Kaitlyn finds love in a hopeless place ... but only after two hours of, well, nothing.

By Samantha Highfill
July 28, 2015 at 03:37 AM EDT
Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC

Much like Shawn feels that his time on the show will only make his relationship with Kaitlyn stronger, I feel like our relationship as recapper and reader has done the impossible: At this point, we’ve made it through Chris Soules’ soul-less season—see what I did there?—and whatever it was that we just watched with Kaitlyn’s season. Simply put, there’s nothin we can’t face.

And right now, we have to face two hours of men talking about how they can see Kaitlyn as their wife only to watch one go for a ride in the Depression Mobile (thanks for that, Clint). Seriously, the only thing that could make this first hour interesting would be if Shawn and Nick both just shut up and sang a duet of “The Girl is Mine.”

Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. Instead, we’re heading from Utah back to the oh-so-exciting Malibu, California. If making Kaitlyn have her proposal at the Bachelor mansion isn’t a slap in the face, I don’t know what is. Clearly, they think her season is worth spending all the money. Hey, remember when Ali and Roberto got engaged in Bora Bora?! This is totally the same.

But I will admit that whatever house Kaitlyn’s currently at with her family is hella nice. Speaking of hella nice, I love Kaitlyn’s family, despite the fact that we still don’t get to see her dad or step-dad do much of anything, which was my complaint from last season, but whatever. Kaitlyn gives her family a quick recap of her time on the show: She’s in love with two men; she slept with one of them; she told the other about it; oh, and it’s Nick Viall.

Mom and sister immediately react to Nick’s name. Sister is happy. Mom? Not so much? She’s highly skeptical of their “connection,” but she doesn’t have much time to express her fears because Nick—and his beard—shows up. Apparently shaving was too much to ask for meeting the family.

In his white V-neck and Converse, Nick meets Kaitlyn’s mom, sister, dad, step-dad, and step-mom. And by the time his ass touches the couch, mom all but shouts, “Why are you here, Nick?” (If only Shawn were a fly on this wall, amirite?)

Kaitlyn’s sister swoops in to rephrase/save the day: “What made you decide to do this?” Nick then tells a familiar story: He didn’t want Kaitlyn to end up with someone else. But it’s step-mom with the follow-up: She wants to know about Nick’s last relationship, otherwise known as Andi. As Nick puts it, last time he came on the show to travel, and because clearly he didn’t do that this time, he’s obviously here for Kaitlyn.

Taking Nick aside, Kaitlyn’s mom tells him that she has a “not flattering” opinion of him. Quite frankly, she thinks he was “possessive” during Andi’s season. And she doesn’t want to use the word “arrogant,” but she just did, so…

Mom wants answers, and Nick quickly reassures her that he’s here for her daughter. And then, channeling women everywhere, Kaitlyn’s mother says that she knows what he sees in her daughter, but “WHAT DOES SHE SEE IN YOU?” In other words, “You suck.”

After landing that jab, mom follows it with a right hook, questioning their physical connection as a couple and asking flat-out if it will sustain. But Nick doesn’t go down easily. Tearing up, he informs Rocky Balboa that he loves her daughter and that he wants to spend forever with her. A few tears later, mom gives Nick her blessing and walks away thinking he’s a “teddy bear.” (Yeah, because you just beat him down.)

Moving to Kaitlyn’s father, Nick explains that he loves “every part” of Kaitlyn—too much information, Nick—but somehow, her dad gets a good feeling from Nick, so he hands out his blessing as well.

Outside, Kaitlyn says goodbye to Nick and informs her that he cried with her mother. You know, because it’ll make him look sensitive and sincere. But you know what won’t make him look sensitive and sincere? Kissing Kaitlyn with his eyes open. If I could unsee it, I really, truly would.

NEXT: Family, meet Shawn’s biceps

Next up, it’s Shawn’s day, and Kaitlyn’s step-dad clearly already has a preference, because if that neon yellow shirt doesn’t say welcome to the family, I don’t know what does.

Kaitlyn heads out to greet Shawn—who literally brought a gift for everyone—and by the time he hands Kaitlyn’s sister gifts for her kids, he’s won her over.

Kaitlyn had warned her family that Shawn has trouble expressing himself, but he’s surprisingly open with her family. He explains that his older sisters watched Chris’ season—bless their souls—and made Shawn watch because of Kaitlyn. And when Kaitlyn was kicked off, he took a picture of her with the message “Don’t worry I’m coming for you.” And now he has. It’s modern day romance at its finest, y’all.

Both mom and dad find Shawn to be very genuine. And at the lunch table, Shawn is reunited with his true love—beer—where he gives a toast about the importance of family and how he couldn’t be happier. As mom puts it, “There’s a MAN.” And suddenly, so much about Kaitlyn makes sense.

Taking Shawn aside, mom is ready to open some old wounds. First, she’s concerned about his jealousy, but Shawn chocks it up to his strong connection with Kaitlyn. So WHAT ABOUT THAT TIME MY DAUGHTER SLEPT WITH NICK? Okay, she doesn’t put it like that, but she definitely goes for the jugular … or more accurately, the gonads. (I’m so sorry for using that word.)

