This past Tuesday, Sept. 20, women and, covertly, some men gathered around their TVs to watch the second part of “The Bachelorette” finale. This season was like no other, as it focused on not one but two bachelorettes with two separate groups of men.
To recap, last week saw Rachel Recchia ending her relationship with Aven Jones because he was not ready to propose and only wanted to date outside the show. This left Rachel with one man, Tino Franco. Viewers saw bachelorette Gabby Windey in a similar situation as two out of her three final suitors had left, leaving her with one man: Erich Schwer.
Although I liked both of the men who were left, I was disappointed the finale didn’t have the element of suspense of who the bachelorette(s) would choose, or whose proposal they would accept.
But this did not leave the finale lacking in drama.
The three-hour episode was separated into two parts, between the end of Rachel’s “journey” and Gabby’s. It opened with host Jesse Palmer standing alone in a darkly lit room that made me think he was going to announce a death in the family based on how serious the scene was. In reality, he just addressed all the rumors that had been swirling around the internet prior to the finale.
Rachel and the audience then watched her ending together; the audience was treated to disgusted looks from Rachel as she watched herself. Rachel’s story ended with a joyous proposal from Tino, but this happy ending was not so ever after as in a shocking reveal, Rachel announced Tino cheated on her around the time of the premiere.
As advertised, this was the “most dramatic ending in “Bachelor” history.” Before Rachel confronted Tino, fellow Bachelorette Gabby came to comfort Rachel and tell her to kick Tino in the balls — just another reason to love Gabby.
The confrontation between Rachel and Tino felt staged and forced, as it was clear that Rachel only summoned Tino to her house so the producers could film their interaction.
Tino showed up at Rachel’s house with an ominous black notebook that he used to write down things Rachel said to him before his betrayal. Tino took the phrase ‘cite your sources’ quite literally.
I don’t know what happened to Tino in the weeks after the proposal, but the man was not okay. This asks one to question the toll this show takes on its contestants. Tino was even filmed begging a producer to have Rachel break up with him, like he was asking to be put out of his misery.
After viewers watched Rachel and Tino talk in circles for a few minutes, Tino, still distraught, finally left.
The drama continued as Tino was then brought out live to talk to Rachel again. He again apologized to a still bitter Rachel. He and Rachel kept bringing up topics they were both aware of but would not share with the audience, which I did not enjoy; it just left my mind wandering.
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In a most savage “Bachelor” fashion, Jesse Palmer then brought out Rachel’s ex, Aven, who heroically whisked her away from evil Tino, which Rachel was clearly thrilled about. Although I believe Rachel was happy to see Aven, I think she was mostly happy about this because it was a final “eff you,” to Tino.
I do love the sense of feminism and girl power that this show fosters among its leads as former Bachelorette and host, Kaitlyn Bristowe, was in the audience supporting Rachel and voicing her anger over Tino’s actions. If fans paid careful attention, they could see her jump out of her seat when Aven was brought out.
Rachel’s departure concluded her part of the finale, and the focus then panned to Gabby, who was anxiously awaiting a proposal from her final man, Erich.
I rejoiced as Erich finally proposed, but was a little irritated that the sound of some birds squawking was ruining their special moment.
I was thrilled to see Gabby get her happy ending after so many guys left her.
Gabby and Erich were then brought out live, still in love as ever. It was clear there were little-to-no issues between them, but Jesse continued to push them to talk about problems, such as the rumors of Erich ending a relationship for the show, rather than focusing on how well they were doing.
For a show that’s centered on finding a happy ending, they seem to focus too much on drama and reasons for a couple to not be together. I also can't help but question this process and how well it works, as not one of these couples has stayed together for over a year in so many seasons, which I find to be very disappointing.
All in all, and despite how much I may criticize the show, I will tune in every season and root for a whole new set of contestants each time.