Woo hoo, it’s the end! Manafort and Gates are finished! Well, not just yet, but Season 14 of The Bachelorette is, and that’s another type of justice.
Tonight in the Maldives, Becca will choose her life partner, or at least the guy she’ll appear on Kimmel with and then erase from her Tivo when they break up in a month. Will it be Blake Horstmann, the 28-year-old sales rep from a small town in Colorado, or Garrett Yrigoyen, the 29-year-old sales rep from a small town in Nevada? Becca likes her a sales rep from a small town. That was on her eharmony.com profile, along with “must love auditioning for reality shows.”
Is anybody rooting for one over the other? They’re so similar, it’s like choosing between Wheat Chex and Rice Chex.
After we learn the results, we’ll endure After the Final Rose for another hour instead of hearing what Don Lemon has to say about today’s developments in the trial of the former Trump campaign chairman. But both that and The Bachelorette involve men who’ve made poor life choices.
We do know—don’t you hate when people say “we know” when they’ve only read what someone else knows?—that Becca is, in fact, engaged to either Blake or Garrett or an assistant producer. Reports further reveal that not getting engaged to the other guy was hard for Becca, who likes to marry all the men she’s in love with at a given time. No one on this show ever just honestly loves one guy more than the other. I admit that was a plausible scenario in the book Constance: A Story of Early Plymouth, but it made sense since Pilgrim girls couldn’t break up after the Men Tell All special and one Us Weekly cover.
Anyway, we’ll see some footage of Becca crying piteously that’s indistinguishable from all the other footage of her crying piteously. Other stuff happens on the show, too, but it’s nothing compared to last night, when Food Network replied to my tweet about the finale of Next Food Network Star.
On the post-show round-up, we may also find out who the next Bachelor will be. If it’s not the runner-up, Jason is apparently interested. So is my neighbor down the hall, but he’s been divorced more often than Garrett, and is never open and vulnerable, at least to sorting his recycling properly.
After the pre-caps, which seem to last longer and longer every week, the “television event of the summer” starts. I’ve seen Outback Steakhouse commercials that moved me more, but I respect that Chris Harrison has an advanced degree in hyperbole. He’s in the studio now with the live audience of women who look like they hide Mallowmars in their gym lockers. He declares this will be the most emotionally charged episode of all time, even more than when Henry Blake was killed off on M*A*S*H or Julia Child dropped a raw chicken on the floor.
Becca pronounces the Maldives very romantic, as if the producers would ever send them to Trenton. She describes her relationships with each man, both of whom satisfy her equally, much like I’m perfectly content to use either Bounty or Viva paper towels. Neither man knows she’s in love with them, though, to further punish these passive clowns.
The guys are going to meet Becca’s family first, and they agreed to get a free trip to the Maldives. She wants to know who they would pick for her. While I contend that adults should make their own choices where love is concerned, my great-grandpa put an ad in the paper to find a husband for my grandma, and that worked out pretty well.
Becca tells the family about Garrett’s brief marriage, in an attempt to suggest he can’t commit. But nevertheless, she views him as prime goods. The family, represented by mom, a couple of uncles, and a sister, approve of Garrett’s love of fishing. My great-grandpa wanted to know if his potential son-in-law made a good living, but this crowd is concerned about lures. Becca’s mom wants to know if Becca really wants their input, and suggests that a dead man’s approval is more valuable. It is established that Becca’s late dad would approve of Garrett’s love for Becca, but Mom makes an excellent point that Arie claimed he felt the same way. Oh, no, Becca insists. This is different. Garrett may have had a marriage that lasted about as long as The Hasselhoffs, but he’s not a former race car driver. Who knows what the hell she’s rationalizing.
An uncle asks Garrett bluntly how he managed to screw up after just a few weeks of marriage. The young man explains that he figured out pretty fast that the ex was not the best choice, much like the time I chose glasses frames, and two weeks later, when I picked them up, I regretted the tortoise shell. Garrett cries at the thought of chalking up another ruined relationship.
