While Ashley has a minor post-Ben breakdown -- "I hate this. I hate that I just did that. I hate it!" -- she's fully recovered by the time JP gets out of the plane. As usual, Ashley's already high-pitched voice goes up another octave when she sees her man. "Heeeey, handsome!" After JP blathers on for a few minutes about his feelings and emotions, Ashley finally opens her mouth: "I've been wanting to tell you how much I loved you for so long now... I don't want to be with anyone else but you forever." This forever you speak of -- I do not think it means what you think it means. Anyhoo, this declaration of delusion prompts JP to drop to one knee and propose, and of course she says yes. Cue REO Speedwagon! Then, in accordance with FCC rules and regulations, Ashley offers JP the "last and final rose." As they stroll along the beach, JP says the funniest -- and most reasonable -- thing he's said all damn season: "When you walked in, in that first rose ceremony, like 'My husband is definitely in this room,' I was like, 'What the f--k is she talkin' about?'" Well sir, at last we agree on something.
Gee... I wonder what happens after the final rose? Let's find out from Chris Harrison, who's back in the Tea Light Thunderdome for a post-proposal debrief. But before we can get to the happy couple, Ben's here to relive his crushing defeat in Fiji. (Side note: How are we feeling about his shorter, straighter hair? Honestly I don't think the flat-iron is his friend -- his look is a bit too reminiscent of the low-flow shower head episode of Seinfeld.) Back in the present day, Ben is still shell-shocked and somewhat angry about what went on, but he and his flat hair handle it calmly and with as much dignity as he can muster. "That was a long flight home," he recalls. "Stewing in my head in these layovers, because I was in fact on my way to one of my best friend's weddings." Awwwww, coos the audience. "I'm a more complete person because of [Ashley]," adds Ben, as the women in the audience hoot and howl. Your loss, Ashley. When the Bachelorette emerges to face Ben for the first time since Fiji, he greets her with a brilliantly glib, "Nice ring." But he wants answers -- when did she decide he wasn't the one? Like a politician, Ashley -- who seems to be experimenting with a bangs/middle part combination -- answers a totally different question and says she just needed to follow her heart. Sorry, Ben. Maybe you should have enlisted those detectives from Take the Money and Run to help you find the truth.
After Ben leaves, JP strolls in, his shirt untucked and his hair neatly cropped, and plants a long kiss on Ashley's lips. Like Ashley, he seems to have trouble answering a direct question with a direct answer -- when Harrison asks him what he loves about Ashley, JP can't seem to produce a single specific quality. "When I'm with her, nothing else matters," he gushes. "I'm just so, so in love with this girl." That sounds like a relationship built on a foundation of forever! It seems pretty clear that when these two run out of things to say about/to each other, they just start making out. In this midst of all this PDA, somehow Ashley's sister Chrystie has suddenly changed her mind and decided that JP is the right man for her little sister. "JP, it had less to do with you and more about the fact that I was trying to protect Ashley," she tells her
never-to-be soon-to-be brother in law. "I can't even apologize enough... It's clear to everyone: Team Cupcake! Shame on me for being so quick to judge." Oh, Chrystie, how could you? How many Buy One Get One Free coupons for Dawn dishwashing liquid did Team Bachelorette have to fork over to get you to spew the party line? Sigh.
As for the future, Ashley is going to finish dental school and then move to New York, where she and JP will get their own place. "Once things are a little more stable then we'll start talking about wedding plans," promises Jape. And with that, the "journey" is over. How do you feel, rose lovers? I'm disappointed, annoyed, tired, and a little hungry -- which is about how I always feel at the end of a Bachelor/Bachelorette season. Even though you're no doubt weary from this adventure, please gather your strength and post your thoughts about this season below. Did the right man "win"? Should Ben be the next Bachelor? How is it possible that Ashley's hair looks even worse now than it did when she first got the extensions? Cram a cupcake into your mouth and let's talk Bachelorette!
More Bachelorette from EW:
Chris Harrison's Bachelorette finale blog