Wow, where do you start with a season and a finale like this? To say we have never seen anything remotely close to this in the eleven years we’ve been doing this show is a gross understatement. It might actually take me a while before I’ll be able to utter those famous words again, “It’s the most dramatic episode… ever.” To really talk about the ending I need to step back to last week when Brooks gutted Des by saying goodbye and going home. At that moment, for the first time, we really weren’t sure of much of anything.

You see, the crazy thing about this show that’s very different from anything else on TV is that our finale is dictated by the free will and choice of not just one person — the Bachelor or Bachelorette — but also the men or women who make it to the final two. It’s what sets our show apart; it’s what makes it so successful but also what makes it scary as hell for the people behind the scenes. After Brooks left we weren’t sure there would be a “next week” at all. There was a very real chance that Des was done and in turn, so was our season. We really had to sit back and take our lead from Des. Could she bounce back, and would she want to continue? It was all up to her. Thankfully, Des is an incredibly strong and resilient woman. She was somehow (with the help of an amazing host and confidant) able to put the ordeal into perspective and realize that not only had all not been lost, but this was actually a blessing in disguise.

I never truly saw in Des and Brooks what Des apparently saw and felt. I don’t know what it was, but I just never really felt it between the two of them. That’s not to say I was right or that I knew best, but it was just an observation. What I could clearly see was the love Drew and Chris had for Desiree and in particular what a great connection she had with Chris. Very early on I really thought he was the frontrunner. I thought this not just because of what Des said about him, but because of the way they were around each other and how he spoke about her to me off-camera. Brooks and Des seemed to have an awkward relationship that needed code words to describe it. I don’t know what it means to be “jogging” or “running” towards some mythical “finish line” that equals love, but I do know that Chris and Des never needed silly games to express their feelings.

I also don’t think Brooks was a “bad boy” that Des was trying to chase and fix. Brooks is a good guy and I believe his intentions were true. But I do think Des got a little caught up in the chase and may have lost sight of the big picture. Luckily in Chris, and Drew for that matter, she had two mature men who weren’t about to give up that easily. Chris and Des were always great together. I remember our talk in Portugal when she told me she loved Brooks and everybody freaked out: “How could they have possibly aired that?” Well, it was funny that nobody remembered in the next sentence she told me she was also in love with Chris. This just seemed to get lost in the noise. Luckily, Chris didn’t get lost in the noise.

After my talk with Des, although she was still very sad, she decided this wasn’t over and that there should still be a rose ceremony with Chris and Drew. The purpose of this rose ceremony was less about handing out roses and more about telling Chris and Drew what just happened and how she felt about it. Considering the two men we were dealing with, it was no surprise that neither one of them flinched at this news. Thankfully, they both wanted to continue. I think the interesting thing about what Des went through is it gave her great clarity about what she really wanted and needed in her life. Her next date with Drew was a great example of that. She quickly realized she cared for this guy but she was really just going through the motions with him and it just wasn’t going to happen between them. I know Drew is still a little upset and feels that the Brooks ordeal might have hurt his chances, but I really don’t think it did. Des would be very lucky to end up with a guy like him, but she just didn’t love him. Chemistry is huge for her and they didn’t have it.

Once Des sent Drew home, we realized there was a very good chance that she might go on one more date with Chris and then send him home as well. It really was a make-or-break date for Chris and for Des. With that much pressure and so much on the line, the odds really weren’t in his favor to succeed, but succeed he did. The moment they met again, Des instantly knew. She knew the greatest gift of all had been sitting right there under her nose the entire time. Des was immediately at ease around Chris and he just made everything all right. When you see Chris and Des together it really makes her relationship with Brooks almost laughable. You just can’t compare the two. Once I heard how well her final date went with Chris I was happy for her, but I still wondered what our finale would look like. After Brooks left, I figured there was no way we were going to end this show with a proposal, and even after her final date with Chris I still wasn’t sure. Would he be confident enough in their love to do it? If so, would Des be ready?

That final day in Antigua was intense. Usually when we feel like there’s going to be a proposal it’s a fun, lighthearted day. Even though we knew Chris had a ring in his pocket and we were pretty sure at that point he was going to do it, we still weren’t sure in the moment that they would both go there. It’s a bizarre feeling to be sitting in a small room in a remote part of the world with a bunch of people who have given their heart and soul to something, all of us just staring at a bank of television screens, watching and listening as if we were a bunch of fans gathered for a viewing party.

The only sound in the hot and humid control room beyond Des and Chris’ voices was the hum of a single fan failing desperately to move warm air around the room. We hung on every word just as you did until Chris finally got (all the way) down on one knee and asked for Des’ hand in marriage. When she said yes the room erupted and there were hugs, high-fives and even a few tears. As I looked around the room and took in the scene and then glanced back at the monitors and saw Chris and Des embrace on that hill in Antigua, I said something that I say quite often, “Damn this is a good show!” How did this happen? How did Brooks get so far only to break Des’ heart? How did Des decide to continue? How did Drew and Chris decide to stay? How did Des and Chris find love in all this? How did we just watch this proposal?

The scariest thing about producing The Bachelorette and The Bachelor is also what makes them so beautiful and answers all those questions: At the end of the day it all comes down to human choice. I love Chris and Des together and I think they make a beautiful couple. I think they complement each other very well. I know in the weeks since the show wrapped they have done very well and their love and relationship has only grown stronger. Des has plans now to move to Seattle to start their new life together. I wish them nothing but the best as they set off on this new chapter in their lives and I look forward to sitting front row at their wedding.

Thank you for watching another great season of The Bachelorette and as you saw, we are in store for another fantastic season of The Bachelor with our new man, Juan Pablo. That was about the easiest decision we’ve ever made. There was such a huge groundswell of support for this man there’s no way we couldn’t make him our Bachelor. I really like Juan Pablo as I got to know him very well during our travels last season. He’s a very good man and an excellent father who deserves to find an amazing woman, and I’ll do my best to make that happen. I can’t predict how next season will go, but I do know for a fact that many months from now I’ll be sitting in a control room in some remote part of the world and I will take in the scene around me and I will undoubtedly say, “Damn, this is a good show!”

More Bachelorette from EW:

Episode Recaps

The Bachelorette

One single woman searches for her future husband amid a sea of studs in this romantic reality series. Will you accept this rose?

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