The finale came and went and, let’s be real, was a bit of a letdown, especially the After the Final Rose show. Did Brad find love this time around? I think he found a bit of headache…
When I was turning to the show I found the description of it on my cable guide screen hilarious. It read something like: Brad has to choose between two women and goes swimming with the sharks with Chantal, literally. Meanwhile, Emily’s daughter is a figurative shark.
Wow. That’s a big mantle for a five-year-old to carry. Is Little Ricki a figurative shark? She may be a little blond cutie with multiple rows of jagged teeth and a thirst for blood underneath, but I doubt it. As usual, it seems to me that it’s the adults who are the real assholes.
The show begins with Chris Harrison recapping for the 323rd time that this is Brad’s second go-round as the Bachelor and that only two women remain. Brad has an electric connection with Chantal, but she’s clearly on an emotional roller coaster ride to crazy town. Emily is sweet but she intimidates him and a little thumb sucker is part of her package.
“Two women. One man. And the decision of a lifetime,” Chris says. Cue dramatic music.
Brad’s in Cape Town doing what Brad does best: standing on a balcony and looking pensive.
Suddenly, there’s movements in the bushes below and out trudges Brad’s family: mama, twin brother, baby brother and two sisters-in-law. As they hike up the cliff to where Brad is standing, he starts bawling like a baby.
Bradley’s twin Chadley tells us that we’re seeing the real Brad. Not the one who fooled us back in 2007.
Brad announces that he’s falling in love and his mom, Pamela, has a big smile on her very tanned face. Also, since she’s in South Africa, she decided to wear her very finest animal skins.
Chadley wants to know if Brad is considering proposing and Brad says, yes, 100 percent. As they’re chatting, the doorbell rings and Brad goes to greet Chantal alone. She’s nervous but cheerfully greets the family and begins immediately telling them how in love she is with Brad.
Baby brother Wes thinks Chantal is beautiful and vibrant and he likes a woman with some meat on her bones. But he wants some alone time with her. Chadley can come, too.
Chantal tells the brothers that she’s been married once before and that’s how she knows that she’s married to Brad. If you’re in your 20s and you’ve already been married and divorced and are ready to get married after knowing someone for a few weeks, I’d see that as a sign of being overly impulsive.
Well hello there, Chadley.
Chadley and Wesley tell Bradley that they really like Chantal. Meanwhile, mama Pamcakes is taking her turn and wants to know how Chantal could fall in love so quickly. Chantal says her divorce made her open up her heart and it was easy to fall in love. Pamcakes falls for it and tells Chantal that she’s precious. Chantal says Brad’s precious AND a catch! Pamcakes says Chantal is a catch, too! It’s an all around lurve fest.
As Chantal leaves, she points out to Brad that she clicked with his family and it’s a sign that they’re meant to be!
The next day, Emily shows up in a long, purple dress with a bouquet of flowers. She’s nervous and Brad’s worried she’ll be too shy.
Things get off to a shaky start when Chadley asks Emily how her family liked Brad. After some hesitation on Brad and Emily’s part, it’s revealed that she has a daughter. The family wants to know if Ricki’s dad would be OK with her moving to Austin. Brad gets all weird and stuttery. Then Emily tells a very convoluted, drawn out version of her story. It went something like this: He used to travel a lot on the weekends… and one day it was raining… and oh, I usually went with him… but it was raining… and the phone rang… and he never made it there… and then I was pregnant.
The family gets the gist of what she’s talking about and there are tears of course because, even though I just mocked Emily’s storytelling abilities, it’s a heartbreaking tale, whether it’s told coherently or not.
Later, Wesley asks Emily is she’s ready for a proposal and she says she is. Wesley tells us that he likes Emily but he hopes Brad has taken the time to think about the type of dedication it takes to raise a kid. He and Chadley take Bradley away for some alone time and tell him how difficult it is. Bradley tells them he’s ready, that Emily is a lady and it makes him want to be a better man and some other stuff he saw in a movie once. Wesley thinks Brad is going to make a damn good husband and daddy.
San Pam-cisco is hearing from Emily how good Brad was with Ricki. Emily says she’s in love with Brad and she’s excited about starting a life with him and he’s her angel. Pammy starts to cry at that and says she wants this to be very good for Emily.
