I hope you had plenty of tissues, because the Bachelor finale was a tear-jerker. If you’re looking for a cynical review making fun of the tackiness of The Bachelor, this isn’t it. If you’ve been reading my recaps all season, you know my opinions of the many tasteless things on The Bachelor, and my frustrations with the over-editing. And, the finale show gave us plenty of things to groan about. But, whether by design or by mistake, the finale show finally let some real emotions show through the contrivances, and it was very romantic and heartwarming.

You’ll see that my recap, particularly of the first half of the show, gives fewer quotes than usual. In part, this is due to a computer glitch that meant I only got a closed-caption transcript of the last hour-and-a-half of the show. But, in any case, I had to summarize more than usual, because the finale was three hours total, and I wanted you to finish reading the recap before Christmas. (Not to worry—the recap is longer than usual, but not three times longer!) The recap does include a close-to-verbatim quote of Byron’s proposal as well as most of Tanya’s comments afterwards. And, the recap includes both the two-hour finale and the live “After the Final Rose” show.

I found the finale show difficult to watch when Tanya was on. Fans of The Bachelor had already figured out from the preview videos that Mary was Byron’s final pick. And, if we weren’t sure already, in the afternoon before the finale, abcmedianet accidentally posted pictures on their Web site of Byron’s proposal to Mary. The pictures were removed from the Web site very quickly, but not before they were captured and posted on Bachelor Web sites. So, knowing that Tanya was going to go home, it was very difficult to watch the scenes of Tanya’s mother meeting Byron, and Tanya meeting Byron’s friends. And, unfortunately, the producers edited the show to try to maximize the suspense by making it seem like Tanya was the one who was going to be chosen.

Let’s move on to the show. Except for a few small side comments here and there, I’m going to recap the show straight through, and put my commentary at the end. And, I’m skipping the summary of the season so far and the preview of tonight’s show.

Byron’s Parents Arrive at the Mansion

After the usual opening long shot of the mansion, we see Byron and Sabrina (his dog) walking down the front steps of the mansion to greet his parents...Byron tells us that he’s especially glad that both of his parents could come, because they are divorced and live on separate sides of the country...I liked both of Byron’s parents, especially his mom, Joan. She is a retired school teacher who is warm, but no nonsense. She wears sensible pantsuits and little or no makeup. She comes across as a person who knows who she is and is not out to impress anyone. She reminded me of Barbara Bush (for whom a I have a lot of respect), but without the pearls...Byron tells his parents that the experience has been difficult, but thinks his parents will be impressed by both women...Byron’s father also seems warm, but plain spoken, and throughout the visit, calls Byron “Byron Paul.”...Byron tells his parents that Mary’s parents might not be coming because Mary was on The Bachelor before, and doesn’t want her parents to get hurt again...Byron tells the camera that if Mary brings her parents it will show him that she is really committed to the relationship.

Mary and Her Parents Visit the Mansion

Next we see Mary greet her parents at the door of her hotel room in Los Angeles...Mary’s parents are from Cuba and don’t speak English, so all her conversation with them was in Spanish...As soon as I saw Mary’s parents, I understood why Mary is so close to them. I fell in love with them immediately. They are both small, and somewhat humble in demeanor, but with a lot of dignity...Seeing Mary with her parents also showed us another side of her. Because Mary speaks with no accent at all, we haven’t seen her Cuban heritage on the show so far...Although the first discussion that we see between Mary and her parents concerns whether or not they will meet Byron, the fact that they have flown to Los Angeles from Tampa says that the decision to meet Byron had already been made...Mary tells her parents that she is nervous because she got hurt before, and doesn’t want to put her parents through that again. But, their opinion of Byron is very important and she wants them to see how comfortable she is with Byron. Mary’s parents assure her that if she is happy, then they are happy, too.

Byron greets Mary at the door with a huge hug...When Byron is introduced to Mary’s parents, he talks to them in very simple Spanish. Then Mary’s parent’s are introduced to Byron’s parents, and the six of them sit outside by the pool...Mary’s mother proposes a toast in Spanish, and Mary translates, “For the happiness of all.”...Byron’s mother asks if Mary’s parents know what he does for a living...Mary says they do, and that, in fact, Mary’s father was a fisherman back in Cuba...Mary’s mother kids that Mary’s dad is too old to fish, that he can’t throw the line anymore. Mary’s dad disagrees...Mary’s father asks Byron what his intentions are, what Byron wants from this experience...Byron says that the experience has been very difficult, and the only reason he is going through it is to find a woman he can spend the rest of his life with, his soulmate, and everything else is minor...Mary’s mom tells Byron that she is happy because she hasn’t seen Mary with such a “big” happiness in a long time. She says that what she sees at the table is something that Mary has been looking for a long time...But, to the camera, Mary’s mom expresses some concerns, because Byron must still choose between Mary and another woman.

Mary asks if she can talk to Byron’s mom alone...Mary tells Byron’s mother that she wants her to know that she is falling in love with her son, and that it’s very important that Joan knows that Mary wants to take care of Byron and wants to be his wife. Mary then laughs and says she can’t believe she’s saying that, because she hasn’t said it to anybody. Mary admits that she’s nervous because tomorrow Byron’s parents will be meeting another woman who is a really wonderful person...Joan tells Mary that she wishes that tonight was the only night because tomorrow is going to be a very difficult situation.

While this conversation is going on, Byron is outside with his father and Mary’s parents...Mary’s father asks Byron (in Spanish) what kind of fishing he does...Byron’s Spanish isn’t great, but good enough that he explains that he fishes for bass and has won three world championship fishing tournaments...Mary’s mother doesn’t understand why Byron would catch such a big fish and then let it go...Mary asks Byron’s dad what his initial impression was of her...He answers: You’ve gotta know where you’re going, you have to know what you want, and I see all the above in you. You show an outward affection toward my son which is very gratifying to me. And, there are no negatives. If there were negatives, the whole group would spot them, but I have yet to see that tonight. You have my vote...Everyone laughs...Mary blows a kiss to Byron’s dad, and says to Byron, “I love your dad. I love your mom.”...Then Byron and his parents walk Mary and her parents to the door...Byron says he was very sad to say good-bye to Mary, but was glad to have some time alone with his parents to get their opinions...Both of Byron’s parents are very impressed, but Byron’s mom says she needs a basis of comparison...Byron tells them that Tanya is equally impressive. They’re going to see the difficulty with his decision...Then Byron’s dad makes the comment that has been quoted out of context in multiple previews, “If we sit here tomorrow night and he’s just as happy and elated with Tanya as he is here tonight, we’ve got a problem, we’ve got a real problem.”

