Week 11 - FINALE!
Both of the final two women are basking in the afterglow of Ben saying they love them, unaware that Ben dropped the "love" bomb on both of them. It's going to crush one woman's soul, especially after they get the additional pressure of meeting Ben's parents. Lauren meets the folks first, gifting them flowers in a vase that looks like it's filled with red wine (which they'll need after the double I-love-you revelation). The parents can tell that Ben is smitten with Lauren, who assures them she's in love and ready for a life with him. And you know Lauren is serious because she won't stop holding Ben's mom's hand. The next day, JoJo meets the parents and is extremely nervous but feeling #blessed. It's a lather-rinse-repeat convo with less parental hand holding (I say less, not none) and more mentions of Ben being her best friend. Ben's parents are shocked he's in love with both, but can also see what he sees in both women, and will be disappointed at losing whoever he dumps. I'm sure that losing girl will be more disappointed.
For their final date together, Ben and Lauren spend the day cuddling and close-talking on a boat - not a yacht because this show is on a budget. The couple docks by the beach and have some stressed out talking time since it's clear Ben is losing his mind and stressed. Ben's concern that everything with Lauren is too perfect and easy, so would they be able to last life's big obstacles? Later, Ben goes to Lauren's room at Sandals to spend their possible last night together. Lauren is scared but also at peace, because Ben is such a calming agent - like chamomile tea. Much like chamomile tea, their whispery conversation puts me to sleep. Lauren worries that Ben's connection with JoJo could be stronger and can't picture a life without Ben. Well maybe you should've done a craft project to show your love for him.
Ben and JoJo drive a rental jeep around Jamaica until they end up at The Blue Hole for some romantic swimming and smooching. It's pretty much the exact date they went on a week ago, which either means the show forgot or simply doesn't care. Since Ben said "I love you", JoJo received the validation she needed and has confidence in her love. Until Ben opens his mouth and has that uneasy tone of his, which freaks her out. Back at the Sandals Resort, JoJo is concerned about her status with Ben since he earlier admitted he was torn. Ben continues to dig himself a bigger hole by saying his relationship with JoJo is the deepest he's ever felt. Ben tells JoJo he doesn't have a specific concern that would make him choose one woman over the other and tells JoJo she's become his best friend. Needing more a sign, JoJo takes Ben into the bathroom to try and get one last bit of reassurance. So Ben yet again tells JoJo he's in love with her, this is all hard, and admits he told Lauren he loves her too. The tears off-camera but on-mic crying begins because JoJo thought what they had was totally special and not shared. The couple shares one last kiss and exchange of "I love yous" and JoJo spends the night crying in her hotel room.
Ben wakes up on proposal day with no clarity whatsoever, unless you count the 4 C's of diamonds because Neil Lane is here! But which of the obscenely large halo rings should Ben pick if he doesn't even know which woman will wear it? The choice is what appears to be a princess-cut halo with sidestones - a real hunker of a ring. JoJo and Lauren each put on their gowns and walk pensively around their hotel rooms to get the perfect thinkin' shot. Both women board helicopters (!!!) to get escorted to the proposal site and I know I'd be cool with getting dumped if a helicopter ride was involved.
The first helicopter lands at the proposal site and it's... JoJo. UT OH. She walks up to Ben nervous but excited, hoping the faith she has in Ben will do her well. JoJo gives her speech about Ben blowing her away and Ben being worth it despite the risk of it all. It's a beautiful and passionate speech, which Ben responds back with a nice speech but ends it with saying he found love with JoJo, but with someone else more. JoJo is blindsided since Ben made all these grand declarations of being best friends, loving her, etc. It's messy but also in like the cleanest way since Ben is just the sweetest guy ever. JoJo departs in the limo crying, while Ben thinks about what a terrible thing he to a woman he considers a best friend, the person that would comfort him when he's down. It's extremely uncomfortable.
Despite loving JoJo, Ben knew he could not say goodbye to Lauren. Ben gets ahold of an iPhone and calls Lauren's dad and asks for her hand in marriage (blessing given). Ben gives a victorious "WOO!" punch in the air like the end of The Breakfast Club and then Lauren's helicopter arrives. In her tight blue dress, Lauren walks up to Ben and delivers her speech about knowing kissing Ben for the first time was the last first kiss she wanted to have. "You're my person. I love you. I love you." With Lauren's speech over, Ben gets into his romantic declarations about initially feeling unlovable but feeling all the love with her, wanting to kiss her on the "face" every day, and be together for the rest of their lives. Out comes the Neil Lane box and Ben gets down on one knee and proposes to Lauren. It's a yes! Lauren accepts the final rose and they smooch a bunch before departing in the Sandals helicopter.
After the Final Rose
Ben comes out solo first, excited to showoff the love he has for his fiance... but also spent the entire night stressed by what was a disastrous ending for JoJo. Ben says the way he picked Lauren was by thinking of which woman he couldn't picture a life without. Despite it all be uncomfortable, it's no regrets. So of course instead of the good stuff, they bring out JoJo first to awkwardly see Ben for the first time. Ben reiterates he didn't take this decision lightly and cared about JoJo. Looking back on the time, JoJo expected a proposal on the last day since their relationship was so strong. Watching the season helped JoJo understand why Lauren was chosen over her. It's said for the umpteenth time that Ben dumped JoJo because he couldn't imagine life without Lauren. While JoJo will always love Ben in some way, she's at peace and moved on. It's all good because who can be mad at America's treasure Ben? And then it's official: JoJo is the new Bachelorette.
Ben and Lauren reunite for the first time publicly and while she's wearing a white dress, Ben's horrible facial hair scruff tells me an impromptu wedding isn't happening. Yes, Ben's actual pastor is waiting in the wings for the chance Ben will actually go through with his statement from the reunion of marrying his pick tomorrow. The couple are so happily in love despite what could've been a rocky beginning given the "I love JoJo too" thing. Lauren is moving to Denver in the next few weeks and their families are both very happy. Because this special is beyond boring, Jimmy Kimmel is planted in the audience to ask inappropriate questions and rub naked dolls together. Speaking of inappropriate, Chris Harrison puts the couple on the spot to see if they'll get married live immediately on After the Final Rose. In no surprise to anyone, Ben and Lauren choose to not get married at the reunion and will get married another time (but still probably on TV for a lot of money). Instead, Ben proposes again in front of their families because he's too sweet and perfect for the world to handle.
And with that another season of The Bachelor comes to a close. Lauren B was pretty much a foregone conclusion since early in the season. I kept thinking the show was throwing us a curveball and not delivering the most obvious edit ever. I was wrong. Best of luck to the happy couple and I'll see you all in Paradise!
[All images credited to ABC]