Here we are in Peru, where Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s journey to find a woman he will date for a few months a wife comes to its… err, climatic conclusion. Will he choose the petite mute or the woman with a sparkling personality in whom he has no interest? The three-hour presentation starts now!
Chris Harrison kicks it off for the studio audience in Los Angeles that is somehow both “happening live” and “recorded earlier.” And if that’s not the perfect metaphor for Arie then I’m not sure what is. Chris gives us a hearty hello – we have all joined together across the nation for America’s largest viewing party! Now if only we could funnel this collaborative energy into impeaching the president we’d be golden. But save that for another day – let’s find out who Arie choses to be his partner in life, for now.
Arie strolls down the cobblestone street as he recaps for us the two ladies we just saw him date last week. To summarize: Becca has great values! She knows who she is, which, according to Arie, is funny, sexy, and goofy. The total package. And Lauren? Well, Lauren is a risk because she’s reserved (that’s an understatement!) but he can see how much she loves him during the “small moments.” Arie must be looking for her personality under a microscope that only he has access to, because virtually no one else can see what he sees.
Arie’s entire family has traveled to Peru to weigh in on this decision, because that makes sense. (At least I think it’s his family – only his mother, father, brother, and sis-in-law are semi-introduced, while the rest of the group are left to linger awkwardly in the background.)
Pleasant. Bland, but pleasant.
Lauren is first to meet the fam! She says, “I hope I don’t freak out and act weird,” to which I say, “Good luck with that!” There is a stilted meet & greet where Lauren asks Arie’s sis-in-law, “What’s it like to marry into the family?” The nameless relative replies, “It’s… interesting. There’s never a dull moment with the Luyendyks!” The forced merriment definitely makes me wonder what goes on behind closed doors, for that was not a ringing endorsement.
Lauren and Arie Sr. chat. She confesses to being engaged before. As you can imagine, their conversation is brief. Meanwhile, Arie Jr. and his mother talk, as he confides, “I’ve spent a lot of time reassuring her. It takes away from our relationship. Will I have to do this forever?” I can answer that – yes, you will. Moving on!
Now it’s time for Becca to meet the family, and there’s extra pressure because she’s aware that they’ve already gotten to know Lauren (as much as anyone’s able to get to know that blonde sphinx). And Arie’s family is also aware that they’ve met Lauren, because it’s almost all they talk about with Becca. (What happens when Lauren is off-camera? There must be something we’re not seeing that inspires all this feeling.) Seriously, any question Becca poses is met with, “Well, Lauren would…” It is horrible. So much so that Becca is shown crying in her solo interview saying, “I cannot hear her name one more time.” Guess what, Becca? There is no relief in sight! When Becca sits down with Arie Sr. he asks, “Did you like Lauren?” Becca tries not to lose her shit. She manages, by some miracle, to gracefully reply, “She’s kind, but we are vastly different. The other women were easier to get to know.” When she and Arie say goodbye, you can tell how deflated Becca feels. But Arie doesn’t pick up on that at all – he gives her a hug and sends her on her way. Kissing Bandit? Yes. Mr. Sensitivity? No.
“I hope you’re hiding Lauren in that basket!”
Now it’s time for the family to dissect the connection between Arie and the two ladies. Arie, again with the obvious recap, says, “With Lauren, I have to hold her hand and make her feel safe. With Becca, I feel like we’re already a team. With Lauren there are flashes of funny, but she’s not outgoing. But with Becca, we never run out of things to say. I can support her, but also rally behind her.” Now here’s the kicker, so pay close attention. Arie says, “It makes more sense with Becca. But with Lauren there is an undeniable love.” And there it is. He loves Becca with his head, and Lauren with his heart. The show should’ve stopped there, because he already has his answer.
But stop it does not! Arie’s mother and father weigh in with their opinions, surprisingly both selecting Becca, even though they talked about Lauren nonstop. Arie’s mother thinks Becca is better for his future because she’s already her own woman. Arie’s father agrees, adding, “Becca is more suitable with your personality. She’s firm and has get up & go. You need a kick in the ass; it’s good for you.” His parents are encouraging him to pick the more challenging person, versus the gal who will cloak him in the warm embrace of codependency. The look of disappointment on Arie’s face when they pick the woman he clearly doesn’t want to be with would be funny, if it wasn’t so sad.
And it’s a brief reprieve from L.A. when Chris Harrison invites Caroline back onstage. You remember Caroline – the contestant that ominously said, “I know what you did.” She’s back to say, “I still know what you did!” #caroline #itoldyouso.
Now it’s time for the final dates! Each lady has one more chance to impress the bachelor before he decides who to wed. No pressure! First up is Lauren. They take a private train to Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world, that is described by the duo as, “Insane.” Well, I don’t know about you, but that’s good enough for me. It’s almost like I was there myself.
