Chris Soules’ quest for a farm wife is about to come to its dramatic conclusion, and with it the 19th installment of The Bachelor. But who will be the lucky recipient of a corn-yellow ticket to Podunk, Iowatown, for a lifetime career as a baby momma and social-lifeless agricultural support system? Will it be the baby maker or the virgin?
Prince Farming, he of disjointed and mumbled words, must choose between fertility nurse Whitney Bischoff (who I dubbed the frontrunner to be the next Bachelorette on day one — winning is even better) and church youth group leader (probably) Becca Tilley.
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Two Angels on Your Shoulders
It’s not the first time that the final two have proposed a practical-versus-dreamgirl dilemma, but it’s never been done quite as boringly as this. Ben Flajnik and Jake Pavelka are the two most prominent examples, with the single-song-playing former (“This year’s love attt laaassttt”) choosing bad girl model Courtney Robertson over bring-you-home-to-mom Lindzi Cox and the high-flying latter picking just-crazy-enough-to-be-wild-in-the-sack Vienna Girardi over I-don’t-know-what-she-does-but-she’s-probably-a-teacher Tenley Molzahn.
But in Chris’ case, it’s a choice between the good girl and the disturbingly-even-more-wholesome girl. We had to go through a whole bunch of crazy and drunk bitches who over-compensated for our main man’s lack of movie-star charisma to get here, but at the end of the day, we’re left with the pair that is probably best suited for life on the farm in a “traditional wife” capacity.
Sure, I may still miss Jade. And you may think Kaitlyn or Britt was the pick. But Chris is more concerned with the opinions of his conservative brethren.
So while Ben and Jake were titillated to the point of distraction by the over-amorous sexpot-type (how’d that work out?), the Soules Man is more drawn to the pure and un-defiled. And he’s sticking to the script and his fundamental ideals of a perfect mate. How dull.
For my money, and there isn’t much (hey, I’m planning a wedding here! And ABC won’t pay for it no matter how many seasons I write about this madness), Whitney is the obvious choice. She’s mature, knows what she wants, is ready to settle down and has been around the block enough times to know what she’s getting herself into if she relocates.
On the flip side, I can’t pinpoint what it is about Becca that intrigues him so much, unless the sense of raw, unbridled passion that whetted the man-whistles of the other guys is what abstinence does for Chris. Kinda makes you throw up in your mouth a little bit, doesn’t it? After you’re done saying, “Awwww.”
Anyway, enough babble. On with the show!
Welcome to the Family
Poor Chris is confused and doesn’t know what he wants because he’s in love with two women, and none of his relatives are able to adequately clear that up for him. Mom Linda hopes her son gets engaged and has no doubts, but he’s relying on his family to guide his path.
Whitney is up first, and family approval is extremely important to her. So she plans to tell them all how in love she is, but gosh darn it, she’s freaking nervous. There are hugs all around, and dad Gary is impressed that she’s not intimidated. Basically, everyone loves and welcomes everyone, and they all share a nice cry over her pre-toast profession. For reals.
The sisters pull her aside and discuss her possible move, and Whitney responds that she’s ready to be a wife and a mom, and with love and a family come things you might not have foreseen in your future when you were planning it, like living in the tiniest town this side of Fantasy Island.
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The sisters love Whitney and pepper Chris with questions about why he hasn’t already put a ring on it, and he says he has no reservations, but he just also has feelings for another girl. And forever Mr. Articulate, he stumbles through a list of unconvincing reasons why Becca could be the one. It reminds me of when I was 7 and logically explained to my parents why I should be able to build my own tree house fort in the backyard. And so they remind him that he is looking for a wife, not a girlfriend.
Whitney has similar successes with the rest of the family, winning the day when she tells Linda how she’s been desperate to call someone “mom” ever since losing her own. Whitney and Chris kiss their goodbyes, and man, they should have let Becca go first. She is scaa-rewed trying to follow this up.
Chris shares some brews with the boys after Whitney’s departure, and it’s all about him knowing his feelings for Becca and how she’s promised that once she is in love, she’ll do anything for him. So he doesn’t want to talk about Whitney until the family has had a chance to meet both of them, but brother-in-law Jason calls him out on Becca being more attractive because she seems unattainable.
Becca Gets Her Turn
With her naturally more subdued and intrinsic tendencies, the deck is stacked against Becca from the start, and the family welcomes her with a bit more apprehension. It’s not just “Are you good enough?” It’s “Are you better than Whitney?” — even though they vow to keep an open mind.
Sister Jaci has met Becca before but was put off by how reserved she was, so she is hoping to see another side of the anti-Whitney. The whole family smiles and laughs through their clearly judging eyes, especially after there’s no tear-filled proclamations of love before lunch.
Becca is feeling the pressure, and the sisters are up first, asking where her head is at. She’s falling in love, but just because she’s not in a certain place right now doesn’t mean she has to call it a day. But she’s not willing to uproot herself and her life until she’s 100% sure marriage is in the cards. So it would be long-distance before that, which is just another hurdle that is disconcerting to the ladies.
The Aftermath — Round 2
The sisters convey these concerns to Chris, who is trusting how he feels more than what Becca says. They urge him to push her a little harder because he needs these answers before he can make a decision, and Whitney is already there.
Linda doesn’t think that anyone can top Whitney, and for her part, Becca is open and honest. But she flat-out says that she’s not in love with Chris yet, which puts her in a limbo of falling in love but not being able to give Chris what he needs. Mom asks what happens if she has to make a decision in a few days time, even if she’s not ready, and Becca gets teary-eyed worrying about hurting him.
She wants to know if it’s okay to commit to a relationship but not a marriage proposal, and all the discussion about the difficulties of what could come are weighing on her. She and Chris also kiss their goodbyes, but it’s sadder.
