Previously on the Bachelorette: The Men Told All by lying on the floor in a formation that spelled out "I-N-A-N-E." Chris Harrison promised AN EMOTIONAL CONCLUSION.
"I'm so excited to be staying here at the Verandah Resort in Antigua," Desiree announces, and I begin to weep gently, because I thought this week's episode was the final one. Well, it isn't.
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For viewers just tuning in, our protagonist recounts the trials, tribulations, and wacky hijinks of the season (set to the usual score from 7th Heaven) before launching into little profiles of the three final contestants. This 15 minute segment is an adequate substitute for the 18 hours of programming that preceded it.
Brass tacks: Chris is "romantic," "masculine" (but "has this boyish charm"), and "everything [she's] looking for in a husband." Drew is "passionate," "humble," "sincere," and would make a "great father." Brooks is "goofy." But she's really into goofy. Enamored.
Drew arrives in Antigua first. They hop in a red Wrangler ("So you're driving." "Sweet." "Yeah.") for an island jaunt to "explore."
So Hernando Cortez and Magellan tool around in the jeep—pausing to mack in the middle of the road—until they happen to stumble upon a party that I'm sure was in no way orchestrated by the show's production team.
"There's a party," Drew says. "All of the locals come and celebrate and just hang out."
"I’m ready to get my dance on," Dez notes. Then she does this:
The resolution of the above image is not the best, I know, but the woman holding that limbo stick looked like she was seriously considering dropping it on Dez.
Anyway, they head back to the resort after buying some knick knacks. Desiree puts on those pants, which are perfect for the circumstances: A. It's raining. B. She (seems to) really want to bang Drew. ("He looks great. His abs, his eyes, his face, his body.")
She ignores the rain—"It’s not about the dinner or where the dinner is, it’s really about the conversation," sure it is—and books it indoors to the Fantasy Suite.
The Fantasy Suite is in a Courtyard Marriott, as it turns out.
Well, technically, it's not the Fantasy Suite yet. It's merely a fantasy suite (the fantasy of beach rental furniture). It becomes the Fantasy Suite when Dez gives Drew the handwritten decree from Chris Harrison that it is in fact the Fantasy Suite. I don't know why Chris Harrison needs to bless the hookup.
Drew is excited because he can "wish her a good morning."
"Because I haven’t had a good morning yet. I’ve only had good nights," he continues. The first time I heard this, I understood it like, "Because I haven't had a [positive] morning [ever]. I've only had good [one-night stands]."
Cameras awkwardly film them getting into it on that bed for a minute, and then Drew tells everybody to get the hell out. He, it should be noted, is ready to propose to Desiree. He's employed, handsome, and has a nice family.
On deck, Chris.
Despite Chris's fear of heights, the couple hops in a helicopter and goes to the beach for a picnic. Seems like they wouldn't need a chopper for that, but hey.
They goof around on the beach.
Meanwhile, in Idaho:
Brooks visits his mother (who endures this show with quiet dignity) and his sister. He's having doubts. They advise him (RIGHTLY) to not get engaged if he isn't sure about the outcome of marrying someone he met on a televised game show that took place over nine weeks.
Back in Antigua:
"Let's talk future," Chris says as the soundtrack from Beverly Hills Cop picks up ominously.
"I found a job that I really like," he says. "How would you feel about Seattle?"
At any mention of Seattle, my first thought is David Hyde Pierce telling Meg Ryan, "It rains nine months of the year in Seattle." Based on her reaction, I think it's fair to assume that that was Dez's first thought as well.
He clarifies that he would be willing to reciprocate on this count, as Dez panics and starts tossing out all kinds of platitudes about love's transmutable qualities.
"I’d be open to moving to Seattle," she says finally, at two pitches higher than normal. "Definitely!"
Chris is elated.
They retire to the Fantasy Suite where he offers to watch the stars with her and reads her a poem (smash cut to them making out in the hot tub). Again, it should be noted, Chris is employed, handsome, and says Dez makes him feel "vibrant" and that he will take care of her in good times and bad.
And now for the main event.
We see Desiree suiting up for her date with Brooks. Weirdly, that involves her putting on shorts. (As Tara Ariano noted earlier today, "If not for the VERY non-gratuitous b-roll of Desiree putting on shorts, I might have thought she was born in them!")
We see Brooks milling around the house, then opening the door to reveal: Chris Harrison, who I guess has been in Antigua all week. This conversation is almost as long as the Siege of Leningrad, and all of it can be summed up in this one exchange at the beginning:
CHRIS HARRISON: "Are you telling me you’re not sure, or you’re not in love with this girl?"
BROOKS: "Hmm…I don’t know."
Brooks, acting in what seems to be good faith as a person who possibly values Desiree's feelings and the institution of marriage, wants to withdraw from the contest. Inconveniently, Desiree is in love with Brooks.
At one point, I kid you not, Chris Harrison poses this kind of a binary to Brooks: I don't want you to commit to something you don't want, but I also don't want to see her heartbroken. Well, Chris, I think she might take that kind of poorly in the future!
Then Chris Harrison actually asks this question to the person who helped come up with the stepping-skipping-running-finish-line love-food pyramid: "What is that feeling? Explain that to me. What does it feel like when you’re in love?"
Still, it's kind of fun to read "What is that feeling? Explain that to me. What does it feel like when you’re in love?" like Chris Harrison is the robot child in A.I..
Kind of (sincerely) crushingly, just after all this is going on, we cut to Desiree. "I'm so excited to see Brooks," she beams.
Brooks and Desiree break up in excruciating detail. On a dock. It's like kicking a puppy. It's terrible.
As soon as they sit down, you can tell she knows. (As a production aside: She must have known a little, though, because a cameraman is already on the dock filming them as they walk up.)
We finally see an entire, actual conversation on the Bachelorette. It only took 20 hours of programming, but it was bound to happen eventually.
Not that there are really pareto improvement ways to handle these things, but Brooks doesn't handle this all that well. She wants to get the hell out of there, and he won't get to the point, prefacing and peppering his remarks with apologies and praise. "I love that about you," Brooks says at one point about some quality (like, come on, not helping).
To her credit, Desiree comes off well. He apologizes; she thanks him.
When we come back from the first break, she drops an f-bomb and leans into the thing where you're so angry you're saying stuff that's not even true.
"For the first time in my life, I was hopeful," she notes, possibly just sort of…spitballing there.
And there she remains: "What sucks is there’s nothing I could say—" "—No—" "—that could help you."
Eventually, after 100 years of apologies from Brooks ("Sorry. I'll shut up. Not helping."), they amble off the dock, and Brooks suggests it might have been different if she hadn't seemed so, well, conflicted about things.
She reveals her conflicted soul was really conflicted because she wanted him. I will note here that she seems to have had pretty good times with Chris and Drew, in a manner that suggested no deep inner turmoil.
But now is no time for analysis of Desiree's heart. Now is the time for the greatest hug in the history of the human embrace:
Next week on the Bachelorette: Dez picks a consolation prize!