'The Bachelor' Recap: The Rose and Everything After
At a heated 'After the Final Rose,' Ben admits to a breakup
By Diane Vadino
Special to MSN TV
It's a "Bachelor" double feature this evening -- we have three solid hours ahead of us, so make some popcorn, find a comfy seat on the couch, and prepare to nap lightly through the first tedious 90 minutes of Zermatt, Switzerland, beauty shots (the tourism department clearly got their money's worth here) and faux-conflicted interviews from Ben about how tempted he is to make Lindzi his wife. Sigh. Zzzz.
Anyone who's been to a supermarket checkout (or anywhere else tabloid magazines are sold) probably has a pretty good idea of whom Ben will be proposing to tonight: Courtney. It was always, always Courtney -- and not just dating back to her first cringe-worthy appearance in US Weekly, but to her first, cringe-worthy appearance on this show, when Ben found out there was a model in the mix. After that first cocktail party, Ben remembered the model, the other women, and the lady on the horse, which is how Lindzi made it to the end.
Would that we could just skip to the foregone conclusion -- and to the relatively juicy "After the Final Rose" -- but first we have to make it through the rest of the journey. Because this is the finale, it means that Ben's family is showing up: sister Julia (who looks so much like Ben that he sort of starts looking like a girl himself) and mom Barbara, who seems like she'd rather be on a flight back to Napa. "My backup has arrived, and the questions I have will be answered will by someone I trust and love," Ben explains. Julia has a question to kick things off: "Was there a girl that was more dramatic, that the other girls didn't like?" You can basically see her reading the lines off a cue card the producers are holding up. Ben admits that there was, but he's focused on other problems: He wants to know if his family thinks Lindzi can ever "open up" and if Courtney's the raging terror the other women have suggested she is. (Not that Ben actually minds if Courtney is.)
Lindzi's up first, and Julia gives her a bit of advice: "I think he wants to dig a little bit deeper with you." Lindzi tries to refrain from bashing Courtney: "I'm more of a people person; she was very shut off in that situation. Why not try to make friends?" Why not, indeed. You can tell that Julia and Barbara are not particularly enthusiastic about Lindzi. Next comes Courtney. Julia's reaction to the news that she's a model is priceless: "She's a model? The idea of a model as a sister in law...oh God, Ben, come on." Why wasn't Julia at "After the Final Rose"? Of course, it's not for Courtney to go on the defensive when the offensive is so much more appealing: "I think some of the girls were a little judge-y of me," she tells Julia. "I'm big on first impressions, and I really tried with everybody. I kind of just gave up." Then Julia disappoints everyone by caving and giving Courtney her stamp of approval. "I found her to be a really kind person, and he looks like he has really fallen in love with her," Barbara adds. What could they possibly be thinking now? "As far as the complete package is concerned, I think Courtney is more of what you want," Julia says. Ben, apparently, has no one to blame but his sister for this. What was Julia feeling when she watched this tonight, besides a vague sense of nausea?
We move on to the dates that don't matter because we all know what Ben's going to do. Ben greets Lindzi with more horses, because that's the only thing they really talk about, for a carriage ride through Zermatt. They're going skiing in the Alps, and on the way up the slope, the gondola stops, and Lindzi is prodded into once again proving her "vulnerability" to Ben. It really is like watching blood drip from a stone. Self protect, Lindzi! Self protect! But she doesn't. Instead, she's pouring her heart out and working as many ski-relationship metaphors into the mix as she can: "I have no idea what I'm getting myself into," she says. "But it's like relationships -- it's a risk worth taking." Really going to miss that, producers. "Can you see an 'us' in your future?" Lindzi asks Ben. Sure, eh, yeah, kind of, he says. "This love that I feel is bigger than any love I've felt before," she sums up. It's that bad.
Next, we have Courtney's final date, which involves a "helichopter." Everything you need to know about Ben and Courtney, and why he chose her, is in this segment. It lasts as long as the "You look really pretty" he greets her with. "With Courtney, I'm completely and utterly myself," Ben continues. That "myself" is the kind of guy who baby-talks his girlfriend as they play in the snow: "Are those your widdle feet?" "They are!" Courtney fake-cries her way through another interview about having kids with Ben someday. "I'm terrified that Ben might do to me when Ashley did to him," she says. "My heart hurts just thinking about it."
If only. After a (second) visit to Neil Lane, it's engagement day. And the first woman off the helichopter is...feathery Lindzi. "Good to see you," Ben says, after Chris Harrison deposits her. "You look great." Ben talks to everyone but Courtney like he's at a high school reunion, and to Courtney, he talks like he's in pre-school. It does not get any better for poor Lindzi. "I want you to know that I've fallen in love with you," Ben says. Just not as much as "someone else." Ben walks her out, and Lindzi, to her eternal shame, finishes her journey with: "If things don't work out, call me." Oh, poor Lindzi. What does she think about that now?
Courtney's next. Ben loves her. He had "a moment of past, present, and future on the top of the ruins in Belize," whatever that means. And he wants "to tell [Courtney] that [she is] my forever." Well, you know: Forever in the sense of four to six weeks. Is there no true love anymore? They kiss, Courtney makes weird faces, and it's happily ever after. Or is it?
That's why it's so great that "After the Final Rose" begins immediately after. It's like how romantic movies always end with a wedding -- because the morning after the honeymoon's over can be so alarming. Here are the facts: Ben says he did not cheat on Courtney, no matter what those photos in US suggested. But they did break up -- and sort of still are broken up. It's not quite as bad as Emily Maynard and Brad Womack, but it's sure on the way there. Chris Harrison's intro says it all: "What did Ben see in Courtney that nobody else did? What was it like realizing what Courtney was really like? Has Ben already had an affair? Are Ben and Courtney still together?" Answers: who knows, bad, "no," and ...ish. "On my father's grave I haven't cheated on Courtney," Ben says. But he doesn't say that he didn't mess around with anyone while they were broken up, does he?
The audience is not into this at all. Chris is feeling the hate: "Usually when we do this, there's thunderous applause and everyone's on the same page," he says, after Courtney arrives to some boos. He interviews them both separately, then together, and everyone has to sit through a replay of their vows. Ben and Courtney both cry. Chris says he's been carrying the ring around, and asks Ben what he should do with it now. Ben puts it on Courtney's finger with same enthusiasm evinced by a man walking up to the guillotine.
At long last, Courtney and Ben go off to their futures. Two separate futures, most likely. So Chris does what "The Bachelor" always does in difficult times: celebrate past successes. Ashley and J.P. come out -- and there's actually no way of doubting that they're a happy, regular couple, in which she sends annoying texts about wedding dresses and he gets to address the former dental student as "doctor." ("Does she make you call her doctor?" Chris asks. "I want to call her doctor," J.P. says.) They're getting married within a year, they say, and already have the baby names picked out.
True love and "The Bachelor"? Maybe it's not always an oxymoron.
I just got hooked on this show due to my fiance; about 6 episodes before the final. When i came into it Courtney was in an argument with another girl and my future wife and all her friends hated her!....to me i thought she was the realest girl on the show, I'm sorry but if you go on a show looking to find love the last thing you want to do is be "besties" with the girl/guy next to you competing for the love of another. I feel y'all are giving this girl way to much crap...Think about it, if you were falling for a guy/girl, would you really befriend others that are feeling the same? I'm not taking away from the other gals in the house but i feel Courtney was the realest, so what she acted like a bitch. Would you yourself not try everything you could to keep the fact that the guy you are falling for is on a date with one of your roommates out of your head?...give Courtney some credit, she may be jealous, but fake, i think not!