The Bachelorette Season Finale Recap, in Nine Hot Takes

Boy, Was This Depressing...

By Sam Eichner ·
Photo: ABC
Our two Bachelorette-watching editors, Najib Benouar and Sam Eichner, recap last night's devastating season finale, by way of nine hot takes.

That was the most depressing season finale of The Bachelorette, ever.
Normally, the emotional breakdown of the season finale is roughly 17% sadness, 80% happiness and 3% Bachelor in Paradise sneak preview. Last night, the breakdown was as follows: 31% frustration, 46% sadness, 23% happiness, 8% unnecessary sass and 1000% "well, guess I'm just gonna marry the 37-year-old chiropractor now and get on with it." So as you can clearly see, last night's episode was something of an outlier, what with the focus on Peter and Rachel's intractable differences regarding marriage proposal, which led to a protracted mid-episode break-up, the kind of break-up where nobody wants to break up but they know it's right but they also still kiss and stuff before saying goodbye forever so that one of them can marry the human equivalent of a Colombian golden retriever that licks your hand way too much. To summarize: Rachel really loves Peter and Peter really loves Rachel, but Rachel requires a marriage proposal at the end of a televised dating show and Peter requires a little more time in the real world to get there. For Rachel, a proposal means an engagement; for Peter, it means marriage. Someone smarter than me should really write an essay about the semiotics of The Bachelor.

Back in the live studio, Chris Harrison calls up Peter to sit with Rachel and discuss the break-up. Mind you, this is in the middle of the episode, not the after show. The conversation was hard to watch. Peter was "shaking like a leaf." He looked broken. He felt attacked. There were more things left unsaid between Rachel and Peter on this couch than there was between Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams on a quiet New England intersection in Manchester by the Sea--and Casey Affleck (spoiler alert) accidentally burned down his fucking house.

By the end of the show, Bryan feels like an after-thought, the second fiddle. You can't help but feel like she settled. But he doesn't seem to care. Like, at all.

That should tell you everything you need to know about Bryan.


Rachel and Bryan deserve each other.
Rachel came here looking for a husband. She knew what she wanted. And so did Bryan, from the moment he stepped outside of the limo, which is sort of insane. This is why love is just as much about timing as it is about anything else; sometimes being ready--dare I say, desperate--for each other is enough.

I give this relationship a 44% chance of lasting more than a year.


Eric should be the next bachelor
, full-stop.
The best way for the show to redeem itself from any race-related mistakes it might've made this season is to make Eric the bachelor, because if Eric was white and race wasn't involved in any way, they would so obviously make him the bachelor. He's charismatic. He's good-looking. He actually looks like fun. People love him. And most importantly, he's got an on-brand, built-in story: the show opened him up to love, and now he's finally ready to find his wife.


Why did Peter always seem to be staying in some quirky pied-a-terre when everyone else was in a chic hotel room? 
His Fantasy suite date was in a cozy room with hand-hewn beams, rustic shuttered windows and what looked to be a blanket woven by local artisans neatly tucked over the bed by the lady who runs the pensione and lives in room 1A if you can't find her at the front desk. Then the place they had their big breakup looked like it was decorated by a well-traveled aunt who keeps a place in Spain that family and friends are welcome to stay whenever you're in Spain, just let her know ahead of time so she can have a key ready. Meanwhile Rachel and Bryan are luxuriating in a sleek hotel, waking up to room service in bed. It was like someone on the production team had just taken a high school lit course on Steinbeck and really took the notion to heart that the setting is just as much a character in every story as the people themselves. 


Rachel saying Peter just wasn't "made for this show" as a rationale for why it didn't work out between them was the dumbest thing she's ever said on television.
Here's the thing: do you want a guy made for the show--like Bryan, who could teach a college-level course on All the Right Things to Say to Win The Bachelorette, Namely, That You Love Them Unconditionally and Are Ready to Get Married This Minute, Seriously, Get Neil Lane on the Phone--or do you want a guy who was made for, I don't know, life? I mean, it's not like you live on the show. The comment made it seem as if she picked Bryan because he was "good at the show"--i.e., good at falling in love very quickly--and let Peter go not because she loved him less, but because he wasn't adept at proposing after a few months. Which doesn't seem like a good reason to let someone go. I feel like the main question you should ask yourself when choosing your life partner is: Do I love this person more than anyone else in the whole wide world? Not: Is this person as ready to give me what I want right now as a former cast member on The Player?


"Yeah, I literally cried my eyelashes off" is the best thing she's ever said on television. 
Rachel, keeping it 100. As always. You can't fault her for that. (How was she so good at this show? Is she the greatest to have ever done it? Probably for sure yes, right?) Peter saying he spent the next two days walking past those eyelashes was a harsh reminder of their tumultuous breakup--and his lack of turndown service. No, I can't get over the quirky accommodations thing. 


Someone is forging Chris Harrison's fantasy suite notes.
They packed the second half of Fantasy Suite dates into this epic episode (epicsode?) and there's always that coy moment when they have the perfunctory task of presenting an envelope with a fake key and a handwritten note from Chris Harrison himself. But when they close in on our contestants reading the note, the notes are written in the same bubbly handwriting the cute girl in high school used to pass notes in class. Who's forging Chris Harrison fantasy suite notes? Can someone go back over the seasons and compare some handwriting samples?


For the umpteenth time when promoting Bachelor in Paradise, and trying to acknowledge the "big issue" the show confronted on night one, they missed the mark. Again.
Harrison teased the BiP trailer promising some more revelations about "the big issue" (a dark cloud that's been shrouding Paradise since it was announced that filming would stop to investigate alleged misconduct that involved alcohol and possible sexual assault) including a first look at the moment filming was stopped. But really they, once again, deflected. They made it seem like the only grave "issue" at stake was the horror that BiP might not air a season this summer. They gloss over any worries of consequential damage to the parties involved--emotional, physical or otherwise--and just show everyone wringing their hands over whether show itself will go on. This was not the "big issue" guys, it was merely a symptom of it. We hope they handle this slightly better on Monday (YES, a week from now BiP starts up full-throttle) but that's all we can do, really. 


I, Sam Eichner, am not sure I know how to make out, anymore.
With Bryan "Loud Kissies" [Bryan's Last Name] taking home the victory, one has to wonder: if his are the sort of kissies a smart, desirable woman like Rachel enjoys, what does that say about my kissies? If I don't literally dive into someone's mouth with my mouth, am I not doing it right? If I'm not aggressively sticking my tongue down someone's throat, am I missing a crucial aspect of what the French call "French kissing"? Damn. Here I thought, at the ripe age of 25, with ten-plus years of kissing under my belt, that I was pretty good! Girls have even told me so! [Receives vital piece of information] Wait, they tell every guy that?!

This was a rude awakening.

Sam Eichner

Sam Eichner likes literature, reality television and his twin cats equally. He has consistently been told he needs a shave since he started growing facial hair.

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