‘The Bachelorette’ Finale: The Cheese Stands Alone

Friends, it’s time. The Super Bowl of reality TV is upon us: “The Bachelorette’’ Finale! Our fearless Bachelorette Andi is down to two men: Nick Viall, the romantic, if somewhat manipulative, salesman from Milwaukee and Josh Murray, the jovial former pro baseball player. Both men have professed their love for Andi; now all she has to do is choose the right path and hope there’s a diamond ring waiting for her at the end of it.

So will she go with the “safe choice’’—fellow Atlantan Josh Murray—or take a road less traveled with Nick? There’s only one way to find out.


Nick Meets the Family

Nick is first up to meet the Dorfman clan. In contrast to his usual overconfidence, once in the company of Andi’s parents, Nick suddenly forgets how to act like a normal, coherent person. His nerves take over and he starts sinking faster than the U.S.S. Maine.

It takes some one-on-one time with Mama Dorfman for Nick to finally demonstrate that he not only can speak comprehensible English but also is madly in love with her daughter. Mom is touched by this and we kind of are too. Despite Nick’s shortcomings as a housemate and human being, he seems genuinely head over heels for Andi. Nick goes on to secure Dad’s blessing to propose and the rocky evening ends with a clean finish.

Josh Meets the Family

We thought Nick was a hot mess with the family . . . until Josh shows up. The guy looks like he took a double shot of 5-Hour Energy before the big game and keeps alternating between loudly exclaiming how much he’s sweating and how nervous he is.

Hy (aka Papa Dorfman) is skeptical of Josh and decides to cut to the chase: “Do you have concerns about this being a ‘camp romance’?’’ Ooh great analogy. Josh summons his best serious face to deliver another well-practiced spiel on his love for Andi, but we’re not sure Hy is buying it. Later, Andi asks Dad how he likes Josh, and Hy quips, “He is by far one of the two best people I’ve met down here.’’ Burn!


Despite Josh’s bumbling, Hy gives him the thumbs up as well and the rest of the family is adequately charmed. Overall this is a pretty JV showing for the meet-the-parents visits, but it seems like both Nick and Josh benefitted from the incredibly low bar set by Juan Pablo.

Josh’s Last Date

For their last date before the final rose, Josh and Andi take in the coast of the Dominican Republic from the deck of a sailboat. Despite smugly securing the big “I love you’’ from Josh on the last episode, Andi is still panicking that her favorite playa-playa will pull a Brooks, realize he is an autonomous person with agency, and opt out at the last minute.

“Is this too good to be true?’’ Andi asks the camera over and over (and over) again. (The poor cameraman must have to explain to her at some point that he’s contractually obligated not to respond.) So, in what is now truly predictable fashion, she interrogates Josh, overanalyzes his answers, and then demands further validation. Josh seems to find the whole thing charming (“This is so us!’’ he seems to be thinking) and continues to reassure her that he sees the two of them going all the way. Sorry, one last sports metaphor, we can’t help ourselves.

Apparently Josh can’t help himself either. His final gift is a personalized baseball card featuring brand new recruit “Andi Murray.’’ The cheesy square of cardboard means everything to our Bachelorette. “A guy doesn’t put his last name on a girl, if he’s not ready for this,’’ she gushes, no doubt visualizing their wedding on the pitcher’s mound of the Braves’ ball park.


Nick’s Last Date

Nick gets the last crack at Andi in the final date of the season. Andi is not in any doubt of Nick’s feelings. He has made them very clear to everyone: “If I can’t have her, no one can,’’ he says into the camera, eyes darkened. Okay, that didn’t actually happen, but everything he says does have a super-intense, future stalker vibe to it.

But Nick has his own questions about Andi’s feelings for him. There’s a lot of insecurity going on in this love triangle. Nick is worried Andi doesn’t love him. Andi is worried Josh doesn’t love her. Meanwhile, oblivious Josh is down the hall, going, “We’re gettin’ MARRIED! Whee!’’

Nick begs for a sign and Andi offers the vaguest and least comforting words she can muster: “It’s going to be all right.’’ Nick is desperate enough to take this as his “wink wink’’ that he’s going to be the last man standing. He reciprocates with a present: a gold necklace filled with sand from the beach where they spent their first date. We’re going to go out on a limb and call this a parting gift.

