Both Gabby and Rachel ended their Bachelorette journey with a fiancé, but one of those relationships fell apart After the Final Rose.
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GARRETT, BECCA KUFRIN

Well, it was a messy end to an often-chaotic season of The Bachelorette, rose lovers.

Both Gabby and Rachel ended their "journey" with a fiancé, though one of those relationships fell apart after the final rose. Perhaps the most shocking development in tonight's three-hour finale extravaganza is that both women received gold engagement rings. As in, yellow gold. I can't even remember the last time Neil Lane even included a yellow gold ring in his bauble buffet — can you? Overall, it was a lot to process.

Let's recap!

Jesse Palmer welcomes us to the Tealight Candle Thunderdome, where the audience sits in grim, darkened silence as the host talks about how "brutal" the season has been. "It feels like there's been more scandal and betrayal than true love," he intones. "But there's always hope. Maybe tonight Tino can convince Rachel that his indiscretions were just a momentary lapse in judgment. And maybe Erich can explain away those damning text messages he sent to his girlfriend just a few days before stepping out of the limo on night one." Oh boy. Damning text messages and blackface? Those are two extremely uncool strikes.

Before we get started with the days leading up to the proposal, let's bring the Bachelorettes out to the Thunderdome stage. Looking good, ladies.

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Rachel and Gabby on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

The prerecorded action picks up with Gabby on her last night in Mexico, soon after Erich told her that wants to leave with her and "date" in the real world. "I need him to propose to me," says the frustrated Bachelorette. She informs producers that she'll speak with Erich one more time — so she can either push him over the proverbial finish line or determine if it's time to "f---ing walk away."

Gabby and Erich huddle on the balcony of his room, partially hidden from the prying eyes of the camera by a set of curtains. "I just want to leave here with you, whatever that takes," says Erich. "I want this to work, I really do. I really want us to work. We'll figure us out. Let's try."

As much as she wants to leave with a ring on her finger, Gabby says that after talking to Erich, she realized that the most important thing to focus on is "how much we love each other." Though she never comes right out and says, "it's okay if he doesn't propose," Gabby seems a lot calmer when she and Erich say goodnight. Maybe she's just exhausted? Who knows.

Gosh, in all the hubbub, I forgot that we haven't even seen Rachel's last chance date™ with Tino. And it should be a doozy, since she's about to tell him that he's the only guy left. "I'm excited, but I'm nervous," she says. "I'm hoping that me and Tino are on the same page still."

Spoiler alert: They are! Even before Tino learns that he's no longer in competition with another guy, he assures Rachel that he "wouldn't change a single second" of their courtship. And when the Bachelorette makes the big reveal ("It's you!"), Tino smooshes his face into hers and says, "You just made me the happiest guy in the whole world… I just want you to know this is never going anywhere."

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Rachel and Tino on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

Oh, boy. Never say never, sir. Especially on this show.

After every segment, producers cut back to the Tealight Candle Thunderdome, where they're making Gabby and Rachel sit there and rewatch the "big, fat dumpster fire" that is the final days of their "journey." These interstitial moments in the live studio are incredibly useless — other than for filling the finale's ridiculous runtime. "Does this feel like a lifetime ago?" Palmer asks Gabby and Rachel. Not yet, buddy — but ask us at the end of the episode. Moving on!

It's a glorious, sunny day in Mexico when our Bachelorettes meet for a catch-up session. They haven't seen each other since before Fantasy Suite dates, and Gabby is happy to learn that her BFF/fellow Bachelorette is also going into proposal day with just one guy. "I hoped it was Tino," she admits. "Like, it didn't take him one second to decide on you." Rachel is over the moon, saying that Tino makes her feel "100 percent chosen."

As for Gabby, she's feeling good about Erich. "He's fought for me time and time and time again," she says. Gabby admits that her chosen husband-to-be "didn't really say" he was going to propose, "but I hope so." No matter what happens, Gabby chokes up as she says, "I feel like all of my dreams are coming true." Rachel beams at her fellow Bachelorette. "I'm so happy you were able to open up your heart and accept what you deserve," she replies. "I love you." Awww, these two are the sweetest. Hug it out!

