Alright, folks. We made it. After spending nearly a full twenty-four hours over the past several months glued to our televisions on Monday nights, this week finally brought us the conclusion of Rachel’s journey to find
fame love and dick happiness. In an attempt to make this season even shittier than it already was, Lord Chris Harrison and his legion at ABC decided to integrate the After The Final Rose live special into the actual finale itself by bringing Rachel out in front of the live studio audience to narrate her choices, feelings, emotions, and other shit I don’t care about to truly prolong our agony at finding out who is left at the end to bend the knee for her. Let’s break it down:
Fantasy Suite Date with Peter
This week’s episode began where we cut off two weeks ago – with Rachel and Peter sobbing over their uneaten dinner because Rachel was adamant about her Bachelorette experience ending in a proposal while Peter was a little hesitant to propose to someone he’d only been dating for six weeks who also currently has another boyfriend. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I think Peter brings up a lot of fair, rational points with that argument. The problem is that this show is not about being rational. It’s about being unrealistic and fucking insane, and Rachel chugged that Kool-Aid so fast she even swallowed a few ice cubes on accident.
“I’m just crying because of how much I care about you,” Rachel stammers. Peter pauses before responding, “You know, now that I think about it, the fact that you’re crying makes me actually feel a lot more secure about our relationship. You care about me enough to make yourself look truly hideous in front of the cameras, and I guess it’s good to find out sooner rather than later that you’re an ugly crier. I mean, I look flawless when I cry, but I look flawless doing anything. Here, give me your tears, gypsy.” I may have added that last past.
As Rachel dabs her eyes, she asks Peter a single, poignant question. “Well, where do we go from here?” Peter looks deep into her eyes and replies, “We should definitely just bang this one out.” Rachel looks confused before Peter backtracks. “Wait! What I meant was…I want to spend as much time as humanly possible with you, so the time we have off camera in the Fantasy Suite is very important in building our relationship. That’s what I was trying to say. Also, the sex part too. But we can still talk.” Rachel thinks for a moment before fishing the Fantasy Suite key out of its envelope and standing up. “Lead the way, tiger.”
The camera cuts to Rachel sitting in the studio audience with Chris Harrison. “Tell us, Rachel,” Chris inquires, “exactly how close were you to sending Peter home right then and there?” Rachel nods her head silently for a moment. “Very close, but then I realized I was about to throw away my chance to climb that man like a tree, and I knew I couldn’t do that. Waste not, want not, amirite?”
After five commercial breaks, and what seemed like another eternity spent on conversations between Chris Harrison and Rachel, the camera finally transports us back to Rachel and Peter’s love den after their night of fornication. We see Peter cooking breakfast for Rachel, and after that the two of them snuggle on some weird mattress they dragged to the porch of their AirBnb. Their parting conversation seemed positive, and for a moment hope effervesces through me like the bubbles in a freshly poured glass of champagne that I was planning on using to make a mimosa but decided not to put orange juice in at the last minute because I’m okay with myself as a person and sometimes I just need that buzz, okay? Maybe this season will have a happy ending after all.
Fantasy Suite Date with Bryan
This year’s short straw for the third Fantasy Suite trip to Pound Town is Bryan, although he’s a douche from Miami, so this probably isn’t his first rodeo about being the third dude on the train. Their date begins with a romantic horseback ride through the Spanish countryside, which cannot be pleasant for Rachel’s vagina at this point. Hopefully ABC invested in some ice packs for her or something. The whole dynamic of the date is weird – Rachel asks Bryan how meeting her family went, and he tells her, “It was fantastic. I was fantastic. Your family thinks I am fantastic because I am fantastic. If you hear any description of me or of our date that is not fantastic, that is FAKE NEWS.” We were all there, Bryan. It was not fantastic. It was the opposite of fantastic. It was anti-fantastic.
Nothing really noteworthy happened during the day portion of their date, except that Bryan and Rachel were super awkward around each other. Bryan actually called her out on it over dinner, saying that it didn’t seem like she was fully present. She tried to brush it off, but it was pretty clear her panties were still in a bunch from what happened with Peter the night before. Just kidding – after all the downstairs excitement over the past few days, she couldn’t even bear to wear panties at this point. In a gesture of solidarity to prove that she wasn’t trying to be distant from Bryan, she gave him the key to the Fantasy Suite, polished off the rest of her wine, and headed off to fulfill her wifely duties.
