The Bachelorette: The meatloaf is burning

Ladies and gents, can you believe we’ve already reached The Dramatic Conclusion of JoJo’s Journey To Find Love? I’m watching this episode at my parents’ house in Michigan, alongside my parents, my grandpa, his wife Carol, my sister and her husband. Things are about to get crazy. 

We meet JoJo in Phuket, Thailand. Her family is with her, and I’m pumped because I’ve personally been looking forward to seeing her mom again all season. Remember last season, when she drank like 20 glasses of wine when Ben came over for JoJo’s hometown date? This is a lady after my own heart.

Jordan Meets the Fletchers

JoJo opens by telling her family that she’s torn between two men. Jordan is the type of guy she always goes for, but in the back of her mind, she’s afraid he’ll break her heart.

Just then, Jordan arrives. He brings flowers for JoJo’s mom, then sits next to JoJo on the couch, where they share so much physical contact that I am embarrassed for her family members. My grandpa even voices concern over how much they’re touching.

Jordan says he has brought gifts for the family. He pulls out a bag of hats that he clearly purchased at the resort gift shop on his walk over. How thoughtful. They put them on and feign delight.

After the family talks for a bit, JoJo’s mom pulls her aside. She’s worried that Jordan is a playboy. “Who doesn’t like Jordan?” she asks. She’s afraid JoJo will feel insecure with him, and she advises JoJo to really think about this before picking him. JoJo protests. She doesn’t want to hear it.

My dad leaves the living room, deciding paying bills will be less painful than watching this show.

Meanwhile, Jordan and JoJo’s dad step aside to talk. Jordan tells him (flatly and with no emotion) how much he loves JoJo, but he doesn’t go as far as asking for permission to marry her. This is apparently a mistake, and it’s going to turn into a big deal, we can tell.

Finally, Jordan’s day with the Fletcher family has come to an end, and he says goodbye. JoJo seems oblivious to the fact that her family doesn’t like Jordan, and she says she’s happy the day went well. Clearly, she’s losing all grasp of reality.

Robby Meets the Fletchers

Now, it’s a new day, and it’s Robby’s turn to meet JoJo’s family. He arrives, looking as pretty as ever, and tells us candidly that he wants to leave a lasting impression on his future in-laws.

He presents a bouquet of flowers to JoJo’s mom, who is really disappointing me with her lack of wine drinking thus far. JoJo’s mom thinks Robby is a real gentleman.

JoJo sits down with her brothers to talk about Robby. She tells them she really loves him, and she loves that he’s genuinely in love with her (duh), but they encourage her to consider all of the components that go into a marriage before she makes a decision.

Now, Robby and JoJo’s mom talk. His face is so glisteny and her lips are so pouty. She tells him she has witnessed JoJo’s heart get broken in the past, and she can’t stand to see that happen again.

“I raised JoJo as a princess,” JoJo’s mom says, in what is the least surprising news of this entire season.”I’m giving you a princess, and I want you to make her the queen of your heart.” Seeing as Robby is basically a walking, talking caricature of Prince Charming, I think she can rest assured.

Now, Robby escorts JoJo’s mom into another room so they can sit with JoJo’s dad. Robby asks them for permission to propose to JoJo. “I don’t just want to ask her hand in marriage,” he says. “I want all of Joelle Hannah Fletcher.” JoJo’s mom’s lips have somehow become even poutier, and we notice that her lipstick has completely, inexplicably worn off since she walked into this room. JoJo’s dad starts to cry. He shakes Robby’s hand and says he’s honored that Robby asked, and he gives him his blessing.

The family comes back together in the living room to say goodbye to Robby. JoJo and Robby kiss, and Robby leaves.

JoJo Throws a Temper Tantrum

Now that they’ve met both men, JoJo sits with her family to talk about her lovers. JoJo’s mom (whose lipstick has been reapplied) loves Robby. He’s more husband material, he’s good looking, he’s a family man. JoJo’s dad also agrees Robby is a more logical fit, which is exactly what every 20-something girl wants to hear from her father. Even the brothers agree. “Jordan is phenomenal, but Robby is more ready for a serious life of marriage.” JoJo’s sister remains suspiciously mute, so apparently no one values her opinion.

