We are finally here! The finale of the Bachelorette – the few hours of programming that will tell us what we’ve long waited for – resolution of the biggest mystery of 2020. I’m just hoping that whoever ends up not getting Tayshia’s final rose won’t be calling up the worst lawyers in America to help him challenge her decision for months afterward – before the courts, arbitral tribunals, high school mock trials, and over some wine in Chris Harrison’s living room.
When we last left off, a very bored Ben was sitting around La Quinta with nothing to do but to wait out the Bachelorette end-of-season embargo. After doing his 547th burpee of the day, he finally mustered up enough courage to tell Tayshia that he’s in love with her. I guess he decided that the game of telephone he was orchestrating by telling the same thing to every other person at La Quinta wasn’t having its intended effect.
Tayshia asks him the same question we were all asking our televisions – why didn’t you tell me earlier? Ben’s answer is something to the effect of he’s terrified because he’s never felt that way, but that he couldn’t leave without telling her that he’s in love with her. Tayshia looks exasperated but not really upset, she tells Ben that she’s got a lot on her plate, and that she wished he had told her sooner, because “I was almost there.”
The “was” is doing a lot of work there.
Notably Ben admitted that he didn’t tell Tayshia he loved her because he was confident he would get a rose anyway and could just tell her later. This is the Robby Mook theory of Wisconsin!
Tayshia, still thinking over how she’s going to process it all, walks Ben out of her room, hugs him goodbye, and then FULL ON MAKES OUT with Ben. Uh oh, things do NOT look good for Ivan right now. Ben acts like a 6th grader who just saw his first Playboy (do these things still exist) and tells us he’s never been happier!
Playboy needs to survive another month, because there are rumors they are going to put Dolly Parton on the cover in January to celebrate Dolly’s 75th birthday. Dolly partially funded the Moderna vaccine, so I suppose she could also be the cover girl for JAMA.
Ivan walks to the rose ceremony, blissfully unaware of happenings 100 yards away at La Quinta. He tells Chris Harrison that his and Tayshia’s lives are best aligned and that he can’t wait to meet her family. Chris tells Ivan “best of luck” and sends him to his demise – that Chris is such a pro. If there’s such a thing as St. Peter who stands guard and decides whether people ascend to heaven after death, I imagine that he would look like Chris Harrison – smiling indecipherably as he sends Martin Shkreli toward the gates.
Zac looks as confident as ever and tells us that it was a big night and they said I love you to each other. Standing beside each other, both Zac and Ivan’s eyes grow wide as Ben walks up. Ben says, “yeah, Tayshia invited me to be here” – somehow neglecting to mention that he came to Tayshia’s room to tell her that he’s in love with her before that happened. I mean, to Zac and Ivan, it would seem like Tayshia saw what was left after the Fantasy Suites and said, “nah, lemme go see what Ben’s doing in quarantine.”
But no time to ruminate because Tayshia is here – she tells the guys that Brendan left because “it didn’t work out.” she pauses, picks up the rose, puts it down, and then asks to speak to Ivan. This is the call to the principal’s office that Ivan was not expecting.
Tayshia talks to Ivan on the goodbye bench and says that there are some things they’ve talked about that’s hard to figure out and it’s apparently religion. She says that her religious beliefs are a part of her beliefs and morals and they’re on different pages there. Ivan apologizes for not telling her earlier. But the producers cut the conversation so you can never tell what those differences actually are. This is what irks me about the show – WHY NOT show the differences. Is it something so offensive that we can’t show on ABC – in a day and age where just about everything is shown and discussed on network TV? Is Ivan a Scientologist? NXIVM? Is he a <gasp> atheist? What is going on?
This all seemed very sudden and just odd. We didn’t exactly see Tayshia talk to Ben about religion, and they never had a fantasy suite so there was no opportunity for them to talk about it off camera. Tough beat for Ivan (who, rumor has it, is not religious). Was Tayshia going to string him along for another date knowing she didn’t see a future for them? Like, “hey mom and dad, this is Ivan, don’t get attached unless he happens to convert during this date.”
