There are a few things I never knew until I started watching the Bachelor and Bachelorette.
- There is a big difference between falling in love and actually being in love.
- If you say someone is perfect, you normally end up choosing someone else.
- If you’re trying to decide between two potential partners and with the first person you talk about what you like about them, but with the other you talk about the positive effect they have on your feelings, you usually choose the second person.
My heart feels all gooey. I find that I normally don’t embrace the full emotional spectrum presented to me during a Bachelor season, but I gave in tonight and allowed myself to actually enjoy the finale. It was totally worth it.
But let’s back up a bit first…
We’re in Auckland, New Zealand. I think Tourism NZ and Air New Zealand sponsored this episode, judging by the many scenery shots and extended footage of Sasha and Michael taking first class flights to their respective destinies.
But on this occasion (at least with me) the sales pitch worked. I haven’t been to New Zealand since I was a teenager, but I’m going to be checking out flights next week. I’d almost forgotten what a gorgeous country it is.
Michael tells us that Sam is the missing piece in his life. Sasha says he’s been falling in love with Sam since day one. I do not envy our Bachelorette this episode.
Except for some reason, Sam is still unsure whether they actually love her. She is hoping that they spell it out for her this week.
Sam’s sister Christine and two brothers Steve and Alex have flown over to NZ to hang out with Sam and meet her two potential boyfriends. They are super protective of her after what happened last year, so the boys are in for a grilling.
Michael arrives first. He is as slick as always, and this immediately puts Christine on alert. She remembers another smooth talker they welcomed into the family, only to have him betray them all a couple of weeks later.
She pulls Michael aside at the first opportunity, telling us that he talks like a salesman.
She says straight out that they were fooled by Blake last year and that she doesn’t want that to happen again. Michael understands her concerns and changes his approach. After toning down the cool factor and assuring her he is genuine, Christine is converted.
Michael and Sam say goodbye outside and he tells her that he’s glad her family has her back. Slick right to the end! They make out and Sam tells us it’s hard to say goodbye.
But she soon forgets about Michael, because it’s Sasha’s turn to meet everyone. They gather in a private room at the Novotel and Christine asks right away if Sasha is there for love or to raise his profile.
He laughs. ‘Look at me. After this is all over, I’m going back to being a builder.’
Sasha then tells us that he doesn’t even have a Facebook profile. That one comment made me want him to win.
He also tells everyone that he won’t be asking for the family’s blessing to marry Sam because he wants to take things slow. They all laugh and agree that it would be silly for him to propose so soon.
Can I just say how much I love this compared to the US show? There’s so much pressure on them over there. Not to mention the innuendo-laden fantasy suite dates, which they have thankfully omitted from our series.
Sam then does an impression of Sasha’s husky blokey voice, and he LOVES it.
Christine pulls Sasha aside and asks him if he’s told Sam how he feels.
‘I’ve told her I’m falling in love, but love is such a strong word. If I tell Sam I love her, she’ll know I mean it.’
(And unless you’re clued in on the nuances of how the word ‘love’ is used in the context of the show, that statement would not make a bit of sense.)
Christine doesn’t look completely satisfied, but she does seem to respect Sasha.
Steve approves, and Christine says she’s happy with Sam’s final two, but she wishes they would actually say they were in love with Sam before the final rose ceremony.
Sam agrees and tells us she just hopes they ‘open up’ on their final dates.
The next morning, she waits on a pier looking very fresh faced and all rugged up.
Michael arrives, wearing his usual artfully ripped jeans, tailored coat and a scarf (which was surprisingly masculine). They jump into a nearby helicopter and fly over Rotorua. Michael tells us he is scared of heights (I feel like everyone in the history of this show is scared of heights) but he appreciates how much effort ‘Sam’ has gone to for their final date.
They land near some rapids and change into appropriate rafting gear. Sam gets all pumped, because as we now know, she is a total adrenaline junkie. An instructor warns them that they may end up in the water at some stage. Michael admits that he’s not normally this adventurous, but Sam’s enthusiasm is infectious.
Their boat sails over some baby rapids until it reaches a slightly larger drop. Once over the edge, we watch a few seconds of dramatic footage from the viewpoint of a submerged camera. I suppose we were meant to worry that Sam and Michael didn’t actually make it.
But then of course we see that they are, in fact, fine. Just a bit wetter.
Michael jokes about how risking their lives has brought them closer together. But if that’s the case, I’m thinking Sasha has the advantage from his skydiving date.
That afternoon, another montage of misty sun rays, bubbling mud and rolling hills is shown before we meet up with Sam and Michael at a thermal hot spring.
If this was the US version, we would probably be about to witness an R-rated scene that may or may not include actual sex. But thankfully this is the Aussie series. Michael tells us he’s a bath guy so he’s looking forward to chilling out in the spring. ‘Let’s get our relax on,’ he enthuses.
As they recline in the water, Sam worries that ‘something is blocking’ Michael from fully opening up. My bet is that the ‘something’ is a certain person whose name rhymes with Natasha.
