Not sure about dramatic, but this is certainly the most bitchtastic Bachelorette season finale ever.
First Ashley Hebert is ticked because her tattooed older sister, Chrystie Corns, spends maybe two minutes with JP Rosenbaum before deciding he’s not right for her. Then JP gets upset at Chrystie for the same thing. Then Christie is mad at Ashley about being mad. Then Ben Flajnik gets in on the angry act when Ashley decides to blow off Chrystie’s advice and propose to JP anyway — but only after Ben get down on one knee. ‘Cause it’s not a real party until everyone is mad as hell!
The only person completely happy on the Season 7 finale is Neil Lane. Because no matter what, every season he gets a special trip to a really cool place and a chance to show off several of his beautiful rings. Way to be, Neil!
Anyway, congrats to Ashley and JP! We’re psyched for the Team Cupcake love story — even though our own Jealous Person is mad that JP is taken and can’t even be the next Bachelor. Dang it! Hey, at least we fit in with the angry theme.
Read on for a full recap of the two-hour Season 7 finale:
ASHLEY’S FAMILY ARRIVES
Ash says her family is really important to her. She’s closest to her mother but she trusts her sister Chrystie’s opinion the most. Ashley tells her family when she’s with JP, nothing else matters. She has this burning passion. (Maybe rub some of your Vaseline on it?) Ben is fun and goofy like her, but also successful and serious. She wants to know if she should go with what she’s feeling, even though she and the guy (JP) are very different, or should she pick the guy she is more compatible with (Ben) and hope that the feelings progress with time.
So it’s the classic passion vs. stability decision. Season 2 couple Meredith Phillips and Ian McKee all over again. Passion always wins.
JP ROSENBAUM MEETS THE FAMILY — AND GETS TRASHED BY ASHLEY’S SISTER
JP meets Ashley’s mom, stepdad, sister, and brother. Ashley stares at JP the whole time during the date and she seems into him, although it’s true she’s not in his lap acting like a shameless puppy the way she was with Brad Womack. But the difference is, she was campaigning and competing for Brad’s attention when, this time, JP is the one in the hot seat trying to impress her.
Ashley says she was proud to bring JP to her family. The family was open and not skeptical, she says. Her mom proposes a toast and says he’s welcome in the family. No drama so far.
Chrystie asks if JP is smitten with Ashley. He says he has been for a while. Chrystie asks Ashley if JP makes her laugh. She says she makes herself laugh and he’s a little more reserved.
Ashley to JP: “I think I’m funnier than you. I think you’re cuter than me.” True. They bring out different sides of each other. That’s a good thing.
Inside, Chrystie immediately says she doesn’t think JP is the one. Ashley feels like this is more serious now. Chrystie thinks the defining question is that JP doesn’t make her laugh. Now sis thinks Ashley is too much for JP. He’s older (34 to her 26) and more demure.
Point to ponder: How was Brad Womack, age 38, not too old and demure for Ashley?
Chrystie says she’s more rational than Ashley, who is more emotional. So where was this logic for Brad? Chrystie hasn’t even sat down to talk to JP yet, beyond the family time around the dinner table.
Ashley starts crying, which is all the sign she should need that this is the decision she wants to make, so she should just make it. The family is just a sounding board and the sound of her own crying is the answer.
After that, Ashley is still crying as she talks to her brother. Ashley said Chrystie shouldn’t base her judgment on how Ashley reacted next to JP, since “inside I’m kind of a wreck right now.” Now Ashley is giving the same “Chrystie said...” speech to her stepdad. Why ask for your sister’s opinion if you’re not going to accept it unless it matches your own?
Chrystie sits down with JP and says she usually trusts Ashley’s opinion, but her first reaction to Ashley + JP was “I’m not seeing it.” JP was not expecting that. They both agree it was surprising that Ashley didn’t say that JP made her laugh.
Chrystie asks what about Ashley makes him want to propose to her in a few days?
JP: “Every time I’m around Ashley I’m smiling ear to ear. … I want all of you to walk away from this knowing that I am 100 percent in love with her.”
Chrystie tells JP he is much older than Ashley. Why is he still single and what does he want with her much younger sister? She tells JP he is too timid for Ashley. Ashley is too much for him. He seems too set in his ways.
Where is she getting this? Has she been reading those tabloid stories quoting unnamed people?
Chrystie says she knows what Ashley is like when she’s being herself and completely happy and she expected to see more of that with JP. Chrystie tells JP she felt like she saw more of a connection when Ashley was with Brad.
JP: “So you’re saying if I proposed, you’re not happy about it?”
Bah! And she tells him she doesn’t think there’s anything he can do to turn it around. JP is ticked that she could make such a negative judgment about him after only 15 minutes.
Now JP is worried this is going to affect Ashley’s decision. Ashley is big on getting approval from others. She’s easily influenced, it seems. (Producer bait!) JP wishes Ashley had supported him more, saying “Don’t worry, this won’t affect us” or something.
Seriously. This has to be her call, not an engagement by committee.
