How time flies! It’s the second-to-last episode of Season 22 of The Bachelor, yet it feels like it only started on Arbor Day of 2003. From 29 virtually indistinguishable women, Arie has whittled down his choices to Kendall, Becca, and Lauren. There may also have been a couple of production assistants and some Peruvian waitresses in the running.
Tonight includes the coquettishly termed “overnight dates.” There’s no confirmation if any of the sessions involve more than champagne, soft music, and fervent discussions of connections and vulnerability. In some cases, though, the activity may be limited to just Netflix dubbed in Quechua. In any event, these intensely emotional, rose-petal-strewn hours will precede Arie’s selection of the two women who will have the chance to become the first Mrs. Luyendyk. Accepting his proposal will require even more bravery than running into that Florida school without a weapon.
An ABC promo informs us that Arie tells all three gals “I love you,” but it’s possible he’s just commenting on the local cuisine. Consensus (among me and my dog, when he put his paw on her picture) holds that Kendall will get the boot. It’s understandable, as Kendall Luyendyk is really hard to say.
Co-showrunner Bennett Graebner, whose contract with Satan has kept him with the show for 10 years, claims of viewers anticipating the finale: “Even if they are reading spoilers and think they know? They don’t.” Surely it will be at least as shocking as someone posting a meme about the lack of gun violence in other countries.
As to Caroline’s vaguely threatening question to Arie last night, its meaning remains something Robert Stack would rush to address if he were alive.
Tonight, Chris intones, Arie must make the decision of a lifetime. Is he getting male enhancement surgery? Whatever happens will leave us stunned, Chris assures us. Just so long as it leaves us awake. Meanwhile, Arie admires Machu Picchu. He can definitely see himself falling in love in Peru, because as any psychologist will advise, love is based on where you vacation.
Kendall is nervous about their date. She seems nervous most of the time. Will her hesitancy remain an insurmountable issue, or will she just go ahead and take some Xanax? She meets Arie in the middle of a deserted, arid wasteland, which reflects their personalities. There they climb aboard a dune buggy that’s really fast, loud, and horribly windy so they can get to know each other better through their face coverings.
The couple spreads out a blanket in the desert, and discuss him meeting her family. She can’t explain her feelings of uncertainty, doubt, and concern that he can’t make a decent living in the Scottsdale residential market. “Arie and I have a really strong connection,” she reports after we watch them stuff their gullets without looking at each other. However, she does not want to take the big step if they’re not ready. Maybe for now, it should just be the little step of boffing each other.
That night they spend time together on a sofa under a pergola. It’s reminiscent of how my boyfriend and I eat dinner off the coffee table, only it’s with fewer expensive cushions and under a ceiling fixture that needs dusting. Kendall wonders if Arie’s only dating her because she’s a quirky taxidermist who auditioned for a reality show. Yet that’s exactly what made Ann Marie so attractive to Donald Hollinger. She despairs of their relationship ending just because she’s not ready to stuff all the doves left over after their wedding.
Arie reassures Kendall that he wants to get to know her better, to see beyond the sawdust and pelts and glass eyeballs. “I am. . .I am falling in love with you,” she declares. “I’m so glad that you’re here,” he murmurs, like Cary Grant if he were dosed up with Nyquil and being directed by Michael Bay. Then he hands her the Fantasy Suite invitation. She announces, “I feel like I don’t want to move forward without knowing there’s more than just the physical side.” So she agrees to spend the night fending off his octopus mitts.
Next morning, is that Arie’s underwear on the floor? He claims they were up all night talking, and as a result, he can see himself with her and her animal corpses after all this is over. Likewise, Kendall can see him being an amazing father and husband who will only balk occasionally at being asked to dispose of beaver entrails. “Emotionally, I feel really good,” Kendall says happily, although physically she’s nauseated that he leaves his underwear on the floor. Arie admits he’s falling in love with her, too.
Lauren is seeing Arie next. They have a lot to talk about as they meet at the airport to fly over the Nasca Lines, which are freaky giant drawings on the ground similar to Keith Haring’s work but without the penises. Arie keeps mentioning geoglyphs like he’s aware they aren’t God’s doodling while He’s on hold. He acknowledges how hard it is for Lauren, what with two other women in the mix and one looking pretty much exactly like her. He will reassure her, but doesn’t want that effort to get in the way of his getting to know her better. Foe example, he still doesn’t know her favorite Dorito flavor, or what her ringtone is.
The pair inanely address envisioning a future together, not losing what they have, and that in fact they have something. Arie is concerned that Lauren is near to throwing in the towel with this whole ferkakteh business. How many times can a man insist the other two women he’s sleeping with on TV aren’t interfering with this relationship? Even Dr. Ruth Westheimer is stumped by that one.
Arie does love Lauren, so he must get clarity tonight. He tells her he knows there’s a heavy weight on her shoulders, and it’s not just the hair extensions. “I couldn’t have done this without you,” she replies warmly. She could have done it with Nick or Chris, but she didn’t make the cast for those seasons. Arie offers nothing useful in response, because who could? But Tuscany was huge for him, he explains. It was the first time he felt emotions that he hadn’t felt in a long time, at least without PornHub on the screen. “I love you, and I hate to lose you,” he tells Lauren, tenderly quoting several Monster Hits of the Seventies.
Off they go to the suite, the music swelling as they kiss. Lauren declares her love and the feelings she has. Arie wants her to have no doubts, to make this work, because he loves her. These people’s vocabularies are smaller than Koko the Gorilla’s.
