It’s the last day in Paradise, and the remaining three couples must decide their fate after spending the night together in the fantasy suites.
Annaliese Puccini and Kamil Nicalek, Jenna Cooper and Jordan Kimball, and Krystal Nielson and Chris “The Goose” Randone can choose to stay together, break up or put a ring on it. And after the action goes down at Playa Escondida, Chris Harrison is back at the studio in Los Angeles with the season 5 cast reunion on Tuesday night’s finale to discuss what happened in Mexico.
Annaliese & Kamil
All three pairs have had the engagement talk, and no one wants it more than Puccini, 33.
“I know that not only am I the one for you, but you’re the one for me,” she tells Nicalek on the beach after their morning in bed together. “I just knew I wanted to wake up to you every morning for the rest of our lives.”
Somewhat surprisingly, Nicalek returns the sentiment.
“From the first date we had together, I knew you’re a special woman,” he says to Puccini. “I was very nervous and my heart was racing. I knew that you had a big place in my heart. I realize that I was falling in love with you and I couldn’t live without you. Annaliese, I love you and I want to have a future together.”
The “ex-social media participant” quickly slows his roll. “I know you’re ready for engagement, but right now I’m not,” Nicalek continues. “I need to move at a pace that is long term for us. The love for you that I have is very strong, and I want it to blossom outside of Paradise.”
Puccini plays it cool, telling Nicalek, “I totally agree.” She then confides to the cameras that getting engaged is still on her mind.
“I’m not worried,” she insists. “I know that he wants to marry me. It may not be today, but it may be in a couple weeks or a couple months, but we’re on that path. I’m so in love with Kamil and I am so excited to start my life with him.”
Back in L.A., Harrison, 47, brings out the couple, who have since visited Nicalek’s friends and family in New York City. “I think it’s going to be down the road a bit, but we’re in a good spot,” Puccini tells Harrison of a possible engagement.
But when Harrison brings Nicalek out, he feels differently.
“I know Annaliese I ready for a guy to get down on one knee right now and you deserve the best,” he begins. “And I think that I might not be the guy for you because I just feel like I kind of lost that spark we had in Paradise we had after leaving and experienced it in the real world.”
Nicalek, 30, continues, “You’re great Annaliese. You’re an amazing woman and I don’t want to just string you along and pretend that we have something special still. It’s just not working out for me and I think it would be best for us to slowly part ways.”
Puccini reveals that the day before the taping, Nicalek booked an Airbnb for them to spend the week together in L.A. Nicalek claims the breakup has a long time coming, but he wanted to have the discussion in person.
After Puccini takes a breather and walks off stage she returns to declare that she also had thoughts about ending things.
“I literally tried to break up with you two weeks ago and you said ‘I don’t want to lose you. I’m going to fight for you,’ ” Puccini tells Nicalek. “I sent your mom flowers! I booked your flight back to New York, and you’re sitting here breaking up with me in front of everyone.”
Harrison asks Nicalek to leave and he gets booed off stage. Puccini admits her relationship experienced some stressors after the New York visit, but, “I was hopeful we could get back to that place.”
The exes talk one more time backstage, and Nicalek finalizes their split. “I’m not feeling the way that you’re feeling towards me,” he says. “It’s just not there. I think we just have to move on from this.”
Jordan & Jenna
Luckily, things go a bit better for Paradise‘s oddball pair. On their last day on the show, Kimball, 26, and Cooper, 29, confess their feelings to each other.
“You’re the one person who could inspire me to open my heart again,” Cooper tells the male model. “I love you so much and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.”
As they share a passionate kiss on the beach, Kimball reaches for his back pocket and pulls out a Neil Lane ring. “Jenna Cooper, I’m madly in love with you, will you marry me?” he asks.
Cooper jubilantly accepts, and the happy couple shares with Harrison in the studio how they already started discussing their futures during a recent weekend together, which the Paradise cameras caught on tape. “By the time I’m 28, I would really like to be married and have a baby on a pan just slide into the oven,” Kimball says in an on-camera interview.
First, they have a wedding to plan.
