The Bachelor Recap: Fairytale, Ending?

When you cut right to the heart of it, the typical season finale of The Bachelor has a lot in common with the “torture porn” genre of horror films: After spending six weeks isolating a group of women from their families, friends, and careers, then “eliminating” them one by one, a maniacal lady killer brings his final two “bachelorettes” to a deserted mansion, where only one will come out alive. Of course, if we’re viewing The Bachelor as an extended slasher movie, then Monday night’s “After the Final Rose” represented the climactic scene where our heroine wreaked bloody (verbal) revenge on her tormentor. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! First things first…

Our season finale kicks off with Bachelor Brad standing in front of a scenic vista in Cape Town, South Africa. (“It would look better without that galoot in front of it,” says my husband, looking up from his game of Sudoku and trying to pretend he doesn’t care how the finale plays out.) Soon after, Brad is sobbing inconsolably at the arrival of his mother, plus his two brothers and their wives. Are these tears of joy at their reunion? Tears of shame that he may have spent the last two months of his life spreading some kind of oral fungus among 15-20 unsuspecting single ladies? There’s no time to find out, because Chantal is at the door.

As far as “meet the family” meetings on The Bachelor go, this one is pretty uneventful. Chantal gives Mama Brad a one-armed hug before she’s strapped to the rotisserie and grilled to perfection. “Are you willing to submit to marriage this very second?” ask Brad’s brothers. “Do all of my clothes accentuate my impressive rack?” answers Chantal. Brad’s mom wants to know how Chantal fell in love so quickly, and instead of explaining how the combination of hyper-competitiveness, desperation, isolation, and alcohol created a perfect storm of obsession, Chantal gives a rousing speech about how her divorce made her grow and realize “I’d rather be alone than be with someone just to be with someone.” Ugh, wake me when it’s over!

Ding-dong! It’s Day Two with Brad’s family, and someone’s at the door. Brad claps his hands like a frat boy spotting a fresh keg, and rushes to greet Emily, who’s wearing a purple halter dress with a bejeweled necklace neckline and who greets Mama Brad with a (gasp!) handshake.

Because Brad is either a sociopath or is following direct orders of the show’s producers, he fails to tell his family ahead of time that Emily has a five-year-old daughter, and that the child was conceived shortly before Emily’s fiancee died in a plane crash. As a result, Brad’s brother Wes drops the awkward question of how little Ricki’s father would feel if she married Brad and moved to Texas, prompting Emily to relive the most painful moment of her young life once more, with feeling, for the TV cameras. Brad’s family falls for the single mom, and Brad’s mother weeps openly about Emily’s comment that she thinks of Brad as her angel. “Yesterday I left this place realizing my brother was for sure ready to be a husband,” says Wes. “Now, I’m realizing that not only is he ready to be a husband, but he’s ready to be a full-blown father as well.” Not a half-baked father, but a full-blown one? Sounds like a plan! Well, either that, or dude can go “sew sow some oats” with Chantal, Wes says. Ouch!

Naturally, when a man is days away from proposing to a woman, he should still be keeping his options open, and thus Brad schedules one more round of dates with Chantal and Emily. And because nothing gets Brad’s heart racing like the sound of a woman saying “No, no, oh my God, why?”, he takes Chantal on a boat and demands she participate in a terrifying shark dive. (“It places itself in the cage. It does this whenever it’s told.”) Chantal submits, but only after realizing that a half-unzipped wet suit really makes her cleavage pop. “After all this, you better be putting a [bleep] ring on my finger. ‘Cause you suck otherwise,” she teases, not realizing she’s 48 hours away from having her heart ripped out of her chest, ground into chum, and fed to the very carnivorous fishes she’s just encountered. (Visual demonstration included at the end of this recap.)

Back in her suite, Chantal presents Brad with a sweet gift: A hand-made map outlining all the places they’ve visited on their “journey.” Ironically, this will make a lovely engagement gift for Brad and Emily, who’ve been to the same exact places visited by Brad and Chantal. Brad can’t get out of there fast enough, hugging Chantal and kissing her forehead and cheek, but failing to play their usual game of “guess which toothpaste I used this morning.” Chantal fails to read the warning signs, though, and in all likelihood ends the evening Googling wedding planners in her hometown. “Best case scenario: Brad asks me to be his wife,” she says with a giggle. “He’d better tell me what I want to hear!”

