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Bachelor in Paradise Finale and Reunion Recap: Rule of Engagement

Bachelor in Paradise

Finale
Season 6 Episode 13
Editor’s Rating *****

Bachelor in Paradise

Finale
Season 6 Episode 13
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: John Fleenor/ABC

What’s the big deal about being a fiancé? Honestly, what is so special about being “engaged”? Try yelling the word fiancée. It’s weird, right? Now try yelling boyfriend. Doesn’t that feel good? Try yelling “MY WIFE!” OH! THE DRAMA! THE PASSION! THE INTRIGUE. Being able to yell “my wife” in a crowded Crate & Barrel is the stuff we all dream of, but being the person who yells “my fiancé” in a crowded Crate & Barrel? We get it, you’re engaged. 

This whole season of Bachelor in Paradise, especially the final third, was really bogged down by the unnatural fixation on being ENGAGED. C’mon, y’all. In an era when these dummies are literally hitting up anyone who has ever appeared on a dating reality show on their Google+ accounts, just getting someone to commit to being in an exclusive relationship is a huge accomplishment. In previous seasons, more couples would be going into the finale and a few would end up just deciding to get coffee in a city equidistant to both of them once the season was over. And that was nice! It captured that feeling of finding out your friend was dating a cool guy and they were putting each other in their profile pictures. “Awww, Caroline and Jeff went apple picking! That’s cute.”

I’m over here wondering if Bachelor in Paradise just got addicted to being that show that produces marriages and children? After a season where its Bachelorette ended up in a meaningful relationship with Dancing With the Stars, the Bachelor Cinematic Universe didn’t want to admit defeat. These assholes are getting engaged if we have to trap them on the beach and cut their Achilles tendons to get them to kneel.

So, what do we end up with? Bachelor in Paradise trying to generate a little intrigue and tension by letting Hannah speak without Dylan’s tongue in her mouth, and convincing women to try to get engaged to men who are WOEFULLY inadequate. My God, Chris B. and Clay do not come off well in this episode.

Also, this bullshit did not need to be three hours long. We did not need a montage of every couple. We are aware. Let’s get to it.

The episode starts off with the couples heading into the Fantasy Suites (read: a hotel suite down the street from the beach). Katie is heading into the Fantasy Suite not knowing if Chris … likes her? Or is capable of demonstrating love? Y’all. Y’all. The most Chris can muster is, “I will not falter.” Is he a soldier in the Civil War? Apparently, that’s all Katie needs to hear to know that Chris is ready to be with her forever.

In between make-outs, Hannah and Dylan talk about how she’s afraid to be hurt again. This is apparently their story line and the only attempt by ABC to create some suspense over whether these two extras from She’s All That will get engaged. I didn’t even take notes once they headed to the beach, since I knew it would be them taking a California-cool approach to an engagement. And your girl is never wrong.

Is anyone suspicious about why we’ve literally never heard the story of Demi and Kristian’s relationship before Paradise? How did they meet? Why don’t we know this? Listen, I’m not saying that Kristian isn’t a super-chill simulation designed to trick conservative Bachelor Nation fans into accepting queer people. But I’m not not saying it.

The final Fantasy Suite is Nicole and Clay. Who didn’t see this meltdown coming? Nicole fully expects to be engaged without Clay saying “I love you,” and Clay spent eight months in a committed relationship without saying “I love you.” But also, Nicole, why? Just why? If she spent more than 15 seconds thinking about Clay’s history, it would reveal that he’s probably the type of guy who loves feeling like the Big Man in a woman’s life, but the idea of actually changing his life to let someone in terrifies him. It’s much easier to just berate a woman into going to the gym with you and let her sit on your back while you do push-ups. Clay also seems to construct a version of his relationships in his head that don’t match up with what the other person believes or what his actions are doing.

I WILL SAY that Nicole seemed to be taking his gentle musings about the future as passionate admissions of his love for Nicole. Him saying, “Yeah, going to the movies together would be nice,” probably isn’t the precursor to a wedding proposal. Clay tries to be transparent, but he waits until the last minute and Nicole throws him out of the Fantasy Suite to give him space. She then watches a fireworks display that is clearly mocking her.

It’s the next morning and it’s time for these proposals. Clay and Nicole are first so they’re definitely breaking up. That’s how this works. She says she has no idea where Clay’s head is at but she is also ready to get engaged. In what goddamned world. Clay says a perfectly reasonable thing at the worst possible time: that he wants to take things slow but he’s not in love with her yet, and he’s definitely not ready to get engaged. WHICH IS A COMPLETELY NORMAL THING TO FEEL ABOUT SOMEONE AFTER A MONTH. Listen, I’ve been with my boyfriend for years and we love each other very much. If he’d proposed after a month, I would have run at Lake Michigan with such speed, my feet would have skipped off it like Road Runner. Nicole says she wants a love so deep the ocean gets jealous. Apparently, it’s a Pablo Neruda quote, but when it’s said on Paradise, it sounds like a Bruno Mars lyric. Nicole says she can’t tell people that they’re together if he doesn’t love her back, and she bolts.

