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‘Bachelorette’ makes her final choice

Kiptyn or Ed? After an eventful season, Jillian Harris finally makes her choice.
/ Source: Entertainment Weekly

I don't know about you, “Bachelorette” fans, but I really needed a drink to calm my nerves after last night's finale. My heart could barely take the suspense! The good news is, after a long, arduous ''journey'' — because love don't come eeee-zay, after all — our Jillian managed to make the right decision. Go, Canada!

Before we begin, a brief programming note: If you're a fan of Chris Harrison's blog — and who isn't? — don't panic! His final entry will post Wednesday morning (July 29), so you'll get his thoughts on both the finale and the sure-to-be ridonkulous After the Final Rose special. Speaking of which, my fellow “Bachelorette”-aholics Michael Slezak and Mandi Bierly will be live blogging the ATFR special tonight (July 28), starting at 10 p.m. eastern time. Don't miss it!

Now, let's get to it. The finale begins with Jillian standing on the balcony overlooking the Big Island of Hawaii, contemplating her ''incredible'' Bachelorette ''journey.'' I found myself contemplating right along with her... After watching this show for 117 years, I am shocked to discover that part of me still gets emotionally involved with the people foolish enough to participate in it — and that part of me really wants Jillian to leave Hawaii on the next plane, find a good therapist in Vancouver, and work on rebuilding her crumbling self-esteem.

Then there's the part of me that knows this whole situation is really nothing but a game show. You'll find that part of me shouting at the television: ''Suck it, Kipper! Ed is going to take you down! Enjoy your ride in the reject limo, buddy!''

Anyhow, before she can make a final decision, Jillian needs Mom and Dad to meet Ed and Kiptyn. Ed's up first, and even though their fantasy suite malfunction ''messed with both of our heads,'' Jillian is still very smitten with him: ''How can I ever think about letting this guy go?'' Dolphin squeal!

It's time for a reunion with Peggy, Glen, cousin Tori, and Granny! Gran, who anointed Jason's head with Canadian-flag boxers last season, remains as randy as ever, assessing Ed with a blunt: ''Terrifically good looking, huh?''

Figuring that honesty is the best policy, Ed jumps right in and tells the Harris clan the truth: ''I was married to my job, and I let it get to me pretty badly,'' he admits. But, he continues, as Jillian smiles lovingly, ''I just could not stop thinking about this woman.''

66 questions for EdPeggy seems pleased by Ed's devotion to her daughter, but she's not gonna let him off easy. The last time we met Peggy, she wasted no time grilling Jason (remember that looong scroll of questions she unfurled as a ''joke''?) and this time is no different — though she's only got 66 questions for him, rather than the 76 she had for Jason. Here's what we learn: Ed wants three kids, he sees himself and Jillian retired in Hawaii in 30-40 years, and he knows their relationship will last because they have ''honesty and love.''

While she's struggling to remain the stern inquisitor, Peggy can't deny she's impressed. ''Really good answers,'' she says simply. Glen is the same stoic and sweet guy we met last season — and he seems convinced when Ed says he wants to be with his daughter forever. So when Ed asks for his blessing, in his roundabout way (''If I were to ask her to marry me, how do you feel? What do you think?''), Dad is accommodating. ''I would be really quite happy to see that take place,'' he tells Ed. ''I'll be doing somersaults.'' (Of course, Dad really just wants Jillian to be somebody's wife, ASAP — as he tearfully told the camera last season, ''If Jillian gets married, you're going to see a pretty happy guy.'')

Jillian is thrilled with the outcome of Bachelor Summit No. 1. ''When I left the house yesterday with Ed, I felt like I was leaving the house with my fiance. And then I woke up in the morning and realized I have to do this all over again with somebody I'm equally as crazy about.''

Kipper arrives and for once he actually seems nervous, though he's trying to stay Zen. ''If it's meant to be in the end it'll just be her and I.'' Well, one thing these two definitely have in common is their merciless desire to butcher the English language.

Jillian tells Kip that her family is like his, ''super easygoing.'' (Did Jillian completely block out her meeting with Kiptyn's mom? Because that lady was the opposite of easygoing.)

Anyhoo, over dinner Kip subtly tries to distinguish himself from Ed: ''I work to live — I don't live to work.'' I don't know if it's because Kip's nerves have gotten the better of him, but his grammar skills are worse than ever; at one point he tells the camera, ''The feelings I have for their daughter is real.''

