The Bachelor S16E10: "Week 10"
Courtney totally won guys. Did the show's editors ever manage to make you think she wouldn't? Sure, when Ben's sister and mom showed up and started bristling as soon as they heard one of the final two was a model, that was a good red herring. Some producer probably met them at the train in Zermott and was like, "By the way, when Ben mentions a girl named Courtney, she's being edited as a major series villain, so act VERY WARY and PISSED OFF as soon as you hear her name."
We first met Ben's family during Ashley's season, when he apologized to his mother for not being a good son and she icily thanked him for recognizing that, and we saw his sister earlier in this season. Lindzi and Courtney can thank her for all their helicopter rides and fantasy-suite dreams, as she originally submitted Ben as a Bachelorette contestant. Other questionable moments in her judgement include this hat:
The overarching theme that took root with Ben's family and blossomed all the way through "After The Final Rose" was how awful Courtney had been to the other girls.
Lindzi had to have known she was out after Ben's family spent their time with her grilling her about Courtney. Every character was getting swept up in the edited narrative of "Can Ben get past how cruel Courtney was, or is their love SPOILED?!" Meanwhile, poor Lindzi was left with nothing to talk about except how she can see herself in Ben's future. You're the only one, girl. They were all, "So tell us about Courtney" and she was all, "Put your money on me, Lindzi with a Z!" Poor Lindzi, with a big stress blemish popping out in Switzerland, of all places, where the tap water is basically Evian. You could feel her struggling to fill her sound bytes, forks flipping out of her hands during dinner, mentally scrambling to explain why she liked Ben to his mom like a job interviewee trying to explain where she sees herself in five years. Also liked Jules summing her up to Ben as, "She's ready to give herself to you." Um, what's that, Manson family? Will she merely turn her body over to make more Flajiniks, or can you actually use her bones to make flutes for the final Harvest dance?
While Julia bonded with Lindzi in a very "we were both in sororities" kind of way, by judging Courtney for not making instant best friends, I sympathize with the way Courtney handled herself in this process. I think we all have at least one woman in our lives who deals with stress through humor, and Courtney found her humor in rolling her eyes at the clownish antics of a group of women cliquing up and posturing. As I've pointed out before, the girls we saw on "The Women Tell All" were just as rude and awful to each other in person and to Chantel during that episode as anything Courtney ever said. (Chantel? Chantal? Shawntell? Shontel? Chauntail? Showntelllll it on the moooouuntaaaaain…)
And honestly, was she that mean? Was she mean enough for Ben to "abandon her"—stop returning texts and emails and go radio dark in the middle of the season as he apparently did? I don't remember her saying anything that froze the blood in my veins and made me say "WOW!" the way, say, Bentley did. Yes, Bentley, who got along great with all the guys in his house but then told the confessional cameras that he considered them idiots and said (hilariously) that they were not as good at sex as he was. Would Courtney be MORE genuine if she had forged a bunch of instant friendships with these girls before climbing over all their backs to get to Ben?
When the Flaznip women heard Ben's traitorous descriptions of Courtney as being a model who everyone else hated, I'm sure they visualized someone very shady, a kind of exotic dancer/Courtney Stodden/Vienna type who would come in with her silicone bouncing, showing off her inner lip tattoo. Instead, Courtney appeared, clearly a professional model who comes from a nice family and looks a lot like Jackie O, and you could see the Flazijicks inwardly sighing with relief, like, "Hey, I could go Chicos catalog shopping with her over a glass of wine. I'm in! Love her!"
I was also kind of touched by Courtney's long letter to Ben—lets get a close-up and see what else we can find on it:
That's some raw biznatch, talking about future kids and how much she loves him and whatnot. And then, in typical Ben fashion, his response was, "That's so nice! Talk about adorable!" FACE PALM. I seriously would have walked out of the room, gotten on a trolley, and spent the rest of my years herding little sheep up in the Alps. Courtney was visibly shaken that he reacted to her intense card like it was a Valentine from his grandma. (Also, what PA got that shot of them on the top of the Mayan pyramid? Well done, producers who put that crapbook together)
I know that the Bachelor/ette cannot drop the L-bomb before the proposal, but Ben wasn't just withholding the word, he was weirdly icy with both Lindzi and Courtney in the last makeout sessions before the proposal. His coldness gave Courtney the anger to call him out with a casual, "By the way, why did you tell your mom and sister I was a bitch to the other girls before you even introduced me?" And Ben's answer was just as Ice-Age cold as everything else about him. "What if you are a straight-up bitch? I'd rather know now."