Shawn explains that this entire process has been hard, but only because he loves Kaitlyn. But he understands that they weren’t exclusive and he respects that Kaitlyn told him about sleeping with Nick. At the end of this, Shawn thinks they’ll come out of this process as a stronger couple. And mom is eating it up. (It’s almost like she has eyes or something.)

Inside, Kaitlyn’s sister is switching teams: After liking Nick ever since he was on Andi’s season, all it took was an hour with Shawn to put her firmly on #TeamShawn. According to her, she likes the way that Kaitlyn is around Shawn, all giddy and such. Kaitlyn might be attracted to Nick, but she and Shawn are already “connected.”

Meanwhile, outside, Shawn asks both Kaitlyn’s mom and dad for their blessing because he’s “never been more sure about anything in my life” and he does plan on proposing to their daughter. Mom dishes out her 1,000 percent support and dad concurs. Somebody call Neil Lane!

Now, we move to the most boring final dates in the history of the show. First up, Kaitlyn—whose so emotional all she could manage was a Katniss braid—and Nick lay on a boat. Literally. That’s all they do. The most interesting part of the entire day was watching Nick’s less-than-graceful leap onto the boat. Well, that, and the fact that he’s wearing board shorts, boat shoes, and a collared shirt. So yeah, he just made her decision for her.

Now, because we have no choice, let’s watch them lay here and talk about how their families would interact at a fictional barbecue. Then Kaitlyn describes Nick’s journey by saying he “had a quick ride there.” Yes, yes he did. Also, Nick, what about “Kaitlyn and I’s” sounds right to you? I genuinely want to know.

All Nick knows is that he can’t wait to be a normal couple and just hang out on the couch with Kaitlyn. (You know, one that isn’t as depressing as that one in Ireland.)

Finally, we get to the nighttime portion of this date, where things don’t get any more interesting. The entire night goes as follows:

One of them: It’s so weird that it’s almost over.

The other one: I know. It’s crazy.

I know, guys. Time is SO crazy.

NEXT: Nick has a gift for you … it’s in his bedroom

But leave it to Nick to tell Kaitlyn he has a gift for her … but in his bedroom, which is the adult equivalent of the creepy man telling kids: “I’ve got candy … in my van.”

In the bedroom, he gives her a framed photo of the two of them at the bar where they felt each other up before they went back to her hotel room and scarred us all. And framed next to the photo is … a poem? I’m not really sure. It reads:

“There is magic in your eyes and when I look at you, I see my future. There is electricity in your lips, and when I kiss you, I feel your energy. There is love in your heart, and when I touch you, I feel a love worth never letting go.”

You lost me at “there is magic in your eyes,” but apparently Nick spelled “energy” wrong, but I’m just impressed he realized. Also, can we talk about all of the sexual undertones in this gift? Actually, let’s not. I’d really rather not.

Okay, with that, we move to Shawn’s date, which is the most awkward date you could ever imagine. Despite Shawn’s super tight white shirt, Kaitlyn can’t get out of her own head and spends the entire date practically shaking thinking about the decision she’s going to have to make the next day. Seriously, it’s so awkward that Shawn is chugging his red wine. WINE. This is Shawn we’re talking about. Everyone knows he’s a beer man.

By the time they get to their night together, Shawn is reunited with his beer, and both of them seem a bit more relaxed as they imagine their life together. Kaitlyn asks if Shawn will watch the show when it airs, and other than a few parts—which ones, I wonder—he says he’ll watch and laugh about it.

Her next question? Two months into their relationship, and Kaitlyn is already worried about how they’ll keep things interesting in seven years. But Shawn’s just concerned about being a better person every day and putting her above everyone else. For him, these months have been the hardest and best of his life, and she’s worth it.

Now it’s Shawn’s turn to give Kaitlyn a gift, and he hands her a memory jar full or pictures and notes and other items from their dates together. As far as Shawn’s concerned, this season has been their love story, and tomorrow, he’s getting down on one knee. So with that …

Good morning, Vietnam!! It’s judgment day, and Shawn is up, shirtless, and ready to pick out a ring with Neil Lane. Elsewhere, Nick is up, shirted—it works—and also ready to pick a ring with Neil Lane. Meanwhile, Kaitlyn sleeps in a robe. (Yeah, okay.)

After a nice little montage involving everyone getting ready—seriously, did they ask Nick to wear a shirt at all times?—we follow them in their limos. Nick feels like Kaitlyn loved “every part” of him. (And we know he loved every part of her … sorry, just choked back some vomit.)

According to Nick, Kaitlyn’s relationship with Shawn is not the relationship that he has with her. In case you were wondering. That man teaches us so much, am I right?

Wait, we need a brief pause to talk about the shitty path/platform they constructed for Kailtyn at the Bachelor mansion. Not only did someone buy boards that creak, but also is she really supposed to get engaged while standing over the pool that just two months ago Ryan M jumped in? She can literally see the hot tub where Clint and JJ bonded. Someone on this production team hates her.