It’s time for the other “happy” couples. Up first is Katie and Chris. Listen. We can’t talk about Katie and Chris’s engagement without talking about where they end up in the reunion. Katie. My dear, sweet Katie. You do not need to accept this. You do not need to accept a grown-ass man who is completely incapable of expressing a single adult feeling to you. This entire relationship Chris has been setting a bar that Katie has to meet and she’s been rising to meet it, and apparently all he’s been doing is saying that she has beautiful eyes. If the only thing your alleged fiancé can say about you is that you have beautiful eyes, he’s gotta work harder! The best nonphysical thing he can manage is “great personality.” Great personality is what you say when someone you don’t know really well asks you to endorse them on LinkedIn. “Uh … public speaking and great personality? Five stars?”

The thing that really set it off for me was the last line of Chris’s proposal: “Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so let me make this the best moment of our life.” That’s what you say when you don’t believe that you’ll stay engaged but you wanna end on a high note. He also ends their segment by going, “Who would have thunk?”

Then Dylan and Hannah get engaged because of course they did. Same with Demi and Kristian. The show telegraphs that it’s totally okay with this by having the other engaged couples cheer for Demi and Kristian, and they get the final toast as they head into the finale. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m very happy for Demi and Kristian, but the show has off-loaded any and all work to actually create a queer story line to an outside figure and wants to appear totally progressive for it. A universe exists where other queer people are brought on the show to be viable options for Demi (or another queer contestant) and we watch their courtship, and I want to live in that universe, too.

It’s time for the reunion and — THERE ARE TWO MORE HOURS OF THIS SHIT? Okay. We gotta bullet-point some of this:

• JPJ completely refuses to apologize to Derek and continues to insinuate that Derek is some sort of podcast Lothario, when no woman ever has slept with a man because of his podcast.

• Tahzjuan reminds us that she has no idea what a metaphor is when she calls Haley a pigeon.

• Jordan and Christian still think that this fight makes them look masculine and very sexually attractive and try to get into another fight over an apology handshake. Jordan takes the same tactic as JPJ and says he’s sorry something happened but that Christian basically deserved it.

• Tayshia and Hannah accuse each other of “Mean Girl–ing” each other because of Blake’s trip to Birmingham, which was apparently totally platonic.

• Cam is annoyed that everyone talked before the season, and Tahzjuan says that he tried to get an invite to her birthday party, which is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.

• Connor is still dating Whitney, and Caelynn is deluding herself that sleeping in a van with no shower is the relationship she wants.

• Dylan and Hannah are still together.

• Kristian re-proposes to Demi.

• Tayshia flew to “the town that fooled the British,” whatever the fuck that means, to tell JPJ that she made a mistake, and he asks her to be his girlfriend. Someone explain this to me.

• A segment between Clay and Nicole was apparently cut out, according to Twitter.

Now, it’s time for the folks in the Hot Seat. First up is Blake, because his life can’t get any worse! The main topic of conversation is Blake releasing his text messages with Caelynn. The most baffling thing is that Blake seems genuinely surprised that people? Would have? Feelings? And he would be responsible? For those feelings? He can totally see why people would be mad at him, though. Okay. That’s not the same thing as an apology or accountability. When it comes to the text messages, he says that he HAD to defend himself because God forbid someone have a negative feeling about the golden boy of Bachelor Nation. He says he knew people would react to Caelynn but he had no idea that the internet would attack a woman’s sexuality. Has he been to the internet?

Blake is letting himself occupy a very light-gray area where he can say that he knew there would be a reaction, but not a reaction like that. He can say he knew that Kristina and Caelynn would have feelings about him sleeping with both of them, but not feelings like that. He wants credit for being proactive but not about anything that actually matters. He says that no one would know that Caelynn was also at fault unless he did what he did. WOW. YIKES. OKAY. Thank you, Batman. He ends up apologizing that Caelynn feels the way she does … and that’s it.

Katie comes out wearing an amazing dress that I want for a wedding I’m going to this October. Katie says that she still loves Chris, she isn’t wearing her wedding ring, that he doesn’t fill her tank up with affection, and he mostly tells other people how much he loves her but doesn’t tell her. Also, she wanted to watch the season hoping to see how much he loved her, since he doesn’t express it to her, but instead she saw … whatever he did all season. Katie says that he’s a man of his word but hasn’t reciprocated her words or done nearly anything to make her feel good and validated. So what fucking value does this man and his word have? She sees that there is so much potential for them but it hasn’t come to fruition. This dude is in his 30s. Ain’t no more potential; he’s fully baked. What is happening in our society that a woman that everyone agrees is super kind and caring is torturing herself over the potential that a white man will one day be affectionate toward her, HIS FIANCÉE? She literally says, “I’ve come to a darkness.”

You better run girl.

Instead, Chris comes out and says that no relationship is easy and that he wants to give everything she gives him back to her. He could just do that. He could realize that his fiancée is unhappy and he has to commit to change and then turn that commitment into action. He says he didn’t expect all this. Oh … oh, no. So he doesn’t know her or her feelings … at all. He tells her that she’s beautiful and he doesn’t want her to feel that way. If only he had some way to affect her feelings about their relationship …

They both agree they want to keep trying despite zero evidence that he understands how this whole relationship thing works. Katie puts her ring back on, but in the parking lot, Chris throws a mini-fit that Katie blindsided him. It’s more embarrassing that you were blindsided about your fiancée’s feelings than it is that she blindsided you.

Finally, it’s time for the reveal of the next Bachelor and it’s Peter because he’s the only one not dating an actual celebrity! He looks 12 without any facial hair! It’s the most boring choice possible! See you next season, America!

Bachelor in Paradise Finale Recap: Rule of Engagement