Three hours? Three hours? Three. HOURS?
What on Earth did we have to talk about for three hours? This felt like going on a first date with someone who keeps ordering more courses at dinner. No, Brent, I don’t think we should get a passionfruit palate cleanser. I have work in the morning! We all knew how this slow, dreadful march to the end was going to go, anyway. Even if you didn’t know, you knew. What a disappointing finale. Becca chose someone who thinks it’s funny to call school shooting survivors “crisis actors.” Let’s do this, I GUESS.
Host Chris is live! He’s watching with a studio audience that’s being prodded with rods to applaud and whimper at the producer-determined time. Becca has brought her Minnesota family to the Maldives to judge her two remaining contesticles. She keeps saying she always saw herself with Blake at the end of this, so we all know what that means. If anyone is getting a loser edit this episode, it’s Becca’s moral fortitude.
Becca sits down with her family to prepare them to meet her two men, and her sister Emily is there with her massive curly hair! Where was she on the hometown visit last season? Emily is getting more screen time than their mom. Becca has also brought a series of folksy uncles with her to provide a paternal opinion.
Up first in front of this folksy family tribunal is … Garrett! He sits down with them and he gives a toast honoring her dad up in Heaven. Everyone pack it up. This is over.
Becca’s uncle wants to know about Garrett’s first marriage and asks how it ended after only two months. He says that his ex-wife had a big blowout with his family right after the ring went on. Garrett says he was raised to never quit on anything, but he had to quit that marriage. And he won’t quit on Becca even though that’s the only relationship data we have on him. Garrett also takes the strategy of making every one of Becca’s family members cry with his simple sentences and monosyllabic words. Garrett’s favorite thing to say is that he’s going to guard her. Is he going to stand outside her bedroom at night? She is his Cersei and he’s her zombified Golden Knight brought back to life with the dark arts.
Up next is Blake. Blake is talking so fast. You can feel the romantic anxiety radiating off the screen. There has never been a man more in his head. Blake has walked through that li’l Being John Malkovich door into his own head and the fabric of his reality is about to tear at the seams. This isn’t great.
Blake talks at length about how he wants to support Becca and wants their relationship to push each other to be better. He talks about how he gravitates toward strong women because of the amazing women in his life. Well, he might have said that. He was speaking 185 words per minute and burying his face into his shirt.
Becca’s family hints to him that he might not get the result he wants and asks him about Garrett. Blake mutters to himself in the confessional interviews that he’s at the end of his rope hearing about Garrett. Get used to it, buddy.
After his visit, Becca asks her family if they have any preference. They all subtly say both men are great ……………… but Blake, tho. They tell her that Garrett is silly and the relationship would be more of a risk. They think Blake admires her, respects her, wants to support her, and would be her teammate and equal in life.
One of Becca’s uncles says that Garrett is a poet and I have no idea what to do with that.
So, clearly Becca is torn.
She breaks down with her mom and her sister that she’s going to have to hurt one of them. Did this JUST occur to her?
Becca has one final date with each of them. Garrett gets to swim on the equator and Blake gets to ride on a bike. Oh no, Blake. This is not looking good, buddy. Garrett says that it must be because he’s with Becca on the equator, but he feels like he’s on top of the world. Is he another flat-Earther?
In the evening portion of their final date, Garrett says that Becca makes him feel like he has the Fourth of July in his chest. He says that butterflies are too small. She gives him eagles.
WHAT THE EVER-LOVING FUCK?
Absolutely not, Garrett. I know strange extended romantic metaphors is a through line in this show, but we’ve crossed a line. “You give me eagles”? What does that mean? That doesn’t sound positive. Bald eagles have seven-and-a-half foot wingspans. That sounds like something violently ripping out of your chest.
Y’know what? In that case, this show gives me eagles.
Blake gives Becca a découpage time-capsule box and they barely cuddle on the couch.
It’s time for the proposal.
… Blake arrives first. Can you imagine if this show made the Bachelorette get proposed to and then made her break up with one of them?
