The Bachelor Finale Recap: A Shocking Ending

After weeks of rumors, tricky trailers and heated debate, the finale of The Bachelor had finally arrived. Here’s a look at the most memorable moments that led up to Jason Mesnick bestowing the bling on Melissa Rycroft and then dumping her for runner-up Molly Malaney:

Ty Breaker: The time to meet Jason’s son had finally arrived and as everyone knew it was extremely important to the bachelor. He explained while reuniting with his son on a beach in New Zealand, “This is the biggest step for me in all this. I can see a life with Molly and Melissa, but I can’t fully fall in love with somebody until they meet Ty. I’m here to find that person to spend the rest of my life with. Ty, in his own way, will help me figure it out.”

A putting date and with Melissa was first on the agenda and she was very nervous about whether they “could emerge as a family.” She seemed to win Ty over instantly with high-fives, races and G-rated jokes. Randomly, Jason fetched a baby lamb to pet. Next, she was grilled by his brothers and parents over lunch. Because they watched him get hurt by DeAnna, they were more protective and inquisitive this time around but she seemed to win them over by the end of the afternoon with her honesty, natural charm and obvious love for Jason. Ty woke up for a nap and requested more time with her, which had Jason admitting to his pops that he’d never seen Ty take to anyone that fast. His dad noticed the sparkle between them, but her absent parents was still a big stumbling block. Then it was Molly’s turn. She showed up at the beach and Ty wasn’t having any of her at first. But he warmed up to her after some Frisbee and kite flying. She definitely has less experience with children, but she still seemed to hold her own. Her time with Jason’s family also seemed slightly more strained and they definitely noticed that she was in love with him but was more career-oriented. His brothers and sister-in-law seemed to like her more whereas mom hinted that Mel was the one by reminding him that family oriented was histop priority.

Last-Chance Dates: Jason took Mel out for a sail. The weather was horrible and the water cold but they took a symbolic plunge off the top of the charter before rinsing each other off and cuddling. They reconvened that night and she told him the good news about her parents agreeing to chat with him via phone. They also spent plenty of time making out on the bed and she admitted that he had shown her a new kind of love. His parting words were that “he’d never felt this way either.” Viewers only got to hear his end of the convo with her parents, but it seemed to go off without a hitch.

Molly took the reins for her rainy day date. She had set up massage tables at her place and proceeded to grease him up and rub him down. She made him dinner like a good prospective wife and then smartly laid it all out on the table next to the chicken dish. “He needs to know he’s my soul mate. I want to give him all of me,” she enthused before presenting him with a gift – a fairy tale she penned about their journey complete with airplane stubs, date notes and drawings of mini roses and hearts.

The Ex Factor: DeAnna dropped in unannounced as Jason was mulling over his decision. “If I would have followed my heart and my head, I could have ended up with Jason. I lost out on a great man,” she said way of explanation for why she had flown all the way in New Zealand, adding that he hadn’t proposed yet and that she was open to giving them another shot. She seemed robotically detached from the hefty proposal she was making, maybe because it all seemed forced. When Jason turned her down, DeAnna immediately switched to best gal pal mode and started giving him love advice and left with these parting words that all Bach fans have known for months: “Any woman who gives him up is very stupid.”

The Big Finish: Choosing which ring seemed to be and easy decision for him. Choosing which girl to give it to, not so much. Cue the dramatic music. Storm clouds rolled in and Jason stood deep in thought on his balcony staring into the sparkler for answers. “I’m completely torn between two women. I’ve never been so conflicted about a decision in my entire life,” he said.

Molly showed up first looking dashing in a purple column dress (with, really, another ponytail?). Before he could speak, she jumped in with, “This has been the most incredible journey I have ever been on. I wouldn’t take back any of it.” He made her eat those words when he told her he had to say goodbye because he “was in love with somebody else.” She shook her head, looked dumbfounded and accused him of making “a big mistake.” She kept trying to convince him of that all the way to the door of the limo. He reassured her that he started falling for her early on and that “everything was real.” He cried more than she did, which probably made her dad happy, and all she could do on the ride away was express shock.

Mel cleaned up nicely but no amount of polish could hide her nerves. “He’s either going to take my heart or break it.” Lucky for her, it wasn’t the latter… yet. He said he couldn’t imagine saying goodbye and that she made him the happiest he’d ever been in his life and then he popped the question on one knee. Adorably and completely in character, she asked to be excused and turned away from him and let out shouts of glee and nerves before joining him on her knees and asking him the same question. Even sweeter was when he asked, “Are you ready to begin?” They retreated to the balcony and a bow-tied Ty joined them in a fully-clothed leap into the pool. She said, “I’m gonna be a Mesnick. I can’t believe I’m engaged.”

A Thorny Issue: Leading up to the finale, host Chris Harrison had promised the most dramatic whatever ever and his hyperbole finally came true on the After The Final Rose special. Six weeks after Jason proposed to Mel, he announced on national TV that they were not right for each other and that he planned to end it with her on the show. Mel and Jason had spent the holidays together, taken a few trips and talked on the phone but it was not enough to keep his mind from racing back to Molly. “As soon as she left, I felt like a huge piece of me was gone, a piece that made me a better person and made me alive,” he explained.

Melissa came out and Jason dumped her. She was ambushed and angry enough to call him a bastard and couldn’t believe he would propose and then give up without a fight. She gave the ring back (watch the clip) and demanded that he never call or e-mail. “I trusted you with everything. Getting engaged and finding that person was a once in a lifetime things and you took that from me,” she said before storming out. In the limo she admitted to being more hurt than angry and started to fall back into non-confidence mode, sure that there must be something wrong with her. Jason was very defensive after she left, insisting that he “never lied to her” but didn’t believe in living life with regrets.

Molly then took the hot seat alone and Harrison asked very pointed questions about whether she still loved Jason (“I still get weak in the knees,” she confessed. “My feelings never went away”) and if she had ever dreamed that he would come crawling back to her (“All I’ve wanted since I’ve been back was for him to knock on my door and say, ‘I made a mistake’”). Jason emerged and said he was hoping she’d agree to give it another shot. At first, she seemed worried it was a cruel joke as she looked to Harrison for clues and laughed nervously but the chuckles gave way to a big grin. Soon her hand had moved to his knee, she had agreed to “see where things go,” and he planted a big smooch on her lips (which seemed somewhat insensitive given that moments earlier he had just dumped his fiancee on national TV). –Carrie Bell

Tell us: If Jason’s sole motive was to find true love, so can you forgive him for having a change of heart? How do you feel about the on-air dump?

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