Previously on The Bachelor…
Chantal = (1) dramatic slap out of limo, (2) electric connection and (3) the emotional roller coaster side of her worries Brad.
Emily = (1) one in a million, (2) an intimidating past and (3) she and Ricki as a package deal.
Now that we have that covered, time for some sweeping montages and pensive looks!
Helicopters. Biggest decision of Brad’s life. Chantal has a terrible bathing suit tan line at the altar rose ceremony. Lion King music. Brad determines that looking over Cape Town seems to be like looking out over the entire world (hmm). Trusts his family…
Brad’s family emerges from the bushes and jumps right into things
So, um, I am assuming they all get to hang out first, right? Sorry, I should be more sensitive. Brad has a total breakdown and sobbing fit upon laying eyes on his family. This gets the mom and sisters-in-law a bit emotional too, and confuses the brothers. Because they know Brad is a Robot. But Chad the Twin has Brad’s back and says this burst of tears is “the real Brad”.
Brad wants to let his family “make their own opinions”. Can you make an opinion? Or only form one? Here is an opinion I just made: I am keeping my eye on these sisters-in-law, Dillon/Dylan and Prima/Preema. I don’t know why, I just have a feeling.
Chantal interviews with Brad’s family
I immediately become distracted when poor Chantal (and I am on her team, okay) says “what made me knew I loved Brad…” You are nervous, of course. But that is a pretty bad grammatical blunder as far as those go. Yikers. But I rally and start listening to her again and realize she is talking some genuineness and sense, describing Costa Rica and falling in love.
Interlude question: why does younger brother Wes look so unlike his older twin brothers? Do you think that makes him super mad?
Second interlude question: Does Chantal look like maybe she has gained the Freshman 15 during the filming? I feel bad saying that because I still think she is adorable like the not-fat fat girl in Love Actually who bags Hugh Grant.
The bros have a beach chat with Channy, and she says something very smart- that she knows she and Brad have been living in LaLa Land. Then she says something dumb- which is that her favorite times, however, are when it’s more real life like: “a rained-out date and going to hang in the hotel room”. Um, lady friend, there is nothing real life about a hotel room. Proof is that someone cleans your bath tub every day.
Now for the deceptive editing that toys with my heart: Mom says Chantal is “precious” and “a catch” and Brad says “if everything works out, I will marry her.”
Emily interviews with Brad’s family
I will admit a touching moment from The Robot when he reminds Emily of something she once said which is that she’s “not shy, just private.” Brad listens, apparently.
So the moment comes when Emily has to tell the Ricky story to Brad’s family. There are tears. Later, Wes the thoughtful brother gives Brad a little lecture on being a dad. There are a lot of y’alls and then Brad says, “I think I can handle the change.” I feel like thinking should be no longer an option at this point. We are in knowing zone. Brad loves that Emily is a lady. It makes him want to be a better guy.
Emily tells mom that Brad’s been a blessing and angel to her. There is something about a Southern belle with a flawless Southern accent saying “Angel” that honestly has me too. And mom LOVES IT. That’s all she needs to hear: that her one son, the one she always worried might be a Robot, is an angel.
Brad’s family breaks it down
So in more pseudo-religious evocation, Brad prays his family can give him advice. But it all goes awry when the well-manicured sisters-in-law start cluck clucking very loudly their opinions on Moms vs. Non-Moms. Winner = Moms. So according to their gospel, Brad should choose Emily because:
- Chantal “won’t get it” because she’s not a mom
- Chantal will only get invited to their wine and sushi nights
- Whereas Emily will “get it” because she irresponsibly had premarital sex as a teenager and will therefore be fully accepted into all their mommy social situations, not just wine and sushi night
- Women without kids suck, and if they’re infertile or are responsibly waiting until they are financially and emotionally solvent to bear children, then they still suck and should be grateful when they get to go to wine and sushi night and then shut their pieholes
Brad chats with his mom, still reeling from the Angel comment, and she astutely observes that Brad can’t keep his hands off Emily. They also say Emily is the whole package and the one Brad is about to marry. Which then begs the question: if Chantal is the one that Brad ends up with, will she despise Brad’s family forever for all these comments?
