By Kristen Baldwin
March 11, 2019 at 10:08 PM EDT
S23 E11
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  • TV Show
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You never really think about how strange the name “Colton” sounds until you hear people yell it, at full volume, over and over. But enough about the fence jump, right rose lovers? In part one of The Bachelor finale, we find out where Colton went after the hop heard ‘round the world — and how desperate he is to keep his “journey” to find “love” with Cassie from coming to an abrupt and unhappy end.

But first: Search party! After a stop at the Tealight Candle Thunderdome — and an extennnnnded recap of how we got to “the most shocking moment in Bachelor history” — we rejoin the search for Colton in the Portuguese countryside.

ABC

We pick up with Team Bachelor driving around the Algarvian (is that a word?) darkness looking for their leading man, to no avail. “We’re gonna look for another 20 or 30 minutes, and then I’ll have to call the police,” our fearless host Chris Harrison tells someone over the phone. The policia? Ah não! Fortunately, Team Bachelor does not have to bring in the law. After spotting a “dark figure” by the side of the road, a producer hops out of the car and runs to him. “Are you okay?” she asks Colton. That’s gotta be a rhetorical question, right?

The Bachelor just keeps walking, and when his producer attempts to guide him to the other side of the street, he wrenches his arm away. “Don’t touch me!” he snaps, loud enough that we can hear it even though he’s not wearing a mic. “No, I’m not okay.”

The Bachelor Season 23 finale part 1Colton Underwoodscreengrab
ABC

Though having an on-camera heart-to-heart with Harrison is probably the last thing Colton wants to do right now, production has other ideas. The host jogs down the road to catch up with Colton, while a camera operator appears from somewhere and starts recording the whole thing. “Dude, I’m done with this s—,” mumbles Colton, as a panting Harrison struggles to catch his breath.

ABC

No phone, no lights, no motorcar — where does the Bachelor think he’s going to go? Colton doesn’t know. All he knows is he’s done. Like, “done done,” with “the whole thing,” as Harrison puts it. Once he’s finally back at the car with the producers, though, our Bachelor starts giving them the tearful soundbites they’ve been looking for. “I’ve been through enough of knowing that I’m not enough for a long time,” he says sadly. “And every reminder of that just makes me stronger, so I’m okay with it.”

Awww, buddy — I don’t even really know what that means, but I assure you, it’s not true. You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh darn it, Tayshia and Hannah G. still really like you. “I literally said ‘I love you,’ and she said ‘I love you, too — goodbye,’” Colton mumbles to Harrison. The host reminds him that there are two women left who do love him — perhaps he wants to put a ring on one of those? Not tonight, sir. Not tonight. Colton gets in the minivan and lets production drive him back to the hotel.

The next day, after a little rest and perhaps a good, long cry, Colton allows his love guru Harrison to come over to his hotel for a chat. “I just needed time to be alone,” says Colton of his fence jump. “Every time something good happens for me or to me, it’s always followed by something bad.” Now the Bachelor says he doesn’t want to lose Cassie over something as silly as, you know, being the Bachelor — dating two other women at the same time was “confusing” for Cassie, he realizes. The confines of this reality TV dating show are what have endangered the relationship, Colton continues. If he ends it with Tayshia and Hannah G. and gives Cassie the “confidence” she needs in their relationship, everything will be fine.

Um… Mr. Harrison, would you mind pointing out to Colton that there might be another reason Cassie ended things?

ABC

Thanks, Chris. Appreciate it.

Still, Colton is not trying to hear that. “I feel like I can read people pretty well,” he says, making a claim that is based on absolutely zero evidence. “I think she loves me.” Now, says our Bachelor, he’s ready to “fight for somebody that I love.” Welp, all rightie then! But first, you’ve gotta go dump Tayshia and Hannah G.! (Next: Tayshia gets dumped, then watches herself get dumped on TV)

It’s hard to know whom to feel sorrier for at this point. Tayshia, at least, got a Fantasy Suite date — such as it was. But either way, enduring such an abrupt ending to their nine weeks of reality TV fame (and, you know, their “relationship” with Colton) has to be pretty tough. Let’s listen in as the Bachelor drives a metaphorical stake through Tayshia’s heart. (The poor guy is so nervous when Tayshia hugs him her mic pics up the sound of Colton’s high-speed heartbeat.)