Tayshia choosing LA and NYC over Plano is a good data point for my theory from yesterday. Plano is not a bad place. I could have introduced Tayshia and Ivan to some bomb pho and Asian ice cream joints in Plano. Heck, I’d even welcome them over to watch the Bachelor with us – though I’d have to kick them out after the episode ends so I can blog.
In the exit limo, Ivan says that this one will sting for a while, and that he still felt that he made the most sense with Tayshia and that he didn’t think she would be proposing to anyone. I mean, I doubt it would sting that much Ivan – Stephanie immediately reached for her phone after you got the boot to slide into your DMs, and I doubt she’s the only one.
So Ben has achieved the rare feat of coming back from an elimination and earning effectively a bye through an episode of the show. Other than Nick Viall earning a bye through the first five weeks of Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season, I can’t seem to recall whether this has ever happened before. Unfortunately for Ben, he had a bye for Fantasy-Suite week – probably not the choice he would have made prior to the season.
Not to go all tinfoil hat here, but if Tayshia knew she didn’t want to continue with Ivan and Brendan took himself out of the running, the producers would have needed to scramble up someone to meet Tayshia’s family. And I suppose if Ben is that someone and knows what his role is, he may want a sympathetic edit to drum up some personal-training business or, more likely, future opportunities in the Franchise.
The Adams Family
We next open on the family portion of the final two dates. Tayshia’s family is here: dad Desmond, mom Rosario, brother Desmond Jr, and younger brother Bryce – a very American family indeed. Dad Desmond was featured on Colton’s season when he expressed some significant doubts about Colton. Fair to say Desmond got that one right. Tayshia’s sister Dom is at the Naval Academy and presumably had better things to do than come to La Quinta in July.
We see Tayshia talk about both guys with her family but only get to see an in-depth conversation about Ben, and the fact that he left and came back. Dad Desmond (brother Desmond will get no more screentime the remainder of the episode, so “Desmond” will just refer to papa Adams) expresses his skepticism.
Ben arrives and the conversation starts with some good natured ribbing about Ben having gone to West Point. He’s genuine in his conversation with the family but the most notable thing is his rehearsed answer to both parent’s questions about what draws him to Tayshia. Ben says something along the lines of .. how Tayshia makes HIM feel. We did not see Ben compliment Tayshia’s characteristics, but only how Ben feels in Tayshia’s presence. That is definitely a choice. The one time you’re guaranteed to be asked about what you like about your partner – and you choose to focus on yourself.
Desmond said he started the day with some doubts about Ben, but he’s now willing to give him a chance – so I guess that’s something. This seems like a tough spot for Zac C. He gets to follow pretty-boy Ben’s West-Point origin story with “I was a drug addict, which led to my divorce, and I went to rehab for not the first time when a bank teller caught me stealing from my family. But I’m all good now and very excited to marry your daughter!”
It’s Zac’s meet-the-parents day and there’s just a different vibe. Zac and Tayshia are both nervous – almost as if this one ACTUALLY MATTERS. When asked by Desmond to rate the relationship on a scale from 1 to 10, Tayshia tells him that it’s at an 8.95 but she still wants to leave room for the family’s opinion.
The conversation starts flowing, and by the end of it, I was ready to marry Zac.
He tells the family that Tayshia lights up when she talks about her family, he tells Rosario that he loves her daughter and that, in five years, he hopes to be married, still madly in love, and starting a family, and tells Desmond that he mucked up his first marriage and that he’s learned – he knows that when the bright lights of the show goes away, it’s not going to be all sunshine – but that’s the part he looks forward to. Tayshia has told him how Desmond has been a rock in her life and provided her with a privileged upbringing, so that the expectations on Zac will be high, but he’s going to embrace it. If he’s fortunate enough to be able to propose to her, he’s ready for that commitment.
Rosario noted the chemistry between Zac and Tayshia, and she wasn’t the only one.