Peggy pulls Kip aside to survey him (he wants at least two kids; he thinks communication is the most important thing in a relationship; and he says the key to a happy marriage is marrying your best friend), and by the end it's clear the family likes him better than Ed.

''I think Kiptyn is more like Jillian,'' says Peggy. Grandma says he's ''very very very very nice,'' and cousin Tori likes that he's not as ''work-orientated'' as Ed.

The one holdout is Glen. When he asks Kip if he's in love with ''our Jillian,'' the bachelor literally stutters: ''I'm I'm I'm getting, I'm getting there a lot quicker than I thought I would.''

Dad, who was clearly pleased by Ed's outright confession of love, reports his concerns back to the family. ''When I sat down with Ed he told me he loved you — I didn't have to ask him, and also he asked me if he could marry you.''

Cousin Tori cuts him off with this paradoxical command: ''Glen, enough about Ed. More about Ed!'' If this is the kind of input Jillian's getting, no wonder she's confused and wishing for a ''sign from God.'' Unfortunately, God's too busy re-watching Katie Holmes' performance of ''Get Happy'' on So You Think You Can Dance to hear the Bachelorette's plea.

Volcano finally eruptsHere's one thing that'll help Jillian make her big decision: Ed's getting a sexual do-over! And he is rarin' to go. ''I want to seal the deal with her,'' he says. They're both feeling the pressure, and the helicopter ride over a volcano — which just happens to erupt as they fly over, spewing steam and lava everywhere — must only serve to remind Ed of the job he's gotta do. While Team Bachelorette probably burned thousands of dollars in helicopter fuel making the pilot circle over the volcano until they got their steamy money shot, it was worth it, because both the Bachelorette and her suitor hit the ground ready to get it on.

At lunch, Ed veers dangerously close to spoiling the mood with this idiotic line — ''You could be one of my best guy friends, but you could also be like the person I could be with the rest of my life'' — but she LOVES it. (Especially when Ed calls her a ''genius'' for keeping him around.)

''Today he gave me so many positive reasons to think that he could be the one.'' (I'm going to venture a guess that she recorded that statement before the return of Ed's truly tragic green short-shorts.) After some sweet talk in the hotel room — cue the smooth jazz! — Ed and Jillian get down to business. In case we totally didn't get it, Team Bachelorette cuts from a shot of the light switching off in the hotel room to a volcano erupting in a hot burst of lava. (Guess there must not have been any trains or tunnels in the area.)

Wow, Ed must have some skillz in the bedroom, because the Jillian we see the next morning is, all of a sudden, brimming with confidence. As she greets Kip on the speedboat called the Captain Zodiac, she no longer seems as worried that she's not good enough for him: ''I can definitely say hands down that I love Kiptyn, and I think he loves me.''

They paddle out to a rocky, uncomfortable-looking private beach for a picnic, and all the while Kipper keeps telling us that his feelings have ''grown really fast'' — either that, or he sees the finish line in the distance and wants to win, win, WIN! Bottom line, he's decided it's time to tell Jillian that he thinks an ''amazing love'' is possible between them.

Once he's got her alone in his hotel room, Kip emotionally unloads: ''For the first time in the past week I've been stressed out about this stuff,'' he tells her. ''I would be really hurt if I lost you. Losing you scares me a lot.'' (Finally, the wall of arrogance comes tumbling down!) He sees a future with her in San Diego — ''and when I say future I think of marriage, and family and kids, you know, a lifetime... I'm falling in love with you.'' Do I really need to tell you that she LOVES it? I'm surprised Kip's corneas don't melt from the glow radiating off of the Bachelorette's delighted countenance. ''It feels so good for him to finally tell me those things.''

Hallelujah — the big day is finally here! So what's it gonna be, Miss J? ''I don't want to let anybody go today,'' admits Jillian. ''Both of these men are perfect for me — but in completely different ways.'' Kipper is an ''absolute gentleman'' and he's ''the perfect package for me.'' Meanwhile, she loves Ed's ''aura'' and ''energy'' and says ''that passion is there.''

The boys have written some last-ditch mash notes to win their lady's heart, and from what I can read, Ed's says, in part, ''...You have opened my eyes and have made me a changed man. I adore you. I'm crazy about you! This has been an incredible journey and I want you to know that I'm ready to be with you forever. Thank you. Love, Ed.''