The next morning, we get to see Rachel and Bryan feeding each other strawberries in bed, and we also see that Bryan is the type of dude that sleeps in socks. I bet he left them on for their no pants dance too. As this sight dances across my screen, I become the human version of the eye roll emoji as I pour myself more wine to numb the pain of this bullshit.
The Rose Ceremony begins with Rachel walking uphill in an outfit she must have stolen off the dead body of Margaery Tyrell. She saunters slowly, either still deciding whose hopes and dreams are about to be crushed or trying to subtly pick a wedgie before she arrives in front of the three remaining men. During her walk, we hear Rachel’s voice from a previous interview, saying, “I just don’t know what I should do. I want to be engaged at the end of this, so should I pick them man who says that he’s ready to get engaged even though I don’t think he’s actually ready, or should I pick the guy who said he’s definitely not ready to get engaged?” Jesus Christ, this show is dumb.
Apparently Rachel’s decision is made, because as she steps up to the two remaining roses, she looks at her men for a moment before delivering this message. “I thought that this week would bring me clarity, but the only thing it’s brought me is more confusion, and a raging UTI. At this point, the only thing I can do is be true to myself and what I came here for, which is to get engaged with a priceless Neil Lane engagement ring, not to end up with a boyfriend. I repeat, I do not want to have a boyfriend at the end of this. I want a fiancé, and I want it yesterday.” From the moment she started talking, she gave her entire spiel while staring directly at Peter, her eyes boring into his soul. There was no love in that gaze; it was full of disappointment and the fear of unfulfilled expectations, not unlike the look my mother gave me when she discovered porn in my browser history in middle school.
After letting her ultimatum smolder for a few moments, Rachel picks up the first rose.
No fucking surprise there. Tweedle Dipshit accepts his rose and shoots off a quick text to his mother to let her know she’ll be without him for just a while longer. Immediately, the shrieks of an angry Olga whistle through the air like a Colombian tornado.
Rachel picks up the second rose. My heart rate quickens. My sphincter tightens. I close my eyes and plead with God, “Not Peter, little baby Jesus. I haven’t asked you for much since I asked you to not let Jesse Pinkman die, for which I am still grateful by the way, but please, not Peter.”
Rachel clears her throat. I hold my breath.
FUCK. YES. Hope is alive and well in Rioja.
Eric stands besides Bryan and Peter, dumbfounded. “I don’t understand,” he whispers quietly. “Why wasn’t my name in her mouth?”
Rachel takes Eric by the hand and leads him to the limo. “Eric, you’re amazing and I am so grateful to know you. I just want you to know that I do love you, I’m just not in love with you.” Cool, Rach. In my opinion, that’s actually one of the shittier things you can say to someone during a breakup. It’s like playing just the tip, but with someone’s feelings instead of their genitalia. You’re almost there, and it kind of counts but not really. Such a tease.
Eric looks longingly at Rachel. “I’ll always love you,” he says. “I know,” she replies. With that, he gets in the limo and departs. The camera cuts back to Rachel in the live studio audience. Without skipping a beat, Chris Harrison pipes up. “Rachel, this must have been very difficult to watch! Let’s make it even worse – Eric is backstage, so let’s go ahead and bring him out!”
Are we for real right now? Apparently so, because Eric immediately struts out on stage, and by struts I mean walks out like a dog with his tail between his leg. He’s grown a beard, but it can’t hide the sadness in his eyes.
Eric sits down and opens with a question. “So Rachel, how’s your heart?” The fuck kind of question is that? How’s your heart? Still beating, most likely, and still not yours, bro. Rachel tries to placate him, but Chris Harrison is really in a mood to stir the pot. “So Rachel,” he starts. “We just saw you tell Eric in Rioja that you loved him, but you weren’t in love with him. Can you explain to us what prompted your decision to send him home?”
