As you probably noticed, my blog reading die-hards, I didn't get around to recapping The Men Tell All. I'm sorry--last week got away from me because I did a rad show on Monday night then recorded a podcast Tuesday night, then Wednesday night I hit the gym and crawled in bed by 9:00pm like a sleepy dweebus then Thursday I saw a rad bluegrass band down at Coney Island, then the weekend was upon me--yada yada yada. Also, The Men Tell All episodes can be fun, but I figured this one might just be Lee defending his ignorance/racism/implicit bias and I wasn't in the mood to bother catching up.
Last night was the finale and you bet your bottom dollar I tuned in! This season has been VERY different than previous seasons in many ways (Rachel's family did NOT uproot themselves and fly to paradise to meet 2 guys, her father never appeared on camera, and her nephew has the strangest name I have heard in a long time--Alistair). So it came as no surprise that Monday night's episode was a bit different than Bachelor Nation is accustomed to. But also, the storyline demanded it.
So we tuned in and our intrepid therapist host, Chris Harrison, was there along with a few dozen screaming women, ready to guide them home. In a shocking move, who joined him on the live finale studio stage, but RACHEL LINDSEY herself!! Rachel was looking gorgeous in a pinkish/white, tight cocktail dress that enabled her to show major cleavage (more than we saw all season), sexy metallic heels, sparkly hoops, and dark eyes but light lip (great move). Her hair was curled and she was ready to watch the playback of multiple breakups in a row while an audience watched HER watching her own life. Wheee! Modern society is completely bonkers!!
We head right back to Rioja, Spain where--if anyone can even remember this--Rachel had her Fantasy Suite date with sweet Eric. I was always Team Eric, but also, I always knew he probably wouldn't stick the landing. Sigh. We left off the next day during her date with Robot Peter and we pickup with them having a heartfelt conversation about the impasse they have reached: Rachel came on the show to find a husband (literally that is the SOLE GOAL of the show) and Peter came on the date to, what, find a GF? Huh? Neither will budge so they use the Fantasy Suite as an opportunity to "discuss things" (wink wink) and perhaps I'm a Fantasy Suite snob, but their setup was pretty underwhelming. I suppose you can have sweet humps with a short term BF anywhere and it will be fun, but it just seemed like the 'ole Fantasy Suite budget was tight this go-round. Anybody else?
The next morning they do the 'ole "I woke up like this" and are cutesy with each other as they cook breakfast, sip coffee, and smile, kiss goodbye.
Because Rachel still has a sex date with Bryan! This Hump Train has a schedule to keep and it's time to GET ON BOARD!!!!
Rachel isn't quite herself and in interview footage, she admits that Peter really did a number on her mentally. Ugh. Bryan very gingerly commented on it and said that she seemed a little off, the energy feels different (which is very perceptive of him and surprised me) and Rachel takes this to heart, resets, and re-energizes for Bryan, which really impressed me.
ALSO, during all of this as we cut to commercial, Chris Harrison promotes trailers for a few upcoming fall NBC sitcoms and WOW white men are making adventures HAPPEN in the fall line-up!
But back to Rachel and the rad, 80s style black suit jacket/dress with fringed edging that she wore for "dinner" with Bryan. She looks great and seems focused on Bryan, so they head to the Fantasy Suite (his response to the date card was admittedly very funny and charming). The next morning, Rachel and Bryan are lovey-dovey but everybody needs to get home to get cleaned up for the Rose Ceremony!
Rachel roams through the fields of a winery in a BEAUTIFUL red, flowy dress with intricate beading on the sleeves and a flattering waistline as the guys arrive. Eric is in a scoop neck shirt and dark suit with cool, white sneakers. Bryan is in a grey suit jacket with black edging that makes him look like he put a grey suit jacket over a black suit jacket, and Peter is looking hot BUT HE IS A ROBOT AND CANNOT EXPERIENCE HUMAN EMOTIONS!! The Scientists who built Peter probably dressed him, so I can't give any credit to Peter directly.
Rachel arrives and says something to all 3 guys that is a direct message to Peter, "I came here to cultivate a relationship that moves toward the common goal of marriage" and all of Bachelor Nation screamed my new tagline directly at Peter, "GOODNIGHT, BIIIIIITCH!"
Alas, it wasn't to be! Rachel gave roses to....
Poor Eric was sent home. He handled it with SUCH grace, class, kindness that Rachel joked that se felt like perhaps she had made the wrong decision. Unlike most other guys who parlay this into dates once they are done, I really hope that this experience DOES open up some opportunities for sweet Eric. He was graceful from start to finish and watching him blossom from anxious dude on night 1 (those SHOULDERS were CRUNCHED UP) to confident, calm suitor on the way out was a treat. Much love to you, Eric.
[Gosh I get too emotional with all of this but these people are REAL PEOPLE and also I'm just sort of weepy lately because you just never know what will happen in life and a friend got a scary diagnosis lately and it makes me so sad and scared. Sorry for this aside. Thank you all for reading my wacko recaps--I genuinely, truly appreciate it. OK let's get back out there and judge some boys, shall we?]
So we're down to Peter the Robot who refuses to budge about his commitment to only proposing ONCE in his life and Bryan the slippery suave Miami boy who has always been 100% into Rachel and I have somehow hated for it, but wait, why is that a bad thing? If it's GENUINE (and that's where I lose faith somewhat) then let it rip.
Bryan and Rachel have a final date up in a hot air balloon (my nightmare) and then they have an evening make-out date during which Bryan presents Rachel with a customized Spanish-English dictionary, but the worse he has "customized" are so boring--just "wife," "husband," "forever." Dude--I thought that perhaps you were going to do something cute or funny! But no, you're really not capable of that. Sigh.
