Both of this season Bachelorette the stars had already picked their final men ahead of Tuesday’s season finale. So it should be child’s play, right? Well, more like a breeze that signals the start of a hurricane.
The (three-hour!) finale begins on an eerily solemn note, with host Jesse Palmer breaking the silence to say he was hoping for two happy endings for Gabby and Rachel, but “things didn’t turn out that way” . Oh oh. He alludes to the “scandal and betrayal” to come, directly alluding to Tino’s “indiscretions” and Erich’s “text messages”. Yeah. He brings the two ladies over for an awkward hello, then we resume in Mexico with Gabby spiraling in earnest after Erich tells her he wants to date her first before he gets engaged. She is firm: “I need him to ask me in marriage.” But after he tells her how devastated he would be if they parted ways, she softens a bit and seems reassured that they can get through this. We think!
Rachel, meanwhile, goes to see how Tino is doing after his breakup with Aven, and he says he’s “incredible, no doubt, as usual.” Okay, this guy is way more confident than any human should ever be, but Rachel rushes right past that and tells him he’s the only guy left, and they share a flurry of happy kisses. We can’t help but notice, however, that Rachel is not smiling as she watches this on the live show. Back in Mexico, she and Gabby share a dizzying champagne toast together and gushed about their respective in-laws and how absolutely confident they are. Rachel even says of Tino, “If it’s not him, I don’t know who it could be.” Yeah, we’re being set up for some serious heartache here, folks. Buckle up.
It’s time for Rachel’s final rose ceremony, and she and Tino are excited as they hold hands. (We got robbed a little knowing who the last guys are, right, Bachelor Nation?) She tells her everything she likes about him, and he tells her that what they “never go away.” (Honestly, we can barely hear them above the rushing fountain and ominous bird calls in the background. That’s a sign!) Sounds sweet and all, but Rachel and her family have some death looks on their faces during the live show, so we know it’s all just a bunch of lies Tino gets down on his knees and proposes, and she says yes, and… yay? as happy as rachel looks right now watching this “this is the happiest time of my life” a tearful rachel says… and that just means it’s all downhill from here .
During the live broadcast, Rachel explains what happened next: “It was really great for a while” between her and Tino, but they “went through a rough patch” around the time of the premiere of the show. She says she tried her best to keep their relationship together, but “I just didn’t feel that support” from him. She hoped they could work things out by the finale, but then Tino raised some vague concerns about “past relationships”, and in the end, Rachel reveals, “it didn’t really work out. He cheated me.” We cut to Rachel being consoled by Gabby, who advises her to “kick him in the [bleep]balls. (Now she’s a friend!) Rachel also says that Tino told her, “I’m sorry I told you,” which isn’t… great! (We just want to say that we never trusted Tino from the start, and we feel very smug right now.)
Tino arrives for a tense encounter, admitting he ‘messed up’ and ‘kissed another girl’ – but that only made him want Rachel more? Besides, it was “the smallest thing ever”, so why are we even talking about this? He even brought his diary so he could quote Rachel the things she said that made her think they had broken up. When he says she refused to go to therapy, she says it’s a lie, and they bicker for a while in an ugly way. He eventually comes out angry, with the two addressing the producers and Tino crying, “Tell him to break up with me. Let me out.” He finally returns, but sticks to his story about the “small” size of what he did, and Rachel sees red. When she catches him lying, he acts confused and then s walks away again, forcing her to kick him out and demand answers. He begs for another chance, vowing to make it up to him. But she declares, “I’m done”, returning his ring to the thunderous applause of the audience Tino slips away in disgrace…and we want to applaud too.
After an uncomfortable recap with Jesse, where Rachel decisively says she does not still loves Tino (and his dad Tony seems ready to punch Tino in the face), they bring Tino out for the post-breakup ritual – and he gets booed! He apologizes profusely for everything at first, but he still analyzes the words and defends himself, and Rachel doesn’t care. When he brings up again how he thought they broke up, she gets angry and asks, “Do you want to get in there?” She alludes to personal things that were deleted from their previous confrontation (hmmm) and says it very clearly: “We never took a break.” (Where’s Ross Geller when we need him?) Tino is out of breath here, and the live audience is about to strangle him when Jesse thankfully cuts him off.
But hey, look who’s there! It’s Aven! He walks out to rapturous applause, with Tino nearby, and offers his condolences to Rachel, asking if she wants to “get out of here and make it up”. She happily says yes, and they walk off together, leaving Jesse awkwardly standing with Tino. So, did the producers feel bad for putting Rachel through two devastating breakups in one year, so they put together a fabricated “happy ending” that won’t last a week? Most likely! Even Jesse says it, “It’s so weird.”
Finally, after all that, it’s Gabby’s turn. She’s still worried that Erich isn’t ready to get engaged, but she’s confident in what they have, and they’re all smiles when they meet at the final rose ceremony – but those birds scream again! Is this another omen? Erich knows she needs someone who is completely there for her, and “I want to be that person for you.” And he takes the plunge, asking her to marry him – and she says yes! We’re definitely rooting for these two, but after all this mess with Rachel, we’re also a little shy. Will they make it to the live show? What’s up with those text messages Jesse was talking about? Back on the live show, he tells us “not everything has been rosy” since that proposal…and we’re just bracing ourselves at this point.
Erich shares a warm kiss with Gabby when he joins the live show, so everything seems loving. (And his mule is gone!) They recount their proposal, and it looks like they’re still together, thank God. But Jesse is a little interested in the problems they had, asking Erich about an ex-girlfriend of his who claims he only broke up with her to be on the show and “get a career opportunity.” . Jesse even displays their text messages on the big screen (!), with Erich telling the girl that the show “isn’t real.” But that was before he got on the show, Erich points out, and he didn’t expect to meet someone like Gabby. He admits he didn’t handle the breakup well, and Gabby knows it. But she seems to accept his explanation, and the crowd is behind them – and hey, we need a happy ending, damn it!
So… we still have an hour left, somehow? Jesse kills some time by asking Gabby about her new stint on Dancing with the stars and turn to three former Bachelorettes for advice. (Neither of them are with their last men yet, but anyway!) Plus, we meet the new bachelor – Rachel’s ex, Zach – and they even start the new season early, with Zach meeting five of his potential wives live and viewers at home voting via tweets to give Brianna a rosy first impression. Zach didn’t get off to a great start, however, completely blindsided when Jesse asked him to remember one of the girls’ names afterwards. Well, you have four months to practice, mate!
I have thoughts on this chaotic Bachelorette final? What do we think of Zach as a bachelor? Hit the comments and share your thoughts.