Rachel glances around, clearly confused. “Well Chris, that’s pretty much it. I told him I wasn’t in love with him and that’s why I sent him home. I thought that was pretty obvious. Are you done asking me questions that you already know the answers to or do you want to ask me if I’m still black while you’re at it?”
Chris gives Eric the final word. In what I hope is a futile attempt at an audition to be the next Bachelor, he says, “Rachel, I just want to thank you for letting me profess my love to you. When I started this journey, I was a boy. You gave me love and turned me in to a man.” As those words come out of his mouth, Rachel chokes on her wine a little bit. She whispers, “Dude, you promised you weren’t a virgin!” in his ear. He winks at her. “Gotcha, bitch! But for real, I’m always going to love you. Forever. I’ll never let you go. I can’t live without you. Please baby, put my name back in your mouth.”
Rachel hugs him. “You’re so sweet, Eric, but we have to go to commercial! Right, Chris?”
Final Date with Bryan
For Bryan and Rachel’s final date, the couple goes on a hot air balloon ride. I get that it’s supposed to be an intimate moment, but in reality they’re just making out three feet away from both the camera dude and the balloon operator in a picnic basket of doom one law of physics away from being a death sentence. Bryan tells the camera, “I’m feeling good about today. The way I am around Rachel, I don’t know if y’all call it my confidence or my charm, but it’s on today! If I had a ring, I would propose right now.” None of us have called it that, Bryan. That was you, to yourself, in the mirror, just now.
I would say more about this date, but the only other remarkable thing that happened was that after dinner, Bryan presented Rachel with a gift. She eagerly rips apart the packaging, only to be met with a Spanish dictionary. “Oh my goodness babe, that’s so sweet!” she exclaims, clearly versed in lying. Bryan totally buys it, because he’s dumb. “And look, I even made you a cheat sheet for common phrases like love, wife, happiness, beer me, blow job, “No, I promise, he’s a real doctor’ and ‘Fucking run my mother is trying to kill you!’”
There’s still an hour and a half left in this episode. Fuck me. I’m over Bryan. I’m over Rachel. I need more wine. Well, I need a lot of things, but wine is at the top of the list.
Final Date with Peter
The final date of this season is with Peter. Saving the best for last, I see. Well played, ABC. Rachel decides to take Peter to an ancient monastery, which seems appropriate since at this moment I was praying to any deity that will listen that Rachel would please be so kind as to pull her head out of her ass and realize that Peter is perfect and they should be together forever.
They wander around the sanctuary in silence as Rachel awkwardly pets ancient mosaics like she’s at a children’s museum and Peter follows quietly behind her. A monk approaches them and shows them a statue that has apparently been in the monastery since the 8th century, and by the look of it, they weren’t joking. After they pretend to give a shit about that turd loaf of a statue, they go outside and stare longingly at each other while straddling the railing of the monastery’s walkway. I don’t get it. Say something. Say anything.
In the evening portion of the date, Rachel joins Peter in his hotel room. As Peter opens the door, the couple realizes they’ve worn matching outfits without even planning it! How spontaneous and romantic – they should obviously be together. Once Rachel sits down, Peter starts the conversation on a strong note.
“Let’s talk about that Rose Ceremony,” he says. “It seems like you were trying to communicate some sort of message to me since, you know, you basically aired out our exact situation to Eric and Bryan and stared at me so hard I shit myself a little bit there.” Rachel crosses her legs and smiles. “Good,” she replied. “That was the point. I’m glad you got the message loud and clear.”
Peter nods. “I definitely did,” he continues. “Rachel, I’m in love with you. That became very clear to me today. I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want to live my life without you. But these feelings are so recent, and even though they’re growing, I’m not ready to ask you to marry me tomorrow.”
A fire lights behinds Rachel’s eyes. “I don’t understand you, Peter!” she exclaims. “You say all these things about wanting to be with me and seeing a future with me, but you don’t want to propose to me? I’ve made this mistake before and I don’t want to do it again. I don’t want to end up in some sort of holding pattern when this is over because I didn’t come here to…”
“…To end up with a boyfriend,” Peter finishes Rachel’s signature line for her. She’s probably not here to make friends either. “This is too important of a decision to act on impulse. I mean, come on, we’ve known each other for like six weeks and I just fell in love with you two days ago. I’ve had longer relationships with empty water bottles rolling around on the floor of my car. I want to propose to just to one person in my life, and I don’t want to give that moment away if I’m not sure.”
