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'The Bachelor' finale recap: When 2 Loves Become 1

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Matt Dunn/ABC

The Bachelor

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
20
run date:
03/25/02
performer:
Aaron Buerge, Andrew Firestone, Bob Guiney, Alex Michel, Estella Gardinier, Trista Rehn, Jen Schefft
Producer:
Mike Fleiss
broadcaster:
ABC
genre:
Reality TV

Well guys, this season has been quite a journey. I’m not sure I would’ve believed you if you’d told me 10 weeks ago that there was a woman named Lace who would actually wear a lace dress to meet Ben. I definitely wouldn’t have believed you if you’d told me that an adult would say the words, “I like to talk smart things.” And don’t even get me started on the most unbelievable thing of the season: Caila’s father’s orange pants. That was one twist I did NOT see coming.

And yet, here we are. We’ve made it to finale week, which finds Bachelor Ben in the very worst kind of threesome: One where there’s a possibility of a unicorn mask. #neverforget

In Jamaica, Ben’s spending every free moment hoping and praying for clarity. He’s in love with two women and he has no idea how to choose, especially when they wear matching jean cut-off shorts. Coming into this, Ben’s fear was that he was unlovable, and now, his problem is that he’s too lovable. (This just in: Single people everywhere collectively tell Ben to f— off.)

RELATED: Ranking Every Season of The Bachelor

Meeting up with his parents, Ben hopes that mom and dad can share some wisdom. But when he explains that he’s in love with two women, all mom can seem to say is “wow.” In fact, mom finds this situation “really disturbing.” If you’ve ever wondered what a proud mother looks like, this is not one.

First up, it’s Lauren’s turn to meet the parents, and she has a bouquet of flowers the size of her head to show her love. After all, this meeting has been “a long time” in the making. (…Has it?)

As Ben explains, Lauren mentioned meeting his parents on their first date, so that’s why this has been such a long time coming. Again, that was only like two months ago, but sure, let’s pretend like Lauren’s been waiting years to meet these people. 

After that is fully explained — thank God they spent so much time on that — Ben’s dad pulls Lauren aside to tell her that it’s VERY obvious how Ben feels about her. (Yep, dad has a favorite.) After Lauren says, “Ben is seriously, like, one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met,” Ben’s father simply says, “Thank you.” (Sorry mom, dad’s taking the credit on this one.) 

All you need to know from this conversation is that both Lauren and Ben are ready for marriage. Also, she’s already calling David “Dave,” so at this point, she’s winning, right?

Talking to Ben’s mom, Lauren explains how Ben makes her “so happy.” But all mom wants to know is whether Lauren’s seen Ben be his own worst critic. Translation: CAN YOU REALLY HANDLE MY SON? Later, when Lauren calls Ben “seemingly perfect,” Amy doesn’t say thank you, but rather she scoffs and says, “We’ll talk more later.” Damn, mom. If you think Ben is his own worst critic, what does that make you?

RELATED: The 17 Most Memorable Contestants From The Bachelor and The Bachelorette

Again, mom is more focused on how Lauren could help Ben as a partner when he gets “intense.” After all, it takes a special person to put up with all of Ben’s issues. Is Lauren ready to talk him off the ledge? That depends, mom, did you put him on that ledge??

Lauren says she’s ready for all of the good and the bad with Ben, but mom’s still not convinced. She’s also still not going to help Ben with his decision. Her only piece of advice to him: “How in the heck are you ever going to choose?” (Somebody’s definitely not winning MVP — most valuable parent.)

Sitting outside, Lauren tells Ben that “getting married, for me, is like a big commitment.” But only for her. The rest of the population thinks getting married is about as big a commitment as deciding what to eat for breakfast.

See, for Lauren, meeting Ben’s parents was the last step. Now, take her back to Vegas! This one’s ready to get hitched! 

RELATED: The Bachelor‘s Ben on the moment he knew Lauren was the one

NEXT: Amy loves JoJo

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The next day, Ben changes into a blue shirt for his date with JoJo, who arrives with a smaller bouquet of flowers, but her flowers are in a conch shell, so either she just one-upped Lauren or her time with the swimming pigs has had her in a weird Lord of the Flies mindset for weeks now.

Walking in to meet Ben’s family, JoJo’s already shaking, but from the instant Ben’s mom sees her, it’s evident mom has a favorite. (Read: Mom, much like Hannibal Lecter, likes instilling fear in the hearts of others.)

