Before bringing his girlfriends home, Benlovable tells his parents that he is 100% in love. 50% with Lauren and 50% with JoJo. This is when we find out he inherited his crying skills from his mom, who wonders if maybe they should have had a backup kid. While she reacts to his complete lack of conviction and self-awareness, his dad notices the new twinkle in Ben’s eye. Looks like a double “I love you” wasn’t his only Fantasy Suite first.
We start off with Lauren. Ben’s mom is immediately suspicious when Ben introduces her with, “She loves Warsaw, Indiana.” Lauren says that Ben is perfect. Mom rolls her eyes. Haven’t you noticed his self-loathing and desperation to please? Not really. When it is JoJo’s turn to meet Ben’s parents, she leads off with his insecurities, offering herself as a safe haven. Come on, Ben, JoJo is the fuckable mother figure you’ve been looking for! Both women tell him they’ll say yes if he proposes. Oh good, you wouldn’t want Ben to question your commitment.
Cut to the present day – host Chris Harrison and an ovulating studio audience gasp while Ben’s hometown pastor, a sheepish shepherd flown out to pressure Bachelor People Pleaser into a stunt wedding, buries his head in an LA travel guide. Could be a Bible; I actually only saw a map.
Back in the past, Ben promotes the Sandals resort by flip-flopping between women. Lacking confidence, Lauren turns her last date boat ride with Ben into a fishing trip. Do you feel good? Are you stressed? What are you thinking about right now? He doesn’t bite. Ben calls her beautiful and rattles off Jaden Smith’s Tweets. It’s Weird And It’s Crazy And It’s Good And It’s Life. “It’s life,” she reluctantly agrees. Ben kisses her neck and worries that they haven’t faced many challenges, yet. I don’t know, her acid-washed hot pants are a pretty big obstacle for me. Later that night Lauren begs for reassurance, and Ben goes in for a hug and lingers suspiciously, possibly whispering something in her ear. Back at Chris Harrison’s viewing party, Ben’s pastor does everything he can to avoid making eye contact with God.
Ben’s last date with JoJo is in The Blue Hole, a pretty swim spot with a rope swing made from past contestants knotted jorts and neon crop tops. They kiss and she asks him to touch her heart. JoJo tells us she’s confident, but there is one thing they still haven’t talked about. Birth control? Dating after the show. She does not see this as the clear warning sign that it is. JoJo declares she will do whatever it takes to make a long-distance relationship work. She asks him for a sign that she’s the one, but Ben does not whisper in her ear. We retreat to the bathroom for a private confrontation. If JoJo’s brothers had done their job, there would be a gun behind the toilet, but instead she settles for a quick cry and pee-assist with her romper.
Judgement Day. Neil Lane meets Ben with 6 engagement rings to choose from – one for each type of woman in the world. Benlovable tells us that he cared for Lauren and JoJo equally right up until the moment after he selects an engagement ring on the day of his proposal. Only then, gazing into that Blue Blood diamond, does Ben know which one he wants to marry. This, by the way, is the romantic narrative. The other narrative is, “I’m going to pick Lauren, but come on, have you seen Jojo in a rope bikini?” Looking into the heart of this icy, colorless bauble, Ben finally recognizes his type. One ring to find her.
The Bachelor helicopter sends JoJo to the slaughter then doubles back to pick up Lauren. JoJo reads an ode to Ben that he completely hears out before handing her a pink slip. She gets a limo ride to the airport and the opportunity to finally change back into her Uggs. Lauren rolls in, rereads JoJo’s Ode, and Ben proposes. They climb back into the helicopter and fly in slow, celebratory circles over JoJo’s limo.
AFTER THE ROSE
Chris Harrison promises us also-ran JoJo, Lauren, Ben, Ben’s pastor, and the next Bachelorette. That Green Room must be intense. Ben and JoJo first.
Ben has a tummy ache over how he treated JoJo. She’s had her minimum 39 days of breakup recovery, though, so she lets him off the hook. Ben told her she will always be one of the best things about his past. He will for sure whack it to her. She purposefully stresses that she’s moved on and Caila-as-Bachelorette shippers everywhere begin to panic. No wonder JoJo is so chill. Chris Harrison announces in front of her engaged ex-boyfriend that JoJo’s about to punch 28 Chads loose as Bachelorette.
Lauren shows up and we learn Ben was totally honest with her about also loving JoJo. He just wanted to tell her at the right time – after he proposed to her on national television and she said yes. They giggle together, promise to watch JoJo call other men “Babe,” and politely decline to get married on air. That leaves five minutes of dead time that Harrison expertly fills, the goddamn pro.