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Rachel and Gabby on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

Holy crap, is it the last day already? I guess so, because the next thing you know, Rachel's all dolled up waiting for Tino at the Proposal Platform. When he arrives, they look like bride and groom already — she in her sequined ivory halter-neck gown and he in his simple black tux. "I need you to know that I truly have never met anyone in my life like you," says the Bachelorette. "Someone who's just so selfless and gentle and supportive." Rachel goes on to say that she's "madly in love" with him and can't wait to spend forever with him.

That's your cue, Tino! He begins his speech with a bit of an ominous preamble — "The last thing I want to ever do is break your heart, but there's something I gotta say…"— but of course it's just a fake-out. (Knock it off, producers!) "Every time we're together, you make me feel like the center of your universe," says Tino. "Rachel, I love you so much, and I'm going to love you until the end of time." With that, Tino drops to one knee and…

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Product shot!
| Credit: ABC

Gah! Sorry, I really hate yellow gold. Always have, always will. Anyhow, Tino pops the question, and naturally Rachel says yes. A million times, in fact. Rachel and Tino seal the moment with a kiss, and then climb atop their ride into the sunset.

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Rachel and Tino on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

Congrats, you crazy kids. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Back in the Thunderdome, Palmer asks Rachel to "catch us up" on everything that's gone on since proposal day. "I truly felt that I had found my person," she muses. "It was really great for a while." But she and Tino went through "natural growing pains" after the show — dealing with a long-distance romance and coping with having their "love" story play out on screen. "Around the time of the premiere we just started going through a difficult time," she continues. Eventually, she thought things were getting better... but then Tino started "alluding" to "previous relationships" and hinting that something might "come to light." Long story short: "He cheated on me."

Rachel's parents, Mary Anne and Big Tony, are in the audience, and oh man, do they look pissed.

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Mary Anne and Big Tony
| Credit: ABC

From there, we cut to some kind of Bachelorette safe house, where Rachel is waiting to meet up with Tino and talk to him for the first time since he admitted to cheating. But first, she needs to confab with her bestie. "I can't believe we're having this conversation about him," Rachel says to Gabby with a sigh. "You can't be forgiven when you're not sorry for what you did."

While we don't know the extent of Tino's screw-up, he apparently cheated when he thought they were (say it with me, rose lovers) on a break. Gabby is sympathetic, and she's also pissed at Tino for doing her BFF so wrong. "He's only cares about himself," she huffs. "You guys had never actually been on a break, right?" Both of them are appalled that Tino seems more concerned about his image and how he'll come across on After the Final Rose than he is about hurting Rachel. "You owe it to yourself to tell him exactly what you were thinking," says Gabby, "and that you do need and deserve better."

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Agreed, Gabby.
| Credit: ABC

From the moment Rachel opens the door to Tino later that day, you can practically feel the doomsday energy through the TV screen. They sit in silence for a second. Tino suggests that Rachel go first, but the Bachelorette shuts that down fast.

"I can go first," whispers Tino miserably. "I messed up. I kissed another girl, but the second I did, I knew I belonged with you. And this was the tiniest thing ever, so I just tried to… And, like, I'm not taking away from what happened at all and the emotional roller-coaster it puts you on. But I just tried to get past it."

Rose lovers, the series of faces Rachel made while listening to this was simply sublime. A sampling:

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Rachel is not having it
| Credit: ABC

Read the room, Tino! This is not going well for you. Rachel demands to know "everything," so her fiancé trots out all the unfortunate details. He met a woman before going on The Bachelorette, but they didn't date or have any significant interactions. After production on the show ended, however, he ran into this person at a bar, and they spent some time "catching up."

The week the show premiered, Rachel said some things that hurt his feelings — and apparently Tino wrote some of those things down in his journal! He literally brought it with him to present as evidence.

