The finale of the 19th season of “The Bachelorette” aired last Monday and it certainly was dramatic. Season 19 was truly unlike any other season in the franchise, starring not one, but two leading Bachelorettes. Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia were both chosen from Clayton Echard’s season of “The Bachelor” and co-led the most recent season of “The Bachelorette” together. Throughout the season, the two whittled down the original group of 32 men, which was roughly the same amount as a regular season, first by together selecting the men they wanted to stay and eventually splitting the men into two groups, one for Gabby and one for Rachel. Surprisingly, the concern that both of them would have strong feelings toward one of the guys was never a real issue, but there were still new obstacles for them to manage as the first ever pair of Bachelorettes. Namely, they were often compared to each other by the guys, and some guys did have trouble picking a side, staying in the middle for a bit longer than necessary.
Overall, having two women star as Bachelorettes together had some mixed results. On the one hand, it was nice to see the women support each other and get insight and advice from someone who they could trust, who was in the same situation and who had met the men before. Especially early on in the season when the men were not yet divided into separate groups for each Bachelorette, Gabby and Rachel had to rely on each other to figure out the intentions of some of the men and sort out who each of them was interested in. The support the two had for each other was even more evident during the rose ceremony that initially split the men up into two distinct groups and Rachel’s roses were turned down numerous times. Gabby helped Rachel pick herself back up, and they both reminded each other that they were the ones in control of the situation, not the men.
However, having two Bachelorettes instead of one and having roughly double the number of men remaining each week due to the two coexisting groups made it harder to get to know every person individually. Each episode was split between the two women and their pools of men, so the screen time for each individual was reduced substantially. Additionally, in a typical season, only three or four guys remain by the time hometowns roll around so they each get roughly a quarter of the episode, but this season there were seven men by that point, so the hometown dates were further reduced. At least for me, it isn’t always very obvious why or how the Bachelorette felt connected to each guy, and diminishing the air time of each couple certainly didn’t help.
Like the rest of the show, the finale of the 19th season of “The Bachelorette” was very dramatic, although the drama wasn’t distributed equally among both bachelorettes. With Gabby letting all but one of her men go before meeting her family, things weren’t very dramatic on her end: Her final man, Erich Schwer, got down on one knee, she happily accepted his proposal, and they were still together as of the live show on finale night, roughly five months later.
The end of Rachel’s journey, however, was drastically different. It was clear from very early on in the season — really from when the first impression rose was given out — that Tino Franco was Rachel’s number one. I never really saw the appeal, and I didn’t understand why the pair supposedly had a strong connection, but both individuals were convinced they did, so that was that. During the finale episode, Tino proposed to Rachel, and she excitedly said yes, but it was quickly made clear that the engagement took a turn for the worse when Rachel revealed that Tino cheated on her months after the proposal. A confrontation between Rachel and Tino was aired where the engagement was broken off after Tino failed to treat Rachel respectfully as she was trying to understand and work through what he did. On the live segment of the finale episode, Rachel and Tino were brought together for the first time since breaking up, and Tino yet again placed the blame on Rachel, gaslit her and treated her disrespectfully. However, the silver lining was when Rachel’s runner-up, Aven Jones, unexpectedly came onstage during Rachel and Tino’s time to ask Rachel if she wanted to catch up, causing her to leave for the rest of the night.
Overall, the 19th season of “The Bachelorette” introduced some new dynamics and new obstacles as a result of having two Bachelorettes, but what was especially nice was seeing two mature women support each other in their journeys for love. “The Bachelorette” served yet another dramatic season and finale episode that lived up to the expectations for an entertaining season of the show.
Daily Arts Writer Jenna Jaehnig can be reached at email@example.com.