"After the Final Rose" Bachelor specials are always awkward and uncomfortable to watch, no matter what the circumstances among the final couple and the runner-up are. However, fans knew that this "ATFR" would be a notable exception when it came to painfulness for both the audience and the people onstage. Such an example was when Lauren and Arie revealed the "how we met" story that they're probably sticking to amidst this post-show controversy. So, how did Arie and Lauren B. get back together?
On Part 1 of the Season 22 finale Monday night, the show's unprecedented third hour was dedicated entirely to the unedited footage of Arie and Becca's post-Bachelor breakup. If you thought the intrusive look into Dean Unglert's Bachelorette hometown visit with his estranged father was bad, this uncut look at Arie breaking Becca's heart was even worse. Monday's episode ended before we saw Arie's discussion with Lauren about dumping Becca, which left both the airing of their cringe-worthy reunion and their live appearances alongside Becca for the Tuesday night finale.
"After the Final Rose" usually has the runner-up (or, in Becca's case, the new dumpee) appear on her own before getting the chance to talk to the Bachelor. Things normally end rather neutrally between the two, but what with a studio audience that's never afraid to contribute opinions and plenty of frowning franchise alums seated nearby, Arie and Becca's meeting was never going to be pretty.
However, while it was emotionally intense, Becca's talk with her ex was surprisingly mature and calm. This only put more focus on Arie's discussion with Lauren, who came onstage following Becca's moment in the spotlight. The couple soon revealed that they didn't watch Part 1 of the finale on Monday night, which made some of Lauren's succeeding comments about respecting Becca only more uncomfortable.
In what was clearly the longest conversation we've ever seen Lauren carry, she revealed that, after filming ended, Arie reached out to her through an Instagram message. According to the other contestants who spoke before Becca and Lauren appeared onstage, Arie did so while still with Becca. So, for those of you keeping track: Arie was still engaged to Becca while trying to gauge his likelihood of Lauren taking him back.
Well...all right then.
Clearly the liveliest we've ever seen her, Lauren also assured Chris that she trusted Arie, but I couldn't help but focus in on her wavering glance. Who else thinks that not knowing what happened during Arie and Becca's breakup is slowly killing Lauren inside?
Summing up how we all felt about watching this play out, the audience didn't seem to know how to react to some of Lauren's statements. There would occasionally be some mumbles in the crowd, like when she said she wanted to respect Becca and that Arie handled things well. To quote Lauren, the most appropriate response to that would be, "Wow."
Arie also spilled that Lauren was already planning her move to Scottsdale, a city the season's other women (particularly Bekah M.) haven't hesitated in joking about post-show. In the most tepid onscreen proposal ever, Arie then got on one knee in front of Lauren, and she managed to look a little confused and awkward even when saying yes to what should be one of the best questions of someone's life. Read the room, guys. Was that really the best thing you could've done at that second?
While the first hour building up to Arie and Lauren's interview may have been emotionally taxing, their discussion and Arie's proposal was quickly forgotten. In true, monotone Arie-and-Lauren fashion, the two became background players once Becca was announced as the next Bachelorette. "Happy engagement, guys! Do you mind moving offstage so we can bring in Becca's new eye candy?"
I may not be the biggest fans of them, but I do hope that Arie and Lauren have a happy life together. May their future be blessed with plenty of "I like that"'s.