Incoming text: “Are you watching this live?”
Incoming text: “You need to get home right now.”
Incoming text: “This footage is unbelievable.”
Some people might send each other these texts as they watch unhinged politicians give preposterous interviews. But if you’re any of my friends, you’re just texting me because you’re watching a man less interesting than chamomile tea ruin the remaining tatters of his reputation and emotionally destroy a perfectly charming Minnesota native.
Chris Harrison stood up there and said, “Remember, every scandalous action was done in the name of finding love. Arie was following his heart.”
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!!!! If it was done in the name of finding love! Wellllllllllllll, I guess that makes it all JUST FINE THEN? Is that the implication? How does Chris Harrison feel about all this? I know he’s the relationship equivalent of Switzerland, but there’s gotta be something brewing in there. You can’t just watch what happened here tonight and not feel a deep, seething rage.
But guys, I didn’t really feel anything. When Arie proposed to Becca, I didn’t cry and I always cry. I could watch Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump renew their vows while Omarosa played “Take on Me” on the violin and I’d shed a little tear. Even though I knew what was coming, I looked for something in Arie’s face to tell me he had anything resembling a real human feeling, but now I know he’s just a human male without the ability to read or respond to social cues.
Arie and the two remaining ladytestants are spending their final days in Peru before the most controversial ending of a Bachelor season ever. Becca and Lauren still have to meet Arie’s family and Lauren is drinking Champagne and journaling. I’m supposed to believe that this woman has a vibrant enough inner life to justify journaling? Is the only thing in her journal just drawings of the Snowman from the film The Snowman?
We’ve never been able to trace a line from someone’s family to their current behavior in such a precise way until we met Arie’s family. When Arie first sits down with his father and tells him that he’s in love with two women, his dad’s reaction is just, “Good luck, buddy. That’s tough.” And Arie’s mother looks like Krystal with a few hard years added on. Oh! And everyone’s spouse … is a blonde woman. Becca was doomed before she set foot in that room.
Lauren arrives with a bouquet of flowers and a slouchy sweater. I hate to be all “ugh millennials,” but would it have killed her to put on a blouse? Lauren keeps repeating that it’s “never been this big of a deal to meet someone’s parents.” You have been engaged literally twice. Can you imagine being engaged to Lauren, welcoming her into your life and your family, and then watching her declare that her relationship with Arie is passionate and deep? When they sit down with her family, Arie is hanging off her like she’s a eucalyptus tree and he’s a little baby koala. It’s gross and weird because she barely returns any affection, but also because she’s 11 years younger than him. When her family asks her what her favorite date with Arie was, her answer is “All of them.” YOU WENT TO PARIS. JUST SAY PARIS?
Arie’s main reservation is that he has to spend so much time reassuring Lauren because he hasn’t had that many good conversations with her. WHAT UNIVERSE IS HE LIVING IN THAT HE CAN JUST MOVE PAST “WE HAVEN’T TALKED”?
It’s time for Becca to meet Arie’s family. All of Becca’s outfits this episode look spectacular. She did the old “I gotta go to work in the summer” trick and popped a blazer over a party dress. We’ve all done this and game respect game. Becca feels a lot of pressure and she’s worried how she’s going to come across after Arie’s family met Lauren. I can’t imagine Becca, a warm, decent human, being threatened by Lauren. But by the end of the episode, we’ll find out the problem isn’t Arie’s family but Arie being a fool. Arie’s family puts her through the ringer, beginning any conversation by mentioning Lauren. Arie’s dad tells her, “Either way, I’m fine with it.” YEESH. But after that slipup, Arie’s family unanimously tells him that he should pick Becca. She’s a good person, she’d be good for him, and she’s not constantly in a state of confusion about their relationship.
Each ladytestant gets one final date and one final evening portion. Arie first takes Lauren on a private train to Machu Picchu. When the private train pulled up, I turned to my boyfriend and said, “This is a train to the Bad Place.” While walking around Machu Picchu, they sneak off at one point to hide from the cameras to make out. Arie spends part of the evening with Lauren talking about their life together and Lauren just describes a regular-ass life. They would eat dinner, drink liquids, sit on the couch. Arie keeps talking about the undeniable, indescribable attraction he has to Lauren. I think her saying, “We’d make dinner” is what showed me their connection.