Meanwhile, in the solo Arie interview, he goes on and on about Lauren and how in love he is with her, adoring everything from the speckle in her left eye to her inability to express herself. Lauren has “found her way” into his heart. He’s tried so hard to talk himself out of a future with her (why bother?), but now he sees it. Boy is gone.
Lauren, knowing the stakes are high, actually decides to string a few sentences together. She says, “Here’s to a lifetime of unforgettable dates. It’s important for me to throw all my feelings out there. You’ve done a good job of telling me. You’ve taught me about love. I didn’t know what I was missing out on, until I met you. You can walk into a room, and I know what you’re thinking.” (Ahem, codependency.)
Arie asks what she pictures for their lives, acknowledging that it’s a hard question. Lauren enthusiastically replies, “Oh, no – that’s easy! We’ll have coffee, walk the dogs, go to work, make dinner, and have a glass of wine. On the weekends, we’ll take the dogs to the park.” Woah, slow down with that imagination, girl! You’ve also got to leave room for paying the bills, cleaning the bathroom, brushing your teeth, and honing your monotone voice. Arie, enthralled by the magical vision of this future, says, “That’s exactly what I told my mom we’d do!” Forget international travel, larger career goals, or helping others. Not when there’s a dog park to look forward to on the weekends (and only the weekends, don’t get greedy)! Needless to say, these two are perfect for each other.
More brief levity from Tinsel Town, this time with Bekah and Seinne taking the stage. Seinne says, “Arie wanted reassurance on Lauren from his family.” He didn’t get it, as we know, and this plays into his disastrous decision shortly…
Bekah, when asked by Mr. Harrison what her opinion of Arie is, replies, “I believe it’s possible that he fell in love with two women. But if he’s conflicted, going forward with a proposal is wrong.” Hmm, it’s almost like they know something…
Meanwhile, it’s Becca’s final date, and it is pouring rain. (Even the gods are like, “Pay attention – this is wrong!”) Becca is not treated to a private tour of Machu Picchu. Instead she gets to stroll a local market and pet an alpaca. No favoritism here!
Becca’s solo interview is equally telling. She’s feeling the uncertainty and says, “Lauren is everything he’s dated in the past. Will he be able to be with someone who challenges him?” Well… Equally foreboding is their conversation. When she asks if he has hesitations, he says yes! He admits he’s conflicted. But then he claims, “I have no questions for you. And that’s a good thing!” Sure. You can tell yourself anything you want. It still doesn’t make it true.
This reminds me of something. Now if only I could put my finger on it…
Becca gamely presses on, reading him a letter she wrote about her feelings (she’s “ready to do this damn thing” with him) and giving him a love scrapbook of their time together. Arie says, “Looking down on these photos, it reminds me of our story.” THAT’S BECAUSE IT IS YOUR STORY. #ilovethat.
Arie says to the camera, “She could be my person. She’d be a great wife and mother.” He says this with all the enthusiasm of a person who’s fought against a parking ticket and is now resigned to paying it. Sexy!
Back to a brief check-in with Chris Harrison. This time Ben Higgins and Jason Mesnick are on the famous couch. Ben, who got in trouble for telling two women he loved them during his reign as The Bachelor, says, “Be honest, because your decisions will affect people. Deal with the consequences.” Yikes! (Also: real talk.)
Jason Mesnick – famous for getting engaged to the finalist during his Bachelor time and then dumping said finalist for the runner up – says, “Be you. You came here to find the person you want to marry, so do that no matter what.” I feel the fever of foreshadowing coming on…
We’ve done bad things.
And now it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for – the gut-wrenching engagement day! There’s the requisite Neil Lane cameo before Arie is situated at the proposal site. Chris is there to greet the first woman out of the limo who is… Last Lauren Standing. Savvy Bachelor fans know the first woman to arrive is destine to be dumped, since the show always ends in a proposal. So basically all of America knows that Lauren is doomed. Chris doesn’t bat an eye as he leads the innocent lamb to her emotional slaughter. This why he earns the big bucks.
As is required, Lauren speaks first and delivers an emotive (for her) speech about how she built walls to protect herself, but now realizes she was keeping herself from falling in love; but Arie never rushed her, and how she’s here to give herself over to him.
“What in the actual fuck, dude?”
Meanwhile, Arie is shaking his head and says, “I wanted it so bad for us. I gave it everything I had. But I can’t go through with it.” Lauren looks stunned before saying, “I am extremely confused.” Trust me, honey – so is Arie. She presses him for answers, but Arie doesn’t know why he’s doing this. They should’ve just asked me – he’s doing it to please his parents, who will never fully approve of his decisions no matter what he does, so he should just give up that ghost. He’s heartbroken as he puts her in the van, doubling over as she sobs. He says, “I feel like a monster. All I wanted was to tell Lauren I love her, but instead I said goodbye.”