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Tino has receipts.
| Credit: ABC

"You said, 'I don't know how this is going to work. I'm in a bad place and I can't put any effort into this,'" he says, reading from his journal. "'I can't do Happy Couples this weekend like we planned, and if we do one, I don't want to sleep there.'" He adds that Rachel "jokingly" asked him if he'd be the next Bachelor, but she shoots back, "Do you want to bring that up when you answered it like you would?"

Tino vehemently denies doing so, and then continues reading what he says are damning statements from Rachel: "I'm giving back the ring. I can't wear it to AFR." And "I don't want to go to therapy, I don't want to talk to anybody about this." The last statement sends Rachel over the edge.

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I call this piece, "Aw, hell no."
| Credit: ABC

"Tino, look at me in the eyes and do not lie," she fumes. "You are literally lying right now… I went to therapy, and the only reason it wasn't scheduled is because I was in LA and New York doing press, and you know that! I was exhausted, and as a good partner you shouldn't throw that in my face." She goes on to scold Tino for not providing "context" for these "receipts" he's confronting her with on camera.

From here, the fight starts devolving into who said what when. "Never once did we say, 'We are broken up. We are not engaged,'" Rachel argues. "I was going through a hard time, and you know it had nothing to do with you ever, or our relationship!" Tino is, in a word, perplexed.

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Tino is stumped
| Credit: ABC

"Hold on. Saying, 'I'm giving the ring back…'" Rachel cuts him off. "I never said, 'I'm giving the ring back.' I said, 'If we go back to dating, then I'm not going to wear it at AFR.'" Tino can't believe what he's hearing, but Rachel is not about to let him make excuses for his extracurricular smooches. (Hey, that rhymes! Yes, I'm tired!) "You are trying to say is what you did is because we were in a bad place," she huffs. "Not once have you said, 'I'm sorry about all this.'"

She's not wrong, rose lovers. But Tino looks shocked. "Rachel, I'm so sorry about this! I thought I've told you this every single day!" he says plaintively. They continue to go back and forth, though we never quite hear how Rachel learned of Tino's transgression — just that it happened, and that he didn't tell her about it right away. More importantly, Rachel doesn't believe that this was a one-time thing. "If you don't believe that, then why are we here?" says Tino, before stepping outside for some air.

Once in the yard, he begins frantically trying to pull his microphone off while a producer asks him for an update.

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It's all going off the rails for Tino
| Credit: ABC

"This is f---ing going nowhere," he grumbles. "She just wants to f---ing beat me up. She's throwing me under the bus saying all this is lies… She's totally crucifying me. She just called it all bullshit!" His voice begins to tighten with emotion. "Just get me out of this!" he wails. "Just tell her to break up with me. Let me out!"

Boy, it never ceases to impress me how the producers manage to make the people on this show so thoroughly dependent on them. Tino, you are a grown ass man, and Rachel is a full adult woman. You have agency to break up with her and vice versa — you don't need to beg some person on the show's staff to do it for you.

Eventually Tino comes back inside, just as we knew he would. Rachel starts in on Tino again, telling him he needs to take accountability for his actions. He attempts to explain his position once more: When the kiss happened, Tino says he was "under the impression that we were pretty much done." But then their relationship started to improve, and he decided to forgive himself and "bury it" and "not get in your hair over something so tiny."

Cut to:

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Rachel is shocked
| Credit: ABC

Same, girl. Same. Look, I'm not saying that his stray smooch is cause for a scorched-earth breakup, but you cannot build a healthy partnership on a foundation of secrets and lies. Surely Tino has to understand why Rachel is not super-psyched to enter into a lifelong commitment with a guy who thinks she's on a "need to know" basis about his mistakes.  

It doesn't help that Tino just told Rachel he thought they were "pretty much done," but apparently, he told the Other Woman that he was engaged. Tino acts completely confused, essentially denying that he said anything of the sort. "Tino, please, please for the love of God, if you respect me at all, please just tell the truth," Rachel groans. Instead, Tino walks out of the house again.

She follows Tino and finds him in the yard with his shirt all the way unbuttoned (most likely from trying to take off his mic) and on a cell phone. "What are you doing?"

