One of the most hyped seasons of The Bachelorette
came to an end with an extraordinary strange season 13 finale. Regardless of the ending moment and the engaged couple that came out of it, which is probably the most controversial part of the finale, the whole affair was a bit of a mess. The format of the finale, the way that Rachel Lindsay responded to her final three guys and of course the big break-up with Peter was just off. The finale was not exactly the fairytale that the franchise usually creates at the end. Despite all that weirdness, or maybe because of it,The Bachelorette
2017 finale was still was one the most fascinating moments in the show's history.
Questioning Popping the Question
There's not a single moment in The Bachelorette finale were things were normal. Chris Harrison bringing Rachel Lindsay out at the start was unprecedented and from that moment onward things just got weirder. The end to Rachel's love story didn't play out in a satisfying way, which before the Peter debacle, had very little to do with Rachel being present with Chris Harrison for the entire finale. It's the actual episode itself that made no effort to make either Rachel or her eventual fiance Bryan look appealing.
In the finale, everything focused on the drama between Peter and Rachel. Bryan was still presented in the caddy and overly charismatic way that fans had come to expect (and loathe). All the emotional investment was with Peter and whether he would even propose to Rachel, despite the fact that he never even made it to the Final Rose. Rather than try to salvage the audience's opinion of Bryan in any way, The Bachelorette finale had their sights set on Peter and his strong feelings about a proposal. The result though was something incredibly fascinating.
Engagements have always been a part of The Bachelorette and Bachelor franchise. Rarely before Peter has it been deconstructed about what exactly that engagement means and how trivially the franchise honestly treats this big moment. The fight between Peter and Rachel was raw but also a complete dismantling of what the show is about for its "contestants." Never before Peter has someone openly questioned the legitimacy of getting married after their weeks on the show and it was fascinating. It was the most rational any one has been on the show in a long way and it was breath of fresh air.
As unsatisfying as it was for The Bachelorette to spend all this time on Peter's doubts to ultimately have him end up as the runner-up, it made for great TV. It was uncomfortable but the amount of turmoil over the engagement was way more interesting than the alternative. Peter openly criticizing Rachel's desire for an engagement above all was way better than spending any more time than necessary with Bryan. The show didn't try to convince us that Bryan was some extraordinary catch. They went with the reality which is that Bryan is a nearly 40-year-old man with an unhealthy attachment to his mother and inability to say anything that isn't a line. It's not a great impression to leave off on but it was a compelling one.
"I'm Chill, Till I'm Not"
The same really holds true for the deeply awkward interview between Rachel and Peter with Chris Harrison. It was awful for them but great for as a removed member of the audience. Peter and Rachel seeing each other again never quite a jaw-dropping moment like Nick Viall asking Andi Dorfman, "If you weren't in love with me, why did you make love with me?" It didn't need that buzzworthy line though; the emotions were enough.
Peter was obviously uncomfortable and Rachel, for whatever reason, was obviously angry at him. The way the two interacted on that couch, while in a really artificial setting, was still painstakingly real. After the Final Rose interviews almost always feel absurd and produced. Peter and Rachel's interview was messy but riveting because none of that pomp was on display.
At every turn Peter was controlling what he really wanted to say which seemed to be some combination about railing against the show itself, criticizing Bryan's personality and telling Rachel that she had made a huge mistake about him. He didn't say it but it was obvious in his body language and his vague statements that there was much more on his mind. At the same time, Rachel was defensive, overly nasty to him. Nothing about the interview made Rachel Lindsay look good and that is kind of refreshing on The Bachelorette because the franchise always tries to make their lead look as good as possible. The last time a finale was this strange, but compelling, is when Jason Mesnick dumped Melissa for Molly.
The Bachelorette is at its best when all the ridiculousness of the setting is stripped away and there are just two people with real emotions. This was the case with the finale episode as well as the After the Final Rose interview segments. Rachel's actual engagement to Bryan was really just a blip on the radar and the awkwardness of her dumping Peter (and to a lesser extent Bryan) was on full display. It wasn't an ending for those looking for romance but it was one that was compelling on just a human interaction level. The Bachelorette finale made for terrible romance but fascinating TV.
But what did you think of the finale? Were you interested or did it just get too heavy? Do you think Rachel made a mistake?