The next day Rachel and Peter have their final date and when they're not getting marriage advice from a monk they are still debating the issue of whether or not Peter is capable of proposing. Man. Is THIS the hill you want to die on, Peter? Rachel phrases it SO perfectly, saying that Peter talks about their future together and how he can see it--where they will live, trips they will take, what sized mattress they will buy (seriously), yet he somehow can't take the necessary step to GET THEM THERE. She's able to perfectly verbalize things that would prompt me to just scream, "WHY DON'T YOU LOVE ME?" and run off searching for the monk to console me. Also her camo jacket was perfection.
That night, Peter and Rachel talk in circles some more, to no avail. Rachel feels confused and, as a tough love sister once told me, if you're confused or unsure where you stand with a guy, well, there's your answer. He's just not that in to you. It's hard to hear, but it's true.
And so it was with Peter--he has CHOSEN to set up a roadblock for himself and obey this strange rule. I know PLENTY of people who have been engaged and called it off. I know PLENTY of people who have gotten divorces. Sure, you don't want to walk into reality TV dating stuff with the idea that marriage is a joke, but also, let yourself LIVE, Robot Peter!! But you can't because you're a robot.
Oh also, let's not forget when Peter dropped a line he will NEVER LIVE DOWN, which is when he encouraged her to essentially, get engaged just to be engaged and "go find someone to have a mediocre life with."
Fuck off. No. You do NOT get to try and SCARE Rachel into waiting for you. That is so manipulative and you know it is, dude.
For as much as I don't really love Bryan, I gotta admit that the Peter vs. Bryan match up really felt like a situation in which the girl decided to FINALLY stop taking emotional bullshit from a guy who she had pined after for SO LONG (I can relate WOW WOW WOW) and decided to instead, go for a guy who is NICE TO HER and OPENLY LOVES HER (spoiler alert) and people now act like she "settled." She didn't settle. There's NOTHING WRONG with accepting the love of a kind, devoted, emotionally available man and fuck you for claiming that by accepting healthy, unconditional love, you are somehow settling.
Hoooo boy! That got me all riled up! But I think that years of having guys pull bullshit like that on me (just manipulative moves to make you not trust your own judgment and not accept love) have made me able to sniff this out.
Rachel and Peter both agree that they are going to regret this decision but what else can they do? Peter won't budge and Rachel didn't come on this show to just keep dating. They walk to the elevators. By this point, Rachel has cried off her fake eyelashes (hilarious) and after some last kisses, she takes the stairs as Peter cries and asks himself, "What is wrong with me?" We're ALL wondering that, you idiot. When you let a beautiful, accomplished, successful, funny, easygoing woman with a killer career WALK OUT OF YOUR LIFE, there is something wrong with you.
And when Peter came out to face Rachel, Chris Harrison, and the studio audience, it was TENSE! It felt like Peter is still processing this and kicking himself for being unwilling to take a chance. I bet he'll look back on this in a few years and realize what a mistake he made. I kept waiting for there to be a moment of levity between them, or even a moment of levity FOR HIM, where he admitted that maybe he was too strict with his own weird rules, but it never came. I really feel bad for him--he'll live to regret this.
But onto the HAPPY ENDING!!!
Rachel gets ready (loved that shot of her supposedly curling her hair when the iron was probably turned off-ha) and Bryan picks out his blood diamond (you know how I feel about diamonds, dear readers) and shows up to the appointed location--a Spanish mountaintop that was SUNNY and beautiful JUST BEFORE Bryan arrived, but turned into a goddamn TWISTER once he got there. HA!
Bryan arrived in a black suit, white shirt which was classic cool against Rachel's fierce sparkly, beaded, slinky silver dress with SUPER HIGH THIGH SLIT (yazzzz) and sparkly earrings. Bryan does his monologue, telling her how he liked her from the start, he wants her to be his wife and the mother of his children and he hopes she feels the same. She demures a bit and then tips her hand, saying that he was too perfect and she was trying to find cracks in the foundation because she's used to difficult relationships, but he's the perfect foundation and that she sees her forever with him. He JUMPS on her and she has to shout "WAIT" and push him off a bit so that she can tell him that she loves him (that was cute), then they kiss HARD and Bryan gets down on his knee. Rachel shrieks and is elated, then they make out more as the twister SWIRLS AROUND THEM!!! GET SOME SHELTER, YOU CRAZY LOVEBIRDS!!
In the studio, Bryan comes out and gets down on one knee in front of Rachel AGAIN, asking her to "re-marry him" (which felt VERY odd but was because she didn't want to wear the ring before and spill the beans).
They're both very happy, but a few of their remarks gave me pause: they haven't decided where they will settle (Miami or Dallas or maybe LA, they say. Yiiiiikes.) Also they don't seem to have given much thought to the future and their shared claims that their respective families LOVE their engagement rung a little hollow to me.
For their sake, I really hope that this is like a Desiree/Chris situation where The Bachelorette was so focused on ONE guy (in Desiree's case that tall Mormon guy who was NOT hot; in Rachel's, Peter) and then he essentially broke her heart so she finally noticed the strong and steady who had been there all along (Chris, Bryan). I appreciate that Rachel got what she wanted--a man who wants to propose and be married. Bryan is 37, so hell yeah, he's ready for that, it seems. I'm psyched for Rachel that she chose the path of love and acceptance and didn't roll the dice with Peter and sacrifice her own needs.
I wish Bryan and Rachel much luck!! And for their sake, I hope they get out of LA and try something real.
If you want to listen to the lovely Dava Krause and me discuss this finale point by point, take a listen to our podcast The Fantasy Suite here.
Next week Bachelor In Paradise starts and I'll probably live tweet it when I can, but Mama needs her Monday nights back!!
Thank you all for reading this season! What did you think of the finale!? Who do you think they will select as the next Bachelor??