[EDITOR’S NOTE: What happens when a guy who has never watched an episode of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise or Bachelor Pad (TBT) tunes in for the finale episode of one of ~the most dramatic seasons yet~? Read on to find out. Full disclosure: he’s not completely in the dark when it comes to the Bachelor franchise because after all, he works for the blog and we’re literally talking about this show all the time.]
7:55 PM – You know that low-key anxiety you get sitting in the doctor’s office prior to your annual checkup? You don’t have any ailments, yet you stress over the shallow abyss of the blood draw or the finger prick. Yeah, that’s what I am feeling now. How the hell am I going to churn out a piece about The Bachelorette having never watched before? What if I just feel complete apathy over the next 180 minutes and hand in a paper no longer than Doug Funnie’s famous two-word essay, “Silt is…”?
Luckily, unlike the doc’s office, I’ve got the medication that needs no prescription. All apologies to the fine brewers at Sixpoint, tonight’s’ vice is a heavy pour (or three) of rosé.
8:00 PM – Hello, Chris Harrison. Tonight’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire is a little different than usual. He announces they have never done an episode like this before, squeezing 90 minutes of content into 3 hours of ‘live’ television.
A quick recap and intro to our contestants. Luckily, I am familiar with them already because apparently, I should marry Peter, commitment issues be damned.
Chris is back on screen, and we have crossed the Rubicon in broadcasting — combining the finale and after-show into one big extravaganza. The Walking Dead + Talking Dead = The Bachelorette finale.
8:06 PM – The internet does not want Bryan to win, and the internet has never steered anyone wrong before, consider me #TeamNotBryan.
Commercial Break: The first ad of the night for Bachelor in Paradise, showing no less than 5 contestants crying into the camera. (THIS IS WHAT Y’ALL ENJOY?)
8:10 PM – Our esteemed host reminds us again that he’s parked in our living rooms for 3 hours, and in an update on Bachelor alumnus, Juan Pablo is married. The audience was so excited to hear the news they couldn’t contain themselves and let out a thunderous applause. Just kidding! They let out a shocked “What!?” and a less-than-enthusiastic applause, basically at Chris and Rachel‘s urging.
We’re out of the studio and off to Rioja, the wine region in northern Spain (dammit, picked the wrong blend for the evening).
We (well really, I) meet Peter and he and Rachel share a serious discussion. “I want to thank you for showing some emotions.” Peter is more suited for Shark Tank than The Bachelorette. Oh yeah, he’s also a sociopath. Rachel’s crying has “advanced” him… alrighty then.
A note from the host invites them to spend the night in the “fantasy suite,” but it looks like they used HotelTonight.com to check into Motel Rioja.
8:20 PM – The couple pokes their heads out through separate windows to celebrate the new day, as one does the morning after. But just like that, Peter heads off without a suitcase in tow, to wander the hills of Rioja and eventually become a farmhand for the rest of his days.
Bryan shows up not long after, happy to see Rachel in Rioja. “So nice to see you, you taste an awful lot like Peter,” he muses.
8:26 PM – Bryan has poor grammar. Rachel is about as decisive as Selina Meyer on a good day.
8:27 PM – Bryan has REALLY poor grammar. #TeamBryanGoesBackToSchool
8:28 PM – Chris asking the hard-hitting questions “Was it an emotional roller coaster… Having two guys dote over you?” Rachel says Peter was in her head the whole time. PETER IS A MANIPULATING S.O.B.
“Bachelorette fans, are you enjoying this finale? Here’s an awkward segue into some quality programming that will likely get canceled in the first season.”
8:34 PM – Rachel presses Bryan on why he feels a certain way. Bryan responds, “I dunno.” Bryan is the type of guy who will say whatever you want to hear in the job interview and responds to the question “What’s your greatest weakness?” with “My biggest weakness is I have no weaknesses.”
Rachel is emotionally distant and Bryan calls her out on it. This is what happens when you double-book Bumble dates. [EDITOR’S NOTE: What John actually doesn’t know is that this is what happens when you TRIPLE-book Bumble dates… her overnight with Eric the night before Peter’s had just been featured in the episode before. Exhausting.]
8:36 PM – Rachel, “Peter dropped a bomb on me.” That reminds me, did Trump declare war on North Korea during this ep? *Checks Twitter* He didn’t.
8:37 PM – Another letter. Is that really Chris Harrison’s handwriting?
Another fantasy suite. Peter got shafted, this one is way nicer.
Twitter check – the eye-roll GIFs in my timeline have grown exponentially during the Bryan segment. Lots of fainting GIFs at Peter shirtless.
8:44 PM – Rose ceremony time. Did you know Rioja is Spanish for rose? (It isn’t.) Eric has gotten three seconds of screen time thus far; he has Jaime Lannister levels of plot armor, ain’t no way he’s going home.
Rachel: “I need to make sure we’re not living a fantasy (with Bryan)”… but last night we stayed in the fantasy suite.
