Well tonight's the night we've all been waiting for!
It only took 119 roses, 57 days and 9 episodes, but we finally made it. Finale time-- meaning finito, decision time, no take-me-backs. In other words, make it to the Starlight-Room-or-get-off-the-pot time.
Who would Brad choose: The pretty brunette or the pretty brunette? Decisions, decisions. Either one could make or break it, really. But that twist ending they've been threatening the past two weeks? Simply maddening. He could either beg to date both (a la Bret Michaels on Rock of Love), choose Jenni, choose DeAnna, or choose neither.
I mean you already know who I think is going to win (I won't give it away by saying whom, just that her name rhymes with Pre Cana, or Rhianna, or whatever floats your boat).
Now I've spent the whole day searching for spoilers and analyzing preview commercial screen caps, so before we get into it, let me rundown what I think I "learned:"
1) Whoever says, "I'm sorry" is Jenni, who is crying the night before when she tells Brad her feelings and the sound clip is inserted to only sound like it's during the rose ceremony.
2) When walking toward Brad, DeAnna is either extremely nervous or ashamed, leading a lot of people to predict DeAnna might be the winner but turns Brad down.
3) Body language says a lot: While Jenni stands close to Brad, he holds her hands away from his body, and while DeAnna is far away, Brad holds her hands close to his body. Subconscious winner there: DeAnna.
4) When Brad's mom asks if he "loves her," "her" must be Jenni, because Brad is wearing the same T-shirt as when Jenni meets his family.
5) Since the last image is Brad in the dark and we know the ceremony is in daylight, odds are good he either A) Gets turned down; or B) Picks neither girl. That, or he's up before the sun rose -- which I doubt.
6) In a recent interview, Brad says he didn't sleep with any of the girls, and that he wouldn't ever give a donated engagement ring (he'd use the donated one for the show, return it, and then buy his own).
7) Brad was the first bachelor to make it clear that he reserved the right to pick no one if he didn't want to; a request producers eventually granted.
8) Whew. I know -- that was a lot to preface.
So this episode we have a lot to cover between the family visits and that little rose shindig. We delved right in to find us at Brad’s family’s house in Austin, Texas, waiting for the first girl to arrive. Brad and Co. sit around on in the living room, shooting the breeze until Girl No. 1 arrives. Would there be intrigue? Mystery? Apparently we’re over that; Brad already knows that DeAnna is arriving first. He stresses that he's looking for his wife and someone who can be one, which seems a little backwards. Wouldn't you want X, who makes a great wife, instead of a great wife, who happens to be X? Well if you don't get it, in my head, it makes sense. Moving on!
Since DeAnna was first, she gets to make the first impression. And uh oh, she did the friendly back half-rub/pat thing. Is she already putting Brad in the friend zone?! Luckily, it was Mom to the rescue! "I'm just going to call you Dee Dee right off the bat," she said, instantly breaking the ice. The group ate and made small talk until Mrs. Brad's Mom stole her away to ask if she was in love with Brad. DeAnna stresses how she wants to get married and have a family -- three or more kids, which sounds about right to Mrs. Brad's Mom, with her three boys. The two seem to be on the same page, with DeAnna even saying Mrs. Brad's Mom reminds her of her own mother. Afterwards, the guys toss Brad in the pool, then Brad tosses in Chad, and then Wes dives in, too, amid big laughter.
Brad walks DeAnna to her car and really gets into kissing her. We're talking a kiss the quality of those movie climaxes when the two main characters get together and the camera pans around them. Her body language seems a bit off, but that could be nerves. DeAnna is worried that Brad still has to meet Jenni so soon after seeing her, and that Jenni will get the last impression.
When we returned from commercial, it's Jenni's turn to meet the fam. The group sits down to dinner and Jenni admits to the group that she hasn't told Brad she loves him because she doesn't want to feel forced to say it. This is when Mom jumps in and "steals" Jenni away. She tells Mrs. Brad's Mom that she wants tons of kids -- the more, the merrier. Is she in love with Brad? Jenni says she's falling in love with him ... but she seems to be giving her per usual people-pleasing answers.
"I just think that she's a big fifth grader," says Peanut Gallery. "Like I see her drawing hearts with 'Jenni & Brad' in them." Oh, then she says she likes the sound of her future married name, Jenni Womack! Coincidence? I think not!
Brad hardly kissed Jenni before sending her away in the car, but maybe he was too eager to be grilled by his mother. Hey, why not, everyone else has been. Wouldn't want to kill the latest family tradition. His mom stresses that he's got his work cut out for him. She thinks she favors DeAnna, but says it may be because DeAnna arrived first. Mrs. Brad's Mom explains that for Brad, there is no gray; everything is black and white. Yet, she won't make a call; she likes them both very much.