The Final Rose Ceremony

The finale is going according to plan so far. Right on schedule, Neil Lane shows up at Josh’s hotel room to help him select a monstrous round-cut diamond. Then Nick gets a knock on the door expecting his turn with Neil and it’s . . . Andi. Crap.

There’s only one reason a Bachelorette shows up at a contestant’s door right before the rose ceremony: to say goodbye. Today is no exception. “It’s not right,’’ she repeats calmly to a hurt and stunned Nick. Girl can barely even squeeze out a tear. For God’s sake Andi, show some compassion—you bawled your eyes out when you sent Cody home!

Nick feels he has been led on and he should. He also doesn’t care for Andi’s half-ass explanations about why it wouldn’t work out between them. He asks, “Is this about me or is this about someone else?’’ (I.e. the big hunky baseball player staying in the same hotel.) “I’m sorry,’’ she admits somewhat sheepishly. When both of them realize she has nothing helpful to say, Andi ushers herself out.

Chris Harrison pulls some strings with the weather gods, and the sky obligingly opens up with rain for Nick’s tearful ride to the airport.

With that unpleasantry out of the way, Andi dons a long white dress and waits at the anointed proposal site for the sole remaining contestant. Josh arrives in a too tight suit and skinny tie, and Chris escorts him to Andi.

Of course, Josh can’t let even his marriage proposal go by without mentioning his first true love, his baseball career. He didn’t think anything could live up to that, but now he’s found Andi. We guess that’s kind of romantic, in a really weird way. He concludes his over-the-top declaration of love with, “When I look into your eyes . . . I see a woman I want to give the world to and spend the rest of my life with.’’ Well, that’s more like it, kid.

After some teasing misdirection, Andi finally confesses that she’s loved Josh from the first moment she saw him. Really, Andi? Thanks for dragging 25 guys through this sham of a competition!

And with that, an elated Josh is on one knee, the ring is out, and that’s a wrap. Despite the near unwatchable awkwardness of the last 20 minutes, we offer our congrats to the happy couple. We think you just might make it.

After the Final Rose

Wow that was a doozy! If you’re still with us at this point, we hope you had a glass of wine or a pint of ice cream to get through the last hour—a live catch-up with Andi, Josh, and Nick moderated by Chris Harrison.

First, we suffer through a sad montage of Nick wondering what happened and seeking closure—something he rationally needs after the stone cold send-off he got. We further learn that Nick showed up at the “Men Tell All’’ taping hoping to speak with Andi, but she refused to even see him. Not cool Andi, have a little courage.

But tonight, Nick finally gets his chance. We were hoping for a bitter yet articulate, “you will regret this for the rest of your life’’ segment but Nick seems to have learned from the stupidity of others (see “Men Tell All’’ special: Exhibit 1: Andrew, Exhibit 2: JJ) and keeps it classy under questioning from Chris Harrison, even complimenting rival Josh. When Andi finally slinks out, Nick seeks some explanation from her about why she led him on, but she only offers some emotionless drivel that implies she never had any feelings for him at all. Her revisionist history is not terribly convincing given we have video of their entire relationship.

Then our sensitive anti-hero Nick makes the whole painful evening worthwhile. With head bowed, he says, “I just don’t know why if you weren’t in love with me —’’ dramatic pause “—you made love to me.’’ Oh DAY-UM! Andi is livid but there is no attempt at denial. All she can muster is the unfortunately literal chastisement: “That’s below the belt.’’ So we finally have confirmation of what goes on in the Fantasy Suite. The producers cut to commercial break just in time to keep Andi’s head from exploding all over Chris Harrison.

Nick is escorted off the set and we move on to the boring business of the happy couple. Snuggling up to his new fiancee, a grinning Josh crows about their love and insinuates that their secret meet-ups since the show wrapped have been pretty steamy (no doubt trying to prove that while Nick may have slept with Andi, Josh has slept with her more). Chris happily confirms that Andi and Josh are still engaged and though they haven’t set a date, are totally committed. Until the “Dancing with the Stars’’ deal is inked at least.

And that’s it folks! All good things come to an end, except the “Bachelor’’ franchise which like Chris Harrison, will go on forever. Until next season, “Bachelor’’ fans.

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April 19, 2018 | 6:55 AM