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Uhhh... okay.
| Credit: ABC

Nothing to see here, folks! Move along! But Rachel still has a lot of questions. "Don't you think I'm owed an answer for why you did what you did?" She's mad that she had to force this information out of him, and she's mad that he immediately said, "I wish I never told you." (Ooof.) Tino tries again, urging her to not to give up on their relationship. "We can make it through this," he says. "I know we can. I'm sorry. I'll spend the rest of my life making it up to you."

Sorry, sir, but she's not going to give you that chance. Rachel stands up and holds out the engagement ring. "I'm done," she announces. "I wanted to do this one time. I'm done. I'm done." Tino looks completely defeated, and he doesn't take the ring. He leaves it on the table, apologizes to Rachel for letting her down, and walks out. Rachel is left sitting by herself — with, you know, a whole camera crew — in the Happy Couple house, wondering where it all went wrong. "I tried," she says to no one in particular.

Back in the Thunderdome, Rachel states the obvious: "It's hard to watch this back." To this day, she feels like Tino was never sorry for what he did, and at this point, their relationship is completely dunzo. They haven't spoken since that very Unhappy Couple date, though he did write her a letter "claiming responsibility and telling me he was sorry," she says. "I really do hope I still see some apology tonight."

Well, he's here tonight, so let's bring him out and see what happens. Cue the reluctant smattering of applause and scattered boos!

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Rachel and Tino face each other on 'The Bachelorette.'
| Credit: ABC

Grim-faced and sadsack, Tino lauches into his apology. "Rachel, I am so sorry," he says. "My actions are on me and I own them completely. From the bottom of my heart I'm sorry for what I did. I'm sorry it took me so long to tell you, and I'm sorry that that meet-up came off like I was trying to put any responsibility of what I did on you."

Rachel is unimpressed. "You completely put it on me," she complains. Tino attempts to clarify that he was hoping to give her context to how The Kiss happened. "I wish everyone really got to see the love story that we lived," he says. "Because you were so sweet to me and you always made me so happy... You were amazing. You didn't deserve that." Of course, once the show began airing, they both started "going through a tough time," and Tino says that "when we started letting our conversations get into 'I can't love you anymore,' and you said you didn't want to wear the ring..."

Rachel interrupts. "Do you want to get into that?" she snaps. Clearly, there's something more going on behind the scenes here. "We were going through a really hard time and it's deeply personal to both of us," she says. "And I think we both don't want to air out why those things were happening, but we can. Do you want to talk about it?"

Short answer: No, no he does not. Tino keeps repeating his key talking points: "No one is responsible for my actions but me" and "I was devastated when you said you weren't going to wear the ring." Even though Tino agrees with Rachel that they never called off their engagement, she still insists that Tino is trying to "project" the idea that they were broken up when he kissed some random woman. "If our engagement was over, wouldn't our friends and family know it was over?" she fumes. "Wouldn't we have to re-get engaged?"

Okay, this is just pointless. No matter how many times Tino apologizes, and at this point I think he's pretty sincere, Rachel is simply too mad to hear it. And that's fine! Healing is a process. But watching them talk at each other is exhausting. "Rachel, I understand that you're really hurt," says Tino with a sigh. "For weeks I felt like I was trying so hard, and it was really... I'm sorry, but we landed at, 'We need to give the ring back.' I thought you were checking out. But that doesn't excuse my actions." Okay, okay, we get it.

Finally, the segment ends. Time to move on... Sorry, what's that, Jesse Palmer? Someone is here who "demanded" a chance to talk to Rachel? And you're going to bring him on stage while Tino is still sitting there? Sure, let's turn this squall into an absolute hurricane of humiliation. Come on out, mystery guess!

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Welcome back, Aven
| Credit: ABC

Well hey there, Aven! What brings you to the Thunderome? "I was just wondering if you want to get out of here and just catch up?" he asks Rachel. "I would love nothing more!" she chirps, as the crowd squeals and cheers. All Tino can do is just sit there and mope on the couch in full Eeyore mode. "Bye!" a woman in the audience yells to him. Brrr... It's getting cold in here.

