While some seasons of "The Bachelor" have ended without an engagement, no season has ended like the one that concluded Tuesday night. Colton Underwood sought out third finalist Cassie Randolph, the woman who'd rejected him after he'd made his feelings known, after not proposing to either Tayshia Adams or Hannah Godwin on Monday's show.
This time Randolph, a 23-year-old speech pathologist from Huntington Beach, California, reciprocated his feelings. There still was no proposal by the end of the four-hour, two-night finale, but the two professed they'd fallen in love.
In taped portions of the otherwise live finale, Randolph, at her hotel in Portugal, seemed pleased that the 27-year-old Underwood acknowledged that relationships take "compromise and sacrifice." She accepted his invitation to travel with him to the Spanish island of Mallorca to meet his family.
"I'm so overwhelmed," Randolph says to the camera in an insert, adding "I'm going to take it one day at a time, one step at a time. I guess I'll figure it out as I go."
The family meeting went well, and Randolph told Underwood's father, Scott, of his son, "I love him and I care about him so much, but I'm hoping for clarity to, like, figure out if this truly is going to work, because, like, there's no reason it shouldn't after this week unless we truly weren't meant to be together."
Helping feed the uncertainty is that neither Randolph nor Underwood expressed in the finale what it is specifically they love about each other, giving the episode the air of a teenage crush.
That impression of infatuation continues when the two appear on the live portion of the finale, and Underwood and Randolph tell host Chris Harrison in turn, "We're in love" and "We're super in love."
Neither on "The Bachelor" or "Good Morning America" did the couple state explicitly whether Underwood lost his much-discussed virginity during the couple's Fantasy Suite sojourn. "GMA" co-anchor Lara Spencer took their demurral as a yes.
Randolph explained to Spencer that she had gone into "The Bachelor" "open and ready for an engagement, and then until you're there you almost don't realize how little time you're going to get to be really sure that that's, like, a lifelong commitment you're ready to make. And I wanted to be sure by the end of it. I loved him and cared for him so much and I wanted him to have that."
Added Underwood, "I just did not want her not in my life. And I think it was one of those things that was bigger than the show itself. I didn't care how it ended — I just wanted to be with Cassie."
On “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the late-night host gave the couple a Neil Lane ring, normally offered on “The Bachelor,” if the participant indicates that he wants to propose.
“I do feel like you guys kind of got cheated a little bit because of the way you went about this,” Kimmel explained, according to People magazine. “Because they love to have you get engaged on television and part of the deal is you get the ring from Neil Lane. So this afternoon I was like … ‘They don’t get the ring from Neil Lane.’ So we called Neil Lane and so here, he sent the ring.”
Kimmel went on to explain that if Randolph didn’t like the ring — a square diamond with a halo of smaller diamonds set in a diamond band — that she could exchange it for another one.
Underwood, who at first joked that he was going to propose to Randolph on the late-night show, told Kimmel that the couple is now “confidently boyfriend and girlfriend,” with the possibility of an engagement in the future.
Meanwhile, Hannah Brown, one of the women Underwood rejected earlier in the series, was named as the next "Bachelorette." That show returns on May 13.