“What do you think about next year, June 9, you officiate this wedding?” Kimball asks Harrison.
The host says he’d be “honored” and reveals the nuptials will take place “on the same beach where the two of you met.” See you next summer, Paradise! (Or will we? Stay tuned … )
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Chris & Krystal
The Goose fills his love nest with green juice, and Nielson can’t get enough of it when they wake up together on the final morning in Paradise.
“And green juice too? The way to my heart,” the personal trainer gushes.
Randone, 30, expresses to the cameras that he’s worried about making a longterm commitment and proposing to Nielson given that they haven’t met each other’s families. Out on the sand, though, those fears melt away in the Mexico sun.
“You’ve helped me become a better version of myself, a better man,” Randone, wearing white jeans, tells Nielson. “But I have to be honest with myself and I have to be honest with you. And I’m so sorry Krystal, but it would be unfair to the both of us if I left here today holding your hand, because I want to leave here holding your heart, and I want to give you my heart today, tomorrow and forever. I love you so much and I honestly cannot picture a life without you. You’re the woman I know I want to be with. Krystal Nicole Nielson, will you marry me?”
Nielson accepts, shrieking to the cameras, “I’m going to be Mrs. Goose!”
When the couple reunites on stage at the reunion, they reveal plans to move in together “soon.” Randone has also met Nielson’s dogs Wayne and Chuckie — aka her two most important family members — and their mothers get along well.
“We’re so looking forward to a flock of baby geese,” Nielson’s mom tells Harrison from the audience.
The Best of the Rest
Couples like John Graham and Olivia Goethals left Paradise before the overnight dates, promising to give it a try in the real world. But after getting home, Goethals, 24, reveals that things fell apart — and Graham even started talking to Chelsea Roy.
“After Paradise, we FaceTimed a lot, we spent the weekend,” she explains to the crowd. “It was going really, really good but a few weeks ago he told me that he just wants to be friends. And I totally understand, long distance sucks. But I felt like if you wanted to make it work, you would have made that effort.
The former Venmo programmer responds, “I felt like our different lifestyles couldn’t make that work right now.”
Goethals, however, felt Graham, 28, could’ve tried harder. “You were publicizing that you were developing other relationships, and that was with Chelsea, and you were FaceTiming her,” she tells Graham. “That could have been time you were FaceTiming me. That was a slap in my face.”
With one connection crumbling, another two got new starts.
Joe Amabile and Kendall Long, as well as Kevin Wendt and Astrid Loch, surprisingly ended their relationships on Monday night’s episode. But Long admits that she couldn’t stop thinking about Amabile as soon as she got on the plane back home.
“I kept replaying over and over in my head things I could’ve done, things I could’ve said,” she tells Harrison. “I could’ve chased after him and I just didn’t. I just let him walk away and that’s one of the biggest things I regret.”
So Long, 26, got on a plane to Chicago (along with an ABC camera crew) and met up with the grocery store owner.
“The reason why I had fear and the reason why I was holding myself back so much is because I am in love with you,” she tells Amabile during the visit.
“It’s what I always wanted to hear,” he responds. “There’s a part of me that loves you, but I shut a lot of that out. I did. Could I get there again? I don’t know.”
Speaking with Long and Harrison in the studio, Amabile shares that he and the taxidermy enthusiast got dinner that night in Chicago and have been in contact ever since. “She’s my girlfriend, that’s what it is,” Amabile clarifies.
Wendt, 37, and Loch, 28, also reconnected after filming ended. The Canadian reached out to Loch, who still felt confused about why things ended.
“We care about each other but the trust is broken,” she tells Harrison. “It’s weird. We’ve been in limbo in a sense because I feel like I can’t totally move on until I make sense of everything that happened.”
Harrison brings out Wendt, and the firefighter opens up about talking to his family and his therapist about the “baggage” he brought to Paradise that ended up getting between him and Loch.
“I still love her and I’m just hoping that we can progress,” Wendt says. “She’s one of the coolest people I’ve ever met.”
Wendt and Loch seal the sweet moment with a kiss, and the promise of love lives on.