Let's talk about Tuesday night's wild finale of. Specifically, the explosive end to Rachel's Bachelorette saga, up first in the three-hour episode. Things got super tense, but a welcome face might have managed to turn the mood around.
Let me set the scene. It begins with Rachel, one of the two Bachelorettes featured in season 19. The episode includes both pretaped portions and live bits in front of an audience that includes Rachel's family and a number of familiar faces from the land known as Bachelor Nation.
During the former, we see Rachel tell her frontrunner, Tino, that he's the only man left man vying for her heart. They get engaged, and all is well. Except, well, no it really, really isn't.
The engagement scene happens very early on in the interminable finale. As it unfolds, a little box in the corner of the screen projects Rachel's face, live, for all of us to see. She looks like she's been in line for six hours at the DMV. It's as chaotic as it sounds.
Host Jesse Palmer, who's sitting with Rachel during the finale's live portion, notes her expression. "I can tell this isn't the end of the story between you and Tino," he offers. And no folks, it isn't. "Might need a glass of wine for this one," Palmer adds before a commercial break.
When we get back, Rachel drops a bombshell: "Everyone knows, obviously," she says. "It didn't really work out. He cheated on me."
Palmer asks if she's doing OK. She replies with a "no" to the tune of "Are you seriously asking me this right now?"
Somehow, Bachelorette cameras captured what happened next. "Today will be the first time that I speak to Tino since he told me that he cheated on me," Rachel says. I'm surprised the both of them agreed to this, but then again, they both agreed to be on a show where people are expected to get engaged less than two months after meeting each other.
Soon, Tino appears, looking rather disheveled and holding a mysterious brown notebook that I really need to see the contents of.
It's tense. Tino says he messed up and kissed a girl.
He also reads out loud from the notebook -- his journal -- things he wrote down that Rachel had allegedly said to him previously. This could only go well for ya, bud. The conversation is long, heated and a bit confusing, but Rachel makes it clear that "yes, we were going through a hard time, but never once did we ever say we are broken up, we are not engaged."
"I agree, I agree," replies Tino, who's wearing a side part that has him looking a lot like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Rachel ultimately tells him she's done and gives him her engagement ring. It's the only thing that would have made sense.
Then, it's back to the live show. We learn Tino wrote her an apologetic letter in the interim and... he's about to come on stage.
Excuse me, what? I mean, it's not surprising when you consider this is the same show that posted dueling "Team Rachel" and "Team Gabby" slides to its Instagram (Gabby is the other Bachelorette this season). If you asked a Bachelor producer how much drama they could mine from a scenario or incident, they'd say "yes."
Palmer says it's the first time they've been face to face since Rachel broke off her engagement. This poor woman (and poor us for having to sit through this mess). The second convo didn't seem to yield much new info. However, they very obviously talked around some stuff. "We were going through a really hard time that's deeply personal to both of us, and I think we both don't want to air out maybe why those things were happening," Rachel says cryptically.
"I NEED THEM TO TALK ABOUT THE STUFF THEY DON'T WANT TO TELL US," one Twitter user wrote.
Then, an unexpected moment arrives. Aven, a fan favorite whose relationship with Rachel ended in last Tuesday's Bachelorette episode, strides up to the stage. As orchestrated as it all feels, it's pretty nice to finally see Rachel crack a smile. (But Tino being forced to sit there while all this is happening -- not cool, ABC.)
"I was just wondering if you wanted to maybe get out of here and just catch up?" Aven says.
"I would love nothing more," she replies.
After that, Palmer and Rachel's former flame stand awkwardly in each other's company. In other Bachelorette finale news, Rachel's co-Bachelorette Gabby got engaged to her frontrunner, Erich. Season 19 contestant Zach is the next Bachelor. Here's more of what Twitter had to say about the Rachel and Tino portion.