Those of you who’ve been reading my recaps for awhile (especially my All The Pretty Pandas recaps) know that I struggle with the finale episode. Even if the outcome is a huge upset, is it worth casting a negative light on a fledgling relationship because it’s not what we (the viewers, who aren’t participants in said relationship), wanted or expected? Or because the couple’s body language at After The Final Rose doesn’t suggest what we consider a successful relationship? It can also feel redundant to discuss episode events that took place before the proposal and ATFR. The lead’s hemming and hawing, the inevitable break-up… after the lead chooses who he chooses, what’s the point of harping on a relationship that never made it past the Bachelor bubble? While I usually have a million thoughts after any given episode, with finales I sometimes find myself grasping at straws, not sure what to talk about.
I mention all this is to point out the drastic difference between how I usually feel after a Bachelor season finale, and how I feel after THIS Bachelor season finale. I have so much to say my fingers are practically tripping over each other as I type this.
I’m going to say it outright: I hated this finale. I don’t use that word often or lightly, but yes, I hated it.
We became invested in two relationships that so quickly dissipated to smoke and mirrors that, last night, it almost felt like we were mocked for ever buying into them. In Lyndsey’s case, we were provided zero information as to why it didn’t work. This is after a season that strongly suggested she would “win.” Her breaking it off with Chris certainly came out of left field but what stood out far more was the venom with which she did it. I don’t buy that the age difference, her family’s side-eye, or the fact that he wanted to remain geographically close to his family accumulated to reason enough to end things. If you love each other and see some version of forever with each other, which they both claimed to, those reasons are child’s play. You’d be thrilled to have met each other and not focused on things like logistics, and people have overcome FAR worse odds in the name of love. Both this and how Lyndsey seemed to go from heart-eye emoji to ice queen overnight are why I’m not buying what I was being sold last night. We were given skeletal details as to why this didn’t result in what we were built up to expect, and if we’re going to get led so astray only to have the rug pulled out from under us, at least give us actual information after the fact so we feel less like idiots.
Meanwhile, with Mikaela, (who, by the way, was a total class act throughout), I loved that Chris didn’t succumb to the pressure to propose and it felt really promising, like he was taking it super seriously. I’d hope that, even if they didn’t end up married to each other, that we’d get a happy couple and some feel-good factor at the end of all these cumulative hours. It would’ve been great for that tough conversation between Chris and his mom to have led to something. But seriously, pulling a Brad Womack and choosing nobody would’ve been better, more satisfying, more respectable an outcome than watching a man child struggle with commitment on national television.
And that, sadly, was the most glaring takeaway from this finale. As I feared in my recap two weeks ago, Chris is simply not remotely ready for a serious relationship. This is a man whose own father said, “Commitment is a tough job for Christopher” in Part 1 of this finale two weeks ago. That is some textbook foreshadowing if I’ve ever seen it. Now, it’s easy to shrug it off and give Chris a pass, accept that “boys will be boys”, and chalk it up to his unique lifestyle as a professional athlete, but it’s more problematic than that. Think about all the seasons past where lukewarm contestants are given flak for sticking around, for ostensibly taking the spot of a “more serious, a.k.a. more deserving” candidate. Now imagine a season where the lead is that lukewarm person, the one who, even if his intentions are good, just isn’t emotionally capable for the level of commitment he’s being filmed supposedly pursuing. But you don’t have to imagine it because we just watched it. And it was very upsetting. Not upsetting in that I’m sorry for the women, because both Mikaela and Lyndsey are badasses in their own ways and they will be just fine. Rather, I’m annoyed that I just spent the last two and a half months of my life watching something so pointless, so fruitless, something that doesn’t even attempt to redeem the already bad reputation a reality dating show like this has.
For all the tough love I give this franchise, it comes from a place of love. I have watched The Bachelor and its spinoffs for over a decade and do love this show. I spend a lot of time defending this show to people who might scoff at it, or who want to judge anyone for having gone on it. For the countless folks who assume I or anyone else who goes on this show is a nitwit for being a Bachelor contestant, I relish proving their biases wrong. This is why a season like this grinds my gears to the extent it clearly has. (I realize I am ranting!) This season was exactly what people who don’t know the show assume it is: a waste of time.
And that’s a wrap for this season of The Bachelor Canada! Be sure to hit up FLARE.com/themorningafter on January 2 for Sharleen Joynt’s recap of Arie’s sure to be dramz-filled season premiere of The Bachelor—see you then!