Shocking departures, graphic exploits in the Fantasy Suite, and one totally-not-surprising proposal bring this first season in Paradise to a close. #YOPO!

By Kristen Baldwin
Updated August 10, 2015 at 05:39 PM EDT
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It’s officially the end of summer, rose lovers. Sure, Big Brother is still on. Sure, it was nearly 90 degrees (and 140,000 percent humidity) in New York City this weekend. But when a Bachelor spin-off airs its season finale—whether it’s Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, or Cody and Chris’ Workout Fun Times, Great Job!—it’s essentially time to put on your chunky knits and start drinking pumpkin spice lattes.

Our final episode opens with the Bippers anxiously milling around the Tiki Huts, puzzling over what the “big” “change” Chris Harrison teased could possibly be. Eventually the host strolls into the sitting room, letting the flimsy plywood door slam behind him. “These relationships are about to be put to the test,” he warns the contestants. Their challenge, should they choose to accept it: Talk about whether or not they want to keep their relationship going outside of Paradise, or do they just want to pretend that they want to keep their relationship going outside of Paradise so they can milk a few more days of free vacation out of Team BiP? The third option: “If you feel at the end of that conversation that it’s not there, you need to break up, pack your bags, and leave Paradise,” explains Harrison. “Don’t fool yourselves, don’t fool each other, and don’t try to fool me.” (Seriously, guys—don’t try to fool Chris Harrison. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.)

For some, it’s an easy question to answer—”I absolutely want to bring this relationship home with me,” says Sarah—while others find the prospect of thinking beyond the next margarita daunting. “So, like, I have to decide if I’m gonna marry him right now?” wonders Michelle aloud. Of course you do, Michelle. Haven’t you been paying attention?

Step right up and take your bets, rose lovers. Six couples will enter the Relationship Assessment Arena—how many will leave intact? If Michelle Money has her way, at least one woman will be taking the slow boat back to Lonelyville, USA: AshLee. “I don’t think she’s genuine,” Michelle tells Graham. “I don’t think she’s right for you.” Can someone tell me why Michelle and Graham don’t just get married? Even if their relationship didn’t work out the first time, she obviously still loves him. And not for nothing, Graham, but you’re 35 years old—I’m surprised Bachelor Nation hasn’t gone all Children of the Corn on your ass already. The clock’s ticking!

Anyhow, Graham knows what has to be done—so let’s all say a quick prayer for the guy as he heads to the beach to dump AshLee. “I just don’t think I can continue on, and I’m sorry,” he says, as AshLee rolls her false-lash-laden eyes. “I knew it,” she snaps. “It was way too good to be true.” Miraculously, though, she does not pound Graham’s skull into a pulp with a coconut—instead, AshLee quietly shames her showmance for not being “honest and open” about his concerns. She even hugs him before walking away. Is he seriously going to make it out of this breakup alive? I suppose technically that’s better than a violent confrontation but still… bummer.

NEXT: Overnight express

“I feel like a fool,” says a tearful AshLee. “It’s just embarrassing, in front of 10 million people.” Oh don’t worry, honey—BiP doesn’t even pull half that many viewers. And then it’s off to the Reject SUV for AshLee and the Freedom Shuttle for Graham. Adios, folks. Maybe next time, just try Tinder.

AshLee and Graham’s breakup creates a domino effect for Paradise’s other tenuously-linked couples: Tasos and Christy say a cordial goodbye after mutually agreeing that they’ve only known each other for, like, 22 minutes, as do Zack and Jackie. Lacy and Marcus are all but married (though of course he’s not going to pop the question until Team BiP provides him with a free Neil Lane ring), and Robert and Sarah seem adorably solid (solid as a rock)—so that just leaves Cody and Michelle Money. “I’m having a really hard time deciding,” she admits.

Thankfully, Michelle has a 9-year-old daughter who is an old hand at helping her mother sort out her romantic issues. So she calls her child and lays the burden of her decision about “this really cute boy” at the little girl’s feet. “It doesn’t really matter if they’re cute or not,” says Brielle sagely. “It really just matters about their personality.” Hold up—reality show idea! Brielle and Nick’s little sister Bella offer relationship advice to grown-ass women who should know better. I’d watch the hell out of that.

Ultimately, Michelle decides that she and Cody need “more time” to learn each other’s last names explore their relationship. “He’s so great, he’s so good to me, you know? Whaddya you do?” she explains to Chris Harrison, with just the slightest touch of resignation in her voice.

Okay, so… now what? The overnight dates, silly! While Harrison advises the couples to use this time to have “difficult, real, raw, honest conversations” about their “relationships,” the real purpose is clear: If the sex isn’t good, you can hop a plane at Cozumel International Airport in the a.m. So everybody gets dolled up—the ladies in dresses with strategically placed geometric cutouts and the guys in button-down shirts and crazy amounts of hair product – and head out for an evening of romance.

Sarah and Robert head for the hot tub almost immediately, where they make out to the sultry sounds of the Bachelor Flamenco Guitar soundtrack. “Tonight is his perfect opportunity to get to know me in every way possible that he can get to know me off-camera,” says Sarah, as Robert hangs the “do not disturb” beads on their hotel door. “I hope he goes there. I hope he digs deep.” Digs deep? Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

Let’s back away from that situation and turn our attention to Lacy and Marcus’ date, where the mutual “I love yous” are already in progress. “Marcus has my whole heart, and more,” says Lacy, as the two of them make out in front of a candle-lined bathtub. (Random observation: In silhouette, Marcus’ hair looks oddly like Cody’s.)

