The ‘Bachelor’ Finale Had a Historic, Shocking Twist

(Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Bachelor’s Season 28 finale.)I’ll cut right to the chase: When I saw Kelsey “A” Anderson and Daisy Kent riding in the van together to meet Joey Graziadei for beachside proposal time, I let out the first audible scream The Bachelor has wrung out of me in years. Throughout

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(Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Bachelor’s Season 28 finale.)

I’ll cut right to the chase: When I saw Kelsey “A” Anderson and Daisy Kent riding in the van together to meet Joey Graziadei for beachside proposal time, I let out the first audible scream The Bachelor has wrung out of me in years.

Throughout this season, our host Jesse Palmer has given us the usual promises: This is an unprecedented ending, the most dramatic ending of any Bachelor season ever!!!

We heard plenty more such vows about the “most heart-wrenching ending ever” on Monday night, when ABC finally aired “the most-anticipated live finale in Bachelor history.” Call me cynical, but after many, many years of fake-outs, I simply did not believe it. Then, Daisy went rogue and knocked on Kelsey’s door, setting off a chain of events that would leave me blubbering on my couch, screaming incomprehensible exclamations of excitement to my confused boyfriend and dogs, and frantically texting my Bachelor buddy. Now more than ever, I just feel like, women!!!

We kicked things off with Joey journaling in the sun near a window, and things only got more sentimental (and carefully produced) from there. First, Daisy and Kelsey met his family—his mother, Cathy, his father, Nick, his sisters Carly and Ellie, and his brother in law, Zach—and predictably, everyone got along splendidly. Carly and Ellie noted that Kelsey seemed a little more hesitant than Daisy when asked if she was ready to marry Joey, but seasoned viewers know better than to worry based on something that small. Daisy, meanwhile, had already begun to realize that she was not Joey’s final pick.

You can’t always tell who will win The Bachelor based on final dates, but I will say this: Producers did Daisy no favors with her and Joey’s last outing. While Kelsey got a chill spa day at the resort with Joey, a massage table, and some sheet masks, Daisy got a cleansing ceremony where they sat in a sweat lodge and barely got to speak. In any other context, this would be a very cool date, but here, Daisy clearly felt tortured by all the things she wanted to say. When she made a wish that she and Joey would keep growing together and he wished for them both to find happiness, whether with each other or not, the writing was pretty much on the wall.

“I feel like something’s a little off,” Daisy told producers. “He’s not talking about that potential future with us, and I feel like he’s being measured and careful, honestly.”

We’ve seen anxiety like this before. What we have not seen, however, is a response like Daisy’s.

A photo including the Bachelor

ABC

Rather than sulk on her own, or leave the show early, or issue a last-minute plea to Joey, Daisy knocked on Kelsey’s door. Before they headed to the beach for their final meeting with Joey—where he would break things off with one of them and propose to another—Daisy asked Kelsey how her last few days with Joey had gone and shared her honest belief that he wasn’t going to pick her. That alone made me gasp, but I genuinely was not prepared to see them in the van together, holding hands on their way to see Joey.

Usually, Bachelor contestants ride to the proposal site slash dumping ground one by one, in separate vans. For a second, I wondered if both women would meet Joey at the pedestal together, but Daisy approached first.

Joey has been the best Bachelor in recent history (if not of all time) and so it’s no surprise that his parting words to Daisy were beautiful and heartfelt. It was all almost romantic enough to make you think he wasn’t about to end things, but Daisy knew better.

“I do love you,” she said. “But the thing is, you’re not going to choose me. The last couple of days, I realized that you’re not my person. And I know that you know that. And as much as that hurts, I know you said you want the best for me. So I’m going to do what’s best for me and I’m gonna go.”

There was not a hint of resentment or bitterness in Daisy’s voice. She accepted all of Joey’s gracious words about her worth and his wishes for her at face value, even as the pain on her face was visible. Still, when he offered to walk her back to the van, she held her head high. “You know,” she said, “I think maybe that’s something I should do on my own.” He said he’d miss her, and as she reciprocated, you could tell they both meant it.

And then, as if that wasn’t enough to empty a tissue box, Daisy walked straight up to Kelsey, who was still waiting in the wings, and gave her a hug. Invoking Kelsey’s late mother, Daisy said, “I know your mom’s gonna be looking down on this moment, and she’s gonna be so happy and so proud.”

Although the firebrand Maria Georgas has been a fan favorite to become our Bachelorette ever since she went home a few weeks ago, Daisy’s break-up van speech was also an excellent showing. “It was really hard, because I do have so much love for him,” she said of her break-up with Joey. “But I know it’s right that it’s not me…. Now, I can leave with my head held high because I gave it my all. I’m proud of myself. If I can love the wrong person that much, imagine how much I can love the right person.”

As obvious as it was that Joey would choose Kelsey, this show’s editors are tricky until the end. As Kelsey walked down the path to meet Joey, the happy music kept straying into an ominously minor key. Still, from the moment he began talking, her face when Joey finally told her he loved her was all the reassurance we needed.

“There is something about you,” Joey said. “You have this infectious energy that makes me smile. It’s a feeling I’ve never had before. … I’ve known for a while that I wanted to have a beautiful life, but I truly didn’t know how beautiful that life could be until I met you.”

Then, out came the Neil Lane diamond, and there her silver-fox father, Mark, was in the studio audience looking all hot and sentimental as the ring went on his daughter’s finger. (If we’re lucky, we’ll be seeing a lot more of Mark very soon; Palmer seemed to tease that he could be our next Golden Bachelor.)

During the live reunion portion of the finale, Daisy came on stage looking absolutely stunning in a sequin dress. When asked how she knew it wasn’t her, she looked back on the moment when her and Kelsey’s fellow finalist Rachel Nance went home. “I saw you two just look at each other,” she told Joey, “and I was like, whoa.” When Palmer reunited Daisy and Kelsey on stage, Kelsey summed up what their history-making moment means for the franchise. “I think that a lot of times, people think that this is a competition, but it’s not,” she said. “It’s just who’s right for each other.”

Meanwhile, Joey was happy to keep gushing about how much he loves Kelsey. “She is a light,” he said, making all of us at home swoon harder than we’ve ever swooned before. “Something about Kelsey truthfully is unique. She gives energy fully, in her own way, and I don’t know how I’m going to have a boring day in my life with her by my side.”

Okay, okay, we get it. But who’s the next Bachelorette?! While Daisy would have been a solid pick, she told Palmer that she’s not looking to open up again just yet. (At least, not on TV.) Instead, she plans to focus on the people and things she loves most. But who is it going to be?

In a history-making turn for the franchise, Jenn Tran will be our first Asian American Bachelorette. During the “Women Tell All” reunion last week, she said she was looking for a “ferocious” love, and from her interview with Palmer on Monday night, it seems this will be a wild ride in the best way possible.

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