Becca’s final date is walking around the city. In addition to everything else that’s happening, how do we think Becca feels that Lauren got to go to Machu Picchu and she got “meet one llama.” They sit down at an outdoor café and drink giant smoothies while thunder rolls in. During the evening portion of their date, Becca and Arie sit around and tell each other how there are no problems in their relationship. This, dear sweet viewers, is the textbook example of “dramatic irony.”
Oh! I almost forgot. Becca starts talking about how different she and Lauren are and she says in so many words, “I guess if Arie wants an equal partnership, he’ll pick me.”
Well, the time has come for Arie to make his final decision. He wakes up on the morning of the proposal and he still doesn’t know what to do. I could painstakingly go through every moment and line … or I could also treat this moment with as much care and respect that Arie treated his subsequent engagement. So, he sends Lauren home and she’s mostly snotty and snarky in the SUV ride home, and then he proposes to Becca, who appears immediately Champagne drunk showing off her ring. Then her rose falls apart.
After seeing Becca and Arie ride off into the sunset, Chris Harrison introduces the aftermath of the season. We get a little montage of Arie and Becca on their happy couple visits. They’re making pizza from scratch, they’re playing chess, they’re hanging out in a hammock. Becca looks like she’s doing all the heavy lifting in their relationship and providing all the fun and warmth.
There’s a somber in-the-moment interview from Arie when he reveals that he keeps thinking about Lauren. OH MY GOD. Not this bitch again. What does he SEE in her? He’s saying he’s waking up thinking about Lauren and going to bed thinking about Lauren. I’m weirdly fine with this story line, but I’m not fine with ABC not providing us with ANY footage of Lauren being charming and fun. He says he’s “feeling” “guilt” and it’s not fair to continue a relationship with Becca while he’s in love with someone else.
Then he says the possibility of getting with Lauren has him wanting to risk it all.
When people say that, they’re usually referring to, like, a picture of Chris Evans with a full beard or Janelle Monáe in sheer pants. Or just everything about the Jabari and M’Baku. Not the computer-simulated actress from S1m0ne.
So Arie must break up with Becca. He claims that Becca knows how much he’s been struggling with his feelings for Lauren, but she’s gushing about how excited she is about the relationship and their future.
Arie and Becca sit down in the living room of this Airbnb and Becca repeats, “You’re making me nervous right now,” until Arie stops talking about her new tattoo. He tells Becca that he’s still thinking about Lauren and he thought he could sort out his feelings. The more he hangs out with Becca, the more he sees the possibility of reconciling with Lauren fading away.
Okay. A few things.
1. “Hanging out” is a really childish way of referring to spending time with your alleged fiancée.
2. That’s how it’s SUPPOSED to work, you jackass. You’re supposed to be getting closer to the woman you’re engaged to and the longer you’re with them, the smaller the chance of getting back together with your ex should be.
3. Does Arie want Becca to feel bad for him because he thinks it might be too hard getting his ex back? Does he want sympathy? Does he want credit for correctly identifying a feeling?
Becca’s reaction is just, “Are you fucking kidding me?” That’s the best and only response. Becca also reveals that Arie had conversations with Lauren and now I need a full timeline of these relationships. When did he make the call? How long was the call? Was it made on the Best Buy pay phone?
Becca tells him that he needs to leave … AND ARIE DOESN’T LEAVE. Even after Becca retreats to the back of the house to pack up her bag (that had a gift bag inside, was she bringing him a gift?) and hides in a bathroom to cry in peace, Arie wanders around the house aimlessly or just sits still. He must hope that Becca’s sight is based on movement and if he sits very still, she’ll think he left.
He knocks on the closed bathroom door and asks, “Are you okay?”
NO, YOU FUCKING SCUMBAG. SHE’S NOT OKAY. That’s not something you say to someone who’s hiding in a bathroom and crying because you just broke off your engagement with them.
I’ve been in this exact break-up situation before. Situations like this are set up for the man to either force you to lash out so he can walk away going, “She was crazy!” or it’s all a test to see if you’ll “fight” for the relationship. It felt like Arie was waiting for Becca to fight for him and ask him to stay and when she had too much goddamn self-respect to do that, he sat perfectly still to trick her into thinking he left.
On Tuesday night, we’ll find out what Arie was thinking and if Lauren gets back together with someone who broke her heart on national TV!