Like Arie and his bubble envelope-encased journal, I need closure. That’s why – even at 4 days overdue – I am posting this final recap. I’m not a quitter. Well, yes I am. I quit many things. But not this blog, dammit. Anyway, we arrived back from St Lucia this morning. If I can mention again that it was paradise, I will. There is nothing like watching two episodes of the Bachelorette and one episode of Bachelor Pad with a yacht-filled Caribbean Sea and palm trees as background. It takes the sting out of the darker side of this franchise. Which, while we’re on the subject, I would like to mention:
- Chris Harrison looking straight into the teleprompter and dispassionately stating that their hearts go out to the victims of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting massacre and a vague admonition that we need to all do what we can (?) followed by exclaiming “BACK TO THE MOST ANTICIPATED TELEVISION EVENT OF THE SUMMER!” first gave me vertigo and then made me very, very, very ashamed to contribute in any way to the financial success of this program. I needed a shower, to be quite honest.
- What in Hell (yep, I capitalized it. It was that bad.) was with the proposal set? You’re shooting on location in Curacao and the past 90 years of this show we have been treated to tropical blue water-backed proposal scenes but this time you decide to switch it up and build a proposal stage bedecked with ugly potted plants in front of Shantytown? No seriously, did you see the janky houses behind the proposal stage? I kept waiting for a strung-out drug addict or streetwalker to emerge. I was shocked Hipster King of Confidence didn’t grab Emily by one arm and high-tail her to a more fitting proposal locale. That whole scene almost ruined it for me.
But on to the good stuff! Chris Harrison baits us at the outset with promises of “dramatic television”, “surprising and emotional finale” and “shocking secrets.” I can’t wait.
Mom, Dad, brother Ernie (my sympathies) and his fiance (blonde- shockingly) are there waiting for Jef. I totally love Jef. I would have crushed on him through 13 years of public school and passed notes to my friends about him, but I don’t think his outfit conveys the right message to the parents. He is wearing a white tee and white sneaks and it’s a little juvenile for the occasion. But no matter, Jef’s a success.
Mom Suzy (who is aging very well) approves and eventually Bro Ernie does too. At first, distracting poker face with that way he talks only out of the bottom left side of his mouth doesn’t give anything away. We’re worried no one will live up to the ghost of Ricky (wow, he had the whole family smitten, huh?) but then even Ernie caves. Emily and Jef celebrate by doing lots of necking.
Later that day or the next day or in a parallel universe, it’s Arie’s turn. I’m grateful that Emily is now wearing a more island-appropriate ensemble- more maxi dress and tropical print. Emily tells Arie “I missed you” and says she is so excited to introduce him because she’s so crazy about him.
I know this is discussed every season, but it’s always a little crazy to think that even at the very end it could be plausible someone is so into two people. The only reason I think it is possible is because the situations are so removed from reality and the final people are so removed from reality that it must really trick out your head and heart. I imagine it’s like if you paid all my bills, babysat my kids, redesigned my body and then poured a really high-end Shiraz down my throat. And then you said: do you want crème brûlée or german chocolate cake for dessert? And I would be like: Both. I want both. I really, really, really want both.
So Arie, ever the gentleman charmer, brings a box of all the roses Emily has given him as a gift for her parents. It’s definitely unique and thoughtful and frankly, bold. But I guess if she doesn’t choose him, he wouldn’t want the roses anyway. Ernie, however, is not so taken with the roses. He flat out accuses Arie of being smooth and practiced with the ladies. I am not sure that’s a fair insult. It’s not like a guy is going to make it this far with a girl like Emily Maynard being all nervous and dorky and insecure. Frankenernie, don’t be so angry you can only talk out of 25% of your mouth.
Dad though, gives Arie his blessing to propose. Mom tells Emily to wait on an engagement. Emily says she doesn’t want to be the girl who is engaged 3 times and it never works out. To be fair, that has me nervous too. I kind of don’t want her to get engaged this episode. Date in real life. Have your first fight about who misplaced the digital camera. Then get engaged.
I finally have Jef nailed (ooh, I wish. Hahahaha.). Ready for it? I am like such a genius. Okay, here goes: Jef is Matt Damon hot. He is hot in a way you would never notice in a crowd or a bar or on the street until he gets famous and his fame + his endearing and clever personality makes him hot. Let that soak in, okay? I am really into this theory. Jef is Matt Damon hot. That’s it. Bam.
So the millisecond Jef walks up to Emily’s villa to meet Ricki is the moment that I know Arie won’t be doing this. I don’t know why, I just know. Emily doesn;t seem like the type to let two guys meet her daughter around the same time. She takes that seriously and also it just seems casual and real enough that it seems like more a last-minute idea than a highly produced-segment for the show. I can just see her really thinking hard that Jef is the one and then she places a quick call and all the producers scramble and they get Jef in his tee and shorts to come by and meet his future step-daughter.
I am in the minority and I actually didn’t think Jef was amazing with Ricki. I know Emily’s heart was melting and probably a lot of hearts from the show’s fans, but I kept wishing he was a little more animated. I know Jef’s charm is his low-key one-beat manner, but you are meeting the 6 year-old love of your life. He had his arms crossed a lot and seemed to let Emily do most of the taking and wait for Ricki to ask him to play with her. Maybe it’s because he’s so good he knows he should wait and let everyone feel comfortable, etc, but I just kept worrying that a teeny bit he isn’t ready for this. I know the gossip magazines and the happy couple say otherwise, but if Instagram in any indicator, Jef might just be too cool for school. IJS.
Anyway, they all play in the pool blah blah blah and then Emily tells Jef to go get ready for dinner and says “Bye, Baby.” Deal closed.
