The Bachelor franchise loves the word “most.” Also: shocking, history. Every season, we’re told that such-and-such episode or occurrence is the most shocking (or dramatic, heartbreaking, etc.) in Bachelor Nation history. This time around, that was sort of true for much of the season. Sure, there was never really a Colton-jumps-the-fence moment, but the surreality of the season as a whole, coupled with Clare’s early departure (remember Clare?), did actually make this a season of The Bachelorette like no other. And Tayshia? She’s great at this. As the finale makes clear, she knows how to shape a storyline, but she also avoided callousness and cruelty throughout, something that speaks well of her character—or at least her unwillingness to look like an asshole on national television, which is a bit of a rarity in reality television—and which made these last two episodes much easier to watch than they otherwise might have been.
All that said, the Most Shocking Season In Bachelor Nation History wasn’t remotely shocking in the end. Tayshia picked Zac, the one who’s best on television. (Not a dig; he’s articulate, clever, and, save a tendency to close his eyes a lot to indicate “THINKING,” clearly understands how to play to the cameras without sacrificing sincerity, or at least its appearance.) He’s been an obvious frontrunner for some time now, and while the Ben wrinkle made things interesting at the end here, it seemed pretty clear where this was headed.
So, this is how it ends: not with a whimper, possibly with a bang, but definitely with a sweaty suit and a very dusty gown and, let’s face it, probably some mild dehydration. (Whose brilliant idea was it to make these poor people get engaged in the desert?) Let’s get to it.
She ate pizza. (See above.)
This week, the remaining Bachelors met the parents. (We’ll get back to poor Ivan momentarily.) Maybe it was the pie-cut pizzas that truly doomed Ben, because Tayshia looks thrilled about that pizza, which she shared with Zach, her parents, and her two brothers. (None for you, Chris Harrison.) Or maybe the pizza tasted extra good because Tayshia had just figured out that Zac is a god-tier parent-whisperer. Here’s his new anthem:
I should note that they were not technically eating Love Pizza; Love Pizza is what you order when your partner is tired of having to tell you no, they do not want pineapple on their pizza, so they simply give up and start ordering half pepperoni, half pineapple. But we’ll call it Love Pizza anyway.
So much hotel food. Just... it’s just hotel food. I feel for these kitchens, man. It must suck to make all that food and know it will never get eaten. Also—god, this is gonna be a stretch—Ivan’s undisclosed religious beliefs? And Ben’s heart, in the marketplace? And probably a lot of sand.
Okay, what happened here? Ivan’s undisclosed religious beliefs are not, of course, edible—at least, I assume they’re not, but they are undisclosed so I can’t say for sure. But this scene was certainly HARD TO SWALLOW (I did it! It’s a food reference!) Granted, it sounds like this conversation took place during the Fantasy Suite, and thus was not on camera, but the fact that neither of them clarified during a talking-head segment is... concerning. Usually when there’s just no explanation, it’s because there’s something to hide. Is Ivan an atheist, or does he practice a religion that’s not Christianity, and Tayshia simply wanted to spare him the abuse he’d get from trolls online? Maybe he’s Catholic and that’s a deal-breaker for her? I have no idea. Extremely weird. Maybe she just wanted a reason to send him home that wasn’t “I like smooshing my mouth onto Ben’s mouth,” and so she latched on to this? It was weird. Ivan, you’re a gem.
Next, two totally pointless but nevertheless charming meetings with the fam. They didn’t eat any of the food, except the pizza, but not THAT pizza. Different pizza.
Ben and Zac met the Adams family (heh) and both seemed to favorably impress Desmond, Tayshia’s protective dad. (He did not care for Colton when Tayshia got her own hometown date, no sir, not one bit. Tayshia’s dad has good taste.) Ben stammered and talked about his sweaty palms but did actually manage to communicate, which was good, and Desmond went full heart-eyes emoij when he learned that Ben went to West Point. Zac, as mentioned above, is apparently very very good with parents, so again, heart-eyes emoji. And it ultimately didn’t matter at all, as the only preference Tayshia’s dad expressed was his preference that she not get engaged to a dude she knows from TV, regardless of the dude. She did not listen, but hopefully it’ll work out for those crazy kids!
This poor cupcake. He really got yanked around this week. First, Tayshia asked him to come to the rose ceremony and them SMOOCHED HIM like she COULD NOT HELP HERSELF, and honestly, it was a very good kiss. But even better, she did this afterward, and honestly has any Bachelor or Bachelorette ever been more relatable? Alexa, show me my 20s in one GIF:
So after she pulled Ivan aside to send him home pre-ceremony, she gave Ben a rose, introduced him to her family, and promptly sent him home again. (There’s also some timeline wonkiness here, because it sure looks like she’s wearing the same dress she wore when her dad showed up to tell her she probably shouldn’t get TV-married.) Quite a rollercoaster.
So then these two crazy kids got engaged. It’s unclear whether or not Zac knew that Ben had already gone home when they were on their date—a date that doesn’t really matter, because the only suspense left was whether or not Tayshia would say yes, which she was clearly planning to do—but given his total lack of worry heading into the proposal, I think it’s safe to assume he knew before trekking into the desert, carrying his wee fake taxi over his shoulder and watering the earth with his sweat. And it’s hard to hate on this scene at all, because they are both clearly giddy and very into each other. Let’s hope these two crazy kids can make it work.
It seems like they are? But because there was, inexplicably, no After The Final Rose segment (even Clare and Dale got one! And they were only on the show for 20 minutes!), we’re just going to have to hope on that one. Although look: They’re definitely still together!
You do! It’s the holidays! Treat yourself! That’s what this column is for me, a big ridiculous treat in a truly grotesque year. So thanks for reading, and farewell forever to the La Quinta Resort Spa And Reality Warehouse. I’ll be back on January 4 for Matt James’s season of The Bachelor, which takes place at an entirely different hotel with entirely different catering. See you then.