Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Let's chat about The Bachelorette (Fantasy Suites + Finale)

This week's double-episode finale commentary is brought to you by our final three, who I've captured equally in their glory:

We've made it to the final two episodes! And what Tayshia wants us to learn from this journey is "if you just believe in yourself, there are people who will sweep you off your feet." Which yes, I totally agree with her that if you just believe in yourself and also get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go on a reality dating show where you get to date 30 men at once who are all promised FabFitFun sponsorships at the end and you are the only romantic interest they interact with for several weeks, one of them will probably like you at the end and sweep you off your feet. Swoon.

As a note this week's recap is a full rack of ribs meaty. So let's get to it, beginning with Fantasy Suites.

"I feel like Ivan and I could have a really beautiful life together"

Ivan is up first in the Fantasy Suites lineup and since this is one of the last dates he'll have with Tayshia, it's important for them to do something that'll help Tayshia determine if she's ready to marry him. The producers of course throw the weight of that aside and instead make them spend the day portion of their date trying to break the world record for "world's longest coldest kiss":

This is maybe one of the most random things to happen on a season that has just been one giant random number generator. They end up holding the kiss for 6 minutes, breaking the world record and leading Tayshia to believe they "can do anything now." And like I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, but breathing into someone's face while sitting in an ice bath in what appears to be a random backyard for six minutes while Chris Harrison creepily watches, isn't exactly the best final test for a relationship. 

But I mean, what do I know.

Later, for dinner and the Fantasy Suite assessment portion of the date, Ivan shows up in a perfectly ironed/steamed button-down:

LIKE IT LOOKS SO SMOOTH??? Does the fact that this caught my attention mean I am a mother??

They both share how comfortable they are with each other and how they can share anything. Ivan says that when he loves someone, he loves "hard" (I'm sparing you all the inapprop joke here) and then follows up with the necessary love declaration, telling Tayshia he started falling in love with her a couple of weeks ago, but it's intensified. He then clearly tells her "I'm undoubtedly falling in love with you" and cutely enough APOLOGIZES FOR NOT TELLING HER SOONER. Which I mean, they've known each other for like 3 weeks, if he told her any sooner she would've been at home still and Clare would've been here. Anyway, Tayshia says she's falling for him too and then pulls off this killer magic trick:

The ol' "hiding the Fantasy Suite invite under the plate of fish" trick. Everyone knows that classic. 

She hands Ivan the card that of course is not complete without the inclusion of a haunted key from the 1800s:

I always find it weird how an invite to something called a "Fantasy Suite" is from Chris Harrison. Like, imagine you're at dinner with your boyfriend and a random middle aged bird looking man shows up and hands you an antique key and tells you he's reserved a hotel room for you. This is basically that. It's weird, right.

Anyway, the "fantasy" part of this suite is actually pretty true because it includes THIS GLORIOUS TRAY OF DONUTS that no one eats:

Oh, but zooming out, the "suite" part is this: 

Not even judging here because I would 100% be lured to a trailer if a man told me he had donuts. 

After talking more and ignoring the donuts, Tayshia and Ivan retire for the night to the bedroom, which is how we learn ABC is really stretching the limits of what "fantasy" means:

Looking like what sized bedroom you can get for $1,800 a month in the East Village. My brain actually can't process how many cabinets and how much wood is in this tiny room. Anyway, sexy ambiance.

The next morning, they feed each other fruit from a giant bowl and say goodbye so they can probably go back to their own rooms and check for splinters from the giant wood closet they slept in.

She's gonna pick Zac, isn't she

Zac is up next and his date's location gets us the last stamp we need on our customer loyalty card for one free pizza because we're back at the pizza oven:

We learn they'll be creating a giant painting using their bodies and I'm gonna skim over most of the recap here because 80% of it was just sounds of paint sloshing around sounding sort of like wet macaroni noodles or what it sounds like when a banana is eaten. 

After showering off, they meet for the evening portion of the date, aka the scheduled time for Zac to admit his love for Tayshia. But before diving into telling Tayshia how much he loves her, Zac first has to dive into the sweat pouring from his face AND WIPE IT ONTO TAYSHIA'S LEG:


After the sweat wiping, Zac tells Tayshia he's never felt this strongly so quickly about someone before. Tayshia then asks him about something she's been thinking about since she chatted with his mom — if he still doesn't want kids (because she def does). He says he used to think he wanted to be single and the "fun uncle" forever, but has changed his thinking since meeting Tayshia and now wants kids and knows he'll be a good father and husband. He then tells her he loves her AND SHE SAYS SHE LOVES HIM TOO, NOT "STARTING TO FALL IN LOVE" JUST OUTRIGHT "I LOVE YOU," which I think confirms she's def picking him in the end.