Everyone but JoJo’s sister tells JoJo that Robby asked for her hand in marriage, but Jordan did not. This shocks JoJo, and she turns her surprise into all-out rage toward her family. “So everyone is for Robby, right?” she snarls. “No, no, we love both!” they lie to her, their spines weakening. JoJo doesn’t know what to do.

Clearly, JoJo loves Jordan and wants to pick him (hence her rage). Her family’s disagreement with her makes her whiny, which is exactly what happens when you raise your daughter “as a princess.” She will whine and whine until she gets her way.

JoJo can’t understand why Jordan wouldn’t ask her parents for their blessing to marry her. He knew it was important to her, and he told her that’s the first thing he would do when he was ready to propose. I say aloud that this clearly means he is not ready to propose, and everyone in my family agrees with me. Because they always do. Because I was raised as a princess, too.

JoJo’s Final Date with Robby

JoJo and Robby meet for one final date before the Final Rose Ceremony. They ride around in a little car and go swimming. “She’s a girl that came into my life and took over my world,” Robby’s voice-over says as we see them kissing under the water. This seems unsanitary to me, because who knows what’s in that water, but whatever.

Now, they get out of the water and sit on a blanket, and Robby’s hair has somehow not budged one inch despite all of that water play. JoJo asks Robby what he imagines their future to be like. “I picture us on a comfortable sofa,” he starts,”cuddling and watching a movie while dinner is cooking in the oven. Our dog is sitting next to us. Then, we smell burning food because we were so lost in the moment. We overcooked the meatloaf, but we’re fine with it because the Sauvignon Blanc was delicious, and we can order pizza anyway. The kids won’t mind, because they don’t even like meatloaf.”

This sounds like the most ridiculous story in the world, and now I don’t trust Robby at all because I don’t trust anyone whose fantasies involve meatloaf, white wine or dogs instead of cats.

JoJo tells us she trusts him so much it’s overwhelming. (Note that “trust” doesn’t equal “love.”)

Now it’s nighttime, and JoJo and Robby are at his place. He hopes JoJo feels no doubts about their love. She smiles at Robby. “Sometimes, I think and I’m like, ‘What? Where has the time gone?’ I’m like, I always think that.” JoJo rambles on, and we literally have no idea what she’s talking about.

Robby shows her some photos (video stills) that he (the producers) printed for her. They spend the next few minutes kissing and reminiscing, and it’s at this point that I realize my grandfather has been asleep for probably 30 minutes.

“We have all of these photos,”Robby whispers to her. “And there’s one more to come.”

“Oh! What is it?” JoJo exclaims.

Robby looks at her quizzically. “Well, we have to take it.”

“Ohhhhhh, you mean one more photo!” JoJo squeals. This could be a moment in which Robby reconsiders everything, but instead they just start making out.

JoJo’s Final Date with Jordan

Now, it’s Jordan’s turn for his last date in Thailand. He and JoJo board what appears to be a pirate ship.

There is a brief moment of distraction when three deer walk through my parents’ yard and we all have to get up and watch them through the window, but now we’ve settled down and we’re back at it.

It’s clear that JoJo is more into Jordan than he’s into her. She says he’s her best friend and they are so in love, but she just cannot get over the fact that he didn’t ask her parents for permission to marry her. They canoe through a beautiful cave and then relax on the shoreline, where JoJo baits him with loaded, passive aggressive questions.

“Sooo, Jordannn, did you have fun talking to my parents?” she smiles.

“Yes,” he replies through a cold, dead stare.

“Like, what kinds of things did you talk about?” she pries.

“I mean, I told them how much I love you,” he says without emotion.

“Ohhhh, that’s interestingggg,” she says, waiting for him to elaborate.

I know this game well. I employ this method to get info out of Bryan on a bi-weekly basis.

Finally, Jordan understands what’s going on, and he admits that he didn’t ask for permission to propose to her. He says he didn’t want her parents to give their blessing when none of them were completely sure who JoJo was going to pick in the end. This leads to a confusing and utterly exhausting conversation that lasts for what feels like 20 minutes. The underlying message is clear – JoJo is disappointed.

She knows that he loves her, but JoJo just can’t shake the scared feeling she has. In the real world, we call that a WARNING SIGN.

Later, JoJo arrives at Jordan’s room for one last evening together. “There’s so much we need to talk about,” she tells him. Looks like she’s still not satisfied with the empty, heartless answers he provided her earlier.

“She’s trying to force this,” my brother-in-law says, and all of us agree with a joint “Mmm hmm.”

