Well, we did it, you guys. We made it to the end of this season, and all that stands between us and drinking wine in peace on Monday nights once again is this freaking three-hour live finale.
Why have they chosen to do a three-hour finale complete with a live studio audience? I have no idea. But buckle up, 'cause here goes.
Chris Harrison welcomes Rachel to the stage to watch the finale with him and the audience and discuss it in real time. He notes that all three of the final guys are there tonight, 'cause they might as well make this season as awkward for Rachel as possible. He promises a night full of “drama and surprises.” Like we’ve never heard that before, Chris.
We begin where we left off two weeks ago: with Peter explaining that he might not be ready to propose because a proposal means marriage, and Rachel breaking down, because a proposal evidently means something different to her. I still don’t get why this smart, level-headed woman is so set on getting a proposal after just a couple of months of dating this guy (and multiple other men). Rachel. He loves you. Let that be enough.
She’s worried that commitment-phobic Peter might be holding himself back, and she thinks maybe he just needs more time to talk with her. Cue the invitation to the fantasy suite. I don’t think it’s supposed to be used for talking, but whatever gets you all hot and bothered, girl.
The next morning, all seems to be well between Peter and Rachel, and it’s nice to see her without her massive fake eyelashes on. Evidently, they weren’t able to agree about the whole “to propose or not to propose” thing, but Rachel is starting to feel like she could possibly pick someone who isn’t ready to commit to marriage.
But there isn’t much time to bask in Peter’s glow before we meet up with Bryan outside of a vineyard. (In case you forgot, we’re still in the Rioja region of Spain.) The couple saddles up on horses and rides off into the sunset. Just kidding, they ride over to a covered picnic area in the middle of the vineyards for some wine. They’re having a lovely, romantic afternoon, but Rachel is still thinking about Peter, who, she says, “messed with my mind.”
At dinner, Bryan admits that he felt the date was a little off because Rachel had some weird energy. He’s worried that it might be all in his head, but Rachel assures him that it’s not and also that she kind of likes that he’s able to pick up on how she’s feeling. She offers him the fantasy suite card, and he accepts immediately. Bryan says he is 100 percent gung ho and ready to propose.
While sitting with Chris and the studio audience, Rachel says that the overnight dates were very important, because they allowed her to ask the big questions ... you know, about health insurance and credit scores and whatnot. Good job, lawyer Rachel.
After their overnight date, Rachel bids farewell to Bryan, and then she has to decide who she’s going to bid farewell to for good. Also, she’s wearing the only ugly dress I’ve seen her in all season. It was bound to happen.
At the beginning of the rose ceremony, Rachel reiterates that she is here for one reason and one reason only: a rock on her damn finger. She calls Bryan’s name first, followed by Peter, which leaves Eric headed home alone on a plane from Spain. Rachel tells Eric that, while she does love him, she isn’t in love with him. He says, “Truth be told, I will always love you.” That’s sweet and all, but I highly doubt that.
When Rachel sees her breakup with Eric played back, she gets a little emotional and admits she thought at the time that she might have been making a mistake. She also admits that she was legitimately staring at Peter during the rose ceremony when she told the men that she wanted a freaking proposal.
But before we get back to the show and find out who Rachel picked, Chris brings Eric out to chat with Rachel and the audience. He asks Rachel how her heart is and if she’s happy. She asks him if he’s happy. They are both happy. Eric does reveal that he was very surprised to go home, though, because he fell in love for the first time and was totally ready to propose (and, in case you forgot, Peter wasn’t). Eric says now that he’s fallen in love, he’s no longer a boy — he’s a man.
On her final date with Bryan, Rachel takes the hunky chiropractor on a hot air balloon ride, even though both of them are scared of heights. Qué romántico! Later, Bryan tells her he would be the most heartbroken he has ever been in his life if she doesn’t pick him. He also gives her a customized Spanish-English dictionary to help in their life together moving forward (if you recall, he’s Colombian). Okay, Peter, your move.
