Well. Below, a list of things I found truly offensive about this episode.
1. The producers filmed Becca K. being dumped.
2. The producers filmed Becca K. being dumped.
3. Arie had the AUDACITY to ask her "if she was okay" while she was getting dumped.
4. Arie did not cry once, nor show emotion at all, while breaking up with Becca.
5. The producers filmed Becca K. being dumped.
6. Chris Harrison said, "To say the episode is blowing up on social media is an understatement."
7. The camera panned away from Chris Harrison too slowly that one time.
The Bachelor promised a big breakup, but the show didn't tell us we'd want to break up with the show. After this split-screen debacle, I am quite comfortable saying I do not need to watch The Bachelor ever again. Moreover, Becca K. should hightail it out of Bachelor country, although not without scooping up a load of cash. I hope the producers cashed the deposit on that beautiful Los Angeles home and handed it all to Becca. Becca deserves better. She deserves better than Arie, and she deserves better than these cameras. (There are two of them! Wow! What a revelation!)
I am not totally convinced we saw a full episode of The Bachelor tonight — what transpired before 10:00 p.m. was really just a two-hour ad for some "unedited and uncut" footage. Ben Higgins, Jason Mesnick, Caroline Lunny, Bekah Martinez, and Seinne Fleming all materialized throughout the episode in stilte "live" segments that nearly all fell flat. Meanwhile, Chris Harrison teased the "most controversial Bachelor finale ever," with such unbridled pleasure that I really thought he might purr. At one point — as stated above — he noted solemnly that the finale was "blowing up social media." He sat his full booty on the laurels and rested there like some sort of smug cat. Tonight, we despise you, Chris Harrison.
But first, there are dates. The effort in the first half of this show really went toward proving that Arie is conflicted. There's a lot of messy language happening here. Arie says he's conflicted. He says repeatedly that he "cannot describe" why he's attracted to Lauren. Oddly enough, his mother feels exactly the same way. Arie's family, when they meet Lauren, are taken by her, even though she hardly says a word. She is — let's reiterate — scared of being hurt by Arie. That's her thing, being afraid of something that is highly likely to happen.
"I was engaged before and I'm afraid I'm gonna get engaged and it won't work out again," she tells Arie's mother. Despite this fear, Arie's mother grows fond of Lauren, perhaps because they're wearing the same periwinkle sweater.
This means that when Becca comes around in all her gregarious, talkative glory, Arie's parents are very Lauren-focussed. They tell Becca that they like her, but, erm, they liked Lauren, too! What gives! (Maybe that's the point of the show?)
"His whole family brought up the fact that they met Lauren," Becca says, dumbfounded. This does force her to reveal that no, she and Lauren aren't really friends. Becca says she made other friends in the house. Lauren just wasn't as open to friendship, and they're not very close. When asked to compare herself to Lauren, Becca is stumped.
"That's like comparing an apple to a starfish," she says. Becca is the starfish, for the record, everyone. Throughout the episode, Becca has a handle on her relationship with Arie, at least based on what she says. She's a riskier choice for Arie because his previous girlfriends have all been Lauren-esque. (See: Emily Maynard.)
For Arie, the situation is the opposite. He sees Lauren as the risk because Lauren's a silent baby clam. How can he propose if he doesn't know what she sounds like when she speaks above a whisper?
"Becca would be better for your future," his mother admits. His father, the first Arie Luyendyk, says that Becca would be a good motivator for Arie, who "sometimes [needs] a bit of the kick in the ass."
Meanwhile, back on the live show, which inexplicably houses literally every contestant from the past year, Caroline Lunny has something to say to Arie. She brought the same cue card that she carried at the Women Tell All, though. Blah, blah blah, she doesn't forgive Arie for what he did, but she can't say exactly what he did, and she's mad. Arie, you know what you did and Caroline, should you be taking acting classes? (I mean that sincerely. The girl's got stage presence!)
Following the family meet-ups, the women go on dates with Arie. These dates are excruciating as well, also because they are useless until we know who wins. Lauren's date at Machu Picchu is charming; she kisses Arie against a wall. She explains, again, that her connection with Arie is "inexplicable."
"It's just"It's just, like, a feeling," she says. When they make eye contact in a room, she just knows what he's thinking. Lil problem here: That is not a good way to communicate with someone, and communication in relationships is key. Do not assume that mind reading is an effective way to understand your partner. Better yet, ASK YOUR PARTNER WHAT THEY ARE FEELING. AT ANY POINT. DO NOT "READ MINDS." Phewf.
Becca's date with all the alpacas is also very cute, although slightly more interesting, as Becca is a better communicator. Arie asks, "Is it a baby — a baby alpaca?" Yes, sir, that's what that is. Arie tells her directly that he's still conflicted and Becca says honestly that she loves his honesty. She appreciates the process, and even gifts Arie with a scrapbook of memories for his trouble.
Remember, he's still conflicted. Sigh.
After both dates, we return to the live show, where Seinne and Bekah provide advice. If Arie is truly conflicted, Bekah advises, he shouldn't propose at all. Wise words from our resident 23-year-old.
It's a shame that the proposal in this episode became such an afterthought. That's two proposals now that have been largely forgotten — Bryan Abasolo's on The Bachelorette lasted all of three minutes, a fraction of the time it took Peter Kraus to breakup with Rachel Lindsay. But, the proposal does happen, and the first breakup happens as well.
"I have loved that," Arie tells Lauren after she (dryly) confesses her love. It's the past tense of his phrase, "I love that." He then sends her home, but not without making one important mistake. He tells her he loves her. Then, she cries in the car, bleating something about feeling "betrayed." I would feel kinder towards Lauren if Becca didn't get such a teeny-tiny stick in this draw.
All was not well.
What follows is painful. We see the "Happy Couples," a montage of Arie and Becca looking goofy and in love. They snuggle on a hammock. They make pizza. Arie, meanwhile, is feeling conflicted. Still. He eventually takes his troubles to Chris Harrison, who forces it out of him: Arie wants to end things with Becca and make a stab for Lauren.
That in and of itself is not wonderful, but it could have been handled well. People have done awful things on The Bachelor in the past, like when Juan Pablo dumped Clare Crawley on The Bachelor. What went wrong in this breakup is that it was filmed. The Bachelor gave us a fine example of dramatic irony: We knew what was happening next, but Becca certainly did not. She arrived for a "Happy Couples" weekend with Arie and was met with a stern dumping. And we, the audience, had to watch almost a full hour of Becca and Arie struggling to find the words to say to each other. Unedited, by the way, just means that you get to watch the action from both the A camera and the B camera. Uncut means it's a full 60 minutes of television.
During the breakup, Arie did not cry. Nor did he say he was sorry.
"Hey, are you okay in there?" he asks her at one point after she's been sobbing in another room. The audacity, Arie, really.
Becca gets some good one-liners in there, for what it's worth, which should cement her as the winner of this season. Engagement or no, Becca came out on top.
"Are you going to be half in with her, too?" she asks, referring to Lauren. At one point, she mutters under her breath, "So fucking embarrassing."
Listen up, ABC. You can take two hours of my Monday night. You can serve me frozen men who only say the words "I love that." You can even make me endure two hours of activities in Lake Tahoe. But you cannot humiliate Becca K. and get away with it. Justice will be served!
Tomorrow night, Arie, Lauren, and Becca will take the stage for an After the Final Rose for another two fucking hours. I will, dutifully, be here watching it. I will not be happy about it unless Becca is allowed to throw a drink in someone's face and also maybe trash a $20,000 camera.
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