The Bachelorette Season-Finale Recap: Win by Default

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Photo: ABC
The Bachelorette

The Bachelorette

The Finale Rose Season 13 Episode 11
Editor's Rating 2 stars

In under 1,000 words, write a persuasive essay answering if Rachel’s final rose was given to the right person. Use the following quotes as evidence to support your thesis:

“I started to see a change in Geneva.”

“What tastes better: the strawberry or me?”

“I’m just gonna miss her, bro.”

“Then go find someone who will give you a mediocre life.”

“It was literally like a chemistry bomb had just exploded.”

“IT’S SO PRETTY! GIVE IT TO ME! IT’S SO PRETTY!”

In your essay, be sure to include references to Eric wearing a T-shirt under a suit for the second time, Peter ripping off his sweater in a moment of frustration, and Bryan picking a pear-shaped diamond. You have three hours to write this persuasive essay because this finale was three hours, for some godforsaken reason, and if I suffered, you should suffer too.

If you don’t arrive at the conclusion that Rachel should have just picked Eric with his cute-ass beard, you failed. I failed. We all failed. Something went massively off the rails and I need everyone to hand in their essays at the end of the period so we can figure this out. Was Rachel so afraid to end up without an engagement ring on her finger that she was willing to end up with someone who was previously on a UPN reality show? Where did it all go sideways? Everyone, close your eyes. Try to picture the last moment you were having fun. I don’t mean while watching this show. I mean the last time any of us had any fun.

There was no grand love story. There was no romance. There was no happy ending. It all felt like a somber death march toward an inevitability that no one wanted. He was completely and utterly phony. He referred to Rachel as “this woman” more times than he used her actual name. ABC decided to mix the After the Final Rose ceremony into the episode and intercut the final episode with live footage of Rachel awkwardly watching herself cry. Do they think we aren’t going to be interested enough in sticking around to watch After the Final Rose that they have to trick us into watching it? They know we like watching Rachel, right? Why do they think we’re so very invested in watching her squirm?

I guess we must dive into this episode: We pick up with Peter’s fantasy suite date. GAH! I forgot we were still here. His problem still comes down to the fact that, for him, a proposal is a legally binding contract wherein the parties must immediately enter a marriage. If he proposes to Rachel, he must get married the next weekend. He wants to propose only once and get married only once.

Hey, Peter? SO DOES EVERYONE. No one is going into a marriage like, “I can’t wait to do this three to five more times.”

Either way, Rachel hands him the fantasy suite card and they spend the night together, presumable not talking about their issues. The next morning, Rachel says their relationship is better, but they’re still on opposite ends of the proposal spectrum.

Wait? We aren’t going to the rose ceremony? We haven’t even gotten to her fantasy suite with Bryan yet? I’m so sleepy. Rachel says that she can’t get her conversations with Peter out of her head and as a result she’s just staring off into the vineyards while Bryan rambles on about how confident and how strong their relationship feels. Later, Bryan says that he notices that Rachel has something on her mind and she thanks him for noticing and he literally goes, “I do read you well.” Bryan can’t even deal with her doubts without patting himself on the back. Does anyone else get the feeling that Bryan goes to bed every night and tells himself, “Wonderful job, buddy!” while looking in the mirror as he deflates his cheeks?

I also noticed that when Bryan is talking to Rachel, he leans in waaaayy too close to her.

When Rachel and Bryan go to their fantasy suite, which is way nicer than the Airbnb they shoved Rachel and Peter into, they exchange some meaningless platitudes that feel more at home on a fourth date than between two people who are about to get engaged.

Extra-credit question: Which of the guys was the best in bed? Because there’s no way Bryan is genuinely good in bed.

The next morning, they lounge around and have breakfast in bed and feed each other strawberries and make out. They actively disgust me. I never wanted to get to this place with Rachel. Everyone who said Rachel and Bryan had an annoying kissing style — I’m done defending their passion. In her interviews with Chris Harrison, Rachel says that she asked the guys about their health insurance and credit scores. Okay. He’s gross. She’s still perfection.

It’s time for the rose ceremony finally. I feel like I’ve just been let out of the Jumanji board game. I feel like that GIF of the old lady from Titanic. Rachel says she must compare relationships to each other so it’s the hardest elimination yet, plus she knows how getting eliminated at this point feels. Bryan gets the first rose and she looks Peter dead in his eyes and says, “Whoever I give this next rose to better fucking propose to me and not have me out here looking like some kind of goddamn fool.”

Okay, she doesn’t say exactly that, but she was thinking it. Her words said she was looking for a proposal and not just to be someone’s girlfriend, but her heart was saying, “Don’t play with me, boy.” Peter gets the rose.

RACHEL. UGH. I came all the way around with Eric and that beard certainly helps. She takes Eric out to sit on a little bench and tells him that she certainly has strong feelings for him, but she has stronger feelings for the other two contesticles. Eric thanks her for being open and allowing him to be open and confess his love to her. He says he will always love her in a truly non-creepy way. Rachel says that, for the first time, she wonders if she’s making a mistake.

