"He almost doesn't have to tell me he loves me. Because I just know." - Des
"I feel like if I'm not feeling it at this point, I'm not going to feel it. Des is not the love of my life." - Brooks
Omnipotent TV audience that we are, you and I have seen the heartache of Bachelorette's finale (tonight being a jury-rigged part one of two) coming for weeks now. Brooks has been confused and unsure for what feels like half the season; Des, to Chris Harrison, flat-out admitted her love for the guy and has done nothing but reiterate as much since. Unknowing also-rans Chris and Drew have said "I Love You" enough times to open their own Hallmark store! The wrong people are feeling the right things, and vice versa. Nothing is happening the way it's supposed to.
Which brings us to right now, and a world in which Des and Brooks -- who were ceremonially, if not legally married in the second episode -- are done, finished, kaputsville. I'm not going to lie and tell you this episode didn't make me sad. For the constant emotional manipulation this show employs (see: Drew's sister, DIABETES), nothing this season has been so disconcerting as the long, often silent comedown from Brooks' revelation. That's real pain in Brooks' voice when he says "I really want to be madly in love with you." And certainly in Des', too, when she admits that on every date she wished it'd been Brooks there with her. What you or I or anyone think of love and its credibility on a show with endless helicopter rides starts to feel beside the point when you can tell someone is truly, deeply wounded. That sucks.
Part of me hoped that the damage of Brooks coming clean to Des might be lessened by…I don't know, new feelings for Chris or Drew, however unlikely. They've got killer bods, right? That's got to count for something. Or at the very least, Des might entertain the suspicion that the guy who's "jogging" when she's "running" might not be operating at the same speed as her. Maybe prepare accordingly for the inevitable fallout. But the moment she told the camera "I'm just looking forward to a stress-free date with Brooks," who she "misses every day [she's] not with him"…well, shit.
What happened from there is probably best recreated in random quotes, which I think captures the general spirit of their conversation as well as the hurricane swelling in my heart.
- "I don't know what it feels like to have love reciprocated. I never have."
- "You're a much better person than I am. I love that about you, I really do."
- "Look at me."
- "No, I can't."
- "Here's the trouble, you're all these things I've checked off."
- "I want to say 'I love you, Des,' you know? I really question myself."
- "There's nothing else to say."
- "Stop saying that."
- "I told you I was running, and after that…I knew I was at the finish line."
- "I care for you."
- "You're breaking my heart."
- "Don't cry."
- "Do you want me to shut up?"
- "For once in my life I was hopeful."
- "I don't care that you just broke my heart. I love you."
- "What should we do now?"
And so we head into the second part of this extended finale with the chess board thoroughly rearranged: Brooks riding a limo to the airport, Des weeping at the end of a beautiful pier, and two other suitors completely unaware that the object of their (weird) affection was never planning to choose either of them. "Honestly, for me...it's over."
KEEP YOUR LOVED ONES CLOSE, EVERYONE. LIFE SPEEDS AWAY LIKE A DRUNK RACECAR DRIVER AND IT'S ALL YOU CAN DO TO HOLD ON TO THOSE SMALL SCRAPS OF INTIMACY WHILE THEY'RE AROUND TO BE HELD.