They seriously talk for like 45 more minutes about whether or not he’s sure he wants to marry her, and clearly the answer is NO, he’s not sure because he’s known her for like 4 total days. In the end, they tire of talking and just kiss for awhile until she goes back to her room.

The Next Day

Now, we’re back with Robby, and he’s excited to ask JoJo for her hand in marriage. We know this because his voice over says it to us as the camera shows him showering and then toweling off his rock hard abs in front of our very eyes. His heart is “exploding with love.” He writes a note to JoJo about how much he loves her, then meets Neil Lane to select an engagement ring.

Across the resort, Jordan is also standing shirtless. Having been beaten over the head by JoJo the day before, he calls JoJo’s parents to ask for permission to marry her. They say yes, and he also meets Neil Lane to select a ring. (Personally, I like Robby’s better, but that’s neither here nor there.) After Jordan has selected a ring, he returns to his room and writes a letter to JoJo to let her know he has talked to her parents.

And now we see JoJo in her room, preparing for the rose ceremony by putting on a beautiful blush dress. This morning, she woke up with a moment of clarity, she tells us, and she knows without a doubt that she’s found her greatest love. There’s a knock on the door, and she receives the letters Jordan and Robby wrote for her. She cries as she reads them, feeling one last burst of confusion. “I feel like I’m having a panic attack,” she tells us, eyes brimming with tears. She’s in love with two men! What, oh what will she do?

The Final Rose Ceremony

The men head out to meet JoJo. They’re traveling separately, but it feels like they’re together because they’re both wearing the exact same suit.

People say that the first guy to arrive is always the one who gets sent home. I haven’t been watching The Bachelor seasons long enough to know if this is true, but it certainly was last season, and unfortunately for Robby, it’s true this season, too.

Poor Robby. He walks toward JoJo, gliding through sand and over wooden platforms to reach JoJo. He unbuttons his jacket as he nears her because it’s so darn hot in Phuket. His love for her is as clear and flawless as the diamond ring he selected for her. JoJo looks like she is going to vomit all over that crystal white sand.

“JoJo,” Robby starts. “I kept searching for forever love, and I found it in you. Jo, my family adores you, my future longs for you, my heart yearns for you. I undoubtedly and wholeheartedly am in love with you. My loves makes me weak in the knees. I will love you until the day I die.”

“Wait! Hold on!” Jojo interrupts. “I can’t let you get down on one knee. I can’t let you do that because I don’t want to take that moment away from you. Robby, I woke up this morning wanting it to be you. Every day I want it to be you. I fell in love with you, but for some reason, my heart is somewhere else.”

Robby wipes away a tear, and JoJo says 2,500 times that she “wanted it to be you,” which is not really helping the situation. Robby asks her what’s missing, and JoJo says, “I don’t know – it’s not the love.”

Robby can’t look at her. They cry together. “As long as you’re happy,” he finally manages to choke. “Hopefully, in the end you are.” JoJo walks him out, back through the sand. They hug, and Robby is driven away. JoJo stands in the wind and sobs.

We are feeling emotional, for sure, but things are about to change, because now it’s Jordan’s turn. JoJo, having resumed her position next to the final rose, is suddenly over all of the heartbreak, smiling from ear-to-ear as Jordan walks through the sand to her.

“I love you so much,” he says when he reaches her. “You continue to challenge me to be the best version of myself. You made me believe that love doesn’t need to have scripts. I am so unbelievably in love with you. You’re my best friend, my soul mate. I’ll keep you safe, protect you, I’ll wake up every morning and choose you.” His hair refuses to move despite the strong wind.

“Jordan, I love you so much,” JoJo replies. “I’ve been waiting to tell you that I love you.” They hug. “I didn’t want you to get down on one knee until I told you that.”

Truth be told, this is where I expected Jordan to run, because I still believe he’s always been here for the wrong reasons. But contrary to my predictions, Jordan gets down on one knee. “This is real. It’s been real. I love you so much. Joelle Hannah Fletcher [again, with the full name], will you marry me?”

“Yes!” she exclaims. America collectively rolls its eyes. He puts the ring on her finger. They kiss and hug and run around the sand. They become immediately annoying.

The sun sets behind them as they sip champagne and kiss. And then the camera fades to black – another happy couple, joined together right before our very eyes. Thanks ABC.

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