On ‘The Bachelorette,’ love finds a way

On the season finale of “The Bachelorette,” Tayshia pushed aside her fears and chose her man, with a little help from her family.

Before we wish the happy couple well, let’s hit every speed bump on this road to love ever after.

Last night’s episode found Chris Harrison opening with another ridiculous statement: “Will she get engaged to her soulmate or will she walk away from love forever?”

That’s right, if she doesn’t get a ring, Tayshia will exile herself to a research institute in the Himalayas studying cloud formations for the rest of her natural life. No pressure!

Ex-Army Ranger Ben again professes his love Tayshia.

“The way that you make me feel is the way I’ve been waiting to feel my entire life,” he says.

Tayshia decides to invite him to the rose ceremony that night.

As they part, Ben kisses her hand – and Tayshia kisses him.

Ben, in his confessional, says, “She kissed me. And then I blacked out because I’ve never been happier in my life.”

Not so happy?

Ivan and Zac when Ben shows up at the rose ceremony.

Before she hands out a flower, Tayshia pulls Ivan aside.

Here’s where ABC’s editing and storytelling fall apart.

Tayshia shares that their recent conversations have raised a flag for her.

She says religion is important to her.

Ivan understands, though we at home don’t know what they are talking about.

She walks Ivan out. They hug, but neither one is especially upset.

In the limo, Ivan says, “I knew in the back of mind that this thing could really be the bomb that explodes everything here. And it just happened.”

Is Ivan an atheist? Agnostic? Member of a cult who worships waffles?

We just don’t know. This is either a failure in documenting the relationship or selective editing so not to offend viewers. (Probably the latter, and ABC should give its audience more credit.)

The visits with Tayshia’s family is a remarkable study in contrasts. The body language they display when they greet each of her suitors is striking. Father Desmond, mom Rosario, and her two brothers are wary of Ben and welcoming of Zac.

Ben’s late trot to admitting his feelings for Tayshia has won him no fans, though Ben does make some inroads with his sincerity.

Zac scores major points with Desmond by acknowledging that he’s set an example in Tayshia’s life that will be hard to live up to, but he’s determined to do it. (You can see Zac has been listening to Tayshia and taking notes.)

Desmond later pays a visit to his daughter and urges her to be careful.

“I just don’t want you to be making the biggest mistake of your life.”

Meh. Some might say that putting yourself on a harem-scarem reality dating show in front of millions of strangers might qualify as the biggest error in judgment one could make, but let’s not split that hair: Tayshia is here, and she has a choice to make.

Tayshia and Zac take a meaningful spin. (Photo: ABC).
Tayshia and Zac take a meaningful spin. (Photo: ABC).

Her heart is heavy on her final date with Zac, as they learn a traditional wedding dance.

Zac is all in. He’s been all in since he met her, really, and he assures her he’s ready for a commitment to her.

“I guess I’m used to people running away as opposed to staying,” she says.

The next day, Tayshia is nervous.

She knows what she wants.

It’s not Ben.

She tells him she cares for him, but her heart is with someone else.

Ben seems ready to step up this time and tell her how he feels and send her off in the best way.

“When you love someone, you want them to be happy,” he says. “I’m happy for you. I’m dead serious.”

In his confessional, Ben says, “I put all of myself into this. I thought I was going to be her husband. I’m still in love with her. I don’t know what the fuck to do now.”

And we still have 25 minutes left in this show, and what the fuck are we going to do now?

Tayshia and Zac meet in some desert location that probably was used for human sacrifice 2,000 years ago, and ABC said, hey, we can repurpose this.

Tayshia tells him: “I know that I told you that I loved you – but – sorry – (dramatic pause!) – it’s more than that. It’s this wild, wild love that I have tried to come up with so many reasons not to believe.”

Zac chokes up talking about how his parents reacted when they saw him smiling with her.

“You gave them the best gift you could ever give them.”

Honestly, if you aren’t feeling it at home, you might be a brick.

“I’m gonna choose you forever,” Zac says.

He gets down on one knee and pulls out one of the most hideous engagement rings ever seen by man.

Tayshia accepts his proposal.

Long may the couple love together. Congratulations to us for surviving this season.

The newly engaged couple. (Photo: ABC).
The newly engaged couple. (Photo: ABC).

Final thoughts:

This franchise practically demands that you hate-watch it, but let’s give ABC some credit: The casting department did an outstanding job of giving Tayshia a solid range of quality men.

And there were things to learn from this final leg of Tayshia’s journey: Tayshia recognized that she needed to be compatible in her belief system with a husband, and her family played a role in helping her pick a partner. Zac’s family affirmed for him how special Tayshia is. Both family and religion are important to the success of any union.

So Ben for the next Bachelor?

And in January:

In the preview for the new season of “The Bachelor,” Matt James makes out with so many women, it seems as if ABC trucked in the casts of a few other seasons as well. There’s a woman who brings a tiara and introduces herself as a queen. Expect the insanity to hit Def Con 4 levels.