As usual, my recap is late and it's because I've been processing what the heck we all watched on Monday night. For once Chris Harrison wasn't exaggerating -- that scene was shocking and unexpected. I'm sure that by now you know the scoop: On Monday night, Juan Pablo's true colors came shining through, he was completely inappropriate with Clare, and Nikki "won" Juan Pablo but lost her self respect. Bachelor Nation and all of America summarily hate Johnny Pabs -- where did it all go so wrong?
Monday night gave us the final dates and final rose ceremony in St. Lucia then the After the Final Rose special in LA. In St. Lucia, Johnny Pabs's entire family had come to town to meet the final two blondes, Clare and Nikki.
Clare met the family first and before she arrived, Juan Pablo filled his family in on everything he knows about her: that she hails from Sacramento, CA. She arrived in a gorgeous violet dress armed with flowers and met Juan Pablo's parents, brother, sister, brace face cousin, niece, and Camila. Clare got along swimmingly with the family over lunch and talked about how many kids she wants to have (3 -- but someone joked that if she keeps popping out girls, she should just keep having kids until she has a boy. HILARIOUS! Girls are of no value! I hope the two female toddlers at the table internalized that message!). Clare had alone time with Juan Pablo's mother Nelly during which they bonded over the fact that Juan Pablo's rudeness has made them both cry. Brace face cousin Roldfo asked Clare about her fighting style and if she runs away (which he later asked Nikki and I wish he would ask Juan Pablo's baby mama because I'm sure that woman has got STORIES for days). JP's father came off like a class act, welcoming Clare into their family and saying that whatever happens, he wishes her happiness and loves her. That made me tear up and it wasn't just the Sauvignon Blanc.
Up next was Nikki and she wore a chintzy pink sundress that you'd buy at a beach side junk shop, plus her hair in a side braid/ponytail to show off her continually awful roots. (I guess it's her signature thing now. It's very Amanda Woodward, minus the self respect.) She spoke with Johnny Pabs's family with the stiffness and palpable fear of a Miss America contestant who is just trying to bluff her way through a question about pertinent social issues. In her alone time with Papa Johnny Pabs (Saul), she said of JP, "Camila has made him who he is today," which is a great thing to say to the actual MAN who raised the guy and effectively made him who he is today. Saul warns Nikki that Juan Pablo is selfish and too honest. The candor of his parents is refreshing, though it makes you think that they must kick themselves for raising such a cad.
We cut back to the studio where Chris Harrison is with some Bachelor Rejects -- ahem -- Alums -- and wants their take on the family time. Newlyweds Sean and Catherine say that they "like him as a person" (read: he's an absolute piece of garbage who I might have to speak with again at some point) but he's too complacent.
It's time for final dates and again, Clare goes first. She's rocking yellow shorts (and is officially the only person I know who can pull those off), a black tank top, and cute sneakers and she's ready for a fun, final day with Johnny Pabs. They hop in a helicopter and fly to their destination, but while the cameras aren't rolling and mics are off, he turns to her and says something along the lines of: I hardly know you and you hardly know me, but I had a great time F-ing you. Biggie Smalls said it more poetically, Johnny Pabs. There isn't video or audio of this because sneaky Juan Pablo said it to Clare while the helicopter was landing. She is stunned and gets through the day, but confronts him about it that night (as he begs her for kisses, fittingly). She gives it to him, saying that not there for a hookup -- she's there for love. He insists that he said that he doesn't know her "enough" then does his usual song and dance about "just being honest." I was so proud of Clare when she refused to kiss him and brought it up, but before we know it she has fallen back down the rabbit hole and he's playing "their song" on his phone (downloaded to his phone by the producers, no doubt) and she's smitten. Sigh. When the student is ready, the teacher will come (and the student will be ready in about 30 minutes).
Johnny Pabs bounces right back (which is really easy when you only care about yourself) and is ready for a final day date with Nurse Nikki. Nikki and her roots are wearing a black bikini and a sarong for a day of boating. Nikki tells Juan Pablo that he's cautious and guarded and he says that he isn't (because her perception of the world isn't valid or important, right), then says that he'll open up when he feels it (which she seems to find endearing rather than insulting). That night they have a rendez-vous in her room and I'll admit that she looks great in a white sundress with a tan (but who doesn't?). She gives Juan Pablo a framed photo of them on horses with a card that she has signed, "I love you, Nikki." He thanks her but doesn't say it back, which is in keeping with Bachelor rules (but apparently even if it weren't, he wouldn't say it -- more on that soon).