Later, Brad walks Emily out and he hugs her goodbye. As she’s reaching up, we see this:
I’m a bit confused by that… Emily’s daughter’s initials are JRH. But so are her former fiance’s. Who’s the bracelet for? If I was Brad, that’d be very important information. Is now the right time to talk about Emily’s former love? OK let’s do it… So I’m not saying that you can’t be deeply in love at 18. Many people have gotten married at 18 and lived happily ever after. But the love you feel at 18 can be very different from the love you feel later in life. The love you feel at 18 is probably so idealistic and hopeful. Many 18-year-olds haven’t had time to be tainted by the wicked ways of the world, yet, and so love seems perfect. And it really isn’t, is it? It’s messy and confusing and all sorts of shades of gray. And when that love is abruptly cut off so tragically, wouldn’t it be so easy to put it on a pedestal? To idealize it and raise it up so high that no one could hope to live up to it? And then where does that leave you?
It’s heavy, heavy thing, especially for someone who’s only 24. Emily’s an adult and she’s raising a child on her own, so that makes you grow up pretty quickly. But she’s shut herself off from love and romance up until now and so maybe in some ways, she’s still growing up a bit. And this is only exacerbated by the fact that, while he many not seem like it, Brad is 14 years older than Emily. Anyway, 24 was around the time that I finally stopped make moronic decisions about love. I still make stupid decisions. But they’re not so imbecilic anymore.
Moving on… it’s time for Brad’s family to advise him on the two women they hung out with for a few hours. Wesley says he can see Bradley and Chantal traveling around and sowing their oats before they settle down. What does that mean? Does that mean they’ll go around the world seducing and impregnating unsuspecting young girls? That would be a weird ending to this whole scenario…
Wesley says if Bradley chooses Emily, he’s going to have to settle down and get a house and a fence immediately. He breaks it down to this: fun-loving versus rooted down. Brad says he wants all of the above. Well, Wes just told you how it works. Choose one or move to Utah, buddy.
Brad’s sisters-in-law say they’d get to know Emily faster because they can all bond over motherhood. On the other hand, the blond sister-in-law points out, they could call up Chantal for wine and sushi. Who are these two?? Why would Brad make his decision based on whether or not they want play dates or a girls’ night out?
Thanks for coming to South Africa & sharing your opinion.
Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Pam says Emily’s the total package and notes that he kept touching her. She says she was more reserved with Emily because she felt as though she was looking at Brad’s wife. So much for making them fall in love with you, huh Chantal?
Brad and Chantal meet up for their final date and he tells us that there’s a lot on the line on this date because she has to convince him that she’s the one. So, no pressure on her at all. They hop on a boat to go look at some seals. Brad points out two seals together and says they just might be in love. Oh brother. They just might be fighting over a guppy, too.
Something ominous is in the water, and it’s not a bad decision that Brad’s about to make. It’s a shark. Brad turns to Chantal: maybe they’re going to do something besides sightseeing. Chantal immediately says oh no. Because they’re going to be swimming with sharks.
Hmm. I guess she never bothered to ask why there was a cage on the side of the boat. No matter where I go, if there’s a cage present, I always ask what it’s for. It’s just a personal rule I have. I suggest you add it to yours. It limits surprises like shark swimming or inappropriate fetishes or a tendency to kidnap. These are things you may not want to be involved in.
Brad reminds us that on his first one-on-one date with Chantal, he asked her to confront one of her biggest fears: deep, dark, cold open water. This time he’s going to ask her to do it again, and also add one of the most terrifying creatures on the planet. Chantal comes out ready to swim with a shark…
… or give Brad a boner. Whichever.
They get into the cage and someone on the boat teases the shark with a fish head and the shark swims near them rather lazily. Eh. It’s underwhelming. If you want to see something terrifying, check out the time Anderson Cooper got into a shark cage.
Later, Brad goes to Chantal’s room at the One & Only Hotel. Ha! A) what a dumb name for a hotel and B) it’s totally ironic given the nature of this show. They have some wine and talk about how comfortable they are with one another. Chantal presents Brad with a piece of paper sticking out of a wine bottle. He unrolls it. Awww… look at that. Chantal got Little Ricki to draw Brad a map.
Please tell me that one adult didn’t make this for another adult…
She had Little Ricki pinpoint all the places that Chantal and Brad have been together. Brad loves it because he could read every word on the map and it had pretty colors on it. Yaaay! Uh-oh. There’s also a letter in the bottle. Brad slowly reads it, with Chantal helping him out on the big words. It’s basically about how happy she is and how it’s scary not knowing if he loves her back.
After some smoochies, Brad takes his note and his map so that he can find his way back home and takes off.
