4. Season 5 (Jesse Palmer)

Ben has made his choice, and so this is the reality that we all have to deal with, or not deal with if that’s the way you’d like to go about it. Despite the public and private outcry against her the entire way, Ben got down on one knee and proposed to Courtney and she said yes. You all watched everything unfold in Zermatt, Switzerland. Ben said goodbye to Lindzi and hello to a life with Courtney. Before we jump into the final decision I want to talk a little bit about Lindzi. She quietly flew under the radar the entire season. She went about her business, never got caught up in the drama, and was always able to separate her life in the house with the other women and her relationship with Ben. This sounds simple and she made it look easy, but I can tell you, it’s not. As made evident by several of the women this season, it’s darn near impossible to not get caught up in the action one way or another. But Lindzi didn’t, and she didn’t ignore the other women. In fact, she was one of the most popular women in the house and she never wavered from what was really important: Ben.

I think this it made it seem like Lindzi was a bit of a dark horse, but from the moment she rode up on a regular horse, she was a front-runner. Some of you might ask why we didn’t have her on the After the Final Rose special. The truth is she was at the taping of the show, and we planned on having her on. As I told the audience right before we taped the show, we weren’t exactly sure what was going to happen between Ben and Courtney. I knew things were rocky between them so I honestly wasn’t sure what direction the show, and their relationship, would take. I usually have a very good idea and plan of what will happen on these shows, but this was very different, and there was a sense of excitement to that.

Usually we start the show with the woman who was sent home, but because of the controversy and drama surrounding Ben’s decision and their relationship, we felt like we really needed to get right into it. Once I did the emotional interviews with Ben, then Courtney, and then the two of them together, it just didn’t make sense to go back and then start talking about Lindzi. Fortunately, you really got to see everything that happened between Lindzi and Ben and there weren’t a lot of questions left to be answered. I was sorry not to be able to fit her in, but who knows maybe we’ll see her again this summer! More on the announcement of Bachelor Pad 3 a little later.

The interviews with Ben and Courtney at the beginning of the show were very telling of how much these two have struggled since that proposal in Switzerland. Once again, I ask you your feelings on Courtney and if you believe she was sincere in what she had to say. Do you believe she was there for Ben and truly cares for him? Ben, to me, seemed exhausted and emotionally spent. He admitted he hasn’t exactly been good to Courtney and pretty much abandoned her in her time of need. The two of them did break up in the middle of all of this, and they seemed to be in two different places as we brought them together for the interview. After talking to them individually I knew they cared about each other but I still wasn’t sure if they were engaged, broken up, were going to break up, or what. Ben was very cautious and guarded with me in talking about Courtney. I got the sense that he has been so beat up he just wasn’t going to really open up, but all of that changed when they were together. The first segment with them was emotional and a bit rough and maybe even a touch adversarial. I think they both did a good job of speaking their minds, and Courtney did a good job of letting Ben know she felt abandoned.

The real standout part to me came in the second segment with Ben and Courtney. Watching them watch their own proposal in person was incredibly telling to me. It was amazing to watch this transformation take place in a matter of minutes right before my eyes. Watching the proposal and going public seemed to take the weight of the world off their shoulders. They both let down their guard, their body language completely changed, and both stopped being defensive and started loving each other again. Both were in tears by the end of it, and for the first time that day I felt like they truly were together and didn’t care what was going on around them. They seem to come together and take that stance of “it’s us against the world,” which is the mentality they’ll need as they take this relationship public.

As I said at the top of this blog, Ben and Courtney have made their decision, and now it’s time for you to make yours. Do you continue to bash them and wish them ill, or do you take a “wait and see” attitude and see how this plays out? I won’t dare to go so far as to wonder if you will all support them, but we’ll take baby steps. Now the question I’ll get asked over and over is, “Will they last?” In truth, I don’t know. I know that it’s been a rocky road for these two, but what happens from here on out is up to them. I told them it’s now their decision on how they write the rest of their love story. Call me a silly optimist, but I hope they not only survive, I hope they find happiness together. Did both of them make mistakes throughout all this? Of course they did. They both personally stumbled a bit and both hopefully took away major life lessons from this. So I’ll say this: I wish them the best as they head off and try to make a life together, and I sincerely hope it does work for them.

Now that this season of The Bachelor is over it’s time to start looking ahead. The Bachelorette with Emily Maynard premieres on ABC on May 14th. And it’s now official: Bachelor Pad is back! I teased you this week with a surprise announcement. Well, how about the fact that for the first time ever, we’re opening up the door to the Bachelor Pad to our fans. We will be bringing fans off the street, into the Pad, and give them the chance to join their favorite contestants to hopefully find love and fight for a chance to win $250,000. This is going to be amazing to watch and I can’t wait to meet the fans that make it into the Pad. For more information on how you can join us this summer in Bachelor Pad 3, log onto our website, On another note, it was great to catch up with Ashley and J.P. I’m happy to see that they are doing so well and love that they are building their life together. I look forward to their wedding this year. As always, I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you for watching another season. It’s never lost on any of us at The Bachelor that you are the only reason we are able to do what we do. Thank you, and I’ll see you on the first night of The Bachelorette. For everyone who has been a part of this one… I’m Chris Harrison, good night!

More Bachelor from EW:

Episode Recaps

4. Season 5 (Jesse Palmer)
The Bachelor

This romantic reality competition series follows a gaggle of women vying for the Bachelor’s heart — and a wedding proposal. Will you accept this rose?

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