With that, it's time to see what happens with Gabby's "journey." Will she get her proposal, or will she leave Mexico broken-hearted because the man she loves has reasonable ideas about what it takes to build and sustain a healthy relationship? Let's find out!

Oh, this is interesting… Erich's looking at rings. And they are… certainly Neil Lane rings.

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Down with yellow gold!
| Credit: ABC

Well, Neil Lane and his product have to get their contractually required camera time, I suppose. It doesn't necessarily mean that Erich is going to propose. When he arrives to greet Gabby — love the colorful flower embroidery on her gown — they smooch and smooch and smooch, and then Gabby starts her speech. "You remind me of a love that I've only ever known in my dreams," she says. "You've loved me before I knew how to love me."

Sorry, could someone ask the peacocks to quit screeching? Gabby's pouring her heart out here! "I love you, and I want to love you as long as you'll let me," she says. "And I'm sure for much longer after that." (A self-deprecating queen until the end.)

"You deserve somebody who's going to give you 100 percent," says Erich, pausing a bit too long before completing his thought. "I want to be that person for you." Though the stars did not "literally" have to align for Erich and Gabby to find each other, overall, his monologue is very sweet. "When I met you, I immediately was 100 percent myself," he says. "At that time, I didn't know it, but I had met my soulmate."

Wait, am I tearing up? And wait, did producers actually convince Erich to get down on one knee?!? Survey says…

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Erich and Gabby on 'The Bachelorette'
| Credit: ABC

Naturally, Gabby accepts. "Oh, my God — it's so pretty!" she gushes, admiring her ring. Erich accepts her final rose, and all the peacocks screech in approval. "I do have one final question to ask you, though," says Erich. "Can I have your number?" Get it? It's a joke! Because on this show, people get engaged without possessing even the most basic information about each other! My sides hurt from laughing! Anyhoo, congrats you crazy kids.

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Post-proposal motorcycle ride
| Credit: ABC

When we cut back to the Tealight Candle Thunderdome, Gabby is in the studio and she looks very happy. Maybe those "damning text messages" weren't such a big deal after all? Erich comes out on stage, and the two start making out so intensely that Palmer has to remind them that The Bachelorette is "family TV" and "owned by Disney."

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Erich and Gabby
| Credit: ABC

They spend a few minutes talking about the romantic proposal ("What were you feeling in that moment, Gabby?" "Uh, I forgot"), and Palmer asks Erich to explain why he changed his mind and decided to propose after expressing doubts. "I wanted us to be on the same page. I just wanted this so badly," he says. "I wanted the happy ending."

After some more fluffy banter (yay, Grandpa John!), Palmer gets down to business. "We do understand over the last few months, it hasn't all gone perfectly for you two," he says. "There are some difficult questions to answer." For example, Erich, Did you only break up with your last girlfriend so you could go on the show, and did you send her flirty text messages saying as much?

"I met this girl about a month before this all started," Erich explains. "I realized it was not a connection long-term, and it was about the same time that the show had reached out. I handled it poorly, 100 percent. I led her on, and I want to own that... It was a mistake that I made on my part." Palmer's like, Okay, sure... but what about THIS:

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Oh boy.
| Credit: ABC

Oh, snap! It's one of the "damning text messages" in the flesh! (Or whatever text messages are made of. "In the pixels"? Who knows.) Making clear that these texts were sent before the show began filming, Palmer offers Erich a chance to explain himself again. "I was taking the cowardly way out," admits Erich. "I was using the show as an excuse."

He goes on to say that he knew nothing about The Bachelorette when he signed up for the show, and he figured he'd just go and "see what happens." He certainly didn't expect to meet his soulmate on night one. "I wouldn't change anything," he says. "The only thing that I am sorry for is the beginning of it, I want to own that. But I love this girl with all my heart."

Gabby says that Erich told her about the text messages "way before" they were leaked — so it wasn't a Tino situation where he was trying to protect his image in the public eye. Still, "it's not something that you plan for," she says. "You leave this bubble engaged... and then real life hits you." Though she doesn't condone Erich's actions — "You were kind of an asshole to her," she tells him — Gabby assures Palmer that she believes that her fiancé is honest and trustworthy. "It's been hard, but when you say yes to spending your life with someone, it's not going to be easy — especially in the public eye," she adds.

