SPOILER ALERT! This post contains details from the Season 27 finale of ABC‘s The Bachelor.
It’s the end of Zach Shallcross’ journey to find love, but will he walk away from Season 27 of The Bachelor with a fiancé?
Last week, Zach found himself in hot water after he made a vow not to have sex with any of the three women who made it to fantasy suites — Gabi, Kaity and Ariel. After managing to maintain that boundary with Ariel, Zach made the decision to be intimate with Gabi during the second fantasy suite. His guilt got the best of him, prompting him to spill those details to Kaity during the final date of the episode. As one might guess, both Gabi and Kaity were pretty torn up. But, both women accepted his roses at the end of the episode, so there’s something keeping them around. Read on to see if Zach got engaged.
The live finale kicked off with a conversation between host Jesse Palmer and third place contestant Ariel, who was sent home after all the hullabaloo of last week’s fantasy suites. She calls her connection with Zach during the show “meaningful,” explaining that she hadn’t introduced anyone else to her family in three years. She says when she and Zach broke up, she shut down and the emotions didn’t hit her until she left.
Recounting, her experience in Thailand, she says she was on the same page as Zach and she didn’t want to be physically intimate with him while he was pursuing relationship with other women. Last week’s episode alluded to the fact that Ariel didn’t know what went down between Zach, Gabi and Kaity, but she confirms it while in the hot seat, telling Jesse she was “totally in the dark” about it and that she was incredibly hurt to learn about it when the episode aired on TV (naturally!).
Next, Ariel confronts Zach on stage about everything that happened in Thailand, and she doesn’t hold back. She tells him that she looks back on the relationship with gratitude, but she’s disappointed with how Zach handled himself. She says she’d committed to being in an “open relationship” for the show, and “when the parameters of an open relationship change, I should have been the first to know.”
“You had ample time to tell me everything before I left,” she continues, adding that she didn’t understand why she wasn’t given the same “respect” as the other women, who he was very communicative with. She also added that the move “denigrated” their relationship.
Zach doesn’t have much to say, other than he had no excuse for how he handled things besides the fact that he didn’t really know how to handle any of it. Ariel tells him he didn’t just disrespect her, he disrespected all three women by putting them in this situation and deciding that he would be telling the women that there would be no sex, rather than allowing that to be a decision that they made as a couple. Zach says that he regrets putting up the no sex parameters, but he reiterated that he had good intentions when he did.
Well, at least he apologized.
Next we get a glimpse at Zach’s final week in Thailand as he prepared to potentially get engaged. In the midst of yet another shirtless shower shot, he reflects on the fact that he’s probably lost both Kaity and Gabi’s trust after the way he handled fantasy suites. So, he’s on a mission to repair the relationships.
To make things even more nerve wrecking, Zach’s family is also in Thailand to meet both women before he gets down on one knee. Up first is Gabi, who says she’s feeling very insecure after the situation last week. Before she meets the family, she wants to have a conversation with him about whether or not he regrets being intimate with her.
She tells Zach that she felt a lot of weight, especially after the rose ceremony where everything felt negative. She doesn’t want to be associated with his pain. He assures her that his confusion and his guilt have nothing to do with them, specifically, but it doesn’t seem like Gabi really buys it at first. She says she felt like she was the reason he felt that disappointment in himself, because she was “an accessory” to what happened. Despite everything, Zach says he wouldn’t take anything back. That was enough for Gabi to feel comfortable again and ready to meet his family.
Zach’s dad pulls her away first. She tells him that she’s a huge family person, and she’s really been looking forward to meeting everyone. After growing up around her own parents’ relationship, she says that she’s needs someone who can be there with her through rough times. Zach’s dad told Gabi that when Zach was born, he was a very sick baby, and that put a strain on his relationship with his wife, but they had a solid enough foundation to weather the storm. Gabi says that she thinks she and Zach have a similar connection. Meanwhile, Zach is telling his mom something fairly similar.
Zach’s sisters tell Gabi that they see their brother as someone who is always giving, and they want someone for him who can give as much as they receive from him. Gabi reassures them that she is in love with him, and she wants nothing more than to support him. She tells Zach that it was a really special day for her that only confirmed her feelings for him.
Now it’s Kaity’s turn to meet the family. She and Zach found more closure last week, since they spent the night together after the whole no-sex argument. So, Kaity went straight into her day with Zach’s family without needing any additional conversation with him.
