It was difficult to imagine this season of The Bachelor ending on anything resembling a positive note. Not only did the 2018 cycle start out mean, but it ended up delving into bleak, unpredictably raw depths with the sorta-finale, which aired the unedited footage of star Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s unsettlingly cold, tear-stained breakup with “winner” Becca Kufrin. During the manipulative split, the “race car driver” announced he planned to pursue runner-up Lauren Burnham, whom he had already reconnected with. The entire endeavor felt nothing less than cruel.
Then the “After The Final Rose” special came on Tuesday. The episode handled Arie and Lauren’s “love story” in a perfunctory manner before turning the focus back to Becca. In what felt like a fever dream or revenge fantasy, the moment Arie was brushed from the stage, Becca was named the next Bachelorette and kicked off her upcoming “journey” with a parade of her future suitors making their grand introductions. There was a banjo man and a horse — it was great.
As a hopeful Becca literally road off from the nightmare of dating Arie Luyendyk Jr., it was easy to get swept up in the swelling romance of the scene. The Bachelor gave us a happy ending! But, when you look at the dark facts behind the kitschy intros and fairy tale imagery, there are some definite red flags lurking in Becca’s Bachelorette future.
The most obvious issue here is time. It is suspected Bachelorette season 14 filming will begin as soon as next week. When women like season 13 lead Rachel Lindsay prepared to fill their Bachelorette duties, the beginning of the reality TV process seemed like a welcomed opportunity. This time last year, Rachel was well over 2017 Bachelor Nick Viall, who eliminated the Texas lawyer following their fantasy suite date. During her big introduction as the Bachelorette during “Women Tell All,” Nick’s name wasn’t even mentioned. Instead, a beaming, bantering Rachel talked about what she hoped to find in a man — the description actually fits current fiancé Bryan Abasolo to a T — along with how it felt to be the first Black Bachelorette.
Becca’s first foray into Bachelorettedom isn’t nearly as carefree or settled, since the 26-year-old broke up with Arie, whom she was fully engaged to, mere weeks ago in January 2018. During “After The Final Rose,” Becca confirms she was “figuring out” what to do with her home in Minnesota and checking out houses with Arie right before the breakup. Now, in what amounts to days after Arie called off the engagement, Becca is entering the most grueling search for love on the planet. This is a franchise that used to track women’s menstrual cycle. Talk about emotional whiplash.
If the process feels rushed, that’s because it was. While a Bachelorette like Rachel never had to mourn an entire promised future with her Bachelor fiancé, complete with what we can assume were many Zillow searches and Trulia bookmarks, that is precisely what Becca has to do. You can hear the marked difference in hers and Rachel’s Bachelorette-annoucing hot seat interviews with host Chris Harrison.
In Becca's first interview of “After The Final Rose,” before the Bachelorette confirmation, the young woman confirms looking at the footage of her breakup was “hard” and she “didn’t know things were going to go that south.” Yes, despite the fact Arie revealed he was still dealing with residual feelings for Lauren. It’s clear Becca always believed any contact her fiancé had with his ex would be for closure, a word she uses often, as opposed to rekindling any romance. When Arie is brought out to answer to Becca for his crimes against love, she looks physically uncomfortable and frustrated, but restrained. After all, the future Bachelorette can’t assault a man with a stiletto on live television.
Becca’s following hot seat session minutes later, which announced her upcoming Bachelorette stint, is a little less emotional and Arie-focused, but the publicist still has to talk about “heartbreak.” While previous Bachelorette leads have obviously had to use that word before, they weren’t talking about the kind of rare, engagement-ending, rug-pulled-out-from-under-you heartbreak Becca is.
Thankfully, the Minnesota native still sounds hopeful about finding new love a few short weeks after losing any wedding plans she may have dreamed up. “At the end of the day, this show is about finding love. That’s all I want to do,” she admitted. “I have so much love to give, and, so, just hard yes all around.” General wisdom does claim the moving on process is roughly half the time of a relationship. If the new Bachelorette and Arie were only a couple for roughly three-and-a-half-months, as filming dates suggest, Becca may truly be done grieving her engagement and prepared to find a real connection.
And while viewers might be skittish about seeing Bachelor producers — who obviously orchestrated the entrance of her estranged ex Ross Jirgl, knew before she did Arie was going to shatter her heart in favor of Lauren, and responded to that news by filming the whole thing — in charge of Becca’s romantic future again, she isn’t. When Harrison admits during the special it “means the world” to him the Midwestern woman is trusting him again, Becca gamely replies with a laugh, “Help me, Chris, help me!”
Becca knows her heart better than anyone else, so, let’s do the damn thing.
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