The inevitable occurred: Becca Kufrin chose Garrett Yrigoyen over Blake Horstmann, she says because Yrigoyen reminds him of her father. Hawt! Except not. The only hot thing about this episode was Blake, and only because the man was literally dripping in sweat. The Maldives are literally atop the Equator — not the top of the world, which Garrett seems to think it is — which is maybe all too hot for a tux.
Nevertheless, The Bachelorette marches forward, forcing men to wear tuxes and women to get engaged to men who don't support their ideologies.
This Bachelorette finale was more airless than usual, stagnated by the fact that most people already knew who won. In her defence of Garrett, Becca inadvertently revealed that she was engaged to him. Thus, the only "drama" this episode could offer was in the form of tears, tears, and more tears. The show really wanted us to know that this decision was hard. People wept. Becca, Becca's sister Emily, Blake, and Garrett all shed a tear at one point. Given that that's the main theme of the episode, that's how we'll be proceeding: tear by tear, all the way to my tears at the very end of it all.
Tears #1: Garrett weeps to Emily Kufrin
Garrett meets Becca's family, who seems delighted that he's so invested in Becca. Garrett loves Becca. He has, in his words "eagles" in his chest for Becca. He is a poet, according to Becca's Uncle Chuck. He is toothsome and winsome and spilling over with emotion. Meeting with Emily Kufrin, he tells Emily that he's finally found the thing that's missing in his life.
“I would make sure to be that man that is strong for her. Make sure she’s safe and guarded because it’s something that I’ve been missing in my life," he pledges, crying openly. It's possible Becca is the first deep reciprocal love Garrett has encountered in this life. (He still refuses to take responsibility for his divorce, something that is... questionable.) At his tears, Emily Kufrin starts to cry as well.
Which leads us to...
Tears #2: Emily Kufrin cries
Emily Kufrin is a low-key standout of this season of The Bachelorette. She did not appear on The Bachelor, though she did criticise the show's decision to include Becca's burly ex-boyfriend in the proceedings. She's engaged, and she and her fiancé seem really cool. She's also a few shades away from Becca — her hair is curly, which is a rare sight in Bachelor Nation, and she's a noisy feminist on Instagram. This is all to say, why Garrett, Emily? She cries, and immediately takes news of Garrett's gloopy tears to Becca, who also does the inevitable....
Tears #3: Becca cries!
Seeing her sister weep at the thought of Garrett, who, I'll remind us all, reminds Becca of her father Steve, Becca herself begins to cry. Steve comes up a lot this episode, watching over the proceedings — even in the "After The Final Rose" segment, Chris Harrison decides to bring up Steve's presence in the Becca-Garrett relationship. Garrett likes to fish, which is something Stee also did. In the premiere episode, Becca told Garrett that he reminded her of her father. Freud is having a good hard laugh at this season of The Bachelorette.
We pause for a briefly non-teary interlude:
Blake arrives for his "meet the Kufrins" moment, where he's greeted with the same warmth as Garrett. He's far more anxious, though, and on the verge of tears. He can sense that the family is on Garrett's side, especially when Uncle Chuck asks if Blake might offer some dirt on Garrett that would help the family turn on the cheeky Nevada native.
"I'm so sick of talking about Garrett," he tells the camera, hanging his head. This is exactly what happened last season, mind you. Becca met Arie's family and was frustrated when they continually asked about Lauren. The family liked Becca, for certain, but they also wanted to glean more info about Lauren from the future Bachelorette. Becca became uneasy and unhappy. Arie later dumped her on national television.
In this case, Blake explains his attraction to Becca thusly: "I gravitate towards strong women." He says he's been raised by strong women. Sigh.
Later, when the Kufrins are comparing Garrett and Blake, Uncle Chuck says that he thinks Blake will challenge her more than Garrett will. Garrett, though, is a poet! Never forget.
After some deliberation, Becca makes her choice. Which means...
Tears #4: Blake weeps into a towel
Despite his declaration of undying love, despite the fact that he made a diorama (I think?) out of memories that he and Becca made together, despite the fact that Becca thinks he'll be the 50/50 person she wants out of life, she's going to turn him down. This has been inevitable ever since Blake's edit went awry two episodes ago. He started seeming anxious about their connection. He worried things were too smooth. He worried he loved Becca too much and that he'd get hurt.
Er, he did. Chris Harrison said that "no words can describe" the breakup here, and, kindly, sir, I'd like to take you up on that challenge. (When he said that, I did sort of hope that Becca was going to do something actually indescribable, like moon the camera and recite the entirety of The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.)
First of all, the Maldives are hot. Blake is sweating bullets even before he cries. He has a ring, courtesy of Neil Lane, and an I'm-about-to-win swagger. He gives Becca a lengthy, generous monologue — she does not interrupt him until he's well into his speech.
“I love the man I am when I’m around you," he tells Becca, with whom he'd gone on a bike ride earlier in the episode. (Garrett, by contrast, got to chill with dolphins.) "You’re the most sincere, honest, compassionate, goofy, funny, intelligent, truly, genuinely beautiful person.”
At that, Becca almost accepts the proposal. Before he gets on one knee, though, she tells him that she doesn't see a future with him. "Because we were so constant, I think I was overlooking other relationship," she says. The logic here is confusing. She was so busy with Blake she just — whoops! — forgot that Garrett existed? Like he was a can of Goya beans? That would never go bad and you could eventually take camping?
"There’s just one piece with someone else. That I’m not ready to say goodbye to yet," she says, once again missing the mark. She loves Garrett, is the message, and Blake isn't the one for her.
She walks him to the limo, where he tells her one last time that he's in love with her. He says he loves her, actually, which feels far more intimate. When she leaves, he wallows in despair, repeating the word "alone" as if it were a mantra.
"I have to go through all this alone," he says, almost bewildered. He adds, "Fucking knew it." Then, he weeps into a towel. Thank goodness he finally wiped off his face.
When the episode flits back to "After the Final Rose" — the purpose of this format escapes me; it means that Chris Harrison spends the episode creating faux-gravitas — Harrison notes that there are likely tears "all over the country" mirroring Blake's.
Blake and Becca have a formal meeting on "AFTR" to discuss their breakup. The discussion is tame: He's sad, but he gets it. She's sad, but she wants him to fall in love. He might be the next Bachelor.
The real meat of "AFTR" is when Garrett arrives, and the show gives the most milquetoast address of his racist and sexist "likes" on social media. Garrett may not have shown Bachelor Nation his political views, but he demonstrated an insidious form of poison: casual bigotry. He double-tapped memes concerning immigrants, the gender spectrum, and feminism.
"She knew who I was as a person," Garrett reassures the audience. He promises to "grow" and apologises for offending anyone — even though he didn't mean to do so. He doesn't acknowledge the damage these memes could do, and he certainly didn't apologise to Becca for making fun of feminists. The only moment that comes close is when he acknowledges that the ideas expressed in those memes directly contradict Becca's ideology. (Becca attended the Women's March in 2017.)
As a parting gift, Garrett and Becca receive a minivan with giant wood panelling — and a small, almost unnoticeable equality sticker. ABC is also sending them to Thailand, where they can vacation as a newly engaged couple. Congrats, I guess? Here's to the eagles in Garrett's chest, and this broken, confusing franchise.
The Dearly Departed: Blake Horstmann