The next day, Brad meets up with Emily who is wearing another ill-advised outfit.
Because the entire Bachelor helicopter budget hasn’t been spent yet, they take a helicopter to the Cape of Good Hope and sit out on a cliff, where the high winds and crashing of waves make it difficult for them to talk.
Brad wants to know what Emily’s thoughts are. She wants to know how he feels about the possibility of having a child. “It’s not gonna be cool uncle Brad anymore,” she says. You can’t leave the kids behind and go back to your place and have a beer. It’s not always going to be fun.
Brad doesn’t know what to say to that. Emilys ays one side of her is so excited… but the other sides says the next day could be devastating. She doesn’t want to get her heartbroken and she doesn’t want to sabotage the relationship because she’s painfully insecure.
Back at the One & Only, Emily changes into something cuter and invites Brad in for dessert.
On the menu: chocolate salty balls.
Brad wants to pick their earlier conversation up because it was so loud out there he couldn’t think up anything to say. But he’s got his thoughts together now and he wants Emily to know that he doesn’t want to replace Ricki’s dad, but he does want the chance to be her father and love them both.
What does that mean to you? Emily wants to know. Brad wasn’t expecting that. Emily wants to know what Brad sees his role being and will he get up with Ricki if she’s sick at 3am? Brad talks about unconditional love, being a disciplinarian and a friend and taking the bad with the good.
Emily says she wants to make sure there aren’t any surprises because it’s not always fun. Brad says he’s starting to get angry. I kind of get that. He just said he wants to be the kids father and love her and discipline her and take care of her at 3am. What else could he possible say, having met the kid one time?
Brad is now sweating profusely and not making eye contact, which is what he does when he’s disengaging. He leaves and says he’s profoundly hurt, upset and defeated. As he walks off, he cusses but we have no idea what he says because those prudes at ABC bleeped it.
Sign of a bad date: you’re sham wowing the sweat off your face.
Emily says she feels like she messed it up big time. I wonder if that was her intent. If she’s using her daughter as an excuse for not moving on. We will see.
The next day — or whenever — the women mope around the One & Only Hotel and ponder their futures. Meanwhile, there’s a knock on Brad’s door. Neil Lane has come! And he’s brought some fabulous and sparkly Neil Lane rings. Brad opens the boxes. They say Neil Lane on the inside. And those rings are some serious bling. They seriously hurt my eyes through the TV. I’m a pussy.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Brad’s sexy, dimpled therapist Jamie and Brad is really ready to unload. Poor Neil Lane. He just came to drop off some rings and Brad won’t shut up. Neil Lane tries to look interested as Brad talks about how much in love he is.. how he’s been waiting for this for 38 years… how he’s never been happier in his life. Neil Lane quietly slips out the back doors as Brad drones on and on.
OK, finally time to put everyone out of their misery. Brad gets dressed and gets into the classiest of all transportation modes for one person: the white stretch limo. Chantal looks fierce in a one-shouldered, black gown with feathers right by her face. She gets a limo. Emily gets a limo, too! Everybody gets a limo! Emily’s wearing a long white gown and looks like she’s headed for Southfork Ranch for dinner and intrigue with the Ewings.
As Brad stands outside waiting for the first woman, he says he’s confident that he loves the woman he’s choosing and he hopes that she loves him back. But now he has to tell someone goodbye.
Chantal pulls up first and Chris escorts her to the top of a very long staircase and leaves her to walk down on her own in her heels. He’s useless ’til the end. By the time she does the stairs and then the long zigzagging walkway, she’s out of breath. Brad starts talking and she stares up at him with her jaunty feathers a-blowin’ in the wind. And then she realizes that he’s not going to propose. She blinks. He tells her he has stronger feelings for “someone else.”
The camera zooms in as she starts to cry. I mean, it gets in really close. Brad hugs her and asks if she’s OK. She says she’s not. She stands there silently until she finally gathers herself enough to get out that he’s an amazing person and Emily is very lucky.
Brad wants to know if she wants to say anything else. Nope. He offers to walk the mile back to the car with her. She stays quiet as they walk and Brad asks her if she’s alright. Nope. He hugs her goodbye and she rides off into the sunset, crying. She’s upset that she was so convinced about their relationship when he didn’t love her and part of her is afraid that she’ll never find love again. It would have been a nice bookend to the season if she’d slapped him the the face again.
Now it’s Emily’s turn. She’s nervous because she’ been wanting to get married for a long time but she hasn’t found anyone who’s as good as her former fiance completely perfect.
