In what was promised to be the most dramatic season finale in Bachelorette history (haven't we heard that before?), Emily really does find true love!
Our Bachelorette enlists her parents, brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law to screen her suitors, hoping they will pick who she should end up with (literally -- she wanted them to choose).
Jef's up first, and he has some pretty intimidating one-on-ones with the entire family. Ernie, Emily's brother, tells Jef that up until this point, no one has compared to Ricky, Emily's first fiancé. No pressure at all. Jef finally obtains their blessing, should he be allowed to get on one knee and ask for Em's hand in marriage.
Arie is super nervous to meet Emily's family, which is apparent in his nonstop chit-chat, but he makes it through the meet and greet relatively unscathed. Instead of traditional flowers, Arie brings the Maynards a box holding all the roses Emily has given him at rose ceremonies, symbolizing all the special times throughout this journey. Emily's mom thought this was so sweet, since he gave up something that was precious to him. Brownie points?
Nope. Em's family loves them both and offers little guidance in choosing a husband. Perhaps little Ricki will be a better helper? Also, no, Emily doesn't want the guys to meet her sweet girl unless she's sure - she doesn't want another Brad situation.
It's Jef's last chance to win Emily over on the last-date-before-the-engagement, and the two of them sit and talk on the beach. Jef keeps mentioning Ricki and how he wants her to be his daughter. Emily shocks us all (Jef included) by saying she wants him to meet Ricki. Now. How spontaneous!
Jef doesn't even have time to be nervous, so he and Emily sit down at the pool where Ricki is performing underwater acrobatics. She pauses for a minute to formally meet Jef (a high-five takes the place of a handshake here) and invites him and Emily to come on in. The three of them get along swimmingly (pun intended!), and Jef says hanging out with Ricki is completely natural. There is no question in Emily's mind that Jef will make the best dad.
At dinner later that night, the two reminisce about the day they met, their first kiss and their subsequent dates. They laugh (a lot), and Jef gives Em a book about Curacao, because that was one of the biggest steps they took in their relationship. In it, Jef drew two stick figures in places they visited. Aww.
Emily is scheduled to go on her last date with Arie the next day but calls Chris Harrison over to talk instead. She decides she can't even go out with Arie because her feelings for Jef are so strong, but she doesn't know how to tell Arie.
Enter random witch doctor, instructing Arie (sans Emily) how to make a love potion. Nice jab, team Bachelorette.
Emily approaches, sniffling, and sits down with Arie (after he rubs the love potion on her arm as instructed). She breaks down into tears and tells him she has fallen for someone else. It was nothing he did; she just feels more confident in her relationship with Jef.
In probably the most mature exit I've seen in season finale history, Arie gives Emily a hug and a kiss and starts to leave, but Emily pleads for him to stay. Now he begins to get slightly annoyed, thanks her for saving him the embarrassment tomorrow, gives her another hug and kiss, and hops into his exit car.
On his ride out, he says he feels stupid and naïve, but he does not ugly cry!
It's engagement day! Emily wakes up with a lot of love in her heart, and she knows this is the best decision. Emily awaits her fiancé in front of some very colorful window shutters (not the scenic mountaintop proposal locations we're used to in Bachelor history), and Jef greets her. She tells him he's the only one here today, and she didn't even go out with Arie yesterday; he tells her that's the best news ever.
Jef gets down on one knee and presents Emily with the pre-selected Neil Lane diamond ring and tells her she is perfect for him. He wants her to know the words he's about to say are not empty; that in weeks, months, years or even decades, they will still hold meaning, and he is asking for forever. Emily pauses for what seems like an eternity, and finally says "yes."
Ricki runs in, and the three of them walk out, hand in hand, as Emily says aloud, "We did it!" I can't take it. They are just precious.
In a most undramatic After the Final Rose episode, Arie and Emily catch up. Arie accepts that Jef and Emily are engaged; he just wished she would have told him what she told Chris that fateful afternoon.
After the proposal, Arie flew out to Charlotte to see Emily and get closure. Instead of seeing her, though, he called and told her he was leaving his journal on her doorstep, and then maybe she would understand his point of view.
Out of respect for both Arie and Jef, Emily didn't read the journal. She presented the unopened package back to Arie and said it would not have help anything, and she didn't want to take his memories of the journey.
Jef (whom Arie is still close with), called Arie and provided more closure than Emily could have. It seems like everyone is on good terms.
Jef is brought out, and we get to watch their proposal again. Jef goes through the laundry list of reasons he loves Emily, and Chris probes them about their future plans. After the two of them head to Africa to do some humanitarian work, Jef will move to Charlotte to be with Emily and Ricki. And then -- a wedding!
I have to say, I really am happy for Emily and Jef (and Ricki, too!). As Jef kept saying, they do fit perfectly. I thought Arie and Em had a real connection, too, though, so I was pretty sad to see him go. What do you think -- are you happy with Emily's decision?