Brad’s date with Emily is equally awkward, but this time it’s the bachelorette who’s making things a little chilly. After flying to the Cape of Good Hope for a picnic, Emily tells Brad that if he commits to her, he won’t be able to go back to his bachelor pad to drink beer and watch football whenever he feels like it. (Interior, Brad’s brain: “Mmmm. Bachelor Pad.”)

The topic of Brad’s readiness to be a full-time dad resumes that night in Emily’s suite, and after Brad asks that Emily “allow me to be that girl’s father,” she poses what seems like a perfectly reasonable question for a woman about to get engaged to a man who’s spend a grand total of one afternoon with her child. “What do you think that means? What do you see your role being?” she wonders, pointing out that being a parent isn’t always fun. Brad’s face fills with barely suppressed rage: “I feel like I’m being questioned,” he huffs, before declaring himself unable to breathe, in need of water, and feeling like he’s been “slapped in the face.”

Then again, at least Emily didn’t literally slap him in the face, the way Chantal O. did when she first got out of the limo and met Brad. Our protagonist stands in front of a mountain vista and has an epiphany. His decision is made. We see a hawk flying overhead, because apparently the ABC camera operator couldn’t find a buzzard. And here comes Chantal, clad in a forest-green gown with shoulder feathers. “You look amazing. You always look amazing,” Brad tells her, before reflecting on how much their relationship has grown. “You’re someone that I really have looked for for a long, long time. And here’s where it gets tough. I don’t know how else to say it except I have stronger feelings for someone else.” Thwack! After a full season of waiting, Brad finally slaps Chantal back.

Chantal’s tears still damp on his lapel, Brad regroups and greets Emily at the Ceremonial Dumping and Proposing Platform. He spits out a whole bunch of platitudes, then gets down on one knee and presents Emily with a gaudy diamond ring in a little black box emblazoned with the Neil Lane logo. (Side note: Anyone notice the logo was missing when ABC replayed the engagement video for Brad and Emily during “After the Final Rose”?) “Please give me your forever,” Brad asks. Emily says yes.

But is this a Trista and Ryan forever, or a Jake and Vienna forever? We cut to an episode of “After the Final Rose,” taped weeks after the South African extravaganza finale. Chantal takes the stage, and even though we later discover she’s happily embarked on a new relationship, she weeps about being hurt by Brad. (Maybe those are onion-scented candles behind her?) “Being strong is being able to be open,” she coos. Um, okay? Brad comes out and uses words like “friendship” and “so much fun” and “you deserved to hang around” to describe his relationship with Chantal. Her mood becomes blacker than her painted fingernails, but she recovers and tells Brad she’s moved on to someone new. Now we know why The Damned Dentist is going to be the next bachelorette. Blech!

Then, it’s almost Emily’s turn to take the hot seat, and what follows is nearly a full hour of barely suppressed rage. Brad starts by saying he’s “more in love than ever,” but Chris Harrison reveals that our fairytale couple has already been through a breakup, and postponed a wedding that was supposed to have served as a backdrop to “After the Final Rose.” Brad admits he feels like Emily has said something along the lines of “I just can’t do this” on a near daily basis. Suddenly, there’s a crack in his facade of chipper infatuation. “Sweet little Emily can be tough,” he drawls. “Sweet. Little. Emily.”

But you want thinly veiled hostility? Let’s bring out Emily! “So you’re still a couple?” asks Chris Harrison. “Mmm-hmm,” she replies, her smile tighter than the seal on a Ziploc bag. So is she ready to get married? “Right now, in this instant, I love you, but no,” she tells Brad. Cue gasps from the audience. How about a cross-country relocation? “Could I move to Austin today? No,” she explains. And Emily’s reasons why not? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Brad says he knew he had strong feelings for her from early in the season, and yet he kept his mack game in full effect with all the other ladies. “I didn’t think he’d give them so much to work with!” says Emily, saying that watching The Bachelor on Monday nights made her feel like “a dime a dozen,” that her fiancee should have saved  “some things” (the fantasy suite, perhaps?) just for her.

