As another season of The Bachelorette comes to a close, I, along with many others, sat eagerly in front of my TV on Monday night for the live three-hour finale. Complete with a swoonworthy proposal, sneak-peeks of upcoming franchise hit Bachelor in Paradise and newbie Golden Bachelor, and surprises that host Jesse Palmer promised would have Bachelor Nation on the edge of their seats, the ending of this special 20th season delivered. Read ahead for my roses and thorns of the night, though please note that this does contain spoilers!
Charity’s line-up of men this season were truly outstanding. Other than a few episodes of petty drama with first-impression rose recipient Brayden Bowers and a last-minute shocking reveal from fan-favorite Xavier Bonner, all of the other men there respected Charity and were there for the right reasons. DotunOlubekoquickly emerged as a frontrunner, historically becoming one of the only contestants in Bachelor history to receive two back-to-back one-on-ones.
Watching him and Charity conquer their fear of heights to bungee jump in Washington and spend a day running the New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon solidified their close bond and vulnerable connection. This made it all the more heartwarming to see him end up as her final rose pick, with his proposal enough to bring tears to the eyes of even the most coldhearted of audience members. Notably, their engagement also broke barriers as the first Black final couple in Bachelor history.
Thorn: Heartbreaking Goodbyes
Of course, as joyous as it was to watch Dotun propose to Charity, the nature of the show is that one man (or woman, if this was the show’s counterpart The Bachelor) is left heartbroken as their proposal is turned down. In this case, Joey Gaziadei was left in tears at the proposal altar. One of my least favorite parts of this process is when the leads have the ‘losing’ contestant say their whole monologue and go through with the proposal before being rejected. I understand that to the lead, it might come from a place of respect to have the contestant say their final words, but I also think that it makes the whole break-up worse by falsely raising hopes.
Joey certainly got the message that he wasn’t Charity’s final pick, though, when he went to get down on one knee and Charity stopped him. As she started crying and could hardly get through her end of the break-up speech, Joey also couldn’t hold back his tears. In typical Joey fashion, he put Charity first and made sure that she was feeling okay. As Joey left, he and Charity both promised each other that there would always be love in their hearts for one another, making this one of the most mature, though heartbreaking, finale break-ups yet.
Rose: New Bachelor
Joey might have left Fiji in tears, but he certainly didn’t end the night sad as by the end of the finale he was named the new Bachelor. A clear fan-favorite since the beginning of Charity’s season, this news comes as no surprise—though many fans were disappointed that it wasn’t John Buresh. As shown through his relationship with Charity and time on the show, Joey is mature, loving, and willing to delve into deep and sometimes uncomfortable conversations.
As another bonus for Joey, he actually got to meet one of his girlfriends right there in the studio. Throuhgout the night, Jesse interviewed various women in the live studio audience as an “audition” to be competing for the next Bachelor’s heart. Considering two of the women he interviewed were from Hawaii( Joey’s current home), and Pennsylvania (Joey’s home state), the hints were dropped pretty early that Joey might be Bachelor. When he was announced, Jesse chose one of the women in the audience, Lea, to join Joey onstage. Clearly nervous and unprepared to be at the center of the spotlight and of Joey’s loving gaze, Lea was the perfect balance of composed, fun, and lovable. Here’s hoping the rest of the women are like her!
Thorn: Paradise Previews
Of course, even if Joey wasn’t named Bachelor, there was a chance for him to head to the beaches of Mexico like so many other castoffs from this season and other seasons past. The After the Final Rose finale always promises a sneak peek of the upcoming season of Bachelor in Paradise. This year’s preview held so many quick edits that my head was spinning. I could hardly pick out who was on the beaches this year! The one moment that seemed to be the focus was a bit, uh, disturbing. As always, there was the tease of a medical emergency that resulted in ambulances arriving on the beach. This one, though, wasn’t the typical heat stroke or panic breakdown, but rather, as the EMT eloquently puts it, a “poop baby.” Not sure I’m looking forward to that storyline.
Beyond that, though, it seems this upcoming season will offer so many Bachelor contestants another chance at love. Paradise is actually one of the more successful shows in the franchise in terms of relationship longevity and success—as we speak, one Paradise couple, Hannah Godwin and Dylan Barbour are getting married in Paris, and just two weeks ago, Noah Erb proposed to Paradise match Abigail Heringer. This preview promised the same romance and some tantalizingly surprising familiar faces on the beach, including previous Bachelorettes Rachel Recchia and Hannah Brown.
Rose: From Roses to Mirrorballs
Similar to how fans can always expect a season of Paradise to follow a season of The Bachelorette, it’s become almost tradition to have a Bachelor or Bachelorette also join the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars, also on ABC. From Sean Lowe to Matt James and Kaitlyn Bristowe to Gabby Windey, their desire for roses and love quickly transforms into the potential for foxtrotting and mirrorballs. The announcement that Charity would be headed to the ballroom was especially cute as Dotun was the one to reveal the surprise to her. Citing her love of “cutting it up” and her long-term dream to be on the dance reality competition, his excitement for her and her ensuing shock and excitement was one of the best parts of the finale.
I’ll see you all soon on September 28th for the dual premiere of Golden Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise.
All episodes of Bachelor content airs live on ABC and is streaming on Hulu the following day.
Feature image courtesy of ABC