As soon as he says, “You’re incredible,” Tayshia knows what’s coming.

ABC

“My heart’s with somebody else,” the Bachelor continues. “I love Cassie.” They sit in silence for a bit, and then Tayshia asks if they can talk “without all these cameras.” Oh, honey, you’re still wearing a mic — what does it matter? But the producers oblige and let the duo go inside Tayshia’s room. There, Colton is the one who starts sobbing first, and pretty soon they’re both weeping openly. “I don’t want to go through this,” gasps Tayshia through her tears. “I don’t want to.” She recovers long enough to give Colton a goodbye hug and a gracious thank you. “You’re a good guy,” she tells him. “And that’s what I want.” After a few false starts, Tayshia and Colton finally part ways.

No time to pack, Tayshia! Just grab your shoes and your purse and get into the Reject SUV. The interns will send your stuff back to America for you.

And guess who’s in the Tealight Candle Thunderdome right now, just waiting to come face-to-face with Colton for the first time since their gut-wrenching breakup?

ABC

“What was going through your mind watching it for the first time?” Harrison asks. Not surprisingly, Tayshia says watching her breakup on the jumbotron was “difficult” and “emotional.” She knew right away that something was wrong. “He was shaking,” she says. “Right then and there, I knew, this is not good.” Tayshia reiterates that she was, in fact, in love with Colton, and she felt like the best version of herself when she was with him. Hearing him say that he was in love with Cassie was, of course, painful. “I don’t think anybody really wants to hear that,” she says. “When he said that, I knew how hard that was for him to admit that. And I kind of at that moment had to remove myself from the situation and be there for him.”

Eventually, Harrison brings Colton out so Tayshia can get her live TV closure. “I’m nervous,” she tells the Bachelor. “I guess I just don’t really understand what was missing.” What can Colton say? Just, like, Nothing, except you aren’t Cassie. Tayshia, who looks great and will be a big hit on Bachelor in Paradise, is gracious about the whole thing. “You’ve taught me a lot,” she tells Colton. “I just wish the best for you, and I hope you’re happy.

And with that, we head back to Portugal for break-up number two. Poor Hannah G. No one has even told her that she’s not getting a Fantasy Suite date. There she sits, content in her hotel room, writing in her journal about her many, many, feelings for Colton.

ABC

“I’m just looking forward to spending time with Colton overnight,” says Hannah G. happily. All Miss Hannah can think about is telling Colton that she loves him tomorrow on their big Fantasy Suite date. Or maybe she can do it right now because — knock knock knock! — there’s a hunky Bachelor at the door!

“I wanted to talk to you about something,” begins Colton grimly. Sorry, quick question: There’s only one glass on the table next to that champagne. Was Hannah planning to chug that bottle alone tonight before Colton surprised her?

ABC

Apologies, I know that’s not really the point right now. But we didn’t really miss much: Colton is just giving Hannah the same “I can’t be in love with two people” speech he gave to Tayshia — and why not? It’s a pretty good speech. “I didn’t expect for you to say that at all,” whispers Hannah G., when Colton tells her that he loves Cassie. “I don’t feel like this is happening right now.” Hannah wants to know what about their relationship didn’t work, and of course, our Bachelor does not have an answer.

Hannah G. gestures toward the journal on the table. “I literally just wrote that I was in love with you, like, right in here,” she says. When Colton tries to soften the blow with some kind words — “you’ve made me better” — she scoffs. “That’s what I do. I make everybody better, and then they don’t want to stick around.” Hannah G. feels “angry” and “embarrassed,” and did I mention angry? “I’m surprised that you’re gonna, like, do this to me,” she fumes through her tears. Colton is contrite and tearful, too. “This is the last thing I wanted to do to you,” he moans. “I don’t know if I’m making the right decision.”

