The Maclean's Bachelor Panel, Week 8: Congratulations to the happy couple

Let’s take a minute to bask in Canada’s successful completion of its first Bachelor series

Click here to read Aaron Wherry’s take.
Click here to read Sonya Bell’s summary.
Click here to read Colin Horgan’s thoughts.

Our Maclean’s Bachelor panel reconvenes to consider what they’ve learned from another hour and a half of The Bachelor Canada. Find all of their panels here.

From: Aaron
To: Sonya, Colin

We open on a golf course.  Brad and Whitney are about to meet for an afternoon together before visiting Brad’s family. But first Brad and Whitney need to have an important talk about, you know, the fact she seems to be coming unglued and seems to be having trouble expressing herself coherently. Somehow or another this conversation results in Brad apologizing. And then, after everything is declared more or less fine, the discussion ends with this soon-to-be legendary exchange. Brad: “Do you want to go hit some balls?” Whitney: “Yes.” Somewhere here’s a golf-themed romantic comedy that just got its closing lines. Anyway, it turns out Whitney sucks at golf. Which leads to this explanation from Whitney (which I think the whole season was basically leading up to): “I enjoy golf, but golf can be deceiving.” Woah. Don’t you see? She’s talking life, man. She’s talking about love. She’s talking about … herself.

Or maybe she’s just talking about golf (there are few things in this world of which I am absolutely and entirely sure, but one of them is that golf is stupid). Either way, despite choking spectacularly these past few weeks, Whit still has one chance to save this with a decent performance in front of Brad’s family. But under the unrelenting scrutiny of Brad’s sister—that woman should be interviewing politicians for a living—Whitney remains so unable to put together different articles of speech for the purposes of forming sentences that her inability to do so actually becomes a topic of conversation.

One more awkward conversation, this time in a tropical paradise, and Brad is knocking on Whitney’s door to tell her they’re done. Only Whitney hides and then walks away and then tries to make it like she’s breaking up with him. “Marriage is not for me and Brad,” she announces as she departs the show. “I”m not ready to marry him.”

Indeed. So much for all that.

Bianka’s moment of truth also comes at Brad’s house under the withering questions of Brad’s sister, Ashley. Bianka, apparently, seems too “polished.” Presented with the possibility that she is a too good to be true, Bianka offers calm, confident reassurance that she is in fact pretty fantastic and soon enough Ashley and Brad’s mother are hugging her and more or less welcoming her to the family. After a little polo and some fussing over the cut of diamond, Brad duly puts a ring on it.

There’s something that still feels slightly—wonderfully—subversive about Bianka. Whitney looked reality television in the face and cracked. She charged into this and then suddenly, a few weeks later, looked around to realize she didn’t like where she was. Bianka bent reality television to her will. She sat back and made Brad meet her halfway. Both of these women tried to exert control on this process, but only one of them came away happy. Full credit to Bianka. I have no idea whether she and Brad will be together forever. But if you’re in a competition, you might as well win.

(As for Brad, I only hope that the fact both he and Kanye West are now dating ex-girlfriends of Kris Humphries will result in the two of them pairing for an instantly legendary diss track entitled Over the Hump.)

From: Sonya
To: Colin, Aaron

“You’re going to stay married for a long time. You really have to get yourself mentally committed to the other person. That’s tied to you making that decision. This is about Brad.” — Senator Larry Smith

With this parting advice from his father, Brad gives us a look of deeply profound thoughtfulness, and finally makes a decent choice.

Brad presenting the final rose to Bianka was surprising only in that he has made so many incomprehensible decisions – kicking off Kara, not getting to know model/neuroscientist Stephanie, joining the Bachelor Canada to begin with – that it would have been way too easy for him to propose to Whitney instead. He should probably consult his dad before so much as eating breakfast in the future.

But Bianka, our dark-horse candidate, sealed the deal by charming his family – and with perfect rom-com timing, telling Brad she loved him when she left for the night.

“I’ve been waiting so long to hear that,” Brad said afterward, dazed. By “so long” he means “two months.” Who is this guy?

Actually, we learned more about Brad this episode than in all of the weeks prior. We learned he spent his formative summers on a golf course. We learned he considers Barbados his second home. We learned that when pressed to try a fun new activity, it’s polo, and he’s a natural. Brad is probably more suited to the British throne than Prince Harry.

