When we last saw Desiree Hartsock she was alone on a pier in Antigua, crying her eyes out. She had just been publicly dumped by Brooks, the very obvious frontrunner in the race to her heart, and while she undoubtedly wanted to hop in a helicopter to the land of Haagen Dazs (will you accept this rose, pint of Rocky Road?), she has commitments to ABC and our Monday night entertainment and, thus, had no choice but to ugly-cry on national television.
This week, we get to watch the second half of this surprisingly dramatic two-part finale. Will Des have been rushed to the hospital with tear-induced dehydration? Will she pack it in and go home to wear a Slanket and cry (while we get to watch Grey’s Anatomy reruns)? Will Brooks reconsider his rejection and sweep Des away? Will Des fall in love with some sloppy seconds? Will Des get in touch with her inner Kelly Taylor and choose herself? (Yes, that’s a Beverly Hills 90210 reference, what of it?)
Anything is possible on The Bachelorette, especially when host Chris Harrison has pulled together a live studio audience of emotionally-sensitive women willing to cry along with Des in a tea candle-lit room and opine about the possible outcomes. It’s magical, like if The Running Man had softer lighting, discreetly placed boxes of tissues and white wine spritzers.
Here’s what happened on The Bachelorette finale:
The Worst Liar: The show opens with Des insisting to Chris Harrison, “I’m okay.” She buckles under pressure, though, when Chris states the obvious,”You’re not.” She starts bawling out her body weight in tears. Again.
Best Acting Nominee: “I just want to go home, to be honest,” a red-eyed and heartbroken Des told host Chris Harrison, who managed to feign an air of surprise.
Just Love The One You’re With: “Drew and Chris are still here,” Chris points out. “If you had never met Brooks, if he wasn’t part of the equation, could you see yourself with one of these remaining two guys?” In short: read your contract, Des! Des “chooses” to continue the process of finding televised love.
Most Pathetic Rose Ceremony Ever: Des showed up to the Rose Ceremony wearing sweats and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Or that’s what she wore in her heart anyway, as she gathered her runners-up to break the news of Brooks’ departure and managed to only cry three, maybe four times.
Worst Thing To Hear at a Rose Ceremony: Des basically announces that she was in love with Brooks and would have chosen him except that he dumped her, so now she has to choose between these two losers …er, runners up. “It goes to show that love is unpredictable and it is a two-way street,” she told Chris and Drew. “When I say your name and ask you if you would like to accept this rose, please let me know.” Drew and Chris look stunned at the realization that they have to continue the charade even though it’s clear Des is just Brooks’ detritus at this point.
Saddest Toast: As they all continue this journey to sloppy-seconds love, Des offers a (sadly hopeless) toast to “staying hopeful.”
Game Change: Des doesn’t want to drag Drew and Chris off to meet her family right away. Instead, she wants one more date with each of them in the hopes of finding love with someone not named Brooks. She probably also wants to save them from a trashing from her just-telling-it-like-it-is brother (because: haven’t they suffered enough)?
First Date: Poor Drew got the short straw and was Des’ first rebound date. The encounter was filled with awkward blind-date level conversation: “How was your day?” “Good. Yours?” “Good.” made worse be the fact that they were on horseback.
Truly The Saddest Toast: Dead-inside Des suffered through a horseback ride and a picnic on the beach with Drew, but she couldn’t fake it any more when he raised his champagne glass and said: “To being madly in love and to wanting to be nowhere else than here with you.” Obviously Des starts crying because Drew is not Brooks, mutters that she feels “maybe there’s something missing,” and then she cuts him loose and sends him on his way.
Fondest Farewell: “You don’t have to be sorry for not being in love with me,” Drew tells Des gently. “Just because I see something that doesn’t mean that you have to feel it.” Take a note, Des, if you had said that to Brooks, you would have saved a lot of mascara.
Second Date: And then there was one and his name was Chris. Canny Chris starts the date by telling Des that he has no problem cleaning up someone else’s mess. While he couldn’t comfort her at the rose ceremony “out of respect for Drew,” he will never leave her hanging again and basically starts singing the theme song to Friends. She invites him to come meet her family, never mentioning that she kicked Drew out and he is the last man standing. And with that, Chris begins the long journey out of the Friend Zone.
