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The Final Rose: A Bittersweet Goodbye to Another Season of Love on The Bachelor

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

If you didn’t already know, I’m an avid fan of the popular reality TV series, The Bachelor. Over the past few months, I’ve been glued to my screen watching the 27th season of the show, which followed the journey of the charming 26-year-old bachelor, Zach Shellcross, as he searched for his soulmate amidst all the drama and excitement.

As the three-hour finale episode aired on ABC this Monday, I eagerly tuned in to find out how the season would end and which of the remaining women would capture Zach’s heart.

In this latest season, Ariel Frenkel, Katie Bigger, and Gabriella Elnicki were the final three women vying for Zach’s heart. However, most of the attention and drama during the season was focused on the infamous “fantasy suite” week. This week marks a pivotal moment in the show, as each of the final three contestants spends a full day with the Bachelor and has the potential to stay overnight in a fantasy suite without cameras for the first time. The pressure of sex looms large during this week, and it often causes tension and drama as the bachelor tries to navigate his relationships with the remaining women, one of which he will be engaged to in less than a week.

Zach, however, attempted to approach the fantasy suite week in a way that had never been done before. He boldly announced to all of the women and viewers watching at home that he would not be intimate with any of the women during the week. He believed that taking sex off the table would be the best approach and help him build deeper connections with the women and to take the pressure of off them all. As a viewer, I could really understand why Zach choose to make this decision. But ultimately, it backfired on him.

Zach’s first fantasy suite date was with Ariel, and he made a vow to her regarding sex, which she agreed to respect. Next up was Gabi’s date, where Zach once again announced his decision to abstain from sex during the week. However, the morning after their date, Zach was wracked with guilt and confessed to viewers that they had broken his self-imposed rule and been intimate.

On his final date with Katie, Zach revealed to her the entire situation, admitting to breaking his own rule and betraying the trust of the women. Katie was understandably upset by the news and even stated that she would’ve rather not known. Interestingly, Zach never disclosed his infidelity to Ariel, who remained unaware of the incident.

Based on the events that occurred during the fantasy suite week, can you predict the order in which the women were eliminated? It turns out that Ariel was Zach’s third woman, and she was sent home at the end of the week without any knowledge of the events that transpired between Zach and the other women. Gabi was the runner-up, and despite their intimacy during the fantasy suite week, it was not enough to secure her the final rose. Finally, Zach chose Katie as his winner and current fiancé. While their relationship was not without its challenges, the two ultimately found love and commitment with each other.

The situation that unfolded during the fantasy suite week on the show, as well as the subsequent conversations that took place during the “After the Final Rose” live update, shed light on important topics surrounding power dynamics, gender norms, and relationship expectations.

During the live update, Ariel spoke candidly with Zach about how hurt she was that he chose to withhold the truth from her, even though he had already decided to send her home. On the other hand, on the show Katie expressed her frustration with Zach for telling her about his infidelity, stating that she would have preferred to remain in the dark. This raised important questions about how much information partners should share with each other, as well as the different expectations that can shape relationships. Ultimately, this situation serves as a reminder that communication and transparency are key to building healthy and lasting connections with others.

“By taking sex off the table, you made the entire week about sex. By making an executive decision for everyone, you took away my agency.”

Ariel Frenkel

In addition, Ariel shared her perspective on Zach’s decision to impose a “no sex rule” during the fantasy suite week. She pointed out that by making this executive decision for everyone, Zach was failing to acknowledge the unique dynamics and needs of each individual relationship. Ariel also expressed disappointment that Zach did not give her the opportunity to discuss her own feelings on the matter. Instead, it seemed to her that he was simply dictating the terms of their interaction without any real consideration for her perspective. This highlights the importance of open and honest communication in relationships, as well as the need to respect each person’s agency and autonomy.

Lastly, at the “After the Final Rose” special, Gabi appeared still upset and heartbroken. She shared with viewers that she had believed Zach would tell the other women about their intimacy but leave her name out of it. She was also under the impression that these discussions would not be done on camera. This was especially hurtful because Zach had assured her during their fantasy suite that their intimate encounter would be just between them. Gabi expressed feeling humiliated and foolish, particularly since she ultimately was not Zach’s final choice.

“I know sex sells but now I’ve become a narrative.”

Gabi Elnicki

Personally, I believe that Zach was a better bachelor than many of the previous seasons, but he made some missteps along the way. It’s clear that he did not have bad intentions, but the role is incredibly challenging, and he struggled to navigate it at times. I was disappointed by how he treated Gabi and Ariel, especially because I was rooting for Gabi to win.

As for Zach and Katie’s future, it’s hard to say. While they seem happy and in love at the moment, the show has a mixed track record when it comes to long-term relationships. It will be interesting to see how they continue to navigate their relationship outside of the show’s bubble.

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Meghan Hausser

U Mass Amherst '25

Meghan Hausser is a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts Amherst studying psychology with a focus on criminal justice and social work.