We’ve made it to the finale of Bachelor in Paradise season 7. This year’s edition brought us contestants joining the show “for the wrong reasons,” guest hosts including Lil Jon and David Spade, and a whole lot of unexpected sexual stuff involving food. But in the end, there actually were some proposals. Whether these relationships will actually last is another story, but hey, it’s worked out before. Jade and Tanner have three kids! Ashley I. and Jared are expecting a baby! Dean and Caelynn are doing… their thing!
Speaking of, Dean and Caelynn join the show for the three-hour finale to be a beacon of hope and to awkwardly tell their love story as if they’re presenting an after-school special. It sounds like they’re reading cue cards. Anyway, some contestants find love. Some leave alone. And some get back together in the real world after splitting up on the show. Thank you, BIP, for giving us some simple updates at the end instead of an unnecessary after-show.
Here’s how the seventh season wrapped up:
Abigail & Noah’s Breakup Concludes
The episode opens with the end of Abigail and Noah’s breakup, and it’s the same stuff we heard last week. Yes, he told her he was falling in love the night before, but he’s also had a “gut feeling” that she’s not his person. Abigail thinks he’s scared but isn’t going to convince him to be in a relationship. They head home separately. Of course, there’s a bunch of confessionals from the cast being like, “But Abigail and Noah were an inspiration! If they could break up, what does it mean for the rest of us?!”
Who Goes Home
At the rose ceremony the pairs are: Joe and Serena, Riley and Maurissa, Kenny and Mari, Thomas and Becca, James and Anna, Aaron and Tia, Ed and Mykenna. Chelsea and Natasha are sent home, where Natasha will learn in a couple months time that she’s gained several hundred thousand Instagram followers.
Pre-Fantasy Suite Splits
The next day, it’s time for more people to go home. The remaining pairs have to decide whether they actually see themselves together.
Becca and Thomas are one casualty of Paradise’s penultimate day. Becca doesn’t want to make a commitment to someone she doesn’t “100% fully know” — remember she’s had two failed engagements in this franchise. Thomas thinks they actually could be great together but, through tears, tells her that he accepts her decision. In the car ride away, Becca doubts herself. She notes that Thomas asked her to have faith in their relationship. “I’ve never heard that from a guy before,” she says. “I didn’t hear it from the last two guys I was engaged to, that’s for sure.”
Mykenna and Ed’s breakup is less dramatic. He goes on about how there’s a “spark” they should explore. She says that they live too far apart and don’t have a strong bond. After all, they’ve known each other for one day. As Serena says of them parting ways, “I don’t think this is a shock to anyone.”
Anna and James also split up. She wants to continue to date. He says, “I don’t think I’m in a place right now where I can see us falling in love.” Well, yes, you’ve been on one date. He also says, “We owe it to ourselves to not adjust our standard of what we’re looking for,” which is (accidentally?) so brutal. In his confessional, he explains that he knows she’s not the one for him, which sounds way better than the stuff he actually told her. After Anna leaves, James finds his buddy Aaron and asks if he wants to head back to San Diego with him. Aaron’s like, Sure thing, bro. Let me go talk to Tia first.
Aaron grabs Tia and doesn’t even take her to sit down. “We have to do this fast,” he says. “I actually care about you … but James is waiting right now, so we’re about to bounce back to [San Diego].” She asks if he’s kidding. “Hit up the boys when you’re in SD. I’ll get your number.” Tia laughs and says, “I hate you! I hate him!” This has to be the best BIP breakup ever. It’s silly, but it’s also realistic — Tia and Aaron hung out for, like, two days, after making out during an ‘80s prom-themed party.
Maurissa and Riley, Joe and Serena, and Mari and Kenny all decide to head to the fantasy suites.
Serena & Joe’s Fantasy Suite Date
Serena and Joe tell each other “I love you” before even going on their final date. When Serena tells Joe she loves him, he responds, “I was going to say that later! You’re saying that now? I love you, too. Very much so.” It’s really heartwarming. These two have finally convinced me this is more than a beach fling. At dinner, they talk about how excited they are to do real world things outside of the show.
The next morning, Serena and Joe joke around about whether they’re going to get engaged. I’ve noticed these two make a few sly references to the fact that they’re on the show, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they already made the decision off camera.
