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'The Bachelor' finale recap: Arie tries — and fails — to redeem himself; Becca named next Bachelorette

For The Baltimore Sun

I’m about ready for “The Bachelor” to be over so I can make room for all the other things in my life I’ve been neglecting — the new “Queer Eye,” namely. But because Arie did a takesies backsies on his proposal to Becca K., we have to sit through yet another two-hour episode of his season.

Becca K. takes the couch again, and we find out that she and Arie were only together for a month and a half after filming before Arie gave Lauren B. a call. This small bit of information feels like gold in the context of a show that avoids references to time like they're the plague. Like we wouldn’t find out on social media, anyway.

And actually, to be specific, the production company couldn’t give Lauren B.’s number to Arie, so he actually had to *slide into her Insta DMs.* Soo classay. This was over New Year’s Eve. Maybe he was feeling lonely with Becca K. back in Minnesota on this couples’ holiday?

Arie had told Becca K. he’d been struggling with his breakup to Lauren B., but not that he was considering going back to her. During their phone call, Lauren B. gave Arie the confirmation that she’d take him back if he broke things off with Becca K.

Last episode, we saw the Arie/Becca K. breakup footage unedited, shown in a split-screen with two cameras. There was quite a backlash on social media, about filming the breakup. And during this episode, Chris Harrison can’t stop talking about it. He asks every single contestant he talks to if they think the show went too far — which would be cool if it didn’t look so defensive.

Chris Harrison brings Arie up to talk with Becca K., but it’s more of the same things we heard during the breakup. He said he felt pressured to propose before he was ready, because of the show timeline. Whatever, Arie. You knew what you were getting into. You literally signed a contract saying so.

We hear from Jason Mesnick and Molly Mesnick (previously Malaney) in ABC’s attempt to normalize Arie’s behavior. “Heyyy, remember us!? We did the exact same thing on Jason’s season in 2009, and everyone’s cool with us now!” Fair, but #BachelorNation has grown up since then. We’ve learned from our mistakes. Can’t say the same for Arie.

The real drama happens when Arie and Lauren B. take the hot seat. Chris Harrison already spilled the beans in the first three seconds of the show, so we knew there was going to be a proposal. But I was thinking it might be Raven and Adam, who met on the past season of “Bachelor in Paradise.” Wishful thinking.

Chris Harrison tells Lauren B. “I can’t imagine what’s going through your head right now.” Lauren B.’s response? “Me neither.” I can’t make this up.

We find out that Lauren B. is moving to Arizona to be with Arie, and it’s so not surprising. At the end of their convo, Chris Harrison opens up the floor to Arie and asks if he wants to say anything. Arie gets down on one knee and proposes to Lauren B. The production assistants must have been working overtime to get the audience to applaud. This is so uncomfortable.

ABC quickly redeems itself by declaring Becca K. the next Bachelorette. And honestly, she (we) deserve this. It’s clear the audience and America love her. She’s been getting so much support on social media since Monday night’s episode — and all season, really. I’m hoping she might be the next Kaitlyn Bristowe. Don’t let me down, ABC.

In a Rachel Lindsay copycat move, they start Becca K.’s season now, complete with mansion imagery. Becca K. meets three men, some of them cute, some of them forgettable, thus continuing the vicious, sometimes boring, cycle that is “The Bachelor” franchise.

See you next season!

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