Okay, so... Nothing about the blackface, then? We're just going to skip right over that and do a whole segment with Gabby talking about being on Dancing With the Stars? Wow. That's... a choice. (Sadly, not a surprising one.)

Welp, I guess it's time to introduce our new Bachelor. Welcome, Zach Shallcross!

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Zach takes the stage
| Credit: ABC

Sure, just a few weeks ago he was heartbroken over Rachel, but now he's "turned the page" and is (say it with me, rose lovers) Ready to Find Love Again™. "What I learned from that experience, it didn't change how ready I was [to get married]," says Zach. "And that breakup didn't deter it." With that in mind, Zach's been prepping for his role as the Bachelor by spending time with family and friends. "I also went to the gym a lot," he says with a laugh. Good call, buddy. You are going to be showering on camera all the time.

Looks like producers are ready to call Zach's bluff. Oh, you're ready to find your person now? Then let's do it... RIGHT NOW. Yep, the live "limo exits" are back, rose lovers! And not only will Zach be meeting five of his potential wives tonight, one of them will get a First Impression Rose — but in a delightfully sick twist, producers are letting America choose which woman will earn that honor.

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LOL
| Credit: ABC

I'm already feeling drunk with power, rose lovers! Let's meet ladies, shall we?

Brooklyn, 25: This perky blonde dental lab tech makes an instant impression by getting bleeped by ABC censors. Anyone catch what she said? Language, Brooklyn!

Brianna, 24: She's an entrepreneur from Jersey City, New Jersey, and she brings out a camera so she and Zach can share a "selfie moment." It's cute, even though producers were probably cursing backstage because it was taking too long for Zach to figure out how to use the camera.

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Say cheese!
| Credit: ABC

Bailey, 27: Wow, 27 whole years old? A mature woman with a real job! (She's an executive recruiter.) Perhaps Zach should be thinking of Bailey on the daily.

Cat, 26: This professional dancer from New York just screams high maintenance. And she openly admits it to our new Bachelor. "Much like living in New York City, dating me is not intended for the weak," she coos. "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere." Run, Zach. Run!

Oh, this is interesting.

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Is she country royalty?
| Credit: ABC

Is Christina Mandrell, 26 related to Barbara Mandrell by any chance? She says she's "born and raised in Nashville," so maybe. Why else would they show us her full last name? Or maybe I'm just desperately trying to find something interesting about what I fear could be a very vanilla season of The Bachelor.

After Zach meets the five contestants, Palmer puts the new Bachelor on the spot: "Can you name all the women you just met?" How rude! He cannot, but don't worry, Zach — as I learned from my time at the mansion a few years ago, the Bachelor gets plenty of help when it comes to remembering all the names at the first rose ceremony.

So who will win the "historic" (LOL) America's First Impression rose? Big Paulie emerges from backstage with a bright red envelope, and after a comically long pause, Palmer reads off the lucky woman's name. Congratulations, Brianna! Your selfie gimmick worked! (There is absolutely no way she and Zach wind up together, but that's not important right now.)

The three-hour Bachelorette odyssey ends with an extended promo for Bachelor in Paradise. Because I'm going to spend way too many hours of my life watching and recapping this show, I won't spend too much time on it now — except to say (again), did they seriously cast one of the annoying Jersey Shore twins who went home on night one of Gabby and Rachel's season?

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Blech
| Credit: ABC

Not cool, guys. Not cool.

Give yourselves a round of applause, rose lovers. We made it through season 19 of The Bachelorette! Before you collapse from exhaustion, please take a moment and share your thoughts on this "journey." Do you think Erich and Gabby will last? Should Rachel and Aven give their relationship another shot? And what do you think Jesse Palmer was talking about when he said the show "learned a lot of valuable lessons" this season? Post your thoughts below!

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GARRETT, BECCA KUFRIN
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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