When she gets to Brad, he takes a few deep breaths and launches into the speech he prepared. He’s come so far… ups and downs… the woman I’ve been looking for all my life… will you marry me? He gets down on one knee and everything.
She accepts and he puts the ring on her finger.
Love brought to you by: Neil Lane.
They kiss and cuddle and she whispers to him “we did it!”
Oh it ain’t over yet, honey, because still have to watch a third hour to find out what happened after the proposal. I’m not going to get too detailed about the After the Finale Actual Finale episode because Chris Harrison’s tie is hurting my eyes.
He drags Chantal O. out first. She reminds us that she was very confused, because she’d been so sure that Brad had been the one. Since then, though, she’s learned to be strong and open. She’s also learned “everything happens for a reason” — that cliche we always tell ourselves when our lives are going to hell.
Later, Chris brings Brad out and it’s all awkward and Chantal gets to drive the knife into her own heart this time by asking at what point he knew it wasn’t going to be her. Brad tries to avoid answering by saying he had feelings for Emily early on, but he enjoyed being around Chantal and felt she deserved to be there.
Chantal doesn’t like that, no indeedy. She starts to cry and says she thinks he’s just trying not to get in trouble with Emily. Brad says he fell in love with someone else and he’s sorry if he hurt her. Chantal sniffles that she’s happy that he’s happy. And then it’s revealed that Chantal found someone after the show finished taping and she’s in love, too. Although after this airs, and this mystery man sees all the tears over Brad, he may re-think things.
After Chantal leaves, Brad tells Chris he’s more in love with Emily than he’s been with anybody before and he wants to marry her right now. He even tried marrying her while the show was still airing, but she wanted to wait.
Chris reveals that at one point, Brad and Emily broke up, and the audience gasps in horror, their dreams of a happily ever dashed.
Brad says they’ve been through the trials and tribulations any relationship goes through: meeting with dozens of cameras in their faces, her suffering through him dating 20 other women at the same time, the tabloids writing about them and blogs mocking them relentlessly. Just like any other couple. Anyway, Brad’s confident a wedding will happen and no relationship is a fairy tale.
Later, Emily comes out. She says she’s confident about how she feels and is still in love with him. Chris wants to know if they’re still engaged and she says yes. But she’s not ready to get married right this instant. The audience gasps — how very dare she?!
Emily says they still have some things to figure out, including moving her little family to Austin. Brad smiles awkwardly and scratches his face. Emily says watching the show was difficult and she was surprised to see the way Brad interacted with the other girls. She thought that she looked boring because he always took her own boring dates, whereas Chantal got to go on fun dates and tease and torment sharks and stuff. While she talks, Brad sits very close and pets her constantly.
If I don’t let her go, she’ll have to marry me.
Later, Chris says Emily and Brad are working through some issues and he wants to know what they have to work through today so that he can put them in a new marriage. Awkward silence. Emily says Brad has a bit of a temper. Chris pries further because they apparently sold their souls to ABC and they admit to having knock-down drag out fights. Emily also says that watching the show made her feel like a dime-a-dozen and she postponed the wedding because she needs to see what reality will be like with Brad. But she later says she’ll absolutely believes they’ll get married one day.
Later, Chris brings out some former Bachelor and Bachelorette couples to talk about how haaard the show made their lives. They seem to succeed more in dredging up bad memories than of making anyone else feel better, but then some dirty hippie-type named Charlie tells them that the pain is worth it and what counts is what you do after the show goes off the air.
Faces of pure joy.
After that, Brad and Emily watch their proposal for the first time and Chris points out that Emily’s not wearing her ring. Brad claims it was because he took the ring to get it sized and he puts it on her finger once more.
Chris takes it upon himself to speak for America and says that the entire nation wishes them well and he looks forward to a wedding someday soon.
So. That was it. The most mediocre love story ever told. Brad let the fun, bubbly, passionate one go for the reserved, beautiful, sad ice princess. What did ya’ll think? Some of my friends said they cried through Brad’s entire proposal to Emily. I just felt depressed. We had to go through all that sadness with Chantal. And then Emily seemed completely unprepared for it all. For me — it was a big old train wreck and made me appreciate the relatively uncomplicated life of a single person.
Thanks for helping me through my first season of watching The Bachelor ever! Now please tell me it gets better…
Oh! Since it’s come up in the comments before, here’s a photo of Maksim on the Ukranian Bachelor:
So, if you get Ukranian TV, it starts this week! What’s Ukranian for “mee-yow!”