The Bachelor Finale Recap: Guilt and Shame

Photo: Paul Hebert/ABC
The Bachelor

The Bachelor

After the Final Rose Season 22 Episode 12
Editor's Rating 2 stars

Were my parents cursed by an old crone while my mother was pregnant with me? Did she waddle up to my parents and place one gnarled finger on my mother’s belly and whisper “… Arie ….”? I’m tired of watching this dude. I’m tired of writing about this dude. I’m just plain tired. Five hours of this dude evading emotions and creating wreckage behind him is too damn much! What is left to say about a man who has inspired nothing? If I could go find that old crone to beg her to free me from this hell, I would gladly give up what’s left of my youth to never hear this man’s name again, for all of us to forget who Arie ever was and ever will be. Wipe him off the face of the Earth. Please, old crone. Free us all from this hell.

What makes it all so incredibly difficult is Arie isn’t sorry for what he did. He’s sorry he got caught and has to pretend like he cares about the consequences. He wants us all to buy into his love story with Lauren and the idea that because he was following his feelings, it’s all okay.

Hey, Arie? You’re certainly entitled to your feelings, but you’re responsible for your actions. You’re not allowed to hurt other people because your feelings compel you to. Intent is irrelevant. Impact is everything. And if we tallied up all your actions here on Earth, you’ve had a negative impact. This motherfucker is bad for the environment. He’s not chlorofluorocarbons or littering, but he’s as bad as leaving the water on when you brush your teeth.

We start the “After the Final Rose” special with Chris Harrison showing us another montage of Arie and Becca and their breakup. Who is just tuning in now, like, “I’m gonna see what this whole Bachelor thing is about?” We get some footage of Becca flying home and all of this footage should be the Act One of a female revenge film. This is some Atomic Brunette realness. After Arie sits down with Jason, who basically tells him that his reputation is ruined, it’s time for Arie to go get his girl.

Arie heads down to Virginia Beach to sit down with Lauren and ask if she’ll take him back. Arie has a little bit of nervousness outside Lauren’s house, but charges in anyway. No emotional response or social cue can stop this idiot. Oh, you’re about to have an anxiety attack before you see the woman you left your fiancée for, who’s 11 years your junior, after you broke her heart on national television? Maybe your gut is trying to tell you something!

When Lauren answers the door, she grins and jumps into Arie’s arms. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t look like a woman who might not be ready to open her heart again. Meanwhile, Becca is sitting at home in chilly Minneapolis, looking at videos and pictures of herself and Arie. Becca, go smash something. It’ll help, I promise.

Lauren and Arie sit down a little too close to each other for people who are “just” reconnecting. She spills how brokenhearted she was and Arie tells her that it really killed him to know she felt that way. You know who else feels that way, Arie? Becca! But you ask Arie about Becca and he says that he’s one-thousand percent over her and he made the wrong decision picking her and he thought she would make a good wife and he let the logical side take over. She was always confident so she was a safe choice.

Fuck this guy. Seriously. There’s a way to do all of this and it doesn’t require basically putting down his connection with Becca and any feelings they might have had for each other. For someone to be completely one-thousand percent over a relationship in a matter of weeks is a bit much. Arie also tells Lauren that he’s been “completely open” with Becca about his struggles and his feelings for her. It’s really hard for me to be snarky because he’s a dick. He can’t see anything past his own desires and who might give him what he wants in the moment.

Lauren forgives him because why not. When he asks her if she wants to get back together, she says, “Duh.” I hate these two human Panera franchises.

Back in the studio, the other ladytestants stop by the couch with Chris to validate ABC’s choice to air the footage. It’s almost like they have a contract where they can’t badmouth the decisions made by ABC. The ladytestants also make sure to say that none of the blame is on Lauren.

I mean … a little blame is on Lauren. If your engaged ex-boyfriend slides into your Instagram DMs asking to “talk,” you don’t double tap. People who are willing to cheat and do dishonest things are completely to blame and totally in control of their actions, but you certainly don’t have to enable them. It wouldn’t have been wrong for Lauren to say, “I’m not going to talk to you until you break up with Becca and tell her the truth.”