Ugh, buddy, come on! Don’t waffle now — Hannah G. doesn’t need any additional false hope. “You don’t deserve to be anybody’s back-up plan,” says Colton at last. “You don’t deserve to be second.” After a joyless hug and a lot of sniffling, a devastated Hannah sends Colton off into the night with an unconvincing, “Good luck.” As the Bachelor sits in the hallway and sobs, Hannah G. packs up all of her tiny clothes and prepares to go back to America, alone and heartbroken. “I don’t want to talk about it, Andy,” she tells the producer, climbing into the Reject SUV. (Next: Colton faces Hannah G. on live TV)

Meanwhile, Colton’s such a wreck that a producer walks into frame and gives him a big, comforting hug.

ABC

What if these two fell in love? Now that is a twist I could get behind! “I don’t know if I’m giving up a for-sure thing for something that’s impossible,” says Colton desperately. Still, though, he’s willing to risk it. “That’s literally how much I love Cassie,” sniffles Colton. “I’m willing to walk away from somebody that great.” Go with God, young man! (Or Mike Fleiss.)

At this point, we cut back to the Thunderdome, where Hannah G. is still crying about that brutal breakup.

ABC

“I thought he was coming to surprise me,” says Hannah G. “I thought it was me and him the whole time.” Since Portugal, says Hannah, the hardest thing has been “reliving this relationship” through the show each week, and having strangers come up to her on the street and ask to see her engagement ring. “I want to be like, ‘I don’t have one.’ It’s really hard.”

Though she’s not looking forward to seeing Colton, Hannah says she wants to leave “with more answers so I can start living in the present.” I’m surprised how bad I feel for Hannah G. I’m also surprised at how much she’s talked in this brief segment; she definitely did not say this many words during the actual season. Okay, Colton — get out here and face the music!

ABC

“I loved you, and I thought you felt the exact same way,” Hannah tells him. “If we would have had more time, do you think this would have been a different situation?” Colton doesn’t really want to play the “what-if game” — instead, he just reiterates that he didn’t want to go through the motions of a Fantasy Suite date with her because after Cassie left, to him “the show was over.”

Oh yeah? “What Cassie did to you was exactly what you did to me,” Hannah responds, adding that she held out hope that Colton would realize his mistake and come back to her. And watching the show and hearing Colton tell Cassie that he thought about her during dates with other women? “That sucked,” Hannah tells him, her voice quavering. Still, much like Kelly Clarkson and Britney Spears, Hannah says she’s stronger than yesterday. “I can handle way more than I ever, ever imagined that I could,” she says. “I want somebody to jump a fence for me.” Hear that, producers? Better start building a fence in Paradise.

And yes, Colton, your hair has broken Twitter — and not in a good way. Whatever they did to it during the commercial break didn’t really help.

ABC

As for this panel of former Bachelors and Bachelorette contestants? Nope. Just nope.

The next morning, Colton packs his small duffle bag (!) as he prepares for the last leg of his “journey”: Operation Make Cassie Love Me. “I don’t want to leave here without her,” he says. Wait, so Cassie is still in Portugal? So where did that SUV take her in last week’s episode? Just, like, another hotel??? Apparently so.

ABC

There she is now, packing up her sensibly-sized suitcases. (Love that bookshelf wallpaper, by the way.) “I’m gonna miss Colton,” she says. “I did make the right decision because I can’t be here… because I can’t make a commitment as soon as Colton.” She’s ready to go home and “move on” with her life. Though we see Cassie wheeling her two suitcases out of her hotel room — or, at least, that’s what it looks like — she must still be there because the episode ends with the Bachelor striding determinedly into the hotel and knocking on her door.

Part 2 of The Bachelor finale airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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