'The Bachelor: After the Final Rose' Special Recap: Awkward Encounters and An Intervention
'The Bachelor: After the Final Rose' Special Recap: Awkward Encounters and An Intervention
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
We just watched the dramatic finale and the magical proposal, but it turns out The Bachelor isn't actually fairy tale, you guys. I know, I was shocked too. So now it's time to get REAL with Bachelor Brad, his bride-to-be, the one he dumped and the three couples who have actually survived from the 20 seasons that this show has (inexplicably?) been on the air. And by real, I mean AWKWARD.

The Bachelor Season 15 Finale Recap: Brad Picks His Bride.


Interview with Chantal: She looks great, and even though she's still clearly emotional about the whole thing, she's come to terms.

chantal-brad-atfr15-2.jpgOR HAS SHE?

chantal-brad-atfr15.jpgMAAAAYBE NOT.

When Brad comes out to see her for the first time since the rose ceremony, they hug and act friendly. But admit that it's "awkward." Then Chantal asks when Brad knew that she wasn't the one, because watching the show, she thinks he just kept her around for fun (sex) when he knew all along he'd pick Emily. Brad is very bad at answering her questions, and his dodging makes her think he's "discounting" their connection. She starts crying. But she's "happy he's happy." And he's happy she's happy! So Chantal is dating somebody. And thus not The Bachelorette. When she went home, she met someone special, but she doesn't want to talk much more about it, except to say that being on The Bachelor with Brad left her open to love again. Good for you, Chantal! I think I speak for most of us when I say you're probably better off.

Interview with Brad: Brad says he is still in love with Emily. "I finally found my girl." He says he'd marry her right now. And, actually, he tried to marry her already. They'd talked about making the After the Final Rose be the wedding, but Emily wanted to wait. Brad says the public scrutiny and tabloids have made the relationship "tough," and they actually broke up at one point. It's been a real "rollercoaster" while the show is airing. The audience is shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED. Emily has broken down a couple times and said "I just can't do it," but no relationship is a fairy tale, and they're working on it, real-life-style. And since this is such a "real" relationship, they're in a gray area about whether they're actually engaged.

Interview with Brad and Emily: So, is that mutual engagement not so mutual? Brad says he is "always nervous around Emily," which is a weird thing to say about your fiance. But they hug and kiss when Chris brings her out. They haven't seen each other in a month. Emily says "it's certainly not all roses, but I'm very confident in how I feel about him, and I really do love him." She does not sound very convincing. At all. But she insists that they are in love and engaged.

emily-brad-aftr15-1.jpgThe look of "love."

In terms of a wedding, she says that she loves Brad, "but right now, no." GASPS in the audience that she doesn't want to marry him this second. They need to "figure out things." Including that she is NOT ready to uproot her daughter and move to Austin. AGHAST audience. Brad: "Of course, it stings." Emily says that every Monday night was a tornado of emotions as she watched the show. "I knew it wasn't going to be The Let's Watch Brad and Emily Fall in Love Show, but I didn't know he was going to give them so much material." By material, she clearly means make-outs with the other women.

It turns out Emily is kinda bitter about her portrayal on the show: "I felt like we had a relationship that none of the other girls had. I was watching [his dates with the other women] thinking, "Well I would have picked her!" I look so boring. Like I was falling asleep on our dates. I am not this uptight girl. I like to have fun, too." Then she talks about how she is still putting up walls to protect herself from getting hurt.

Honestly, this is the weirdest After the Final Rose I've ever seen. I can't tell if we are being made privy to a "What are we?" conversation between a new-ish couple who could actually make it work now that they're out in the open, or if we are getting prepared for their inevitable breakup. It could be her private personality, but she does not look or sound like a lady in love. Maybe she just feels uncomfortable showing it in front of us? I doooon't knoooow. But it's bizarre to watch, to say the least.

And it gets worse. Chris asks Emily what needs to be resolved before they get married: Emily asks Brad, "How honest are we getting?" (If you have to ask, that can't be good.) And then she says Brad has a "bit of a temper." Eeek. Apparently his family calls him "The Bear." Brad says they have had "volatile" fights since the proposal. Yikes! Emily says she still feels like she was "a dime a dozen" among the women he was dating, but now they will finally have a clean slate. You know what else is a clean slate at the moment? Her ring finger.

Chris asks Emily if she really sees them getting married, and she SHAKES HER HEAD NO (Thanks, Lie to Me!) as she says yes. Kind of. She actually says she can't see her life without him, "so yeah, I really do see us getting married." Uhhhhh, so yeah. I don't see that happening. But Chris isn't done yet!

Our three "favorite" (code word for ONLY) Bachelor couples are back to give Emily a pep-talk in hopes that Brad and Emily will join their weird little wedding club. 

threebachelorcouples-aftr15.jpgTrista and Ryan, Ali and Roberto and Jason and Molly are "here to help." By talking more about themselves.

Chris Harrison puts it in perspective for Emily: Hey, look as Jason and Molly. It could be WORSE. Ha! Then Trista and Ryan try to convince Emily that Brad is the "perfect guy" and that it's all worth it because of that. It starts to feel like a creepy intervention staged by The Bachelor to brainwash Emily into marrying Brad at whatever cost.

The couples' final words of sage advice: Roberto tells them that they should stay inside a mental bubble to keep themselves safe. Ryan tells them to stay in their lifeboat until they get to the island. Both of those images are literally and figuratively distressing, but they seem to bring Emily comfort. Trista pleads with them to "follow in their footsteps." No one is willing to admit that Emily is being logical and practical, and maybe Brad ISN'T so great. Maybe it's less of a club and more of a cult?

Finally, to end on a (relative) high note, Brad and Emily watch their engagement for the first time, and they hug when they hug on screen and then kiss when they kiss on screen. Carla and I discuss whether Emily might just be too nice and under too much pressure from ABC to admit that she watched The Bachelor, realized Brad is a goober-goon and wants to break it off. She lets Brad put the ring (now correctly sized!) back on her finger, and they say "I love you" back and forth.

Chris Harrison speaks for ALL OF US (sit the f*** down, dissenters!) when he says we hope to see their wedding very soon. Hopefully on TV. With Train as their wedding band?

Well, that was weird. And by weird, I mean realistic. A couple who have been monogamous for only three months, all of which they spent apart, in secret, watching one of them making out with a bunch of other people on TV, having problems? That makes sense. But here are my big questions:

  • After all that, do you think Emily and Brad can work it out? Will they?
  • What did you think of Chantal's confrontation with Brad?
  • Is it accurate for the other Bachelor couples to compare their experiences with Emily's? Jason had a kid and dealt with drama, but none of them had their tragic backstory broadcast and exploited like Emily did.

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