There is a boat. Then seals. Then… swimming with sharks in a cage. So right at this moment we all know that Brad does not want to choose Chantal. This happens at the end of every season. It would be too excruciating to have lots of Coming to Jesus convos with someone looking at you with puppy dog-eyes and telling you how in love they are – so instead you choose a date where talking and cuddling and connecting is not an option. Cue sharks. There is a metaphor somewhere here.
And then, out of nowhere-
HOLY WETSUIT BOOBS.
Chantal is maximizing the talents of her puppies before being lowered into shark-infested waters. Because that’s romantic. What’s also romantic is the chum that keeps getting thrown about to feed the sharks. Ugh. I don’t know what is going on during this date but there are entrails and bloody water. Then Brad makes some asinine comment about looking for a wife who can overcome her fears. And then after some scary shark-themed music, says that many of his questions about Chantal have now been answered. Come again? What questions were answered in the cage?
We don’t have time to ponder it because Chantal’s ‘best girlfriends’ pop out of her wetsuit again, when they’re on dry land. And we’re all distracted.
The remainder of the date into the night continues to be heartbreaking to watch. Brad treats Chantal like a buddy, hugs aplenty but no smooching. And Chantal, bless her heart, keeps the faith against all odds and genuinely professes her love for Brad and presents him this series’ arts & crafts project: a map in a bottle. At this point, Brad, who wants to move over on the couch and avoid eye contact, has to feign interest in what I would characterize as actually a sweet little gift. He is busy fantasizing about running his fingers through Emily’s electric yellow hair.
Chantal explains the map by saying: “I’ve never traveled the world for any guy.” And because she’s the underdog, I don’t want to be the one to say it, but, technically, no one has ever paid for you to travel the world for a guy before. That’s probably why you haven’t. Is all I’m saying. Mmkay? I still want to be friends.
Robot then reads a heartfelt letter from Chantal aloud, clearly painful for him and evoking no emotion whatsoever except some pathetic comment about appreciating her expressiveness, and Chantal claps at her own words. She is kind of precious that way! But she maybe starts to cop to things a little. How many hugs can one person bear before realizing they’re a goner?
Brad basically says that his family chose Emily. He’s super kissy with her and demonstrative. The pair journey to the Cape of Good Hope for some romantic vistas, picnicking and deep convos. Which is sort of like a cage diving shark date I guess.
Emily breaks it down at this point, in a respectable move. She explains to Brad that marrying into her family would be the real deal, it’s not “cool Uncle Brad” anymore going back to his bachelor pad but he would be in it for realsies. Brad’s expression makes me think he doesn’t like the idea of not running back to his bachelor pad.
Then some surprising things happen. First, Emily tells the camera in a confessional that she is “painfully insecure” which is, yes, annoying. I know beauty doesn’t guarantee anything in life but I at least thought RIDICULOUS BEAUTY guaranteed you some confidence. Barf. And then sweet Emily says quietly to Brad, “I enjoyed meeting your parents” – plural. PLURAL. Brad doesn’t miss a beat and thanks her. But lady, I heard it, and it made me feel awkward.
Em then continues to drive home the point that PARENTING IS NOT ALWAYS FUN. IT’S NOT ALWAYS FUN. Sometimes you’re at the hospital and it’s not always fun. Sometimes you cry yourself to sleep out of pangs of regret at your ex not wrapping that rascal and IT’S NOT FUN. I am feeling bad for “Little Ricki” at this point because (a) she did not get her mom’s looks and (b) her mom is not being the best PR agent at selling parenthood.
Brad robotically struggles to prove he wants to be a father and obsessively rubs his face, which we know by now means he’s getting angry. Later that night it’s deja vu but Brad starts to lose his ability to breathe and needs water, stat.
Brad bitches to the camera that he feels slapped, defeated and the date is making him question everything. And some loser producer at ABC thinks that we’ve all been adequately tricked.
Morning of proposal
Brad is naked. His pecs need some air. He reviews the ladies and walks all over Cape Town thinking. Then Neil Lane arrives and pulls out some redonk bling. I am green with envy.
Cut to both girls journaling.
Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack 4-EVER.
Chantal is, against type, crying. Then the girls are getting ready. So many comments to make, so little time:
- Chantal is dressed way too evening with the black and the off-the-shoulder and the feathers and the updo and the big sparkly earrings.