And so basically everyone in the world knows that Whitney is the right pick. Even Chris. And that makes him want Becca all that much more. Broseph-in-law Jason, ever the voice of reason, recognizes that it’s head versus heart, and all the analytics in the world aren’t worth a handful of chicken feed.
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Becca’s Final Date
Chris will be searching for clarity in the tropical locale of Dubuque, Iowa, at the Hotel Julien, and after a quick introduction, he’s diving right into the meat. We know she’s not there yet, but Chris doesn’t want her to focus on that. He wants to know if she envisions a future together and can see herself being a part of small-town America.
Her response is that she’s feeling a range of emotions, but she’s just excited to be with him even though it won’t be easy. And she can’t give a timeline on when she’d be able to move and settle down with him or make any promises. She wants to get married and she wants to have kids, but she has no idea when she’ll actually be ready for them.
He asks why she doesn’t feel like she’s in love with him, and she doesn’t have an answer. He has to send her home, right? He has to pick someone, and yet he has no idea what she wants or where she’s coming from. The only thing she is certain of is that she wants him, and he begs for her to say she believes in them and trusts that they can make it work no matter what. But she has steps that need to be taken, only she doesn’t know what they are because she’s never done this before. Ugh.
It’s like they’re ice skating on a barely frozen pond, and she’s just circling him. Then she expresses her honest concerns about not being able to handle living in Arlington, and he responds that he’d always have her back and they’d work something out.
He didn’t get the answers that he wanted, but he believes that Becca wants him, and that feels awesome. But he’s clearly shaken to the core by the truth he knows deep down but isn’t ready to accept yet. They kiss goodnight, and he goes back to his room and buries his face in his hands.
Whitney’s Final Date
It’s so messed-up the way the mind works because everything that just happened pushes Chris towards Becca. And because he knows he can have Whitney, she’s suddenly less attractive. I wish it was a guy thing, but in reality, all people suck.
Whereas Becca’s date was confined to a hotel room, he and Whitney are having some fun. After a customary leg-wrap hug (methinks there are years of those in your future, Christopher), it’s off to pick corn and ride the giant harvesting contraption. It’s Farmville 101, and she seems legitimately interested in how it all works and get excited over seeing Chris so excited. She may actually be falling in love with Arlington. This is a no-brainer, right?
They head back to Chris’ house and discuss his blank slate of a bachelor pad that is just aching for a woman’s touch. She is overwhelmed with a sense of peace and comfort, and it already feels like her home. Oh, give her a key already!
They cap things off with a nightcap in her hotel room, and he’s hoping for an a-ha moment where the light bulb comes on and he can finally see everything clearly. How it hasn’t already is beyond me, but something tells me light bulbs don’t appear above his head all that often. She describes the future she sees together and how she already feels like she resides inside his head and his heart, basically saying everything Becca couldn’t.
“What you just said is something I reciprocate.” Aww, Chris! Don’t get so romantical! (And I just told my fiance that is how I will respond after her vows.)
There is only one choice to make, but will Chris propose? And is this the first time the final scene plays out in the snow? And did anyone else notice during that last shirtless scene that perhaps Chris has packed on a couple pounds since this process started?
He attempts to pick out a ring but is more confused than ever, and he’s not sure if he can get down on one knee in the state of mind he’s in. He arrives at the horse ranch where he’ll greet the girls inside the barn where he greased his first pig, and he’s just worried about making a mistake.
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Who Doesn’t Have to Move to Iowa?
The women head to their limos for the ride that will lead them to either happiness or heartbreak (but definitely to some animal poo), and Becca is the unfortunate one to arrive first. Chris loves the way he feels when he’s around her, but there are just too many questions. Still, seeing her looking so beautiful in her velvety red dress makes him doubt it all over again.
He’s never questioned their potential, but his gut tells him she’s not ready and it’d be unfair for either of them to take that leap. He wanted it to happen and he’s grateful to have her in his life, but he doesn’t think that he’s the guy to give her what she needs.
She thanks and respects him for his honesty, but she definitely just breathed a sigh of relief. She’s probably the first one to leave without shedding a tear outside of crazy Ashley S. There are some deep breaths and sighs in the limo, though.
Whitney arrives at the family barn, her nerves on edge as she wonders if she’ll leave this barren god-forsaken wasteland of vegetation engaged or devastated. Oh, how I wonder what prose this wordsmith can muster at a time like this…
She talks first, shakily, saying that the ride has had a lot of ups and downs, but she has never been disappointed, and from the beginning, she’s just known. And she’s laid it all out there, loves him so much and can’t wait for him to be open with her.
He remembers seeing her get out of the limo and the conversation they had that first night, and the wedding crash date was probably the best of his life. And seeing how his family welcomed her put it over the top. It’s not work for them, and they both want it.
“It feels so right and so perfect, and that’s what I want for the rest of my life,” he coos. “I love you.”
He wants the world to know, so he drops to one knee and asks for her hand in marriage. She happily and tearfully accepts, and they kiss their way out of season 19, fiance and fiancee, to thunderous applause from the live studio audience.
So is it all pleasure in the frozen tundra of Arlington? Is the happy couple still happy? Are there any not-so-shocking announcements to be made about other reality show franchises? And who the heck is the next Bachelorette? These are all questions to be answered during the After the Final Rose special, but that’s another conversation for another recap.
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Are you happy with the way Chris and Whitney’s journey ended? Do you think they’re in it for the long haul, or will they both break character and struggle down the line? And did you debate, like I did, if it was really a possibility he might actually pick Becca?
As always, I thank all of you for reading along throughout the season, and I’d like to think my take on things made you smile once or twice. It’s why I do it, and I can only hope that you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Now let’s see how things end up.
(Image courtesy of ABC)