After ten episodes of traversing the globe, fighting off body glitter, instigating a low-key covid outbreak, and avoiding any deep conversations about his personal life, Zach Shallcross’ journey as The Bachelor finally came to an end on Monday night.
I don’t know who I’m more proud of for getting to the finale, us or him.
Live from Los Angeles
The finale opened with a jubilant Jesse Palmer greeting the audience with the promise that we had no idea what were in for.
He proved himself right about that when he immediately brought out Ariel for her first live post-show interview.
Ariel arrived looking like a goddess in a white gown who was gracing us with gift her presence. We are not worthy.
Basically, Ariel is fine. She cared about Zach, but it’s not like she was crying over him into her pillow.
That would require way too much emotion.
Although, things did get a little livelier when Zach came out to talk to her.
Apparently, Ariel only found out that he broke his sex ban when she watched the episode last week. She’d been completely in the dark this whole time which she said took away her agency. She admonished him for not granting her the dignity of the truth.
Zach agreed and apologized for his behavior. He said his intention was to eliminate the drama, but instead, he created a huge mess.
By the end they were laughing about the good times and then Ariel walked into the sunset to rejoin her brethren on Mt. Olympus.
I can’t believe she let herself get talked into dating this guy.
The finale continued in Thailand
Suddenly the episode switched back in time to the day Gabi was supposed to meet Zach’s family.
The show really wanted us to think that Gabi was going to bail on the day if Zach didn’t give her clarity about what happened last week.
However, she was dressed in full meet-the-parents glam and carrying flowers for his mom. We all knew she was going to go through with it, but fine let’s play.
She pulled Zach aside and asked him if he regretted his decision to sleep with her. In fact, she told him that she felt like an accessory to a crime. Zach acted shocked that she felt that way and assured her that he had no regrets. In fact, she had “opened love” in him.
Sounds like a personal problem.
After that, she met Zach’s delightful family who told her that he almost died as a baby. Honestly, it was very wholesome and Gabi really thrived in the family dynamic.
It was also every bit as boring as it sounds.
Kaity meets the family
Kaity followed in Gabi’s footsteps but with one hundred percent more tears.
She cried telling Zach’s sisters that she could see them as her family.
She cried when Zach’s dad validated her experience of not growing up with a father.
Then she cried when she told Zach that she is in love with him. Not falling, not almost there, but all the way in.
Zach’s family asked her considerably harder questions than they showed them asking Gabi, but I think it speaks to her and Zach’s obvious chemistry.
Things really couldn’t have gone any better.
Kaity final date
Kaity and Zach spent their last date before proposal day swimming in a waterfall. They laughed and kissed while they tried to avoid the hard truth of their situation.
You know, that they love each other but he’s also not opposed to banging her friend when the opportunity arises.
Suddenly, the show had a jumpscare to Zach in a blue floral suit in Kaity’s hotel suite. She told him that she was nervous about what happened next, but that she knew he’d choose the right thing for both of them.
He smiled and kissed her before leaving her for the final time before proposal day.
These two are so obviously endgame that it’s almost offensive.
Gabi’s date went silent
No, like it went actually silent. The sound cut off for the first half of Zach and Gabi’s last date. I could say that I plan to go back and re-watch it on the West Coast feed but I’d be lying.
Unluckily for us, but mostly for Gabi, the sound came back just in time for Zach to tell her that he is still torn and undecided about his impending decision.
Gabi, like all of us, was like, “Huh? No, you’re not. You like Kaity.”
She immediately went into a spiral saying she had a gut feeling that it wasn’t going to be her.
That night she begged Zach to put her out of her misery and admit that he was not picking her but instead he assured her that he knew there was a future for them.
A future break-up, maybe.
He explained that rather than shut down his feelings for one woman or the other, he had decided to lean into the whole experience and give himself completely over to both of them.
AKA he really messed up by sleeping with Gabi last week when he knew he wanted Kaity and now he’s trying to cover his ass.
Trust your gut
The next scene opened with Zach waiting on a platform on the beaches of Thailand. As per usual, the first woman out of the SUV would be the one going home.
Slowly one strappy heel descended after another into a pile of wet sand and we heard, “Oh f*ck no, that’s a really muddy spot. When Kaity arrives and it actually matters, don’t do that to her.”
It was Gabi and she knew what her fate was.
She must have been able to hear me yell, “Why didn’t you just self-eliminate?!” because as she walked down the beach to her demise a voiceover explained her decision. She had a gut feeling it wasn’t her, but she wanted it so badly that it was worth risking rejection just in case her gut was wrong.
Always trust your gut.
Zach began listing all of the things he loved about Gabi until he eventually busted out the proverbial “but” and Gabi stopped him.
“You don’t have to say it. I already know,” she sighed with her eyes closed.
Zach kept trying to explain himself, even going so far as to claim that he had only made his decision the previous night, but Gabi didn’t want to hear anything he had to say.
She was heartbroken, but she wasn’t surprised.
She wished him and Kaity luck and then she sobbed in the limo about being unlovable.
It was gut-wrenching.
Back to you, Jesse
The show shifted back to Los Angeles where a very poised and classy Gabi had just finished watching the finale for the first time.
It wasn’t going so well.
She said that she felt worse than ever after watching it back, but the worst part by far was how he exposed their private moment to the world.
Gabi said that she and Zach promised to keep their intimacy in the fantasy suites between them. Of course, only hours later he went back on his word and told her private information to everyone who would listen.
To add insult to injury, the first time she realized that he had told everyone was when she saw it play out in the episode last week.
It was not a good look for Zach.
Zach apologized for the way he handled things and admitted that there was no excuse, but Gabi just wished he hadn’t strung her along for as long as he did.
I hear you, girl, but this is The Bachelor, it’s the entire premise of the show.
Zach gets his happy ending
Meanwhile, back in Thailand, Zach was back on that platform waiting for Kaity to arrive.
She walked down the path toward him in a white gown that screamed bridal and was greeted with a smile that Gabi would have killed for.
Kaity gave her speech that vaguely quoted Justin Beiber and then Zach launched into his. He told her all of the things that he liked about her but then he said, “I am not falling in love with you.”
Enter the world’s longest pause while Kaity died inside.
“Lol, jkjk, I AM in love with you.”
Can you imagine the arsenal of dad jokes this man must have saved up?
Zach told Kaity that she was the only woman he wanted. She was the only one that was ever meant for him. He always knew it was her.
I mean, he told Gabi that he wasn’t sure until the night before, but okay.
He knelt to the ground, pulled out a giant oval Neil Lane diamond ring, and asked her to marry him.
She couldn’t wait to accept and for a moment even I believed these two would make it.
Where are they now?
I hope to all that is holy that Gabi was far, far away while all of that aired and that she’s getting the support she needs because Zach and Kaity are here to stay.
They joined Jesse on stage to talk about how happy they are together. Zach plans to move back to Austin with Kaity this summer and they’re planning a wedding for 2025.
They’re thrilled, their families are thrilled, and I’m thrilled that his season is finally over.
Charity’s season as The Bachelorette premieres June 26, 2023 so you know I will be too.
Heidi is currently obsessed with watching people make bad decisions on TV, being a coastal elite, artificially avoiding any sign of aging, reading feminist romance novels, and getting the biggest laugh at her own expense. She has a husband, 3 kids, a dog and anxiety.