"Well," Brad said, "Thanks for nothing!"
My sentiments exactly.
Back again from commercial, DeAnna cooks Brad a meal at her room as they talk -- and by "they," I mean "DeAnna." She mentions that they've talked about kids, marriage, moving, the whole nine yards. In her monologue, I made out a lot of phrases like forever, one and only, once in my life, marriage, and the ever-popular "I'm scared you'll pick the wrong person." She seemed to alleviate all of Brad's doubts, but all she did was permanently affix mine: Does DeAnna have the advantage just because she keeps getting to go first?
Back again from commercial, Jenni cooks for Brad in her room -- and then uses her chopsticks like a knife and fork. Stay classy, Wichita! Brad appears to handle her with kid gloves as she cries and confesses her feelings with that "I'm sorry" sound clip from the previews. But all I could stare at was her random back tattoo of indiscernible stuff! And snap, he did the friend half-hug/pat to Jenni! Gasp! What could possibly be worse than this? Jenni's gift to Brad was her diary throughout the experience. And wait for it -- she decides to read it to him. Yes, she told him she loves him, but it was too much on the line. I suddenly felt anxious for Jenni, who being more in the public image in her profession, seemingly now had the most to lose.
On the saddest note, when Jenni told Brad she loved him, he didn't say it back.
Back again from commercial, Brad goes to pick out a ring. This season's sponsor: Chopard. Brad says he can see either women being his wife for various reasons: DeAnna is strong and independent; Jenni is happy and loving. Blah blah blah the usual.
First out of the limo is Jenni. Both Jenni and Brad ask how each other are feeling and it is established that both of them are, indeed, good. So glad we got the formalities over with.
Brad seems so serious now. He explains that from the moment he met Jenni, no one had ever brought out this side of him. He said he met Jenni's wonderful family and now understands why and how she is so wonderful. But it seemed a little Sandwich Effect-y, and it turns out, it was supposed to be. Brad says he's sorry, but he wants something more that he can't find with the two of them. Jenni is silent. Brad implores, nay, begs her to speak, but to no avail. She says she is sad and embarrassed to have said all those things now. Brad holds her and continues to apologize; eventually (I'm sure due to time constraints with the sun setting), he walks her to the car.
Jenni cries on the ride back to the hotel, still feeling terrible. She said before leaving for Austin, her father reminded her that there was one right person for her -- and she now knows that Brad obviously wasn't it.
After our final commercial break, it's the moment we've all been waiting for!
DeAnna exited the car and made her way to meet Brad. "Remember how you said marriage was a one-time-only deal for you?" Brad asks. "Well, I feel the same way." He says how the moment he met her, he was telling people he was "done for." He reaches a natural pause -- the Starlight-Room-or-get-off-the-pot time. Brad gasps for air, goes to loosen his collar button, walks around the yard. DeAnna looks distressed and confused -- Peanut Gallery and myself have looks on our faces like we're trying to remember the atomic weight of potassium. He comes back to the podium.
"I have so many feelings for you," Brad says, "But I can't look you in the eyes and tell you I love you."
Uh, I'm sorry, it sounded like you said YOU DON'T LOVE HER. Except, it turns out, that he apparently doesn't. Oh, snap.
"Do you know how much I care about you?" Brad asked.
"No! ... No I don't," said DeAnna, tearing up. She thought he was proposing, but all she got was a man saying he didn't want to give her a diamond and false hope with it.
"This is why I never wear my heart on my sleeve," DeAnna said, to which Brad took her in his arms and apologized many times to no avail. After sending her off in the limo, DeAnna cries. She's hurt and angry.
"I'm sick of being that person who makes the guy perfect for the next one," she says.
Brad sits on the podium in the dark, the rose still on its pedestal, the ring and its box still in his hands. He came to find his wife and left with no one. For the final rose ceremony, Brad chose himself. Hopefully, he and his rose will be very happy together.
So aren't we glad we have tomorrow night's After the Final Rose show to figure all this crap out! Frankly, I want to see Jenni and DeAnna both stick it to Brad. DeAnna is still fighting for them to be together! Has Brad changed his mind?
And then, as if we weren't sad enough, our parting clip is DeAnna walking back to her hotel room, shoeless, dejected and alone. She slams her door shut behind her. No one could fault her for that.
That brings us to the (almost) end of the most shocking season of The Bachelor ever. Were you shocked? Surprised?
Did Brad make the biggest mistake of his life?!?!?
What would you have done if you were Brad, Jenni, or DeAnna?