I have a couple of apologies I need to make out of the gate.
- I’m sorry that this will probably be posted later than usual. The show didn’t end until 11 p.m. last night, then Aaron and I stayed up watching video compilations of Olivia’s mouth for about an hour. I’m a high maintenance sleeper and need at least 8.5 hours to function, so that didn’t leave me much time to get this written before your lunch break. [*Update: Turns out I finished this one faster than usual! You’re welcome!]
- I’m sorry to those of you who are friends with my husband on Facebook, since he thought it’d be funny to make his cover photo a picture of Ben proposing to the winner. I still love him, though you may feel differently if he ruined it for you…
- I’m sorry that I’M SO SMART and predicted EVERYTHING that happened! Sorry not sorry!
What a night it was! A very grand finale indeed! Chris Harrison started things off doing what he does best: Giving us teasers that never end up being as exciting as he makes them out to be. (As I pointed out last week.) This time, he tried to convince us that Ben would marry his new fiancé on After the Final Rose. We flew out both girls’ families and Ben’s pastor, plus we made an archway out of red roses! The happy couple will decide on the spot if they want to tie the knot right now on live T.V.! Producers are off their rockers if they thought either JoJo or Lauren would have such a shoddy wedding.
My first thought: If this wedding option is a surprise to Ben and his fiancé, they wouldn’t have had time to get a marriage license, which is required for things to be legit. This whirlwind wedding magic is pretty much ruined when you’ve personally gone through the 1,589 steps it actually takes to become legally bound to another person.
Onto the real episode!
We’re back in Jamaica. Or still in Jamaica? I think they’ve been in the same resort for the last five episodes. Anyway, Ben contemplates life under a willow tree, which foreshadows the sadness ahead. Lauren B contemplates in her jorts by the pool, and for the first time I realize she sounds EXACTLY like Kim Kardashian if you don’t look at the T.V. screen. It’s really weird. JoJo contemplates in her jorts by the ocean, and the second she says “I have zero doubts that I’ll end up with Ben,” I know her fate is sealed.
Ben’s parents are in Jamaica to meet the lucky ladies. He crawls through some bushes into what looked like a tropical hobbit hole to get to their room. Guess parents are not important enough to land a waterfront suite.
Amy, Ben’s mom, tells the camera that Ben being in love with two women at the same time is “disturbing.” We can always count on moms to bring the honesty to the table.
First to meet the parents: Lauren B. This whole episode is set up to make you think that Ben will choose JoJo, so for the first time this season, Ben starts making up some line about how “Lauren and I haven’t been tested as a couple, so I’m not sure we’re as strong as JoJo and me because JoJo and I have gone through rough times.” Rough times? Really? Or maybe JoJo just isn’t as good at staying calm under the pressures of her “boyfriend” dating 25 other women, while Lauren can maintain her cool under unfortunate circumstances…but society tells you that relationships have to be tumultuous in order to be passionate, so I guess your reasoning is acceptable, Ben. NOT. News flash to all of you single peeps out there: Relationships should feel surprisingly easy, especially in the first few months. That’s a pretty solid sign of compatibility.
Sorry for the tangent. Back to Ben’s parents. Lauren shows up wearing a conservative tank top with a black maxi skirt, carrying the biggest bouquet of flowers I’ve ever seen. Better to try too hard than not try hard enough. Her conversations with both parents go well, but she doesn’t get emotional, so of course Amy isn’t sold. Mom needs to know her son is worth crying over! After the meeting, Ben’s parents describe Lauren as “polished” and “nice.” Two words that can also be used to describe a pair of loafers, or perhaps a new hardwood floor. Poor Lauren.
JoJo strolls in the next day to meet the parents in the most conservative outfit she owns, which is a teeny tiny romper with about as much material as a hand towel, but at least it covers her giant boobs! Her greeting flowers are much smaller than Lauren’s, but the vase is a conch shell, so points for creativity.
I thought things wouldn’t bode well for JoJo after she made a sexual joke about her “hoover dam” in front of the parents in the first five minutes, but I guess Ben’s parents don’t mind a little TMI on the sex front. Maybe that’s their secret to 33 years of a happy marriage…?
