Well, well well, Bachelorette fans. It all comes down to this. Ours and Desiree Hartsock’s combined quests for love come to an end this week, with the ultimate question being, will Desiree’s search continue on her own (without us? without US??)? Are you prepared? I, for one, sure as hell am not.

We’ve grown accustomed to this being a sweet, hopeful night built on the possibility of everlasting love that, even if for just a brief moment in time, proves that fairytale endings can happen atop a far-off cliff overlooking a glistening lake as the setting sun brims on the horizon of singledom.

When a man, so overcome by his undying feelings of eternal bonding, drops to one knee with a shimmering diamond that couldn’t possibly exist within the confines of our deepest savings account and professes his devotion to a woman, that one woman he cannot live without. The “one” we spend our whole lives fighting off crippling loneliness for in desperate searches that have only slim hopes of concluding in endless bliss. 

Then Brooks took a crap in that loveless lake and reminded us this is a horrible reality television show designed to tear at our heartstrings while ripping out those of one woman and at least 24 other guys who will inevitably fall short in their efforts of landing that prized piece that some other dude would rather bone than bond with.

But hey, at least I’m not bitter. 

For real, though, that shi — err, stuff — was tough to watch last week. I get this is the best thing other than a happy ending, but c’mon, we watched a woman’s heart break in slow motion. And it just went on and on and on. I’ll take hapless Ben picking the hot model villain of the season over this any day. And I don’t expect things to get much better tonight.

I mean, what else can really happen? She’s going to spend the first 90 minutes wondering if it’s possible for her to go on when the man she dropped an early and technically illegal L bomb on basically told her he didn’t love her back. Which, of course, she can’t, because if she ended up with either Chris or Drew, they’ve already watched her say on national television that she couldn’t love them the way they deserve.

Then we’ll get to watch her break both of their hearts before we hope for some solace in the After the Final Rose show. This might be the first time since Jason Mesnick’s season, when everyone was like, daaaaaamn, no you didn’t! as they watched the Bachelor dump Melissa Rycroft and end up with his runner-up (one of the few relationships that actually ended in a marriage, to boot!), in which that post-show matters more than the finale. And I’m sure that sentiment will repeat itself if Desiree IS now with Brooks. Even though more than half of the poll takers in our prediction article are apparently rooting for that to happen. 

Either way, I hope you’re ready for two hours of tears and no happy ending. Though the promo tells us we have no idea how it’s going to end, so maybe we’re all wrong. And we’ll also find out that Juan Pablo is the identity of the next Bachelor. Get the tissues ready, folks, it’s Bachelorette finale time.

The Bachelorette Interview: Chris Harrison on the Desiree-Brooks Breakup Drama >>>

Live from Los Angeles

Chris Harrison bused in a live studio audience of estrogen-backed emotion to watch the events unfold, and our two-part finale continues. Our hopes of once again meeting Desiree’s sweetheart parents and a you-know-what of a brother were crushed when Brooks left, and she has no idea what to do next. She sobs that she just wants to go home, and the overly-soft spoken host can only offer condolences that good old Nate actually ended up being right … again. Seriously, he-who-shalt-not-be-named Damien was correct in back-to-back Desiree seasons.

She considers the merits of Drew and Chris and insists that she’s not broken, even though her heart is shattered. She doesn’t want them to feel how she feels, so she wants to continue on in her journey and see where it goes, if she’ll develop that spark that can lead to a lifetime of happiness. 

The Boys Arrive for a Rose Ceremony

Drew and Chris show up, having no knowledge of all that has happened and thinking they’re about to be whittled down from three to two. Chris Harrison breaks the news that Brooksy is gone, but he leaves it to Desiree to offer the details.

She fights back tears as she uses words like “unpredictable” and “a two-way street” to define love. But she doesn’t want Brooks to dictate her other relationships, so she offers each of them a rose. Drew and his eight-pack promise to beat down every member of the Jets and the Sharks, while Chris offers a rhyming three-lined couplet professing his love. 

No, for real, they both just accept the flowers, with Chris struggling to deal with Desiree’s tears and Drew vowing to propose and never leave. Like, ever. (Taylor Swift reference!)

11 Shocking Moments from Season 9>>>

The Studio Audience Weighs In

Because it’s our feelings that really matter. One chick thinks that Brooks is a stand-up guy who was just being honest, and her fingers are crossed that he comes back. The crowd cheers. Another girl who really, REALLY wants to be a contestant on the show declares her allegiance to team Chris because he communicates well.