He tells Becca’s sister that he will go to the end of the world to give Becca what she wants. That’s ideal if she wants a koala bear. He’s blubbering again. But Sis approves, and says so to Becca, who cries, too. She is pleased that Garrett can open up and be vulnerable with her family. Probably with the garbage men and the FedEx guy, too.
Back in the studio. Chris reminds us how emotional the scene with her family was, which seemed pretty tame to me aside from the fact that Becca and her sister look so different, you have to wonder if Mom got some on the side before Dad got sick.
Now it’s Blake’s turn to prove his worth. Becca advises her family to analyze this second specimen with equal consideration. They get out the measuring tapes and protractors.
Blake fears that Garrett did better on the talent portion of the competition. He describes for Becca’s family how hard it was to be up against all that man meat for weeks on end. I mean, come on, Jordan was there. Sis wants to determine how Blake compares to Garrett. Blake explains that he gravitates toward strong women, which Becca is. Once he even dated a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling. With Becca, he’s never been more sure of anything.
Sis cannot decide who is the better choice, partly because she can’t remember which is which. She tells Becca that Blake would challenge her and be more of a teammate, qualities you usually seek in a project manager. Meanwhile, Mom tells Blake that he’ll be fine if Becca tosses him aside like a pistachio shell, and Uncle asks if Blake has considered the cons of being married to Becca. A theme is being established, falling just short of them telling Blake they don’t approve of people from Colorado.
When the couple leaves, Blake is anxious, questioning himself and their relationship. Is Garrett the leading contender now? They were neck and neck as recently as the first commercial.
Back in the studio, Chris sighs heavily before inviting some famous people I never heard of to the stage to comment. They agree married people should be happy together. Then we must watch clips of their new show, wherein an Asian cast has the opportunity to appear in the kind of over-the-top, melodramatic claptrap typically reserved for white people.
Becca sits with her family to hear their thoughts. Mom, Sis, and Uncle One see Blake as a pair, bookends, a matched set of vintage bar glasses posted on eBay. Other uncle thinks Garrett is a good guy, but possibly not there yet in the commitment department. Mom suggests sagely that Becca think a little more about who she really wants to take on a mortgage with. Becca weeps that now she is unsure, when Blake had seemed the one from the outset. A single tear runs down her dewy cheek as rain falls upon the swimming pool outside, where two empty chairs are growing mildewed.
Does Becca have clarity the next day? Of course not, it’s not even 9:15. She goes to meet Garrett for their last date, leaping onto him with the patented Becca Boyfriend Leg Wrap that’s becoming as popular as eating Tide Pods. They board a boat and commence cooing and kissing. Becca likes that their relationship evolved slowly, taking several weeks of isolated hours in front of a camera crew, instead of whole days like on The Love Boat.
For his part, Garrett can’t wait to get down on one knee and propose. He’s never felt this way before, except that time PornHub was having a marathon. They leap into the water, forcing innocent fish to flee and the producers to pay for an underwater camera operator who can control his gag reflex. I wonder if the show has to get releases from the dolphins. They’re among the top five smartest animals, so they know their intellectual property rights.
That night, Becca comes over to see Garrett. He can’t wait to tell her how he feels. They describe their mutual joy in the immortal prose style of Dick and Jane. Becca encourages Garrett to air his feelings. He knows she is the person to bring out the best in him, and hopes she feels the same. She says he’s like her dad, and even though the dead man cannot walk her down the aisle, Garrett “feels like home” to her. “Yah,” he replies.
Garrett assures Becca he will be with her forever, and always take care of her. He never wants to lose the passion he feels. He even loves the way she says “bag.” I broke up with a guy because I hated the way he said “orr-unge.”
The studio audience is impressed with this treacly display. Chris gleefully reminds them that Garrett or Blake will soon experience a devastating moment when he is dumped like so many used coffee grounds.
Now Becca goes to meet Blake and leg-wrap him. She feels their hearts recognize each other, like synched up phones. They’re going on a bike ride, equipped with Handlebar Cams., through the lush green Maldivian countryside
Blake feels they’ve built continually on their relationship from that very first date. Now he is amazed at how he feels toward her. The last piece of the puzzle is falling into place, and the picture it depicts is a deer in a field looking blankly to the left. Becca tells him that her family loved him, from Sis on up. As she speaks, her earring keeps rotating in her lobe, moving toward the left between each cut to Blake. How long could it possibly take to get this drivel correct? Blake admits he tended to back off from other relationships because he was too much in his head. That hasn’t happened here, as he’s been entirely in his pants.