Ben has been through the weirdly intense ring-buying session with the Devil himself and the stress of the proposal moment before. Only, after his rejection, he got the chance to salvage his dignity and tell Ashley to repent at her leisure. He didn't give Lindzi that chance, instead he gave her a long fake-out speech about how he was in love with her, and then dropped the hammer. Lindzi, in a moment that will forever be enshrined in the Bachelor Hall of Desperation and Backhanded Insults, told him to "call me" when things didn't work out. Lindz!!! Get in that helicopter and stop embarrassing your future kids by begging for this toad to care about you. Poor Lindzi. You didn't win the caveman, but hey, you're hot, you're single, and you scored a pretty bitchin' cape.
Ben then delivered his SECOND fake-out proposal by trying to make Courtney think he wasn't about to propose, and then turned his speech around and got on one knee, and it was actually a really sweet moment and Courtney seemed sincerely overjoyed. (And then sincerely kind of overwhelmed when it was just the two of them on the mountain and she realized she'd won an eternity with a man who insists on wearing a center-parted bowl cut.) It was a brief, triumphant moment of monogamy winning out over all, followed immediately by a promo for "After the Final Rose" that included Ben and Courtney weeping about how their love was spoiled.
"After the Final Rose" made one thing very clear: Chris Harrison is out of his G-D mind. Announcing Courtney as "the most hated woman in America," Ben and Courtney as "the most controversial couple in America," Ashley and her Cat-Man as "America's darlings"—Chris Harrison, you know you're not a member of the government, right? You know the only people who watch this show anymore are me, my best friends, and soccer moms, right? Don't let the US Weekly covers ABC is paying for fool you—this show is an evil franchise, like a lo-tech dark star, and you are a purveyor of women and of sorrow. Just saying.
Chris leaned hard on Courtney, not letting up until she was in tears and admitted she didn't know if she and Ben were still together. Ben looked like he'd been to hell and back (and picked up a Shakespeare beard while he was at it.) Next to him, Courtney looked so far out of his league I could seriously hear her DNA screaming through that gown, "Don't pair us up with that Neanderthal! Millions of years of evolution, hello! Jesse? Jesse Metcalfe?!" Girl was KILLING it in that dress.
You have to wonder, what was the breaking point that would make Ben kick that out of bed? When she called Blakeley a stripper? When she made fun of Emily's side ponytail? When she said Kacie was a little girl? Or maybe when he was allowed access to the internet and realized Courtney used to date Jesse Freakin' METCALFE and he probably fell right off of the wine barrel he was sitting on in a fit of shock.
Ben seems to have come to terms with the fact that Courtney was not so much evil during the season as shrewd and savvy, and their solidarity in the face of the tabloids was actually pretty charming. When photos were released of him "cheating" on Courtney, she deflected the attention by going out the same day and trying on wedding dresses. That's brilliant. And as much as he might be hurt by Courtney rolling her eyes at the girls, how much more hurtful must it be for Courtney (since, fine, let's go with her version that she likes this twerp, despite the fact she is wildly out of his league) to see him canoodling and kissing and lip-locking and tongue-diving with every other woman in the house? Or allegations that he's out slawwppy kissin' around town while refusing to pick up her calls?
I really hope things work out for these two kids, which is to say Courtney gets to break up with Ben whenever it suits her, and that he manages to steer clear of the Bachelor Pad franchise. And if they stay together, hey, that would also be wonderful, in the more antique sense of wonderful as "wonder-filled" like, a mind blowing miracle that defies comprehension. After the Final Rose was painful and surprisingly convincing, in terms of making their relationship seem real, and I appreciate that the show managed to find a captivating way to give stakes to a conclusion that seemed inevitable. Courtney, you've been winning since day one.
In any case, it's all said and done now and we no longer have to watch Ben chewing girls' faces and exclaiming, "Oh my dad!" And for that, this conclusion feels like a victory. We loved, we laughed, we snarked, but at the end of the day, The Bachelorette has been moved up to MAY—so we're all winners. (Except for Lindzi. No Bachelorette for you, baby.)
– Did Courtney and Ben manage to convince you of their love?
– Was it a "dick move" for Ben to cut off contact with Courtney during the show?
– Do you think Jesse Metcalfe watched this episode?
– Have you warmed toward Courtney at all or were her snide comments UNFORGIVABLE?
– How long do you give this couple before they break up?
– EMILY MAYNARD BACHELORETTE NEXT SEASON!!!! That's NOT a question. Be there or miss out on the best season of this heartbreaking franchise ever.