Biggest Reasonto Miss Brooks: As Des convinces herself to (fall out of like and) in love with Chris, he gives her a journal conveniently filled with all the poems that the mortgage broker has written for her.
Best Foundation for a Healthy Relationship: As Des continues her mission to convince herself she loves Chris, she tells the camera, “Now I feel guilty, almost like, how could I not have loved him from the beginning?” There’s no way Chris won’t love hearing that when he watches this season.
Every Girl’s Dream: Back in the live studio audience, Chris Harrison reveals that Des’ ex Sean Lowe and his bride-to-be, Catherine, are watching this all unfurl. Surely, Des is thrilled to have her ex and his fiancée opine about her public humiliation.
Home Sweet Home: When Chris and Des show up at her parents’ home, Des’ ill-mannered straight-talking brother, Nate, famed for scaring the tuna salad out of Bachelor Sean (and causing him to kick Des to the curb), starts in on Chris. Chris manages to stay cool under pressure and ends up with the Official Nate Seal Of Approval. And her father’s blessing.
Denial, River, Eygpt, Etc.: Nate has one question for Des, though: What about Brooks? At the mention of He Who Shall Not Be Named, Des almost starts crying again, but swears she isn’t settling for Chris. Maybe she should write that in the journal Chris gave her, so she’ll remember to tell it to the marriage counselor later.
Neil Lane Diamonds Are A Bachelorette’s Best Friend: Chris heads to Neil Lane to pick the ring that will make Des forget all about Brooks. Basically, he’s looking for a princess-cut Lacuna, Inc.-branded memory-erasing pill.
The Talk: Des wants to be honest with Chris, but decides that the best place to tell him is mid-proposal. “I want him to know where I was with Brooks,” she explains. “He deserves to know everything.”
The Build-Up: Chris, who still doesn’t know that Drew is out of the picture, pops out of the limo in a sheen of sweat and immediately starts in recounting the highlights of their journey together. Then he goes in for the kill: “I don’t want to make decisions for me anymore. I want to make decisions with you for us, and our future together. And I want to be that rock that doesn’t break for you.” It’s a speech that Brooks couldn’t have delivered (at least not without pausing to brush his hair out of his face several times). And Des is smitten. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to talk about Brooks, though. She tells him that she booted Drew. But before he gets too happy, she tells him about Brooks: “I feel like I was blindsided by my feelings for Brooks that I couldn’t see that the one thing I always needed was right in front of me.” She continues, “I thank you every day for never giving up, and you mean the absolute world to me, because I love you. I love you so much.” Awwww, Chris is officially out of the Friend Zone.
The Proposal: As you may recall, Chris proposed to Des on the first episode. This doesn’t make him any less nervous now as he drops to one knee and asks, “Desiree Eileen Hartsock, I want to be your first, I want to be your last. Will you marry me?” She shrugs, “Yes, a thousand times!” Wait, does this mean Brooks isn’t coming?
Most Awkward Interaction: During the After The Final Rose post-game analysis (a.k.a. hour three of The Bachelorette), Chris Harrison reunites Brooks and Des in front of a live studio audience for our entertainment. Adding to the fun factor, he makes Des tell Brooks that she’s engaged to Chris “Sloppy Seconds” Siegfried. Brooks barely manages not to flinch.
The Saddest Sack: Drew, who may or may not be an android, tells Chris Harrison that he is still on the mend from his breakup. “It was a long recovery process, and it’s still happening,” he says. “It’s difficult to watch the last few episodes.” Don’t worry, Drewbot, there’s nothing like getting publicly dumped to make you a hot commodity on the dating market.
The Happy Couple: Chris and Des reunite under Chris Harrison’s watchful eye to ensure America that they are, in fact, happy. Des is getting ready for her move to Seattle. Just remember, folks: You cant’ spell “Seattle” without “settle.”
The Free-Verse Farewell: Before we can end this season, Chris has to read one last poem. He’s Des’ problem now.
The Best News: Fan favorite, devoted single dad, and former professional soccer player Juan Pablo Galavis will be the next Bachelor. That almost makes me want to watch. Almost.