During this evening’s three-hour broadcast, which will feel like a prolonged pap smear only without the relief of a negative result, Becca and Lauren will meet Arie’s family, and finally learn how to spell Luyendyk. This awkward exercise is what some sheltered showrunner reasons is the best way for Arie to cement his decision between the two women, since he’ll finally gain such critical insights as how well they read their lines to his mother, and whether either one can identify a grapefruit spoon.
This drama will be followed by the appointed groom making his tortured decision, the selection of the reliably gaudy Neil Lane ring, and a proposal more unmemorable than a Best Sound Mixing winner’s thank-you speech.
We’ll also finally find out why Arie is apparently worse husband material than Jared Kushner. Up til now, we’ve only been put off by the Tin-Tin hair, inflection-free speech, and a personality blander than a diet designed not to trigger your IBS. Maybe he wanted to propose to Mitt Romney, but Russia ordered him to choose their favorite.
Rest assured that people will cry tonight. It all starts right now! Chris is in the studio with the clamoring masses who desperately hope he doesn’t comment on gun control. He recounts stories of other Bachelors who were screw-ups, but claims Arie will best them all. For the first time in history, we’ll see that climactic moment unedited, but probably with full make-up.
The three are still in Peru, where the show must have gotten a fabulous group discount. Arie has told both gals he loves them, which is driving him crazy. How can that be the case? Maybe he’s emotionally immature or a willing pawn of the producers? He discusses Becca first. She has it all, he tells us, brains, beauty, and wit. With Lauren, there’s more of a risk because she’s reserved. He has peeled back the layers, though, both emotional and fabric, and is confident at how much she loves him.
First he consults his family for their advice and counsel. Dad reminds Arie that it’s a sticky situation with him loving both women, a circumstance that Arie continues to find crazy, largely because he has the vocabulary of a Pat the Bunny book. The rest of us find it contrived and predictable for a final episode.
Lauren joins Arie with the family first. His mom seems to have had work done, but Lauren looks a lot like her. Hmm. Arie explains that she’s been awesome from the get-go. He hopes she’ll be relaxed enough to reveal herself, so he slips her a mickey.
Sister (sister?), who also looks like Mom, claims there’s never a dull moment with this crowd, who seem pretty aloof to me. Dad questions Lauren on any doubts she might have about her relationship with his son. She is only worried that it won’t work out and she will be hurt, but not because of Arie. It’s what the script says.
Arie tells his brother and whoever that other blond is that the constant reassurance Lauren needs is a real PITA for him, a guy who’s uncomfortable looking too deeply into why he prefers pepperoni to sausage. Mom tells Lauren that Arie wants a lasting marriage, mostly to not have to pay alimony. Lauren tears up as she notes that Becca is hovering menacingly in the background like Donald Trump at the presidential debates. But she is glad she could express her feelings in front of this array of taciturn Aryans who shun bright clothing and unrepressed laughter. The family proclaims Lauren acceptable as well.
Next, Arie will meet Becca for their final date. When he tells the family about her, his brother points out sagely that yesterday was yesterday and today is today. If only the Beatles could have come up with those lyrics.
Becca reminds Arie that Lauren is still lurking on the scene like a raccoon around your lidded garbage cans. He has no way to soothe her in that regard, because then there would be no show. She greets the family warmly. It must be cheaper to fly them all there instead of renting beige sectionals and tasteful dishware for a couple of houses in the U.S.
The bro really likes Becca. She and Arie agree that they hit it off. Mom is not immediately taken in, though. She really liked Lauren, and also prefers all the women in the family be blonds. Becca assures her she trusts Arie, and furthermore, she feels he is the one. Mom is now impressed. She figures Becca can always use Garnier Nutrisse and stay out of the sun for a while.
Arie tells Mom how he feels like a team with Becca. She almost admits which girl she prefers, but stops herself so we can experience a split second of suspense. Dad artlessly tells Becca that Arie doesn’t seem to be leaning in one direction or another, which is just the conversation you want to have with your potential father-in-law. “Either way, I’m fine with it,” he remarks, as if Arie has been deciding what color interior he wants for his new car.
Becca is distraught that the whole family seems indifferent to her, coldly talking up Lauren as being the better bang for their buck. They must be brutal on Black Friday at Walmart.
