SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead, if you have not watched the first part of “The Bachelorette” Season 19 finale, which aired on Sept. 13 on ABC.
In an episode so dramatic that ABC had to unexpectedly extend its two-hour runtime, “The Bachelorette” began the conclusion of Season 19, airing the first part of its live finale on Tuesday evening.
Leading ladies, Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey, have both dwindled down their suitors to one man each. But will next week’s big finale see an engagement for either woman?
Both women face similar situations with men who say they love them, but aren’t quite ready to propose. The contestants say they want to spend the rest of their lives with Recchia and Windey, respectively, but hope to experience a more realistic relationship timeline, rather than tying the knot on TV after just a handful of weeks.
Unfortunately, it appears both women are giving the men an ultimatum: propose or we’re done.
Host Jesse Palmer kicked things off for the first part of the Season 19 finale in a live sit-down with the two leads, infused with studio interviews and scenes back from Mexico with the ladies’ last remaining men. (Rachel started off the episode with three suitors — Tino, Aven and Zach — and Gabby only had Erich left.)
Here’s what happened on “The Bachelorette” Finale Part 1.
Did Zach Just Get His ‘Bachelor’ Edit?
Zach didn’t last long. After Rachel and Zach’s confusing fantasy suite date, Bachelor Nation was met with an overly dramatic tease from Palmer on last week’s episode that promised the most dramatic finale in “Bachelorette” history. So what happened? Well, we’re still not entirely sure.
Five minutes into Tuesday night’s episode, Zach departed after confronting Rachel. Speaking of the strange vibe in the fantasy suite, he said, “To be honest, I thought what I was seeing wasn’t the real Rachel. I felt like I was seeing ‘Bachelorette’ Rachel — not the real Rachel that I’d come to know and love.”
Rachel took offense to Zach questioning her character, but Zach seems to have gotten a prime “Bachelor” edit, causing social media to begin their theories that the heartbroken Zach will be the newest leading man of ABC’s next male-fronted season.
Back in the studio, Zach was welcomed to sit next to Rachel. (Again, another possible hint that he might be the next “Bachelor,” with ABC giving him ample screen time.) Zach apologized to Rachel and she apologized to him. A moment of closure that fully cleared the air.
Aven’s Deal-Breaker With Rachel
A near-perfect meet-the-parents with Rachel’s family went horribly wrong when Aven told Rachel’s best friends that he’s not quite ready for an engagement. He says there’s no doubt in his mind that he wants to spend his life with Rachel, but proposing seems a bit quick.
“Engagement is no joke. Marriage is no joke,” Aven tells Rachel’s friends, in an effort to show how serious he is — to which one of Rachel’s friends responds, “Ultimately, it is a red flag. It’s not her intention to come home with a boyfriend. I do think even not wanting to be engaged at the end of this process will be a deal breaker.”
Another deal-breaker? Aven apparently hadn’t informed Rachel of this. Needless to say, Rachel is stunned, saddened and bursts into tears. She says there is “no way” she’s not ending the show not engaged.
“It’s not about not being ready. And I want you to know that nothing has changed in terms of how I feel about you,” Aven tells Rachel. “I’m falling in love with you. And I see a life with you after this… I just want to be with you.”
Rachel and Aven have a heated conversation and Rachel decides that she can’t move forward with Aven because she’s so “blindsided.” Through tears, she tells the cameras that everyone is lying to her and she’s incredibly confused.
Later in the episode, Rachel introduces her family to Tino and things go swimmingly. Then, she sees Aven again and he might as well be a dead man walking. Aven is deeply apologetic and passionate about professing his deep feelings for Rachel, explaining that although he might not be ready for a engagement at the moment, he is in love with her. Rachel says she’s done and calls off the relationship.
“I have no idea where I’m going from here because I didn’t think I was going to be leaving here without Rachel. I saw a life with her,” a heartbroken Aven says. “And I will always think that if I did something different, things would have been different with us forever.”
Fast-forward to current times and Rachel and Aven sit down with each other in the studio. It’s the first time they’ve spoken since Mexico. Things are amicable enough. Aven is polite and apologetic, and Rachel wishes him happiness in his future.
Gabby Visits Grandma John — and twitter Wants Him to Be the Senior Bachelor
Gabby’s family visit means a stop to her Grandpa John, who stole the hearts of Bachelor Nation long ago. Gabby’s grandpa wholeheartedly approves of Erich, who is Gabby’s only remaining suitor in this episode. As Gabby speaks to her family, she breaks out in tears, overwhelmed with emotion when discussing her love for Erich.
P.S.: Remember that senior citizens spinoff that’s perpetually in development? twitter is calling for Grandpa John to be cast as the star.
Tino Makes a Positive Impression on Rachel’s Family
With Rachel deciding she can’t move forward with Aven, it’s time for her bring her frontrunner, Tino, to meet her family.
“In the most genuine way I can put it, your daughter does mean the World to me,” Tino tells Rachel’s dad. “I’m going to make your daughter happy forever.”
Rachel’s infamously tough dad — remember Clayton’s season? — gives Tino the stamp of approval. “I do like you,” he tells Tino.
Rachel leaves her family totally smitten over Tino.
But before you assume that Rachel and Tino ride off into the sunset together, the promo for next week’s finale shows some major trouble in paradise for Rachel and Tino.
Does Erich Have Cold Feet?
In what seems like deja vu from earlier in the episode, Erich is also not quite ready for an engagement — just like Aven. And so, Gabby runs into the same issue as Rachel, left with the one man who she loves, but not certain if he’s going to propose.
Erich says he wants to spend his life with Gabby, but wants to ease into things, in a more realistic manner than a dating show.
“In the real world, I want to date you,” he tells Gabby. “Getting engaged before that happens is usually not how things go.”
Just like Rachel, Gabby makes it clear that she’s not looking for a boyfriend. She wants a fiancé.
Gabby begins to cry. “I don’t want to force him into his decision,” she says. “This is actually crazy,” she says through tears to producers. “I want to be with Erich forever — so I want him to propose.”
“What am I supposed to do?” she hysterically says to producers. “Walk away because he’s not ready to propose?
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Originally published at variety.com