Oh, well. We all knew it would be Courtney Robertson, didn't we? Long before The Bachelor, season 16 (Mondays at 8 p.m. ET, on ABC) wrapped up tonight on a mountaintop in Zermatt, Switzerland, we knew from countless media sources that the diabolical model would win the heart of the adorably goofy-grinned (and goofy-haired) Ben Flajnik. Throughout the last few weeks you couldn't walk past a supermarket checkout counter without seeing either one of these two on a magazine cover, frolicking or fighting. Or maybe both.
But the final episode of one of the most controversial Bachelor seasons in memory was fun to watch all the same. We got to see Ben's mother Barbara and sister Julia give both of the finalists the once over, with some signature Bachelor-like, dramatic moments. Despite Ben's obvious zeal for Courtney, both mom and sis flinched at the mention of her profession. ("She's a model?") And when his sister heard that Courtney had had conflicts with the women of the house, she remarked that this was "a red flag." Then she said it again. And again. And then a fourth time. Meanwhile, she had nothing but compliments for the perky Lindzi Cox -- the sweetheart everyone knew he wasn't going to pick.
Ben's sister changed her opinion after spending some one on one time with Courtney -- and also arguably after Ben showed his cards, more or less. "I think the difference between Lindzi's relationship and Courtney's relationship is that with Lindzi, it's a slow burn," he said. "And would that be better later than what I have now with Courtney, that's blossomed earlier?" The implied answer, of course, was no. You choose the blossoming love. His astute sister picked up on this, and told him what he wanted to hear.
"As far as the complete package of what you are looking for in a wife, I think that Courtney is more what you want," said Julia. "She's not sugarcoating anything."
At this point, Ben's mind seemed already made up. (Or was it just because of those magazine covers everywhere?) "If I make that decision to propose to Courtney," he told his family, "there are going to be some repercussions." Amen, brother. You got that right!
The finale also let viewers in on Ben's final day and night with each woman (skiing with Lindzi and helicopter sightseeing with Courtney). The dates were informative in that we learned Lindzi's fatal flaw: her reluctance to open up and be vulnerable with him. And we got to see Courtney's confidence once last time, which turned to petulance in their final evening together. (She was upset by the thought that her plan to win this love contest might have been foiled by all the talk about her evil behavior among the other women.)
Then came the heart-stopping helicopter drop-offs. And the burning questions were answered...
1. How would he break it to Lindzi?
"Every time I watch you in the room you light it up. It's what you do," he says. Then the dramatic pause. "But…I'm in love with someone else. I want you to know that it didn't come easy"
2. How would she take the news?
Like a trooper, though she verges on pathetic when she tells him she blames herself for not giving him what he wanted. "If things don't work out, call me," she mumbles. Ugh -- you can't blame Ben for looking at her with pity after that.
3. Would there be some final, shocking twist in the yarn with Courtney?
Not in the finale. He proposes; she accepts, and as the camera recedes to a crescendo of music, she gushes over how heavy the ring is. True love!
Sadly, that soaring moment is cut short by the promo, a few seconds later, teasing what's to come in the After the Final Rose episode. Of course we already know that the story didn't end there -- not with Us Weekly proclaiming last week that Ben cheated on Courtney with three women in one weekend.
Host Chris Harrison interviewed Ben, then Courtney, and finally the two together, in front of an overwhelmingly female audience of disapproving head-shakers and eye-rollers. The theme of the interview: Where has this turbulent journey left them?
In a nutshell: After the finale was filmed, the happy couple set off into the sunset, only to be ripped apart when Ben saw the episodes hit the air, and Courtney's bad behavior highlighted in nearly every one. The negative reactions from viewers and the press didn't help matters, and for a period of several weeks, the couple split. As Ben delivered this detail, a collective gasp goes up from the studio audience.
It was during this breakup, he discloses, that Courtney intentionally went wedding dress shopping in an effort to throw off the press. (Another audience gasp goes up.) But Ben flatly denies the tabloid report that he cheated on Courtney, insisting that the photos were either old or taken when he was greeting female friends.
Courtney, for her part, takes the couch and rattles on about feeling abandoned. Ben has betrayed her trust, an issue with which, she reminds audience members, she already struggles.
But are they together? Oh, yes. They are still an engaged couple, and Ben proves it by placing the ring back on Courtney's finger. Do they look like a happy couple? Not so much. They're still on this "journey."
It's not the shocking twist that some viewers no doubt hoped for. (Who isn't still rooting against Courtney?) But given the track record of previous Bachelors, viewers need not worry -- Ben may be back on the market soon.