And just like that, another season of "The Bachelorette" has come to an end! Considering how messy this go-around was (COVID delays, Palm Springs quarantines, host replacements, cast shake-ups and a mid-season lead switch), the end of Tayshia Adams' ~journey~ was actually quite tame and expected!
In what was a very stable finale that everyone desperately needed amid so much instability, Adams got engaged to Zac Clark, the New York (but really New Jersey -- we see you, Clark)-based co-founder of addiction treatment center Release Recovery. Adams' tenure as the Bachelorette was pristine, as she managed to whittle her collection of men down with grace and honesty, oftentimes choosing to end it with someone mid-date or during the off hours if she just wasn't feelin' it.
The end result was Clark being the literal last man standing, as Adams broke up with her runner-up, Ben Smith, just before he and Clark were set to get down on one knee (though, if we're paying attention to Adams' wardrobe like Twitter is, Smith was sent packing even earlier than that). Clark's ensuing proposal was easily one of the best we've seen -- this guy knows his way around a speech, that's for sure.
After the happy couple
ran taxied off into the desert, fans were disappointed to find out that their suspicions were confirmed and there was not, in fact, going to be an After the Final Rose special. Typically filmed live with an audience, ATFR brings back the season's lead and their betrothed (the engagement now being months in the past) to talk about how "real life" has been as a couple. Host Chris Harrison confirmed that the special wouldn't happen this season, even virtually, since the pandemic pushed back production so far into the holidays; the next season of "The Bachelor" is premiering Jan. 4, giving the franchise a mere week off.
Still, we would have so enjoyed this ATFR. It would have been so easy and lovely, the way this show is supposed to end, especially after the train wrecks of the last few seasons.
Peter Weber's post-season special saw his mother hash it out with Madison Prewett -- big cringe. And this was after we saw him dump the woman he had proposed to in the first place to date Prewett instead. Hannah Brown before him ended up unengaged as well between her season ending and the live update, forced to face the man who had a secret girlfriend. Colton Underwood's was a little happier, with he and Cassie Randolph deciding to be together...but it was quite the struggle to get there.
Even Clare Crawley's mini special with the man she ran away with, Dale Moss, was vaguely painful -- Moss shied away from questions about marriage and babies while Crawley came off a little intense, leaving fans to wonder if their union would truly be a happily ever after.
We did get this obligatory "Good Morning America" interview with Adams and Clark, with the couple revealing each other's most annoying habits and discussing how their lives on opposites coasts will work out in the coming months.
The good news is, even though the ATFR update is dearly missed, this is a new era of Bachelor Nation -- the social media era. Clark and Adams wasted very little time displaying their love, now that they're out of hiding, on their respective Instagram accounts. Adams posted a video on her Instagram Story of her sitting fireside with Clark, showing off his shoes and lamenting the fact that she "ended up with a sneakerhead," and followed it up with a carousel of photos from their engagement, captioned "Clarky and the Queen," which she revealed have becomes the couple's pet names for each other.
Meanwhile, Clark posted a short, simple tribute to his fiancée, revealing one of the never-before-seen photos that was taken on their one-on-one date during filming. Their date included donning "wedding" attire and having a photoshoot, during which they bounced around on a trampoline, and though it sounds silly, this aerial shot of a stolen kiss is actually really beautiful!
So, despite no sweet, hour-long, where-is-the-happy-couple-now show, we can at least look forward to watching Tayshia and Zac play out their love on social. Because, remember: It's not true love unless it's Instagram official.