Last night on "The Bachelorette," Desiree Hartsock accepted a proposal from Chris Siegfried. In the process, ABC pulled off a huge upset, finally managing to one-up spoiler king Reality Steve. Despite Brooks Forester's exit last week, Steve continued to predict that Brooks would return, and that Des and him would be engaged.
Possibly rubbing it in even more, the network named Juan Pablo Galavis the next "Bachelor," going against Steve's ongoing predictions that the soccer player would not land the gig.
But Desiree, Chris, Juan Pablo, and the network weren't the only winners from last night's finale.
Going into the finale, I was prepared to be disappointed. Last week, all signs pointed to Brooks making an eleventh-hour return, a heartfelt speech about how he had made a mistake by leaving, and how losing Desiree made him realize that he couldn't be without her.
Thankfully, that didn't happen. Had he returned, it probably would have been out of guilt, obligation, or possible producer manipulation. And had she taken him back, it would have come across as desperate and short-sighted.
I'm sure many cynics could speculate that Desiree's heart was still with Brooks, and that she only "settled" for Chris as a "rebound."
But I like to believe that Des actually had real feelings for Chris. A few weeks ago, when she said that she had hit the "finish line" with Brooks, she did also mention that she was starting to fall in love with Chris. For the past few weeks, she'd been proclaiming that she "loved" Brooks, but in retrospect, she seemed more infatuated than anything else.
The fact that Brooks never said "I love you," and that he always seemed a bit emotionally unavailable, probably added to his appeal. More than anything, she was probably more enamored with the thrill of the chase, rather than with Brooks himself.
Des and Chris' ending seems straight out of a Jane Austen book or "Anne of Green Gables." As Des pointed out, she was so blinded by her infatuation with Brooks, that she failed to see that the right guy was in front of her all along.
Did anyone else notice the nod to "Pride and Prejudice" (the 2005 movie version)? When Des accepted Chris' proposal, she said, "a thousand times yes."
For anyone who has ever wasted her time obsessing over that unattainable heart-breaker, anyone who has ever regretted letting that endearing nice guy from the past slip away, this "Bachelorette" finale gives hope.
Credit to Brooks for having the courage to admit that he wasn't in love and walking away before it was too late.
And credit to Des for moving on and really giving Chris and Drew a chance. When one door closed, she chose to focus on the open window. I also have to give her props for sending Drew home early. I think Des admired him for overcoming his difficult childhood and for his relationship with his sister, but it's clear that she wasn't in love with him. The physical chemistry between them always did seem forced.
I'm not worried about Drew though. He'll have no trouble finding the woman of his dreams (or man, if you believe all the fan speculations).
I'm hoping Des and Chris will end up like Ashley Hebert and J.P. Rosenbaum. Chris and J.P. seem to share some similarities - they both seem calm and level-headed in tough situations.
Chris really showed his class in the way that he handled the Brooks situation. He was confident enough in himself and his relationship with Des to not feel threatened. He wasn't kidding when he told her brother Nate Hartsock that he was "not the jealous type."
And while J.P. handled Ashley's skeptical sister, Chrystie, with grace, Chris managed to earn the approval of straight-shooting loose canon, Nate.
After the final rose, Chris and Des still seem very happy together. She's moving to Seattle, and they're getting a new place. (It's great to see that he's moving as well. Why should the girl always be the one who has to move?) These are all good signs for the couple.
In the end, thank you to Brooks for walking away and for not pulling a Reid Rosenthal. Thank you, Des for seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and picking the right guy. And thank you, ABC and Chris Harrison for finally giving us "the most dramatic finale ever."
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- Desiree Hartsock