Tanya and Her Mother Visit the Mansion

We next see Tanya ’s mother Peggy meet Tanya at her hotel...Tanya explains in a voiceover that that her father can’t be there because of work...Among other things, Tanya tells her mother that, if she made a list, Byron has everything she’s looking for...Tanya asks her mother how she’d feel if Tanya got engaged...Peggy tells Tanya: It’s your heart...But, Peggy tells the camera that she’s a little skeptical, that it’s such a short period of time for two people to know if it’s the real thing.

Back at the mansion, it’s the next morning, and Byron and his parents are sitting outside...Byron’s mom says that she’s glad that Tanya is coming on a different day, because the night before was so intense, that it wouldn’t have been fair to Tanya. She says that she’s coming into the meeting with Tanya with a clean slate...Byron tells his parents about Tanya , and describes her as a “great spirit.” Byron tells his dad to tease Tanya about the fact that Tanya originally voted for Jay...In an interview, Byron’s dad says that he is seeing a new “Byron Paul,” that Byron now has a sense of where he wants to go in his life and what’s going to make him happy, which Byron’s dad hasn’t seen in a couple of years.

In the limo driving to the mansion, Tanya says she’s nervous, but Tanya ’s mom says she’s not...Tanya says “This is my man’s parents, of course I’m nervous.”...Byron warmly greets Tanya , but, at least to me, he doesn’t seem as excited as when he saw Mary ...However, in a voiceover, Tanya ’s mom says that when she saw Byron, it was “a moment of joy” because the affection was there...Byron leads Tanya and her mom out to the garden to meet Byron’s parents, and, after introductions, they walk back into the house, and Tanya and Byron’s mom share “teacher talk.”...In a voiceover, Byron’s mom describes Tanya as a very confident, secure woman...Byron’s dad asks Tanya what she thinks of Byron’s lifestyle as a fisherman...Tanya replies that she loves the water and lives near a lake, and thinks it’s great that Byron is living his passion...Byron’s mother asks Tanya how she will deal with Byron being gone all the time...Tanya replies that, as a teacher, she gets a lot of breaks, but also says that she’s been single for 31 years, so if Byron goes away for awhile, it won’t be like “empty-nest” syndrome...Byron’s dad asks Tanya why she has never been married...Before Tanya can reply, Byron’s mother quips, “Smart.”...Tanya replies that, in fact, it’s a blessing that it’s taken so long, because she’s a different person than she was even three years ago...Byron’s dad says in an interview that Tanya is a woman of intelligence, who would make Byron Paul very happy...Byron’s mother tells the camera that Tanya would be a perfect fit for Byron.

At dinner Byron and Tanya are sitting next to each other and hold hands and exchange kisses during dinner. (In contrast, Mary and Byron were seated across the table from each other at the dinner with Mary’s parents.)...Byron’s dad does ask Tanya why she picked Jay over Byron, and Tanya gives the same answer she’s given before, that if she’d had any time with Byron before voting, she would have picked Byron...Tanya’s mom says that she can see a lot of similarity between Byron and Tanya...She tells Byron that Tanya said she was going to love him, and “Guess what?”...Tanya ’s mother tells the camera that, despite her initial skepticism, she could see Tanya marrying Byron...Then Byron’s mom asks Tanya if she can talk with her alone for a moment.

Byron’s mom asks Tanya how she would feel if Byron presented her with an engagement ring...Tanya replies: I’d feel great. I’m here for a purpose, and that purpose is Byron...Tanya says that she is falling in love with Byron, and can see him as a wonderful husband and father...Tanya says that she has the highest respect for Byron’s mom, because she’s the one who raised him to be the way he is...Byron’s mom tells Tanya how impressed she is with her, and how much she likes her mother.

Then Byron’s mom asks him to the kitchen to “help her” bring in dessert...She says to Byron, “I’m telling you, boy, you’ve got some work on your hands.”...She tells Byron that what he has been looking for is present in both of the women, but that his life would be very different with each of the two women, so he has to decide which road he wants to go down, and which of the women does Byron sincerely believe wants to go down the road with him...Back at the dinner table, Tanya’s mom says how much she’s enjoyed meeting Byron, and Byron proposes a toast he will live to regret, “Here’s to Christmases in Texas!”...Tanya is thrilled that the meeting went so well, and feels it has pushed their relationship up a notch.

After Tanya and Peggy leave, Byron asks his if he thinks it’s too soon to make a commitment...Byron’s dad replies that when the right time comes, Byron will know what to do. And, if Byron “wants to take this thing to the next level” he’ll back Byron 100%...Byron says in an interview that his parents were very diplomatic, that they were impressed by both Mary and Tanya, but wanted Byron to know that the decision rests with him...Byron’s parents then drive off in the limo.

Tanya Visits Las Vegas

When we next see Byron, he is driving his speedboat on Lake Mead...After he parks his boat, Byron waits for Tanya as she walks up to him at the pier...Byron tells Tanya, “This is my office. This is where I make my living.”...Byron and Tanya sit at a picnic table and exchange kisses...Byron tells Tanya that she’s going to meet his friends, Jason and Carrie, and Mike and Monica...Byron and Tanya then walk to a large party boat that’s docked by the pier, where his friends are waiting...Tanya says she felt immediately comfortable with Byron’s friends...Tanya tells Byron’s friends that she is a special ed teacher...Mike asks Tanya if it is a job she could do anywhere, and she says that she had recently considered a teaching job in Colorado...Monica (who it turns out has known Byron since high school) asks Tanya how she feels about her competition...Tanya laughingly says, “I’m better for him, of course.”...Tanya tells the camera that she has no trouble telling people that she thinks she’s the better fit for Byron, because they have so many things in common, and are “the perfect fit.”

Monica takes Tanya aside for a one-on-one talk...Monica asks Tanya if it will bother her when Byron is gone so much for fishing competitions...Tanya says it won’t be easy but she’ll learn...Monica says that, at certain times of the year, Tanya may feel that she comes in second to “that passion” (fishing)...Tanya replies that she supports it...Monica asks whether Tanya has thought about whether Byron might ask her to marry him, and what she’d say...Tanya says she would say “Yes.”...Monica tells Tanya that if she could draw a picture of Byron’s perfect woman, it would be Tanya, and gives Tanya a big hug...Monica tells the camera that, in the past, Byron has picked women who were very high-maintenance. But, Tanya seems very low maintenance and secure with herself, and Monica says, “She was perfect.”

Back at the table, Mike asks Byron what doubts he has about Tanya ...Byron replies, “I don’t know. We’re very similar. We appreciate each other.”...Carrie asks, “Are you too similar?”...Byron says, “I don’t know.”...Monica and Tanya return to the table, and Carrie asks Byron what he thinks of Tanya. Among other things, Byron describes Tanya as “remarkable” and then leans over and kisses her...As we see Tanya and Byron saying good-bye to his friends, Tanya says in a voiceover that the day was perfect, and a validation of her relationship with Byron.

