"Bachelor in Paradise" recap: A mess of a season mercifully ends
The past month of "Bachelor in Paradise" – my god, it's only been a MONTH!? – has been, to put it politely, abysmal. From the uncomfortable rumors before it even aired to the clunky false start of an opening and the constant awkward inability to move forward, ABC's supposedly laid-back reality TV spinoff was bad television. And that doesn't even include the part where they threw a wedding and a live ultrasound on screen to distract from sexual misconduct allegations. When the show wasn't galling, it was merely boring.
So maybe there was a gas leak in my house. Or maybe watching this show has finally broken my brain. But last night's season finale of "Bachelor in Paradise" was a honest-to-god hoot – a laugh riot even! Perhaps it was because Chris Harrison was having a bad night; that warmed my heart more than any proposal – and there was definitely a Neil Lane-approved proposal Monday evening (spoiler alert: it's exactly who you think).
I'm getting ahead of myself though. On the beach, Harrison delivers a final ultimatum: either leave the beach now as a single person or stay, get a fantasy night suite and leave as a consummated couple. These are your options – your creepy, creepy, options.
Taylor and Derek are boringly guaranteed to choose the latter – and they do. Lacey and Daniel oddly enough do too, complete with the Toronto Torso making a joke about seeing "the Fourth of July in his pants." Have we learned NOTHING from Jason Pierre Paul!? Adam thinks Dean-Lo might be sticking around too, but the editor STRONGLY disagrees, cutting immediately to the two "love birds" looking dead in the face. I think that's why I loved this episode so much; whoever was in charge of the cutaway shots was a miracle worker, constantly undercutting the drama.
Take, for instance, JACK! STONE! and Christen's dramatic resolution. JACK! spills his heart to Christen, explaining that he can see the two not only leaving the beach together but even getting married. Meanwhile, Christen is CHUGGING a glass of wine. Fair enough; this is the final day of cheap booze and seafood in Mexico. So she makes that rosé disappear in record time – and then makes JACK! STONE! disappear by turning down his very confusing proposal.
JACK! hops in a SUV despondent, while Christen literally walks into the ocean ... and gets triumphantly swallowed by wave after crashing wave. Soaring music swells on the soundtrack as Christen disappears into pounding whitecaps, like a Roland Emmerich film has broken out and she's a famous iconic landmark. We never see her return to shore, so it's quite possible she just battled the waves and floated back to America.
In conclusion, a character drank hella rosé and then walked into the sea to escape "Bachelor in Paradise." I have never related more to somebody on this show.
Meanwhile, Tickle Monster and Jasmine have a nice, peaceful breakup because they were never really together. Diggy splits with Dom in order to propose staying on the beach with Jaime ... who subsequently rejects Diggy. (Cue sad trumpet sounds.) In happier news, Adam and Raven decide to keep going, despite the latter's concerns about having PTSD flashbacks to the last time she had a fantasy date suite with Nick Viall and left single (but at least satisfied, as we know all too well).
As for Amanda and Robby, they seem all cute and nice, with Robby wanting a whole pack of little Robbies running around. Actually that sounds like a nightmare – and apparently Amanda kind of agrees because she tearfully breaks up with him, saying that she doesn't see their relationship working in the real world and leaving Robby very confused and sad. I, meanwhile, find this all profoundly hilarious. WHO COULD'VE EXPECTED A MONTH-lONG TELEVISED RELATIONSHIP ON A FAKE BEACH WOULD GO DOWN IN FLAMES!?
Speaking of going down in flames, Dean-Lo have the all-important "talk," as well – and you might assume that Dean, having dragged himself through hell to end up with Danielle despite his lamest efforts, would want to keep the relationship going. BUT YOU WOULD BE WRONG! Nope, Dean blows up this love story too, because he's still in love with Kristina. Guy blew up two great portmanteaus for nothing but tears and a profound sense of shame – and I COULD NOT BE MORE DELIGHTED. Dean spent this month like an enthusiastic, easily distracted little collie dog, chasing after every car that drove past him with no idea how to catch one and even less of an idea of what to do if he did.
Before jetting off, he says he's sorry to Kristina and says she deserves better than him. We know, Dean – she deserves better than all of this.
So that just leaves Lacey and Daniel, Raven and Adam, and Taylor and Derek on the beach, with a final fantasy suite night for all three. Lacey and Daniel decide they want to be a couple at the end of this, because Daniel says, "I don't want you going back to New York and dating anyone else." That's some Christian Grey-sounding controlling garbage, but whatever, Lacey's on board.
