Friends, it’s been a roller coaster season, and we have finally reached the end of the ride. Bachelor Chris Soules has two ladies left, and after tonight’s final episode, only one will be victorious.
In one corner of the ring, we have Whitney, the helium-voiced sorority girl with a fondness for exclamatory statements (“Shut up!’’). Despite having a promising career as a fertility nurse, the 29-year old has practically given notice at her job, and was ready to start popping out her own babies yesterday. Put her in the “sure thing’’ column.
And in the other corner, we have Becca, the season’s dark horse. She’s a virgin with limited romantic experience, and has been honest about not being in love with Chris yet. Despite her “easy does it’’ approach to their relationship, she’s managed to hold the Bachelor’s attention.
To recap Chris’s own evaluation of the two women: Whitney is great because she’s already in love with him. Becca is not, but he could see himself spending the rest of his life with her.
Chris’s extended family has turned up to help with the decision, and they have one concern only: Which of these ladies is really going to pack it all up, settle down in Arlington, and not leave their son an old maid? The poor guy is 33, after all. That’s like 78 in Iowa years.
Whitney meets the family
Whitney is not here for fun; she is here to work. Work as in the rent on 80 acres of corn is due. Objective: Win over Chris’s family at all costs. She will put every bit of pep rally energy into this date because, “Gosh darn it…this is a big freaking deal!’’
Whitney arrives decked out in Midwestern chic (i.e., plaid shirt and skinny jeans) and a determined expression. Her voice breaks as she makes a toast to the family who has produced the man that she loves. Whitney has developed a bad case of L-world diarrhea: now that she’s said it to Chris, she’s decided to announce it publicly to the entire state of Iowa.
During her private time with Chris’s sisters, Whitney tells them that without a doubt she’s ready to move to Arlington, no substitutions, exchanges, or refunds. The message is clear: I’m not the one who’s going to break your brother’s heart.
The sisters like Whitney and are thrilled that she’s committed. In fact, they can’t understand why Chris hasn’t wrapped this whole thing up. Chris tries to describe his connection with Becca to them, getting a little emotional about her in the process. The sisters try to shut this down immediately: “You came here to find a wife. You didn’t come here to find a girlfriend.’’
After acing the sister interview, Chris’s mom is Whitney’s next obstacle. Mom asks, “Why do you think you’re in love with Chris?’’ Whitney quickly corrects her, “I know I am.’’ Then she adds tearfully that she would really like to have Chris’s mom as her mom. And boom—down goes Mama Soules.
Finally, back in the tool shed (literally), Chris’s dad, brothers, and brothers-in-law have pulled him aside to help resolve any doubts on the Whitney vs. Becca front. Their pop psychology analysis? Chris just finds Becca appealing, because he likes the chase. Bam—solved it. Chris might not be fully convinced, but Whitney still leaves the family interview session with top marks.
Becca meets the family
The “Whitney for Chris’s Wife’’ campaign is a hard act to follow. Is Becca up to the challenge?
The day starts off well, mainly because Becca has brought with her an array of baked goods on a big plastic tray. She looks great and is refreshingly laid back and charming.
During her private chats with various family members, Becca is honest that she is not in love with Chris yet and will not pick up her life and move to Arlington, until she’s absolutely sure of their relationship. Smart girl! Yes, she knows where Whitney stands and can appreciate why this puts Chris in a tough position.
The sisters are concerned. After all, Chris must find a wife and carry on the Soules family blood line ASAP. But Chris is stubbornly defensive: “I know what I feel, and that’s more important than what she’s saying.’’ Otherwise: In my imagination, I am a prince, and Becca is a princess, and we live in the kingdom of Iowa, and we are IN LOVE!
Chris’s mom, as matriarch of the Soules clan, tries a new tack: trying to convince Becca that she is, in fact, already in love with Chris.
Becca: “I was miserable for a few days without seeing him.’’
Mama Soules: “That’s love, that’s what that is.’’
Becca: “I’m so much more concerned about him than me.’’
Mama Soules: “You know what that is!’’
Becca: I could really go for a peanut butter sandwich.
Mama Soules: You’re in love with him, goddammit!
Becca is clearly upset, or perhaps frustrated, and her icebox heart slowly begins to melt and leak through her eyeballs. But while Chris’s mom did her best to convince both of them that Becca was in love with Chris, no one was really buying it.
Last date with Becca
After a middling meeting with his family, Chris has only one agenda item for his final date with Becca: Interrogate her relentlessly about her feelings.
All he seems to want from Becca is a glimmer of hope that he can use to justify picking her. But she isn’t going to give it to him. She sticks to her guns, saying, “I don’t know what I want right now.’’ Chris responds, “I don’t feel like I know if you know what you want.’’ Well yeah, Chris that’s what she just said.
Chris leaves the date discouraged, crying and burying his head in his hands during his post-date interview. But while Chris is frustrated that Becca won’t just be nice and fall in love with him, we think she’s a breath of fresh air. She doesn’t want to win enough to lie, or even embellish. But will Chris take a risk on a girl who doesn’t operate by the rules of reality TV world?
Last date with Whitney
Chris and Whitney have nothing left to discuss, so their date is all about fun. If fun means harvesting corn with Chris and his dad in sub-freezing temperatures. But Whitney is not to be deterred. “Really?!’’ she squeals upon seeing the combine. Chris could have announced they would be mucking the pig pen, and she probably would have died of happiness.