- Emily is smart to wear a bride-like color palette.
- I am told by the girls I am watching with that Brad’s suit is way too shiny.
- Emily looks beautiful as ever, even with the entire tub of blush and tube of mascara on her face.
The proposal altar in the vineyard is very pretty. I am pleased with the change of scenery from ocean-backed altars.
The first limo pulls up and my stomach sinks a little. No matter how ridiculous this show, this part is always hard to watch. Some unsuspecting girl or guy, manipulated the whole way through, has to exchange pleasantries with Chris Harrison, walk a long march, hear a speech about all their best attributes as though it’s a yearbook message, and then get dumped in front of millions.
Chantal cries, very genuinely. She seems surprised and hurt. Brad commits his usual offense of stroking a girl’s skin he just dumped. Chantal says, with class, “Emily is very lucky.” And then without class, “this sucks.” And then has the long march back to the limo of sadness.
Now Brad is so happy, he is jumping out of his skin. He tells us he wants to stutter and stammer his way through the dumb speech he has prepared (mission will be accomplished) and Emily tells the camera this day is comparable to the day of the birth of her daughter. WHO IS JUST SOMETIMES SO NOT FUN TO RAISE.
They meet. Brad begins his speechifying and gets choked up. “Em, you are one in a lifetime.” “I love you babe.”
“I love you too.”
Music video montage of their 6 weeks of eternal everlasting love.
For some reason I am feeling very little. And then I know why…
After the Final Rose
So Chantal comes out looking hot and great in her red dress. Words like amazing and journey are mentioned. She starts to get teary. And then Brad enters.
Chantal is one smart cookie and asks Brad the same question in varying forms so that he is cornered into essentially admitting he knew Emily was the one from early on. Now, this is always an emotional conundrum for me. On one hand, it’s effed to string people along in such romantic and emotional settings and involving their families. On the other hand, it’s the cruel format of the show and the Bachelor/ette has to play along. I mean, I benefit from the ruse too. Otherwise, every season would be two episodes long.
Then Chantal sobs more but says she has a boyfriend and is so happy. Um, okay.
After the commercial break, it’s just Brad and the convo with Chris starts to go weird. Brad says he is more in love with Emily than ever, would marry her right now, tried to marry her while the season was airing but the relationship has gone through a test (which may or may not be the fault of the tabloids).
Chris cuts to the chase. The couple has already broken up once, and has not seen each other in a month. I quickly do the math plus the complicated geographic logistics and work out that Brad and Emily have had exactly 5 seconds to date in the real world and self-combust and fight and get back together. It’s all so promising.
Then things get so weird, I am forced to use my trusty bullets:
- Brad says he is engaged but won’t speak for Emily. Huh?
- He will fight for her tooth and nail.
- Emily comes out sans engagement ring.
- Emily declares it has “not been all roses”.
- Emily’s body language is only echoed by her words: not ready to get married right now.
- Brad has a temper- she was warned by his family. It’s called “poking the bear”. When I think of Brad’s robotically angry face, I think of crazy Christian Bale in American Psycho.
- Brad proposes again, I think.
The most intelligent and interesting thing to hear in this entire weird exchange is that Emily feels after watching the season air that some of the other girls seemed like a lot more fun, and to have had great chemistry with Brad. In fact, Emily thinks even she would have picked one of them given how boring she was edited to be. I will give that a great big hallelujah. I always thought she was boring and now we know why. Which is annoying on the part of ABC. But ultimately, Emily is getting way too hung up on what she saw on the show. Why do these people insist on pretending they didn’t understand the concept?
Finally, ABC trots out “America’s favorite Bachelor couples” (which I am pretty sure constitutes the show’s only couples) for some relationship advice. And actually, I like all three of these couples and think their advice is sweet and genuine. Unfortunately is it wasted on the next Jake and Vienna he said-she said fiasco. I am calling it now. This couple is doomed and my money is on very soon. I look forward to all the news from the “tabloids”, or as I like to call them, my favorite pieces of reading.
I know this post is a day late and dollar short, but what says you?
Can’t wait for Bachelor Pad. The sleaze will be a refreshing change.