Welcome to The Bachelor’s most dramatic finale ever, says Chris Harrison laughing because he has suddenly become sentient and self aware and makes that promise all the time. To ensure that promise is at least somewhat possible, The Bachelor is promising something extraordinary — a shotgun wedding at the end of the episode. To make that happen, they have flown in Ben’s parents along with Jojo’s and Lauren’s families, noted jeweler Neil Lane, and, of course, Ben’s pastor, who may just decide that if Ben can’t choose between Jojo and Lauren, then maybe he can marry both women.
But before Ben can publicly wife someone, he has to choose between Jojo and Lauren. Going into the final dates and parent meet-and-greets, they are both feeling pretty confident that Ben loves them most of all, because walking DumDum ® Brand Lollipop Ben has told each of them that he loves them. They just don’t know that he said the L-word to both of them (and we’re not talking about the excellent Showtime show).
Here’s what happened on The Bachelor:
Lauren Meets The Family: Ben’s family has made the long trip from Indiana to Jamaica to meet their son’s suitors. His truth talking mother says the idea that her son is in love with two women is “really disturbing.” His mom notes that Ben loves Lauren, but claims to love “this other girl, too.” This does not bode well for Jojo and it’s only five minutes in. Lauren comes in bearing flowers and doling out hugs. She cozies up to Papa and Mama Higgins — or as she brazenly calls them “Amy and Dave” — by talking about how much she loves Ben. Mama Higgins then lists all of Ben’s worst personality traits for Lauren, but doesn’t manage to scare her off. After exhausting all potential conversation topics with the parents/possible in-laws, Ben and Lauren sneak off for some alone time. Lauren wants Ben to know that for her (and only her) marriage is a big commitment. That probably means that she won’t go for a group marriage, Ben.
Jojo Meets The Family: Jojo shows up at The Bachelor‘s parents’ pad with (slightly less nice) flowers in hand, walking in Lauren’s shadow (or at least edited to look that way). Papa Higgins interviews that Lauren “set the bar pretty high” and Jojo has a lot to live up to. Jojo announces to Papa Higgins, “He’s my best friend,” which is probably insulting to someone (anyone) who has known her longer than six weeks. She tells Mama Higgins that Ben makes her feel safe because they’ve “already gone through some not great situations.” Uh, like when Olivia interrupted your group date with eight other women? Or when a producer made your ex-boyfriend leave you flowers and then made Ben walk in on it? Or when her brother was mean to him? Mama Higgins likes that Jojo makes Ben feel “safe” and calm. Ben tells JoJo all the same things that he told Lauren yesterday — that he loves her, that he is in love with her and that he can’t wait to get engaged.
The After Party: Ben’s dad has some big words for Ben. Namely, that he can’t propose to two women. That said, if Ben was hoping for some clarity, he will not get it from his parents. Turns out they love both Lauren and Jojo and think that whatever choice he makes, he can’t go wrong — or right. “Everything about both of them is so wonderful,” said Mama Higgins, who also says she will be slightly disappointed in whatever choice he makes. (Such a mom!)
Lauren’s Last Date: Lauren is excited for her date and for her future with Ben. The fact that he said he loved her has given Lauren a certain level of confidence (sadtrombone.com), but she can’t help but note that Ben’s mind seems “heavy” even though they are on a Catamaran off the coast of Jamaica and his heavy thoughts might sink the boat. Lauren eventually realizes that Ben is actually torn and having doubts, which makes her nervous. She keeps up a good front, though. Ben interviews that he doesn’t know what to do. He loves Lauren wholly, but he and Jojo “have been tested” (for STDs?) while everything with Lauren has been perfect. But can you trust perfection? Not on this show, because it’s all Spandex and spray tans. Later, they dust off the sand, and have one last night together, which they decided to spend being moody on the couch. Lauren eventually clues into the fact that Ben loves Jojo, too, and she starts crying, but, you know, beautifully.