Proving that nerves are a good thing, JoJo quickly sits down and tells Ben’s parents that she’s happy to meet the “two people who have made such an incredible guy, one I’ve fallen completely in love with.” Furthermore, JoJo is the first to bring up the fact that Ben is “hard on himself,” speaking straight to Amy’s (dark) soul.

So while JoJo wins points, Ben gets a bit too comfortable, telling his parents a story about their helicopter ride in Vegas and how they didn’t exactly see much of the Hoover Dam. Get it? Because they were making out. Yes Ben, because THIS won’t make JoJo more nervous. As mom puts it, they had “too much cuddle time.” Suddenly, I have a new outlook on why Ben was so good at talking to those elementary schoolers about sex: because that’s how his parents STILL talk to him about sex.

Talking to Ben’s dad, JoJo explains that Ben is her best friend. Tearing up, she tells Ben’s father that not only does she love his son, but she promises that there will “never be a day that he won’t know that.” And you know what? Dad appreciates her emotion. FINALLY we learn where Ben gets it from. The Higgins men: They just want to see you cry so that they know that you CAN.

Talking to mom, JoJo once again tears up, explaining that Ben makes her feel safe. Mom, proving she has a favorite, finds it funny that “safe” is a word that Ben also used to describe JoJo. As mom put its, JoJo just “felt different.” Yep, let’s go ahead and label mom #TeamJoJo.

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Catching up with Ben, JoJo explains that there’s zero doubt in her mind, which only makes matters worse for Ben, who returns to his parents hoping for an answer. But all he gets is his dad informing him that no matter which woman he picks, she’ll say yes to a proposal. (Suddenly I want a twist ending where he asks both women and we get a BachelorSister Wives spin-off.)

Basically, dad is #TeamLauren, and mom is #TeamJoJo. (What do you wanna bet Ben’s never wanted a sibling more than he does in this moment?)

Speaking to the camera, mom gets emotional. At the end of the day, she “hates that he doesn’t know who to plant his stake with.” Is that a euphemism?

The next day, Ben is as confused and conflicted as ever, and this time, he’s on a boat. It’s his last date with Lauren, and thanks to many sleepless nights, Ben doesn’t have much to say. (Clearly he was hoping his purple shirt would be loud enough to speak for him.)

Lauren can tell something’s up, but as she puts it, Ben is “thinking about something, and I don’t really know what.” Really? You can’t figure out what might be on his mind considering he’s dating two women and is going to propose to one in a matter of days? I’ll give you a hint Lauren: He’s not thinking about those darling baby turtles. 

And yet, Lauren says she doesn’t know “what hard decisions he has to make.”

NEXT: Ben’s heart is in a thousand different places

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Asking Ben if he has any doubts about their relationship, all he can muster up is to say that it worries him how perfect it’s been. Ben’s nervous their love story is too good to be true. To comfort him, Lauren literally says nothing, leaving Ben to ponder what life would be like with her when things get tough.

During the evening portion of their date, Ben meets Lauren at her suite to sit on her very firm couch and talk about his confusion. And if you still don’t believe that he’s confused, he says this: “There’s so much I never thought or could’ve imagined happen.” 

Taking Lauren from confident to 100 percent freaked out, Ben tells her, “No matter what happens, you’ve made me a better person, made this worth it.” Um Ben, I know you’ve never broken up with someone you love, but that’s a great start. He follows that up by thanking her for allowing him to get to know her AND allowing him to fall in love with her, which apparently don’t naturally coincide.

Ben then leaves a now-upset Lauren behind to wonder if that was the last time she’d hear Ben tell her that he loves her. The really bad news? When Ben leaves, his shoulder goes with him, leaving Lauren to cry with no real head support.

The next morning, Ben is only feeling a “little uneasy” as he heads into his last date with JoJo. Ben will admit that Lauren was the frontrunner, but as time’s gone on, JoJo’s caught up. So, in this scenario, Lauren’s the hare and JoJo’s the tortoise?

Meeting up, JoJo definitely gets the more epic hug, after which she asks “can you feel my heart again,” which I’m just going to ignore. Today, the couple is getting in a Jeep and traveling to their second waterfall date of the season. As for what JoJo thought of Ben’s family? She could easily “kick it” with them. And then, in a shocking twist of events, Ben dumps her for saying “kick it”!

Just kidding.