Michael takes his time, working up the courage to say the exact combination of words that Sam wants to hear.
‘Sam Frost, I do love you.’
Sam looks relieved. ‘Thank you.’
They make out and Sam tells us that Michael’s declaration helps her to make the huge decision ahead of her (actually I would have thought it would make it harder if both of them said it).
The next day, Sasha gets ready for his last date with Sam, telling us how he struggles with the L word.
‘I’ve got a 50/50 chance here, so I don’t want to say it lightly.’
They meet up by the water and Sam does a huge run-up and jumps into his arms.
She tells him that today they’ll be going sailing on a yacht. The captain puts them to work immediately and Sam grumbles about the absence of a cheese platter and relaxation time.
After half an hour of pulling ropes, they finally chill out on the back deck with some wine and kisses.
Sasha tells Sam that he was up part of the previous night thinking about their future and what it would be like. He then reminds us how seriously he takes the word ‘love’ – but worries that if he doesn’t lay it all on the line before the final ceremony, it might be too late.
They watch as a sea plane lands right beside them. Somehow, they transfer onto it and zoom off to a small island. Sasha piggy backs Sam down the beach and he comments on the fact that they’re both wearing white sneakers. ‘Bunch of dags, we are,’ he jokes.
They sit down at an almost exact replica of the outdoor couch setting from last episode, except there are a few less flowers, and they’ve added a brazier.
Sam reminisces about their time together. ‘Can you believe I couldn’t even look you in the eye when we first met?’ she marvels.
‘I think it was the first three times, actually,’ he laughs.
‘I wonder why,’ she muses.
‘It was probably because I looked a bit creepy,’ he suggests.
‘No, it was probably because you were so good looking.’
Sasha then tells her that he feels like today’s date has been the best one of the whole season.
Sam starts on about Sasha still holding back a bit. But then Sasha seems to understand, I’m guessing because the producers told him as much.
‘I do love you. I’ve known for a while,’ he finally says.
‘Really?’ is Sam’s hopeful reply. ‘I wasn’t expecting that.’
Sam looks like she wants to say right then and there that she feels the same. She literally bites her lip to stop the words accidentally falling out.
‘And I know your biggest fear is being heartbroken again, but you don’t have to worry about that with me,’ Sasha continues.
Sam kisses him and you kind of know it’s game over (if you didn’t already).
‘Knowing how Sasha feels has made the world of difference,’ Sam tells us.
It’s the final day and Sam is doing yoga outside at sunrise. The guys dress in suits. Sasha is wearing a ring on his left ring finger, but then suddenly it’s on the right ring finger, so I’m guessing they accidentally flipped the film or something.
Michael tells us how confronting it is to not know how Sam is feeling until today, but he trusts she’ll make the right decision.
And here’s the final analysis from Sam:
- Michael is perfect.
- I have the best time with Sasha. He makes me feel safe.
Sam walks down a big green hill to stand beside a beautiful tree.
After a way too long ad break, we watch as…
Michael gets out of the car. He says hi to Osher (both of them use the word ‘mate’ at least twice) and then heads down to see Sam.
Sam can barely hold it together, crying and gulping for several minutes. She chokes out the introductory portion of her speech – the bit where she says how amazing he is – before breaking down. Usually, the Bachelorette gets straight to the ‘but’, yet Sam just stands there with sad eyes, hoping she can transmit her feelings without actually saying anything.
Michael isn’t stupid. He gets it. ‘It’s OK,’ he assures her.
Eventually, she whispers out ‘but’ and ‘I’m sorry’.
Michael is so lovely about it all. ‘I’d rather see me hurt than you,’ he tells her.
They hug goodbye and he has to walk back up that very really long, steep hill.
*Sigh* Poor Michael. But then I heard he’s been getting quite a few phone calls from interested women via his real estate office, so I’m sure he’ll be fine.
After another ad break, Sam awaits Sasha’s arrival. Osher asks him what Sam means to him. Sasha admits that he finally told her that he’s in love and that he’s just hoping for a result today (I love that he sounds like a footy player even at this late stage).
As he walks down the hill, he tells us that he will respect Sam’s decision, no matter what.
And I’m wondering if he started freaking out when he saw her. Sam is already on the verge of hyperventilating before they’re even face to face. The first part of her speech seems deliberately vague.
But after several minutes of an emotional Sam talking about how she was worried she would never find proper love, she admits that she has with Sasha.
I really liked this. Was everyone else happy with the outcome? And who would you prefer as the next Bachelor – Michael or Richie? I feel at this stage that Richie would make for better TV.
Anyway, it has been a very long Bachelor season for me, having started with the US Bachelorette back in May and no gaps in between. So I’m off to detox and enjoy a few months of normal life.
Thanks for reading! I appreciate all the lovely comments and messages that have come through over the past few months. It is the only reason I keep writing about this crazy show.
See you next year!