Finally it's blood diamond/rose ceremony time and the romantic location is: a shady, muddy jungle! (I'm convinced the producers had simply had enough by this point.) Clare suits up in a gorgeous teal, one shoulder, Grecian-style gown (her style and my style would be BFFs if they could) while Nikki selects a royal blue gown with a major plunge neck AND a slit up the side. (Might be a little more ladylike if you chose one or the other, but not both, as my uber-classy mother would insist.) The ladies hop in open air boats for their journey to the rose ceremony location and as soon as I saw that, I lost it. These women just carefully curled, sprayed, and styled their hair and now you're putting them in an open top boat? Between humidity, wind, and sea spray their looks will be RUINED! Whose big idea was this? If I had been on there I would have been crouched down below the railing in an effort to preserve my tresses. But I digress.
Everybody knows that the first person to arrive at the rose ceremony is the person who is getting negged and who hopped off the boat first? Clare. The 32 year old who is truly ready to be a mother and stepmother -- she's getting the Heisman. But at least she's going down looking gorgeous.
Chris Harrison walks her to the low budget dumping ground setting and Clare talks first, telling Juan Pablo what an amazing journey this has been. Johnny Pabs starts in, talking about how she arrived with a fake baby bump and they have had their ups and downs, but he has to say goodbye. JP goes in for a hug and Clare stops him, then lights into him. She tells him that she felt like he strung her along and she wonders how long he kept her there, knowing full well that he wasn't going to pick her. He attempts to say that he JUST made his decision (congrats, Nikki!) but Clare doesn't care -- she has lost respect for him. With that, she walks back to Chris Harrison who consoles her like the sweet Bachelor big brother that he is. Just when you think Juan Pablo can't get any sleezier, he makes a joke to himself that he's glad he didn't pick her. Class act right there.
Nikki arrives and says she's "ready to hear all the things he hasn't been able to say" (as of mid-March, 2014 she's still waiting). She tells Juan Pablo that she can't imagine her life without him (seriously?) then he starts in on his schpiel, telling Nikki, "you're like me" (according to his parents and cousin, that is definitely not a compliment). He then opts out of giving her the engagement ring but instead gives her a rose because, "I'm not 100% that I want to propose to you... but I'm 100% sure that I don't want to let you go." Congrats, Nikki! At the end of this arduous dating journey, your prize is MORE OF THE SAME! She grins like she didn't just "win" the biggest booby prize in this history of the Bachelor franchise. Venezuelan romance wordsmith Juan Pablo then tells Nikki, "I like you a lot... a lot" then reminds her, "don't get cranky." You really know how to sweet talk a lady, Johnny Pabs!
And then we're back on an LA sound stage with an audience who can't believe what they just saw. Chris Harrison is in perpetual host mode (bless his heart) and he brings out Clare to talk. She's rocking a killer, leather sheath (very Jennifer Aniston -- awesome) and she refuses to repeat what Johnny Pabs said in the helicopter (though she said it to the camera as she was whisked away from that final jungle rose ceremony) and that he's no the man she thought he was. Clare had never stood up to a guy in her life before and that it was so liberating to let Juan Pablo have it. Honestly, if there's one thing I have learned from the few times I have lit into crummy guys -- it feels great and you may as well, ladies. He's going to talk smack about you either way, so why not go down swinging? Chris offers Clare a chance to talk to Juan Pablo but she demures, saying that she has found her closure. Bravo!
Next, Nikki comes out in a red dress and her roots are finally done! Our national nightmare is over! Nikki freely says that she loves Juan Pablo and admits that he hasn't reciprocated that sentiment verbally, but that his "actions" say it. I can only imagine what actions of his must communicate that -- the action when he negates your feelings then picks up the TV remote? Juan Pablo comes out and says that as a couple they are great and that he wouldn't be there if he didn't care (dude, ya probably would because I'm guessing all TV appearances are "attendance required" events per your contract, but whatevskis!). Chris asks JP how he feels about Nikki and if he loves her and Juan Pablo acts stunned that host Chris Harrison is hosting and making these inquiries. Juan Pablo evades the questions but then gets offended when Chris Harrison interrupts him (you didn't seem to want to talk anyway, JP). Nikki chimes in and says that it doesn't matter if they are or aren't in love or dating (the refrain of uninterested partners everywhere, but in this case Nikki's trying to save face) and Chris Harrison hilariously mocks them both to their crummy faces.
This season was definitely unprecedented and for once, that's not hyperbole. Juan Pablo seemed so fun and refreshing at first, but he ended up being a complete cad. Clare truly won by losing.
In lighter news, Ombre DA Andi is the next Bachelorette and she is fired up! After this Johnny Pabs debacle of a season, it can only get better from here!