"The Bachelorette" Rose Rundown: Rachel gets her man, but loses some fans
An important note before we start: No matter what thoughts I have about who Rachel should've picked, in the end, the only person whose final decision matters is Rachel's. The important thing is that she's happy and found what she wanted out of this experience, and by the end of last night's finale, it seemed as though both those things happened. So good for her.
Now that that's out of the way: WHAT THE HELL, RACHEL!?
Two weeks ago (I know; it's been awhile), Rachel didn't make sense to me with her thoughts on engagement, and in tonight's finale ... well, she didn't make any more sense. The result was a conclusion so irritating that the constant horror movie trailers in the commercial breaks served as a calm, soothing respite from it all. MORE MURDER CLOWNS AND DEVIL DOLLS PLEASE!
But first, let's talk about the reason why last night's finale was three hours: the live DVD-commentary-like interviews in the studio. Yes, instead of just a regular episode, "The Bachelorette" would cut to Chris Harrison and Rachel in front of a studio audience, watching the finale and talking about her thoughts. And not only was it generally a waste of time – except when Juan Pablo's wedding announcement received silence and crickets from the crowd; that was worth it – it CLEARLY made Rachel uncomfortable from the very beginning. "Can I leave?" she uttered as a joke – but no one really laughed.
While we're on the conversation of audience silence, Juan Pablo's wedding announcement receives just the weakest applause pic.twitter.com/E9iKPUq59B— Matthew Mueller (@aManAboutFilm) August 8, 2017
Why did "Bachelorette" insist on doing Rachel like this, forcing her to rewatch and explain herself in front of a studio audience and the world – especially after they already made her start her season early, meeting her first several men live. I guess it only makes sense you'd end the show just like you started it: forcing your female lead to do something she really, REALLY doesn't want to do.
But anyways, HEY LOOK THE ACTUAL SHOW'S ON AGAIN! I know it feels like years, but last we left off, Rachel and Peter's fantasy suite date was anything but, thanks to the two realizing they don't have the same definition of engagement and therefore not quite the same expectations coming to the finale. Those expecting the waterworks and drama would have to wait a bit, though, as by the end of their chats, Peter still got the fantasy suite, which ... was that just a college dorm? Just throw a "Fight Club" poster on the wall, and that was a dorm. Rough deal, Peter – though they still have a decent night apparently, as they wake up, reenact "The Waltons" and shirtless Peter makes some eggs. Waiting for the RA to come around and let them know there's a floor meeting at 5 p.m.
Then it's slurpy-face Bryan's turn for a fantasy date, as the two go horseback riding through a Spanish vineyard and eat a lovely outdoor brunch. But something's ... wrong. Rachel's distant the whole time. She blames it on Peter messing with her mind, but has she considered Bryan's just a total fake bore and completely the worst? They move forward, though, to their fantasy suite, where the couple gets an actual cool hotel room as opposed to some underclassmen housing. BECAUSE A FREE WATCH WASN'T ENOUGH FOR BRYAN.
Meanwhile, on the live DVD commentary, Rachel says that she had a list of criteria for the guys on the fantasy suite dates: health insurance info, credit score details, etc. Not quite the sexy times the show implies.
Finally we're off to the final rose ceremony (remember when Dean was kicked off at the last rose ceremony? That was seven years ago). And despite Rachel staring down Peter with lines about wanting a proposal at the end of this all, not just a boyfriend, it's Eric – who, yes, was still on the show – who gets the boot. Sadly, their dance has come to an end, though Eric goes out as a real gentleman. After the ceremony, when he and Rachel chat things out, he's understanding and drops the heart dagger that, "I will always love you; that's the truth." Aw, poor Eric.
He's even better during the DVD commentary (and not just because he's all bearded out now) chatting sweetly with Rachel about how he thought he was a lock for the final two and how the experience helped him grow up and become a man. It's all very complementary and civil, and Eric deserves everything good in life. Meanwhile, Rachel clearly actively hates this live show, and it's uncomfortable. ABC did Rachel dirty this season.
After seven more horror trailers, it's time for Bryan's final date: a hot air balloon ride over the Spanish countryside. It's cute and lovely – until the two start sloppily suction-cupping their faces together and drizzling all over poor Espana. Rachel then leaves for the last time while Bryan anxiously smothers himself with a throw pillow.
Surely Peter's final date will be just as uneventful then?
