The Bachelor Finale Recap

Things start off with Brad’s family visiting him in Cape Town, South Africa. Brad wells up with tears when he sees his mom arrive in a leopard-print shirt because he knows the poachers will take her down by nightfall. Brad’s two bothers and sisters-in-law make the journey and one of the girls has the same general look as Emily. The other one looks nothing like Chantal, but I still think Brad is going to pick Chantal because she looks more like the two girls he turned down last time and we all like a certain type.

Following the first commercial, Brad tells us he is going to propose to one of the girls at the end of tonight’s show. Chantal then arrives to meet the whole Womack crew: Wes and his wife Prima, Chad and his emilyish wife Dylan, and Brad’s leathery mom Pam. The brothers and Pam appear to like Chantal right off the bat.

Oh Christ, I just realized that the twins’ names are Brad and Chad. Twins are already genetically predisposed to weirdness without the complications that rhyming names add, yet parents of twins seem unable to resist doling out cutesy names. This, Pam, is why your son is a quivering mess of emotion while Ozzie and Jose Canseco are well-adjusted, contributing members of our society.

After the break it is Emily’s turn to meet the family. I think Emily is going to have a tough time with this. She is not a big talker which would be okay but for the fact that Emily has a substantial amount of background information to explain. It gets tense right away as Brad’s family asks about Emily’s family and she has to get right into explaining her haunted past. Prima cries but Pam is unfazed by Emily’s recounting of this saga. I think she is thinking exactly what I am thinking, which is that Emily’s fiancé is going to show up alive next year and blow the lid off this entire fraud.

Following lunch, Brad’s brothers take a surprisingly direct approach to telling Brad that he should have bolted at the first mention of a kid. Back on the porch Pam is drunk as a skunk and sobs when Emily calls Brad her “angel.” Pam uncorks another bottle of wine and starts to come around on Emily.

Back from commercial the Womack brain trust breaks down the game film. Wes makes a tepid move towards Chantal’s corner and Dylan finds herself pulled on one side by the desire to have Emily as a sister-in-law because Emily is as boring as Dylan is and on the other by her repulsion at the thought of having Emily as a sister-in-law because Emily represents a younger, sleeker version of Dylan. As Michelle taught us, a menopausal woman has a lot to contend with.

After the group session, Brad talks to Pam who places herself firmly in the Emily camp. When the whole crew reassembles, Emily appears to be the consensus favorite.

The next morning Brad and Chantal head out in a boat surrounded by sharks. You will recall that Chantal was apprehensive about going diving in an earlier episode. She pulled through then though and gets back the water again. This date would be markedly more interesting if Brad and Chantal were not submerged inside a cage. I bet that on the Samoan version of “The Bachelor” they swim right alongside the sharks.

That night Brad stops by Chantal’s suite for a glass of wine. Chantal hands Brad a scroll that contains a map of the world with their travel destinations highlighted as well as a handwritten letter. Brad pretends to be literate and tells Chantal that he found the letter touching. Chantal is really laying it on and that is smart because she has some ground to make up now that Brad’s family has endorsed Emily.

The following day Brad and Emily meet up for what should be this season’s final helicopter date. They head off to the Cape of Good Hope where Emily wants to talk about the difficulties of raising a kid, which is the precise use Vasco da Gama had in mind for this spot when he set sail all those years ago. Brad stops by Emily’s suite just as he visited Chantal last night and he is intent on talking more about Emily’s daughter. Brad again tells Emily that he is interested in raising her daughter and Emily continues to challenge his claim. Brad starts to lose his composure and he is clearly flustered by this.

I enjoy second guessing Brad as much as anyone else does, but he has done as a good a job as he could hope of trying to convince Emily that he is okay with the kid’s presence. If she is intent on not believing him, I would say that is on her rather than Brad at this late stage and, to be fair, that ought to be a priority for Emily. However, that is just not going to help in a situation where Brad’s biggest concern is not taking on a kid but rather not botching this game a second time. Emily may have just fumbled at the goal line.

Following the break, Brad reviews each girl for the three hundredth time and both girls review Brad for the three thousandth time. Neil Lane does not explain who he is before stepping inside Brad’s suite to show him a briefcase full of rings. A nice thing about getting engaged in Africa is the easy access to affordable conflict diamonds. Brad should almost buy two rings while he is here.

The next stop is a vineyard owned by Ernie Els which is a slap in the face to Gary Player if I have ever seen one. I was fully expecting, perhaps even needing, to see our faithful knight-errant of love, Chris Harrison, after the commercial. He is nowhere to be seen though. I still think Brad is going to pick Chantal. His family preferred Emily and you can tell that Brad was hoping someone else would make this decision easier for him, but Emily just does not seem to be completely on board with Brad’s commitment to raising a kid. This ought to be interesting.

I un-pause my Tivo and there is Chris Harrison to lead Chantal out of the limo. When I saw all of those diamonds, it occurred to me that Chris Harrison might have had to bolt out of the country before the main event. I am glad that is not the case because Brad needs his support right now. Chantal comes down to see Brad and he is already a good 45 seconds into his spiel without my having any clue which girl he is going to choose. He finally tells Chantal that she is not the winner. Chantal begins sobbing even though she ought to take solace in the fact that this show ended in South Africa rather than starting here because slapping Brad that first night might have gotten her beheaded.

After the commercial I guess there is more suspense than usual because Brad has already proven that you can turn down both girls. In fact, if he were to turn down Emily, Brad would actually have turned down five girls when you count Emily’s daughter. I imagine that would be a new record.

On her way down the stairs, Emily gives Chris Harrison a hug, which is as close as we have had to a princess-and-the-pea moment. Despite that, I still hope Brad does not propose because that would make for awesome television.

As usual, Brad gets it wrong and proposes to Emily. She accepts the proposal and texts Ricky, “Brad proposed!” Just kidding, I actually have no idea whether South Africa calling plans are even available yet on the iPhone. As we see a video of our favorite moments from the new couple’s less awkwardly silent dates, a Train song plays in the background and we have to imagine that Brad and Emily’s first fight will center on Emily’s wondering aloud why Brad took Jackie instead of Emily to the Train concert at the Hollywood Bowl way back when. I guess they will not be playing Seal at the wedding either.

Well, there are no more roses to give and no more e-mails to write. There are many ways to play this game and, were I Brad, I would not have had Chantal or Emily in the finals, owing in no small part to the fact that I think it would have been fun to whittle it down to the two Ashley’s and then pretend to have them confused with one another right up until the bitter end. Given Brad’s two finalists though, I guess you cannot blame him for picking the girl who looks more like a grown up version of Jon Benet Ramsey.

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