Everything about The Bachelor’s pseudo-finale Monday night was anticlimactic.
Quite literally everything. And I don’t just mean literally like 20-something females who say they’re “literally dying” during mildly adverse situations. I mean literally every piece of the three-hour beatdown was anticlimactic.
ABC added a third hour to the normally two-hour show to pack in all the drama – which had been leaked by every reality TV blog on the planet – of Arie proposing to Becca and then ending the engagement in a conveniently on-camera visit.
The show’s third hour was promised to contain the “first unedited scene in reality TV history,” which in and of itself is ripe with irony because one would think reality television would portray real interactions between human beings. Or maybe I'm naive.
The unedited scene took up 45 minutes of the extra hour, and was filled mostly by silence, sniffles, and Arie following Becca around an apartment vomiting pathetic apologies for being pretty much the worst. Commercial breaks were the only reprieve from the pain.
Cameo appearances by past contestants on the show were brief and surface-scraping. Becca’s time live on stage with Chris Harrison lasted all of three minutes before the show “ran out of time.” Look, I work at a TV station. Every minute – and sometimes every second – of television is planned out, especially when it’s pre-recorded material.
And, of course, Lauren – who we’re led to believe is Arie’s final pick – is also somewhat of a dud.
If you’d prefer a hilarious recap of this season from former Bachelor personalities Dean Unglert, Nick Viall and Jared Haibon, I invite you to watch this Instagram story:
Henceforth, we’ll break down this deflating whoopie cushion of an episode:
'Either way, I'm fine with it'
We begin with the now-standard montage of The Bachelor talking about how he loves two women. Yes, in a matter of nine weeks, Arie has not only fallen in love with, but also professed his love for, both Lauren and Becca.
Lauren, who entered this week having spoken just 94 lines of dialogue – 19 of which were four words or less – gets the first screen time of the week. She shows some personality for the first time this season, but is still largely the same ol’ Lauren.
“I’m not used to talking about feelings,” she says, with Bachelor Nation all rebutting “well, you aren’t used to talking, period.”
Proving the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Arie’s family is really into Lauren and thinks the couple has “chemistry” for reasons unbeknownst to the viewing population.
Becca then gets to run the Luyendyk gauntlet, and Arie’s entire family brings up Lauren in their conversations with Becca. It’s painful to watch, and Becca is visibly and understandably uncomfortable with it.
“Either way, I’m fine with it,” Arie’s dad, Arie Sr., tells Becca in what had to be the least comforting thing a girl could hear from a prospective father-in-law.
A frustrated Becca says comparing her and Lauren is like “comparing an apple to a starfish.”
Caroline, a contestant eliminated earlier this season who wants to extend her 15 minutes of fame, makes an in-studio appearance for the second time in three weeks to drop the “I can’t believe what he did” tease.
The final dates
Lauren gets the first date, and the couple takes a train to Machu Piccu, where Lauren decides she’s going to profess her love in the style of a 4th grade English paper.
“I want to tell you how much I love you and why,” she says, and her 4th grade teacher rolls her eyes somewhere. You’ll never learn, she says in a soul-searching internal monologue.
Nothing noteworthy really happens on Becca’s date, but they have some massive frozen drinks that I feel like I’d be all about.
Jason Mesnick, the former Bachelor who gave precedent to Arie’s inexcusable toying with multiple people’s emotions by breaking his engagement to the winner of his season and getting back together with the runner-up, shows up in studio to talk about how hard this must be for Arie.
No, Jason, it’s hard for the rest of us and you guy are both terrible.
Rebecca Jill Kufrin Luyendyk
Even Neil Lane’s cameo, which is usually drawn out for what has to be massive advertising dollars, is abnormally brief this week. Arie looks at just one (giant) brilliant cut diamond and calls it a day.
In typical Bachelor fashion, Arie makes Lauren go on a long spiel about how in love with him she is before breaking her heart. He tears up before volleying back a lame speech about how he “can’t go through with it.”
They tell each other they love each other and Lauren rides off into the sunset (for now). Confession: It's hard for me to focus on what happens because I'm so focused on the alpacas in the backdrop of the proposal location.
I lied earlier. The alpacas were not anticlimactic.
It’s Becca who gets the proposal, in which Arie prematurely gets on one knee to finish a speech that he concludes with “I choose you today, and I’ll choose you every day.” Again, the situational irony is overwhelming here.
For about five minutes of television time, the two are madly in love. Becca recites her new trainwreck of a name, Rebecca Jill Kufrin Luyendyk, and says they should start having kids that night.
“Is this really the end of the story?” Chris Harrison asks. Well, no, because there’s 54 minutes left in the episode and you’ve been teasing a dramatic, unedited scene for the last two hours and six minutes.
'Make it stop'
We’re supposed to believe Arie’s breakup with Becca is raw and unexpected because they air it uncut… But I guess we’re supposed to ignore the fact that ABC sent multiple camera crews to the Los Angeles luxury residence where Arie decided to have this uncustomary visit with Becca, and think that she was blindsided by the news.
The unedited scene is shown in split-screen fashion so the viewer can see both people react in real-time, with no cuts. This leads to a lot of uncomfortable silence as camera crews follow Arie and Becca in a woeful game of cat-and-mouse around the suite.
Becca tells him to leave at least a half-dozen times, but he paces about asking if she’s ok and awkwardly sitting on most of the furniture in the room.
Former Bachelor Sean Lowe speaks some truth while live-tweeting this train wreck of a final hour:
Look, few Bachelor relationships have succeeded. Just breaking up with Becca after the time mandated by the network would’ve been unfortunate, but not unexpected. But he had to take it to uncharted waters and dump her on camera, because he “didn’t want to go on After the Final Rose” with her. Ugh.
I’ll give him this – Arie looks like he has quite literally beaten himself up over the decision. He showed up for the breakup without the usual cake of makeup on his face, revealing the dark underbelly that is his face. He looks to have a black eye, is greyer than normal in the hair and has a beast of a neck rash.
So there’s that.
Lucky for us, Arie, Becca and Lauren will reunite on After the Final Rose Tuesday night on ABC.