CINCINNATI - Season 17 of ‘The Bachelor" has had its ups and downs, sparkles and eyebrows. Monday night marked the season's close with an epic three hour finale.
Chris Harrison opened the show with a live studio audience in preparation for the hour-long after show following Sean's decision between women.
"Although I see Catherine as my wife, I equally see Lindsey as my wife," Sean said. " I have two women I have fallen in love with and time is running out."
Sean flew his family into Thailand to help him find clarity about whom he should choose in the end.
"Maybe [the journey] will end in a proposal but I hope my family will lead me to my final decision." (Because it's a great idea to rely on other people to make that decision for you).
Sean's parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew showed up and was it just me or did everyone's heart melt when the kids ran up to Sean and were so excited to see him? Who doesn't love a man who's good with children? Eight points for Sean.
While we are on the subject of his family… who is his brother-in-law? I mean, I know he is married to his sister and everything, but can we somehow make HIM the next Bachelor? Wow, someone marry me into that family please.
While Sean and his family sat down to discuss the two women and his dilemma, his nephew yelled out, "Emily didn't pick you!" I love this kid, great timing.
Catherine was first to meet his family and it was pretty obvious she was extremely nervous.
"I am falling in love with Sean and today I am meeting his family," Catherine said. "I am just a ball of nerves. I could be a part of the family I meet today for the rest of my life."
Very good Catherine, I'm glad you can put that together.
We find out when she sits down with the family that she played on an all boys football team in the 6th grade, which is pretty cool and is somehow very believable.
Sean's mom was first to pull Catherine aside and grill her a little.
His mom asked her if this was love for her. Catherine said that she knew she was falling in love with him during their last adventure and all she can think about now is a future with him. Hmm, I don't think she directly answered that question.
Catherine said that if Sean proposed, she would absolutely say yes.
"He's such a great person and I'd never want to let him go," Catherine gushed.
Sean's dad then pulled Catherine aside to ask her what she thought about his son and marriage.
"I was very skeptical in the beginning," Catherine said. "I knew it was going to be a trip but I did know how much I would learn about myself and how much I wanted to be with someone like Sean. I'm very grateful I got to meet him and he's taught me a lot about myself, which, what more could I have asked for?"
Whoa, back up, did she just say someone LIKE Sean… but not Sean specifically? Catherine is already skating on thin ice.
I don't think Sean's dad noticed anything because, in the cutest moment ever, he told Catherine that if they got married, he would love her like a daughter and she would never have a bigger fan than him.
Of course, this meant everything to Catherine, who has daddy issues out the…
(I think I now also want to marry Sean's dad. What is happening?)
"I love my dad but he hasn't been my cheerleader," Catherine said. "That feels like a dream to me. Makes me so happy to think in our future that I get this family as my family."
Rub it in a little more, geeeeesh.
"My family loves Catherine and I know she is falling in love with my family," Sean said. "I couldn't ask for anything more."
As Catherine was leaving, Sean said that although he saw Catherine as his wife, he equally saw Lindsey as his wife.
"I'm expecting my family to love Lindsey today," Sean said.
Lindsey hopped out of the van and was clearly nervous to meet Sean's family.
"I feel so close to being Sean's fiancée," Lindsey said. "It is so exciting and scary at the same time. I could possibly be meeting my family for the first time, so I'm a little nervous. I could easily make a bad impression and they could be, ‘nope not the right girl.'" Well that would be depressing. But really funny to watch.
Sean's dad pulled Lindsey aside first and asked her how she knew she was in love with Sean.
"I just know. I want to hang out with him for the rest of my life. He challenges me, gets me, supports me. Everything I've been looking for and more."
She also said that marriage is a compromise and you have to work with each other to figure out where you can meet in the middle.
Since when was Lindsey in a pageant?
Lindsey sat down with Sean's mom next and explained to her why she saw herself with Sean and that their relationship was real and normal, which is odd because in what normal relationship are you on television gallivanting around the world?
Hold on, that's it with the family? Why are we not getting more brother-in-law time? Chris Harrison! I hate you.
In the end, Sean's parents loved both women and left Sean with a harder time choosing a wife. Though his mom had a little
freak out moment when she started to cry and told Sean that he didn't have to propose to either woman if he wasn't sure. Part of me thinks that's a great point, another part of me thinks mommy isn't ready to let go of Seany boy.