Next Byron takes Tanya out for a ride on his fishing boat...Tanya tells the camera that it was very sexy to see Byron in his own environment...Then Byron teaches Tanya how to cast a line...They pause between casts for some kisses...Byron tells the camera that he felt sparks when he was out on the lake with Tanya, and that it was great holding her...Then Byron takes Tanya back to his house (which looks very nice, by the way)...They cuddle each other as they stand in front of the refrigerator deciding what to eat...Since this is The Bachelor, they end up sitting on the couch, toasting each other with champagne and kissing...Tanya says she loves his house, and that she loves Byron’s friends.... Byron tells the camera that he thinks Tanya could find a place in his life as he could find a place in hers...Tanya says to Byron, “I had a great time.”...Byron replies, ” I’m glad you’re here.”... It was a very intimate moment...There was no pillow between them this time, as there was when they were on the couch at Tanya ’s house. But, interestingly, as Byron and Tanya are kissing, Tanya touches Byron’s face with her hand (a seemingly intimate gesture), but what it does is cause her arm to make sort of a barrier between them.

Mary Visits Las Vegas

When we next see Mary, she is sitting at an isolated, covered picnic table, seemingly in the middle of nowhere in the desert. It’s an odd setting...Byron drives up in a van, and they give each other a very warm hug...They sit down and Byron says, “Welcome to Lake Mead. This is the tail end of Lake Mead--I won the U.S. Open right here.” (At this point, the camera gives us a wider shot, so we can see that there is water nearby, otherwise I was starting to think that the desert was giving Byron hallucinations.)...Mary asks Byron how yesterday went...Byron says it was great...Mary replies, half kiddingly, “Great? But you weren’t with me.”...Byron says, “Yesterday was yesterday. We’re here now.”

Byron and Mary drive off in the van and pull up to a suburban house, and greet the same four friends that Tanya met the day before...Jason tells the camera that when Byron brought Mary through the door, he realized that he recognized her from an earlier Bachelor, so was instantly put at ease...Jason proposes a toast, and Carrie tells Mary, “I know you, because I’m a Bachelor fan. And, we loved you.”...Byron points out that even though they had seen Mary on The Bachelor, Byron hadn’t seen Mary before he met her...Mike tells the camera that hearing that Mary had been on The Bachelor before made him wonder whether Mary really loves Byron or whether she just really wants to win...Monica asks Mary whether being on The Bachelor before made it easier or more difficult...Mary says that it was harder, and that, in fact, she tried to leave the show twice, but it was Byron who made her stay...Mary tells the group about an earlier rose ceremony when Byron looked at Mary as he gave her the rose, and said, “I want you to stay.”...Both Carrie and Monica get a little misty-eyed as Mary tells the story...Mary says, “Thank god that I did stay,” and Byron echoes that...Carrie tells the camera that as she heard Mary talk, all her worries blew away and she realized that Mary is an amazing match for Byron...Mary tells them she is in real estate, which she could do anywhere...When asked how she’d feel about moving away from Florida, Mary hesitates, and Byron explains that Mary is very close to her family in Florida...Mary says that it would be hard to leave Florida, but if she had a commitment from the right person (looking at Byron as she says this), she would go anywhere...Mike asks Mary if she’s still guarded, knowing that there is someone else...Mary looks at Byron with a loving look, and says, “No.”...Then Mary laughs and says to Byron, “Because if you don’t give me the final rose, I’m going to kick your arse!”...Everyone laughs, including Byron.

Mike tells the camera that everyone was getting so caught up in the moment that it made him wonder if Mary was just selling herself, and it was his job as a friend to find out Mary’s true intentions...So, Mike takes Mary alone into the living room to talk....Mike tells Mary that because she was on the other Bachelor, it makes him wonder if she just wants to win this time...Mary says that she would never think that. She says that she had her heart broken on television, and she realized that you have to get your heart broken and make mistakes along the way to finally come to the love of your life. She says, “I’ve waited 36 years and I want that man (pointing to Byron) to love me as much as I love him.”...Mike asks Mary if she thinks that Byron is going to propose to her...Mary says, “I’m hopeful.”...Then Mary goes off with Jason and Carrie....Mary says to them, “I really want to find my soulmate and I feel like I’ve found it here”...Carrie touches Mary’s arm and says, “I hope that you have.”...Jason asks Mary whether she would marry Byron in two weeks if that was what Byron wanted...Mary answers, “The way I feel right now, I could marry Byron tomorrow.”...Last, Mike pulls Byron aside. He tells Byron that Tanya is great, and thinks she’d add to Byron...He goes on, “But this girl (Mary), I think she’s let her guard down and she’s 100% into you. I could see you falling in love with this girl. I see a girl that you have potential with.”...Byron looks a little shy, and says, “She’s awesome.”...Then Byron and Mary get back in the van, and sit in the back seat, holding each other and kissing.

Next we see Mary and Byron boarding a helicopter for a ride over Lake Mead and down to the Grand Canyon...I’d love to take this helicopter trip, the scenery is awesome...During the ride, Mary and Byron are very lovey dovey, and when the ride is over, Byron carries Mary over his shoulder as she gets off the helicopter...Next they go to Byron’s house, and as they get out of the van, Byron says to Mary , “Welcome home.”...As they walk in the door, Mary says to Byron, “Baby, I love this.”...Byron takes Mary on a tour of his house, and is obviously excited to show her the most important stuff—his boat and his Harley...Then Byron and Mary sit down in front of the fire...Byron brings up his friends, and seems very invested that Mary liked them...Mary says that Byron’s friends were a little tough on her, but that their questions were valid ...Byron assures her that the reason his friends were tough on her is because they don’t want to see Byron get hurt...Mary asks Byron if he sees his life partner here...Byron: In either you or Tanya? Yeah...And, Mary looks at Byron and says, “So?”...There is so much going on her with body language that it’s hard to describe. Mary’s look at Byron is both completely loving, but also teasing him because he isn’t allowed to reveal his choice at this point...And, Byron’s look at Mary when he says “Yeah,” is wonderful, but also frustrated and embarrassed at what he isn’t allowed to say (at least when the cameras are running)...And, Byron says in a voiceover that it’s extremely frustrating at this point that he can’t tell either Mary or Tanya how he is feeling...Byron tells Mary, “I loved having you see the lake and meeting my friends. I loved having you here”...Byron and Mary share a long kiss, and then the camera pans to the front porch, and the porch light goes off and the moon rises...Hmm, it looks like Mary didn’t go home that night. In contrast, the final conversation between Byron and Tanya suggested that she was going home soon, although we didn’t see her departure.

Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?