They then have the world's most uncomfortable and one-sided hug in history:

Tayshia offers Zac the Fantasy Suite invite + ghost key combo and he obviously accepts, so they head to their room that looks like it's the guest bedroom over someone's garage AND PROCEED TO PUT THEIR SHOES ON THE BED.


The next morning they jump on the bed and Zac wears Tayshia's robe I guess as a way of showing us how "fun" they are? 

This robe looks exactly like the one Dr. Chloe gave us bridesmaids to get ready for the wedding in and coincidentally, like Zac, I also danced around with my chest hair out while wearing it.

After Tayshia and Zac say their goodbyes, Tayshia says "It's been hard to navigate that you can love more than one person at a time" and as someone who who feels deeply about both Zac Efron and Michael B. Jordan, I think she's just not trying hard enough.

We all saw this coming

Brendan is the final fantasy suite date and as a reminder, he's the one Tayshia has been infatuated with from the beginning. Also, he's the one guy who has been most vocal and honest about wanting to be 10000% sure this is the right thing for both him and Tayshia because of how serious marriage is. With that in mind, their date is of course just a casual day browsing wedding rings with Neil Lane.

I don't know if Brendan was more freaked out by the ring shopping or by Neil Lane's insanely smoothed over Play-Doh face. Or maybe he was anxious about how everyone was ignoring this glorious tiered tray of tea sandwiches and goodies:

As if it isn't clear that this date is meant to be a pressure cooker situation for Brendan, Neil Lane gives a spiel about the eternity wedding band and how it symbolizes marriage lasting forever (I don't know why he explains the word "eternity" since it's pretty self-explanatory, but go off Neil). In response to this and about 80% of this date, we get dramatic zoom shots of Brendan not blinking:

You gotta love (and by love I mean hate) how petty this show is put this man through this. It'd be like if I said I really liked mustard a lot, but then got forced into deciding if mustard was the only condiment I'd get to use for life and the way to help me decide was covering me in mustard (this metaphor checks out, thanks).

Later, they have dinner surrounded by pyrotechnics:

I'm sure you know those are actually just hanging lights but don't they sort of look like pyro and also how funny would it be for them to be trying to have a serious conversation while sparks are going off around them like it's an Ariana Grande concert.

In a moment we all knew was coming, Brendan tells Tayshia he realized there's a part of him that's still broken and his heart isn't whole yet and she deserves someone who's complete and that's not him right now. She's shocked, but obviously he's gotta go. So they both get up so he can catch his Uber, but not before he catches one last glimpse of that smothered steak he didn't even get to taste:

While it was clear this was coming, it was still pretty shocking because had Brendan not left on his own, I'm pretty sure he would've been in Tayshia's top 2. 

But now with him gone, that means there's two roses and two guys left, so easy peasy right? OF COURSE NOT.

Big Hands Ben is back

Because there is some sort of buy-one-get-one deal with white guys not leaving when they're told to, Ben returns because he needs to tell Tayshia that he's in love with her. He first checks in with gatekeeper Chris Harrison, I guess because Chris hasn't gotten much airtime this episode, before heading over to Tayshia's suite and this is her reaction to seeing him:

I just want to point out that Ben showing up again is completely different from when Bennett did it because Ben is hot and also not annoying and that is a super important distinction.

He apologizes for being so horrible when she sent him home, but he couldn't leave without telling her that he's in love with her and has been for a bit, but since he's never felt this feeling it terrified him. In response, Tayshia is like do you like this nail color, it's new:

She tells him it's a lot to handle, but she'll let him stay for the Rose Ceremony to give her more time to make a decision. Something that I'm sure Ivan and Zac will def be happy about, lolllllllllll jk this is their reaction upon seeing Ben walk into the ceremony:

After Tayshia joins the group, she says she welcomed Ben back and also Brendan isn't here because she sent him home because it "wasn't right" and guess what, it's 2-for-1 at this sushi happy hour and she's on a break-up roll.

Before giving out any roses, she asks to speaks to Ivan which is code for "I'm about to break up with you but want to do it in private." 

She says some things have been concerning her, particularly their different views on religion (it's very important to her). And also, his name has four letters, which is one too many to be in her final two. He says he understands and despite them both saying they were falling in love like an hour ago, this breakup is quicker and less dramatic than a sneeze. I've had more intense conversations with my Chipotle burrito bowl maker.

And with that, Ivan leaves and Ben and Zac are our final two.

Meeting Tayshia's family

Before Tayshia can decide which 3-letter named man she wants to marry, they both need to meet her family (who have all arrived at the La Quinta).

Gonna keep this short and sweet and focus on the real difference between the two meetings because in general, her parents liked both guys and could see how in love they were with Tayshia.

When Ben meets the fam, they're lunch spread include pepperoni pizza, some other buttery bread/pizza looking thing, a giant fruit platter, two other trays of round brown things (my favorite) and a pedestal of fruit tarts:

So tbh, quite the spread.

