The Bachelor Season 23, After the Final Rose Recap — Becca The New Bachelorette


If you loved The Shape of Water, a peculiar love story about a strange creature who falls in love with a lady who doesn’t speak, then you’ll love The Bachelor: After the Final Rose which is about the exact same thing. After breaking things off with Becca, Arie travels to Virginia Beach to try to win back Lauren, a woman of few words. To put it accurately. We’ll get to that first, but first: torturing a sad woman!

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Chris begins the fourth of five hours that we’ll be spending reminding Becca that her engagement ended, by saying that we’ll be seeing another wedding proposal tonight. This seems like a slip of the tongue because then he says “Will we see another proposal tonight?” and at this point I’m like “Ugh dude I don’t know. If I propose to someone will this season end.” I’m the new Bachelor, the Brunchelor.

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We watch a video about Becca’s proposal and somehow they’re able to put together a “through the years”-style montage of them doing couple things like making pizza and reading in bed. It’s actually impressive the amount of casual fun they’d documented in the three seconds they’d been engaged. Like, I am actually married and I think all of our photos are from other people’s weddings and terrible selfies in front of monuments I’ve insisted we see. That’s what I’d like to see from Arie and Becca: a bunch of half-drunk photobooth photos with them holding signs that read “Congrats!” and then blurry shots in front Grant’s Tomb.

After that they show Becca’s journey home. Every leg of it. Packing, wheeling her suitcase to a car, listening to a podcast on the flight home. Like, they actually filmed her on the plane, in the dark, in the middle seat. The actually are taking this woman through purgatory. This is a Lars von Trier film.

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She’s not even in first class. The entire coach section of this flight from L.A. to Minnesota or wherever is asleep and Becca’s sitting up with her earbuds in and her personal light on with a camera in her face. I am actually screaming about this. Can you imagine being the people sitting next to her? Look, if my airborne beauty rest is disrupted by the filming of a reality show and that reality show is not Mariah’s World best believe I’m taking that armrest. I’m taking all the armrests. Your arms better stay awake on this flight!

Anyway, while Becca does Harper Pitt’s night flight monologue from Angels in America to the absolute annoyance of everyone else on board this cursed plane, Arie is getting coaching from Season 13’s Bachelor, Jason, who also had a change of heart. Jason him, “there’s going to be some backlash.” Which, yeah.

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I mean, a Representative in Minnesota announced he would pushing legislation to ban Arie from the state, which is adorable but also omg why do we live in a country where that’s possible?

Arie goes to Lauren’s house; he has a panic attack outside her garage. I imagine her standing at her bay window watching him silently freak out with a clutch of video cameras around him. In an alternate edit of this scene Lauren is the protagonist in a Black Mirror episode. Like, not one of the better ones. But a decent one. Middle of the pack.

Long story short, Lauren wraps Arie in a hug the minute he knocks on the door and it’s totes clear that they have already hashed this all out over the phone. But they’re kind enough to let us watch them reenact it like they’re summer interns at Relationship Colonial Williamsburg.

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It turns out, after the proposal, Arie asked Becca if she minded if he called Lauren just to make sure he wasn’t in love with her. Honey, that would never be me. You need to make a call after you propose? You better call Ghostbusters because I’m taking you out.

Back on the live show, Chris invites Kendall, Sienne, Caroline, Tia, and Bekah M. up to the live stage to trash Arie. Bekah is wearing the sheer lace curtains from Celine’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me” video as a dress. And also tassels from the show curtain at the Moulin Rouge as earrings.

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They are pissed. Bekah especially. She is furious. She is especially mad that the show aired the break up and that Arie didn’t do it privately. Hilariously, Chris asks the former contestants “What do you think of The Bachelor showing that breakup last night? Was it too much?” That’s like Trump calling Judge Jeanine and being like “You’re a Supreme Court Justice; am I guilty?”

