Over the past few seasons, it’s become the norm for seasons to end unconventionally and usually with some form of a twist. Former Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. (season 22) cursed the franchise in 2018 when he proposed to Becca Kufrin, dumped her and then proposed to his runner-up Lauren Burnham after filming wrapped. 

Since then, season finales have only gotten more chaotic with Colton Underwood’s infamous fence jump and self-exit from his own season, the Jed Wyatt scandal of Hannah Brown’s season and Pilot Pete with his messy happy ever after with fifth-runner up Kelley Flanagan.

This time around, Tayshia broke the curse by going the simple, unproblematic route — ending with a traditional proposal but a not-so-confident “I do.” She led a stunning season, better than most, but it was almost too predictable that she was always going to pick the safest option in the end. Remember, Tayshia Adams wasn’t looking for the person she was most compatible or had the most chemistry with. If that was the case, Ben Smith would have received the final rose. 

Due to her past divorce, she was always going to pick the choice that meant a safe, successful marriage for her. In her eyes, that meant Zac Clark. The couple may have ended season 16 with an engagement, but something felt extremely off-putting about it all. Here’s some things to take away from the season finale of The Bachelorette:

The one who got away: Ben

Ben, Ben, Ben. If only you didn’t twiddle your thumbs. The chemistry, the compatibility, the respect, the love was all there between the two, but that amounted to nothing when Ben couldn’t translate his feelings to words. I’ll check the stats, but if a contestant leaves only to come back, there is usually a 0% chance they will make it to the end and a 100% chance the second departure will be all the more embarrassing and heartbreaking than the first.

Watching Ben and Tayshia’s relationship felt like this massive, burning flame that kept growing throughout the entire season until it was instantly blown out when he didn’t vocalize his love after hometowns. Even when he tried to rekindle the spark after regretting the words he should’ve said, it was all too late for Tayshia. 

Nonetheless, he was clearly the one who Tayshia had the most connection with. If anything was shocking during the finale, it was that she didn’t pick Ben. 

The situation reminded me of a poem I wrote way back in the depths of Hannah Brown’s chaotic season that went something along the lines of: “Roses are red; violets are blue; Hannah, if you don’t pick Tyler, Bachelor Nation will come for you.” 

It aged well because it still perfectly applied to how we all felt about wanting Tayshia to pick Ben. Similarly to Hannah, she doesn’t pull through by choosing the fan favorite but instead goes the safe, anticlimactic, kind of boring route. 

Ben for The Bachelor 2022, please. 

Weirdest goodbye: Ivan

If not Ben, Ivan was also fully expected to be with Tayshia in the end. It was all in the cards, and he was also another very mature, very safe option. They had great chemistry; bonded on levels deeper than any of the other contestants; talked about serious issues; were falling in love with each other; set a world record together. But in the end, it all came down to their mysterious, off-camera conversation about religion. 

Right before the rose ceremony, Tayshia pulls Ivan aside to explain that despite their bond, they aren’t compatible about the issue of religion, which is very important to her. It was very strange because at no point in the season is religion even discussed by any of the contestants, let alone Tayshia herself. The footage must have been edited out of the final cut or was a conversation that happened behind closed doors during fantasy suites.

Religion is obviously important to consider when calculating the compatibility and future potential within a relationship, and she was rightfully entitled to her decision. However, it is very suspicious that Tayshia seemed so religiously motivated out of absolutely nowhere. During her three-Bachelor franchise appearances, she has never once emphasized her faith, which apparently is something so important that it was a breaking factor in a strong relationship.  

“I wish I could say that there were a lot of red flags prior to this week. And there haven’t been,” she tells him. “It’s just like, at the end of the day, religion’s part of my morals and my beliefs.” 

Ivan takes it well and respectfully. However, Tayshia’s comments were very off-putting and condescending, which added to the poor character she showed in the finale.  She chooses to not even specifically address the differences, only leaving us to assume it is significant enough to the point he is sent home. Then, she starts telling Ivan that his own beliefs are a “red flag” rather than just being accepting and respectful. The decision about their split was perfectly justified, but the way she went about it was simply wrong. 

This exact situation is why ABC should allow the conversations that hold actual substance in a relationship about religion, politics and special issues to be televised so that viewers aren’t just left in the dark. Ivan is still a gem. 

Most awkward scene: The Engagement 

Is it just me … or was that the most uncomfortable interaction? What should have been the happiest, most real moment of the entire season was literally just downright awkward. It’s the kind of scene that just makes you squint your eyes and tilt your head because the two just seem so unnatural together. It’s also uncomfy because the guy keeps talking about his years of sobriety, yet producers keep placing what looks to be champagne in front of him. It could be grape juice but overall bad move on the production side. Do better.

“Nothing has ever felt so right in my entire life,” Zac tells Tayshia. “I love you because you’re a strong, independent woman. You make everyone around you better. I love you because you believe in me. I love you because you’re a total dork. And I love you because you drive me absolutely wild. I love everything about you.”

Tayshia returns the favor by giving a monologue of her own stating, “When I first met you, I thought to myself ‘He’s different, and that man is kind. He shows gratitude. He’s been through a lot and has never given up but also has learned how to read me better than anyone ever has.’ I know that I told you I love you (long, dramatic pause for no reason) but it’s more than that.”

I will say that their personal speeches to each other were sweet. However, if you watch the two in action, the whole scene sounds like they were both just reading a script. There was just words and no ounce of emotion behind them. 

When the moment finally came to get down on one knee, Tayshia finally showed some emotion with tears, but it still didn’t look right. Clearly, you can’t fake chemistry, and the lack thereof is something they couldn't even conceal during the moment of their proposal. 

There was a lot of talking about love and the future, but it just wasn’t convincing and amounted to a successful yet rather boring ending. Maybe their love language is words of affirmation, who knows?

In the end, Tayshia says she wants to continue their life together by jumping in fountains across the world with Zac. That’s kind of gross but happily ever after to this crazy and very, very sweaty couple!

Season Rating: 3/5