And we have a "winner"! Plus, Jake and Kasey hug it out (much to Vienna's disgust) and Mike Stagliano gets his heart ripped out on national television, Temple of Doom-style.
Bachelor Pad

It’s unbelievable, isn’t it rose lovers? Somehow we’ve already come to the end of our “journey” — and while I did celebrate a birthday during season two of Bachelor Pad, I don’t think that’s the only reason I feel 1,000 years older. But at long last it’s time to bestow $250,000 (or $125,000 each, which comes out to about, what, $75,000 after taxes?) on two members of the Bachelor family — which they will quickly blow on breast implants and the male equivalent of breast implants: a Lamborghini.

The episode opens with Harrison quickly shuffling the remaining four couples off to Vegas (insert requisite hoots, hollers, shouts of “Vegas, baby!” here), where they arrive at a large empty amphitheater — the home of Cirque du Soleil’s Ka. Harrison emerges again out of a cloud of smoke to inform the contestants that their final challenge will involve being impaled on a spiked wall over 100 feet in the air… That doesn’t sound right. Maybe he said suspended. Anyhow, the Padlets will train with a member of the CDS troupe and then perform the routine in front of a panel of judges, where they’ll be scored on technical ability, showmanship, effort, and chemistry as a couple — because, as Chris Harrison somehow explains with a straight face, “it’s all about relationships here at Bachelor Pad.”

But at the moment, it’s all about white-knuckle terror. “There is no way I’m going to be able to do these moves,” says Michelle, as they watch two hanging CDS performers twirl and dip and dive on the wall. Adds Kasey, “I think I just shat myself.” His bowels have only just begun to feel distress, however, because the real pressure is about to be on: Each couple will perform a 50 second routine, ten seconds of which they need to choreograph themselves. Naturally, this sends Team Ka-Vie into a hate spiral. Kasey wants them to form a heart with their bodies, an idea that Vienna openly mocks in front of the befuddled CDS choreographer. “He has this ‘heart idea’ — I don’t get what he’s trying to do,” she sneers, making air quotes and rolling her eyes. The other couples are facing their own issues — Michael and Holly just aren’t “in synch” after last week’s Blake fiasco; Graham is so nervous he’s lost bladder control (“I’m literally pissing down my leg”); and Ella would rather be giving birth than performing these acrobatics.

At last the moment arrives, and Harrison introduces the judges — Trista, Mesnick (boo hiss!), and Queen of Bitch Mountain, who insists that Roberto carry her to the stage, because her foot hurts, or something. Michelle and Graham are up first, and since they are failures at everything but chemistry (Michelle’s words, not mine), they play up their romance by embracing before and after the routine. Ella and Kirk are next, and Ella keeps it positive by playing through helpful scenarios before their performance: “What would happen if this harness broke… and I went plummeting to the ground… and then my son would have no mother.” Looks like you answered your own question, honey! Anyhoo, she does her best, which isn’t very good, but at least her badonkadonk looks shapely in her unitard. Kasey and Vienna give a technically proficient performance, but Holly and Stag completely crush them anyway, in large part due to Stag’s fearless mid-air somersaulting. Afterwards, Mesnick just happens to ask them if they’re dating, just because Team Bachelor Pad doesn’t think they’ve hit the unrequited love note quite hard enough.

NEXT: Goodbye, Queen of Milf Island

When all the scores are tallied, the judges give Holly and Stag the win, and send Kirk and Ella home. Boooooo! Yes, I know they did the worst, but they’re also relatively normal — and Kirk seems like a very nice guy, doesn’t he? Alas, looks like poor Ella and her son won’t be getting their dreamhouse anytime soon. To add insult to injury, Ella doesn’t even get to change out of her yellow unitard before getting in the Reject Limo. Buck up, mama. Who knows — maybe someone will buy you some boobs and a new schnoz.

Back at the Pad, Stag and Holly need to decide whether to take Kasey and Vienna or Michelle and Graham to the finals. Ka-Vie makes the valid argument that they have a very small chance of winning — perhaps know how hateful they are — so it’d be foolish not to take them to the finals. But Kasey’s pitch was a bit too intense for Vienna’s liking, because once Holly and Stag are out of the room, she chews him out for talking too much and being too loud. Eff this! thinks Kasey. I’m going to go hang out with some abandoned bunk beds over by the retaining wall. Vienna should really give her man a break, though, because Holly and Stag seem to have bought the bridge they were selling: Soon after their conversation with Kasey and Vienna, Stag tells Graham and Michelle that they’re not going to the finals. Graham — who apparently didn’t realize he was on a game show competing for prize money until this very second — is not happy to hear this news. “It’s not about money,” he fumes to Michelle. “It’s about friendship, and doing what you’re obligated to do for your boy… I’m physically mad right now.”

