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‘The Bachelorette’ Finale Recap: Emotion in the Indian Ocean

On the last episode of the season, Becca decamped to the Maldives and picked the guy everyone knew she would

ABC

You didn’t need to read Reality Steve to get spoilers for this season of The Bachelorette. You could have just paid attention to the Bachelorette herself.

Three months ago, when we first met the men who would woo Becca, it came to light that one of her suitors, Garrett, had liked a bunch of offensive Instagram posts about trans women, the Parkland school shooting survivors, and Mexican immigrants. Normally, news of a Bachelorette contestant’s offensive posts would be met with a boilerplate statement from ABC about how this had slipped through the vetting process, and how the contestant’s opinions were not reflective of the environment the show was trying to create, and how the producers would try their best to make sure it won’t happen again. (It will, but they’ll try.)

This time, however, Becca gave a couple of interviews urging viewers to be open-minded about Garrett’s closed-mindedness. She told Mario Lopez that social media is just “a small glimpse into a person, and not always reflective of who they are. … Everyone has different viewpoints, and that’s what I loved about this journey.” She told E! News that she wanted viewers to “stay open and respect me but also stay open and respect these 28 guys that went along on the journey with me.” She didn’t merely fail to find fault with Garrett—she defended him. The real problem, it seemed, was society, for critiquing Garrett’s public opinions. After all, she concluded, diversity of opinions—even bad opinions—is what makes The Bachelorette great.

It was after Becca’s strangely supportive statements that I realized Garrett was going to win The Bachelorette. Monday night, that happened: Becca took her final two contestants, Garrett and Blake, to the Maldives. Garrett got to go on a yacht with Becca, from which the two watched dolphins gleefully and gracefully flip out of the water. Blake got to go biking with Becca through the intense humidity of the Indian Ocean coast, the two sweating through unsexy outfits. Another spoiler alert: The guy who gets to watch dolphins with the girl is going to win.

If a guy who lost The Bachelorette later liked Instagram posts asserting that a kid who watched his friends die in a hail of gunfire was actually a crisis actor, ABC and Becca would have washed their hands of the incident, unequivocally admonishing the man’s behavior. But because Becca decided she was going to marry that guy, she and the network needed to stand by the decision and pretend that it was actually a teachable moment about how to separate the reality of a person’s actual opinions from the reality we’re supposed to see on TV. There’s no way ABC and Becca would have defended Garrett under normal circumstances, but the second she said yes to his proposal, they felt they had no other choice.

Most in Love: Garrett

One thing’s for sure: ABC did everything it could to make Garrett look impeccable in the finale. He came across as desperately in love, compassionate, and selfless because of his all-encompassing passion for Becca. He wept while telling the camera that he could stomach a breakup if it meant that Becca would be happier with Blake, and he seemed to believe it. His praise for her went on and on. His high point was saying that the phrase “butterflies in my stomach” didn’t capture his love for Becca, because butterflies are tiny and insignificant—he said eagles would be more apt. Now, just how wildly were these eagles soaring around his belly? Garrett even said that he loved the way Becca pronounced the word “bag” with her thick Minnesota accent.

I am pro-Minnesota! I had a great time there in February, the worst time to be in Minnesota! I even like a good Minnesota accent—but only in a firmly nonromantic, nonsexual way. It’s a great accent for a grandmother who’s providing me soup on a frigid day. For Garrett to say he loves the infinity-length Os and flat As of Becca’s Minnesota accent is a surefire sign that he’s head-over-heels in love with her. His heart is pumping, and the eagles inside of him are swooping into his bloodstream and pulling out lutefisk.

Biggest Bummer: Blake

It’s hard to watch this episode and not feel absolutely awful for Blake. As Becca explains, her relationship with Blake was strongest from the beginning—a claim I don’t get, considering Garrett got the first impression rose. But while she and her family characterized Blake as a safe “teammate,” Garrett had the potential for a riskier but deeper love. After being criticized by Arie as the “safe” pick on The Bachelor last season, we knew Becca wasn’t going to go the “safe” route. Which is disappointing, since I liked Blake better the whole time. He never told Becca his dream future for her was “soccer mom,” and he never did bad things on Instagram.

In the finale, Blake sensed that things were going south early on. He’d been worrying that Becca had stronger relationships with other guys for weeks, and in Monday night’s episode, he just knew something was up—after meeting with Becca’s family, he turned to the camera and said, sadly, “She’s gonna pick Garrett.”

For a while, I thought Blake was preemptively painting himself into a bad corner by fixating so much on the other men, diluting his good times with Becca by dragging his insecurity into the mix. But that wasn’t really a problem Monday night—he put his best foot forward even though he felt like he might get crushed, and then he did.

Sorry, Blake—I was pulling for you. I’m sure you’ll get over this, either in Bachelor in Paradise or as the next Bachelor.

Worst Use of Clothing: Blake

Look, I hate to hit a guy when he’s down, but Blake just had a rough go of it after getting dumped. He started crying; he had water all over his face from his eyes, and he didn’t know how to get rid of it. So he reached down, grabbed his shirt collar, and yoinked it up and over his face to wipe the tears.

My dude: You have a handkerchief in your breast pocket. That’s meant for tear-wiping, and on particularly gross occasions, snot disposal. You don’t need to shove your head inside of your suit jacket to deal with this. Then, after leaving Becca, Blake totally broke down. The breakdown prompts someone to hand him a towel or napkin, which he uses to cover his entire freaking face:

Maybe Blake was sweaty—it’s humid there!—or maybe he just didn’t want the cameras to see his face. I prefer to imagine that he was so distraught that he forgot which part of his face made tears and just covered the entire head region in case the saltwater was dripping from his chin or forehead.

Luckily, the cameras stopped rolling before Blake could blow his nose into his tie.

Greatest Hustle: Neil Lane

Twice a year, every year, celebrity jeweler Neil Lane shows up on our television to give men engagement rings. What makes Neil a “celebrity jeweler”? Is he a jeweler to celebrities, or a celebrity who is a jeweler? Both? I have no idea. Is Neil even good at jewelry? I have no idea. I get the sense that the entire jewelry industry is a sham, and we should stop symbolizing our love by exchanging obscure minerals mined from deep within the earth. But when ABC needs somebody to glue a bunch of rocks to a piece of shiny metal, it calls Neil.

On seasons of The Bachelor, Neil gives away one ring, because the Bachelor is picking only one woman. But on The Bachelorette, Neil gives away two rings, because while the woman is the one who picks the man she wants, each man has to be prepared to propose. One man gives the Bachelorette the ring, the other guy walks away with a ring still in its case like a doofus.

That means the Bachelor bling king gets double the screen time—double the time to smile to the camera and say that the way the shiny minerals intertwine with each other on this ring symbolizes you and your loved one whose lives are now intertwined, forever. And I’m pretty sure Neil gets the second, non-used ring back, unless Blake chose to throw it into the Indian Ocean, at which point Neil would of course seek payment that would almost certainly involve interest. It’s a good grift.