After weeks of highs and lows, break-ups and make-ups, Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia had whittled their groups of men down to their final choices: Erich Schwer on Gabby's side, and Tino Franco on Rachel's side.
But after the finale's dramatic part one on Sept. 13, which Gabby called a "big, fat dumpster fire," things were looking anything but rosy heading into the Sept. 20 episode.
After their tense conversation last week—in which Erich told Gabby he might not be ready for an engagement, which caused Gabby to storm out of his room—she returned to hash it out again.
"This decision shouldn't be easy," Gabby said. "Because if it's easy, that means you didn't think about it enough."
Gabby and Erich kissed and ended the night on good terms and, at least for the moment, the same page.
After her breakup with Aven last week, Rachel had the pleasure of telling Tino that he was her only man left standing. After receiving the news, Tino said he was "on top of the world" and "I would literally bet everything I am and everything I have that Rachel and I are forever."
The next day, Rachel and Tino exchanged some (very long) soliloquies to each other, before Tino finished, "I'm so hopelessly in love with you. You're the woman of my dreams. There's only one more question to ask."
And then it happened.
Tino got down on one knee and said, "Rachel Recchia, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"
Rachel, of course, accepted. So, happily ever after, right?!
Not so much.
In front of a live studio audience, Rachel revealed to host Jesse Palmer that as The Bachelorette began to hit the airwaves, she and Tino began having trouble, which she said eventually led to him cheating on her.
Rachel explained that she eventually confronted Tino—while the cameras were rolling!
After Rachel received a pep talk from Gabby, Tino arrived with a journal in his hands. "So, I messed up," he said. "I kissed another girl, but the second I did, I knew I belonged with you."
Tino explained he had kissed a girl he knew before the show during the time he and Rachel were having issues. That's when Tino began reading excepts from his journal that tracked the timeline of their relationship.
The couple went around in circles, which included an accusation by Tino that Rachel refused to go to therapy (which she denied), before Tino left the house. In a conversation with a producer, Tino complained, "This is nothing more than making me look bad. This is totally crucifying me."
Tino began crying and said, "Just tell her to break up with me. Let me out."
Once back inside the house, Tino said to Rachel, "I totally get the emotional betrayal, but I just didn't want to pile on you."
After another tense conversation, Tino left the house again and unbuttoned his shirt in Rachel's front yard for some reason. He eventually came back inside—with his shirt re-buttoned—and, mercifully, it all came to an end.
Rachel told Tino she was done and gave him his ring back, and he left.
Alone again in her house, Rachel asked herself, "Am I crazy or did that just happen?"
We're kind of asking ourselves the same thing, Rachel!
Back in the studio, Tino came out for one final conversation with Rachel, which was just as exhausting and meandering as the ones we just saw. However, The Bachelorette still had one last trick up its sleeve, as Jesse said somebody else had demanded a chance to chat with Rachel.
And that's when Aven, who Rachel broke up with in part one of the finale, walked out.
"Would you want to get out of here and catch up?" he asked Rachel, to which she responded with a glimmer in her eye, "I would love nothing more."
We love happy endings!
But hold on: Gabby's story still needs its final chapter, too.
With Gabby in a gorgeous gown and Erich in a navy blue suit, the couple met with their future on the line. "I thought you were too good to be true," Gabby told Erich. "Now I know you're too good, but you're also true."
Erich, clearly a little nervous. waxed poetically about how he truly fell in love with Gabby when she finally let her walls down, telling her, "You are the most amazing person I've ever met. It's you and me until the wheels fall off."
And then...the moment.
Erich dropped to one knee and asked, "Gabby Windey, will you marry me?" and Gabby naturally accepted.
Back in front of the live studio audience, Erich appeared as he and Gabby made their first public appearance as an engaged couple. While they acknowledged that their journey since the show stopped filming hasn't been easy—Jesse even flashed texts from from an ex-girlfriend on the screen where Erich said the show wasn't "real"—Gabby and Erich maintained their commitment to each other.
And with that, Bachelor Nation, this unprecedented season of The Bachelorette comes to an end.
One lasting engagement is better than none?