Monday, March 14, 2016

Bachelor Ben: Finale finally

We've come to the end of our road. It's been a long journey but worthwhile. Ben is probably the best Bachelor in history. If you disagree, tell me who was better in the comments section. We had some good nominations for the Mount Rushmore of Bachelorettes. I had forgotten about Desiree and Ali, even if they ultimately chose doofuses. But then so did my beloved Jillian. Still no Bachelors other than Ben on the mountain in my mind.

So what does big Ben do today? He's told two women he loves them. According to my sources in the checkout line at the grocery store, he treated one of them really badly. It was his own admission. But I didn't read beyond the headline. We know he said he's ready to marry the woman of his dreams, so there's that. I'm sure that will be of great consolation to the also-ran loser.

Is Ben going to choose Lauren (I hope so) or JoJo and her wacky family? No idea. But Chris Harrison hints at a wedding on After the Final Rose. Both families are there. The Jewelry man is there. And Ben's pastor is there. I'm dubious. The season stopped filming weeks ago. Surely both families know. One devasted daughter didn't come home and act all normal and coy, like maybe she's engaged, maybe she was dumped. Now you're getting the losing family to play along and pretend they don't know? No way. It's all fishy.

Both Lauren and JoJo are reflecting by the water in Jamaica wearing short cut-off jeans. Lauren really wears them well.

Lauren meets the parents first. She mentions to the mom that Ben is perfection and moms says, "We'll talk later." Then his mom tells Lauren he can get pretty intense and worked up. He needs someone to talk him off the ledge. That's a bombshell. She's not helping.

But after meeting his family, she tells him she's so ready to get engaged. She says she'd marry him tomorrow. That's the expression Ben used last week. So maybe it's her. I'm a regular Sherlock Holmes.

Next up is JoJo, who arrives bringing a plant. Question: Do Ben's parents hide Lauren's flowers?

I get the impression the parents are digging JoJo more than Lauren. She got emotional with both of them. That's always a sure-fire winner. And in fact, moms says it felt "different" today. In a positive way. Am I on the wrong side of history?

The parents tell him Lauren was very polished, just planting a seed in his brain. They claim they'd be happy with either one, but she made her point. His dad said, "Love you, son." I thought dads only called their sons "son" in the movies.

Ben claims he's still undecided.

Man, Ben's pastor is really cramming hard for this. Every time we see him, he's flipping through pages of the Bible. It's like he's never performed a marriage ceremony before.

Okay, final two dates. First is with Lauren. She's still wearing her adorable jean cut-offs. The fact he told her he loves her, and continues to, fills her with confidence. Little does she know.

They're out on some water vessel on a windy day. Oh, it's a catamaran. I couldn't see the twin hulls (yes, I just looked up 'catamaran'). Her confidence is shaken a bit by Ben's "heavy mind." She says he spent the "last date" with JoJo. So they're showing these out of sequence. Obviously JoJo's date was more dramatic.

Ben's issue with Lauren is that everything's been too perfect. She's so put-together, he's having self-doubts, which are roughly the same as regular doubts. But is this just the editor's trick to downplay the eventual winner?

At night, she tells Ben she's emotional. He asks why. She says she doesn't know. He says she must know. Little does he know.

She tells him again she's ready to spend the rest of her life with him and has never been more sure of anything in her whole life. He says, "Lauren, no matter what happens..." and then some other stuff. But maybe those first five words are the most telling.

She says (in an interview that's been used before tonight's episode) that she's scared he's in love with JoJo, too. She can't picture a life without Ben. This is shaping up to be one of the most dramatic finales in Bachelor history!

JoJo's turn. Which was first, apparently. She, Ben and her enhanced bust (probably got the family rate at the plastic surgeon's) get in a jeep and drive off through the jungle. They stop off at a "Blue Bowl" and dive in and kiss under a waterfall, just like in Blue Lagoon.

She asks if he feels good and he says it's a loaded question. Here come the dramatics. She guesses it's because there are two people and he's confused. He tells her he's so clear that he loves her but his mind is in a thousand different places. Now she's concerned.

At night, he tells her he knows how much he cares about her. He also says what he feels for her is deeper than anything he's ever felt. In your face, Lauren! He's honest to a fault. He tells her there isn't a concern with either relationship. She's looking for a sign and he's not giving it to her. They go into the washroom without the cameras. She whispers that she needs something from him; she's losing her mind. She says, "But you love her too. Is that right?" He says yes. "And you said that to her?" He says yes. "Do you not want me to tell you this?" She says she does but she feels foolish. She thought she was special. She wants it to be just her and him. She's tired of competing. She's hurt, upset and feels naive. Ultimately, she's confused, which makes her almost sick to her stomach. He leaves and they say "I love you" to each other. Then she sits down and cries.

It's a new day. The jewelry guy is there for his free airtime for his crappy jewelry business. Why does he also have to be in the audience for After the Final Rose in case there's a wedding? He's done his job. Who invites the jeweler to their wedding?

But the ring brings clarity. At least that's the storyline they're going with. He looked at the ring and now knows who he is going to choose. Which one suits the ring more? I can't tell.