Rachel and Peter explore a monastery filled with beautiful mosaics, but Peter is worried about how Rachel totally called him out at the last rose ceremony by looking him dead in the eye when she uttered the word “proposal.” The couple receives guidance from a Spanish monk, because celibate guys always give the best marriage advice.
Later, the discussion returns to proposals, and Peter reiterates that he only wants to propose once, which is why he’s so hesitant to commit.
“The hard part is, for me, deciding if this person I care about is someone who I love and see as the one and only for the rest of my life,” he tells her. “Yeah, you definitely need to figure that out,” replies Rachel, who is clearly upset that he isn’t totally sold on her yet. To be fair, he is sort of sending mixed messages, because just a moment before, he’d been talking about how much he was looking forward to future football games and farmers market outings with her.
That evening, Rachel spends some time at Peter’s hotel room with the goal of “finding out where he stands.” He tells her that he is in love with her, but that the feelings are recent. “I don’t feel that I am ready to ask you to marry me tomorrow,” he says, “but I don’t want to stop being with you.”
Well, there you have it. She’s picking Bryan. Game over.
Okay, okay, maybe not. She asks Peter what guarantee he can give her that they will someday move past just dating to marriage. He can’t tell her that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her at this point, but he asks her to consider their relationship overnight. Rachel asks him what could possibly change overnight. Suddenly, Peter starts saying that he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her, and Rachel isn’t into that because she wants him to want to propose.
Finally, Rachel says, “I can’t do tomorrow if you tell me you just want to be my boyfriend.”
“Then I can do nothing but wish you the very best,” Peter replies.
Okay, now it’s game over.
Peter tells Rachel that if she changes her mind, she knows where she can find him. Then they kiss, and Peter tells Rachel he loves her. She says she loves him, too. Wait, I’m so confused. Did they just break up or not?
Rachel walks away, leaving Peter’s sweater stained with her tears and face glitter.
And now we’re live in the studio with Chris again, and Rachel is clearly very uncomfortable. “I cried my eyelashes off,” she admits. Then Chris says that Peter is there to talk to Rachel “for the first time since their devastating breakup.” So there you have it, folks. That was a breakup, and since Rachel revealed long ago that she is happily engaged, we have to assume she ended up with Bryan. This feels weirdly anticlimactic.
Peter comes out, clearly still shaken by the breakup. They both acknowledge that there isn’t really anything that either of them could have done differently. Rachel says she appreciates that Peter was true to himself. She also doesn’t think this “process” is right for him, so maybe he won’t be the next Bachelor (which means I won’t be applying).
Rachel starts getting a little sassy, which makes Peter emotional. He admits he feels a little attacked and that he also still has feelings for Rachel. He does say that he has no regrets about how the night of their breakup was handled, though. He also reveals that he tried to reach out to Rachel after that night, and that she said no.
Whew. That was hard to watch.
Now we’re back in Spain, and Rachel is standing atop a windy cliff, ready to meet Bryan, who is the only man left standing. The producers clearly didn’t know it was gonna be this windy. That noise in the mics is really distracting.
Anyway, Bryan is saying all the sweet things, and Rachel responds that she has never been more confused than she was this week. Her relationships have always been complicated, which is why she was afraid of her instant connection with Bryan. But, she says, when she looks at him, she sees forever. She loves him, and she’s in love with him, and they kiss.
When he gets down on one knee, she squeals like a little girl, jumps up and down, and talks about how pretty the ring is. And I lost a lot of respect for her. We thought she wanted love, but girlfriend clearly just wanted a ring. I mean, I guess it comes with love, too, and we have to remember exactly what show we’re watching, but this is a little disappointing from someone who seemed so level-headed throughout this whole season.
Rachel and Bryan finally get to reunite in public, and Bryan re-proposes to Rachel, asking her to “re-marry” him, which prompted my mom to say, “Oh my god, they’re already married!” No, no, that was just a poor choice of words.
They seem very happy, though. They haven’t decided if they’re going to live in Miami or Dallas ... or Los Angeles? And they haven’t picked a wedding date, but they’re aiming for the winter. And they’re still very much in love.
I give it six months.