Do we think that barn always had stained glass? (ABC)
JA: Regrettably, Fia is in London this week (the kind of circumstance that would fill just about anyone with regret), so I'm flying solo here. We could have been live blogging this episode together from the audience at After the Final Rose, but whatever, Fia, I guess London's more important. #priorities
So, after thirteen years and nineteen seasons of programming, after over two hundred episodes beautifully shot in exotic destinations like New Zealand, Vietnam, and Agoura Hills, the finale of this international phenomenon took place in a barn. In a barn in Iowa. Kudos to ABC for trying their best to make the frozen tundra of Arlington seem picturesque.
Chris has a big decision, the most important decision of his life, and to help him make it, he's bringing each girl to meet his family and guzzle as much Chardonnay as she can out of dollar-store wine flutes. I worry about all the wine drinking in the middle of the day, but then again, what else is Chris's wife going to be doing in that sparsely decorated farmhouse?
Whitney is first up to have lunch with Chris's family, and she can't stop crying all over the chintz. Whitney is ALL IN, ladies and gentlemen. She's happy to pull up stakes and leave Chicago, because apparently, you can be a nurse anywhere. Yeah. Except Arlington. Arlington doesn't even have a Rite-Aid, so there's no shot in hell at a fertility clinic. Maybe Whitney's baby-making skills can translate to animal husbandry?
Who am I kidding? Whitney's going to be an alcoholic very shortly. Did anyone else get the sense that Little Orphan Whitney was just looking for a family to replace the one she lost? I cringed when she told Chris's mom that she has been trying for years to find someone she can call "Mom." That's really not a reason to marry someone.
Money. Money is a reason to marry someone.
After Whitney leaves, Chris sits down with his Supercuts Sisters and they're like, "Do we even need to see the other one? We like this one. Propose to this one." And Chris once again serves up a heaping bowl of word salad, most of it about this mysterious "charming side" of Becca. Look. I like Becca. Not nearly as much as Fia does, but I mean, she aight. The last word I would ever use to describe her, though, is "charming." Becca is about as charming as the rooster that wakes me up every morning from the house three doors down. (Yeah, I've gotta get the hell out of Echo Park.)
Then, because he didn't like the advice Supercuts gave, Chris goes to some sort of garage/tool shed/manly man place with his dad and his brothers-in-law so they can have manly man beer talk. Enough Chardonnay -- bust out the Natty Light! However, they pretty much tell him the same thing. Kudos to bro-in-law Jason, who pointed out that Chris might be more into Becca just because she's impenetrable, in every sense of the word.
So then it's time for Becca to visit the Soules family, and she can't even get her coat off before she's throwing epic shade at Arlington. "So what would we do on Saturdays, go to the post office?" Yeah, Becca ain't about this life. At all.
I'm ambivalent about Becca. On one hand, she reminds me of Catherine (from Sean's season), whose fear and doubt actually confirmed that she was taking this whole thing seriously and not drinking the ABC Kool-Aid. Becca is saying incredibly reasonable things about not being sure whether she wants to become the pitchfork lady from the "American Gothic" painting, and Chris doesn't seem to understand any of it.
Then again, has Becca seen this show before? This is how it works, toots. Chris gets down on one knee and ices you out with a whole lot of Neil Lane bling, and you say yes, against your better judgment. Because it's not about you, Becks. It's about the fairy tale. You know who understood the importance of the story? Kelsey. Kelsey understood.
I also found it telling that Chris brought Whitney out to his farm for their final "date" but just chilled with Becca in her Al Capone suite in Dubuque. That was confirmation that Whitney was going to win. Whitney has no doubts. Whitney wants to have his babies and call Chris's mother "Mom." Whitney OPENED HER WEDDING WINE WEEKS AGO, for Pete's sake. So ultimately, in a barn where Chris "raised his first pig" (whatever the hell that means), he decides to hop aboard the Whitney Express before both trains leave the station without him. Becca gets rejected in several yards of crushed velvet, which is a much greater tragedy than her going home alone. And Whitney becomes the happy future Mrs. Soules, thereby ending the most low-budget season in the history of this show.
After the Final Rose was a snooze-fest, except for the announcement that there are going to be two Bachelorettes this season, Britt and Kaitlyn. I wish I could have been backstage to see the look on Britt's face when she heard the audience give less than zero shits about her. Chris Harrison said her name and there were golf claps and more than a few boos. Kaitlyn is clearly the only one anybody cares about. I don't know what Britt is going to bring to this season, except yards and yards of hair and mascara. Either ABC stumbled upon a genius way to reinvent their formula, or this is the worst mistake they've ever made. We'll see this summer!!