Mari & Kenny’s Fantasy Suite Date
On their date, Mari and Kenny also exchange “I love yous.” Kenny fumbles over his words because he says his family doesn't say "I love you," and he hasn't told someone before. They also talk about their age gap — she’s 25, he’s 40 — but they feel like they’re the same age, and Mari assures him she’s ready to settle down.
In the Fantasy Suite, they start making out, but Kenny asks Mari to hold on. I think it might be the show referencing the use of condoms, but instead Kenny returns naked and carrying a tray of tacos in honor of their body tacos date.
In the morning, they, too, (allegedly) don’t know if they’ll be getting engaged or not.
Riley & Maurissa’s Fantasy Suite Date
Riley and Maurissa — you guessed it — also say they’re in love. Riley does not fumble his “I love you.” The guy has a whole speech. He talks about how he’s had a dream about waking up on a Sunday morning with his wife still asleep and going to play with their child until she joins them. “When I see you, I see Sunday morning,” Riley tells Maurissa, who literally can’t catch her breath upon hearing this line. Then they go to the Fantasy Suite where we have to watch them lick whipped cream off of each other again.
The next morning, Maurissa says that as Riley left their suite, he whispered in her ear that he didn’t know if he was ready to propose. She cries. My cynical side wonders how real this is. Is she going along with a producer plan to build suspense? Wouldn’t a mic have picked up Riley’s whispers? Have I been watching this show so long that my brain is warped and I am suspicious of everything? It’s possible.
Mari and Kenny are up first. They both give speeches about their Journey and neither mentions that time Mari threw Kenny’s birthday cake in a bonfire. Kenny tells Mari she changed his “whole outlook on life,” since he never thought he would get married. As he gets down to propose, it’s hard to bend his knee because his pants are too tight, but he blames “these old bones.” He asks. She says yes. They both are happy with how big the ring is.
Riley and Maurissa go next. In her speech, Maurissa mentions the whipping cream toe licking, because, hey, how many anecdotes can you have after such a short time? Riley tricks Maurissa a little bit by saying, “I’ve loved you since the very first day, but I just need to be sure. That said…” Then he proposes. I mean, did anyone doubt that these two would get engaged?
Before Joe and Serena’s potential proposal, a surprise guest arrives to meet Joe on the, uh, engagement platform: Kendall. Joe’s face says, “Oh, of course they did this to me.” Kendall is not there to stop the engagement. Instead she talks about closure again and gives her blessing for Joe and Serena. She says she wanted him to know that she’s really moving on and is excited for him. If I were Kendall, I would not have agreed to this, but to each their own.
That out of the way, Serena makes her way down to the beach. Joe tells her that Kendall just showed up, and the fact that her response is “Are you okay?!” says a lot about their relationship. There’s a real comfort level. She’s not worried or jealous; they’re clearly both on the same page. “When I think about forever, that’s scary,” Joe says. “But when I think about it with you, it feels right.” He proposes. We get another yes. “The two most logical people on this beach just followed their hearts and got engaged,” Serena says. We’re three for three.
Some Surprising Updates
After the engagements, we get updates on a bunch of the contestants and some of them are actually surprising. Becca and Thomas are back together — and in love! Say what? Noah and Abigail are also back together. (The update says they're taking things slow; her Instagram says they're in love.) Instagram fame-seekers Brendan and Pieper are “laying low,” but Natasha has over 460,000 followers. All three of the engaged couples are still happy, and we see pictures of them enjoying their real-world lives.
And, most importantly, Tahzjuan would like to return to Paradise again. Thank goodness. She gave us so much. See you next summer, Tahz.
Biggest success story: Aaron and James. Their update at the end notes that they’re now roommates and BFFs.
Best Bachelorette audition: Natasha has really been through it this season, and she would make a great Bachelorette if there wasn’t already an upcoming season. “I’m always the one with the short end of the stick,” she says on her car ride away. “I’m just tired of it. I just can’t want this any more. The older I get, the harder it gets.” Her massive amount of Instagram followers should keep her company.
Quote of the night: “Oh my god, my family’s gonna kill me," from Serena realizing that people in her real life will soon find out that she got engaged to a man known as “Grocery Store Joe,” who is 12 years her senior and who she’s known for only a few weeks