We come back from commercials to find Byron back at his bungalow, getting out of bed wearing his pajama bottoms, with Sabrina nearby...Then we see Byron outside writing in his journal, leaning against Sabrina, commenting that he’s surprised at how fast this has all happened. But, he’s happy because he knows “where he’s at.”...Byron says, “I’m in love. I’m definitely in love, and I believe that one of these two women could be someone I could spend the rest of my life with.”...As the producers show us scenes of Tanya and Mary, Byron gives a voiceover telling us what he sees in each of the women...Then we watch Byron getting dressed, and he tells us in a voiceover, “Both of these women have qualities that I’ve looked for my whole life” and how difficult the rose ceremony will be because he has to let one of the women go.

At a hotel, Tanya is sitting in bed in her pajama bottoms and tank top, writing in her journal...Then, the camera pans to a different hotel and we see Mary getting up and making herself coffee...Both women tells us in voiceovers that they are excited and nervous about the upcoming rose ceremony...Next, we are back at the mansion, and Byron is meeting a man at the door who is carrying a metal briefcase. Hmm, hush money in small bills?...No wait, I recognize this somewhat smarmy-looking man. He’s the guy from the jewelry store in the last Bachelor episode and in Bachelorette 2...He introduces himself to Byron as Paul Tacori, and all becomes clear, because Tacori was the brand of wedding ring offered on both those shows...The jeweler lays out about six rings for Byron to choose from. Byron says that he’s so nervous his hands are shaking (and they are)...Back at the hotel, Tanya is still in her pajama bottoms and tank top but is putting on makeup. What, no shower in the morning? And, the rose ceremony isn’t until tonight. Why is she putting on makeup so early?...In a voiceover, we see more scenes of Tanya and Byron together and Tanya telling us that she hopes to tell Byron tonight how much she loves him when he gives her the final rose.....Apparently Mary doesn't take a morning shower either, because we next see her in an identical scene to Tanya’s, putting on makeup wearing her pajama bottoms and tank top (clearly the official nightwear choice of The Bachelor)....In a voiceover as we are shown scenes of Mary and Byron together, Mary says she is excited about the future because she knows she’s going to love Byron even more as time goes on...Back at the mansion, Byron has picked out the ring, and he walks the jeweler to the door, as the producers show us the sun setting.

Next we see Tanya in a long black dress, putting the final touches on her makeup, and then getting in a limo...And, we see Mary wearing a (different) black dress doing the same thing...We hear voiceovers (again) from both women telling us how nervous and excited they are...Sheesh, guys, let’s get on with it...Unlike Bachelorette 5, neither of the women throws up in the limo, and none of the voiceovers are anything we haven’t heard before, so I’m going to skip them...Back in his bungalow, Byron is looking at the pictures of the two final women, and telling us that he is excited, but saddened that he has to send one of the women home....Next we get more quotes from the women riding in the limos...The only thing that makes Mary different from Tanya is that Mary is virtually in tears, and keeps rubbing under her eyes to make sure her makeup doesn’t smear.

Byron Says Good-Bye to Tanya

As dramatic music plays, Byron walks out onto a flower- and candle-decked platform erected on top of the pool...Then we see a limo pull up to the mansion...In his first appearance tonight, Chris the doorman, uh host, opens the car door to reveal—Tanya ...Chris greets her, and then walks her through the mansion into the backyard where Byron is waiting...Since the voiceover from Tanya says virtually exactly the same things as the previous voiceovers, I’ll use this interval to describe Tanya ’s dress...Bluntly, it looks more like something Cindy would wear. (And, if you’ve been reading my recaps, you know that that’s not a compliment.)...The dress is very low cut with her boobs hanging out, and the top half is cut in the back, to leave a slit at the side, so that the top half of her dress almost looks like a bra (but is connected in front). Go look at the pics, I know I’m not describing it very well. Still, despite the dress, Tanya looks better than I ever have or ever will...Geez, this walk is taking forever...Finally, Chris arrives at the door to the backyard, and says to Tanya , “Byron is waiting for you. Good luck.”...When Byron first sees Tanya, he says, “Wow! Oh my god!” and gives her a big hug.

Byron says to Tanya : I have so much to say to you. I remember when we first met and noticing you by the pool and the beauty I saw in you. I had no idea how beautiful you would be on the inside. And, I fell for you so hard. It's been a whirlwind. I remember so many great things about us. I know when we were on the roof in Vancouver, and we talked, and we shared so many dreams, and started building the idea of our future. I've loved the qualities you have. I've loved the life you've shown me. I've loved who you are ...BTW, Byron’s actual delivery of these lines was much more nervous and not as smooth as this quote. He seems very sincere and warm as he talks, and is almost in tears...Byron goes on: I've only had a problem with – I haven't fallen in love with you. That's hard for me to admit to you right how, staring at you like this. I can't believe I'm letting someone as beautiful, intelligent, as kind and as caring as you go. As difficult as it is to admit that, I've got to make one decision tonight, and it's not an easy decision to make. But, it's a decision I have to live with. But I cherish you, I adore you, and I'm so sorry it's come to a point where I have to say the things I'm saying right now.

All through this speech, Tanya doesn’t say a word, and her facial expression is very unemotional...She lets Byron hug her, and then Byron takes her hand and walks her back down the path. It looked to me like Tanya was leading, and was walking as fast as possible...At the limo, Byron takes Tanya ’s hand, and says, “I am so sorry it hurts.”...Tanya cuts Byron off and gives him a look. In an angry voice (well, as angry as Tanya ever seems to get), she says, “I'm speechless. I feel like a fool. I feel like I've been lied to and...Byron interrupts her and says, “I didn't lie to you. And there is no deception.”...Tanya interrupts Byron, and looks at him as if she hasn’t believed a word he said tonight, “I’m just giving you my truthful feelings, okay? Just let me finish, please. Whether or not it's what you were trying to put across, my heart's broken, Byron. I was falling in love. But, I can't make you love me, and I can't make you want to be with me. Maybe there were things I should have told you a long time ago, and I didn't. I tried. Maybe you shut me out at some point. I thought I was the one that was giving you everything. I thought I was being 100% true to who I was. And if you didn't see it, there's nothing I could do about that. You've made your decision...Byron sighs, and opens the limo door for Tanya to get in, and she drives away.

As the limo drives off, Byron walks back into the house, and we hear a voiceover from him saying that saying good-bye to Tanya was a miserable experience. (And, Byron does look miserable.)...Byron goes on to say: But I have to move forward. I would walk through a million pains, a million rose ceremonies to have found Mary .

In the limo, Tanya is clearly upset and angry, but is still very cool...Tanya: I think Byron gave up on me too soon. He's blind. I think he made a huge mistake. I can't make him love me. If he's in love with someone else, he's in love with someone else. I gave him my heart. And, he took it and basically stepped on it. I'm just a fool. I've been thinking that there was something more, and there wasn't.

