It’s time for Ben to make the biggest decision of his life. And I’m not being hyperbolic, that’s actually how Chris Harrison’s voiceover describes it at the start of the show. Just based off of the amount of crying happening in the preview for tonight’s episode, this one looks like a doozy.
Chris Harrison, back on set to complete his two hours of required work each season, also teases at the beginning of the show that Ben might get married in the live after show at 10 p.m., because, like… why not?
But in the wise words of Nicolas Cage (I’m deeply uncomfortable by the fact that I just called Nicolas Cage “wise”):
Was that a little aggressive? Maybe.
But let’s get to the meat of the show. The girls wake up at Sandals, Jamaica, and they both confess that they feel confident in their relationships with him. Elsewhere on the island, Ben sits underneath a tree and ponders his monumental decision this week. You know, the same way we all make difficult decisions. By sitting beneath a tree. After the commercial break, it’s time for Lauren to meet Ben’s parents.
Lauren shows up to a cabana with flowers and wine for Ben’s parents. Excellent move, Lauren. Bribe them, that’s exactly how I would play it too. At the cabana, Lauren and Ben’s mom sit down to talk about the fact that he feels, let’s all say it together: UNLOVEABLE. Lauren asks some great questions of his mom, like how she can be a partner to him when the show’s over.
To her credit, Lauren seems to really want a life with Ben and to want to make him happy. But, who doesn’t want to make this guy happy? I almost bought one of those “Hope” bracelets that he sells for charity that’s how much I want him to be happy. (If you are unfamiliar with these bracelets, you would recognize them from every scene where Ben holds a girl’s hand. No matter what, each episode ABC always manages to get a good close up shot of the bracelets.) For the record, I say “almost” because I’m just not that good a person. I’m no Ben H, after all.
The next day it’s time for JoJo to meet Ben’s parents and she rolls up to the meeting super nervous. She’s pretty nervous that they won’t like her (they’ll just like the chase.)* Ben tells his parents about their dates so far and how special she makes him feel. If I’m being completely honest, JoJo crushes it with the parents. Even more than with Lauren, he seems really comfortable around her and she manages to say all the right things to his parents. As a strong supporter of the Lauren B. For America 2016 political campaign, this part of the episode kills me a little bit.
*Sorry, I know, I’ve got to stop with the JoJo lyrics.
Ben’s mom talks to camera and opens up about how confused she is and how much she wants Ben to be happy. She just wants Ben to find someone to be able to “plant his stake with him.” Ummm… she kind of lost me on that one. I’m no gardener so I won’t even begin to interpret that one. (Is it even a gardening reference? I’m really not sure.)
Back in the L.A. studio, Chris Harrison has been teasing the potential wedding at the after show during every commercial and ABC even flashes to Ben’s pastor who is there to perform the wedding. But every time they show Ben’s pastor he is always studying his bible ridiculously hard. Like studying it as hard as I study my notebook 20 minutes before a test that I haven’t prepared for. I think we need to stop questioning whether or not Ben or the girls are ready to be married and start questioning whether or not Ben’s pastor is prepared to perform the wedding. But I shouldn’t make fun of the clergy, so I digress.
Each of the girls have one final date with Ben and first up is Lauren. Throughout the date it becomes clear that Ben is starting to doubt how perfect it has been with Lauren so far. They “haven’t been tested,” and they haven’t “been through those hard times.” Ben makes it clear that he and JoJo have been through hard times. You’ll remember a few weeks ago when JoJo’s brothers attacked Ben like the hyenas in The Lion King attacking Simba to regain the pride lands for the evil Scar. (Weird example, I know, but that movie is classic.) But my only question is: What’s wrong with perfect, Ben? Nothing. Also, if Hannah Montana taught me anything (tbh she taught me so much), it’s that nobody’s perfect. So relax, Ben.
When Ben and Lauren talk later he says the classic line, “no matter what happens…” Oh boy, that doesn’t sound promising. In her talking head, Lauren says that if that is the last time she hears Ben say he loves her, she doesn’t know what she would do. If I’m being completely honest, I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WOULD DO EITHER, LAUREN!
Ben and JoJo’s final date takes them to a waterfall where they swim for one minute and then talk about their feelings for what seems like an hour. You see, JoJo is starting to feel a little unsure about how confident he is in their relationship. She takes their last dinner as a chance to question him about his feelings for Lauren and, when JoJo doesn’t quite get the answers she wants from Ben in front of camera, she takes him into a bathroom stall so they can talk privately. When she asks him about whether or not he loves Lauren, he has to say yes. Unfortunately this doesn’t really make him or her feel any better and he leaves her just as upset as ever.
