(LOS ANGELES) — The two-part season 16 finale of The Bachelorette concluded on Tuesday with Tayshia getting engaged to Zac.
But first, Tayshia had to figure out how to handle Ben’s surprise return and his bombshell announcement that he was in love with her. We got an indication of what her answer would be when, against her better judgement, the two shared a long, passionate kiss.
Sure enough, Ben surprised Ivan and Zac by showing up for what would be a shocking rose ceremony.
It began with Tayshia pulling Ivan away for a private conversation, where she revealed that while they meshed on so many levels, their religious differences posed a problem. That, coupled with Ben’s return, left Tayshia with no other choice than to send Ivan home.
Next, it was time for Ben and Zac to meet Tayshia’s parents.
Both suitors earned her parents’ approval, each convincing them that they were truly in love with Tayshia, and leaving the Bachelorette confident with the choices she’s made.
Unfortunately, the high Tayshia felt after the meetings, was short-lived, when she received a surprise visit from her dad, who felt that while he “liked Zac” and Ben “was a good guy,” he didn’t want to see a repeat of her past mistakes.
“You’ve learned from every step from since…your divorce,” he said, “and what I wanna make sure is that we can do whatever we can to not go down that path again.”
The conversation left her a little less certain about whether she was really ready to tie the knot.
One more date with Zac — the last before making the biggest of her life — restored her confidence a little bit, though she tried her best not to let the moment cloud her judgement.
Later, Tayshia opened up to Zac about her fear that his feelings for her might change if down the road she just wanted “to be like, a mom,” and he thought, “But you were once this one, ambitious, like, girl.”
“I understand the word commitment. I understand the word loyalty…I understand what these things mean,” he assured her, adding, “whether or not in five years you’re gonna be a stay-at-home mom or waitress…it doesn’t matter to me, as long as you’re happy, because that’s not the reason…I love you.”
That reassurance brought Tayshia the clarity needed, along with the realization that Zac was her true love. When she and Ben met for what was to have been their final date, Tayshia broke the news to him that, “I care about you so much, but I just feel like my heart is with somebody else.”
The only remaining question was whether Tayshia was ready to accept Zac’s proposal.
After a long buildup, Zac popped the question, to which Tayshia, wiping tears from her eyes answered, “Yes! Yes, yes, yes! I love you.”
The couple then rode off — or rather walked off — in the same toy cab Zac had brought to their hometown date. However, this time, it was adorned with a “just engaged” sign and tin cans dragging tin cans dangling from the rear as Zac and Tayshia hummed “New York, New York.”
The Bachelor season 25 kicks off January 4 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.