“You don’t only have one opportunity to propose in your life, Peter,” Rachel spits at him. “You’re CHOOSING to have one opportunity! If you’re not ready to propose to me, then I don’t know where we stand.”
Up until this point, I could get behind both Peter and Rachel’s arguments. (By that I mean I was 100% on Peter’s side, but could understand Rachel’s points.) However, when she lobs a thinly veiled criticism of him only wanting to propose once and then essentially threatens him with that ultimatum, I knew that my honeymoon with Rachel was over.
“FUCK YOU!” Peter shouted at Rachel. Just kidding – that was me, shouting at my television, drunk and alone. What actually happened was Peter asked a single, pointed question: “Rachel, do you want to spend the rest of your life with me?” Tears well up in Rachel’s eyes. “I can’t answer that question.”
“FUCK YOU, YOU BITCH!” Peter exclaims. Wait, nope. That was still me. Sorry for the false alarm. I just have a lot of feelings, okay? Again, acting as the voice of reason, Peter continues. “Well, if you aren’t willing to continue moving forward without a proposal, then pick Bryan. Go on and live some mediocre life with him, because I promise you I would give you an extraordinary life, Rachel.” That is a savage burn and I am 100% about it. Speak your truth, Petey boy.
Their conversation continues for what seems like years and goes absolutely nowhere. When it becomes evident that neither party was willing to budge, Peter finally says what I’ve been praying he wouldn’t: “ I think the only logical thing to do at this point is to say goodbye.”
From there, the Hoover Dam of tears breaks. Peter is crying. Rachel is crying. Jesus is crying. I am crying. Even when Rachel tries to leave, she can’t. Peter holds her and they both cry. As Peter wipes a tear from Rachel’s eye, he tells here, “I really do love you, Rachel.” Rachel meets his gaze. “I love you too, Peter.”
“This is it!” I whisper to my wine glass. “They’re going to fix this!”
For some reason, Peter and Rachel don’t hear me. As their embrace ends, Rachel tells him “I’m not going to say goodbye to you” before turning and walking down the hallway. Peter sits down on a table in the hallway and continues to sob. “Run after her! Do something! This isn’t the end!” I yell
The camera cuts to Rachel exiting Peter’s hotel in the rain. “How romantic,” I think out loud. “When he comes running out into the rain and kisses her it’s going to be perfect.” Except he doesn’t. And she leaves. And it’s over. And I die.
As the scene ends, we are returned to the ATFR set, which is eerily silent. Chris Harrison breaks the silence. “So let’s bring Peter out here and let’s talk about that shit!” I’m still processing. This can’t be how it ends for Peter. Bryan can’t win like this, or at all, right? For real, what the fuck is happening?
Peter walks out on stage and sits down an awkward distance from Rachel. They stare at each other and there is so much sexual tension I feel like I should rip my own clothes off, but I refrain from doing so. That would require a lot of effort, and at the present moment all of my focus was on keeping my brain from exploding.
“So this is the first time you’ve seen each other since that night, huh?” Chris Harrison asks. “It is,” Peter answers. “I asked the producers the next morning if I could reach other to her and they said no.”
“Wow,” Chris responds. “Dick move on their part. So was it as emotional to watch just now as it when it happened? Are you currently reliving all those emotions in front of everyone in America?” Rachel takes the bait on that question, saying “When we had that conversation, I cried so hard that my eyelashes fell off. I will not be endorsing that particular brand on Instagram anymore.”
“That’s true,” Peter chimes in. “They laid on the floor outside my room for two days. No one would pick them up. It was a constant reminder of how fucked up this whole situation was.”
“Rachel, is there anything you’d like to say to Peter now?” Chris asks. Rachel thinks for a moment, adjusting her set of hoop earrings that Gretchen Wieners would have sacrificed a virgin to get her hands on. “What I really like about you is that you stick to your convictions,” she says through gritted teeth. “It was super admirable how I couldn’t guilt you into proposing to me. I really respect that about you, even though that’s literally the reason why we broke up. But it’s fine. Never change. Please.”
