Well… Rachel picked Bryan. We sat through 3 hours of excruciating TV. The finale has done something to me that I never thought this show could do - render me speechless. I don’t have much to say, really. They broke me. Chris Harrison, Rachel, Peyore, and Bryan- you did it. I’m done. I’m tapped out. I just can’t understand how we got here.
Not just the Rachel picking Bryan part. I’m not happy about that. I think Bryan is maybe the worst “winner” in current memory. But the editors could have helped our collective transition by selling us on the choice a little more. The way they chopped up the finale made it seem like Rachel really really REALLY wanted to end up with Peter. It certainly seemed like she did. She cries off her eyelashes and then ends up with Bryan? I’m not equipped for that kind of turnaround. For our longtime viewers, we can cite the book of Desiree, Chapter Brooks, Verse Chris. When this happened on her season, I got on board. But not this time. Plus, with the whole cockamamie "interview as we go" format- we didn't even get to hope for a surprise ending.
As I said, the final episode was so painful that it made me not want to write about this show anymore. But… since we’re here… and I can’t stop thinking about it…
Let’s start with Peter. (Oh yeah, I’m completely skipping Eric here because he’s a delightful person who has taken every possible piece of good there is to be had from this draconian love-themed carnival ride and turned it into something beautiful. That is an actual #miracle.)
Going into the finale I thought for sure Peter just wasn't that into Rachel and every “I’m not ready to propose talk” was just an attempt to get Rachel to break up with him. Did Peter not look totally freaked out during the last two rose ceremonies when she called his name? To my eye there seemed to be a small but perceptible moment of “oh sh**” on his face. And yet… the last conversation Peyore and Rachel had was so emotional that it seemed like maybe he did really care for her but he just didn’t want to propose. Now- in the real world that makes sense. But, we’re not in the real world. We’re in Bachelor Nation and these are the rules of the game.
Secondly- Peter did offer to propose- albeit in the crappiest way possible, saying, “I would make that sacrifice because I don’t want to lose you.” Not exactly the best way to start a life together, and yet… relationships are ultimately about commitment and togetherness and sacrifice. Sometimes you just gotta take one for the team. I’m not an expert on marriage but I have been married for 40 years. Just kidding- I’m not one of the 75 confused European couples interviewed during this season.
I understand why Rachel didn’t want that kind of engagement. Watching their separation was so painful because I think it reminded everyone of their worst breakup. It doesn’t get much worse than that- someone waffling about how much they care about you, and not wanting to let you go, but not taking the step to keep you…. it kinda makes you feel…. gaslit. AND WE’RE BACK FULL CIRCLE. (See my previous recap from 6/21 called "Polyamory Yes, Prejudice No.")
I really identified with Rachel in her breakup with Peter but I kept running up against this wall. As in, “I totally understand where Rachel’s coming from and if I were in her position I would….” and then the wall comes in from the rafters and lands on my head like Brett Michaels at the Tony Awards and the wall’s name is Bryan. I could so easily make a wall/Bad Hombre joke here, but I won’t because I stumbled onto this image accidentally, and it’s actually quite offensive. As much as I don’t like Bryan, it has nothing to do with him being Colombian. And all to do with him being the most boring, milquetoast, cliched, surface-level, blah person I’ve ever watched on TV. I would say Bryan is like a hallmark card because everything he says sounds like a general platitude with no substance, but that’s not fair to hallmark cards.
Does anyone feel like they “know” Bryan? Who is he? I know nothing more about Bryan now than I did when he first came out of the limo and told Rachel that he was “trouble”. Maybe I used to think Bryan was a bad/suspicious/untrustworthy person- but now I think he’s worse than that. He’s not even interesting enough to be duplicitous. He’s just unbelievably dull. He’s the human version of an outlined fictional character. He’s the Cliff Notes of people. He was made in the same lab as Jack Stone but with a better operating system. He’s an instagram-story of a person.
So, yeah.. in conclusion… This show is like the pet rabbit that my husband had growing up. Adorable and nice to look at? Sure. But my husband’s pet rabbit ate it’s own babies. And that’s what this season has done. Rachel- our gorgeous, smart, relatable Rachel comes off looking like a rejected girlfriend who took the path of least resistance and settled for a man she didn’t want, just so she could engaged. I hope that’s not the case. Because Rachel, and everyone, including even Bryan, deserves more than that. Let’s remember that all of this is highly edited, and perhaps, for reasons we will never understand, Bryan really is an awesome guy. And let's choose to believe that they will be very, very happy together. I'm choosing to believe that. That is my fairytale.