Last night’s finale of “The Bachelorette” was epic—all in all, I watched five hours of Ashley Hebert and her dudes between the “Men Tell All” special (which I forgot to watch Sunday night), the finale proper, and the “After the Final Rose” wrap-up. And I’m happy to report that these concluding hours were … surprisingly satisfying after a season filled with eye-roll inspiration!
So who did Ashley walk away from Fiji with? After the jump, the good, bad, and WTF moments from last night. And big duh—SPOILER ALERT. The Good:
- William’s remorse on “The Men Tell All.” I was glad to hear William say that seeing himself onscreen was a growing experience. He acknowledged that he was a total tool in roasting Ashley and in implying that Ben C. was excited to go home to online date, in order to save himself on the “Thunderdome Date.” If Bentley hadn’t been around, William would have been the season’s bad guy.
- How nervous JP was meeting Ashley’s family. I found it so incredibly endearing how his voice got shaky sitting in the living room with them.
- Ashley realizing her opinion is the only one that counts. In the wake of Ashley’s sister eviscerating JP (much more on that under “The Bad”) and loving Ben (yes, more on that too), Ashley says, “I learned today that I have to trust my own feelings.” Yes! Yes! Yes!
- Ashley standing up to her sister. I applaud Ashley for telling her sister she was in the wrong and was “coming off like a bitch.” Because she was. It seemed like Chrystie was projecting her own issues onto Ashley. She seemed jealous, almost—like she wanted some of the attention that was being lavished on Ashley and figured out a way to wrangle a tad of the spotlight.
- The sincerity of both JP and Ben. Wow, both these dudes almost brought tears to my eyes with their heartfelt expressions to Ashley. “I’ve never felt like this about a girl, ever,” said Ben. Meawhile JP offered, “The past few months have been the happiest I ever had.” So sweet.
- That shot of JP in his Calvin Klein briefs. Yum!
- Ben’s excitement looking at rings. Even though he chose the ugliest one, his giddiness about the process was adorable. Meanwhile JP seemed super guarded and unsure doing the same.
- Ben steps out of the byplane first. I’m a big JP fan who’s been sure for weeks that he would be her final choice. I mean, in the beginning of last night’s episode, Ashley said that with JP she feels “passion” and with Ben she has “fun.” Is there really a contest? So I was thrown by how JP and Ashley’s relationship was shaken after meeting her family. It felt like Ashley was being pushed toward Ben and that somehow, he became the “safe” choice. After so many seasons of this show, we know that whoever is getting rejected is brought in first. So I felt instant relief when I saw Ben’s foot step out of that first plane. While there were moments in Ben’s rejection that made me sad (see: “The Bad”), I think Ashley 100 percent made the right choice.
- JP expressing fear and proposing anyway. I was very struck by how unsure JP seemed in the end. I got worried that he would be too scared to actually propose. I even thought he might have left ring shopping without a ring. Luckily, he got out of the plane with the black velvet box in hand. And rather than succumbing to his fear, he expressed it to Ashley and said he was “taking a leap of faith.” You go, boy.
- JP and Ashley’s kiss after the proposal. Hawt!
- JP’s disbelief in how things turned out. JP cracked me up when he said, “When you first walked in for that first rose ceremony, you said, ‘My husband is in the room.’ I thought, ‘What the f**k is she talking about?’” I like that he was skeptical for a while.
- Ashley’s new brunette hair on “After the Final Rose.” So sleek.
- Ashley and JP are still happy! Yay! I was a little nervous when “After the Final Rose” began that we might be quickly disappointed, like we were with Brad and Emily. But JP and Ashley seemed so excited to be with each other and to be able to live their life together, already in progress. Super props to them that Ashley has already made plans to move to New York when she graduates in a month.
- Ashley’s sister apologizes. Thank goodness Chrystie fessed up that she was in the wrong. “I felt like the biggest jerk,” she explained. “Shame on me for being so quick to judge. Watching the season, it’s so clear to me that you are the one.” Seriously!
- Ryan’s push to be the next “Bachelor” on “The Men Tell All.” Ryan has taken many moves out of the Jake Pavelka playbook, and while I do think he is sincere in his sadness over not having found love yet, it feels like the producers are pushing mighty hard to frame him as the next “Bachelor.” I’m glad the crowd isn’t buying it. Thank goodness they gave way louder applause to Ames. Pick him, producers!
- Ashley saying to her family that JP doesn’t make her laugh. Um, girl—are you delusional? You are always cracking up around JP. What was up with the hesitation there?
- Ashley’s sister going on the attack. After just a few minutes of observing Ashley and JP together, Chrystie tells Ashley, “I don’t think he’s the one for you. I saw more with Brad.” It drove me crazy that she was so sure she knew what was best for another person. I really wish that she’d held back, met both guys, considered both dynamics, and then given Ashley her opinion calmly instead of acting like she was the end all.
- JP’s age coming under fire. It got even worse when Chrystie sat down with JP. She couldn’t seem to get over the fact that he’s 34. “Why are you interested in my much younger sister?” she demanded. Please, girl. He’s interested in starting a life with a loving partner, which is exactly why Ashley is there too.
- Ashley’s sister loving Ben. Wait, are you for real? You think Ben and Ashley are perfect for each other because they both like to talk in dog voices and he’s “tall, dark, and handsome”? Right, because that’s what gets you through the hard times.
- The heartbreaking awkwardness of watching Ben get ready to propose when we know Ashley has chosen JP. This 10 minutes of the episode was emotional torture. “I have a sense of clarity I never had before,” he said, before starting to talk about how proud his dad would be that he was about to propose. “Ashley is a new addition to my family. I lost one four years ago, and now I’m gainin another.” Heart stab. Luckily, Ashley seemed equally as troubled by rejecting Ben. “What right do I have to break his heart” she said.
- Ashley letting Ben get down on one knee. Why didn’t she stop him before the proposal?!?!? Why didn’t he sense her sadness and realize not to do it?!?!?! Man, this show is CRUEL.
- Ben’s hair while he was proposing. And could the poor guy not have been given some help with his hair during the most humiliating moment of his life? His hair was all cowlicked and curled in the humidity, not to mention sticking to his face in all kinds of unattractive ways.
- Ashley’s lame reassurances to Ben. As she walks him out, she says. “You are one of the most … interesting …” Really, that’s all you got for him? Ick.
- JP’s byplane flying over Ben’s canoe as he sails away alone. Mean, producers. Mean.
- The Mask using the bathroom on “The Men Tell All.” Did we really need to see Jeff in his mask while he exited the toilet stall and washed his hands? Gross.
- Ashley and Ben’s mud date. I don’t care if the mud’s supposed to be healing, smearing each other with brown stuff isn’t my idea of hot. So to hear both Ashley and Ben talk about how it was “quite erotic” and “sexy” made me laugh.
- Helicopter fatigue. Thing I’ve gotten really bored of this season: Ashley prods guy to guess what they are doing for a date. As they ponder, a helicopter arrives. They get super excited. This happened like four times during the season. Is there any surprise anymore?
- Cue the cheesy music. Wait, did they really just play, “I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” when Ashley accepts JP’s proposal? No!
- Chris Harrison’s foot in mouth with Ben on “After the Final Rose.” “It’s like being on a construction site,” he says, as the women whoop when Ben sits down on the couch. D’oh. It’s JP that is the construction manager, doofus.
What did you think of last night’s episode?