Bachelor in Paradise
In fifth grade, we read Oedipus Rex and my humanities teacher, Ms. Jarzab, taught us about the three different kinds of irony. We all have a vague idea of what irony means, and it’s probably because of that damn Alanis Morissette song. But one type of irony — dramatic irony — is when the audience knows something the characters don’t. The audience already knows that Oedipus married his mother, so they’re just waiting for him to find out and stab his eyes out with toga pins. Going into tonight’s finale, we all knew two things: (1) There would be three proposals, and (2) Nick Viall is the next Bachelor. What happens next is a delicious display of dramatic irony. Let’s dive in, shall we?
All of the couples wake up in hotel robes in their fantasy suites. Well, everyone except for Josh, who appears to be fully dressed and lying in bed with Amanda. Carly and Evan are sitting around, staring into each other’s eyes and accessorizing. Evan decides that this is the perfect moment to attempt to freestyle about his love for Carly. All he manages to do is rhyme her name with various whole grains and reggae singers. I understand that Carly and Evan are truly in love, but goddamn, they are two corny doofuses. Carly is worried because, in case we all forgot, Kirk broke up with her. Although she doesn’t think Evan could do that, the human brain is a trickster and can make you believe some straight-up lies. I guess I’m happy for these weirdos.
Meanwhile, Grant and Lace stare at the wreckage their impossible and passionate sex wrought upon a hotel suite. (C’mon, tell me these two aren’t doing some sex thing none of us have even heard of. They both like to blernk and we all can see it.) The previous night was difficult for Lace and Grant because they just realized that they are on a reality show and might not have anything in common and live on different sides of the country. Understandably, Lace is also a little shaken up because she was peer-pressured into a getting a tattoo like she was in an after-school special. Maybe they should have talked about where they would live and who would do the dishes before they permanently marked their flesh. When Grant leaves the hotel suite, limping from their fervent lovemaking, he’s completely confused. A producer asks him what he wants to do, but all he can say is, “Can I sit down?” That’s how most of us deal with any and all difficult life decisions. If someone gave Grant a bowl of ice cream and a face mask, you’d have me during most major life transitions.
Then, Nick and Jen are woken up by a peacock’s shrieks in the hotel courtyard. In Jen’s first interview of the episode, she lays out exactly how happy she is and how much she trusts Nick and how she’s totally ready for their future together. Oh, honey. Nick is, like, happy with her, I guess.
When Josh and Amanda wake up, he is wearing head-to-toe performance fabric. Amanda is going on and on about how happy she is with Josh and how everything is perfect (except for the allegations of emotional abuse against him, all of her friends warning her to be careful with him, the time he got mad because she went to bed, and also the predatory way he looks at frozen pizza), but yeah, everything is perfect. Josh hasn’t met her children, but Amanda doesn’t think that’s a problem. It most certainly is, according to the text my mom sent me during the episode: “All those engagements, no one has met the kids — reckless [shocked-face emoji].” Josh asks Amanda just how late her kids sleep in. Dude, they’re children. They’re up with the sun and they never stop screaming. He’s got some hesitations, but he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who has ever done any self-reflection in his life, so fuck it.
The contesticles all sit down with Neil Lane and pick out rings for their beloveds. Neil asks Nick, “How many times I’m gonna see you again?” At least once more, Neil. One mo’ ’gain, Neil. Evan is nervous about getting engaged again because he never thought he’d be married again. Josh and Nick both are nervous because they’ve proposed on reality shows and it hasn’t worked out for two very different reasons. Grant is slipping in and out of a fugue state.
Carly and Evan are the first to head to the wedding plateau for the final rose ceremony.
I’ve said it before and I’m gonna say it again: Women should be able to propose on this show. Women can propose to their partners, so let’s give a little agency to these women. They’re excited to start a life with someone. They don’t even have to get down on a knee, but it would be nice if they played a more active role. I’ll get off my feminist soapbox now.
Carly is so nervous to meet Evan. He launches into his prepared speech about how their relationship has been a weird, winding road, and how faking a medical emergency led to this moment. He loves that she accepts him for all he is and she can’t wait to start a home with him. They are both a little corny, but so heartfelt. Evan gets down on a knee and asks, “Will you freakin’ marry me?” After Carly says yes, he asks if she likes the ring. That’s a man who gives a shit. He says they’re hashtag blessed, and she says, “They all lived happily Evan after.” I’m back to hating them.
Up next is Lace and Grant. Lace is so nervous she can barely keep it together, but she wants this moment to tell Grant what he means to her. Even if they don’t get engaged, she wants to be with him. She realized she was running from him, but he loves her so much and she loves Grant Kemp, but she loves Grace more. Whatever that means. Grant then lays out the proposal line of the night, telling Lace he loves her when she’s happy, when she’s stubborn, when she’s shouting at him because he loves her when she’s Lace. I almost cried and my boyfriend called me a mark.
Ugh. Now it’s time for Jen and Nick to break up. We all know it’s coming. In fact, I predicted that Nick and Jen would be next so they could end the finale with Josh and Amanda as “a happy ending.” Nick starts crying before he even says anything to Jen — and I really do mean breaking the fuck down. He goes full on Ashley I. He tells her that she’s special and that he feels like a better person when he’s with her, buuuuuuutttt … he can’t make his heart love her. Jen knows that Nick is throwing away something great and he’s going to regret it. Nick is worried that things just aren’t going to work out for a person like him. He really has gone full Ashley I. He knows he puts these walls up and he hopes he doesn’t live to regret it.
I mean, Nick really should go to therapy, but if the best way to improve your self-esteem and make yourself open to love is by trapping yourself in a house with 12-to-14 hot chicks who want to do nothing but jump your bones, God bless.
Finally, we have the emotional abuser and the woman he duped. Amanda starts out her walk to the wedding plateau by talking about how their relationship hasn’t been easy. There have been rumors and warnings, but she knows who Josh really is because there’s no way a charismatic manipulator could ensure the person he’s trying to win over won’t believe what others tell her. Josh is madly in love with Amanda and her kids are fine, I guess. After Amanda opens her heart to him, he says, “Thank you. That was so sweet,” in the most rehearsed tone. He spends most of his proposal crying and looking off into the distance, then he tells her she’s the most amazing person he’s ever met. He gets down on that knee and proposes. After Amanda says yes, the first thing he says is that the ring looks so pretty on her and Amanda agrees. Then he goes, “There’s diamonds everywhere.” Congratulations to this freakin’ brain trust.
In the epilogue montage, we find out that everyone outside of the final four couples is still single. Carly and Evan are planning on moving in together. Grant and Lace and Amanda and Josh already moved in together and are planning their weddings. A voice-over of all the ladytestants talks about how great Nick is and how his future looks bright. And that’s that.
See you in the winter for the inevitable reign of Nick Viall!