But Arie didn’t want that. He wanted a sure thing. That’s why he proposed to Becca and that’s why he set up his parachute relationship with Lauren before he broke up with Becca.

And I’ll be the one to say it. I’m not scared of you. Arie cheated on Becca. Maybe not physically, but he was setting up another committed relationship while he was engaged and wasn’t honest or up-front about what he was doing.

The ladytestants struggle with wishing Lauren and Arie the best. Some of them hope that they’re happy, but Bekah just says, “I hope Lauren gets out of that as soon as possible.” There should have been a Ron Howard voice-over saying, “That’s not what Lauren was going to do.”

Becca comes out and just as I predicted, she gets her standing ovation. Her outfit choice also says a lot. You could go the modest and virginal route. The “woe is me” outfit choice, but in her gold, slinky dress, Becca went for the “look what you’re missing” routine. Becca talks about how hard it was to watch everything back and, Jesus Christ, no one should ever have to watch footage of themselves going through a breakup. That should be a felony. She reveals that she thought any conversation that Arie would be having with Lauren would be in search of closure or to get his guilt off his chest, not a fact-finding booty-call mission. Becca is touched by the outpouring of support and the fund of money being collected for her. I’m happy for her and all, but it just takes getting your engagement broken off and being a pretty white lady to get a $6,000 payout from complete strangers? Damn, this country is wild.

It’s time to bring Arie out. Yikes, what a soulless creep. Looking into his face is like looking into that weird seaweed hole in The Last Jedi.

Becca tries to figure out the timeline of when Arie made the decision that he wasn’t interested in her anymore. Arie keeps repeating the words “guilt” and “shame” as if to convince himself to feel them. Whenever Becca is talking and they cut to Lauren, Arie looks like a teenager who got caught cheating on a test. He knows he’s going to get in trouble and he should appear contrite.

The closest thing to a timeline I can figure out is this: Arie slid into Lauren’s DMs, he called Lauren, told Becca after the fact that he talked to Lauren, some period of time passed, and then he broke up with Becca. ALL OF THAT IS SHADY. EVERY PART OF IT IS SHADY. He kept hiding it and lying about it because his Dutch ass knew it was wrong.

And the way he talks about it isn’t very sympathetic. He says, “I didn’t want to face a huge risk unless I was certain.” Oh, really? Poor baby. “I had to go through an intense breakup and then a proposal. There’s nothing normal about that.” In the real world, no. On The Bachelor, that’s what you signed up to do, jackass. “You allowed me to reach out to her.” Oh really? Becca allowed you? She gave you the okay to slide into Lauren’s DMs or call her and arrange for your new relationship? The worst part is Arie says he regrets proposing. I don’t care who you are, that’s gotta feel like a dagger in the heart. He didn’t say he regrets hurting Becca or lying to her. He regrets the one and only thing that made her happy. Becca forgives him and accepts his apology because the bar could not be lower for white men in suits.

It’s time for Lauren to come out and meet Arie and this crowd does not want to see her. There are a few smatterings of polite applause, but was anyone rooting for Lauren? She comes out and is way too happy to be there. Neither Arie nor Lauren seem to get that they’re not the heroes in this story. They keep talking about what they’re going through like they’re one of the old couples in When Harry Met Sally …, when they’re really Sarah Marshall and Aldous Snow.

They both insist they tried to be respectful of Becca and that Arie handled this perfectly. That’s rich. Arie keeps saying, “Nothing else matters” and that says everything. “As long as I have what I want, nothing else matters.” (They also claim to talk on the phone for three hours a day. About what?)

Then Arie proposes and I now know what it’s like to watch two insanely selfish, myopic, and emotionally stunted people get engaged in front of a crowd that could not be less interested. And I didn’t cry for them either.

Finally, it’s time to introduce our next Bachelorette and who didn’t see this one coming? It’s Becca! She’s got the Bachelorette origin story. They have all her ladytestants friends arrange themselves on the couch to support her and not enough is said about the lasting female friendships from The Bachelor.

They trot out a few contesticles to tell Becca that she’s strong and she’s brave. I was ready for the last contesticle to be Arie, having freshly broken up with Lauren because he realized he made a mistake.

See you all in May!

The Bachelor Finale Recap: Guilt and Shame