A pro-Drew girl likes how much he adores Desiree, while girl number four is team Chris but believes it’s Brooks or no one. An older lady thinks Brooks went wrong by asking advice from two women instead of a dude, while our last girl tells Chris and Drew to run for the hills. Then the overwhelming majority of the audience claps for love. Woo, love! Yeaaahhhh, love!!

Back to the Depressing Action

Cause we haven’t seen Desiree cry in, like, 13 minutes. But she seems like a different Des the next day, promising us that her spirit isn’t broken and giving the guys one last chance to make her believe on a final Antigua dream date. Desiree even gets a Sean Lowe-like moment as she dons a bikini in anticipation of possible Brooks-esque love with Drew.

They ride horses on the beach, with the ever-present cumulonimbus cloud of Brooks hanging over their conversation. They try and make small talk for, like, seven minutes before Desiree sits Drew down, bursts into tears and tells him she can’t be 100% for him. 

Drew, ever my favorite, thanks her for her honesty and mutters “I don’t know,” like, eight times. He even tells her not to apologize, and says she doesn’t have to be sorry for not being in love with him. It’s out of her control, and he wouldn’t want anything less than for her to love him as much as he loves her. Outside, the dude looks like Superman. Inside, he more resembles mashed potatoes. 

He says goodbye, hugs her and wishes her happiness, and that’s that for remaining Bachelor number one. Poor Drew. He deserves better.

He’s crushed, confused and didn’t see coming out of this without Des. “When it was all said and done, she just didn’t want to be with me,” he pines. Facing the prospect of a life without her, Drew sheds one perfectly-formed gelled and combed tear. He vows to start over in the search for that perfect life, and the women in the live audience tremble. How they still have 75 minutes of stretched-out finale remaining, I have no clue.

The Dying Rose: Brooks and Drew’s Journeys to The Bachelorette Heartbreak >>>

Will Chris Suffer the Same Fate?

Chris kicks off their date with a haughty “Welcome!” and a giggly Des is, like, did you really just start our date that way? She says it already feels “different from Drew, in a good way.” Ouch.

He brings up the topic of Brooks’ departure first, with good intentions, saying it was tough to watch her cry, that he wanted to console her and that he’ll always be there. They share some kisses, fruity alcoholic beverages, awkwardly flirty conversation and a swim, and she’s actually doing a pretty good job of fooling herself. The only way Chris even makes it past today is if they have the “perfect” date she says she needs. But there’s just no way she can accept a proposal at this point. Brooks is always going to be in the back of her head.

Date Night

She is really throwing herself, metaphorically as well as physically, into Chris’ arms. It’s an admirable effort. Chris says he’s fallen in love and is interested to see what the future brings, and she praises his strength and confidence. 

Amazingly, he does not have one final poem for her. Mistake, my friend, as she loves them. Still, he thanks her for the experience, which she appreciates and reciprocates with gratitude for him being by her side. 

Their relationship is easy and always picks up where it left off with an “Oh, hey.” It’s the crucial element of every loving relationship. At least we don’t have to worry about him trying to be smooth. Unless this IS him trying to be smooth.

The Bachelorette Family Blogs: All About Brooks >>>

Token Love and Love Tokens

Chris asks if Desiree wants him to meet her parents, and she says maybe, kinda, I guess, that could happen soon. He also gives her a journal with the inscription, “To Des, thank you for all the great moments and everything you have shared with me. Love, Chris,” and the quote, “The greatest thing in the world is not so much where we are but the direction of where we are going.” In the back are alllll the poems we have been subjected to over the last few months.

She is swept off her feet and feels so lucky to be the person receiving his love, because she’s never felt like anyone has loved her as much as she has loved them. And that’s why it’s hard for her to feel so loved. And she feels guilty for not having loved him so much since the beginning. 

Tons o’ smooches follow, but is she just getting our hopes up? 

Filler from the Past

As if to confirm there wasn’t enough footage to fill the final hour, Chris Harrison welcomes Jackie, Lesley, Lindsay, Catherine and Sean to weigh in on what’s just transpired. But first, a Bachelor wedding update: Sean Lowe and Catherine are still in love but have not yet set a date. It’s reality show heaven.

If Catherine had done what Brooks did, Sean says he would’ve packed his bags and gone home, but he’s hopeful Desiree had a change of heart with Chris. He had frustrating points during his season as the Bachelor, but never an I-want-to-quit moment. 