The next morning, they smooch in bed as he tells her he loves her. Lauren had originally doubted this process, but now feels it worked out well. A good script makes all the difference. She feels their relationship is very different since yesterday, especially because now that she knows his O face isn’t too unattractive.
Now comes Becca’s date. The two ride a catamaran, which makes Becca utterly thrilled. Arie is definitely falling in love with her. He notes that theirs is the safest, most comfortable relationship, and their chemistry is off the charts. Becca feels so lucky to have him in her life right now, or at least until they wrap the scene. “Jeeze Louise,” she says, recalling the great romantic poets of the 18th century.
They relax on the boat and talk about their feelings as the wind romantically whips the sails and gentle spray dampens their faces. This trip is no fun at all for the camera guy. Becca is ready to tell Arie she loves him, although she’s afraid he won’t return the words. Maybe he’ll say he really likes her, which was good enough for me in sixth grade.
They’re having dinner in a tent in the dessert, which looks like it could burst into flames from a single spark from the campfire. Arie is happy they talked about life. He feels pretty good right now, beginning yet another sentence “Yeah, I mean….” Throughout this experience, he has worried about choosing the wrong person, or the right one not being among the cast, or the woman he loves having shelves lined with dead woodland creatures in her basement. This show is such an emotional roller coaster!
Becca admits she loves him, and describes the moment she realized it. It was about halfway down page 217 of the script. He tells her he loves her, too, and presents her with the Fantasy Suite card. She is “excited and open” for tonight, just as The Sensuous Woman recommends. He tells us that a part of him wants to propose to Becca tonight, no waiting. Now we know whose ex-boyfriend shows up to make trouble.
Morning dawns. How can they not have sand in their bed? They’re both pretty pleased with themselves as they breakfast on grapes and coffee. She’s happy, he’s happy, the producers are happy, the sponsors are happy. Only the stylist is upset when the wind blows sand into their hair.
Finally, the irate boyfriend appears. He was just passing by Peru and thought he’d stop in. The big galoot claims he didn’t know the show ended in a proposal, so he’s here to take back the love of his life. He whams on Arie’s door, which is rather 1940’s macho. He should ask Becca to come back to him instead of confronting someone with a SAG-AFTRA card.
The galoot, whose name is Ross, found out a week ago that Becca was still on the show. He feels only he can propose to her. Arie suggests the guy is just being competitive. This from a former NASCAR driver. The two men proceed to discuss it the situation calmly and rationally, as if Becca were the acceptable scores from a football game. Anyway, it’s hard to feel threatened by a guy in a summer suit and argyle socks.
Right before commercial, Becca opens her door looking not at all non-plussed that the ex-BF is here in another country. Arie, however, is mildly irritated at his intrusion. “It sucks,” he explains emotionally. Meanwhile, Becca blurts “hi” as if that cute FedEx guy rang her bell. She refuses to invite Ross in, though, and steps outside so they don’t have to reblock the scene.
“I knew you were going to do this!” she tells him. Has he followed her to a place he had to have a passport for before? He tries to explain his feelings. “Nothing compares to you,” the ex-boyfriend cum stalker mutters. At least he’s a Prince fan.
He wants to marry her. She seems like she’s trying not to giggle as they babble vagaries at each other about unhealthy relationships and being in different places. Yet he hoped she would agree to marry him now. “It ended for a reason,” Becca asserts, citing one from a Teen Vogue article.
Ross walks away without punching anyone or busting up a hotel room. “I feel like a fool for coming here,” he confesses. He might as well stay a few days, and take some selfies with llamas at Machu Picchu.
But now Becca is confused and unsure, because her new love shouldn’t affect the circumstances. Meanwhile, Arie continues to be appalled that the ex came all the way to Peru, absolutely without any free airline tickets from the producers. Becca goes to see him. She apologizes for the ex’s totally unexpected appearance while cameras were present. How can they get past this daunting challenge to their relationship? I suggest barbiturates.
Will Arie send Becca home to work out her feelings about the hulking side of beef who chased her to another hemisphere to declare his love, only to cede after a two-minute conversation? He seems like he would. He discusses the issue with Chris. “History is a strong thing,” Chris assures him. It’s a lucrative thing if it includes hosting 22 seasons of The Bachelor. Arie then reviews his other two women’s standing in the line-up. He hopes he makes the right decision.
The gals gather for the Rose Ceremony. Apparently as a hint, Becca dons a white lace dress. Kendall believes she is now prepared to marry. Lauren is pleased that Arie said he loves her.
Arie arrives, and gives a talk about decisions and good weeks and moving forward. Then he asks to talk to Kendall again. What the hell? He tells her they had an amazing night together, and he’s been thinking a lot about them. And he just doesn’t know. She says it sucks because she cares a lot about him. Bogie and Bacall couldn’t perform this scene better.
Off Kendall goes in the limo to cry as Arie wanders off pensively. He soon returns to the others and gives them each a rose in between scenes of Kendall agonizing over how difficult it is to find love. Arie tells the final two that they’ll be meeting his family. They make a toast to a couple of bored Peruvian horses.
According to Chris, next week is the live television event everyone will be talking about. It’s the decision of Arie’s life. It will change his life–and theirs–forever. Also, everything will be turned upside-down. What’s more, what happens next will leave us stunned. Enough already with the hyperbole, Chris. No one will be that amazed that Arie proposes to Ross.