Arriving at their destination, Ben introduces JoJo to “the blue hole.” JoJo’s observation? “The water is so blue.” Turns out, you can judge a waterfall by its name! 

Jumping into the water — is Ben doggy paddling? — the two make out a bit before deciding it’s time to talk about life “after this.” JoJo talks about the fact that they live in different states and explains that she’s willing to do “whatever it takes” on her end to make things work. But when she asks Ben if he feels good, his response is simply, “That’s a loaded question.” 

Once again nailing the appropriate response, JoJo simply says, “Oh, God.” Opening up, Ben explains that his mind is in “1,000 different places” — he’s dating 1,000 other women?! —which leaves JoJo with very clear goals going into the evening portion of their date: She needs a sign from Ben.

Sitting on her slightly less-firm(?) couch, Ben explains that “what I’m feeling for you is deeper than anything I’ve ever felt,” but when she asks about his struggle, he explains, “I don’t have one.” Ben explains that he’s looked long and hard at both relationships and can’t seem to find something that would make his decision easier. He tells JoJo that she’s his best friend, that he has no concerns with her, but after bringing up “both” relationships, JoJo needs answers. 

Taking him into the bathroom, she shuts the door from the cameras and quietly whispers to him that she needs “something” from him. Ben, clearly not getting the whisper memo, yells that he loves her. That leads us to this: 

JoJo: “But you love her, too. Am I right?”

Ben: “Yes.”

JoJo: “And you said that to her?”

Ben: “Yes.”

So, at least he’s honest? And to top it all off, Ben then has to say goodbye, leaving JoJo to contemplate the fact that Ben’s in love with two women. 

Walking away from JoJo, Ben’s a lost man. “Emotionally, I’m lost… In terms of what to do, I’m lost.” He almost just said, “Physically, I’m lost,” so can someone please show the poor man to his room?! 

NEXT: Neil Lane, Bachelor whisperer

[pagebreak]

The next morning, it’s decision time, and leave it up to Neil Lane, the Bachelor whisperer, to show Ben the light. Meeting up with Neil, Ben’s still unsure about which woman he wants to spend forever with. But as soon as Neil asks, “Do you know who it is?” Ben realizes! Looking at the ring, Ben discovers which woman deserves the bling. 

And cue the getting-ready montages, complete with Ben’s bright blue underwear from episode 1, which we can only hope he’s washed at least a dozen times since then.

As for Lauren, she’s still in shock that she’s met the “love of her life.” As she puts it, she thought that phrase was just something people said “because it sounded nice.” You know, like, “your hair looks good” or “those jeans don’t make your ass look fat.”

After the women both board their individual helicopters, the first one to see Ben is…JoJo. Thankfully, Chris Harrison is there — flown all the way to Jamaica to walk the women 10 feet — to escort her 1/16th of the way to her heartbreak.

First up, JoJo tells Ben that all of this could be worth it. She knows love isn’t supposed to be easy, but rather, it’s supposed to be worth it, and “To me, this is worth it; you are worth it.” Twisting the knife in Ben’s heart, she tells him, “I love you with all my heart, and I trust you, and I’m never gonna run from this no matter how hard it gets.” (Well, that’s not completely true. Prepare to run, JoJo.)

Finally, it’s Ben’s turn to speak, and as he tells her that even though he found love with her, “I found it with somebody else more.” What, did you suddenly expect Ben to be an elegant speaker?

Returning the knife-twisting favor, he tells JoJo that even today he doesn’t question that he loves her, but JoJo’s too blindsided/confused to understand. She asks where it went wrong, but all he can say is that it never did. As Ben walks her out, he doesn’t come up with anything better to say other than that he fell in love with two people and had to pick. Hugging her goodbye, Ben puts JoJo in the Depression Mobile, fully knowing that she got the “raw end of this deal.” 

Giving credit to his love for JoJo, Ben explains that he’s about to propose to Lauren and he was confused about that because of JoJo, “because that’s how much I love her.”

As for JoJo, she’s left feeling blindsided, but even in her heartbreak, she isn’t mad at Ben. She simply wants to meet somebody who will love her back.

(Meanwhile, her brothers are calling their hitman. Just kidding, they do their own dirty work.)

Ben admits that he could’ve married JoJo and been very happy if it weren’t for Lauren, whom he loves with all his heart. “It’s a love that I can’t lose,” he says as he calls Lauren’s father — also named Dave! #soulmates —​ to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. And Dave is INTO it, so much so that he tells Ben to have a “great night.” Yep, enjoy all that “cuddle time,” Ben.