Whitney is still in sales mode throughout the day. The farm is “amazing,’’ the view is “beautiful,’’ the house is “unbelievable,’’ the day was “perfect.’’
The pair then head back to the hotel room for another episode of the Chris and Whitney show, which has been running on repeat for the last few weeks. Whitney declares her love for him, promises she wants to move to Arlington, and they make out. Wash, rinse, repeat.
The final rose
The day of the rose ceremony, Chris is still a conflicted mess. He sighs dramatically. He furrows his brow. He paces back and forth. He stares longingly out into the snowy Iowa landscape. He’s about to make the biggest decision of his life, and he has no idea what he wants. Umm, Chris, perhaps if this is such a difficult decision, today is not the day to get engaged? Nope. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
As one final kick of the “we’re in Iowa’’ dead horse, the final rose ceremony is literally happening in Chris’s family’s barn.
The first limo arrives and…Becca steps out. Uh oh. Chris grasps her hands, and starts with the requisite misdirection, I really like you, I could see you being my wife, etc. But then he cuts to the bottom line: “You’re not really ready…I don’t think it’s fair for either of us to take that leap at this point.’’ Becca’s face reads, “Ehh. Fair enough.’’ And so goes what is quite possibly the least-contested Bachelor break-up of all time.
Becca graciously accepts the decision, telling Chris he is an amazing person and will be an incredible husband. She’s really the most eerily normal person we have ever seen on this show. She reacted almost as if she had been dating a guy for a couple of months, wasn’t ready to marry him, and then they decided to go their separate ways. (Oh wait, that is what just happened!) Becca, we will miss you. You made for damn boring TV, but thanks for defying our expectations of women on reality television.
Once Becca is safely in the limo, Chris is supposed to say, “That was really hard, but I’m just so happy now because I get to marry Whitney.’’ But he doesn’t. He’s crying and pacing, and achieving President Fitz-level angst. Come on man, for your future wife’s sake, at least pretend that you have your mind made up.
Whitney shows up and is oblivious to everything but the chill in the barely insulated barn. Shaking like a leaf, she looks into Chris’s eyes and puts on the broken record: “Everything has just boiled down to right here, right now… I love you so much, I really do.’’
Chris finally is able to choke out the response that she has been waiting for: “We both want the same thing, and it feels so right. It feels so perfect. And that’s what I want for the rest of my life. I love you.’’
And with that, Chris is down on one knee, the Neil Lane sparkler is on, and the deal is sealed.
“I’m the luckiest girl in the entire world!’’ declares Whitney as Chris bestows the final rose upon his new fiancée. Congrats to the happy couple! We hope you have a happy boring life in Iowa, and that Chris doesn’t accidentally call you “Becca’’ in bed tonight.
After the final rose
We fast forward in time to the live “After the Rose’’ show with Chris Harrison.
Farmer Chris is first up: He is still engaged, still happy, and still beefy. Chris shares that he was looking for someone as close as possible to his sisters, and Whitney fits that bill. Not weird at all, moving on.
Out next is Becca, who seems completely unruffled by the whole situation. She and Chris have a brusque “no hard feelings’’ conversation, as if she had accidentally elbowed him during a squash game.
With that out of the way, Whitney finally makes her entrance in a short, shimmery, sheer number. Chris greets her with a giant kiss while the audience whoops. Whitney has not lost an ounce of bubbly optimism since we saw her on the show and is blissfully in love. But Chris Harrison is not going to let this boring, drama-free conversation continue. He probes into Whitney’s thoughts on the season.
Whitney informs us that she has no comment, because she refused to watch the show. “Interesting,’’ says Chris Harrison with tremendous skepticism. Subtext: So you don’t know that Chris was also in love with Becca? And Chris Harrison isn’t one to let subtext go unsaid.
He asks,“So you’re not worried about how conflicted Chris’s decision was?’’
“Nope’’ says Whitney quickly.
Chris Harrison probes further, “Do you talk about it?’’
“Yes we talk about everything,’’ chirps Whitney. Meanwhile, her eyes say, “End of discussion.’’
Oh Chris Harrison, you little gossip you. Stop trying to break up these crazy kids. Can’t you see that they’ve made a blood pact never to utter the name “Becca’’ again?
Next, Chris Harrison brings in superfan Jimmy Kimmel to liven things up. Jimmy plops himself down between the newly engaged couple and summarizes what we are all thinking anyway: “Bottom line is Becca wasn’t into you.’’ Jimmy also delivers a wedding gift to Chris and Whitney: a cow named Juan Pablo.
Fingers crossed for these two (and Juan Pablo makes three). They may not be soulmates, but sometimes just wanting it that badly can be enough.
The new Bachelorette
With this season already old news, Chris Harrison is on to the only actual surprise of the night: the announcement of next season’s Bachelorette.
He shares that the producers could not decide between two potential candidates—sassy, irreverent Kaitlyn and gorgeous but controversial Britt—so they decided on…both.
The details are murky, but it seems like the 25 male contestants will have a chance to meet both ladies and then vote on who they want to pursue as their Bachelorette. Thanks for taking away the one reality TV forum where a woman actually has all the power. Just kidding, we’re pretty psyched for this twist.
And that’s a wrap! Hope you enjoyed this season as much as we did, and we will see you in May for the Britt v. Kaitlyn Bachelorette Thunderdome—can’t wait!