The next day, we see Tayshia contemplating in her room when we hear a knock on the door. Tayshia walks over and opens the door with dread, and it’s JPJ. No not really. It’s Desmond. He tells Tayshia that he’s worried because he’s seen her get hurt, and that he doesn’t want her to go down that path again. He thinks that Ben’s a good guy and he likes Zac, but he doesn’t want Tayshia to go backwards, and he wraps with “Tayshia, I don’t want you to make the biggest mistake of your life.” Umm – Desmond, I have no idea what your advice is. You can’t just tell someone that you don’t want them to make a mistake without offering any (on screen) substantive advice on how to avoid that.
Incredibly, Tayshia tells the cameras that she has so much clarity thanks to her conversation with Desmond – that makes one of us, Tayshia. I’m going to guess this was edited like crazy, but I have no idea what was originally said. The only takeaway I got was “don’t make mistakes, especially big ones.”
Zac C Final Date
Going into his final date, Zac C wants to reinforce to Tayshia how he feels, which is “very ready.” Zac basically sweats through his shirt sitting outside with Tayshia for five minutes because it is really hot at this resort. What exciting date do they have in store for Zac C and Tayshia? Why, it’s ballroom dancing. William and Eden are an engaged-to-each-other couple and also dance partners and dance instructors, and they politely do not criticize Zac C for wearing his Travis Scott Jordan 1s on the dancefloor. Standards are pretty high considering two previous Bachelorettes have won Dancing With The Stars. William and Eden apparently do a great job, because Tayshia and Zac C have undeniable chemistry on and off the dance floor.
William and Eden have a youtube channel with videos like the one below, which had seven views in seven months when I watched it. So, you know, this show seems like it was a big get for W.E. Dance.
At dinner, Tayshia tells Zac C her concern is that they will not stay in love. She “blabbers” on (her word) about whether Zac C will still love her if she decides to be a stay-at-home-mom and then basically says “I’m used to people running away.” I doubt that, but okay. Zac C tells Tayshia it is his nine-year anniversary of being sober. Zac C says this shows he will not run away, and that if he proposes, that will show his commitment and loyalty. Tayshia gives a toast to Zac C that would melt anyone’s heart: “Cheers to… the man that makes me feel safe, heard, special, that has been through hell and back to only be the best man that I could ever dream of.”
Somewhere, JPJ and Colton both shed a tear, and scroll through their DMs. Colton, don’t go putting tracking devices on Tayshia’s car now.
The voiceover is Tayshia saying “my divorce hurt so bad I didn’t think I could get engaged again.” I suspect that this out-of-context line was never true. Certainly it was not mentioned during Tayshia’s time on Colton’s season, or her time in Paradise, or really the first eight episodes of this season. But sure, maybe she didn’t believe she could get engaged during her three stints on three different shows all designed to culminate with people getting engaged.
Ben Final Date
We get footage of Ben showering, which does not bode well for anyone who doesn’t want Ben to be the Bachelor in the future. Tayshia is in her denim romper, which I like because I’m a romper enthusiast. That enthusiasm guarantees that I will notice this is also the outfit she was in when she had her incomprehensible conversation with her father Desmond. I suspect editing shenanigans here.
Tayshia goes into Ben’s room, and tells him that he “set the bar” by being vulnerable this season. Tayshia says, “this week is a really heavy week and I care about you so much…” and then it gets bad for Ben. Tayshia tells Ben she wanted to give them a second chance, but that he is out of chances now. Tayshia loves somebody else. Is it Bennett? Is Bennett back? Oh, no, it appears she is talking about Zac C.
Ben stumbles over a response, declares he is still in love with Tayshia, and then says “I saw it going differently, but when you love somebody, you want them to be happy.” They hug again, and this time no one kisses. Tough beat for Ben, who seems to be training for a Bachelor season when he walks Tayshia out of his room.
Have you seen his thirst trap of an IG feed? He’s definitely been doing the burpees.