“Watching it, I’m trying to figure out what’s reality TV and what’s my reality?” says Emily, outlining the central conundrum of the entire Bachelor franchise. Before Brad has a chance to show off the vicious temper that Emily’s hinted at, Chris Harrison brings out the role roll call of the show’s “successful” alumni: Jason and Molly, Roberto and Alli, and Trista and Ryan. “We’re here to help,” says Jason, because who wouldn’t want relationship advice from a guy who ditched his fiancee and took up with a jilted runner-up on live broadcast television? Ryan sputters the platitudes about love and marriage that Trista tape records and plays back on his bedside table every night after he goes to sleep. “Hopefully, you’ll follow in our footsteps,” lies Trista, who I’m still convinced is motivated to get out of bed in the morning by virtue of being the franchise’s “most successful couple.” And finally, there’s Chris Harrison, swiftly bringing us to a close, before Brad and Emily can change their minds, call it quits, and flee the building. “This is family,” he says ominously, pointing to the three other Bachelor couples. Then he cuts quickly to footage of Brad and Emily’s engagement, which they’ve never seen before. We see the carefully edited moment that soars on the wings of luscious lighting, high-definition cameras, and swelling music. “That is what’s real,” says our proficient host. Brad and Emily wipe the tears from their eyes and exchange “I love yous,” and Brad slips Emily’s re-sized ring back on her finger.

And the prince and princess lived contractually happily ever after.

What did you think of the season finale of The Bachelor? Do Brad and Emily have a champagne bottle’s chance in the bachelorettes’ fridge of surviving? And what are your feelings on The Dentist as the next franchise anchor? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Jon says:

    Emotions are still raw this morning, but let down your walls and check out our analysis here:

  2. Jazzy says:

    I thought Brad was one temper tantrum away from popping out of his skin, or cracking all his teeth as he clenched his jaw the whole time Emily was talking. He was needy, insecure and dare I say horny as hell.

    They are a scary couple, but I do wish them the best.

    I do wish they elaborated on his “bit of a temper”, unacceptable when it comes to kids, run Emily, run!

  3. betsy says:

    I promise I am not watching the Dentist be the Bachelorette. I was barely able to keep watching this season of the Bachelor and found out that I really didn’t care which one he chose in the end.

    • sashay says:

      Me too. First season I watched was Jillian’s – totally ridiculous, totally watchable, definitively my secret guilty pleasure. Since then, each one went downhill, although Jake’s did have some funny moments. Not so much this one, and I imagine the dental student would be even worse. I can barely stand her when she was on After the Rose, and on Jimmy Kimmel all she did was repeat whatever Jimmy told her.

  4. susela says:

    I thought it was refreshing to see a couple on ATFR candidly discussing the problems of a reality-TV romance once it’s become TV-free reality. Good for Emily for giving Brad a hard time! However, there was a lot of body language suggesting true affection between them. Those two crazy kids might just make it after all.

  5. chantoozysuzy says:

    It’s never as much fun to watch the Bachelorette, simply because the women are just not as shamelessly horn-doggy as the Bachelors. But I’m not even tempted to tune in for Ashley the dentist.

  6. TamIAm says:

    Poor Brad, he’s just so misunderstood. How dare Emily call into question his committment to being a father after they’ve spent six whole weeks together, jetting around the world and going on fantasy dates. THAT’S reality, right Brad? Not getting up in the middle of the night and cleaning up your kid’s puke-soaked sheets while memories of Anguilla float through your head. The nerve of some women. I wonder if the real reason that Brad needed a little water break and cool-down time was that they edited out the part where Emily told him he would have to do this marriage and father thing with just her and not a whole harem.

  7. Joe says:

    Wow – people who think they were off kilter must not have kids.

    Emily was very honest, and gave honest and honestly GOOD reasons to why she is pulling back. If anything, that these two love each other is obvious, and with a daughter to protect, Emily wants to see if the relationship can make it in the real world.

    I had NO issues with her reasoning, and Brad seems like any guy would seem – hurt, maybe caught up in the moment a little bit, but very much in love.

    I think the only time they got uncomfortable was when Chris Harrison paraded out all the “successful couples” to give them advice they really didn’t need.

    Its sad, but people are way too cynical these days. Brad and Emily have a real shot, because they aren’t caught up in the moment, but are taking measured steps post bachelor to make sure this is a thing that lasts.

    • Darlene says:

      I agree with you…………. I thank they will make it. People just nees to leave them along. You can see the LOVE for one another. I really thank Emily just seeing how things go’s after the show is off the air I think she will married him and move to his home town. If sh is the woman who keep there word Emily seem like she would be. Can’t wait to see the wedding on tv. Good luck to both of you. Keep God in the picture and you will be great. love you both.