Raven and Adam decide to stick together too, despite the fact that Raven spends all of Adam's love proclamation with a "who farted?" face. And Taylor and Derek, who cannot stop being adorably cute and giggly, agree to the fantasy suite, as well, because if Taylor's going to be in a relationship, she needs to have sex with Derek – to which Derek responds with an excited double-take that I rewatched several times as it was the funniest thing ever put on television.
See, this finale was BRILLIANT – not only because it was hilarious but because the show finally had forward momentum. Instead of stewing in the same blandly cooked drama, "Bachelor in Paradise" was hauling through goofy storylines and odd announcements of love. Friends, I cackled; it was great.
It was also only about 45 minutes, as the final hour and change of the finale was spent with a live studio audience for a post-show and unfortunately opened with more DeMario and Corinne. I could actually feel my brain coma itself the minute the two were brought onto the stage because, according to Harrison, "there's more that needs to be addressed."
Or, apparently not, because their ballyhooed reunion (gross) lasted only about five minutes. He's glad she's doing better; she wishes they communicated more – aka got their stories straight – during the drama's height. They want to put this past them (then why are you on this show again?) and they want to "get back to normal" (THEN WHY ARE YOU ON THIS SHOW AGAIN!?). There has never been a greater waste of time, but at least the crowd reactions were accurately eye-rolling.
And why talk about that dead horse when there's a sweetly idiotic Dean to pummel to death! After the twins rail some more on JACK! STONE! – listen, ladies, you're not going to happen; put yourselves to bed – and one more round of Scallop Fingers jokes, it's time for the main event: Put. Dean. On. That. Couch.
So to a raucous choir of boos, a dead-faced Dean takes a seat with Harrison to talk about his experience. People have looked more excited about getting a catheter. He tries the same "I wasn't TRYING to be an absolute playboy moron" routine from the beach, but it doesn't play. Kristina looks pissy as hell – deservedly so – while D-Lo, whose dignity and calm through this entire mess has gone under-appreciated, seethes silently. I suggest we nominate her to Pope Francis as the Patron Saint of Not Stabbing Dudes in the Neck with a Stiletto. However, she doesn't go quietly, as she slaps Dean's "nice guy" attempt down by revealing he called her after the show to try dating again. So much for that undying love for Kristina! His rise and fall was borderline Ken Bone-ian – and that is as timely of a reference as he deserves.
But the deceit does not end there! Amanda and Robby are next, as Amanda praises avocado toast while Robby attempts to bat away rumors that he cheated on Amanda after the show. Apparently, the two tried to get back together post-"Paradise," but Robby got caught with some auspicious photos with another woman. Harrison takes a backseat for most of this interview, as Haley and Emily play the roles of twin Jerry Springers, interrogating Robby as he attempts to smirk everything off. Amanda stays mostly civil, though she was clearly saving her savagery for Twitter:
Look what you made me do 🤷🏼♀️ pic.twitter.com/5TCuv8Xtj4— Amanda Stanton (@amandastantonnn) September 12, 2017
He was a social media influencer alright!
And in "douchey dude reveals himself to indeed be a douche" subplot C, Lacey and Daniel take the stage to talk about their fantasy suite night – or more like the fantasy suite night that wasn't, as Lacey says Daniel was lying about his feelings. And the show has the receipts! Daniel and a producer talked behind a closed door about how he could never switch his Facebook status to "In A Relationship" with Lacey. It's like "The Jinx" all over again! Unsurprisingly, Daniel is all torso and no brain. NEVER TRUST A MAN WITH THAT MANY ABS!
But all is not lost for Harrison and his reality TV pimping skills. Raven and Adam are still adorable, with Adam smoothly putting his arm before Raven as soon as they hit the couch – even before the clip of their post-fantasy suite revelry. Raven says everyone deserves an Adam, so look forward to "Bachelor"-branded Little Adam dolls at all your local toy stores and Forever 21 locations! It's also her turn to be duplicitous, however, as – SURPRISE ADAM! – you're meeting her parents on live TV! Adam's enthusiasm can only be described as "Dean-ian."
Finally, we get Not John Krasinski and Taylor. They're giggly as hell and even borderline cute – except for Taylor's "I got to take all of Derek in last night" joke which, HARD PASS ON THOSE DETAILS. The two keep smiling and being sweet together on the couch with Harrison until Derek very smoothly gets her to stand up, showing her off to the crowd, before taking a knee and pulling out a diamond ring.
Almost paradise indeed – though a better theme song for this hapless bungle of a season would've been Rihanna's "We Found Love (In a Hopeless Place)."
Now we have until January until the new – and hopefully less miserable – season of "The Bachelor" starts. In the meantime, let's take bets on who gets married first: Derek and Taylor, or Ben Z. and his dog?
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