“I guess I just thought that we could build a relationship without being engaged,” Peter explains. “I never expected to make it as far as I did, much less actually fall in love, and then I felt like I was being punished because I wasn’t ready to make a life altering decision in a single day.”
“Then you know what, Peter?” Rachel fires back. “Maybe this process isn’t for you. You seem like the type of guy who needs to take things slowly. You definitely don’t seem like the type of dude who would find happiness by, oh, I don’t know, being presented with twenty-five to thirty gorgeous and available women who all want to marry you and dating them for several weeks while narrowing things down to your favorite. I really don’t see you being successful in a venture like that. I hope you’re catching my drift,
Chris Harrison, ABC, America, literally everyone listening Peter.”
I am not sure if I’ve been more uncomfortable in my life. “They’re really bad actors,” I said to myself. “They are doing a terrible job of selling the fact that that ‘not together. ’” I smile, having watched enough of this show to know when ABC was trying to pull a fast one on me. “Now let’s get this show on the road! I want to see how she dumps Bryan and to see the look on Peter’s face when he finally reveals that it was all a joke and he won!”
Final Rose Ceremony
Dawn breaks on the final day of the competition, and the segment starts with an interview with Rachel. “I really don’t feel any different than I did last night, and if Peter wasn’t ready to propose, I think I made the right decision.” At the same time, we see Neil Lane pay a visit to Bryan so he can pick out an ostentatious engagement ring that he thinks he’s going to shove onto Rachel’s finger at the end of this. Thankfully, we know she ends up with Peter – I mean it’s so obvious they’re trying to trick us at this point, right? Also, we’ve all seen her engagement ring in the news by now – it’s a pretty unique teardrop shaped ring.
Bryan gazes over the various cuts, and then selects this unique teardrop shaped ring. “Oh fuck,” I whisper, my jaw dropping open.
“Its fine.” I reassure myself. “If they were going to pull this bait and switch, it had to have been planned for months. The ring is just a part of it. Well done, ABC, you really got us with this one! I almost believed that she’d actually choose Bryan.”
The camera shows us Rachel putting on her stunning silver dress and Bryan suiting up for his proposal, followed by Rachel picking up a rose at the site of her Final Rose Ceremony. Bryan arrives by limo below and is greeted by Chris Harrison. “This is where I leave you. Rachel is at the top of the hill,” he tells Bryan. Bryan smiles and begins his walk upwards.
Bryan arrives at the top and grins at Rachel, who beams radiantly back at him. He walks over and takes her hands. “Rachel Lindsay, I love you and I want to spend my life with you!” Rachel says some shit I don’t pay attention to, because I’m still trying to figure out how Peter is going to pull this one out.
It isn’t until Bryan is down on one knee and sliding his Neil Lane teardrop ring onto Rachel’s finger that I realize this isn’t a joke. It’s for real. No deception, no elaborate plots – Peter lost and Rachel picked Bryan, because love isn’t real.
The camera cuts from the scene of Bryan and Rachel celebrating in Rioja to them at ATFR. As Bryan comes out to the stage, he gets down on one knee and proposes to Rachel again with the teardrop shaped ring. I wipe some teardrop shaped tears from my eyes for all the hours I wasted on this shit.
“We’re just so happy together!” Rachel tells the crowd. “I finally got everything I wanted. Being with Bryan is so perfect and we just have so much to be thankful for. Plus, Bryan is launching his new Dr. Abs product line tomorrow! But most importantly, I’m just excited that we can go out in public together and do normal thinks, like get coffee together. And by get coffee, I specifically mean get coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, because #AmericaRunsOnDunkin. We’re a real couple, I promise.”
Well folks, that’s it. Another journey to find love complete. My soul and my liver are a little worse for the wear after this season, but I’m glad that I got to share it with each of you. I know I’ve been a little more cynical than usual this time around, but there is a silver lining surrounding this dumpster fire of a season, and it’s the fact that Bachelor in Paradise is finally coming back to us next week. See you then..