Point to ponder: Is all of this just for show, so we support Team Cupcake even more and cheer for Ashley for making her own decision in the end?
Ashley sits down with her sister to rehash the JP thing. Chrystie doesn’t want to be convinced that JP is the one. Chrystie thinks “that gut feeling” can fade. She talks about the person who left and came back (Bentley?) and how she felt about him. Now they are fighting over how she felt about Brad.
Ashley feels alone now. She doesn’t feel like she has a sister. Chrystie doesn’t want to baby her little sister. She’s trying to protect her from herself. Chrystie does not seem to have a lot of respect for Ashley’s “journey” through “the process.” It’s true that someone should play devil’s advocate and ask the tough questions, especially if everyone else is just going with the flow.
Ugh. Now Mom and sister are talking about Bentley. “She’s been wrong before.” This is all set up.
BEN FLAJNIK MEETS THE FAMILY — AND THEY LOVE HIM
Ben is charming and makes everyone laugh. Ashley says he’s goofy and crazy, so why have we mostly seen the low-key Ben?
Chrystie is watching Ashley get zany, which is apparently her true self. Ashley and Ben start making cutesy animal noises. Actually Ben’s dog voice sounds like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings. So the “he makes you laugh” argument is being made. The family loves the dog and pony show, but that does not a long-lasting relationship make.
Chrystie talks to Ben. He says he’s taken everything into consideration. He didn’t want to do a lot of talking, he just wanted the family to see how natural things are. Chrystie says she sees Ashley being herself around Ben. She asks if Ashley is even the one for him. Ben said he is in love with Ashley, without a doubt. It’s like they’re best friends, but there’s so much more.
What does she do to let you know she’s in love with you? The sheer amount of joy and laughter, Ben said. It was so unforced. He’s ready to propose. They are around the same age and at the same point in their careers. They haven’t had to force anything. Aww!
Chrystie says they have a real upbeat positive energy as a couple, but she wonders if they can maintain that. She is divorced herself and she doesn’t want that for Ashley.
Chrystie also thinks Ben is tall, dark, and handsome. What she sees in Ben and Ashley is a shared passion. She thinks Ashley would have anything but a dull life with Ben.
Ben was accepted into the family and that’s how he knows this is right. He thinks the next time he sees the family, he will be engaged to Ashley. Famous last words!
ASHLEY’S FINAL DATE WITH BEN — IN A MUD BATH!
Ben looks as colorful and goofy as they keep insisting he is. The shorts. The little hat. They take a helicopter ride over Fiji, checking out waterfalls and islands.
With Ben, Ashley could never see herself having a bad moment. He’s the perfect guy for her.
Then they strip and head into a mud bath. It’s very Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi before he proposed to her on The Bachelor Season 14. Ashley wants to rub the mud all over his body 10 times. She also wants to go *lower* under the water.
Enjoying the show so far, JP?
Ben plans to tell her he loves her that night. He means it. This is the best feeling he’s had about a woman — ever. They toast that night and there’s silence as Ben tries to prepare his big statement. He got permission from Ashley’s family to propose.
This is so cute.
Ben: “There have been multiple moments where I have wanted to tell you that I am in love with you.”
He never expected this in a million years. They kiss. “I feel that love with Ben. I feel completely free when I’m with him. I’d be very, very lucky to be kissing him the rest of my life.”
After he said he loved her, their kisses got more passionate. Ben says, “Her walls are down. My walls are down. It's just two kids in love.” Swoon! “I'm content. I feel like I have met my match. And I could kiss this girl for the rest of my life.” Double swoon!
Constantine Tzortzis, are you feeling jealous yet? Your boy is in love with someone else.
ASHLEY’S FINAL DATE WITH JP — WITH A SCRAPBOOK!
JP wears a bright yellow T-shirt worthy of Mr. Sunshine. JP hates to be apart from Ashley, he says.
Chrystie’s opinion didn’t change Ashley’s mind about JP, but she wants to make sure she can see a real life with JP, beyond the attraction and passion. Is she just thinking of this now?
JP is still mad at Chrystie. He wants support. “Your sister really screwed me up.” With all due respect, he says (and you know a burn is to follow), Chrystie is wrong. She’s wrong to judge them after only 15 minutes.
So they are talking about their relationship. Ashley wants to be in a dynamic relationship, one where they keep learning and loving. That’s what we have, JP says. “I think we're a perfect, perfect fit.”
He doesn’t want her to move to New York City and enter some monotonous relationship. He wants a relationship with fire and passion. “I want us to start a new life together.” That’s what she wanted, someone to start a new life with, not have to fit into someone else’s existing life — a la Brad.
Ashley’s stepfather gave JP a piece of advice — don’t leave anything on the table. If you feel something, tell her how you feel.
JP: “I told your family I am madly in love with you. And I have been and I’ve been dying to tell you.”
He feels completely vulnerable and exposed. Ashley feels really good about how things stand now. Chrystie questioning things just gave her the courage to ask the questions of JP herself.
