanting a proposal at the end of this PETER, and then gave roses to Bryan and Peter. Probably because Eric's Stan Smiths and a t-shirt with a suit look was corny as hell. Eric told her he'll always love her. He took it super well. He said he was happy to get to experience life with a person so beautiful. So sweet. Eric's one of the good guys.
In the commentary, Rachel said she "really, really cared about Eric" and that it was hard for her to watch. Chris Harrison asked her if she thought she'd made a mistake sending him home, and she was like "nah." Then the full live experience — the stuff that would have been in After the Final Rose got moved to the live between-show segments — came into play, as Eric came out to big cheers from the crowd. Eric's grown a full beard. He wore a beautiful blue pinstripe suit with a white dress shirt, no tie. See, now that's a look.
"How's your heart?" he asked her. She said she's good. He's good, too. Rachel said that maybe in a different situation with more time, things would be different, but she wasn't as strong with him as the other two. He got it. But he fell in love for the first time, and he thanked her for that. He said he was a boy before, and now he's a man. I agree with Chris and Rachel: it's been a pleasure getting to know Eric.
Back in the show, it was Bryan's last one-on-one. We just saw Bryan! Too much Bryan. Bryan describes himself as charming and confident. That's his brand. He'll probably launch a fragrance line with two scents, "Charm" and "Confidence." Their date was more of the same. He would be devastated if he wasn't chosen. Well, I've got some good news for him.
Rachel wore a camo jacket for Peter's date. You can hide your body, Rachel, but you can't hide your emotions! We all know how much Rachel likes churches and stuff, so they went to a monastery. Rachel's curiosity about religion is one of my favorite things about her. That's a real person's interest! They talked to a monk, who gave them some relationship advice, which is whatever. His advice doesn't come from experience, so take it with a grain of salt, you know? Peter said he doesn't want to have multiple marriages, and having 24 hours to figure out for sure if Rachel is the one he wants to marry forever is scaring him. Rachel was beside herself. She didn't understand how he can see a future with her and still be hesitant. Rachel's too deep in Bachelorworld, man. She's lost perspective. Peter was talking like a normal, reasonable person. So maybe it was Peter who lost perspective. He thought he was playing by real-world rules.
She went to his room and had him tell her about where he's at. He told her it became clear to him today that he's in love with her, but that he doesn't feel ready to propose to her tomorrow. Rachel said he's confusing her. She said he's skipping steps, thinking about the end — vacations, the size of their bed — when it's time now. He's just not ready. It's really clear whats happening — Peter just isn't playing by Bachelor rules. He asked her point-blank that if she's certain that he's the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with, and if she's sure, than she can make his slower timeline work. And she said "I can't answer that." Peter's fate was sealed.
They started really fighting about Peter proposing tomorrow. He said that he would make the sacrifice and do something he didn't want to do right then and propose. Rachel didn't want him to do it if he didn't mean it. They couldn't work it out. It's over. Peter will not meet Neil Lane. There will be no speech that Rachel cuts off. She's just going to cry in this hotel hallway in Spain and Peter's going to dramatically rip his sweater off and whisper "what is wrong with me?" and that's it. They both know they're making a mistake.
Back in the present, Rachel wasn't smiling, which is so rare for her. The word she and Chris Harrison agree on for the situation is "frustrating." He said he doesn't think it was a complete breakup. They didn't say goodbye. It was time for Peter to come out and put it to bed. He said he knew this would be hard, because the whole time since that moment has been hard. Rachel scooted away on the couch and reiterated that same roadblock: she wanted a proposal that he wasn't willing to give. He said he wondered about why we couldn't get to the point where he wanted to propose, and hoped that he would be able to eventually, which is what someone who wants to be the Bachelor would say. He said if he could do it differently, he'd get out of his head. Rachel said something that would be true if Peter didn't want to be the Bachelor: that this show — this process-- isn't for him. She doesn't think he should be the Bachelor. He apologized for saying that not choosing him would be settling for a life of mediocrity, and she said, with uncharacteristic steel, "I'm living my best life" and turned away from him. He looked very upset. It was a weird, tense moment. I think she wanted it to play like an applause line, but it came off defensive.
Back from break, Chris Harrison said "you seem upset." Rachel reiterated that she was frustrated. Peter agreed. He told Rachel he still cares about her, and that he was crying backstage, and felt attacked coming out here. He couldn't articulate what he meant, but he admitted he still had feelings for her. But he wouldn't do that night differently. The show was trying to push the moment toward closure, and it wasn't getting there. It's not going to happen. What we saw was the end, their relationship is over, but there are still emotions that they won't work out in a live TV timeframe. And they probably never well. It is indeed frustrating. This was a real moment. Things don't work out perfectly in life.
And then Chris Harrison, professional obnoxious question asker, professional can't-let-the-moment-be-er, asked if Peter was still in love with Rachel. He said he still had feelings for her. When Chris Harrison was throwing to commercial, Peter and Rachel both looked like they wanted to be on separate poles. Maybe Peter will spend the rest of the summer taking a trip to Antarctica.
Man, that was draining. I used to live with a couple, and watching that felt like when they would fight in front of me, except this time I couldn't leave.
Oh yeah, this means that Bryan and Rachel are engaged now. Back in Spain, Bryan went to the proposal site. It was so windy that the mics were getting overloaded. This must have been a real challenge to sound edit. Bryan got down on one knee and asked her to be his "reina." Rachel said that she gave him her first rose, and now she's giving him her final rose. And the bells rang for them.
Back in the present, Bryan came out and re-proposed to her, putting the ring on her finger in public for the first time. It didn't give me a bad feeling like Nick and Vanessa's truly depressing finale, at least. But I felt nothing.
The future? They haven't decided where they're going to live. Rachel wants a winter wedding. But they're going to get to know each other better first. Bryan's mother is happy. I'm surprised she was able to keep it a secret.
When did she know it was Bryan? When she was defending him to her family. Hmm. She said he's her best friend. They got an all-expenses-paid trip back to Rioja, where they got engaged, which seems anticlimactic. They were just there. Kenny's trip to Disneyland with his daughter sounds better.
And that was that. Peter got like three times the screen time as Bryan. The season is over. Rachel's engaged to Bryan. It's time for Bachelor in Paradise.
The sneak peek showed THE EXACT MOMENT PARADISE GOT SHUT DOWN. Crazy. They let Danielle M. narrate it. And apparently with Corinne gone, Jasmine stepped up to be the sexually aggressive one. Dean made Kristina cry, which I will not stand for. Danielle M. got implants. Everyone looks hot.
Damn. You know what? I hate to say it, but I think I'm looking forward to Paradise.
Bachelor in Paradise premieres Monday, Aug. 14 at 8/7c on ABC.