Later, Arie learns that Mom thinks Becca is better for his future because she’s independent. Dad agrees that she will be good at nagging him because apparently he’s a lazyass simpleton. It’s all very calculating and analytical, as if they were taking a Playbuzz quiz about what sandwich they are.
Arie, however, is not yet sold. He still needs clarity. The next two days will be super-important for him to make this incredibly awesome and amazing decision. The family’s promotion of Becca, however dreary, will make their date that much more challenging.
At the studio, Caroline tells Chris that what Arie did, if true, is unforgivable and unfair. She acknowledges it makes good television, though. Chris can see “the emotion” she is experiencing, which is not unlike asking if she’s on her period. Caroline feels strongly because she cares about both girls, after they spent so much time together drinking and without access to social media. Worse, she thinks Arie doesn’t know what he wants, aside from a blog in People and more than 250,000 Twitter followers.
Arie has been losing sleep over this whole indecision business, and also because his neck hurts from staring thoughtfully into the lush Peruvian mountains at the request of the director. Last night, though, he had time to think about it, or least time to review his lines, and came to the conclusion that Becca is the way to go. So he meets up with Lauren and acts as if she’s his only girl. They board a train just for them.
“I feel like every day just gets better and better,” Lauren squees. Arie replies, “Yeah.” As they embrace, their trains slowly enters a not-metaphoric-at-all tunnel. They stroll among the ruins enshrouded in clouds, which is also not metaphoric, but only because that was the cheapest place the producers could get a permit to shoot. “Lauren has found her way into my heart,” Arie drones. He finds her endearing and sweet and amazing, which is exactly how Paris felt about Helen of Troy.
Arie is not confident at this point, as he expected despite having watched other seasons. He keeps going on about how she hasn’t opened up about herself, in which case, why is he in love with her? Can it be just the cucumber-melon body wash?
That evening, Lauren reviews how she worked through that stuff and opened up and is ready for love. Arie reminds her how closed off she was, something he would obviously hold over her head forever, and that a couple of dates of bowling and riding horses made all the difference for him. He can’t describe why he fell for her, but manages to pinpoint that “it’s a feeling.”
How does Lauren picture their lives together? She could see them waking up and having coffee, walking the dogs, going to work, and eating dinner. That’s exactly how he pictured it, too. It’s Wuthering Heights for lobotomy patients. Arie loves her, he does. Not as much as plaid shirts and sports cars, but a lot.
Seinne and Bekah are in the studio to dish about this scene. Seinne says disapprovingly that she hopes Arie is at peace with his decision. Bekah sneers that he should not have proposed if he is so conflicted. Everyone’s an armchair psychiatrist. Chris reminds us that we’ll see the first unedited, uncut scene in reality-TV history. It can’t beat Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the Superbowl half-time show.
Next Arie joins Becca to walk in the rain and kvetch about Lauren. They wander the city, try on Peruvian fashions, and pet some alpacas, which is not a euphemism. Arie must sort out his feelings and “see how they stack up” against his feelings about Lauren. That’s colder than the fish-man in The Shape of Water.
After spending the day with Becca, Arie continues to be conflicted. Their time together reminded him of all her qualities, although apparently they’re so unremarkable that he forgot them over the past week. At this point, he might as well consult a Magic 8 ball to decide.
That night, Arie comes by to see Becca. She doesn’t want to lose him to someone so different, although I would think that would be less upsetting. I mean, if you can’t choose between me and say, Kylie Jenner, I’d appreciate being let off the hook. Becca sees their future so clearly, so she can’t imagine not having him in her life in 20-minute segments while cameras record it. Arie is lost for words, since in this scene he was not allowed to say “connection,” vulnerable,” or “clarity.” Becca asserts that she is certain of her feelings, and cannot grasp how Lauren could appeal equally. I often think that when I see who USWeekly thinks wore it better.
Arie has no questions for Becca now, because he knows her so well. He doesn’t even need to learn her middle name or if she likes cilantro. So she reads him a note about her dead dad’s posthumous approval. Byron would be envious.