Emily and Jef sweetly reminisce their whirlwind courtship and it seems sweet and real to me- the way you really would with your hardcore crush once you both have agreed you were official. It’s also flirtatious and I love that. Jef – be still my irreverent and hipster-loving heart – got Emily a book about Curacao which he annotated with various stick figures in various positions to tell their love story. Then Emily says:
“I get him and he gets me and not a lot of people get me.”
Which, if you’re smart, is going to trump the constant porn sessions any day. And Emily is smart. (Sort of. Bradachem.)
Studio audience with Chris Harrison
Chris to rando girl: Who do you want Emily to pick?
Rando: I hope she chooses Arie so the rest of the country can have Jef.
YES. I AGREE!
Emily wakes up the morning after her Jef date with a “sense of peace” and knows what she has to do. She calls Chris Harrison over to basically ask permission to veer from the usual cliffhanger proposal-day script and dump Arie. Chris gives his blessing and Emily begins to cry at the thought of hurting Arie. Also, what’s that eagle wings necklace she’s wearing? Love it.
Oh, Mike Fleiss. Oh. Mike. Fleiss. Another low. You are all setting up the scene for Arie to get blindsided (to be fair, Emily has given him a million reasons to think he’s getting chosen at the end) and dumped by his true love on national television but first you have him mix a love potion with a crazy local woman? I am so confused. So, so, so confused. Why does Arie have to make a love potion and then humiliatingly rub it on Emily’s arm after she exits the black SUV of death to menacing music? Mean.
How are you?
How are you?
How are you?
I missed you.
I missed you too.
This is some love potion.
It smells really good.
That’s a cool necklace. What is it? A phoenix?
How bad does pre-break up small talk suck? As Jose from Fifty Shades of Grey would say: Dios mio.
Arie’s hot, right? Seriously. And not Matt Damon hot. He’s just plain hot.
Emily does a fairly decent job of dumping Arie. Dumping is hard when the person committed no real wrongdoing. You’re nervous. You don’t want to hurt them. You don’t want to say anything too terrible. Arie is understandably upset and because he’s probably a good guy at his core, manages something kind: “thank you for sparing me the embarrassment of tomorrow.” Let that not go unnoticed: Emily is nice to do it this way. Remember when Ashley Hebert let Ben Flajnik get down on one knee before dumping him? He is still paying the universe back by dating Courtney. Me no likey.
Arie is sad in the getaway car. He says he gives more than he gets. I think he’ll get a lot after this season wraps, but that’s just me.
Back in the studio audience Ashley Spivey weighs in (pointless) and Chris Harrison, I notice for the first time, pronounce it fin-all-ee instead of fin-al-ee. That’s going to bother me. Is that an LA thing?
Emily says she woke up with so much love in her heart, which is a good sign and makes me smile. She says Jef has an edge but he’s still kind and sweet and she feels like they’re a team,
Jef meets with Neil Lane. (This kind of annoys me because boy is loaded and also traffics in his unique and cool and kind personality and so more than anyone on this show ever really should have bought the ring with his own money.) Emily puts on a partially bedazzled dress, natch.
God forbid we don’t have any cliffhanger moments so we get lots of Emily ruminating about whether or not she even wants to get engaged. Which is funny because there is a knot in my stomach that thinks maybe Jef doesn’t really, really want to get engaged- like maybe secretly he is waiting for his hot Parker Posey/Mila Kunis combo girl wearing Chuck Taylors and playing guitar. But everyone ignore me and proceeds:
E: I feel like you’re my soul mate. I love you. So, so much. I know you’re the one for me.
J: I feel like the luckiest man in the world. (Also mentions God and Frankenernie.) I’m so glad you didn’t give up on love. Emily, will you marry me.
Butterflies! (Although I have seen better proposals.)
Naturally a horrible song plays. I AM THE MAN WHO WILL FIGHT FOR YOUR HONOR… and Ricki comes running out and Emily lifts both of their arms and proclaims “we did it!”
Emily is looking fly in her not-black LBD and some major hair extensions. She’s totally in love and conveniently dismisses the rock on her finger as “not about the ring, this is about Jef the man and it could be tape wrapped around my finger.” Then girlfriend, please pawn that ring and feed a nation in Africa that is tired of getting only 10% of Jef’s water bottle profits.
Arie comes out and is a gentleman and goes in for a big hug. The “big secret” we are treated to is that he secretly flew to Charlotte after the show wrapped to try to win Emily back. My mother-in-law and I were discussing this and we agree that this was a decent move on his part. I mean, if you really were in true love you should put yourself in a position where you feel like you tried everything you could to not lose it. I think he had to fly there to have the assurance. And it was also right for him not to see Emily. Jef is his boy and he has to respect all of them and let them get on with things. Emily also totally did the right thing and didn’t read Arie’s journal. I would have been tempted (my ego’s got to eat too, people) but it was the right call.
Jef and Emily forever for now
They say they don’t feel like they met on a show. I don’t understand that. Jef also uses surprisingly boring and generic adjectives to describe what he loves about Emily and also mentions she is gorgeous. I don’t know, I just think Jef can do better. Not to dwell on his Instagram page, but dude should have a way with words at all times. Remember that letter he read her from his parents’ billion-dollar Utah ranch and that look on Emily’s face? Jef: bring it.
It’s cute when we get to imagine all their secret weekends together before the finale aired and all the sepia-toned pics of them with Ricki. Jef kisses Emily, says I love you and they report they are going to Africa for mission work and then he’s moving to Charlotte and then Emily announces they are marrying in Charleston. My brother lives in Charleston. Don’t think I am not booking a flight as we speak.
I love Emily. I love Jef. I love that it was them in the end because it’s a nice change. I just don’t know if I think they will be together forever. But with this outfit of Emily’s, maybe.