It starts nicely enough, the two having a calm day at a Spanish church before straddling a window sill to talk more about their dating-versus-engagement drama. And by this time, it's getting real tedious to keep having this conversation. It's some very real talk, in a season that's been infinitely more real than usual, but this drama's become repetitive and tiring, and Rachel's stance is so hard to understand. Peter still doesn't feel ready to propose without feeling like she's THE ONE (there's an awkward unspoken cloud hanging over the chat that Peter clearly wants to see how they do outside of a TV show, in the actual real world, before getting hitched) while Rachel just wants the damn ring. After much tears and frustration, he offers to propose anyway in order to make her happy, but she doesn't want him to propose just because he's being forced.
Add in a vicious burn from a frustrated Peter – "Fine, then go have a mediocre life with someone else"; JESUS, PETER, THINK OF THE CHILDREN! – and there's only one place for this to end: Splitsville. They all go their separate ways: Rachel walks out in the rain, Peter cries in his suite and Rachel's fake eyelashes sit on the ground cried off of her face. Apparently they stayed there for two days after, according to Peter, who probably thought that would sound romantic when he brought it up. It did not.
So what better way to wrap up that heartbreaking television than BY FORCING THE TWO TO SIT TOGETHER ON A COUCH AND TALK SOME MORE ABOUT THEIR IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES. Chris Harrison, you brutal torturer, you.
The two have a lot of very uncomfortable, but also very honest, conversation about why it couldn't work – including Rachel noting that Peter probably wasn't right for "The Bachelor," which DON'T BLAME THE SHOW FOR THIS. America spent most of the time trying to figure out how these two will end up together – maybe they're just acting right now? Or maybe she'll bring him back? Or SEND IN KENNY?! – but by the time Rachel viciously sasses off Peter's "mediocre life" line with "I'm living my best life," it's clear these two are emotionally dead to one another and there's nothing left here for them.
And lo, a great darkness settled over Bachelor Nation as it realized Bryan was going to win this thing – and that we still had most of an hour to spend with him.
I find solace in the fact that bryans mom is even more disappointed than I am. #TheBacheloretteFinale— Kelly White (@kellymowhite) August 8, 2017
Yes, Rachel picked Bryan as the winner – or more like Bryan was the last man standing. And after he picked up a gaudy-looking diamond from Neil Lane, he proposed on a scenic Spanish locale, all while the wind raged right into the microphones. EVEN MOTHER NATURE HATES THIS! Then the scene added some celebratory bells to the mix, and the sound guy instantly quit his job.
So it's Rachel and Bryan ... sigh. They bring Bryan out at the live DVD commentary session, and everything Bryan says is puke-worthy. Harrison asks what's next for the happy couple, and Rachel notes that they're gonna take some time and get to know each other in the real world before anything. You mean, LIKE WHAT PETER WANTED!?
This is the painful part of the finale: the feeling that it seemed like Rachel wanted a guy with a ring more than she wanted the guy who was actually right. And yes, it certainly edited together that way, and maybe there's a connection here we haven't seen, but the resulting cut plays like Rachel chose a lesser guy just because one didn't want to treat an engagement like merely Advanced Dating. And that's lame. It plays like she settled, that she just wanted a gesture rather than a real connection.
A lot of this falls on Bryan as well. The audience never liked Bryan because it never seemed like we met the real Bryan on the show. Peter was obviously real, and so were Dean and Eric. But Bryan was always too smooth. He felt like he was reciting lines, saying the right things and playing the part, and as a result, it's hard to be happy for Rachel's choice. You don't know how they'll survive out in the real world because at no point has their relationship particularly felt real – especially compared to the conversations happening with people like Peter, Dean and Kenny. Also:
And so here we are, with Rachel's season ending even more frustrating than Nick's in its entirety. But if there's one thing that exemplified this season, it was realness (or as real as "The Bachelorette" can be), and what could be a more real ending than love and life ending messily and not quite the way you want.
Now here's another horror movie and five more ads for "The Good Doctor."
If you think I was hard on Rachel for ditching Peter for Bryan, Madre Mueller and Alyssa were NOT FANS. Mom deemed that Rachel was being stupid, while Alyssa (who's verdict on Bryan was, "He knows he's pretty," and she's never been more correct) agreed. And when Peter and Rachel went their separate ways, the two spent the next 30 minutes trying to bend the space-time continuum trying to explain how the two could still end up together – or maybe KENNY WOULD BARGE IN!?
Nope, sorry family. Unfortunately, her choice broke my sister's brain, while my mom promised that, "If it's Bryan, I'm never watching this show again." So ... RIP Mom-mentary? CLIFFHANGER!
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