HOLLYWOOD—Six long weeks of binge-drinking, complicated love triangles and just overall anarchy came to a close this week during the two-night Bachelor in Paradise finale—where a record-breaking three couples left Mexico engaged and eager to start their new lives.
Monday night’s episode opened with the arrival of a new bachelorette (yes—on the second to last episode of the season, where literally everyone is already coupled up); Tiara Soleim, 27, a “Chicken Enthusiast” from Redmond, WA and “The Bachelor” season 20 (Ben) walks down the steps—date card in hand; and since she has pretty much zero available options, Nick asks her to gift him and Jen her date card – and she does!
Nick and Jen set off for a much needed one-on-one outside of “Paradise” – they sit down with a fortune teller, who pretty much reaffirms any hesitations they had as a couple; she pulls out the “Nick of Hearts,” then explains that in terms of their relationship—there’s “one foot in and one foot out.” Jen resultantly decides that unless Nick lets down his “walls,” their relationship would be doomed.
Brett returns from his date with Lauren H. and ultimately decides he has a “better connection” with her, thus, is obliged to have a very difficult and outwardly uncomfortable confrontation with Izzy, where he avoids eye contact and hits her with the most classic breakup explanation in “Bachelor” history: “I just feel like I had a better connection with her… than I did with you… and I just kind of want to pursue it and see where things go with her.”
Izzy—blindsided—storms off and spur-of-the-moment decides she loves Vinny again and longs to reunite with him in Florida—at that exact moment; she packs her bags, says goodbye to “Paradise,” hops in a black Escalade conveniently on standby and dials Vinny, begging for a second chance—but his heart-wrenching rejection leaves her sobbing: “You know, obviously what happened – it just really blindsided me; you wanting to throw it all away to some guy with a lamp (Brett brought a lamp as a distinguishing factor when he arrived to “Paradise” on week four) was pretty shallow.” Adding, “when that happened, literally all of the feelings I had just went out the window. I just can’t be with somebody like that. For me, there’s just really no coming back from what happened.”
Elsewhere, Carly is talking down an anxious Ashley I.—who is obsessing over Wells while her, Jami and Shushanna passively compete for his attention in the moments leading up to the rose ceremony. Wells chats privately with Jami first, then Ashley I.; that’s when Shushanna confronts him to ultimately explain, “If there was some really great connection…you wouldn’t have question to yourself about what decision to make.” Officially making her the most logical contender in “Bachelor” history. Shushanna says “goodbye” to “Paradise” and walks away with her pride.
The final rose ceremony—as Ashley I. puts it—is “pretty much designed for Wells,” being that everyone else is coupled up: Josh gives his rose to Amanda; Nick gives his to Jen; Grant gives his to Lace; Evan gives his to Carly; Brett—in a shocking turn-around—leaves his rose on the table and says “goodbye,” deciding, “I just feel like—I didn’t really feel that spark like I was going to here.” Wells gives his rose, the final rose to Ashley I., sending home three bachelorettes: Jami, Tiara and Lauren H.
The next morning, Chris Harrison sits down the five remaining couples to talk strictly business – and in a nutshell, tells them, “If you’re not trying to get married—get out.” After dropping that bomb, he leaves them all to disperse, converse privately as couples and be mindful of the fact that the next step—that same night—would be a “romantic one-on-one date and a fantasy suite.”
Post deep-thinking, Wells is the first to decide that his connection couldn’t weather the strain of the real world; he pulls Ashley I. aside and puts her through yet another “Paradise” heartbreak when he tells her, quite simply, “I can’t say something is that isn’t.”
Eight love-struck contenders make it through the night and four uneasy men prepare to propose. First: Evan and Carly; Carly walks down the steps to meet Evan on the beach – they share a corny rehash of their relationship, then, Evan pops the question: “Carly, will you freaking marry me?” She says yes! And that the ring is “freaking perfect.”
Next: Grant and Lace—or—as their matching tattoos say, “Grace;” they similarly recap the ups and downs of their journey in “Paradise” and Grant opens up his proposal with what is probably the most romantic transition of all time: “I love you when you’re happy, I love you when you’re sad, I love you when you’re stubborn—I even love you when you’re screaming at me; but, mostly, I love you when you’re Lace.” He adds, “I want a future with you, I want babies with you, I want to build a life with you – and I want that to start today.” Amid tears, Lace accepts his proposal and the happy couple scampers off hand-in-hand.
Then – a not-so happy ending; Jen meets Nick—the next “Bachelor”—on the beach; she pours her heart out and tells Nick—for the first time— “I love you.” He breaks down in tears—somehow managing to carry himself as the most masculine crier ever. Then, he drops a line that reminds all of “Bachelor Nation” precisely why he is the season 21 bachelor, “Sometimes, you wish you could tell your heart what to do—and if I could, I’d tell it to choose you; but something’s telling me to say goodbye.”
The final proposal: Josh and Amanda – “Paradise’s” most controversial, but most predictable couple, being that they were attached at the hip since week one. Amanda tells Josh the thought of welcoming him into her “small family” (her and her two daughters) “warms [her] heart.” Josh promises to, “love them as much as [he] loves [her]” and with that, gets down on one knee; she of course, accepts.
Bachelor Nation will return to ABC in January 2017 when “The Bachelor” season 21 debuts, feature two-time “The Bachelorette” runner-up and “Bachelor In Paradise” superstar, Nick Viall.