      • Mica A. says:

        I believe they will work out…What really annoyed me during the Final Rose was all the gasping the audience was doing. That was not necessary. When Emily said her reasons and told Brad no I totally understand. I’m only 21, still in college, and I don’t have kids but I totally agree with Emily. And I could tell they were really in love. Brad and Emily are going to work. This is the first time I’ve watched the bachelor and I’ve been crossing my fingers for them to work out. Just liked I prayed for Ali and Roberto to be successful after their season, I’m going to pray for Brad and Emily. He truly does love her and I can tell. He may have a temper but Emily admitted to having one too. She doesn’t seem like a push over. I KNOW this couple will work. I believe. Love them both and God Bless!

  8. Tee says:

    Emily is awful. I mean – you’re on a reality show with rules and a storyline – what do you think is going to happen?

    She’s a control freak – and regardless of her motherhood or what she’s been through – she’s immature.

    He’s a self analyzing doofus.

    I wish them a lifetime (read in reality world: a month) of happiness. They deserve each other!

  9. Soda Float says:

    Mmm….oats! You’re speaking my language. Hilarious recap. Neeeeeeigh!

  10. Best Nana says:

    OK, I admire Emily for keeping her feet on the ground. This is a life decision, not a Hollywood story. She has a daughter to consider. She needs to let Brad chase HER for a change, and try to earn her love and respect. A temper? Emily, be very careful – that temper that you see BEFORE marriage, gets worse later. Study what his triggers are, and perhaps even use them once in awhile and just see how he reacts. I’ve been in one abusive marriage – and advise caution, caution, caution. That said, you both appear to have something worth working on – but congratulations for delaying any further action at this time. Emily, you have a head on your relatively young shoulders.

  11. stevenjaba says:

    your husband is hilarious Michael! You are too, of course, but feel free to pepper his comments in liberally as well!

  12. Angie says:

    These people are like animals in a zoo. I realize this is all about getting on TV and whatever money there is to be made as an extension of that–as opposed to starting an honest relationship. And of course they’ll break up. There’s not even a sliver of possibility that it will go otherwise because real life is very different than life in the zoo.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Oh that might be the funniest recap ever. I will say I was lovin’ Emily on After the Final Rose. It’s so fitting that the woman Brad chose is giving him hell and not doing exactly what he wants. I mean the Bachelor takes Women’s lib back so many years but finally one step forward for Womankind! Ha.

  14. jef says:

    I wish Brad and Emily well. At least they’re facing things realistically.

    Doesn’t ABC do polling? I will not be watching The Dentist. Yuck.

  15. sherimoonzombie says:

    MS – should be “sow some oats”. It’s a farming reference, not stitchery.

    • Chiana says:

      Yes you’re right, and the other glaring error is ‘role call’ – it should be ‘roll call.’ Maybe Michael can hire us as editors.

  16. Teach says:

    Vienna and Jake acted like they were over the moon in love during their After the Rose special. So who knows what will become of Emily and Brad? I applaud the honesty though. Especially Emily’s willingness to discuss the reality tv aspect of it. Other contestants like to pretend that there is no show editing/filming their every move.

    Not too happy about Ashley as the Bachlorette, but not as mad as I was when Ali was chosen. Still continue to be appalled at the lack of diversity among past Bachelors/Bachlorettes.

  17. Lunakit says:

    I DID notice that the Neil Lane name was not on the box the second time they showed it. I wondered whether Emily had rejected the first ring and chose a different one from another jeweller (couldn’t tell from the camera angle) or if Neil Lane balked at paying a fee to have their name shown again. On another note, I was sure Michael would have made reference to the fact that in a moment of foreshadowing, Chantal had literally been thrown to the sharks.

    • lunakit says:

      That’ll teach me to skim through an article!….Sorry Michael! (cue the theme from “Jaws”)

    • Eolra says:

      Weird, the logo was totally on the box when I watched “After the Rose”. I know because I didn’t watch the actual finale, I ONLY watched “After the Rose” and was happy they were replaying the proposal so I could see it. The very first thing I thought when he opened the box was “Oh. Of course there’s a GIANT logo on that. Yay! Aren’t you happy that “the most wonderful day of your life” includes product placement?”. I live in Canada – wonder if that has anything to do with it being edited out on your guys’ version but not mine….?