Byron Proposes to Mary

As romantic music plays, Byron walks back out to the platform over the pool...Mary pulls up in her limo. Chris once again walks up to the limo and opens the door...As he greets Mary, he gives her a warm smile and a hug, then walks her through the house...Mary is wearing a black, halter top dress with a very low back, and her hair down...As Byron waits for Mary, we hear a voiceover from him...Byron: I didn't expect to find Mary. And I'm falling in love with everything I see inside of her. I know her to be so much more than anything I've found in the past, and I have feelings for her that ring truer and are stronger than anything else I have ever known...As Chris leaves Mary to walk the final part alone, he gives her another hug and a warm smile...Mary nervously walks, even crossing her arms at one point...When she sees Byron, she smiles, and puts her hands on her face in nervousness, but keeps walking. Byron is beaming at her, and when she walks up to him, he whispers to Mary, “Hola.” (Hello)... Byron gives Mary a huge hug and whispers, “Oh god.”...Then Byron says to Mary, “Tu eres muy bonita.” (You are very beautiful)...Mary smiles and laughs, but says, “I'm so scared...Byron takes her hands and says: Don't be scared. How you feel?...Mary : Better, now that you're near me. But I'm still trembling...Byron: I noticed.

Then Byron looks Mary in the eyes, and says, half whispering, “I'm so glad you didn't give up. I know you wanted to. I know you wanted out of here. I know you tried to walk away. I'm so glad you didn't. I can't imagine losing you. I feel blessed. I feel like everything that I was looking for is embodied in you. I didn't know if it was really gonna be here, but it's here, and it's you. And I'm the luckiest guy in the world for that. Mary, I have fallen so in love with you... Mary: I love you, too.

Byron: I can't believe it's happened so fast. (But) there is something.”...Mary sort of looks away as if she doesn’t want to hear this... Byron: There is something. And I've thought a lot about one particular thing that I've been struggling with, and I cannot.”...Mary looks like she expects that Byron to say he isn’t ready to propose, and she says to him, “It’s okay.”...Byron prolongs the suspense: “No, I’ve got to say this to you. I cannot see something happening tonight. I've thought long and hard about it, and there's something I just cannot see happening right now”...Mary says to Byron again, “It’s okay” ...Byron: You don’t know what I’m saying. I cannot see myself spending another minute without you as my wife...Then Byron gets down on one knee, and Mary puts her hands over her face, first laughing, then crying...Byron whispers, “Mary” and gets her to look at him...Byron says, in Spanish, ”I would be honored if you would be my wife.” then repeats it in English...Byron is still on his knees and Mary says to him, “I love you, Byron Paul...Byron: I love you, Maribel...Mary hugs Byron around the waist, and then he gets up...Mary : I want to spend my life with you...Byron: Oh, my god. I'll spend my whole life with you. We're gonna spend our lives together. We're gonna be together forever. I know this...Then Byron gives Mary a long kiss, while her new ring glints in the candlelight and romantic guitar music plays...Then Mary laughs and says: Then you hand me that rose over there...Byron holds the rose, and looks at Mary and says,” This, Mary Delgado, is my final rose. I will honor you. I will cherish you. I will make you so happy”...Mary: This is finally my fairy-tale ending...As they kiss and laugh, we hear a voiceover from Mary: I am so excited that I just want to jump into Byron's arms and stay there for the rest of my life. I'm in love with him. I am so in love with Byron...As Byron and Mary hug and kiss, Byron looks at her, and says, “My wife.”...And, Mary laughs and smiles back, “And my husband”...Then Mary jumps up and down and yells, “I love this man so much!”...In a voiceover Byron says: Mary is everything to me. I'm the luckiest man on earth right now, because I have found the woman who's everything I've ever hoped to find in this lifetime. I definitely found my soulmate.

Next Season on The Bachelorette

While the producers know that they have our attention, we are abruptly taken away from this romantic scene to a long promotion for Bachelorette 3 starting January 10, with Jen Schefft as the bachelorette...In a welcome change, the producers have changed venues, and the new Bachelorette takes place in New York City...The promo is kinda corny, with a theme song of “It Had To Be You” and is a little too reminiscent of Mary Tyler Moore throwing her hat in the air. Still, I liked Jen Schefft when she was on The Bachelor with Andrew Firestone, so I’m looking forward to the new show.

As the credits for The Bachelor roll, we see outtakes of Byron and Mary embracing by the pool and Mary kidding Byron that they should jump in.

After the Final Rose

The producers don’t want to lose any viewers, so we go immediately to the live “After the Final Rose” (AFR) show without any commercials in between...To cheers and applause from a studio audience, Chris comes out on stage...Chris: We are live in Hollywood, California. What you just saw was the most emotional proposal we have ever had. While we just saw it for the first time, Byron and Mary have had to keep their engagement a secret from everyone, for three, long months. They are here tonight. They will be reunited in public for the very first time...Chris goes on: to say that they are also live in Tampa Bay, Florida, where Mary’s friends and family are celebrating...On the big screen, we see a large family group, including Mary’s parents...Chris: But, everyone isn't on cloud nine this evening. Tanya is here. She's not happy. She thought she was getting the ring from Byron. Instead, she got a rejection and the limo home. Tonight, she confronts him for the first time right here on this stage...Then Chris says that Tanya’s family in Houston thought that Byron would be celebrating the holidays with them, but now plans have changed, and they will be joining us later live.

Everybody Loves Mary

First, it’s Mary’s turn on stage...Chris: America fell in love with her on a previous season of The Bachelor. This time, she came out smelling like a rose. Here she is, Mary Delgado...Mary comes out from backstage to wild cheers and applause...Mary is wearing a calf length brown silk dress, with her hair partly pulled back, and very high heels. She looks great and very happy and excited...Chris: Second time around a little bit better for you?...Mary: Absolutely. 100%...Chris: That night, you got out of the limo and just about ripped my arm off, you were so nervous. What was going through your head when you saw Byron and you were walking out there?...Mary: I wanted to get to him right away because I was so nervous. Every time I would get in front of him, he would calm me down. I knew as soon as I held his hands, I'd be okay...Chris: Here's some more of the raw emotions between you and Byron, during the proposal...They show a video of a portion of Byron’s proposal...Since I gave you pretty much the entire proposal a few paragraphs up, I'm not going to repeat it here. Suffice to say that it was just as moving and romantic seeing it the second time...Chris asks Mary what it was like to watch her own proposal...Mary says it was like she was there again and is still shaking now.

