SPOILER ALERT! This post contains details from the Season 9 finale of Bachelor in Paradise.
It’s the end of the road for Bachelor in Paradise.
The whopping three-hour Season 9 finale picked up right where things left off last week, with five people — Rachel, Taylor, Brayden, Tyler and Blake — having left the shores of Mexico solo. The morning after the rose ceremony is bleak in Paradise, even though at least one couple is supposed to get engaged at the end of this episode.
Mercedes and Jess are unsure what’s left for them after their relationships ended ahead of the rose ceremony the night before. They want to stay and keep hope alive, but with Paradise coming to an end, their prospects are not looking good. Mercedes gave her rose to Jordan, and Jess saw something in Tanner…but can they really start anything solid in the last week of production?
They are certainly going to try!
Kat and John Henry appear to be one of the more stable couples on the beach now, shockingly. The producers decide to lean into that by handing them a date card. They take a little stroll down the beach and stumble upon some paddle boards. After attempting to actually paddle across the waves, they give up on that and decide to float around and make out. After their paddle boarding excursion, they share a few glasses of champagne on the beach.
Kat opens up to John Henry about struggling during her childhood to find healthy examples of love in her family, but she’s working hard to break the generational trauma she endured for herself and her future children. She admits to having walls up, but she wants to be more vulnerable with John Henry. He seems very moved by her story, reciprocating by sharing details from his own life. He tells her that he has gone through bouts of depression, which is difficult to talk about with people in his life, but both of them admit that they make each other comfortable enough to admit their struggles.
Could Kat and John Henry be the love story this season? Maybe! They certainly appear to have only gotten stronger through this date, and John Henry says he could definitely see an engagement happening.
Back on the beach, Jess and Tanner are going back to the basics. They’re hoping for a date card to take their relationship to really any meaningful level, but it looks like the producers are betting on the stronger couples at the moment, because Aaron and Eliza are the next ones to get invited on a date.
They find themselves at a fire ceremony and sweat lodge, where their shaman asks them to remove their clothes. In confessional, Aaron says he’s all in on Eliza, but he isn’t sure that Eliza reciprocates those feelings. Little does he know, Eliza tells the camera she’s feeling the same way. They both share a fear of rejection and not receiving the love that they give. When Aaron tells Eliza that he’s ready to get down on one knee, she’s ecstatic, telling him that she’s definitely falling for him. Whew! Crisis averted.
Everyone else is taking shots on the beach, just trying to make it through another night in Paradise. Jess and Mercedes are still holding on by a thread. It’s not looking good for them. Kat tries to pull Jess aside to chat, and Jess straight up says no and walks away from her crying. Then she pulls Tanner aside to tell him that she’s been having a rough few days, and she’s trying to be hopeful about their relationship. But, she can’t be herself because she’s still in her head about what’s going on with Blake. She’s done. She’s going home. Bye, Jess!
With Jess gone, Tanner is also out. There’s really nothing left for him in Paradise at this point. Jordan is hoping Mercedes won’t be the next one on her way out.
Kylee and Aven have been going strong since the day they met, but Kylee wants to know if he’s really ready to get engaged. Aven says he doesn’t understand why Kylee is so hung up on the engagement. He thinks that him being committed her emotionally when they leave Paradise should be enough, but she says it’s not. She won’t force him into it, but she is wondering if he’ll ever be ready to get down on one knee. He knows how badly she wants an engagement, and he feels sure about their relationship, but he thinks they could use some time in the real world before he puts a ring on her finger. They end the night in a pretty rocky place, with Aven storming off to go to bed.
The next morning, the vibe is still off. The more she hears about the others’ dates the day before, the more she’s starting to freak out about the fate of her own relationship. She also isn’t thrilled that Aven stormed off when their conversation got difficult. He tries to bring it up the next morning, but she shuts him down. Just as she’s wondering what it’ll take for them to get to the right place, there’s some new faces in Paradise!
Kenny Braasch and Mari Pepin, who got engaged two years ago on Paradise, are back on the beach. Fans might remember that they had their own set of issues in Paradise, and they say it only made them stronger. Maybe they can shed some light on how Kylee and Aven can solve their problems.
But first, they’re getting hitched! Kenny and Mari are there to invite the latest cast to their wedding. Naturally, Jesse Palmer officiates.
Love is in the air after Kenny and Mari exchange their vows. Everyone is thinking about their own relationships, some envisioning themselves up there getting married while others are still wondering about the state of their own love story and if it’ll ever get there (cough, Kylee).
What’s a wedding without a lively reception? Everyone heads back to get ready to rave in celebration of Kenny and Mari’s nuptials and, while love is in the air, this is bound to get messy.
After a bit of partying, Kylee pulls Blake aside for advice — surprise! Blake is back in Paradise for his buddy Kenny’s wedding — and Aven seeks words of wisdom from Kenny and Mari. The couple warn Aven not to pass up an opportunity with Kylee just because things aren’t perfect. Blake tells Kylee to stick to her guns. When they finally talk, Aven tells Kylee that he’s falling in love with her, but he needs more time outside of Paradise before he is ready for an engagement. Kylee says that she is also falling in love with him, but the engagement would solidify “so many things” for her, and his failure to reciprocate makes her doubt their relationship. He still doesn’t understand why the engagement is the only way she can feel confident about their love. Both of them think the other should make a sacrifice here and do what the other wants.
The next morning, things are once again not great in Paradise. Mercedes and Jordan are due for a conversation, because Mercedes doesn’t think that there’s really a spark there. Olivia tells the rest of the group that her bags are packed. Mercedes lets Jordan down easy, and he takes it fairly well. Once Mercedes takes off, Jordan does too.
When spirits appear to have hit a new low, Jesse gathers the crew for some news. He tells them that Paradise as they’ve known it is now over. He needs them to decide what’s next. They’ll need to decide if they can see a future with each other, which will grant them one night in a fantasy suite together. If they can’t commit, they’re out.
Aaron is the first to commit, telling Eliza he’s ready for the next step. After another back-and-forth conversation that goes in many circles, Kylee finally relents. They are not getting engaged at the end of this, but they are staying together. They both leave Paradise as a couple.
Peter is ready to go all in, but Sam doesn’t think they’ve gotten far enough in their relationship. They break up and leave Paradise. Olivia tells Michael she isn’t sure they’re ready to get engaged (duh), but she is hopeful for their relationship outside of Paradise. But Michael says he’s not so sure. Olivia shuts down, and both of them head home.
If you’re keeping track, we’ve quickly narrowed Paradise down to just two couples — John Henry and Kat, and Aaron and Eliza.
After spending the night in fantasy suites, both couples get engaged!
The Paradise producers couldn’t leave us without an update on everyone else. For the most part, everyone is single unless they left as a couple in the first place, except for Brayden. He’s currently dating Christina Mandrell from Zach’s season. Kylee and Aven are still going strong.
Since leaving the beach, Aaron and Eliza have supposedly hit some speed bumps, but they’re still working through it. Kat and John Henry are still happily engaged.
That’s all for now! See you in January, to see if Joey Graziadei falls in love on The Bachelor.