‘The Bachelorette’ Finale Recap: Oh, Phuket
This week on The Bachelorette finale, before two men proposed to JoJo on a sweltering beach with varying degrees of success, Jordan and Robby got to meet JoJo’s family. I had hoped that JoJo’s family dynamic would provide insight into how she came to have such wildly idyllic views of love and marriage, and where the deep well of insecurity that’s reared its head in the past couple weeks comes from. It didn't, really.
JoJo’s reunited with her parents, brothers and (silent?) sister in a gorgeous Thailand rental. She tells her family that she thinks she’s fallen in love with both Robby and Jordan, but she hasn’t told either man yet. Then she admits Jordan “seems like the type of guy I would always go for,” but this time it’s different, because it seems like he could never hurt her! What is this based on? Is she psychic?
The Fletchers meet Jordan first; he comes bearing flowers and gifts…in the form of huge ugly hats. This is a boring dude's idea of whimsy. JoJo’s mom Sorayah finds Jordan a little too smooth, and pulls him aside.
“Give me your WORD that you will never break my daughter’s heart.” What happens if he does? Will Sorayah sue Jordan in Love Court? He promises. Still, Sorayah, who's facial expressions and comments suggest she lovingly regards JoJo as the beautiful fool she is, warns JoJo that Jordan's a showboat.
“Who doesn’t like Jordan?” Sorayah asks. Uh, me? He seems super shellacked and fake. But JoJo answers, “No one!”
“That’s the problem,” JoJo’s mom says. How is JoJo’s mom so much cooler than her?
Meanwhile, Jordan didn’t ask JoJo’s father for her blessing. But she thinks he did, and (despite her mother’s warnings) proclaims, “That went so good!”
When it’s Robby’s turn to meet the fam, he skips the gag gifts and brings only flowers and that zealot-like burning intensity in his eyes. They explain to her family that he was the first person to say he loved her, way back in Uruguay. As they say in the comments section: FIRST.
Later, JoJo tells her brothers that she loves how Robby is clearly so in love with her, while her time with Jordan is “so fun.”
“You’re not picking a New Year’s Eve date,” JoJo’s brother tells her, wisely. For all the flak her brothers took for shaking Bachelor Ben down previously, they're serving her advice she needed about five weeks ago. This lady has not discussed marriage in a realistic, non "fairy-tale love" way once all season.
Sorayah tells Robby that JoJo was “raised as a princess” (this prompted a Marge Simpson "mmmm" noise from me), and that he must make her the queen of his life. By the time Robby asks for JoJo’s hand, her father Joseph is moved to tears, and it’s clear who's nabbed the Fletcher family’s vote. They all but tell JoJo this when she asks; but since her eye is always on the least-good-for-her prize, all she wants to know about is whether Jordan asked for her hand in marriage or not.
When she learns that he didn’t, it’s her first waterworks of the night. “I don’t know if I can make this decision,” she agonizes, though she is the one who wants to be engaged to a warm body so badly, ABC producer pressures aside.
The next day on their beach date. JoJo asks Robby what he envisions for their future; the scene he weaves involves a “comfy sofa,” kids who are quiet and somewhere else, sauvignon blanc, and burnt meatloaf. JoJo has one question: When?
“Nine months, plus a few days,” he replies. “When do kids get voices?” Again, for me that’s a little too intense, but JoJo seems pleased.
“You have, like, a heart of gold,” she tells Robby when they’re bonding at the hotel later. She assures him that she has no doubts, and then they gaze at some photos the producers printed out of their special moments together. This is when I first start realizing, to quote the 1988 Winger classic, that Robby is "Headed for a Heartbreak."
Then Jordan and JoJo go on a kayaking date to bond before, as Jord-o says, he’s “maybe getting down on one knee.” MAYBE.
JoJo calls Jordan her “best friend” (hey, she said that about Robby too!), but admits she still has fears. JoJo presses him on why he didn’t ask Joseph for his blessing, and Jordan says the time just didn’t feel right. Jordan skirts the issue of whether he’s ready to propose; it seems shady and circuitous, but they may just both be looking for more reassurance.
Later, at the hotel, she presses him more, and he finds some new ways to say “I don’t know if I’m ready to be engaged yet” without actually saying it. So romantic. As mercenary and career-driven as Jordan’s reasons for being on this show have seemed to me, I don’t blame him here. They’ve known each other for barely months!
Robby meets with the jeweler to pick out a diamond ring for JoJo. “My heart is exploding with love,” he says. Huhboyohboyohboy.
Then Robby sits down to write JoJo SUCH a letter.
Meanwhile, before he goes to pick out his own rock for JoJo, Jordan calls JoJo’s parents on his iPhone to ask for their blessing. As redemptive moments go, it is underwhelming. If manufacturing storybook moments is the Bachelor/Bachelorette's bread and butter, a moment where Jordan stares off into the middle distance while talking on speakerphone isn't quite romcom material.
The big day has arrived: JoJo walks out in her gorgeous, bethrothal-ready gown to find that Jordan has ALSO written “Joelle” a letter, and it brings her to tears. When she reads Robby’s letter, she declares, “I think I’m having a panic attack.”
And now it’s time. We see JoJo pacing on the beach intercut with her still weeping into the camera all, “I don’t wanna hurt him.” Oh, girl.
Robby shuffles up and V.O.s that how this is how it's gonna go: He’s going to propose, she's going to say yes, and he’ll finally hear how she feels. It doesn't work out that way, of course; she picks Jordan, just as it seemed she would right from Episode 1's First Impression Rose moment. How dull!
And as much as I feel for Robby in this moment, his blind, athletic-champion's confidence here hits on something that's nagged me all season long about him, and Jordan, and JoJo. They've all been so desperate to win this thing from the get-go, and the two men even expected to. Robby spoke as if this game/JoJo was his to win since way back in Uruguay, when he made sure to be first to tell her he loved her (power move). By JoJo's admission, Jordan already fit the prototype of guys she "went for" who have historically treated her like garbage, so he already had that in his favor. Maybe he didn't hypnotize her with his spray tan and veneers and tall hair; maybe they are truly in bland-butter-sandwich love with each other. But both Robby and Jordan are former athletes, and their competitive nature seemed to drive them throughout the series in a way that overshadowed genuinely tender moments.
As for JoJo, her pressing urge to be engaged by the end of the season existed long before she got to know any of the 25 men, and she never wavered from that plan even as she waffled between several contestants. While she was Jordan and Robby's prize to win, the ring was her prize. And she won it. She and Jordan are likely perfect for each other.
Now who's going to be the next Bachelor?
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