As a downpour falls that night–rainy season in the Maldives must means a discount at hotels–Becca goes to see Blake. He hopes Becca will leave his suite knowing how he feels, or at least whether he likes his eggs scrambled or fried.
He has made her a time capsule of all their moments together, including his diary notes. It looks like the wall in a stalker’s attic room. They discuss their future together, expected to inlcude hard times and good. Becca knows he stands by what he says. Blake sighs with the memory of their embrace. If all goes well tomorrow, it will be insane, he reports passionately.
At the studio, Chris reminds us that one of these poor slobs will have his heart broken soon enough. Then he enthusiastically intros clips from a show where someone dies. I’d call it all ghoulish, but Chris is probably just programmed that way. We return to hear him explain that the ensuing break-up is so painful, it will be difficult to watch, much like reading Melania’s tweet supporting of LeBron James after her husband dissed him.
Becca reads aloud a loving, supportive message from her sister, who seems to be pitching herself to be the next Bachelorette. Meanwhile, Garrett meets with Neil Lane to choose a garish bauble. Blake wakes up anxious and nervous, but nevertheless feels a strange calm that probably comes from the Xanax. Can they both pick the same Neil Lane ring or does he only bring one of each style? Somebody do the research.
Becca remains torn as to whose ring might be prettier. As the three are seen bathing and dressing for the big moment, they reflect on their feelings and stuff tiny soaps into their luggge. “This will be the hardest goodbye,” Becca notes mournfully. The audience claps appreciatively for the heralded evisceration. I really can’t predict whom Becca will choose, but then I was sure Hillary would win.
From the studio, Chris reminds us we’re live from Los Angeles, and that Becca did find love. About the rejection of the man in second place, Chris intones, “What you are about to see, no words can describe. It is raw, it is real, it is painful.” It can’t be worse than waiting on line at the Family Dollar.
Becca despairs at the pain she is about to impose on a man she loves. She feels like a monster, but one in an $89 dress from Modlilly. Blake approaches the site with optimism, innocent as a lamb. Becca greets him happily. They heave deep breaths before he begins his speech praising her and their love. It’s as natural-sounding as a principal’s announcement over the PA system. Becca observes Blake placidly, then replies with pleasantries. The moment to dump him has arrived. She feels she cannot say goodbye to Garret, she informs him. He didn’t expect this. No one expects the Becca rejection!
They walk away together as she reassures him it wasn’t him, it was her. Birds chirp mockingly as Blake wipes his nose on his lapel, reason enough to send him packing. Now separated from the man she just destroyed with mere words, most of them monosyllabic, Becca huddles in the trees sobbing. Elsewhere, Blake weeps into a handy folded towel. This is less emotionally painful to watch than it is dizzying, with all the hand-held camera work.
Suddenly, we’re in the silent studio with Blake, who’ll probably pick up one of the Bachelor Nation chicks at the after-party. The corner of the screen reminds us bluntly that this is LIVE. The emotion is raw, it is real, it is painful, especially when you realize you could be watching a rerun of Law & Order: SVU. Chris asks Blake what was going through his mind when he realized he was now officially listed on Wikipedia as a first runner-up.
Chris notes thqt they’re all sitting in stunned silence, but that could be because the audience resents having to pay for any beverages during the commercial break. Blake reveals yet again that he loved Becca from the first. “Was it too easy?” Chris asks of the relationship. Having writers, directors, and free liquor did smooth the way.
Chris proceeds to twist the knife more by remarking on Blake mourning that his one true love would now be happy with someone else. Chris continues probing to learn what part of being ditched hurt the most. The shock? The rejection? The heart break? There’s big ratings in emotional vampirism.
