Three hours of The Bachelor is a lot to process — even when it doesn’t involve a cruel dumping, a sweet proposal, a breakup, a makeup, abandonment issues and a fake pregnancy. Need a crib sheet so you never have to relive it again? Here are six of the biggest things that happened on The Bachelor Season 16 finale and “After the Final Rose” special.
1. Courtney is “winning” with Ben’s Family
At first, it seemed like Ben Flajnik’s mom and sister were more appalled by the idea that Courtney Robertson was a model than a trash-talking girl no one else liked. But sister Julia Flajnik did say it was a “red flag” that Courtney was the girl the other girls disliked. Ben didn’t want his mom and sister to pre-judge Courtney, but he certainly set her up to be pre-judged. Julia even asked Lindzi Cox for the low-down on Courtney and Lindzi said Courtney was “very shut off” around the other women. But when Courtney talked to Julia, she won Ben’s sister over with her non-sugar-coated frankness. She laid it all bare — admitting that she could’ve tried harder but she had her guard up — and Julia was impressed. In the end, Julia told Ben that Courtney was closer to what he said he was looking for in a wife than Lindzi. Mom even gave Ben her prepared speech for how she’s going to deal with all the Courtney haters. Smart lady.
2. Courtney shares love letter and mini scrapbook with Ben
Courtney is all about writing notes. She shared a love letter for Ben on their first date in his hometown of Sonoma, then wrote (well, partially borrowed) wedding vows for their fake wedding during her hometown date in Arizona, then gave him another long love letter on their final date together in Switzerland. She also shared with him what looked like another dreaded scrapbook but was instead a nice photo album of their best moments.
3. Ben massively leads Lindzi on — and she blames herself!
Bad Ben! Lindzi wasn’t on the ATFR at all, so she had no chance to say “WTF Ben?!” for this pre-dumping speech: “I want you to know that I have fallen in love with you … [Long pause] … BUT I need those moments to last a lifetime … [Long pause] … and I’ve found that with someone else.” So. Not. Cool. He did not have to do that. But maybe Lindzi has become a masochist after her experience in Dumpsville, ‘cause she blamed herself for not giving Ben what he needed, leaving him with this cringe-worthy line: “Well, good luck. And if things don’t work out, call me?” Ugh.
[Update: Lindzi later explained, during her exit interview this week, that she was just joking when she offered up that little remark. "So, Ben had just rejected me … and it's this awkward silence, and like, I didn't know what to say, you know. So, as a joke, I was like, 'Well, if things don't work out, call me.' Ben laughed about it. We laughed about it, and it was like we joked about it. Well, watching it, it didn't really look like it was a joke.... I was just being funny." Phew!]
4. Ben proposes to Courtney
For all of their flaws, they are a good match and he gives a good second proposal. (His proposal to Ashley Hebert was much shorter and less sweet — at least, the part that we were shown.) “I think you are an incredible woman,” Ben told Courtney, “But I promised myself that I wouldn’t get down on one knee again unless I was certain it was forever — and I want to tell you that you are my forever. You’re my forever.” He proposed. She giggled and said yes. They said they’d love each other forever and Courtney said “You’re stuck with me.” He responded, “I’m OK with that. Believe me.” Except he wasn’t.
5. Ben apologizes for abandoning Courtney
Just a couple of months after promising he would love her forever, Ben got sick of the Courtney drama playing out on TV and abandoned her to fend the tabloid drama herself. On the ATFR special, Ben said he just couldn’t take it anymore. They broke up just before Valentine’s Day and he didn’t even send her flowers. They got back together and are engaged again, but Courtney said it’s going to be hard for her to trust him again because she expected him to stand by her. It’s not like he wasn’t “warned” a thousand times about her behavior so why would he leave her right when she needed him most? He apologized and said he wouldn’t abandon her again. She got her giant ring back. It was all too similar to Brad Womack and Emily Maynard’s ATFR last year, although maybe less surprising since pretty much everyone saw trouble for Ben and Courtney. Brad and Em only lasted a few months after the show ended. Will B + C have a different ending?
BONUS OMG MOMENT: Ashley is pregnant — NOT!
Oh, Cupcake! To add levity and a sense of hope to the otherwise funereal ATFR special, Chris Harrison trotted out The Bachelorette Season 7’s Ashley Hebert and JP Rosenbaum to show everyone what a happy Bachelor/ette couple looks like. They shared how hard their own season was, when Ashley was ripped apart for her decisions. All was forgiven when the Team Cupcake love story played out, but she felt bad for Courtney for having to go through the aftermath of her season without Ben at her side. JP was her rock and someone called him her “best accessory.” JP also joked that Ashley was pregnant — prompting instantaneous congratulations around the Twitterverse — but she shot that down immediately. Still, they have picked out baby names! (Funny, because we think The Possessionista and “Bachelor After Party” host Dana Weiss has named her future babies with JP, too.)