Can I take just a moment to preach on the importance of listening to yourself? I say this from a place of personal experience, but also from a place of total judgement of Arie. Hey, I’m just listening to my voice! But seriously, save everyone some time and go with your gut on the first round. It’s easier. #advicefromanoldlady.
And now it’s time to shrug off that psychic trauma and propose! Becca arrives and Chris leads her down the path to her fate. Becca unwittingly faces a heartbroken Arie and says, “You let me be me. I fell hard and fast. You’ve made falling in love with you easy. I’m ready to do this damn thing with you.” (“Damn thing” must be an inside joke from their Fantasy Suite date. My guess is it’s the nickname for Arie’s penis.)
Yay, let’s go celebrate our love that is a lie!
Now it’s Arie’s turn. He says, “You are beautiful and elegant. We are a team.” Then he gets down on one knee and proposes in the same flat voice he uses to order a nonfat vanilla latte at Starbucks. He also hands over the final rose, which breaks, as a storm brews and thunder ominously rumbles in the background. I am telling you, nature is not down with this union.
You’d think that would be the end, but friends it decidedly is not. Chris Harrison has been teasing us all night about a scene that “will be uncut, unedited, with both cameras visible at all times,” like he is selling hardcore porn. It is the porn of emotions, as we watch Arie raw dog Becca with a surprise breakup.
First he lets Chris know he’d like to end the engagement, on camera, before blindsiding Becca at their “happy couple” retreat. (The “happy couple” house is where the lead and his or her new mate get private time, arranged by Bachelor producers, to be together in seclusion so the ending is not spoiled before the show airs. I’d say the game plan failed spectacularly in this instance.) Becca greets him with a joyous hug. Arie is barely two feet in the door before he says the dreaded “we need to talk” sentence.
They settle on the couch and Becca is visibly nervous. We know this because she says, “You’re making me nervous.” Arie doesn’t waste time. He launches in with, “I love you, but… I still think about Lauren. My mind is elsewhere. I sought all the help I could, thinking the heartbreak would go away. But it hasn’t. It’s not fair to you that I’m in two places.”
Becca has just been shanghaied on national television, and she knows it. Arie doesn’t stop there. He grinds it in, adding, “I just feel like the further along I go with you, the more it pulls me away from a chance with her.” Now Becca is rightfully incredulous, replying, “Well, yeah. That’s the way relationships work.”
Hot two camera action!
And here’s the kicker – as if this poor woman deserves more – Becca asks Arie to leave, and… he won’t. He stays… and stays… and stays. (Note: he never really says he’s sorry. Rather he’s lingering in hopes that she’ll somehow let him off the hook.) She says she has nothing more to say. He still asks to talk. She hides in the bathroom. He finds her. He walks out the door. She lets her guard down and bawls. He comes back. She tries to hide from him again. He is like the Terminator of heartbreak, the HPV of breakups. All the while, the promised two camera operators are also chasing Becca around the house. Who needs Jason or Freddy? This is true horror.
We get a brief interview with Becca back in L.A. with the studio audience. (She receives some well-deserved wild applause. It’s also safe to say she’s surely a lock as the next Bachelorette. Update: she is the next Bachelorette. Yay!) Becca says the breakup was “brutal,” and for once I’d say that’s not hyperbole. She reveals she hasn’t heard anything from Arie since that day. All that’s about to change, because Chris Harrison has thoughtfully arranged for Becca, Arie, and Lauren to take the stage in an extra episode. Because if there’s one thing we need out of this, it’s apparently more.
Will Becca lose her shit and pummel Arie? Will Arie finally admit he was trying to placate his parents and it is Lauren he wanted all along? Will Lauren find her vocal chords? Tune in here to find out, as we finally wrap this epic shizz UP.
The Bachelor (2018): Season 22, Episode 10 (Finale) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time Arie looks disappointed when anyone from his family suggests he marry anyone other than Lauren.
Take a Drink: every time Arie tries to talk himself into being with Becca.
Take a Drink: every time Chris Harrison pumps the uncut, unedited real footage – the first of its kind, ever in the history of television!
Take a Drink: every time Arie and Lauren say “insane” when describing Machu Picchu. Take a Drink: every time you cringe for Becca during her paltry date because you, along with the rest of America, already know the spoiler.
Do a Shot: if you kinda wish Becca had just run off with Ross after all.
Do a Shot: if you wish Arie had listened to the obvious answer he wanted to give himself and asked Lauren to marry him in the first place.
Do a Shot: if you think ABC and The Bachelor producers are inordinately cruel for doing this to Becca.
Do a Shot: if you pray Becca gets redemption.