[Warning: Spoilers ahead.]
The finale of the current season of The Bachelorette featured, as all such finales of the reality dating show will, drama. So much drama. The drama in question came from a villain—but it wasn’t, as per Bachelorette tradition, romantic confusion, or a jilted lover. It wasn’t even this season’s resident menace, the meat-eating Chad (though Chad was indeed on-hand on Monday night, sitting in the audience during the live, studio-filmed portion of the show, an ominous-looking security guard placed behind him). No, the villain of The Bachelorette’s season finale was … the show’s audience. It was me, I guess. It was also, quite possibly, you.
That was a jarring reveal, one that you wouldn’t have guessed watching the first part of Monday’s finale. Because the first half of the two-part show offered the extremely typical stuff of a Bachelorette “dramatic conclusion”: JoJo’s two final suitors, Jordan and Robbie, meeting her family; JoJo’s final dates with each of them, set on the beaches of Phuket, Thailand; JoJo’s inner turmoil (“how do I choose?!!,” “I just don’t know!,” “I didn’t think it would be this haaaaaaard!”); the men’s selecting of enormous engagement rings, under the tutelage of Neil Lane; the men’s many, many discussions of “getting down on a knee”; and, finally, two proposals, one ending in heartbreak, the other in giddy professions of love. There was everything you’d expect from a Bachelorette finale, in short, down to the tropical-urn-laden Engagement Stage that the show’s producers had built on an isolated beach to serve as a backdrop for the men’s proposals. There were so many urns.