Last night, Bachelor Ben got down on one knee and did what all of America hoped he wouldn’t do…propose to Courtney. But it was no surprise to anyway who lives in the real world as the tabloids, gossip mags, and even most entertainment news outlets had leaked and then confirmed the final reveal long before last night’s episode. The most interesting part of the evening was the After the Final Rose post finale show which featured interviews and inquiries into their relationship status.
The finale opened with Ben pondering which future he would choose. “I have two incredible women here that I really love.” Lindzi, clearly the public’s favorite (and the crews!) “lights up the room and every moment I spend with her gets better and better”. Her drawback? Ben still feels their love has been a slow-burn and wonders if in the long-run, what he will have with her will be better than what he already has with Courtney. Despite Lindzi winning the first impression rose, his connection with Courtney has been stronger from the beginning, but Ben still holds doubts about their future based on her behavior toward the women early on.
Enter Mom (Barbara) & Sister (Julianna)- the two women Ben trusts most to help him make the biggest decision of his life. In Ben’s words, “My backup has arrived!” After a teary-eyed embrace, Ben fills his family in on the two women, for better or worse, and asks them to keep an open mind when meeting each one. Julianna warns Ben that she will do her best but she feels that any girl who doesn’t get along with the other women in the house, she considers a red flag! Of course, Ben looks mildly shocked by this despite being warned but pretty much almost all the booted contestants.
First up is Lindzi, and she is clearly nervous. The girl dropped her fork during lunch more times than a two year old at a restaurant. But understandably so! Lindzi says she doesn’t usually worry what other people think of her, but she realizes the significance of this meeting and the need for it to go well. Nerves aside, she wins over both mom and sis with her charm. Barbara describes Lindzi as a “lovely young woman who is accomplished in her career and her hobbies”. She finds it clear she loves her son. Julianna agrees that Lindzi has an endearing personality and in a private chat on the deck she questions Lindzi about her ability to open up fully to Ben. She decides that if Ben chooses her, she believes Lindzi will “open the floodgates” to him and be completely vulnerable. Julianna also grills Lindzi on Courtney, and Lindzi does a good job of keeping her responses classy by saying that the two are just very different women.
Ben and Lindzi then go on a romantic date, a gondola ride up the Matterhorn and a ski trip down, followed by a cozy dinner. Lindzi really lays her feeling out on the table saying she wants to get married and start a family with Ben and hopes she has left nothing unsaid, as Ben leaves her for the last time.
One thing was clear, Lindzi hit a home run with the family and would be one tough act to follow. But Courtney, if nothing else, always seems up for a challenge!
It is clear that Barbara and Julianna have some pre-conceived notions of Courtney going in, both rolling their eyes at the thought of a “model for a sister/daughter in-law”. Ben hopes that Courtney can be her true self (at least the one he knows) in front of his family. Courtney also seems to understand the importance of winning (wait, Winning!…never heard her say that before) over the women in Ben’s life. “I really believe that when you marry someone you marry their family”. Courtney manages to charm both the ladies in Ben’s life and despite undergoing some intense grilling from Julianna, she gains the stamp of approval. Both Barbara and Juliana are left feeling “blown away” at how down to Earth and kind Courtney is and how well she handled openly discussing the mistakes she made in relating to the women in the house. They clearly buy her regretful demeanor and Julianna goes as far as to say that if Ben is looking at the whole package, she thinks Courtney is what he is looking for…Didn’t see that one coming!
Or did I? Despite having found her behavior abhorrent, I called it early on that she was winning over Bachelor Ben. It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to see that the skinny dipping, past-present-future Mayan temple loving Bachelor was swept up in her allure. That said, Courtney pulled a whole other type of magic trick in winning over the women. And perhaps, the depth that Ben finds in her is actually who she really is and the nasty, caddy B$%%CH was just the insecurities we got to see. To her credit, it is an odd situation to live in a house with twenty plus other women and date the same guy …still the others managed to keep their composure. I guess it’s like this: the things we love and hate about Courtney are the same. She is a child- at times- bratty, a pain in the ass, throwing temper tantrums and pulling other kids hair- and at other times, she is naive, playful, and lovable. When she met Ben’s family, she left the flipside in a time-out.
The next day both ladies, in long gowns and cloaks, are taken by helicopter to a picturesque cliff where Ben breaks Lindzi’s heart by telling her that although they had great moments, “I need those moments to last a lifetime and I’ve found that with someone else. I’m in love with someone else.” Lindzi manages to fight back tears and even tells Ben, “If it doesn’t work out, call me.” (She will probably regret saying that later. No one wants to be second choice!). On the other hand, Courtney arrives looking nervous but telling the camera “Good things happen to good people and I’m a good person”. Who is she convincing here?
Clearly not Ben, who already agrees! He gets down on one knee…but of course throws her a curve ball with a “I told myself I would only do this if I was absolutely sure it was for forever. I love you…BUT”…”You are my forever” and so he proposes. The ring is as stunning as the view (and apparently heavy as Courtney comments) and the scene is fairytale…They lived happily ever after.
Until the After the Final Rose started about one minute later.
At the final rose, Chris Harrison brings out Ben and Courtney individually and then as a couple. He asks the audience to with-hold their judgments to the end of the show…judging by the “Boo’s!” that filled the air when Courtney stepped out they decided to ignore that direction. Harrison is the first person to point out that usually at the end of The Bachelor, America is happy and rooting for the couple, but not this time. Long story short, he questions the couple about the rumors that Ben and Courtney broke off their engagement, that Ben cheated on Courtney since, and that the relationship is over. Sadly, he didn’t acknowledge the rumor that Ben flew to see Lindzi and try to win her back…but clearly it was untrue.
Ben admits to abandoning Courtney during the airing of the show, saying that seeing her behavior became “too much for him” and he needed to step back and figure out his feelings. A tearfull Courtney again apologized for her behavior (yet still defended that she did make efforts with the women early on) and said she was disappointed that her fiance did not stand by her. Ben did clear the air saying he never cheated or even kissed another women during their separation and denounced the tabloids for using old photos (of prior women) or photos of him and friends. The couple were both clearly in anguish over the way the public has treated them and the relentless negative media attention. So much so that Ben couldn’t even be bothered to brush his hair let alone having it cut before this appearance!
In the end, Ben defends Courtney saying he is still in love with her and that he was never tricked or mesmerized by her. He said she did act poorly at times but we never got to see all the great things about her that he still loves. When offered back the engagement ring (which Courtney presumably had to return to the show when they seperated) Ben takes the ring and puts it back on Courtney’s finger.
I will give Courtney this, be it PR recovery mode or true love, she stood by Ben through all the bashing and her intentions to make things work between them felt genuine. The two were hesitant in their proclamations but hopeful that their love could really last forever and they could work through their issues to one day walk down the aisle and look back on their Switzerland proposal with joy! They hoped America would get on board but in the end, said that the people who care about them most were supporting them and that’s all that really mattered.
The show also brought back prior contestants Ashley and JP who confirmed they are planning a wedding within the year and are going to start a family sooner rather than later. Their take on the Courtney-Ben drama….it gets easier!
“Now that the main part of the show, and all the negativity is gone, it can only get better … The root of the problem was us not being able to be with each other and talk about these things” concluded Bachelor Ben. At least, Chris Harrison is wishing them the best!