So after the most confusing/disturbing Bachelor finale to date, this was one Final Rose special I was actually dying to see. Has Nikki wised up and, after watching a season rife with her dream guy acting like a total D-bag, ditched the dud? Has J.P. realized the many, many errors of his ways, and come back begging America’s forgiveness? Has Camila learned English?
The answers, to all of the above, are NO. NOT AT ALL. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT. But it still made for a heck of a TV episode.
The show kicked off with Clare in the hot seat, now clearly embracing her Female Dom side with her newfound sense of self and a lot of skintight leather. Still, I have to hand it to Clare for basically using the horrifying ordeal that J.P. put her through to declare her independence from all men/insecurities. When she declined to go through the terribly awkward rigamarole of “confronting” her wayward suitor (which usually just ends up with the tearful rejectee adding insult to injury by wailing “why not me? WHY? TELL ME WHY” and the rejector squirming uncomfortably) I almost gave her a standing-O. Where Clare is normally as contrived as those awful hair extensions she was wearing—for a hairdresser, that’s some poor self-advertising—this time she actually appeared genuine and empowered. You go, Clare Coco!
So we say sayonara to Clare, who defs won’t be the next Bachelorette but who will probably, Renee-style (so happy for her, btw), end up engaged on Instagram in around two months’ time. Next up is J.P., who comes onstage swaggering for all he’s worth and emanating his usual devil-may-care attitude. There’s a deceitful opening moment where J.P. has a “heartfelt” message regarding the current situation in Venezuela, and the audience and viewers are thinking he may have changed for the better—but nope, he’s the same old douchebag he was on the show. Still showing NO contrition over his man-whore, player behavior throughout the season, J.P. genuinely seems confused as to why he should feel any regret when he was just “being honest”. Ooh, boy.
I’m absolutely loving the bro-tension brewing between J.P. and Chris Harrison right now—Chris cuts J.P. short and J.P.’s all “can I talk? You interrupted me.” LOLZ. J.P., first of all let’s be real, to talk you have to actually utter coherent words, and besides, this is C.H.’s house—Dorothy, you’re not in Miami anymore. Chris’s BFF Sean Lowe looks appropriately startled and pissed off, and while I’m not sure whether J.P. or Sean would win if it came to fisticuffs, I’d be okay with seeing them mud-wrestle. J.P. might be a major d-bag, but he’s still looking foiiiiiine tonight.
**Hypothesis as to what the intended “surprise” J.P. was supposed to have for the audience: I’m thinking a proposal to Nikki that he decided to back out of, telling her he loves her (also jumped ship on that one), or dropping his pants and finally confirming the “little package” saga.
Chris send J.P. backstage, then trots out Nikki, who A) Has gotten even thinner since the show, B) Finally has her hair under control—and color-corrected—sans-crazy foreign humidity and C) Has apparently turned into a mute over the past four months.
Though she barely utters a word, she does manage to drop THE bomb of the season: Yes, she and J.P. are still together; yes, she loves him; and no, he hasn’t said it back.
OH. EM. GEE.
Chris appears genuinely appalled by this information, as do the requisite huddle of Bachelor alums who are all shaking their heads sorrowfully and on the inside are like THANK mother f**king G-d I wasn’t cast on this season! After trying unsuccessfully to get Nikki into admitting she’s unnerved by her and J.P.’s relationship, Chris brings J.P. back out and the “happy couple” reunite.
And that, my friends, is when things really start to go south. Chris is like a parent trying to convince his recalcitrant child to eat his veggies: he cajoles, he insults, he threatens, he pushes, and finally he throws up his hands to the heavens for some Divine assistance—of which there’s none, except the two Bachelor-avenging angels Sean and Catherine who are all “don’t bite the hand that fed you, dude.” That made me LOL, but it might be a little high-brow for someone who doesn’t even know the word “bolt.”
J.P.: We just want to keep things quiet. Private. Between us. Bachelor good but now over.
Chris: I’m sorry. What?
Seriously, WHY is Nikki not speaking up for herself, like, at all? She’s just grinning like an idiot the entire time as if this is her dream come true: a man who doesn’t want to commit. Honey, for that you didn’t have to spend ten weeks on a television show—you could have just gone to your neighborhood bar and done a quick pick-me-up. While I never thought Nikki was exactly MENSA material, I did think she was one of the brighter (if sluttier-dressed) contestants on the show—watching this, however, makes me feel like one of several things may have happened to Nikki since the finale:
1. She’s adopted a mild cocaine habit
2. Trying to actually converse with J.P. the past few months has rendered her so verbally exhausted that she’s lost the desire to speak, ever.
3. Trying to actually converse with J.P. the past few months has lowered her IQ to the extent where she no longer knows HOW to speak.
4. Super-controlling J.P. has been keeping her locked up in some small, dark space for too long because she couldn’t replicate the baby-back ribs from the gas station joint, popping in for the occasional “besito” and to change out her string bikinis.
Poor Chris is getting so worked up that I almost think he’s going to tell Nikki he loves her and propose, just to salvage a remnant of her pride. The guy is so frustrated by J.P. that we actually see him stalk offstage when the episode cuts to commercial, instead of staying in his seat as per usual. I’m #TeamChris all the way on this one: you sign up for a nationally televised show, you’re committing yourself to being under public scrutiny, and it’s a pipe dream to think that’s all just going to disappear once the finale wraps. I mean, come on. Also, in homage to all that is J.P., “les be honest” here: what’s he really going back home to? According to his mommy, his life is basically watching TV and evading conflict, so I don’t think continuing to do media or public appearances is really going to interfere with his day-to-day.
“I’m not gonna lie, I’m okay moving on” –Chris Harrison on wrapping up the J.P./Nikki “not-love-but-like-her-a-lot” fairy/cautionary tale. Seriously, WHY does Chris Harrison not run for president, or at least, like, do a podcast?
We wrap up with the announcement of Andi as the next Bachelorette—whoo! We all knew it was coming since she flounced off the show with the classic Bachelor party line: “I didn’t find love here, BUT I’m still open. Did you hear that, world? I am OPEN TO LOVE. ME. OPEN.” I’m a big Andi fan, especially now that ABC worked on toning down the ombre hair. Dodged that bullet.
Will Assistant District Attorney Andi find love? She says she could be “engaged by summer,” and ah, isn’t that what we love about this show? Andi’s season premieres May 19th—and we’ll be back with more recaps! Start the countdown!