The rose ceremony must have come as a surprise to Holly, because she shows up wearing a tiny blue silk bathrobe and not much else. She launches into a speech about selfishness versus selflessness, and how the selfish move would be to give Kasey and Vienna the roses, since there’s no way in hell that they’d win. Adds Stag, “This is a game, and being selfish in this game is something that we’ve all kind of realized we have to do.” All of this preamble leads up to a “shocking” “game” “move”: Holly and Stag send the gruesome twosome packing! Friendship uber alles! (Well, friendship and strategy — as any Big Brother fan knows, the jury will award even the most hated player(s) with a win if they think he/she has played the best game. And say what you will about Kasey and Vienna, but they did have most of the Pad doing their bidding the entire game. Smart move, Holly and Stag!) Vienna dives headfirst into the Reject Limo and then sobs her toxic little heart out. “I don’t know what Michelle and Graham did that was so special to earn the right to be there,” grumbles Kasey, who, in his defense, probably doesn’t have very many examples of friendship in his life.

We’re a mere two hours away from the end, rose lovers — can you feel it? After an interminably long preview, Harrison arrives in the Tea Light Thunderdome (confusingly stripped of its tea lights for the occasion) and introduces the Reject Limo Review: Ali, Kirk, Gia, Ella, Justin, Ames, Jackie, William, Melissa, Erica, Blake, Kasey, Vienna, and Jake. (Pavelka gets more applause than Vienna — oof, that had to hurt.)

NEXT: Jake and Kasey hug it out. Vienna does NOT love it.

The host wastes no time putting people on the spot, and immediately asks Ames and Jackie if they’re still together. “No,” says Jackie morosely. “I spent a lot of time this summer, like, being really confused and sad.” It seems Ames kicked her to the curb with no real explanation. What gives, buddy? “I learned that we were very different people,” he hedges. “I felt like the right thing to do was to say that sooner rather than later.” Well that’s lame. What do we think really went on here, rose lovers? Perhaps she mocked his red pants? I guess we’ll never know.

The conversation then turns to Vienna, who is suddenly claiming that she was fine with Jake being in the house once they had their first talk, and she was never intentionally mean to him, etc. etc. etc. The audience responds with a collective eyeroll. This provides a nice segue to the next segment, where Harrison puts Jake on the hotseat. How did it feel to hear Kasey and Vienna say he’s “not a good person” repeatedly on the Pad? “I take great offense to that,” says Jake in his carefully measured tone. “It’s absolutely not true.” The audience seems to agree with him — they scoff and cluck their tongues at Vienna’s insistence that viewers “didn’t get to see” all the good times she and Jake had at the house, and there’s a big round of applause when Judge Erica issues a verdict on Vienna’s behavior with her Lucite gavel: “Hostile!” It’s truly an amazing thing to behold: A little over one year after Jake’s rage made him the most hated Bachelor ever, Vienna has not only managed to squander every last molecule of that public goodwill, she’s become so completely unbearable that Jake actually looks like a decent guy in comparison.

And Jake knows it. “Vienna was not kind, not at all,” he tells Harrison. “In watching, I’ve been really disappointed in both [Kasey and Vienna].” Kasey — the man who once said he wanted to “take a Jake” and wipe his “Pavelka” — even apologizes for his harsh words towards his ladylove’s former fiancé, and the two hug it out. (The look of pure misery and disgust on Vienna’s face is worth the three hours of my life lost during this brutally bloated finale. Almost.)

Fittingly, Kasey is on the hot seat next, and his first order of business is to put Rated R in his place for saying Kasey sounds like Kermit the Frog. “It’s because of a speech impediment,” he explains. “It’s not something I like to talk about.” (Justin doesn’t even mouth an apology. Keep it klassy, pal!) Kasey spends the rest of the interview slowly disintegrating in front of our eyes, as Harrison questions him about his fights with Vienna and his manipulation in the house. “Sometimes I feel like this house has just destroyed me because I see things I don’t want to see or hear things from my friends,” says Kasey, choking up. “Sometimes I feel like I just can’t get back to being happy.” As much as I don’t like this guy, and as much as I believe everyone needs to take responsibility for their own actions, at this point I did have to pause the playback for a minute — as viewers, we very rarely get to see the after-effects that intense periods of national attention and flippant scrutiny have on reality TV contestants, and it really isn’t easy to watch. Watching his relationship with Vienna fall apart, however? That’s not so hard.

