‘The Bachelor’ Finale Recap: What Happened Before and After Ben Proposed?

The Bachelor Season 20 finale
Courtesy of ABC

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead, if you have not watched the Season 20 finale of “The Bachelor.” The following post reveals the winner chosen by Ben Higgins.

About three quarters into the two-hour “Bachelor” finale (not counting the hour-long after show), Ben says that he is just confused as he has ever been about which of the two remaining women he will propose to. In this moment, we become painfully aware that ABC programmed ninety minutes of television intended solely for the audience to fill and refill its collective wine glass. Indeed, a “Bachelor” finale is not a plot-dense event. That being said, no pay-off comes without proper build-up, and Chris Harrison, of all people, knows how to set a stage.

We start live in the company of an in-studio audience: jeweler-to-the-stars Neil Lane is there, Ben’s pastor is backstage and the families of both finalists are in the house. Harrison even teases that Ben might get married on live television that very night.

Next, we cut back to the taped portion of the show in Jamaica, where the two remaining ladies, Lauren and JoJo, talk to Ben’s parents. For the start, Lauren gets the underdog edit — Ben’s mom seems unenthusiastic (“she’s a sweet gal”) — compared to JoJo. But in the end, of course, his parents approve of both.

Then, Ben spends one last date with each of the two women. Ben and Lauren spend their date on a boat, and Ben and JoJo go swimming in another watering hole with waterfalls (which could possibly be the same one from Fantasy Suite week just dyed a different shade of blue, and shot from different angles).

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Finally, sick of the blathering and non-sequiturs, JoJo gets restless. While off camera, Ben admits that he also said “I love you” back to Lauren. JoJo is confused and concerned (and deservedly so). Throughout the episode she gets a sympathetic edit — one that sets her up perfectly to be the next Bachelorette.

At long last, Ben is ready to make his decision. JoJo exits the helicopter in a sparkly pink gown to profess her love. “I am never going to run from this — no matter how hard it gets,” she tells him. Ben admits that he has feelings for her. He loves her. He really does. But he loves Lauren more. “I wish I could explain it to you and make it make sense, but I don’t think I can,” he stammers, satisfying virtually no one. “I don’t deserve JoJo,” he tells the camera.

But he gets what he deserves in Lauren, who is now the owner of a gorgeous Neil Lane ring (and Ben’s heart). Though Lauren’s capacity for expressing emotion rarely breaks from monotone, she accepts Ben’s proposal, so let’s just assume that she’s happy. “You’re my person.” they repeat to one another, as every single sweatpant-clad human in America swallows one last bite of ice cream from their sofa, staring at their television longly through an empty glass of wine.

Despite rumors that third-place finisher Caila Quinn would be the next Bachelorette, during the “After the Final Rose” after show, Harrison announces that it’s actually JoJo (and that the new season starts May 23). It’s the right choice considering her sympathetic edit, and general likability on camera. Besides, even if nothing interesting actually happens, the producers never fail to manufacture enough drama to make a killer sizzle reel, which is honestly the best part of any season anyway.

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Finally, in typical Bachelor fashion of having no obligation to follow through on a tease, Ben and Lauren didn’t get married on the show after all. Ben’s pastor will have to save his blessing for another time. But Lauren is moving to Denver where they will hopefully live happily ever after looking at one another’s pretty faces, and making average conversation. Until May!

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  1. Sheliah says:

    I think Ben made a mistake he will never marry that girl when he finds out she’s an acloholic

  2. S says:

    Our group is definitely team Jojo, giving up on Ben ,and his fickle self who never gets taken to task for his behavior because everyone drank the Bachelor Nation or Ben Juice and he can do no wrong, and Lauren who has been infatuated with him ,#Mrs Higgins from before they met. Lauren is very much and I person while Jojo is more selfless, doesn’t participate in back biting snarky behavior, is funny, intelligent and great for Ben but he is enthralled w LB and should never have involved anyone else at this level. Selfish. He blindsided everyone else, shed a few tears but is not believable. No one makes that momentous a decision of loving two and deciding to sacrifice one for the other in a few days. No one would go to the final rose proposal if they knew there was no future or your true love, loved someone else unless there is hidden information or the show saves face with this disastrous treatment of this girl by making her the Bachelorette. You don’t dispose of people or make harsh comparisons (love other MORE) and not protect them by taking this off camera and off the show but that is just not dramatic enough. No matter what they signed up for or agree to, this is a bad portrayal of how women should be treated. Other bachelors have had more integrity. We make a hero out of him and his platform is on the backs of others. If he was totally honest, he would have told Lauren B everything before the ceremony but he has everything to lose at this point if she leaves and nothing to lose by telling Jojo since he knew they had no future. It made me feel sick.

  3. Ann Richards says:

    I thought Lauren looked physically ill when the suggestion of getting married right then and there was mentioned.Understandable, yet telling, perhaps? Did anyone else notice her sick expression?

  4. Sanaye says:

    Caila was what my family was expecting to be the next bachelorette. That was disappointing!

  5. Mike McKenna says:

    scratchy fried vocal (Lauren’s regular voice) often indicate the waters ain’t too deep…when the physical part wanes, and he is overly exhausted with her maintenance…trouble a comin’

  6. Lindsay says:

    Looked like Ben was a lot more interested in JoJo when he heard she would be the next bachelorette. Ya always want what you cant have. What a Loser Ben!! Go JoJo!!!!

  7. Linsday says:

    Ben- You FLAKED! You told us you loved Lauren (and Jojo) so much you’d marry her today. You backed out!! You lied. You broke your word. Wonder if your long-term commitment to marriage is also a lie. Keep an eye on Ben girls cause he’s not true to his word.

  8. Sammy says:

    kinda a mistake, you should always marry your best friend!

  9. “where they will hopefully live happily ever after looking at one another’s pretty faces, and making average conversation” lol

  10. Mary says:

    I think Ben regrets picking Lauren. He didn’t look happy during their interview and he definitely didn’t want to get married right then and there!

  11. Maggs says:

    Ok..a bit off topic, but why was Ricky Schroder in the audience at After the Final Rose

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