Byron Joins Mary Onstage

Chris goes on: Speaking of (Byron), you've had to keep a secret for three, long months...Mary: God, that was so hard...Chris introduces Byron, and Byron comes out from backstage to the same loud cheers and applause as Mary received...Byron and Mary embrace...Chris: All right, you two. Can I get a fire extinguisher up here, please?...Chris says to Byron: You were a little skeptical coming into this. Did you ever dream it would end up this good?...Byron: No. You can't. It's beyond anything I could have hoped for. But,I went into this optimistic. And thinking, why me? A 40-year-old, divorced bass fisherman. If I'm going to be the bachelor, she must be waiting at the other end of the rainbow. And you are...Then Chris turns to Mary: Mary , it almost didn't happen. You wanted to leave twice this season...Mary: Boy, what a mistake I would have made if I did that...Byron: Thank you so much for not leaving...Mary: I'm so glad that I stayed. I tried to hide a lot of my feelings because I was so scared. But, like I said, every time that Byron held my hands, he made me more comfortable and made me want to stay.

Then Chris shows us footage of Mary’s family’s reaction as Byron proposed...Chris asks Mary: What's it like watching your family?...Mary: I love them so much. I'm so glad they were part of the proposal. How amazing that Byron (proposed) in Spanish, so my mom and dad could understand. That meant so much to me...Byron: I thought that was the most important thing, that they be a part of that. I wanted them to know what I was saying. I didn't want them to have doubt what I felt for you...Then Chris tells Mary that her mom has a special message for her...Mary’s mom says (in Spanish) that she’s happy because she now has another son in the family.

Chris then greets Byron’s mom Joan, who is in the studio audience. He asks her for her reaction to Byron’s proposal...Joan: After meeting her on the show, I was absolutely sure she was the one...Chris asks why...Joan: The connection, definitely. You could really see it...Then Chris turns to Byron: Byron, I know you have a surprise for Mary and you wanted to do it in front of your mom and her family...Byron turns to Mary: As you know, it's been a long while, and we’ve missed each other desperately...Then Byron gets down on one knee on the floor facing Mary. First he puts a book on the couch, and then reaches in his pocket...Byron says to Mary: Is this reminding you of anything?...Mary: Yes, it is. But don't play a trick on me...Byron: As I said that night, I don't want to spend another day in this world without you as my wife. To that end, would you like to wear your ring again? ...Mary: I would love to put it on...Byron: Would you please wear this ring?...Mary: Now I get to tell the world how much I love you...Then Mary waves her hand to show off her ring to big applause and cheers.

Byron then sits back on the couch, and picks up the book, which turns out to be the journal he used during the show...Byron: Now, I got a couple surprises. Unbeknownst to Mary, I saved our final rose...Byron hands the pressed rose to Mary...Byron: She thought we lost our final rose. It became my bookmark for my journal...Chris (in his announcer voice): Mary, that is the final rose tonight...Mary: This is the best rose I have ever received...Then Byron goes on: I was keeping a journal throughout the course of the show. There's one passage in here I want to read. As you know, I feel guardian angels had a lot to do with me becoming part of this show. People have died recently in my life. And I think this happened for a reason. I think when someone passes away their spirit is pretty close to you. I wrote this in my journal one day. It’s just a part of when I realized-I’ll just go...Byron reads: "She's here. And in a rush of afternoon wind, John McRae, Jeff Oliver, and my grandfather, brushed my face as I walked across the estate to send home the message that Mary is the one and the journey is complete. I was moved to tears. What a feeling in a moment to know this is all very real. And Mary is my future. I know there are three souls that have become my guardian angels. And on this afternoon, they sent the confirmation of a strong spiritual gust of energy-charged wind to let me know.”...Byron never explains who the three people are, but his mother clearly knows, because she is in tears as are the rest of us, including Mary’s family, and yes, me...Byron continues to read, “My mom and dad are touched. I'm overwhelmed. Mary is what this whole experience has culminated into. I cherish this, cherish them, and I cherish her.

Then Chris says: We all want details. Is there a date?...Mary kids: Well, actually, we’re going to Las Vegas tomorrow and elope. Just kidding!...Chris asks again: Is there a date?...Mary answers: We don't have a date yet. But, we're thinking it's going to be sometime in the next year...Chris: The plans have already started. Is there a dress already? ...Mary: No dress yet...Byron: We're dying to be a real couple and be out in public...Chris: To that end, you (Byron) live in Vegas. You (Mary) live in Florida. Where are you going to live?...Mary looks at Byron and says: Well, Byron has a one-way ticket to Tampa, Florida. He's coming home with me. And we're going to look for a home together there. And live there together...Chris: So, just so I clear this up, so everybody knows--you guys are going to get married this year?...Byron: Tomorrow morning we’re going to be on a plane...Mary: We're going to be there for Thanksgiving. ...Chris to Byron: You are going home to Tampa. Will be married this year?...Byron: I can't see taking her away from her family and friends. It wouldn't be fair to her and to the people she loves...Chris: You fish on Lake Mead in Vegas. That's a big deal...Byron: My tour starts in Florida. My sponsors are big behind me being a part of fishing the tour and bringing her to the tournaments. We're going to go to fishing tournaments in January...Mary: I'm going to be a fishergirl. Something like that.

Tanya Gets Her Say

After commercials, Chris is on stage alone...Chris: About a half hour ago, America watched as Byron proposed to Mary in the most romantic proposal yet, minutes after telling Tanya he hadn't fallen in love with her. It's not easy for her to be here. I really appreciate it...Chris introduces Tanya and she walks out from backstage...Tanya is wearing a knee-length, strapless, white dress—much prettier, classier, and more modest than the one she wore on the final night. She looks great...Chris thanks Tanya for being here, and says he knows she wants some answers. But first, Chris shows a tape of Tanya’s final words with Byron...Most of the tape is footage we’ve seen earlier, but there are a few additional scenes...In the limo, Tanya comments: That was the shortest breakup I've ever had in my entire life. We were there for three minutes and he walked me back to the limo...We also see new footage of Tanya’s comments to Byron before getting in the limo...Tanya: I know Mary’s in this house somewhere, and that kills me...Byron: No, she's not. You're wrong. She's not in this house...Tanya: I don't care where she is, really...Then we hear from Tanya in the limo again: He built me up to be amazing. And then he said, "Bye, I don't love you." No reasons. Nuthin'.”

After the tape is over, Chris asks Tanya why she said she felt “played.”...Tanya replies that she felt very misled by Byron because they had talked about a lot of things related to their future together, such as building a home together and having children. She felt that they talked about the kind of things you’d only talk about in a serious relationship, not a casual one....Chris asks if there was one specific thing that made Tanya think she was “the one.”...Tanya replies that it was a lot of things—the way they interacted, strong chemistry, and an amazing bond. And things were said between them that showed a future....Chris then says that Tanya has also had to keep a secret for three months. Tonight, in Houston, Tanya’s family watched the finale together...Chris greets a crowd sitting in a living room, including Tanya’s mom and a couple of the friends we met on the hometown visit. Everyone is completely silent...Chris: Let's go to your mom. Do you have anything you'd like to say to your daughter, Peggy?...Peggy tells Tanya that she loves her and has her support, and that she’s in a win-win situation...Then Chris goes back and forth a couple of times between Peggy and Tanya to get comments from each of them on how hard it was (in case it wasn’t obvious already).