NEXT: It was the best of days, it was the worst of days

As the moon rises, Nick is the first out of the limo. Walking to meet Kaitlyn, he does the thing I hate most on this show: HE TALKS FIRST. After a season of YOU talking, this is literally the moment that Kaitlyn finally gets to speak, so let her go first! Let her actually pick you before you try to get down on one knee! Honestly, did no one learn from Jason Mesnick?! More importantly, does no one know how to read, I don’t know, simple facial expressions? Does she look like she’s happy right now, Nick?!

But Nick tells her that he’s in love with her anyway. As he gets emotional, he says he’s not ready to let them go and “I am yours forever if you’ll have me.” Aaaaannnnndddd she stops him from getting down on one knee. Oh god, make it stop.

And to make matters worse, Kaitlyn then proceeds to not speak for what feels like forever. (You know you actually have to reject him, right?)

Okay, she’s finally talking and trying to explain why she kept him around this long. She says she really did need every second they had together, but that her heart is just with somebody else. But that’s all Nick needs to hear. According to him, there’s nothing she could say to make him less confused.

And with this line—”If you were in love with me, we’d be having a different conversation”—I welcome you all to the classic Bachelorette vs. Contestant dilemma. There’s no way for him to understand what it’s like to be in her position and vice versa (sort of, because she was in his position with Chris).

But Kaitlyn reassures him that the bases they ran together were real to her in the moment. But for Nick, this was greater than a moment, and he doesn’t think it’s fair for her to tell him she feels the same because she doesn’t. “You don’t want to be with me and you don’t feel what I feel and you don’t love me,” he says.

Guys, I’m agreeing with Nick right now and I think I might need to check into some sort of rehab. But really, that’s fair.

Walking him out, Nick hops in the Fancy Finale Depression Limo, where he throws both the engagement ring—see if Neil Lane pays you a visit again, buddy—and his Claddagh ring. He says Kaitlyn had told him that she loved him, and that’s what’s making him feel like a joke. In other words, “Why did you tell me you loved me?” is his “Why did you make love with me?” of this year.

Nick then declares himself the world’s biggest joke. (Sorry, Nick, but don’t you dare try to take that from Clint.)

One commercial break later, we leave the tears behind for love and hugs and joy, etc.

With Shawn arriving at the crappy platform, he tells Kaitlyn that he knew his life was never going to be the same from the moment he saw her. She’s the most incredible woman he’s ever met; he falls more in love with her every time he sees her; etc.

Cue the “best friend, partner in crime, love of my life” line and Shawn finishes strong, telling her that all he wants to do is make her the happiest girl in the world. So yeah, I won’t make fun of him for writing down his speech, because that was pretty good.

Letting Kaitlyn talk, she finally tells him that she felt something indescribable from the moment he got out of the limo. “You light me up and you make me laugh out loud,” she says. Yes she’s made a lot of mistakes—DON’T BRING THAT UP NOW, WOMAN—but she is completely Shawn’s and will always be faithful to him. Shawn is the one and always will be.

Is it a shocking choice? No. But it was all worth it for the line when Shawn recalls the time he told her that he believes everything happens for a reason, and now he knows why all of this happened: “I’m not supposed to live my life without you and I’m not going to.” Getting down on one knee, he proposes, and she says yes.

Also, thank you, Shawn, for keeping it classic with a “Kaitlyn Bristowe, will you marry me?” I hate when people ruin the moment with a “will you be my property wife?” or something stupid.

Being super adorable, Kaitlyn tells Shawn again that she loves him, which he answers with a “thanks!” He then accepts the final rose and unfortunately, instead of jumping into the pool, they ride away in their Chariot of Love, which looks strangely like the Depression Mobile.

Remember when Sean and Catherine rode away on an elephant? Yeah.

And on to After the Final Rose… to summarize: Sean did eeny, meeny, miny, moe to pick Kaitlyn’s ring. Kaitlyn feels like a kid on Christmas morning. Nick behaved better on this After the Final Rose and has a full-blown beard now. He said neither he nor Shawn were the best versions of themselves with each other throughout the show. Shawn agreed with him when they confronted on live TV; things stayed boringly civil. When Kaitlyn came out to face Nick (who spent more time on ATFR than Kaitlyn or Shawn), she said she had “in-love” feelings for Ben, too, but no love was as strong as the love she felt for Shawn. (Shawn must be feeling super great about things now.) They played back the scene of Kaitlyn rejecting Nick—the scene we watched not an hour before—and Kaitlyn agrees that she should have rejected him in a different way. Then Nick wishes her the best. Guys, how is Nick doing so well at an After the Final Rose!? Kaitlyn gives a Tim Hortons shout-out, and it’s a wrap!

Everyone, say goodbye to the two happiest kids in all of the land … and then say goodbye to your recapper. Listen, we only have six days before Bachelor in Paradise, so if you need me, I’m going to be hibernating. I’ll see you (and Ashley S.) in paradise, where there’s sure to be more than one type of crab.

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