Kipper's letter is much longer, and all I can read of it is: ''Thank you for another amazing day today. To me it seems like it doesn't matter what we're doing, It's just that we're doing it together. Love, Kiptyn.''

She must have read something she likes, because Jillian claims to have reached a decision: ''I know who I am, and I feel like I know who I want to be with now.''

The bachelors are equally certain about what they want. Kip plans to be the ''last man standing,'' and he chooses a blinding, three-carat, square-set rock to help him reach his goal. (I gotta say, he does better in the ring department than Ed, who goes for a less-attractive pear-shaped stone.)

Somehow, over the course of the day, Jillian's resolve seems to crumble — even as she's all dolled up for the big night in a strapless pink princess dress, tears are running down her face. ''I don't know how my heart is going to be able to hold up when I have to put one guy in that car and send him home.'' (And boy, she'd really be bawling if she saw the short-short blue briefs Ed's sporting under his suit. Could someone please introduce this poor guy to the brave new world of boxers and board shorts?)

Sending Kiptyn homeBut by the time Harrison sends her across the Romance Moat to the tropical-plant-bedecked Proposal Podium — dammit, why am I tearing up?? I'm such a dork! — our Bachelorette is ready to pull the trigger. ''This is not easy, but it definitely feels better right now knowing that I have found that person who makes me feel confident in taking this leap of faith today.'' (I fear you may have spoken too soon, honey...)

Here comes the first limo! Jillian is bracing herself to tell the first guy he's ''not the one,'' and I am bracing myself for that poor guy to be Ed. Wait, it's Kipper! Has my wish actually been granted? Up is down! Black is white! Dogs and cats living together! Is this some kind of cruel fake out?

Kip pours out his heart: ''Someday I want to have kids, I want to have a marriage, and I see those things with you... I love you, and I want to spend this life with you.''

I can barely take the suspense as Jillian begins the patented Bachelor/Bachelorette this-could-go-either-way speech: ''You are all the things that I have always dreamed of...'' Uh-oh. ''I guess emotionally it's been slower, and...'' She's crying. She's CRYING! ''In the meantime, I've fallen in love with somebody else.''

Yes! Suck it, Kipper! Enjoy this new feeling called ''heartbreak''!! Okay, okay, I'm being a little harsh — it's just that reality TV has crushed my hopes so many times, I can't help but get excited when things go my way.

To be fair, Kipper handles it with class, telling Jillian that it ''hurts a lot" but that he wants her to be happy. Don't worry, pal, I have a sneaking suspicion you'll have help getting over that hurt... on a future season of “The Bachelor.”

Wait, what's that red minivan doing here? Surprise! It's rumpled Reid, who hurries out onto the wooden walkway and greets the completely stunned Bachelorette with a simple, ''I'm back!'' (I tried to pause my TV on the exact moment Jillian's head exploded, but my DVR doesn't do frame-by-frame.) ''I was an idiot this entire time,'' Reid says. ''I came back to tell you that and to tell you that I love you, and hopefully you feel the same way.''

Oh, Jillian, don't buy his ''when you sent me away everything became really clear'' argument — hindsight may be 20/20, but it is NO way to start a relationship. Send Reid and his clown shoes packing! Oh crap, he's down on one knee. For a second, Jillian holds out her trembling hand as though she's about to take the proffered ring, but then she pulls Reid up, saying, ''I need to think about this.''

She heads inside for a powwow with Harrison, who is in full-on Yoda mode. When Jillian whimpers, ''How is somebody supposed to make a decision like this?'', he responds simply: ''Because you know.'' And he's right! The Bachelorette strides back out to the Proposal Podium and tearfully tells Reid thanks, but no thanks. ''I really, truly have fallen in love with somebody since [you left],'' she says. ''All I can do right now is go with how I feel.''

Okay, so NOW we finally get to the moment we've all been waiting for, including poor Jillian, who's at the end of her rope: ''Ed better not f---ing disappoint me!''

And he doesn't: ''You're everything that I could ever ask for in a woman... I know that I love you, but before we get any further, I need to know that you love me.'' Survey says... YES! Big hug, swelling music, now all that's left to do is show her that (slightly-funky) ring. Dolphin squeal! She LOVES it, and her answer is an unequivocal ''Absolutely!''

Awww, you two crazy kids, I hope you really do make it until you're both 80 years old... but one step at a time. Let's try making it until next week first, okay?