Becca does this strangely. She has Blake deliver a good three-quarters of his proposal and he even asks, “Will you let me spend the rest of my life making you smile?” before she finally stops him. She says that their relationship was so strong that she was overlooking other strong relationships. That’s not comforting to hear, BECCA! He tells her that she’s making a mistake and breaks down into such a deep and powerful weep that he requires an entire washcloth to dry his tears.
ABC kept billing this as the most dramatic finale ever. It was … fine. Blake was appropriately upset and Becca was crying while wandering through the trees and greenery. The saddest thing is when Blake realizes how happy Becca is going to be when Garrett proposes. That’s pretty fucking heartbreaking.
This finale also merged with After the Final Rose and brought Blake out immediately after watching his own rejected marriage proposal. They bring Becca out and she’s not wearing a deep-V metallic, so something is different about this day. Blake asks her what changed.
Becca says she began to worry about Blake’s reaction to the pressure and anxiety of the competition and that made her think he wouldn’t be great in a crisis. If a family member or one of their children got sick, would he get in his head? Even if that’s truly what Becca thought, that’s pretty shallow and shitty. Looking at someone’s reaction to being on a reality dating competition and extrapolating that they won’t be a good father or family member is pretty shallow. Deciding that someone’s anxiety and reaction to stress is a worrying sign is pretty shitty. It’s also not constructive and more hurtful than saying, “It just wasn’t you.”
It’s time for Garrett’s proposal.
Ugggggggghhhhhhh. I can’t wait to hear this fucking poet. Remember, he said one of the things he likes about Becca is how she says “bag.” Everything about why Becca and Garrett like each other feels shallow. She likes that he likes to fish because that reminds her of her dad. Bitch, I’ve been to Minnesota and swiped through Tinder. Every dum-dum is holding some sort of bass or trout in their profile picture. Look a little deeper.
His proposal starts with, “From honking up the driveway in a mini-van to fly fishing …” Those are two things that happened on the first night and no proposal should include the words “honking up the driveway.”
Becca tells him that she loves him, and then he picks her up off the ground because she can’t wrap her legs around him in that gown. He proposes. She says yes. The first thing she says she wants is a Costco membership. Hooray.
It’s time for Becca and Garrett to sit down with Host Chris, which means it’s time to address his Instagram behavior.
The show makes sure to get into the conversations about Garrett’s Instagram likes after showing a fun little clip of Becca and Garrett laughing on a “Happy Couple” visit. For the viewers to forgive Garrett, we must be reminded that he’s nice and fun and that Becca knows what’s really in his heart and soul. Because we all know that bigots aren’t nice. That bigots aren’t fun. That bigots are unlovable. When the truth is, all people of color and all marginalized people know that bigots can be very nice. Bigots can be fun and fun-loving. Bigots can have families and friends. We’ve built up this image in our minds that bigots, racists, transphobic people, misogynists, and xenophobes are ugly, cruel, and angry, but we forget that they are people capable of being nice and polite. So if the show reminds us over and over again that Garrett is nice and polite and sweet to her sister, he can’t possibly be a bigot! He’s just careless! Isn’t that so much better?
Garrett might have shown Becca that he’s remorseful and apologetic, but we haven’t seen any evidence that he’s anything but sorry he got caught or remorseful that his actions might cost him his relationship. Becca isn’t an immigrant and she isn’t a survivor of a school shooting. She’s a straight, cisgender white woman. She isn’t the person who should be absolving Garrett and telling us his heart is pure and good. The show never asks Blake what it was like to share his time with someone who laughed at calling other school shooters “crisis actors.” His acknowledgment of Becca’s discomfort and embarrassment sounds more like they’re protecting her “brand” rather than making amends to the marginalized communities he’s harmed.
It’s also disappointing to think that Becca is the type of person who can forgive and forget someone who laughs at the suffering of others, someone who mocks feminists as fat and ugly women who can’t get a man. But there’s been a lot written about how even well-meaning, polite women justify and protect racists in their communities and families and I don’t have the space to do all that here.
Liking bigoted Instagram memes is harmful. It’s not “mindless.” It doesn’t just offend. It contributes to a culture that dehumanizes people who are different than two white people in rented outfits who are excited about a wood-paneled minivan. That dehumanization leads to real policies and real violence. But cute ring, I guess?