Former okay race car driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. is on a Carnival Cruise. Among fellow Arizonans who split their vacation time between Disney World, the rest of Florida, and cruises, he is right where he should be. He spends his first day on board pointing over the side of the ship and saying, “Wow, dolphins!” and the rest of it reenacting Titanic with blonde sorority girls on Spring Break from Alabama. Despite fervently sunscreening his face, his pale dutch skin will be tomato red for the next six weeks. Just as he starts to re-lather, a Conga line begins! Arie laughs at himself as he joins in, excited to learn about other cultures, like whatever culture the Conga line is from. A day well spent, he heads to the dining hall for a little treat. “Dessert for dinner?” Arie thinks, “Why not, I’m on vacation after all!” As he waits in line for the soft serve ice cream machine, he pulls on a loose thread of the Tommy Bahama shirt that he initially bought ironically, but isn’t quite sure if it’s still ironic or just who he is now. It’s his turn. But wait! There are two flavors of ice cream. Vanilla or chocolate. The vanilla-chocolate-swirl dispenser is temporarily out of order so there is no in-between. Decisions must be made. The ice cream flavors stare at Arie as he stares back wondering what he can do. How can he make this kind of decision? What if he chooses vanilla but is yearning for chocolate the whole time? Meanwhile, a line forms behind him. He must choose, and he must choose now. The passengers behind him begin to chant at him. “Choose. Choose. Choose.” The captain turns off Margaritaville and repeats into the PA system: “Choose. Choose.” A giant squid flips onto the deck and whispers, “Choose.” Arie closes his eyes and pulls the lever for the chocolate. The decision has been made. It is over. But as Arie steps out of line he watches longingly as the woman behind him picks vanilla. He wonders at what might have been as the chocolate soft serve begins to melt, dripping slowly down his wavering hand.
Settle in, because tonight I chased my wine with a five-hour-energy, and much like Frances McDormand, I got some things to say. Our finale episode takes place in Cusco, Peru, which ABC helpfully points out on an animated map for less geography-inclined viewers.
Arie sums up his feelings on the final two women. There’s Lauren. Incredibly attractive, gluten-free, refuses to demonstrate a shred of emotion all season. Then there’s Becca. Great conversationalist, intelligent, funny, ready for marriage. Meh! Arie, I’ve been into enough losers to tell you that you are only into Lauren because she’s giving you less. The only thing wrong with Becca is that there’s nothing wrong with Becca.
Lauren is first to meet Arie’s family. But before that she has to sit in the streets of Cusco journaling. “Dear Diary,” writes Lauren, “I’m somewhere in India with a very thin-legged man. I think his name is Arie. I miss Instagram. XoXo Lauren B.” She tells us that meeting the parents has never been this big a deal before because this could end in an engagement. Which is just an odd point to make when you have already been engaged twice.
I thought Lauren was going to actually have to speak since she’s meeting Arie’s family but she spends an impressive amount of time just smiling and saying she’s nervous and they still like her. “I have been engaged before,” she tells Arie Sr. I see what you did there. I’m not honestly sure what Arie’s mom thinks, less because of her English and more because of the alarming amount of botox she’s used in her life.
Becca steps up to the plate like “I’ve never doubted him and his integrity.” Oh, no. Arie’s family is reluctant about Becca because they so adored Lauren and her shining wit I guess. Becca is pissed they keep bringing up Lauren because she’s mad that this catatonic Barbie is still her competition. In the end, Arie’s parents say they think Becca would be the more appropriate choice, though neither of them truly look like they give a fuck either way. Arie is pissed that no one is giving him a reason to pick Lauren.
Anyway time for the last one-on-one dates. Is it just me or is Arie getting less and less attractive? At this point I genuinely feel like if I saw him at a bar and my friend thought he was cute I would judge her a little. Arie takes Lauren to Machu Picchu. Arie thinks they are lucky and Lauren agrees they are lucky to be here and Arie says he is lucky to be here with her. K we get it you guys are as lucky as Lindsay Lohan in Just My Luck before Chris Pine steals her luck, can we move on? They kiss a bunch and Arie is like “blame it on the altitude.” LOL good one. The mystical powers of the Incas are almost enough to give Lauren a personality. She and Arie run away from the cameramen paid to film them so they can giggle and make out, forgetting that they are grown ass adults in a World Heritage Site.
In the evening, it’s Lauren’s last chance to win over Arie before the proposal. They talk about how deep their feelings are for each other. I guess they think if they talk about it enough then it must be true. Lauren describes her life with Arie in a generic ass day including having coffee, going to work, and making dinner. Arie’s like keep going babe I’m getting so hot rn. They part ways, and as much as I’ve made fun of Lauren I do believe she is into him and (reasonably) believes that he’s going to choose her, mainly because he’s been telling her he loves her for like three weeks now. Girl are you in for a surprise!