Sean's last date with Lindsey rolled around and he took her on a romantic date riding in a creepy boat down a very dirty river. R.O.M.A.N.C.E.
"When I'm with Sean, everything melts away and it's the two of us," Lindsey said.
Uh, tell that to the guy a foot away from you steering the boat. Awkward.
Sean said that a life with Lindsey would be fun and would never be dull. He said he can be himself around her and it felt like they had known each other for years.
"I am so happy, so in love with Sean that I can't even come up with words to describe it," Lindsey said. It's OK Linds… we all know how hard it is for you to come up with full sentences.
At the end of the date, Lindsey told Sean how much she loved him and that she wanted to be his wife. They sent off three lanterns into the night sky and I realized how it's not fair that no one has taken me on a date to Thailand.
Sean's date with Catherine was next, and let's just be honest, she was the real winner here.
Sean got elephants to take a tour with Catherine while Lindsey got a muddy river ride.
Catherine said it was the best day of her life while Sean was saying it was one of the most incredible experiences of his life (poor Lindsey).
Catherine talked about how it was hard for her to open up to Sean but that she knew it was extremely important at this point.
"I feel like I fit now and it makes sense," she said. "I know what we have is real but I need Sean to understand that I see us growing old together and see our families together. That's hard for me."
After Catherine spilled her love-guts to Sean, she felt like he didn't reciprocate at all and she totally freaked out.
"I know I can't predict what is going to happen and that's scary," Catherine said.
"I never thought I'd be in this situation," Sean said. "Last week, two girls, and not knowing what to do. I'm feeling the pressure now and the feeling that I'll break someone's heart is killing me."
Sean said that he could honestly marry both women and would have a healthy, successful marriages but he woke up and knew there was one woman he couldn't stand to live without.
OK, even if I was the girl he picked, would I like that he had such a hard time picking me and that he could see himself marrying me AND another woman? Yikes.
Neil Lane makes a not-so-surprising visit to Thailand and Sean picked out a beautiful engagement ring for the lucky girl.
"At this moment I feel full of joy and happiness," Sean said. "I'm so thankful that I decided to take the leap of faith and put myself through this because it has paid off." Wait a minute, Sean, she hasn't said yes yet…
"I'm about to dedicate my life to this wonderful woman and I can't wait to start our lives together."
Lindsey said that she felt calm and sure that he was choosing her while Catherine was still freaking out that Sean didn't feel the same way as her.
Sean was ready to break one woman's heart and change the life of another woman.
With a gasp, Lindsey stepped out of the limo first. If you're a true Bachelor fan, you know what this meant.
Sean told Lindsey that she had been such a surprise, that he didn't see their relationship coming and knew he loved being around her from the start.
"Lindsey this is the toughest thing I've ever had to do," Sean said. "I want to give you my heart so bad but my heart is somewhere else. I've been searching for clarity and praying for clarity and I think I finally have gotten it I have to say goodbye to you."
Ouch. Quick and to the point.
Lindsey looked like someone punched her in the stomach. Sean just kept repeating that it was the hardest thing he's ever had to do and that he loves her, he knows he does. Wait! What! He is telling her he loves her and goodbye? Cold.
"Well I'm going to go because this is just really really painful and this is my nightmare," Lindsey said. "I really didn't see this coming, so I'm happy for you, I'm happy that you found love but I honestly can't imagine my life without you and that's something that, um, I'm going to have to figure out."
Class act, girl.
Immediately after Lindsey left, Chris Harrison showed up to give Sean a letter from Catherine, to which the entire world lost their breath and Sean turned the color of snow. Is she going to back out right after he sent Lindsey packing?
Thankfully, Catherine's letter was just explaining to Sean how important their relationship was and that she wanted to be the one marrying him. Whew.
After Sean regained his color, Catherine walked up to him and Sean looked on top of the world.
You never cease to amaze me," Sean said. "I think the world of you and I miss you every time we have to say goodbye. I don't want to say goodbye anymore."
"Catherine, I want to spend the rest of my life telling you I love you and making you feel like
the most special and beautiful woman in the world. Catherine, will you marry me?"
Catherine looked like she was going to pass out, but said yes without any hesitation.
An elephant came up to the couple and took them off into the sunset. Seriously… that actually happened.
(Sean and Catherine are still engaged and made an announcement that they will be getting married on ABC. Sean was also introduced as a surprise contestant on the next season of "Dancing with the Stars." Desiree was announced as the new Bachelorette, airing in the summer of 2013.)