NEXT: “Maybe his penis is very muscular, like the rest of his body.”

Welp, Michelle and Cody, that just leaves you two. Are you in or are you out? The answer is… a little of both. Yes, Michelle will go to “the Fantasy Suite” with Cody, but only because she wants to experience “real life” with him. “Did you know you’re not gettin’ laid tonight?” she asks Cody, who doesn’t seem to mind. Maybe because he knows it’s an empty threat. After all, Michelle’s clearly spent a lot of time wondering about Cody Code’s anatomy. “Like, sometimes I get the impression that guys with that big of a body have a small penis,” muses Michelle in her pre-date confessional. “But I could be totally wrong. Maybe his penis is very muscular, like the rest of his body. [pause] Like the Hulk.”

Not wanting to keep all of Bachelor Nation in suspense, Michelle dutifully reports back the next morning: “After the time that I got to spend with Cody last night, I am really sore. And very satisfied.” Excuse me for a moment while I go gouge out my mind’s eye.

Indeed, everyone seems satisfied with their time in the Fantasy Suite or Whatever You Want to Call It—except Sarah. “Cody and Michelle… are beaming from ear to ear, and then I look at Marcus and Lacy… and they’re kissing and Marcus has a hickey on his neck,” she sighs. “And then I look at Robert, and I and it just feels off.” Turns out that Robert might be a bit of a Never Nude: “He had his jeans on under the covers,” laments Sarah. “Robert didn’t want to be physical with me… I went to unbuckle his pants and he stopped me.”

It probably doesn’t help that Michelle just can’t stop talking about her 12-hour boink-fest with Cody. “He has an amazing [bleep] and he’s actually really [bleeping] good in bed,” she tells Lacy. “We [bleeped] the [bleep] out of every part of that room.” Meanwhile, poor Sarah reports that she doesn’t even know if Robert “has a penis.” Holy [bleep] this is way more than I needed to hear. Excuse me for a moment while I go puncture my own eardrums.

Anyhoo, Sarah can’t take it anymore and she decides it’s time to confront Robert about his hands-off approach to their “romantic” evening alone. “I couldn’t make sense last night why you went straight to bed,” she says. “Like, you didn’t even hardly want to touch me, it felt like.” Robert’s all, Really? I thought last night was great. And what’s so weird about sleeping in jeans? But it’s all a pack of lies. Robert’s just too much of a wuss to admit that he’s not into Sarah because he doesn’t want to be the Guy Who Dumped the One-Armed Girl on National TV. The dude practically sprints back to the room to pack once Sarah tells him she’s not getting what she needs from the relationship. “I’m feeling pretty upset right now,” he mumbles. “So I guess I’m gonna take off.” Go ahead, you coward. And save your crocodile tears. Ms. Sarah Herron can do much, much better.

NEXT: Has Neil Lane been staying at the hotel the whole time?

And with that, it’s all over but the pointless visit from former Bachelor/Bachelorette “success” stories. Jason and Molly grill Marcus about whether he’s really over Andi; Sean and Catherine confirm that Lacy is willing to move to Dallas; while Desiree and Chris silently hope that no one asks them why they’re not married yet.

After giving both couples the Right Reasons Seal of ApprovalTM, the six Bachelor Nation veterans watch awkwardly as Cody and Michelle offer each other one final rose. (Don’t cry, Des—I’m pretty sure Cody and Michelle won’t get married before you do.)

Okay Marcus and Lacy, you’re up! For whatever reason, though, Marcus wants to profess his love for Lacy away from the prying eyes of Harrison & Co., so he takes her down to the beach for a “private” chat in front of the cameras. He’s all, You taught me what real love is… blah blah blah… forever real amazing… And—there it is!—suddenly Marcus is down on one knee with the Neil Lane ring Chris Harrison always keeps on hand, just in case someone wants to propose to a person they’ve just met. And she LOVES it.

Awwww, who doesn’t love a happy ending, right rose lovers? Even if it means we’re going to have to watch another pair of poor souls get engaged in season 2. And thanks to Team BiP for the updates on all of this season’s Bippers—though I’m sad to hear Michelle and Captain Putz didn’t make it, and that we didn’t get an update on Christy. I’m wondering if she had any skin left once her sunburn peeled off.

Now, rose lovers, as Harrison said, it’s time for all of us to say our goodbyes. But before you do, I want to hear your thoughts about the first season of this reality TV experiment in romantic leftovers. Will you watch again next summer? And check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive BiP finale blog over on PopWatch. Thank you so much for reading my ramblings, and if you’re getting hit with Bachelor withdrawal symptoms follow me on Twitter—because on the Internet, The Bachelor never goes on hiatus. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to start counting the days until The Bachelor: Yes, I Live in Iowa But Did I Mention I’m Really Rich?

Episode Recaps

Bachelor in Paradise

Chris Harrison goes international with a cast of former bachelors and bachelorettes looking for love… and a chance to extend their reality fame.

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