She talks to his mom first, who says that she and Zach seem like they act very natural around each other. Kaity says that, while they haven’t had the smoothest ride, she’s tried her best throughout the process. She becomes emotional while talking about the difficulties of dating Zach when there’s another woman who is vying for his heart. Kaity admits to Zach’s sisters that she would be heartbroken if he doesn’t pick her at the end of the process.
Kaity has a similar conversation with Zach’s dad as his conversation with Gabi. He tells her that they need to have a partnership that can endure through tough times, and Kaity tells him that she’s also searching for that, especially since she’s lost multiple father figures in her life. She says that, despite the fact that last week’s events for hard, Zach sticking around to work things out with her indicated that he wouldn’t run away when they encountered hardship — which, ultimately, is a positive. When they have a moment alone, Kaity tells Zach that she isn’t falling anymore…she IS in love with him.
Now for the actual dates. This time, Kaity is up first. Zach tells her that they’ll be going on a hike. Kaity admits to the cameras that she’s nervous she won’t be the person Zach proposes to, and it’s been challenging for her to let Zach in despite her nerves. She thinks they’re a good match and their families will mesh well together, and if he doesn’t propose to her, it might set her back quite a bit when it comes to dating again.
Later that night, they discuss their future. Kaity says she’s empathizing with how difficult this decision will be for Zach. Reflecting on fantasy suites, she tells him how she’s reframed her perspective to see the positive side of it, which is the fact that they were able to work through it. At this point, Kaity says she can’t picture life with Zach. He seems a little at a loss for words, but he tells her that he’s trying his best to figure things out and he doesn’t want there to be any second guessing when he proposes.
Zach and Gabi have their final date next, and all appears to be going swell. They go horseback riding to a remote beach with a beautiful view. What’s that on the sand? Well, it’s their own personal romantic cabana. The pair go for a steamy dip in the ocean and share some bubbly on the beach. Gabi admits that she’s a little scared for what the end of the week holds, while Zach says that he’s very torn about the decision he has to make. That comment sends Gabi into a bit of a spiral, and she says she has a gut feeling that he isn’t going to choose her.
That night, Gabi says that she’s feeling a bit better and is ready to spend some more time with Zach. She doesn’t waste a ton of time asking Zach to expand on his feelings, admitting that she’s having a hard time with the fact that he seems so torn about this decision. She asks him what he needs to figure it out, and he says he doesn’t know (yikes).
For whatever reason, the producers chose this moment for an interlude with Sean and Catherine Lowe. Maybe because they have one of the only enduring marriages to come from the franchise….
Anyways, back to the current contestants. It’s time for Zach to propose. After picking a sparkly rock from Neil Lane, Zach is ready to get down on one knee.
Gabi is up first, and we all know what that means…but it appears that so does Gabi. It’s unclear how she knows that she arrived before Kaity (production usually doesn’t tell them), but when she steps out of the car and into the mud she tells production not to pull into the same spot “when it actually matters, when Kaity arrives.” Ouch. She tells Jesse she knows what’s about to happen, and sadly she isn’t wrong.
Zach tells her that despite his growing feelings for her, she deserves a man that will “choose her every day.” Before he can finish, she cuts him off and asks him why he wouldn’t tell her that she wasn’t the one when he knew. He insists that he didn’t know when he last saw her, though she doesn’t seem to believe him. She wishes him luck and rejects him when he apologizes. As they walk back to her van, Zach tries to put a Band-aid on the situation, but Gabi says she doesn’t want to hear it.
Before Zach’s proposal, the show cuts to the live studio, where Gabi has joined Jesse on stage. She’s very emotional, and she says that she knows she’s strong for going through that breakup but it’s worse to watch it back than it was to experience it the first time. Then, she comes face-to-face with Zach for the first time since that moment. She tells him that she felt violated by his decision to reveal on national television that they had sex. Zach admits his wrongdoing and apologizes to her, for whatever that’s worth.
When it comes time for Kaity to meet Zach on the beach, she really puts it all on the line. She tells him that “if it’s not you, it’s not anyone.” The moment is incredibly romantic, especially considering that he does choose her, but it’s hard to forget what just went down with Gabi.
And what do you know? Zach and Kaity are still happily engaged, publicly revealing their relationship for the first time on the live stage.
That’s all for now! Charity Lawson’s journey to find love will begin when The Bachelorette premieres on ABC on June 26 in a new timeslot at 9 p.m. ET/PT.