Tanya Confronts Byron

Chris: Tanya , you haven't seen Byron since he shut the door on that limo that night. I know you have a lot of questions for him. You asked for some alone time. We're going to give it to you right now...Byron comes back on stage and gives Tanya a hug, and they exchange a few words that we can’t hear... Chris says to Tanya that she only got three minutes the first time, what would she like to talk to Byron about?... Tanya: I think that night I didn't get to say a few things, just because it was very intense. And there was a lot of shock. The main thing was that when I was getting ready to get into the limo, I’d asked you how long had you felt that I wasn't the one for you. You mentioned eight to ten days...Byron starts to talk, but Tanya asks him to let her finish...Tanya: For me, it was very hurtful. And I know it wasn't intended that way. When I did the math, that took me back almost to (my) hometown date. This whole time that my heart was opening and developing, (you) had shut it because (you) knew. And, I thought, “Why did he keep me around for this long?” I felt misled, and kind of betrayed, and maybe inadvertently lied to. It's one thing to hurt me. But we met families. And you met my mother. And that's a whole other ball game for me. To hear that you knew...Byron cuts in: I didn't know that far in. (That night) I thought what you were asking was when (was I) having feelings for Mary and yourself. And I don't believe that I had a closure. I was still very confused when it was Cindy and Mary and yourself. If you would have gone back to the beginning of the show, I would have thought Jayne was the one, as everybody did. And ultimately, things change. These relationships are all happening at the same time...Tanya: I understand that. That clarifies it completely.

Byron goes on: I didn't intentionally hurt your mom. And I didn't have eight to ten days locked. With us, I think we were falling in...Tanya stops Byron again, and Chris says to Byron: She wants to talk. This is her time....Tanya: I’m trying. Where's that “off” button?...Byron laughs sheepishly...Tanya: I understand where you're coming from. At that moment, I didn't know all that. All I got out of you was eight to ten days. This is the conversation we didn't get to have. So, when I probably came across as angry or something, it wasn't that. It was shock. It had nothing to do with not being proposed to. That was the whole reason you were there, for you to find your one, true love. If that's not me, you don't need to be with me. Because there's someone else out there for me. And for you and Mary to find that with one another. I think that's wonderful. My biggest hurt was that comment, and it’s clarified now. And coming off of, as they showed, the shortest breakup ever, I was just, like. “Whoa. We're back at the limo.”

Chris then says that Tanya’s friend Mandy is in the audience and has a question for Byron...Mandy says to Byron that when they met him in Plano, he seemed by his actions and affection for Tanya that he was falling in love with her. Was that true, or does he always act that way?... Byron: I loved so many things about Tanya . We had started off at such a bang. It was flowing so naturally. (But) what I kept noticing was that she, we weren't bridging that gap of opening up even more. I wanted her to open up more. We would kiss and be together and be close. But it wasn't becoming that burning, loving, feeling sensation that you have inside. I love everything about her. (But) ultimately, I didn't find myself falling in love with her...Chris says to Tanya: Is that true? Not opening up?...Tanya: I felt I was opening up. It's always difficult because a situation's not 100% natural. Maybe it's just not something that -- in the way he wanted it.

Then Chris steps in and says to Tanya that her friend Becky back in Houston has some questions for Byron...Becky says that she agrees with everything Mandy said earlier, but has one more question...Becky: Byron, why (did you make) that statement about toasting Christmas in Texas? That to me, felt true at the minute you said it. Then, just a day or so later, it turned out to be a lie...Byron answers: It's not a lie. It's a potential future. What you’re doing in the course of this show is having hopes. You hope you might -- Can you see yourself having Christmas in Texas? Can you see yourself having Christmas in Tampa? You're having multiple feelings for multiple people. I was being true to each of the relationships and I wasn't lying...Chris thanks the folks in Houston, then turns to Tanya, thanks her for coming, and says he hopes this helped...Tanya: It was good.

Mary, Tanya, and Byron Onstage Together

When we return, Byron and Tanya are still onstage...Then Chris brings Mary back onstage to big cheers, and Mary and Tanya share a long hug. Mary sits on one side of Byron, deliberately far away from him, while Tanya sits on Byron’s other side...Chris asks Mary how difficult it was to hear Tanya’s comments....Mary: I remember myself being in that same position. And wondering why, as well. So, my heart was really breaking for you...Chris: Is it tough to hear the things Byron says about another woman like that? ...Mary: It is and it isn't. The heart feels what it does. Everything happens for a reason. I know you're an exceptionally beautiful woman inside and out. I know your prince charming is out there somewhere...Chris says to Tanya: Now you can start dating...Tanya says enthusiastically: Three months. I’m ready!...Chris asks Tanya if she has any last words for Mary and Byron before she goes:...Tanya: I wish both of you the best. I'm glad y'all found one another on this. It's the reason we did this.

Lame Questions From the Audience

Chris then asks the audience if they have any questions...First question: What's the first thing you two want to do together....Chris: Be careful. We're live...Byron: Be a couple outside of “the bubble.” Just go down a pier and walk on a beach...The second question is from a man who says his wife wants to know what Mary’s wedding colors will be...Everyone thinks this is a strange question, and Mary hedges and says she doesn’t even have a favorite color and hasn’t decided...Chris then thanks Tanya for being there and says he hopes she got the answers she was looking for... Then Tanya hugs both Mary and Byron, and exchanges a few words with Mary that sound like plans to keep in touch, before she leaves the stage to loud cheers and applause.

Comic Moments From the Show

Chris then tells Byron and Mary that he’s going to do them a big favor and lighten things up... Chris: My favorite part of the show--this is where I sing show tunes. No. ...Everyone dutifully laughs, but it’s clear that there’s a reason why the producers don’t let Chris talk very much....Chris goes on to introduce a video of some comic moments and outtakes from the show. They include Chris flubbing his lines and samples of Byron and several of the women making faces. Here are a few more, but like most “outtakes” they are funnier to watch than to describe...Byron is standing in front of the pictures of the women, and Tanya’s picture suddenly falls down. Byron quips, “Tanya almost killed me!”...Tanya and Byron are in the in the car/boat on their earlier date, and apparently the car starts to smoke. Tanya jokes, “Are we going down? Because I want out if we are”...On one of the earliest shows, Krysta is sitting in a formal dress with several women, and one woman asks her if she’s going to be a fisherwoman...Krysta answers: Hell yes! Where's my rod? Don't think I won't fish in this outfit. The fish see this outfit, they'll jump out of the boat to me...Tanya and Byron are in a hot tub, and apparently the boom mike gets too close, because Byron grabs it and yells, “I got one! Reel it in!”...Byron does a surprisingly good imitation of robo-Chris...Byron and Mary are kissing in the back of the van on the Las Vegas trip, and as Mary leans over Byron, he kiddingly says, “Oh! You just kneed me, and you busted my nose. A broken nose, and the family jewels are gone”...Byron is being interviewed in a blue bathrobe, and he says, “There’s just something about Mary.” and totally cracks up...The last scenes are outtakes from their final interviews after Byron proposes...The outtake video was very cute. It made me realize once again that there were probably lots of great moments on the show before the producers decided to edit them out in favor of scripted comments.