JoJo cries about her love for Ben when she talks to his mom, so obviously Amy is a big fan. Amy tells the camera that “today felt different. JoJo seems like she can really take care of Ben.” I really hope Lauren B never watches this full episode, because it would suck to know your in-laws liked someone else better. I personally know my in-laws love me the most (and vice versa), and let me tell you, it’s a huge blessing for our marriage.
In their debrief with Ben, his parents tell him that they love both girls and don’t have a preference, but JoJo answered our questions before we even asked and she can take care of you and her tan is really great plus her hair is much less stringy but yeah, we don’t have a preference. Subtle, guys.
Amy starts to cry when she tells the camera that “it’s hard that Ben doesn’t know which girl to plant his stake with.” Pretty sure he planted his stake three times last episode, but Mom probably doesn’t need to know that.
After the commercial break, we get to watch Ben’s pastor read the Bible backstage while Chris Harrison hypes the potential wedding some more. I assume he’s reading the book of Judges.
Back in Jamaica, Ben sails out to the middle of the ocean on a fancy catamaran, while Lauren B comes to meet him in an inflatable dingy. Whatever happened to equal rights?? Once she safely boards the catamaran, Lauren cuddles up to Ben for a couple hours of quiet, sad nuzzles, which is all Aaron and I do on a bad day, too.
Once they reach the beach, they continue to say nothing more than, “Wow, I can’t believe we’re here.” Ben tells Lauren that he still thinks their relationship is too good to be true, which is confusing him. She barely looks ruffled by his uncertainty, but I’m beginning to think she just takes a while to process her emotions. I have no idea what that would be like.
Ben looks physically ill during the night portion of their date. This stress is really getting to him, which is sweet, but also totally his fault. He basically gives Lauren a
eulogy pre-breakup speech, starting with “No matter what happens, I’m better for having known you.” This is the point in the night that I begin to question if my Bachelor spidey senses are off. Is it possible that he might pick JoJo after all??
After the commercial break, we see Ben’s pastor wandering around backstage, Bible still in tow. He’s getting more airtime than that girl Jen who made it like, 6 episodes without saying a word.
We return our attention to Ben, who hops in a jeep to drive down a long and winding dirt road. JoJo happens to be hitchhiking in the middle of this long dirt road, so Ben picks her up. He looks 500x happier to see JoJo than he was when he saw Lauren B, but I also think that he just started having strong feelings for JoJo in the last two episodes, so it’s the more exciting relationship at the moment.
Ben takes her to a lagoon, where they settle into their usual activity of jumping off waterfalls and cuddling on jagged rocks. JoJo makes it hard for Ben to remember Lauren’s name by wearing a neon yellow bikini that shows off her weirdly perfect body, tan, and ombre hair. I’d hate her if she wasn’t so hilarious and cool.
Ben accidentally starts the engine of the train to Freak Out Town by telling JoJo he’s unsure who he’ll pick at the end of this thing. JoJo went from having zero doubts to having allllll of the doubts.
When they get back to the resort and change into their signature looks– v neck tee for Ben; shirt with no material on the front for JoJo– they settle onto the couch, where JoJo jumps right into grill mode. “Tell me everything you’re feeling. Don’t censor yourself.” She then takes a HUGE swig of wine to prepare herself for his answer. Like mother, like daughter.
The words “best friend” get thrown around a lot between Ben and JoJo, and I don’t know what to make of it. I settle on it meaning that JoJo makes him feel comfortable enough to talk about anything, but that he doesn’t get that butterflies-in-his-stomach feeling when he’s around her. I’m all for your spouse being your best friend, but I’m also all for a spouse who gives you the desire to try and impress them.
For instance, I will tell my best friend absolutely anything, no matter how petty, mean, dramatic, or pathetic it sounds. I will tell Aaron just about anything, but I try not to get as carried away with the negative stuff because I value his love for me. Not that I don’t value my best friend’s love, but I also don’t need her to find me attractive. She can just brush things off with, “wow you’re a mess right now,” not, “holy crap, what did I sign up for.” See the difference? Censoring isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it’s for the betterment of a relationship. Which is why everyone needs to still have at least one best friend to whom they can openly spill every ugly thought after they get married, because your spouse really shouldn’t be your only sounding board. Reason #543 not to ghost your friends when you get into a relationship.
I really need to get my tangents under control.