The men arrive. Peter looks the sharpest suited up. Bryan gets a rose, one remains. Totally called it! Eric is going home! A wild Chris appears to tell the two to share goodbyes, where Rachel tells Eric “it’s not you, it’s me.” But seriously dude, show up to a rose ceremony in more than a t-shirt underneath your jacket next time.
This love square has become a triangle — I need to mentally prepare for hour two (of three(!))
Twitter check – hope is not lost for Eric, getting a lot of support to be the next Bachelor:
— Cynthia T. (@_cynthiaxo_) August 8, 2017
This Eric elimination is gutting me! He truly blossomed and opened up throughout the show 😢 #TheBacheloretteFinale
— Ashley Spivey (@AshleySpivey) August 8, 2017
9:00 PM – ERIC YOU WEAR A COLLARED SHIRT NOW? Why didn’t he get any screen time before this? He’s easily the most likable contestant out of the three. He was a boy, but became a man — that happened to someone else I know:
9:13 PM – Rachel and Bryan hop into a hot air balloon and cruise a couple hundred feet over the region, conquering their fear of heights (Hey! I remember this question on the quiz!).
After an Etsy gift of a custom-single-page Spanish dictionary, Bryan waxes non-poetically into the camera/voiceover about how he has said and done everything he can and now implies only Peter stands in the way. Bryan cries and/or laughs maniacally into a pillow.
9:25 PM – Time for Peter’s date, wearing olive (which is a very manipulative color, according to my non-scientific research). They are in a peaceful setting (which is a changeup according to Rachel, but that’s all I’ve seen the first 90 minutes), a church which probably housed Communist dissidents hiding from Franco (Francisco, not James… or Dave, for that matter). Peter talks about a “leap of faith” inside a church with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. They talk to a monk/priest/pre-marriage counselor. He says the word ‘important’ 4 times in one sentence, but I don’t know what he was talking about. Must not have been that important.
9:31 PM – I would not be upset if Rachel pushed this guy over the railing. “I didn’t expect to find someone I care about on this.” THEN WHY IN SAM HILL DID YOU SIGN UP FOR THIS SHOW, THE FREE BOOZE AT CRAFT SERVICES?
An awkward embrace, then I black out for four minutes and wake up mid-commercial.
9:37 PM – Matching clothes again in the evening. There is a 0% chance Peter has been stalking her. Peter is being honest with Rachel (for once?) and since these feelings he’s having are recent, it may be too late — BECAUSE LOVE IS APPARENTLY A GAME WITH A TIME LIMIT AND WE’VE HIT THE 2-MINUTE WARNING!
Commercial Break/Twitter check — Trump still has not declared war on North Korea. I’m running low on steam, but it’s the home stretch.
9:46 PM – Peter and Rachel exchange words words words words words #ThisIsWhyI’mSingle. The robot shows a tinge of emotion in the form of some sniffles. A drawn out ‘goodbye’ because ABC couldn’t sell the ad time. Peter takes off his tear-stained sweater to reveal a white t-shirt. Mark of the damned, his time is done, like oranges in The Godfather. Leave the gun, take the rose away.
10:03 PM – Hour 3(!!!!!). Peter is the type of person who says everything he thinks YOU want to hear. He calls the courtship a “process,” have you ever met someone who calls dating a process in a non-pejorative manner that is a normal human? [EDITOR’S NOTE: Again, as a Bachelor Nation newbie, John doesn’t realize that we ALL refer to this show as a ‘process,’ not that any of us can really describe ourselves as ‘normal humans’ anyways.]
If someone made a word cloud of this ep, “Emotion” would swallow up all the others like a black hole.
10:13 PM – Process. Peter feels attacked, but he can’t back it up with why. Peter drops a line better suited for SVU, “I walked past her eyelashes for two days.” Can Eric come back? This means Bryan wins? I think we all lose.
Commercial Break – Can I watch last night’s Thrones ep again? That was legit one of the best ever. Who would win Bachelorette in Westeros? Instead of a rose, they would poison the losers… maybe even the winner. Valar Morghulis.
10:24 PM – Bryan ascends the castle, the conquering hero going to meet the woman of his dreams. To keep it up with the GoT theme, can a dragon just show up and toast this marshmallow?
Some producer decided to stage the final scene in a mini-hurricane. Bryan has to pour his heart and soul out over what sounds like a kid crinkling a candy-wrapper. Sound guys don’t get paid enough. Bryan proposes. Rachel says yes, having gone through a mind wipe from the previous night.
Twitter check – the Twitterverse has lost its shit.
10:40 PM – We’re doing a proposal again? What if she said no? Tell me you wouldn’t all be dancing around Bryan’s freshly stomped-on heart.
10:50PM – I haven’t really paid attention after Rachel said “Yes” again, but I have discovered true love still exists, and we can always find it nestled between 30-second commercial pods.
N.B. – Many thanks to my best friend, Matt, for keeping me sane over these three hours via group chat and tossing in a few observations used in this piece.