NEXT: True love (probably) exists!

[pagebreak]

Confession: Ben’s fist pump and “woo” might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. He was like Tiger Woods but without the ego or sex addiction.

And I’m going to follow that confession with a question: Are the women not allowed to say each other’s names at this point? Why do they keep calling each other “another person” or whatever? YOU GUYS LIVED TOGETHER. You probably know more about each other than Ben does.

Now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Lauren arrives and nearly ruins everything with her horrible walk, but by the time she gets to Ben, she tells him that their first kiss “was the last first kiss that I ever wanted to have.” Once again reiterating that she thought people only talked about true love because “it sounded nice,” she’s now realizes that it exists. Ben’s her person and she looooves him.

As for Ben, he tells her that he came into this feeling unlovable. And with this being an experience full of goodbyes, he’s realized, “Lauren, I never wanna say goodbye to you. I want to wake up every morning and kiss you on the face. I want to go to bed at night and know that in the morning I’m gonna wake up to the most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid eyes on. My desire from here on out is live for you, commit to you, love you, hold you, kiss you a lot. Lauren, I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Did he mention that he wants to kiss her? Okay, cool.

Were there grammatical errors? Yes. Does Ben struggle to get the ring out of his pocket? Yes. Does Lauren care? No.

Getting down on one knee, Ben asks Lauren to marry him, and she, of course, says yes. And in what might be the second-cutest moment of this season, Ben stops kissing her only long enough to say, “Lauren, you’re my person.” Then there’s a whole lot of “I’m lucky,” “No I’M lucky” before Lauren accepts the final rose and Ben carries her off to their happily ever after.

Our first real glimpse into their married life? Lauren telling Ben, “Don’t drop me, or you are toast.” Yep, these two kids might have a fighting chance after all.

But before we get too far ahead, it’s time for the additional hour no one asks for (but most of us watch anyway): The “After the Final Rose” special. After Ben expresses how watching that finale back makes him sick to his stomach — no offense, Lauren! — he admits that the thing that helped him make up his mind, believe it or not, wasn’t Neil Lane. Instead, it was the real Bachelor whisperer: Chris Harrison. Ben made his choice after Harrison posed the question, “Is there somebody here that you can’t picture life without?” It was then that he realized he couldn’t say goodbye to Lauren.

Bringing JoJo out on stage, JoJo once again proves that she’s a class act. After admitting that it helped her to see how much pain her exit caused Ben — #real — she wishes him the best with Lauren. Answering JoJo’s question about his deciding factor, Ben once again explains that when it came down to it, he simply couldn’t picture his life without Lauren, and with that, JoJo says she’s at peace and ready to move on. And that’s a good thing because she’s the next Bachelorette! Get ready for more amazing bathing suits and angry brothers, guys! 

As for Lauren, she walks out on stage to put all those rumors to rest: Yes, she knew that Ben told JoJo he loved her. It turns out, the night after the proposal, while the couple was still in Jamaica, she says Ben got into bed and “laid it all out.” (Wow, we weren’t quite wondering about THAT Lauren, but good for you two!) 

Lauren says nothing was a surprise, and furthermore, she falls more in love with Ben every day. Proof? She’s moving to Denver “very soon,” and they’ve already discussed a wedding (though they want to spend some time dating first).

After a painfully awkward — and truly pointless — interjection from Jimmy Kimmel, the show wraps up with yet another painfully awkward and truly pointless segment in which Chris Harrison attempts to force Ben and Lauren to get married in this tiny studio. BUT, because Ben is a team player, he gives Chris something to work with: Bringing out both their families, Ben once again gets down on one knee and asks Lauren, “Will you marry me once again?” 

I hate to be the one to break it to Ben, but she never married you in the first place. I guess at this point I have to learn to accept Ben’s proposals for what they are. Let’s just hope his vows are a little better than his proposals. Speaking of the wedding, Ben promises it will happen “very soon.”

With three minutes left to fill, Ben gives us his greatest line to date. After asking Harrison how much time they have left, Ben thanks America for all the support and admits, “For 10 minutes, I’m still relevant.” And for one more recap, so am I.

I have to say: It’s been fun guys. I will see you all when The Bachelorette premieres in May. Until then, I’m going to try to find out how that kid from Ben’s hometown feels about monogamy while I wait for Ben’s mother’s episode of Snapped to air.

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