Eric comes out in our timeline. He says that his heart never felt love before so Rachel loving him and opening his heart up to love fulfilled him and made him whole. He went from a boy to a man! And I didn’t hate him saying it. This man has a gift. Rachel admits that in another setting they could have worked out.

It’s time for the final two dates and we can end this once and for all. Rachel and Bryan are going in a hot air balloon. WHO CARES? I’ve only got so many words and we GOTTA talk about Peter. Bryan gave her a little hand-crafted Spanish-English dictionary. Let’s move on.

Rachel and Peter meet up for their final date and a monk guides them around a monastery and tells them that couples break up all the time. Peter keeps telling her that he can see them at farmers markets and football games. He wants Rachel to be his wife. But he won’t propose. Peter. You have to do one for the other to happen.

They head to the evening portion of their date and Rachel says that Peter is saying all the right things, but he’s not ready to do any of the actions that would ensure what he wants. Rachel is totally within her rights to say that whoever she picks must propose. That’s the whole thing. She rightfully calls Peter out when he says, “I have one opportunity at a proposal” and she says, “You’re choosing to have one opportunity.” He’s choosing to be obstinate. And I know the Peter hive is out there asserting that Peter is just the type of guy who has to take his time and talk about his feelings. I would totally respect that IF HE WEREN’T ON A GAME SHOW WHERE THE GRAND PRIZE IS AN ENGAGEMENT.

Imagine if this idiot went on $100,000 Pyramid and was offended that he had to win $100,000.

He also wants her to tell him that he’s the man she’s going to spend her life with and she’s literally not allowed to answer that. I guarantee you if she told him he was the one, he would have proposed. He didn’t want to take it slow. He wanted his sure thing. Just as much as she wanted hers. He didn’t need “time” or “space to think.” He wanted control. He can’t make the case for why he should stay other than “It’ll be worth it.” When she says, “I can’t do tomorrow if you just want to be my boyfriend,” he just tells her, “I wish you nothing but the very best.”

I MEAN. So, Bryan wins by default? Peter pulls the ultimate ain’t-shit move and tells her, “We’re both going to regret this decision.” She didn’t decide, Peter. YOU DID. You decided not to play by the rules. You wanna stay with her after Rioja? You propose. You don’t appear noble or honorable for torturing her for weeks and dragging your feet about this relationship because “you just can’t bring yourself” to propose. Get over yourself, Peter. You went to a puppy pool party. You were having fun until it came time for Rachel to assert what she wanted.

Haven’t we all been with this dude?

Rachel walks out. She puts her coat on, cries, tells him she loves him, and leaves.

So, Bryan really wins by default?

Peter comes out to talk to Host Chris and Rachel in our timeline and he doesn’t have an answer for himself or his behavior and then he accuses her of “attacking him.” Calling you out on your behavior isn’t being attacked and I’m not interested in the whole “angry black woman she attacked me” dog whistle here. Rachel tells him she doesn’t think he’s cut out for this whole process. You can take your ass home and don’t be looking for Bachelor status. He also claims he left her eyelashes on the floor for two days. BITCH. I CANNOT. He said he tried to reach out to her and he wasn’t allowed to. Haven’t we all gotten this text? I had a guy call me after we broke up and tell me he really missed “my lifestyle” and “my friends” and wanted to start “hanging out,” but not be my boyfriend.

I guess it’s time to watch Rachel get engaged with this sentient Whole30 blog. He meets with Neil Lane and picks out a ring to propose to Rachel and oh, man, this is bleak. I don’t think Rachel is settling — she was always prepared to go with the sure thing she obviously had feelings for — but it all feels so hollow. The most she can muster about Bryan is that he’s a good person. She’s more emotional and passionate during her breakup with Peter than literally any part of her proposal from Bryan. Bryan walks into the final proposal saying he’s supremely confident. You gotta be a little nervous proposing. Even if you’ve discussed it and you’re both on the same page, it’s a huge moment. Nerves are a sign you give a shit.

I don’t even think we have enough time to get into the fact that Bachelorettes should be allowed to propose.

Listen, I was ready for Rachel to pick Bryan and it made a certain sense, but him being the last one standing takes all the fun out of it. Rachel gives a speech about how she always goes for the exciting, complicated guy and she loves gambling on that excitement, but she’s not going to do that. Sooooooo … she’s going to pick Bryan. [RuPaul’s Drag Race “shade” sound effect.] He gets down on one knee. She squeals and says, “I can’t! I can’t!” He says, “Will you be my reina forever and marry me?” and she says, “Yes! So pretty! Give it to me! It’s so pretty!”

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.

That is … alarming. There’s no romance or even warmth in their proposal. I’m not engaged, but I’m pretty sure my first reaction wouldn’t be, “Give it to me” as I reach out for the ring. On the after-the-episode interview, Bryan re-proposed and I rolled my eyes so hard I momentarily became the Three-Eyed Raven and saw Hodor’s childhood. The sweetest bit of irony? They’re taking it slow and just trying to figure out where to live, and they haven’t relocated yet. They’re not getting married anytime soon. How delicious.

Oh, and then ABC shows some of the footage of Corinne and DeMario from Bachelor in Paradise so everything is rotten.

The Bachelorette Season-Finale Recap: Win by Default