The two women get dolled up. Once again, Lauren out-does JoJo. I like the long blue dress more than the long pink one. They each get their own chopper ride to Ben. How far away are they?

Spoiler alert: Ben says he's going to break the heart of the first woman who arrives. Thanks for the heads-up.

Here comes the first chopper! Get ready for heartbreak! It's JoJo. Poor JoJo. She wasn't my choice, but I feel for her. I also fear for what her brothers will do to Ben.

As she walks towards him, he doesn't have that can't-stop-smiling face. Bad sign. But as she nears, he warms up, telling her she looks unbelievable. She tells him he instantly intrigued her, and rehashes the moments in their journey. Why do they make them do this? She tells him he's her best friend and someone she's fallen completely in love with. I guess it's good she got a new best friend out of it at least.

He looks sad and sheepish as he talks. He tells her he didn't think he could find love. "I found it with you, but I found it with somebody else more." He tells her he doesn't want to say goodbye. And even today he doesn't question that he does love her. She's pissed. She tells him she doesn't even know what to say. She's confused. She wants to know where it went wrong. He says it never did. As he tries to speak, she says, "It's okay." She says she wants to go. He asks if he can walk her out. She says, "If you'd like to."

She cries and says she put her heart out there and trusted him. He says his feelings haven't changed. They embrace by the limo like best friends. Inside, she says he said he'd never blindside her but she feels very blindsided right now. She wants the kind of love she can count on.

Ben talks about how much he loves JoJo. Is she coming back?! Can he break the hearts of two women today? Let's Womack this thing!

Meanwhile Lauren is circling above Jamaica. I wonder if she saw the limo take JoJo away.

Ben takes out his cell phone and calls Lauren's dad on speaker phone. He asks for his daughter's hand in marriage. Good thing dad answered the phone. Which proves my point that the family would know ahead of this episode who won. So the fact both families are there in the audience in preparation for a wedding is a sham.

There's that smile from Ben as Lauren walks towards her that was missing with JoJo. She gives a speech that ends with, "You're my person. I love you. I love you." Ben looks down and a moment of panic crosses her face. He mentions a journey full of goodbyes. Then he says, "Lauren, I never want to say goodbye to you," and she looks puzzled at first and then it sinks in. That was a pretty good speech by the best Bachelor in Bachelor history. Usually I hate these schmaltzy things.

Then the gag rose at the end of every proposal. Just once I'd like to see the winner toss the rose away saying, "I don't need no stinkin' rose! I've got you!"

What jerks the producers are bringing the pastor in to put Ben's promise to the test. You don't trick someone into marrying. That's the woman's job!

What's this? Chris says the new Bachelorette may be revealed but it may not be who we think it is. Who else could it be other than Caila? Who else is in the running? I'm not sure I can pay full attention to Ben and Lauren now. If it's not Caila, I don't know what I'll do.

Ben comes out looking pale. And like Peter Brady still.

No wonder he's pale. He's got to see JoJo first. She comes out all smiles. And as dark as Ben is pale. I wonder if Ben still loves her. I also wonder who he told he loves first, and how long it preceded the second.

Question for Ben from JoJo: What was the deciding factor? Answer from Ben: He wanted to stay open until the very end. He says he just couldn't picture his life without Lauren. Ouch.

She says she's moved on and is happy where she's at. Oh no, I hope that doesn't mean she's the next Bachelorette. Harrison is about to announce it. JoJo is still on stage. Boooooo!!!! I don't need to see that season. Booooo!!!! Boy, she was really choked up about getting dumped, wasn't she? Can you say "rebound"? Clearly Caila turned them down.

Lauren's out now. She looks a little different but I can't put my finger on it. Still well put-together. She's almost as pale as Ben. I wonder if they've spent the past month or so in the bedroom. Maybe. She says she's more in love with him today than she was then.

Harrison keeps hinting at the big surprise for Ben, which is the pastor. Hasn't he been there all along? I still think it's a jerk move by the producers unless Ben is in on it.

What's next for the couple? Lauren says she's moving to Denver soon. She's a flight attendant so it's doable. She doesn't want a long engagement, but they also want to date a little bit. The pastor can rest easy.

Jimmy Kimmel interrupts to ask some questions. Where do babies come from? When they get married, will there be a cake? What exactly happens in the Fantasy Suite? He gets out two naked Ken and Barbie dolls and simulates them having sex. The pastor is wondering what he got himself into.

The Kimmel bit was pointless and not really funny, but it was a plug for Ben and Lauren coming up on his show. I can't condone that kind of cross promotion.

So right after they said they want to date for a little bit, Harrison puts the pressure on them. If he says yes, it'll be the quickest ceremony in history. I mean, apart from Vegas. Ben says he owes it to have his friends and family there. Ben gets up and hugs the pastor. Then he grabs Lauren and calls her family out. Okay, this is the schmaltz I hate. He should have left well enough alone. He gets down on one knee again and asks if she'll marry him once again. Blech.

Ben asks to speak. Harrison says, "This is your show. Go." Ben says the best thing a Bachelor has ever says: "For ten more minutes I'm relevant." So true because as good as he way, a year from now I'll be going, "Who was that guy?"