That night, they toast again. He kisses her on the cheek. He gives her a gift, a little scrapbook (Scrapbook Kirk, we miss you!), with a note to Ashley. It’s so cute. If they end up with each other, they’ll fill out the rest of the book.
As Ashley walks away, her voice-over says she knows she has to break up with one guy and he’s not going to see it coming. That breaks her heart.
NEIL LANE IS THE REAL WINNER OF EVERY SEASON
The guys pick out their rings, which is always fun because they NEVER have any idea what they are looking at or what they should be looking for.
Neil asks about the process and Ben says he and Ashley were friends first and foremost. “Having certainty about a relationship is everything,” Neil says and he really sounds like he cares. Watch your back, Rosemaster!
Before picking out his ring, JP stands at his hotel balcony and he looks like he’s ready to pull a Mesnick. Neil gets tough with JP too, asking what happens if Ashley says no. JP pauses. “Heartbreak,” he eventually says. “Okay,” Neil replies, as if it was just a passing thought, who cares.
Both men feel confident that Ashley will accept their proposals. Uh-oh.
BEN GETS DUMPED... THEN GETS MAD!
It’s usually bad when you are the first one to a final rose ceremony, whether you arrive by limo, helicopter, boat, or — in this case — sea plane.
It’s a beautiful, but windy day for the big proposal(s). Ashley’s dress is gorgeous.
Ben is the first guy on the beach, which means he’s about to get his heart stepped on and crushed into the ground. We hear his voice-over saying this is the day he’s going to propose and Ashley is going to say yes. He’s never even come close to proposing before. “When you know you know,” he says.
And, as he approaches Ashley, we hear about how he’s thinking about his dad, who passed away four-and-a-half years ago. He thinks he’s adding a new person into the family. This is painful.
Ben says Ashley looks beautiful but she doesn’t have a ring on her finger. He’s totally confident in the two of them. He makes a speech about how every second they spend together he falls more in love. She tries to stop him, but he keeps going.
He’s down on one knee. At this point she should stop him, but she doesn’t.
Ben: “Will you marry me and make me the happiest man on Earth?”
Pause. She grabs his hands and helps him up.
Ashley: “I’m sorry.”
Ben: “Wow. I didn’t see this one coming.”
She says this isn’t easy. He knows it isn’t easy. He shrugs and walks off. Wow. No goodbye. No nothing? She runs after him. She’s always the one chasing the boys on this show. He feels like he opened up and did everything. She talks about how great he is.
Ben: “What I don’t need you to do is sugar-coat it.... You can’t leave something like this on good terms.... Good things don’t end unless they end badly.”
He sounds bitter. So pissed. Wow. This is the most emotion we’ve seen from Ben. What is it Avril Lavigne said? So much for my happy ending.
He talks about how vulnerable and open he was, but that doesn’t matter if she feels more strongly for someone else.
Ben: “JP is a safer bet than me. I think Ashley went safe today.” Really? That’s the opposite of Chrystie’s take on it.
Ashley gave him no hints. If he wasn’t sure about them as a couple, he wouldn’t have proposed. He thought he was in love, but now he’s not sure about that either.
Ashley feels awful. She hates that she just did that. So much for her happy ending, too.
Ashley is so in love with JP and she just hopes he feels the same way. She sees him as the best husband and father. He’s everything she wants. JP wanted her to take a leap of faith with him, and that’s what she’s doing.
She’s worried because he could break her heart and not propose. Not likely!
It’s sunset when he gets there. That’s how you know you’re the F1 — when it’s late enough in the day that the sun is going down. They kiss right away.
JP recalls being afraid and skeptical as he got out of the limo on the first night.
JP: “The hardest thing out of all this has been not knowing. I’m an open book. All my cards are on the table. I’ve told you how I feel and what I want. But I know that I told you my greatest fear is falling in love with you and having my heart broken again. I’m still afraid. I don’t think about all this. I don’t think about now. I think about forever. And it’s hard to know. But I also know that in order for me to overcome that fear I have to take a leap of faith. And that’s exactly what this is. This is my leap of faith. All the time that we’ve spent together, it’s been the happiest time of my life. And you always say to me ‘You’re smiling all the time, you’re gonna have wrinkles when you’re older.’ Well, I smile because of you. You bring that out. What I do know for absolute certainty that I am absolutely in love with you. I love everything about you.”
Ashley: “Today is the reason why I went through all the good times and the bad times and I’ve been wanting to tell you how much I loved you for so long. You mean the world to me and I do not want to be with anyone else but you forever.”
JP: “I’m so in love with you. You’re the one. You’re it.”
He gets down on one knee.
JP: “Ashley, will you marry me?”
And, of course, REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling” starts playing, ‘cause that’s their song from the hometown dates. Swoon!
Oh, but we’re not done. Ashley has to hand out the final rose and JP accepts. Brad and Emily neglected to do that last season, didn’t they. That cursed them!
Ashley: “I love you so much baby.”
“Baby”? What about “Cupcake”? Someone has to call someone else “Cupcake” or that whole premiere night speech was for nothing! Long live Team Cupcake!
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