Well, everybody, it has been quite a month.
On Tuesday, I was unable to bring you this last and most important of Bachelor in Paradise crying recaps because I was performing a similar patriotic obligation (jury duty). Now that I’m back and so much wiser, it’s clear that this show is in many ways a reflection of our beloved democracy, at least in the sense that one must be drunk in order to buy into it.
This week, on the season finale of Bachelor in Paradise, Ashley I. pretended she was going to lose her virginity to Jared, Jaclyn made this face a lot, Carly spontaneously burst into song (“Rose is just a rose / ‘til he gets down to propose”), Nick went on a fantasy suite date with Samantha and said with a smirk, “I’m really excited to dig in deep”—then later told her, “You’re gonna cause me to die of suffocation because you literally take my breath [away?] every time I see you”—and Samantha, a Real Doll brought mostly to life, declared confoundingly: “I’m here for sincere intentions, 100%.”
We’ve been through a lot with these emotional Christians, and it’s hard to see them go! Over the course of this spectacular season of Bachelor in Paradise, betrayals abounded, all the men got severely sunburned, hair extensions turned ratty, spray tans dripped off, and cast members cried 77.5 times. On this week’s finale, all but a few couples left Paradise, and 8 people cried a record total of 25 times. Let’s go:
Mikey, our meatball friend who briefly saved Juelia from having to go home to her daughter, finally decided that things just weren’t going to work out between the two of them. “I can’t force it,” he told her.
“Juelia deserves love more than anyone,” Carly said solemnly, sharing for old time’s sake this season’s most beloved refrain. Juelia, who deserves loves more than anyone, ran dramatically into the ocean and out of our lives.
Mikey won some points for a humane breakup, then lost all of them by staying after Juelia left, sweating through his shirt at the rose ceremony, and offering Mackenzie his rose, which she rejected.
Cassandra, a beautiful 23-year-old single mom, was the last to show up. For some reason she wanted to go on a date with Justin, who makes me deeply uncomfortable and whose frequently bare nipples one can only describe as “penetrating.” In order to go out with Cassandra, Justin backed out of the date he just agreed to go on with Jaclyn because he and Cassandra are both single parents and Cassandra is prettier.
“I mean, sorry I didn’t get knocked up when I was 19,” said Jaclyn. Anyway, Cassandra released a few delicate tears when Justin talked about his son, and later when he offered her his Final Rose.
Let’s really give it up for Ashley I., without whom this recap series would absolutely not be possible. After begging Chris Harrison for a fantasy suite date with Jared, getting one, and implying that she would be presenting Jared with her virginity, a still-virginal Ashley said happily the next morning, really digging into her persona: “I love watching Jared sleep.”
Jared then broke up with Ashley. “Thank you for making me realize that the total package exists,” she told him, sobbing as he got in the van, sobbing as she said goodbye to everyone, sobbing as she got in her own van, sobbing as she called her sister. “She’s not suffering anymore and that’s the most important thing,” Jared said of Ashley, the elderly dog that he just euthanized.
Kirk and Carly, formerly perceived as the season’s most solid couple, broke up and it was DEVASTATING. With all the girls lined up watching from the porch, Kirk dumped Carly a day after she told him, somewhat ill-advisedly, that she wanted to have his babies. “I’m gonna throw up,” she told him. “I feel like you tricked me.” She then sprinted away into Jade’s arms; they both started crying, Tenley started crying, I started crying, and Kirk chased Carly around the room while she packed, screeching “You deserve a conversation!”
“It just sucks, because I’ve never been that happy,” Carly said in the limo afterwards. “My heart’s like broken for her,” Samantha droned. Luckily for all of us, to explain her side of the story, Carly recently dropped this hot single:
Jade and Carly are best friends, and when Kirk dumped Carly, she cried as though it was happening to her, too (something that proved useful to producers when cutting teasers). “He could have stopped her, he could have slowed her down, and he didn’t, he just let her free fall,” she said. Jade is a really good friend! Ultimately, though, Carly’s heartbreak didn’t rain on the Jade and Tanner parade, and they got engaged at the end of the episode.
Tenley’s head and heart were really beating each other up this episode, you guys, because she liked making out with Joshua but not enough to give up her life-coaching business and move to Idaho.
To help give us a glimpse into her head during these trying moments, producers snagged a shot of Tenley’s diary, which reads like the disjointed thoughts of the happiest, most basic serial killer: randomly placed phrases include “expectations,” “timing,” “the,” “right around the corner,” “whimsical attachments,” “inspired,” “unexpected,” and “hope of greater best.”
“Joshua has left a big imprint on my heart,” Tenley whispered, before dumping him.
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Images via screengrabs, USA/Romeo + Juliet.