On the other hand, when Zac meets them, they only get two brown looking flatbreads, a plate of what appears to be mini rolls??? and a pedestal of Chips Ahoy. Though, he does bring out "New York style" pizza for them later, I guess because the gummy bears and sour gummy worms bagel bar wasn't available.

I know Tayshia's family has been a part of this experience before, but it still blows my mind that they're not more weirded out by this entire situation. Like, if I brought my parents out to Palm Springs to meet 2 guys I've known for maybe 5 weeks and asked for their opinion on who I should marry, they'd be like wtf??? This is bizarre???

Anyway, the meetings go well and Tayshia's parents don't raise any major concerns about either guy, until.....

Her dad later visits to essentially make us believe Tayshia is struggling with a decision when it's pretty clear she's going to pick Zac. He tells her he wants her to be sure so she doesn't "make the biggest mistake" of her life because she's been hurt before. She thanks him for visiting and then changes into all black because, as we all know, she's gonna pick Zac so she needs to start mourning her past single life.

The final to-dos before getting engaged (to Zac, clearly)

1) Go on one last date with Zac

They learn a wedding dance routine and I don't know I guess this was sort of cute. During one of their last conversations, Tayshia tells Zac she worries about the future and his feelings changing based on if she changes. He reassures her that he loves her for her, no matter what she decides to do in life (I mean what if she decides to become one of those people who claps when a plane lands though). He also tells her that it's his 9-year sobriety anniversary, which is important because his sobriety allows him to not run away and he's committing to her forever. 

2) Break up with Ben

So hot ass Ben, still thinking he's got a horse in the race, is getting ready for his final date with Tayshia, a process that gives us both a shower scene and a prolonged shirtless grooming scene. Sometimes the producers get it right.

Before he can get to the date though, Tayshia pays him a visit because it's break-up o'clock. She does her thing where she first gives hope, by saying Ben was the guy who set the bar for the other guys and she was falling in love with him from early on, before coming through with the all caps BUT. She says they missed some "monumental" time after he went home (it was 20 min, tops) and she just knows her heart is with someone else.

He takes it in normal Ben fashion by staring into the distance and tells her it doesn't change the fact that he's in love with her and he's genuinely happy for her. We then get one last giant hands + bicep flexed hug to make us feel better:

Despite Tayshia saying they lost "monumental" time together, even if Ben had told her he loved her the week prior, it ultimately wouldn't change the fact that she chose Zac a while ago, so. 

Ben is def a strong contender for being a future Bachelor and in support of that I'd like to submit this collection of shots from this week of him kissing Tayshia's hand like some sort of Disney prince:


Now that Tayshia has checked these final items off her list it's.....

Time to get engaged

Right so Tayshia's cleaned up shop and it's time for her to tell Circus Peanut he's her favorite candy. In preparation for this, Zac picks out a Neil Lane ring and gives it the ol' "one ring to rule them all" look (FYI I don't watch Lord of the Rings but I assume this joke checks out, don't correct me, thanks).

Meanwhile, Tayshia starts making her way to the designated randomly carpeted engagement spot THAT IS APPARENTLY IN THE ELEPHANT GRAVEYARD FROM THE LION KING??

As she's waiting, the producers (I'm sure) make Tayshia talk to herself, saying things like "I don't know if I'm doing the right thing" and "I hope this is the right decision" primarily so these clips can be used for promos. When in reality, it has been crystal clear for weeks that Zac is her #1 and she is very sure of it. Like, this ending is maybe one of the most anticlimactic ever, but also that might be a good thing? Because on the day you get engaged, you shouldn't actually be waffling between two pancakes?

Anyway, Zac shows up and they both deliver speeches about how much they love each other before this happens:

Honestly, his speech and how he promises to be loyal to her almost made me like him a little, maybe, who knows. At one point he also whispers in her ear, "I'm gonna choose you forever" and it sort of reminded me of Devin Sawa whispering in Christina Ricci's ear in "Casper" (wow taking y'all WAY back with that one, you're welcome I'm a historian).

This season ends with its second engagement, proving that women are always incredibly more efficient than men at getting shit done.


I know I've joked on Zac a lot, but Tayshia choosing him really is heart warming in that my heart can now actively be "warmed" by Ivan, Brendan AND Ben. Wins all around.

Overall, this has been sort of a strange season, but I guess that's very 2020. Good thing there's another season right around the corner with new Bachelor Matt James (and by good thing, you know what I mean).  I should probably read books or do something to regenerate at least 4-5 brain cells before then. See you all in 2021! Til then, find me on the baseball field because I'm actively sliding into Brendan, Ivan and Ben's DMs, and also on Twitter (@cocoakristis) and Instagram (@kristimac9).

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