Not to be Mr. Forensic Romper Guy, but it could be that Tayshia dumped Ben right after that visit from her dad. Maybe Tayshia’s dad Desmond’s message was something along the lines of “don’t lead West Point on if you aren’t gonna pick him.” Because it seemed Tayshia’s emotional state may have been the result of her not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings. I suppose it would make sense if the conversation with Desmond gave Tayshia the confidence in Zac C that she needed to cut Ben loose (again).
Neil Lane and Zac C meet for the obligatory commercial for gaudy rings, and I suppose it is showtime. To Chris Harrison’s credit, he doesn’t seem to have referred to this as “the most dramatic finale in show history” or anything to that effect. Cuz, really, it isn’t. The show seems to have flirted with some storylines, such as Tayshia not wanting to get married at all and her father saying something to upset her, but this is not that kind of season. This is a coronation, not a competition.
The Final Rose
Tayshia meets with Chris Harrison and tells him that she loves Zac C so much. Since Zac C feels the same way about Tayshia, we can all be happy for her just like Chris Harrison is. The only drama is whether Tayshia will burst into flames in the heat. Seriously, the setup for the proposal is outdoors in the sun surrounded by dried out palm fronds. Basically it is just kindling surrounded by cactuses and two fire pits. Inexplicably, both pits have roaring fires going. Why? Amy thought the fire was the result of spontaneous combustion. I think they lit a fire so Tayshia could sit by it to cool off. We both agree it is a pretty serious fire hazard in a state known for wildfires.
Chris Harrison meets Zac C and they hug and shake hands. Zac C doesn’t seem nervous at all, which suggests he knows how this is going to go and just wants to savor it. Zac C recounts his and Tayshia’s time together, and it literally is “first kiss, Ferris Wheel, meeting each other’s families.” This show is so weird.
Zac C settles into his prepared remarks, saying: “I love you Tayshia. I love you because you are a fighter. I love you because you are a strong, independent woman, you make everyone around you better. I love you because you believe in me. I love you because you are a total dork. And I love you because you drive me absolutely wild. I love everything about you. And I listened when you spoke of the importance of loyalty, and I promise to be loyal to you.” Seriously, was this the first take? Because Zac nailed every beat.
Tayshia, not to be outdone, says “When I first met you, I thought to myself… that man is kind, he shows gratitude, and has the biggest smile. He’s been through a lot and hasn’t given up. But also has learned how to read me better than anyone really has and knows how to comfort me when I’m down.” Tayshia claims again that she once thought she would never get married, and then says “I know that I told you that I love you, but… It’s more than that. It’s this wild wild love that I have tried to come up with so many reasons to not believe. And you have made me believe that I deserve a love with a man that won’t run away. And yes, it is real, and I feel it too.”
You know what else is real? Your transcription skills George – they are real and I feel it.
Zac C drops into a hoarse whisper when he tells Tayshia that his parents had never seen him as happy as he was with her, and that was the best gift anyone could ever give them. I realize we are very much in a glass house and throwing stones here, but this proposal could have used an editor. Kill your darlings! There were a lot of well-crafted lines, but in the end, they could have done away with about sixty percent of them. After it was over, I couldn’t tell if they were celebrating the proposal or just relieved that they got through all of their lines.
Tayshia gives Zac C the final rose, and then Zac C hails his trusty cardboard taxi. Seriously, they brought the taxi to the proposal and tied cans to the rear bumper. This is not something you do if you aren’t sure how it will go. Because nothing is sadder than sitting alone in a cardboard taxi after a woman rejected your proposal for fricking Ben.
That’s it! The show managed to squeeze two engagements out of one season of Bachelorette in the bubble. If I never see the La Quinta Resort again it will be too soon.
The one time there’s no ATFR when I would’ve loved to see one. I mean, did Chris Harrison have more kids to drop off? Why couldn’t we have just done 15 minutes over ZoomGov? But worry not, the franchise will be quenching your thirst for more Bachelor content with the Matt-chelor. Thanks for reading along this season – and we’ll see you again in 13 days!