The next day is the day that Ben has to pick out his wedding ring. On this show, you can always count on Neil Lane to be around during the the difficult times. When Neil Lane asks Ben about the girl he is going to propose to, Ben is still unsure. But, looking down at the ring, Ben confesses that he finally knows who he is going to propose to.
But even though Ben doesn’t say who, the proposal day is finally here. For those of you who haven’t watched the show very much in the past, historically the girl that gets out of the limo first (or the helicopter as is the case this season) is usually the one sent home. Like, she is pretty much always sent home. It’s a sure thing. And this finale JoJo is the first one out of the helicopter. Not a good sign for her. JoJo makes a really beautiful speech to Ben about how she feels about him and she promises never to run from this relationship.
Ben tells her how much he loves her but that he fell in love with someone else more.
JoJo: “Where did it go wrong?”
Seriously, Ben doesn’t have a lot of great answers for JoJo and she isn’t really getting any solid closure. Ben walks JoJo out and attempts one last time to explain his feelings to JoJo but ultimately only comes to the conclusion that he can’t make it make sense to her.
He sends her home and, thank god, it’s finally time for him to propose.
Ben: “I could’ve married JoJo and been very happy. But I love Lauren with all my heart and I am not willing to lose her.”
To clinch the title of “Perfect Man,” Ben calls Lauren’s dad to ask his permission to propose to Lauren. Lauren’s dad gives the A-OK and Ben jumps up and down like a child. Lauren’s speech is just as good as JoJo’s, and you really can feel the love between them.
Ben wants “to wake up every morning and kiss her on the face.” He wants to spend his whole life with her. He proposes to her and she says yes, and then he gives her his final rose. He carries her to the helicopter and we watch as they fly off into the distance. Seriously, when haven’t they been up in the air during this season? I’m absolutely convinced that ABC has stake in NetJet that’s how often they are up in the air this season.
Now, mostly because I have a lot of JoJo GIFs that I still haven’t used yet, I will talk a little bit about After the Final Rose.
Chris Harrison, back to fulfill his two hour commitment to ABC, asks Ben, “When did you know it was Lauren?” Ben says, surprisingly, that it was a conversation with Chris Harrison that helped him decide. Hold up. Chris Harrison played a role in this show beyond just giving vague advice and pointing Ben to the roses? I’m shocked. Ben reveals that it was after C.H. asked him which girl he couldn’t imagine his life without, it suddenly became clear.
For the next part of this after show they bring out JoJo to talk to Ben. JoJo says that it’s hard to watch it back, but that it is easier knowing that he also had a really hard time with their break up. JoJo explained that seeing the show back makes it easier, as she was able to see the relationship between Lauren and Ben develop so quickly and understand why she and Ben couldn’t be together. On the whole, JoJo is handling this really maturely.
No, I’m only joking. Ben seems genuine about it. After a little more talk about how much JoJo has moved on since the show ended (hint much, Chris Harrison), they announce that JoJo is going to be this summer’s bachelorette. Ugh, now I’m invested. This announcement pretty much ensures that I will be blogging about this this summer. (On the bright side, unemployed people have a lot of time to write, right?)
Finally Lauren comes out and all is right with the world. They chat about their future but here’s the gist: Lauren is moving to Denver ASAP; they are in no rush to get married. Due to ABC‘s obsessive need to create crossover television, Jimmy Kimmel arrives to ask Ben and Lauren some questions. He asks them what happened in the fantasy suite, where babies come from and a slew of other inappropriate and awkward questions that elicited this response from my mom:
Unsurprisingly, Chris Harrison’s plans to marry Ben and Lauren right there on the after show are unsuccessful. Ben and Lauren say that they would rather wait and do it in front of their friends and family. Luckily, none of this happens before Chris Harrison brings out Ben’s pastor to awkwardly stand on the side of the stage. Wow, I have to stop making fun of the clergy. This can’t be good for my karma. The show ends with Chris Harrison bringing out Ben and Lauren’s families and Ben re-proposes to Lauren in front of all of them.
That’s all I have for you this season, but you can count on more updates on my life in the interim between now and when I recap JoJo’s quest for love in May. I just hope I know “all the right things to say…
(you know it’s just too little too late.)”
Okay, I’m done now.