Arie is convinced Becca would be an awesome mother and a great wife. He can feel how much she wants an “us.” He loves her, he does. Maybe Lauren would agree to a threesome. As he walks through the Peruvian streets alone that night, he is lost and confused. He feels solid with Becca, while with Lauren it’s all lust. What to do, what to do.
The studio audience cheers for his dilemma. Ben and Jason have joined Chris to give their useless advice. “It’s so hard,” Jason notes perceptively. Anyone who hasn’t been on a reality TV show to find a wife can’t possibly understand. Unfortunately for us, there’s still another half-hour of being conflicted, looking for clarity, and not wanting to break someone’s heart. It’s like an average staff meeting at my office.
We’re down to the final moments of Arie’s journey. Chris reminds us it’s going to be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Will Arie shapeshift into a panther? Achieve peace in the Middle East? Comb his hair flat? He broods over his situation while the women express their own anxiety and fears. Becca chooses a black lace number and attaches Macy’s post-Christmas-sale earrings to her lobes. Lauren uses a curling iron and dons a beige shmatta with Cousin Itt fringe. They are both so in love with that vacuous clown.
As they await their fates, Arie wanders the streets trying to remember what the two women look like naked. Finally, he has come to a decision. Time for Neil Lane to step into the scene and talk about cushion cuts. Arie is so confident with his decision that he puts on a cobalt blue suit that looks like something Pee Wee Herman would wear to a funeral.
Chris grins from the studio as he announces that the hearts of three people now hang in the balance. Arie despairs at telling someone he loves goodbye, but he has no reason to give for doing it, other than a contractual obligation. The limo arrives, and out comes some fringe over DSW heels. Lauren is excited as she greets Chris. She cannot imagine being rejected like so many coffee grounds deemed not organic enough for the compost bin.
Arie tells her she is beautiful, and they hug as Peruvian birds chirp. He gazes at her silently for some time, making her freak out. She declares how she allowed herself to fall in love again because he helped her break down her walls. She plans to add another room now.
Arie is bereft. “Um,” he begins eloquently. He admits he can’t go through with it. Something was holding him back. He can’t explain, but he gave it everything he had to see if it could work. Like Formula One racing, all it takes is steady brake pressure.
Lauren wishes him the best. He walks her out as alpacas watch from afar. He tells her how he is in love with Becca and also with her, so go know. She gets into the limo, having only worn that faputzed get-up for like 10 minutes. She feels betrayed, especially by his mom, who seemed squarely on Team Lauren. Bitterly, she wonders how he couldn’t decide until just about three hours go. “I feel like he chose an easier route,” Lauren despairs, suggesting only Becca put out in the Fantasy Suite.
“Wow,” Chris breathes back at the studio. “Did he make a mistake?” We’ll find out when we watch the unedited scene–the first in reality-TV history, if you don’t count when U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians toppled the imperialistic statue of Saddam Hussein in Fridos Square–after six commercials.
Here we go. As the alpacas continue to chew without interest, Becca rides to the proposal site. She marvels at the wonder that is Arie, confident that they fit together like two pieces of Lego. He and Lauren only fit together like Duplo. Arie smiles as she approaches, then grabs her in an embrace. She tells him how she felt about him from the first, comfortable and right. She started falling for him from the start. Blah, blah, blah.
He goes on about how he felt about her.”We’re a team, you know,” he says, like Donny and Marie or Randy Gardner and Tai Babilonia. Then he takes a knee with no flag in sight, and presents the ring. She accepts it and the rose. Music swells, they declare their love, and the alpacas chew.
Then, forebodingly, the rose bloom drops off the stem. Becca is left with only the thorns of their love.
Back to the studio. Chris gleefully rubs it in, pointing out how happy Becca seems to be with her Neil Lane ring and a fiance who wants kids right away. We’ll watch all that tragically fall apart after six more commercials.
In the days and weeks that followed their big moment, we see Becca and Arie lying together in a hammock, kissing, making a pizza, playing chess. It’s a life anyone in the third world would envy. Then Arie is walking in the rain, admitting that he thinks about Lauren all the damn time. Even worse, Becca knows, and not just from reading Reality Steve. He had hoped the Lauren lust would go away, but alas, it’s hopeless. She haunts his dreams and probably his WhatsApp.