But Blake insists he will never be angry with Becca for seeking her happiness where it could be found. That’s far too reasonable for us to enjoy. But he did watch the whole show to see if he could identify when things went south, and also to see Jordan’s gold underpants again. I think most therapists would recommend against both of those.
Now Becca will come on stage. It will be the first time that Blake has seen her since, as Chris says, “that devastating day in the Maldives,” which sounds like it was lifted from a speech by FDR. Jaunty music plays everyone back on after the ads. Chris demands to know how Blake feels right now, which is hard to put into words that do not include profanity.
Becca greets Blake with a brief, palsy hug. Blake wants to know if there was a moment when she knew he wasn’t the one. She says she just checked her daily horoscope. Becca praises how Blake was always so open, but she felt he wouldn’t be up to handling life’s ups and downs, like recessions, wildfires, and outbreaks of Legionnaire’s Disease. How could she tell that about him? They only ever talked about being open and vulnerable. She apologizes for hurting him, but it’s in her contract.
Chris doubles down on the issue of them being too solid from the first, which may have made later relationships seem fresh and new. Becca points out that she and Blake are so much alike, it freaked her out. They were finishing each other’s sentences like the creepy twins in The Shining. But this will not keep Blake down. He will find a person who is his polar opposite, possibly on 90-Day Fiance.
Chris tells Becca and Blake how the internet is reaching out to them with love and support. He hasn’t checked the Dark Web, though.
Now that this dramatic encounter has failed to live up to the hype, it’s time to celebrate the happy moment when Garrett proposed. After a quick make-up touch-up in the trees, Becca emerges from the foliage to meet her man. It looks like it would be very buggy there. A smitten Becca imagines Garrett driving a minivan and taking care of her when she’s sick. What will really clinch the deal is if he can handle her when she has PMS.
The couple hug in greeting, then clasp hands tenderly. He declares his love for Becca and swears his commitment. She blathers on about why she gave him the First Impression rose, when what we really want to know is how things went in the Fantasy Suite. She adds more comparisons of Garrett to her dad, which could be trouble later on. Finally, she tells him she loves him. He kneels and presents the product placement. The champagne flows there, and at the office where Neil Lane is checking his Google analytics.
Everyone cheers back at the studio. Blake is forgotten as quickly as that guy who came in the chicken suit as they celebrate Garrett getting the girl. Maybe Becca’s sister would be interested in dating Blake, but without all the cameras following them.
Becca and Garrett arrive on stage for their very first public appearance. They were pleased to watch the great moment when they declared their love to each other and Neil Lane experienced a lucrative bump in sales. They blather about how they felt and when they knew and how a breakfast quesadilla at the airport marked a turning point. They felt like a team paddling down the Thai river on a bamboo raft. That’s far more important than if they observe the same religion. We also learn that Garrett snores, and Breathe Right nasal strips start trending.
Now a somber moment as Garrett apologizes for a series of offensive social media posts he liked. Research reveals he has a history of liking posts that mocked Parkland high school students, liberal women, trans people, and undocumented immigrants. I only mock people who appear on this show.
Becca spins it as a learning experience for both of them, although not so much for Parkland high school students, liberal women, trans people, and undocumented immigrants. Did Becca’s dad do that, too, or was he more the multi-forwarded chain letter type? This is exactly why you should discuss something other than being open and vulnerable when getting to know someone.
But the couple got over the hurdle of mobs of strangers attacking his family and reputation. Becca also is apparently comfortable never associating with gun control advocates, liberal women, trans people, or undocumented immigrants. For his part, Garrett has promised to like only photos of cute dogs and sexy swimsuit models.
Anyway, the couple’s immediate plans to do not include a wedding, although I would suggest some sensitivity training before they set a date. As a gift, or perhaps to wait out angry Instagram users til they move on to the next scandal, Chris is sending the pair back to Thailand. Maybe they can ride the same bamboo raft. But wait, there’s more. Chris sends Becca and Blake outside to find the gift of an 80’s minivan with a baby seat in the back. Like they’re not posting that clunker on Craigslist ASAP.
I guess we don’t get to find out who the next Bachelor is. Maybe it’s the ghost of Becca’s dad. See you next season.