JoJo takes Ben into the bathroom where the cameras are not allowed. We can only hear their whispered conversation, which includes Ben admitting to JoJo that he told Lauren he loves her, too. JoJo sobs, and I don’t blame her. You can tell she really loves Ben. It’s hard to listen to her grapple with the fact that she has to compete for his love, because that is the most unhealthy way to feel in a relationship. But, this is a competition dating show, so…
Ben reminds the camera that he has no clue what he’s going to do the next day. This reminds me to be grateful that Aaron knew he was going to propose to me and not to someone else the night before he got down on one knee. We now live in a world where we can no longer take that kind of certainty for granted.
The next day, Neil Lane shows up with four different gaudy diamond rings for Ben to choose from. Ben makes a 180 and tells Neil he knows exactly who he wants to propose to, and feels confident in his decision. Wait, what?
I roll with it because I love happy endings, even if they don’t make much sense.
No one is surprised that Lauren chooses a bib gown for the engagement day, and no one is surprised that JoJo chooses a dress with no front.
Everyone hops in their own helicopters to fly to the proposal site. Ben looks blankly at the camera and says, “A woman is about to arrive here, and I am going to break her heart.” There was not a waver in his voice, not a regret in his eye. Ben can be cold, y’all.
The first helicopter carrying Lauren or JoJo lands, and we know that whoever steps out is about to be blindsided with a breakup. One foot, another foot, and then the camera pans up to catch a glimmer of light pink fabric. Oh, JoJo, bless you honey.
Chris Harrison helps JoJo navigate the damp grass in her heels for the first few yards, then leaves her to wobble over to the wooden path that producers spent all night building. This path weaves all the way to Ben, which gives him plenty of time to put on a happy face so not to give away what’s about to happen, but he does not choose to do so. Instead, he looks like he’s holding in a painful bowel movement as JoJo marches towards him.
Because producers are heartless and cruel beings, they force the girls to declare their undying love for Ben before he gets to speak. JoJo delivers her speech with passion and tears. I yell at Ben to interrupt her and put her out of her misery, but he doesn’t. COLD.
Finally, Ben tells JoJo that he loves her…BUT. Worst sentence ever. “I love you, BUT.” My heart tightened just typing those words. He says, “I love you, but I love someone else more.” JoJo looks like she’s going to pass out or run, and I want her to do either so that she can stop having to hear Ben continue to explain himself. It’s only making things worse.
He walks her to a limo, and I briefly wonder why she came in by air but has to leave by ground. Either way, the scene is incredibly gut-wrenching. JoJo tells him he shouldn’t have said “I love you” to her, to which all of America says AMEN.
Ben is shown looking angsty about the breakup for a while before he recovers and picks up the phone to call Lauren B’s dad. I believe this is a Bachelor first! He actually called the father to ask for permission! He may be cold, but he’s still perfect.
Lauren finally arrives in her skin tight bib dress and does her signature waddle up the wooden path. Ben looks elated to see her, which makes me feel a lot better about everything that just led up to this moment. She confesses her undying love for him, then he gives a very pregnant pause before beginning his speech about never wanting to say goodbye to her. I almost can’t hear him because the waterfalls in the background are so loud, but he says something about wanting to kiss her on the face.
Ben gets down on one knee, and Lauren can’t stop giggling. I cry. Aaron judges me and hands me my fifth berger cookie of the day so that I can eat my feelings.
Ben and Lauren are on cloud nine and keep saying, “You’re my person! I’m so lucky!” “No, I’m lucky!” “We’re both lucky!!” I lose it and lean over to kiss Aaron and say the same things to him because I’m the biggest mush ever to exist.
Ben carries her to the helicopter, and they fly off into the sunset. THE END.
It’s been a beautiful ride, you guys! Thanks for joining me with these recaps. I hope they only continue to get better as I continue to cover upcoming seasons.
Oh, quickly, here are the things you need to know about After the Final Rose:
- JoJo is the new Bachelorette! CALLED IT before the show even began to air! Rumor had it that Caila got the gig, but never believe US Weekly over Generation grannY. Let that be a lesson learned. Okay, so maybe I predicted Lauren to go home on the first night based on her picture, but that is neither here nor there. I ended up calling her as winner since a few weeks into the show, so I’m still proud.
- Ben and Lauren did not get married.
- Olivia did not show up or agree to go on BIP 3.
See you for Bachelor in Paradise 3!