Jojo’s Last Date: Jojo tells Ben that she has no concerns about him and no doubts, which clearly means she doesn’t know him well enough to marry him. She says, “Babe,” as if it’s a full sentence and waxes on about how natural and right it all is. Then she asks him if he’s happy, and he hems and haws until she eventually realizes that something is up. Her face falls as he tells her that he loves her, but… She had no idea that he could feel that way about another relationship (she won’t say the “L-word” and she’s not talking about love or the excellent Showtime TV show). Later, they clean up, Jojo pours some wine and they have an honest conversation. Ben claims he doesn’t have any doubts about Jojo and then tells her the exact same things that he told Lauren yesterday, adding that Jojo is his best friend. (If he ends up choosing Lauren, this could be an awkward scene for them to watch together). Jojo then takes Ben into the bathroom and shuts the door (seemingly forgetting that they are wearing microphones) and demands answers. She cries as Ben admits that he told Lauren that he loves her, too, and Jojo admits that she feels foolish.
The Big Day: As Ben stares at noted jeweler Neil Lane’s shiny wares, he realizes what he wants to do. He picks a ring that will look perfect on her finger. Lauren wakes up and stares into the middle distance in a jewel-colored bathrobe and then in a blue racerback gown. Jojo stares into the middle distance in a low cut pink gown. They are both excited and terrified.
The Break Up: Ben stares at the sky nervously as the first helicopter lands. Chris Harrison waits for the passenger with a well practiced look that gives nothing away. The first arrival? Jojo. Ben promised her that he wouldn’t blindside her, and hopes he lives up to that (sadtrombone.com). She declares her love while he tries not to lose it, waiting for his chance to say, “I love you, but…” AGAIN. He tells her it’s been real (really!), but he loves someone else more. Even as he dumps her, he says he loves her again, which is just twisting the knife after sticking it in. He swears his feelings for her haven’t changed but he’s still dumping her in the limo of shame. She tries really hard not to ugly cry in front of him.
The Proposal: With that unpleasantness out of the way, Ben wipes away his tears and prepares to propose to the girl he loves just *slightly* more. “I could have married Jojo and been happy, but… eh,” says Ben getting ready to propose to Lauren. He puts his jacket back on and calls Lauren’s dad and asks for his daughter’s hand in marriage. His dad knows better than to argue, so he says sure and asks for a hug next time they see each other. “There’ll be hugs all the way around, man,” said Ben, already getting in the Oregon hippy spirit, man. Maybe they can honeymoon at the Oregon Country Fair together. Lauren arrives, looking resplendent in blue, and tells Ben that she loves him and that he’s “her person.” (She must watch a lot of Grey’s Anatomy) Ben reads his proposal off a card. They both tear up as he drops to one knee and asks her to marry him. She says yes and he carries her over the threshold of the helicopter and they fly off into the sunset.
After the Final Rose: Ben joins Chris Harrison on stage at After the Final Rose to gloat about his love, but soon drops his beaming smile because he has to face Jojo and doesn’t want to look too happy. Jojo has opted to wear a sober black dress to match her very mature take on the situation. She thinks everything happened for a reason. “You’ll always be one of the best things about my past,” said Ben, in the weirdest backhanded compliment ever. Later, Lauren makes her public debut as the future Mrs. Ben Higgins and to announce that she is moving to Denver. Since their families are there, Ben decides to propose to Lauren again making sure there’s not a dry eye in the house at the end of the show.
And The Bachelorette Is: Jojo is so calm and at peace because she is the new star of The Bachelorette. So much for the rumor that The Bachelor was going to get with the century and actually name a person of color for the trying task of finding True Love on national television. Hope Jojo’s mom is chugging champagne straight out of the bottle backstage as all of this unfolds.
And There Was Jimmy: The Bachelor superfan Jimmy Kimmel stopped by the show to ask Ben and Lauren a few questions: