Brad Womack is in South Africa for the absolute final chapter of his two-part quest for true love reality television romance. It’s an emotional conclusion to a tedious process, which loosely translated means the most important moment of Brad’s life and among the top twenty most dramatic rose ceremonies in “Bachelor” history.
The Womack clan has invested in some leopard print safari wear for the occasion, and are on hand to help Brad make his big decision. According to Brad, the sight of his family brings tears to his eyes. According to everyone watching Brad, the sight of his family brings on the full Mesnick (loud sobbing over a balcony -- for the "Bachelor" newbies out there). This display is meant to show that Brad’s a different guy than he was three years ago… when he casually tossed aside two women who were legitimate wife material. Brad assures his family (and us) that this time he will put a ring on it.
Speaking of rings, Chantal is at the door and quickly wins over the Womack clan. Mom, Chad and the brother whose name doesn’t rhyme all fall in love with her, and she’s in love with them and if it wasn’t for that sugary sweet single mom in South Carolina they’d all live happily ever after. Alas…
The next day it’s Emily’s turn and the family instantly notices that she’s not quite as happy-go-lucky as the other contender for Brad’s affections. Emily’s daughter comes up and soon after the family learns what happened to the child’s father. Since they are not made of stone, they are moved by Emily’s story, and turn to Brad to make sure that their commitment-phobic kin is really ready to be in the family way. He is. In fact, he might be her angel. Poor Chantal. That’s not easy to compete with. The family throws their support behind the single mom.
Each girl gets one more shot to win over ‘The Bachelor’ and Chantal isn’t going to down without a fight. Brad says ‘Jump;’ Chantal says ‘How High?’ This escalates and while not quite as cruel as asking Emily to hang at the racetrack, asking the girl he’s about to reject to swim with sharks is still pretty cold. Save the lame ‘testing the waters’ commentary and give the girl a break, Brad. What exactly does passing that test with flying colors get her anyway? Some nervous stammering? More perfunctory compliments? Does she get anything extra for the elementary school art project? Nope. She barely gets eye contact.
Back to Emily. She’s got to choke pretty badly to lose out on that engagement ring, and Brad’s not exactly making it difficult for her to get through the day. In other words, no shark tanks. This poised southern belle simply gets a gorgeous (albeit windy) vista and an opportunity to tell “Cool Uncle Brad” about the realities of parenting.
Later that night, Brad is ready to tell Em that he’s psyched for fatherhood. He wants to be a real father and wants to be given the chance to love her and her daughter. She wants him to explain what being a father means and he gives a pretty good answer before going all Angry Brad on her and freaking out over a normal line of questioning. Does she not realize that he’s “The Bachelor” and he’s been genuine the entire time? Does that not automatically make him Dad of the Year? Wait, it doesn’t?!? Well, it should. Maybe Emily’s the one who isn’t ready for this. Maybe she’s not ready to let someone into her life! Quick! Someone tell Chantal we’re going to pretend she’s got a shot at winning this thing.
Brad acknowledges that both women have qualities that would make them suitable wives and/or contestants on future installments of ‘Bachelor Pad.’ Neil Lane comes by with a suitcase of engagement rings and makes a half-hearted attempt to pretend that he gives a hoot about Brad’s decision and isn’t there solely for the product placement. Not buying it, bud. Heck of a ring though. That’s going to fetch a nice sum on eBay in about three months.
Chantal arrives in the first limo, and just in case there’s any doubt whatsoever that she is NOT the one; she comes dressed as the Black Swan. Brad tells her she’s awesome and all that stuff, but she’s not his leading lady. She cries but takes it in stride, and her eye make-up still looks pretty as she drives away.
Along comes the White Swan in her white dress and halo. Brad’s got a speech to stammer through, and instead of surprising everyone and bolting without a bride for the second time, he gets it together and proposes to Emily -- his once in a lifetime. This all sounds like it should be leading to a satisfying conclusion, and yet, it never quite gets there. For a girl who has been through as much as she has, and whom fans (myself included) had pegged for this final rose ceremony early on, the whole proposal scene is surprisingly devoid of any emotional pay-off. The sight of that diamond ring knocks the poised one off her pedestal way more than the actual proposal. Nonetheless, her answer is Yes!
Emily gets her ring, Brad gets his redemption and they live happily ever after…. for about five minutes.
Ah…. Love on “The Bachelor.” Putting the ending in fairy tale ending.