Catherine, for her part, doesn’t think Chris could propose once he finds out how in love she was with Brooks. But if he has unconditional love for her, they could still end up together.

Jackie is convinced Brooks was the one, but love is blind, and it appears Desiree has “come further” since her true love walked away, like, three whole days ago. She loves Chris and thinks they look great together.

It’s evident to Lesley and, in her opinion, the entire studio audience that Desiree was just extremely happy with Chris and that she couldn’t stop smiling, and Chris Harrison points out it’s a total rebound moment and that there’s no way it was totally sincere. Lesley disagrees, because Desiree is clearly in love with Chris.

Lindsay was Sean’s runner-up, and it’s hard for her to watch her friend suffer. Lindsay wants to throw a shoe at Brooks’ head, and while she sees chemistry with Chris, she feels like Brooks is the one.

Yep, we’ll never get those last 10 minutes back.

Welcome to the Family

Desiree is making one last effort to sort through her feelings, so she has decided to let Chris meet her family. The whole gang is there — mom, dad and Nate — and Damien peppers him with questions while seemingly on his best behavior. Chris gives his usual slightly-awkward but honest and endearing answers.

Chris gets some QT with dad and asks permission for Desiree’s hand, which he easily gets. I think dad just wants to get her married off already, and he knows it’s up to his daughter anyway. I mean, they’ve known the guy for all of 18 seconds. The couple says goodbye, and Desiree returns to get her family’s opinion. 

Nate asks if Chris is the one Des wants to spend the rest of her life with, and she says, “In this moment, yes.” Which is what every groom wants to hear. Brohan urges her not to settle or rush into anything, but he thinks if she picks Chris, it’s the right choice. Then with no urging from show producers (wink, wink), Nate asks about Brooks and the obvious connection they had when Nate visited her hotel room. 

She insists she is over him, but we all know that’s bull, because it JUST HAPPENED, and people don’t get over stuff like that in a few days. She is determined to trust her heart, but Nate pointing out the absolutely obvious (and all on his own, no less … wink, wink) throws a kink in her plans. 

Desiree’s Final Day in Antigua

Will it be the greatest day of her life? Or the worst? We’ll find out soon enough!

Chris picks out an engagement ring, a giant, gorgeous if not gaudy rock that he expects she will cherish forever. He gets all snazzy in his tux, unaware that he is the last man standing, while Desiree puts on her illustrious and flowing gown. She wants to be in love desperately, but even now she has no idea what she’s going to do. 

The first step, she decides, is to confess exactly how strongly she felt about Brooks. Or not, cause she doesn’t.

The Final Decision

The end time has arrived, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. So will Desiree find love? Or will she be the first of nine Bachelorettes to leave empty-handed? Or the first to say “I love you” to two different guys?

Chris tells her she looks beautiful and gives a passionate speech about his poetry and about being in love with her, saying he doesn’t want to make decisions alone anymore. He wants to be the rock that doesn’t break for her. Then, as he is about to drop to one knee, she stops him so that she can be “completely honest.”

He’s all smiles after she tells him she already sent Drew packing and that he’s the only one who met her family. But he’s getting ahead of himself, because first she has to admit that she was blindsided by Brooks. And that prevented her from seeing that what she needed was right in front of her all the time. 

So, not the truth at all, then? She promises she’ll tell him everything later. Great.

Desiree is grateful for him and thanks him every day for never giving up. He means the absolute world to her, and she loves him with all her heart and wants to spend the rest of her life with him.

He drops to left knee, asks her to start a family and grow old with him and says he wants to be her first and last. He presents her with the ring and asks her to marry him, and she says, “1,000 times yes.” 

They kiss, and forever is as close as a dive off that cliff they’re standing on. I don’t know about you, but I find this quite the unfulfilling end to the season. I just can’t buy this being for real, and we’re treated to a nice little montage of their moments together before the stunned studio audience erupts in tears and cheers. 

I wish them the best, but c’mon. Do you really think this one is going to last? We get an update during the After the Final Rose special:

The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose Recap: True Love and the Next Bachelor >>>

What were your thoughts on Desiree’s final choice? Were you on team Chris? Did you see any of this coming? And how disappointing was Dante-Nate? Are you satisfied with how the season ended up? Me? Not so much. At least Drew is still single. 

Want to add The Bachelorette to your very own watch-list? Download BuddyTV Guide for free for your phone.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Bill King

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Emmy-winning news producer & former BuddyTV blogger. Lover of Philly sports, Ned, Zoe, Liam and Delaine…not in that order