NEXT: All hail Holly, the new Queen of Bitch Mountain!

After all of this, the first part of Blake’s time on the hotseat –which centers on how he played Melissa — is decidedly less compelling. The biggest revelation comes from Melissa: “Clearly, I do not do well on reality TV.” But then comes the second-biggest revelation: Blake announces that Holly is moving to South Carolina to be with him. (In a stroke of cruel brilliance, Team Bachelor cuts to Jackie to make sure all of America witnesses her Reaction Shot of Undistilled Sadness.) Blake is so in love with Holly, in fact, that he called Team Bachelor Pad and said, “Meet me at the top of a mountain — you bring the camera crew and the free ring, and I’ll bring the made-for-TV moment!” And she LOVES it. Dolphin squeal, Blake and Holly are engaged!

I’m so, so glad poor Stag is backstage so he doesn’t have to watch us watch him watch them get engaged… Wait, what is this f–kery? They’re going to tell him live on stage that Holly and Blake are engaged? That. Is. Cold. Team Bachelor Pad, I’m glad we’re taking a break for a while, because I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forgive you for this. Stag, his right foot bouncing frantically from suppressed despair and rage, looks like his soul just got run over by a Zamboni. “I’m sorry, that’s super awkward, I didn’t know until I got here,” he says, dazed. “I am shocked, still, so maybe a water would be great or a commercial break…” Neither are forthcoming. “Really? Here is where I find out?” he marvels. “Even, like, a letter or an email prior. I don’t know.” Stag does his best to recover, and is even more heartbreaking in his graciousness. “I really do want Holly to be happy,” he says. “She said yes, so, you know, she’s in love and happy and that’s a beautiful thing. That’s what I wanted for her… you know, for the rest of her life.” I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again now: HOLLY, YOU SUCK. The mood does not get any lighter when Harrison shifts his focus to Graham and Michelle, as Michelle tearfully reveals that her father recently passed away from colon cancer. At least their relationship, unlike Michael and Holly’s, has managed to grow stronger through the Bachelor Pad experience. “There are just not a lot of guys like him anymore,” says Michelle. “And I’m not letting him go.” Hang in there, lady. You’re no longer the craziest “lady” in Bachelor history. Congratulations!

(I’ve seen Revenge. It’s actually really fun.)

At long last it’s time for the jury to grill the final two couples. Does Holly deserve her spot next to Stag? (No.) Did Michelle and Graham just hide out and float to the end? (Yes.) Who deserves it more? (Jeff and Jordan.) In the end, Holly and Stag win the jury vote and advance to the final round. Is there really any doubt that they’re both going to vote “share” and split the money evenly? Even I don’t believe that wretched skank Holly would try to hog the quarter million to herself. Still, Team Bachelor Pad makes them spend a looooong time in the deliberation room as their fellow contestants debate the outcome… which is exactly what we all expected: They both choose share. Invest well, Stag! And congrats Holly — now you can pay for your dream wedding! Just be sure to save enough money to pay for your dream divorce.

NEXT: Farewell, rose lovers. We shall meet again!

And with that, dear rose lovers, our Bachelor Pad “journey” has come to an end. I will meet you back here in January 2, 2012, when Ben Flajnik will attempt to put the shattered pieces of his heart back together again, as we all watch and mock him mercilessly. Until then, you can find him driving a tractor back and forth through his winery, “reflecting” and stuff. Before we part ways, let me know what you thought of tonight’s finale – did the right couple win? Is Stag a sweetie or a schmuck? (I think you know how I’m going to answer that.) How long will Holly and Blake last? And what would you do with $125,000/$75,000-after-taxes? Post your comments below! And be sure to check out Chris Harrison’s Bachelor Pad finale blog over in PopWatch. Thanks for keeping me company this year. Now, put on your unitard and let’s talk Bachelor Pad!

Episode Recaps

Bachelor Pad
Chris Harrison reassembles former rose-contenders for a second chance at reality fame, love, and televised skankiness
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