For Becca’s date, they walk around Cusco, pet a couple very miserable looking alpacas, and buy themselves some fun lil souvenir bags destined to sit in the back of their closets for the rest of time. Look, Cusco is super cool. But if you’re Becca and there’s only two dates here, and you don’t go to Machu Picchu? You gotta know the other woman went to Machu Picchu. Another sign that this relationship is doomed.
Later on Becca shows Arie some collages she made, which really took me back to all the time I spent in middle school collaging magazine pictures of six packs, lip gloss, and random words like “summer” for no apparent reason. She flips to a page with a stork that reads “Our First Baby.” I want to give Becca the benefit of the doubt here and say this was a plant, but I haven’t given that to Lauren so yeah this is some crazy ass Andy Anderson “Our Family Album” shit and I do not condone it.
Resident idiots Ben and Jason are here to tell us that Arie isn’t so bad for telling two women he loves them and leading them to believe he’s picking them. Jason says Arie seems like he’s in a lot of pain. Does he though? He seems much more concerned with which one of them he’s going to lose than hurting either of their feelings. Poor Arie isn’t contractually permitted to have a harem of women. 😦
In the AM Arie tells us he’s made his decision based on who he can grow old with AKA which woman will age better. Neil Lane shows up with one ring and Arie’s like “That’s the one!” What a crazy world.
First out of the limo is….Lauren. She believes she and Arie share a greater love than most will ever know. I feel like she’d consider anyone she could have a ten minute conversation with a great love but okay. “I’m freaking out,” she deadpans, blinking her beautiful, vacant eyes. After being forced to open her cold stony heart and confess her love to Arie, he tells her there’s just something missing. Remember this part for later, folks. Lauren tells Arie she still loves him and he says he loves her too which is maybe something you should stop saying now. Finally breaking into tears in the limo, Lauren says she thinks he’s making a mistake because foreshadowing.
Becca shows up at the proposal site which is low-key kinda ugly. And why, no matter the location, is the final proposal always so damn windy? I think this whole phenomenon is just upsetting nature. Arie tells Becca their love is unmeasurable. The correct term here would actually be immeasurable, and yes, I would stop someone mid-proposal speech to correct their grammar. Maybe this is why I’m the same age as Lauren and have received two less proposals than her. Becca accepts. They twirl. She breaks the final rose. Arie’s suit is incredibly blue.
Two seconds later, Arie tells us that despite everything being hunky dory with Becca, he can’t stop thinking about Lauren. Dude. You’re only thinking about Lauren because she’s the road not taken. BET we’d be in the reverse situation if he picked Lauren. He proceeds to tell us that he’s going to dump Becca and go after Lauren because “I have to follow my heart.” Ah, a classic douche bag rationale. Following your heart is not an excuse to do whatever you want! Jeffery Dahmer was probably just following his heart when he murdered a bunch of dudes and stuck their heads in his freezer but you don’t see him getting any sympathy!
Lol Chris Harrison solemnly acknowledges what we’re going through at home as if we actually all just experienced a national trauma. It is taking everything in him to keep the shit-eating-grin off his face rn. Despite how sad all of this is he makes sure to remind us how juicy all of the raw, uncut, unedited break-up footage is. I love how ABC refuses to ever acknowledge the shitty hand they play in this. I feel gross just for watching tbh. But like obviously I’m gonna.
Becca thinks she’s meeting up with Arie for one of their safe-house hangs and seems to assume she’s being filmed for a cute couple compilation vid on ATFR. NOPE. Arie tells her that he keeps thinking about Lauren and he needs to see what could be there. He apparently thinks he deserves a fucking medal for “telling her in person” and not doing it on ATFR. I gotta say I’m struggling to see the kindness in his decision to ambush her with cameras to dump her on what she thought was a romantic weekend. For however much producers prodded him, surely there was a better way to let her know than this.
Becca is justifiably angry and tells Arie to leave, at which point he leaves and COMES BACK to stand there while they film her bawling. Like can’t ya’ll let a bitch ugly cry in the bathroom in peace? He knocks on the door and is like “U ok?” and then does my favorite fuckboy thing which is say you want to talk and then sit there and say absolutely nothing. All around this whole thing felt like a pretty disgusting move on the part of The Bachelor and Arie. After Becca tells Arie to leave 17 more times, ABC calls it a wrap; they’ve gotten all the tears and emotional rape to be had here.
And as far as the Jason Mesnick comparisons: Yes he dumped Melissa on ATFR. Which was shitty. But he and Melissa revealed later that she’d already known they were over beforehand and that they’d barely been communicating since the show. Becca actually thought she was going to marry Arie and had him end their engagement AND tell her he’s going to date the runner-up in one sitting on camera. Hopefully the offer of Bachelorette will lift her spirits. Tune in tomorrow to see ABC try to make us root for Arie and Lauren!