Eventually they begin the long walk back to who knows where. "Now what are you going to do?" Brooks asks Des. "I wondered, you know, I was like, hoping, like, 'I don't know how conflicted she is, I don't know where these other relationships are...'" Des stops walking abruptly and turns to face the man she wants to marry. "Do you want to know why I was conflicted throughout this whole thing?" she asks him, her voice constricting with tears. "Because I didn't want to share my heart -- I wanted to give it to you!" Oh for the love of all that's holy, Team Bachelorette, can you please put this poor woman out of her misery and send Brooks to the Rejecter Limo already?? At least the guy has finally learned his lesson: "I'm sorry, I'll shut up," he tells Des. "It's not helping." (No, it sure as hell ain't, gripes the Antigua Tourism Board.)
After a few halting goodbye hugs, Des walks briskly to the end of an empty dock, where she sits and cries under the steady gaze of Team Bachelorette's cameras. (Is "dock cry" the new "balcony cry"? Too soon?) Back on the path, a sobbing Brooks paces in circles. "Worst day of my life!" he moans. "That was way worse than I thought it was going to be." Later that night, he even seems to be having some regrets about his decision. "There are those moments that we had together – I miss them already," the red-faced suitor whimpers to Team Bachelorette. "I miss them a lot." That said, I think the poor guy is just exhausted from second, third, fourth, and fifth-guessing himself, and the reality is this: Brooks is the first finalist in franchise history to realize – or, at least, to admit publicly -- that life inside the Bachelor/Bachelorette bubble can make you feel like you're madly in love, but that doesn't make it true.
So, Des, what are you going to do now? It sure sounds like she's not going to settle for a consolation husband. "It breaks my heart knowing I have two amazing, unreal guys who do want to love me, and who do love me. But I just can't love them as much as I know I have to give, and that's not what they deserve," Des says, weeping. "Honestly, for me, it's over."
Well, damn -- that was rough. Am I a complete sucker, or was that actually the most dramatic (first part of a) finale in Bachelorette history... EVER? Though I generally have no sympathy for reality TV contestants (they have no one to blame but themselves, after all), even I would give poor Des a hug after the brutality we witnessed tonight. When you're done sitting in stunned silence, let me know how you're feeling. Are you angry at Brooks, or did he do the right thing? Do you think he'll come running back to Desiree next week? If not, will Des go through the farce of facing Drew and Chris at the Proposal Platform, or will she mercy-kill this "journey" instead? And who do you suppose was more shocked by tonight's events -- Des... or Reality Steve? Post your thoughts below, and then check out Chris Harrison's exclusive blog over on PopWatch. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to weave some palm fronds into the shape of a wine glass -- mama needs a drink.