It’s not fair to Becca, Arie knows, but he must follow his heart. Or another body part. He decides to call off the engagement. Then they film while he tells Chris before he does his fiancee. “I’m doing it because I love Lauren,” he reveals. Okay, but they’ll never pry that rock off her finger.
Meanwhile, poor naive Becca awaits Arie’s arrival in LA with declarations of her unparalleled joy of the past few weeks. Back in the studio, the audience is indignant, mostly because that’s what the sign says. The upcoming scene will be as enraging as when Cousin Oliver went to live with The Brady Bunch.
Now comes the ballyhooed unedited, raw part. After the establishing overhead shot. And after the shot of Arie walking to see Becca with a voiceover. Suddenly we have shaky hand-held cam footage. Wasn’t Becca alerted by that?
Arie asks her to sit. She is immediately nervous. We always know, gals, don’t we? It’s so raw and uncut that you can see crew members wandering around waiting for Becca to be publicly humiliated. Arie admits he’s been struggling all this time, trying to sort out his feelings. “I still think about her,” he says. “Do you want to get back with her?” Becca asks, and he says yes.
“You’re ****ing kidding me,” she responds. That’s definitely edited.
Stunned, Becca demands to know more, instead of just tossing his flat ass out the door and becoming a spokesmodel. He explains how unfair it is to be “half in it” with Becca, who cleverly ripostes by asking if he’ll be half in it with Lauren. Point, Team Becca.
This isn’t as raw and emotional as Chris promised. Becca just seems disgruntled, while Arie seems sleepy. She tells him what a jerk he is for not saying all this in Peru. Even the alpacas agree with that. In the studio, everyone is silent. “That’s a lot to take in,” Chris says mournfully, confirming himself to be the emotional dwarf we know. But wait, he adds, there’s more! Maybe Becca throws a shoe at the craft service table.
“Well, I hope you find what you want,” she murmurs, head hanging in despair. Arie won’t look at her. She declares herself done and stalks out of the room, with the relentless camera trailing behind. I hope she got a series-end bonus for this. As she begins to pack in the bedroom, Arie follows her. She is not going to hug him goodbye, and does not want to hear anything else he has to say. She is bleeped again as she tells him this was a really **** thing to do. I’d blame the producers first.
Becca wants him to go, but he just stands there. There are more heavy, despairing sighs between them than at my cousin’s wedding to a gentile. Finally, Becca goes off alone to cry. Arie stands alone, staring pensively out the window, listening to her sobs with the boom mic guy. Then the split screen reveals him wandering the length of the place as her weeping continues. He knocks on the door and asks, “Hey, are you okay?” Becca yells at him to leave. He goes and plops on the sofa. Lauren’s going to be unhappy when she sees this wretched display of total support breakdown.
Now Becca cries out miserably, “What did I do wrong?” I submit that it was falling for this artless clod in the first place. He still wants to talk, but she turns away from him. Cut to Chris in the studio, who reports that social media is devouring their anguish like Little Debbie Zebra Cakes.
Arie again insists on talking with Becca. She sits with him, but covers her face with her shirt. Despite her tears, her eyelashes are still in place. He says, “I’m so sorry.” She says, “I feel like my future was just ripped away.” Are they sitting so far apart that a split-screen is necessary, or is that so HD watchers can fully enjoy her red-rimmed eyes? He whines about having to hurt her, but he wants her to move forward, perhaps to appear on The Amazing Race.
There is another prolonged span of dead air before she says, “Just go. Please just go.” “Smack him right in that doofy face,” tweets half of the western hemisphere. Finally, Arie exits, stage left. The camera lingers on the sobbing Becca, then chases her down the hall until she escapes into the bathroom.
Cut to her resigned face in the studio with Chris, who thanks her for being there. The audience claps madly. “How hard is it watching that back?” Chris asks. He probably enjoyed pulling the legs off spiders when he was a child.
Becca has not spoken to Arie since that day. “What is the overwhelming emotion?” Chris probes further, as if asking her to describe her hotel accommodations. She says what you’d expect, but also that she wouldn’t know what to ask him now. She will confront him tomorrow, though, along with Lauren, on After the Final Rose. Maybe we’ll see the first live castration in reality-TV history.