After the outtake video, Chris says: It's always fun watching yourself on television. You're never quite as cool as you think you are, are you?...Note from me: Uh, particularly not you, Chris...Then Chris asks Byron and Mary if there is one embarrassing moment they remember...Both Byron and Mary hedge, and then Mary says: I wish we could take back the wedgie...Then Chris says that they have a little engagement present, and Byron’s dog Sabrina is in on it...We see Sabrina on the video screen with a picture of Byron and Mary hanging from her collar.

Final Words

When we come back from commercials, Chris, Byron, and Mary are standing on the stage holding champagne glasses. Chris says: Our bachelor, Byron, has found the woman of his dreams. So, my job is done here. He and Mary are engaged and planning their futures together. Before we toast, we have a little surprise for you two. Check this out...On the big screen, we see Sabrina sitting outside in a car...Chris: Byron, we borrowed Sabrina earlier today and had her check out your new ride that's waiting outside. A brand-new 2005 Pontiac G6...Chris hands Byron the keys, but Byron says, “I’m giving it to her” and Mary quickly takes the keys...Chris: And, I'm not going to stick you with the taxes. We're taking care of that...Ha! Nice little dig at Oprah’s car giveaway, where the recipients were responsible for their own taxes....Then Chris raises his glass: The best to Mary and Byron and your futures together...They all toast, and then we go back to Tampa for last good-byes from Mary’s family in both Spanish and English...After thanking Tanya’s family back in Houston and the studio audience, Chris asks us to join him on a brand-new night for a new season of The Bachelorette, starting Monday, January 10.

Over the credits, we see Mary and Byron sharing hugs with Byron’s mom and his friends from Las Vegas who are in the audience. It also appears that Byron goes over to talk to Tanya’s friend Mandy.

Parting Thoughts

The season finale of The Bachelor, with all its faults, is still my favorite episode of the show. In the end, the romantic in me wins out over the cynic, and I get out my Kleenex and wallow in the romance.

But, the basic plot of The Bachelor has a flaw, and it may be a fatal flaw (which isn’t helped by the way the producers have edited the show). When the final couple is in love, as Mary and Byron seem to be, we want to be happy for them. However, the plot of the show requires Byron to lead on the other women, so that they are genuinely surprised and hurt when they are sent home. So, as happy as we want to be for Mary and Byron, we still feel bad that just days before he proposed to Mary, we saw Byron kissing Tanya.

Frankly, the plot of The Bachelor puts Byron in a lose-lose situation. If he hadn’t proposed to any of the women, we would have accused him of coming on the show only to further his career and to kiss as many women as possible. But, because Byron did fall in love with Mary, we were left feeling like Byron was a jerk because he led Tanya on (as the show required him to do).

Personally, I’ve decided to give Byron the benefit of the doubt for several reasons. The first is that we know, particularly from comments Meredith made after The Bachelorette, that the producers put a lot of pressure on the Bachelor/Bachelorette to lead on the one who’s going home, to maximize suspense for the show.

We don’t know exactly when Byron knew for sure it was Mary. He said to Tanya in the AFR show that he hadn’t made a final decision eight to ten days before, and I believe that. But, after closely watching the finale, it looked to me like Byron knew for sure by the time Mary came to visit him in Las Vegas. A number of commenters have felt that Byron was a jerk for kissing Tanya only the days before he proposed to Mary. And, in a normal relationship situation, Byron would have been a jerk if he had done that. But, under the terms of his Bachelor contract, Byron wasn’t allowed to have a “normal” relationship. Personally, I personally think that Byron genuinely cared for Tanya, and even loved her. I don’t know if you can truly be “in love” with two people at the same time, but you can certainly love more than one person. I have. But, sometimes, as the song goes, “You have to make up your mind.”

It was interesting to watch the final dates on The Bachelor, because, at least to me, the difference between Byron when he was with Mary and when he was with Tanya was obvious. Clearly Byron cared for Tanya and enjoyed her company, but there was a spark missing with Tanya that was obvious when Byron was with Mary. Tanya reminds me a lot of Matthew from Bachelorette 2 (who is also from Texas and would be a great match for Tanya). Tanya uses emotional words, but I just don’t see the same outward passion with her that I see in Mary. As much as he cared for Tanya, Byron has a passionate and romantic side, and it seemed as if Mary sparked that side of him, while Tanya didn’t, even though he cared for her.

I do have to give Tanya credit for how she conducted herself on the AFR show. Unlike Matthew on Bachelorette 2, whose continued hurt feelings kept us from feeling good about Meredith and Ian, Tanya seemed like she’d already at least begun to move on. She said what she needed to say to Byron, then she genuinely wished Mary and Byron well, and got off the stage. Tanya looked great on the show, and seemed excited about dating again, and I genuinely wish the best for her.

One more footnote on giving Byron the benefit of the doubt. During the show, one of Byron’s ex-girlfriends had claimed that Byron had continued to date her during and after the show, and also said she had intimate photos of she and Byron. This made many of us wonder whether Byron was really the nice guy he seemed like on the show. However, on November 16, it was reported that a pro-football player in Virginia was granted a restraining order against the same woman, claiming that she had taken their failed relationship to obsessive levels. For me, at least, this puts grave doubts on the woman’s credibility as a source about information about Byron. I say, just leave Byron’s past alone, and let him move on. It’s between Byron and Mary now, and if Mary is happy, then I am happy.

As for us, we now have a new season of The Bachelorette to look forward to. I always like The Bachelorette more than The Bachelor. And, with any luck, the producers will have learned something from the low ratings of The Bachelor this season, and will stop editing all the spontaneity out of the show. If nothing else, setting The Bachelorette in New York will give us a break from the mansion, and provide some new venues for dates.

If Jokerette lets me, I hope to be back with recaps of The Bachelorette in January. Until then, have wonderful holidays. This princess no longer believes in fairy tale endings. But, although I may be a cynic on the outside, inside I still get teary-eyed at a moving marriage proposal. Despite their best efforts to ruin the show, the producers of The Bachelor somehow can’t manage to edit out love. Here’s a Bachelor toast, “To guilty pleasures!”