  18. Brenda says:

    it’s obvious by the way Brad shakes,sweats, and stutters how much he is in love with Emily. Almost obsessed! I wonder, along with his said temper, if he has control issues. He wants to take care of her and protect her? Or does he want to own her? Emily is a very beautiful lady and I can see his obsession of her turning ugly. If Emily should ever say hello to another man, I think Brad would freak out and start trying to put her on a short leash or a ball and chain. My husband was like that, If I spent longer at the grocery store than what he thought it should take, I would get drilled “So who was he?” Or if some one (male)smiled and said hi to me in passing “So,how do you know him?” The more paranoid he got the more controlling and abusive he got. I get that vibe from Brad, too some how.

    • Shania says:

      Yes, I really noticed the way he was touching her at After the Rose. It was kind of creepy, not loving. I don’t think she liked it. He was encasing her fingers in his, pushing her to lean against him, he looks like he’ll turn quite physical if things don’t go his way.
      Couldn’t believe how angry he was becoming when she was questioning his motivations during the final date. I too, wondered what he meant by becoming Ricki’s father, not her step-father? I assumed he meant that he wanted to adopt her, and I could see her worrying that it wouldn’t go over well with the Hendricks, Ricki’s grandparents and her financial backers. He left it so vague, you could see that it worried her. (That sounds like I’m taking this seriously, and yet, I really doubt this is actually a love story…)

  19. Robinbird says:

    I hope they do NOT marry… they are not well suited at all, they could hardly have one conversation that wasn’t awkward, and where Emily wasn’t questioning him. Add in a “temper” or two… and nightmare!

    I say wait two years… let him grow up more, get anger management and what the heck, third times’ the charm? (are you there Chris… what ya say, one more time?)


  20. Julie says:

    They seemed like a normal couple who often times have insecurity issues in the beginning of a relationship. I’m glad to see they aren’t being fake about their relationship being perfect.Its hard for some people to show true emotions in public, and that doesn’t mean they don’t feel the right way. Emily said she was upset about seeing him with Chantel and this is the first time she has seen him since the last episode of the show. I know very few couples who didn’t go through breakups, insecurities and some fights before they got married. I think they are the best and most real couple on so far.

  21. Lee says:

    Sorry, pet peeve. Emily would be Brad’s fiancee, but Brad is Emily’s fiance (one “e”).

  22. vicki stone says:

    He so belongs with Chantal, every conversation he had with the fake blonde Emily was a job. She couldn’t even talk back, I kept waiting to hear her say she wanted “World Peace”. Chantal was a real girl who really cared about him. He let his family pick her for him. His twin brother’s wife is Emily’s look alike. What a joke, they won’t make it. She obviously was in it for fame, I never saw her act like she even cared. Even when he proposed, her yes sounded fake, no tears,all poses for the camera. His loss! Chantal would have been a fun and exciting wife. A family would have come for them too later when it was time. He isn’t living his brother’s life he is living his. Why does he think he needs to be in the same place that they are. Guess he learned nothing from his therapy. Good thing he is hot becasue he sure is stupid!

  23. Sue says:

    Why does everyone get mad at the rules of the show in the end. These people sign up for this game show everyone knows whats going to happen in the end. He is a complete imbosol and needs anger management. She is a spoiled princess. Alot of these girls do the show for the trips and the ring. I’m so mad they allowed him to come back again. I never watched the show this season but I did keep up on it and I just watched the last show. I refused to watch Womack another season. He is a phoney

  24. Yvonne says:

    Seems to me that Brad is used to getting his way with women. The show afforded him a perfect opportunity to do just that. He flaunted his physique, his only asset, and the women swooned. In retrospect, Brad and Michelle are ideally suited. Most of the women were honored and privileged to be in the company of this modern day god of the universe. When Emily became Brad’s chosen one, she had the audacity to enlighten him about the realities of being a father to a 5-year old, she refused to marry him “now” and move to Austin “now”. How dare Emily say or do anything that is diametrically opposed to this feeble-minded human. Emily has become Brad’s greatest challenge and now the tables have turned. Let the show begin! How interesting! Brad, begging and graveling kinda looks good on you. Chantal, you got the last laugh. I’m loving this!