In a loose interpretation of “poetic,” the show returned Brad to Barbados, where he first realized he was ready to settle down, for the big finale. The engagement played out like a wedding ceremony: Bianka wore a long white dress, the host guided her down the stairs, and then she walked down the aisle while Brad cried (one of many, many scenes where Brad cried).

With her ear-to-ear smile, and fits of giggles, Bianka seems truly in love. Brad does too, with the small exception that a few days ago he still needed another date with both women to make up his mind. Like Aaron, I’m skeptical: Will this last longer than Bianka’s ex-boyfriend’s 72-day marriage to Kim Kardashian? I hate to break it to them that they did get engaged quicker than Kris and Kim.

But before I get too cynical – that’s generally Colin’s role – let’s take a minute to bask in Canada’s successful completion of its first Bachelor series, and the fact that – in true Canadian fashion – we managed to bring together two quasi, quasi celebrities: the son of a Senator and the ex-girlfriend of Kim Kardashian’s ex-husband. Fantastic. Look out, Chavril.

Finally, finally. THE BEST PART. The montage. Is it up on YouTube yet? Because I am so very ready to watch it again. The Bianka and Brad story, from the very beginning (that’s two months ago), set to Bryan Adams’ “Heaven.” Which was probably the very 1980s power ballad Bianka imagined dancing to at her future wedding as a 7-year-old.

Congratulations to the happy couple. And to Whitney, for her break-out role as a brand new, never-before-seen style of reality show villain: the introvert. It’s been a trip.

From: Colin
To: Aaron, Sonya

If only all our lives could be set to a Bryan Adams montage. (Mine, for the record, would be set to “All For Love” from the 1993 soundtrack to The Three Musketeers, starring Chris O’Donnell as D’Artagnan, if for no other reason than to remind everyone that Chris O’Donnell was once a thing. However, “Over the Hump” might be a close second.)

Sonya, you alluded to this, but I would like to fully take us back to Week Two of the Bachelor Panel to throw a quote in your faces.

“I find myself again coming back to Bianka, who is still perhaps the most interesting one of them all, in some ways,” I wrote in those early days, before the reign of Laura B’s tormented soul and when Melissa Marie was still fulminating over her kid at home and What That Means For Future Love And Playboy Shoots. “The dark horse, I think,” I wrote. Boom. (Full disclosure: My mother reminded me of that quote over the weekend. Thanks, mom!)

Given that I forgot I even wrote it, I can’t really say why I thought Bianka was a dark horse. I think Aaron’s word choice (“subversive”) is perfect. Probably my comment was just set in there to make Sonya and Aaron scramble a bit and have to speak to it (thereby, as all good politicians know, acknowledging it as a possibility). But then they both just side-stepped the whole thing and came up with better, more insightful commentary instead, leaving me in the dust. I think I was always basically the Kara of this panel.

Anyway. Why did Brad pick Bianka? Maybe it was her standoffishness. Maybe Brad just liked the way she wore her polo pants around her chest. Maybe she liked that devil-may-care way Brad never, ever did up the top button of his shirt or rarely bothered to tuck that shirt in because it was altogether far too much for a man with such weighty decisions on his mind to have time for such things. Maybe she was just happy Brad’s suggestion of eating steamed hot dogs turned out not to be a euphemism. It’s difficult to say, really, but I’d wager that more than any of those things, it all came down to context.

Which means it all came down to Whitney, obviously. It was always going to. And as much as she made sure of that, so did Brad, as he allowed himself to be sucked into her vortex of pointed glares and pointed anatomy. She orchestrated her exit exactly as she had everything from the start: as a confusing, angry, abrupt and ultimately cold performance. “You can’t say hurtful things to me, Brad,” she said before shutting the door in his face, walking away from him and then breaking the whole thing off. Of course it had to be her who said it. The Bachelor Canada: On Whitney’s terms or on no terms. She stage-managed her departure like she stage-managed her whole act, including last week’s crocodile tears for all the girls she knew and abused.

So, back to that lasting image. Brad and Bianka, strolling off into the sunset to the sultry tones of the Groover from Vancouver…

Wait. As much as I also enjoyed that, something else stuck with me more.

A jewelry salesman arrived at Brad’s timeshare to show him some rings – one of which he’d eventually offer to Bianka. A selection of glittering, overexposed stand-ins for love, now just another commodified emotion, all lined up for him, awaiting selection. The analogy was pretty clear.

“I saw that ring, and I saw her face in my head,” Brad told us of that moment he picked his ring.

I still don’t know if that’s a good thing.