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Even more hilariously, Tia calls Arie and the show out for pretending that there was any question about Lauren taking him back, since they’d already talked on the phone after the breakup. This is some Truman Show-style facade crumbling. The whole show is so close to completely falling apart and I’m so excited. Chris Harrison must sense this because he shuts the segment down with a quickness. The look in Bekah’s eyes is all the confirmation he needs: she’s about to stage a hostile takeover and he wouldn’t stand a chance. She escaped from that marijuana farm; she’s invincible.

Chris Harrison then welcomes Becca back out. She’s in a gorgeous bronze dress and she is totally ready to be the next Bachelorette. Oh, by the way, by this point in the two-hour show it has become clear that they are absolutely setting her up to be the Bachelorette. I wouldn’t put it past them to put her in a the first rose ceremony tonight. We will never escape this season.

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But first! Chris, that puppet villain from Saw, brings Arie out so he can refuse to leave Becca alone some more. Entering to the most tepid applause outside of the State of the Union, Arie looks super sad and I almost feel bad for him. He signed up to be on TV while falling in love, which is objectively a dumb life choice, and he ended up the most hated man in America not currently awaiting security clearance. Arie is the Harvey Dent of Reality TV.

Now that I think about it, Chris Harrison is the Joker. And Bekah Martinez is Batman. Rush this into production.

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We get the Becca and Arie confrontation, which is a bit of a sad snooze, then Jason from Season 13 returns to talk about what happened when he changed his mind and I fast-forward because the only people I want to hear about the past from are the Obamas. Then Lauren joins Arie on the stage and blesses us with this perfect exchange.

Chris: I can hardly imagine what’s going through your head right now.

Lauren: Me either.

Lauren is perfect.

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Chris then says “Take us back to Peru, what happened?” asking Lauren to rehash her heartbreak for the cameras. The glint in his eye that lights only when another human is about to suffer starts blinking. Lauren, miraculously, responds, “We actually decided not to watch it last night.” She does the “I don’t know her” to her own life! ICON.

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If I’m ever on the witness stand and I want to avoid a line of questioning, I’m just going to tell the prosecutor, “I didn’t watch the show last night. Did anyone DVR it? Is there a recap? I guess we’ll never know. Case dismissed.”

Speaking of verdicts: Arie says, “It’s easy to sit at home and judge.” I look around my living room trying to figure out who heck he thinks he’s talking to. Having all these opinions about the choices of strangers is hard work, Arie. I’m stressed. Fall back.

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And speaking of having opinions about the terrible life choices of strangers: After all of this, in front of this extremely hostile crowd and a national audience that would like to send Arie to the moon on Elon Musk’s rocket, Arie actually proposes to Lauren! Literally no one wants this to happen. What a terrible way to get engaged. I’m actually aghast.

This is like when a groomsman at a wedding takes the opportunity of his toast to propose to his girlfriend and everyone is silently screaming and looking at each other like “What if we all do that dance from The OA? Will that make this end?” I would have been happier if Arie had put Lauren in an Uber, taken her to a Panera Bread, and proposed there in the middle of the lunch rush. This is dystopian. I feel so sad for everyone. In the country.

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But also it’s kind of adorable and I hope they’re happy. I hope everyone is happy. I hope everyone goes out and gets some magic in their lives. Or whatever. I don’t know how to feel. I have forgotten how to feel.

And at the end of all of this Becca is brought back out as the new Bachelorette. This show is a house cat that, having brought us a dead mouse as a gift, proudly returns with a dead bird too. Isn’t this what we all hoped would happen? One of the lesser characters from an unremarkable season is dragged through heartache in front of a nation, watches her ex-fiancé get engaged on live television, and now gets to go on a lot more dates arranged by the sadistic monsters who just released her.

Chris invites the five other contestants back on stage, they all hug Becca and then sit on each other’s laps, laughing.

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And for a brief moment we get to see utopia—a show where six women get to hang out and drink wine in a mansion and maybe talk smack about some trash dude and generally be happy and affirm each other. I would watch that in a heartbeat. Ah well, maybe next season.



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