Ben, Ivan and Zac started the night in the running for Tayshia's heart with a chance to meet her family, but only one could make it to the end.
Well, that's another season of "The Bachelorette" in the books, but would it go down as the first season to end with two proposals?
After Clare Crawley and Dale Moss made it official right after they met each other (or thereabouts), Tayshia Adams took over the journey and slowly whittled down the men until only the just-returned Ben, Ivan and Zac remained.
Chris Harrison also promised us that if we thought we knew how this one was going to end, we were dead wrong. Then, they showed a lot of fancy camera edits that we just knew were lying to us about what happened.
But did Chris? Or did we all see this one coming?
After Hometowns introduced Tayshia to the guys' families a couple of weeks ago, it was time to turn the tables this week as it was her family's turn to come to the villa and put these guys through the wringer.
But even before that, there's the whole situation with Ben's return. Coming on the heels of Brendan self-eliminating, Tayshia once again went from two eligible bachelors to three ... but there were only two roses. It was almost so easy!
We hate to say we called it, and we'll go ahead and blame the heavy-handed edit, but Ivan was just the most boring of the remaining relationships. What we didn't know was that he and Tayshia had had a conversation about religion and that turned out to be the deal-breaker.
It's interesting that it hasn't played such a huge part in the story this season, considering how much it dominated Hannah Brown's season (as an example), if it's such a huge part and important thing in Tayshia's life.
Nevertheless, this was the reason given and poor Ivan was sent home. At least he was given the courtesy of a farewell conversation. And at least he handled it better than Ben did when he was first booted post-Hometowns.
That left Zac and Ben to meet Tayshia's family, and both did an admirable job at expressing how they felt about her to those who know her best, and care most about her well-being.
We respect that Ben owned up to his screw-up after Hometowns in not expressing to Tayshia how he felt, but it still feels like he's so reserved and keeping so much about himself and his heart behind a wall.
Maybe it's that West Point pedigree, but it stands in such stark contrast to Zac, who just feels like an open book here. Also, in their "talking head" quotes throughout the night, Zac is just so much more grounded.
He was candid and real and authentic to her family, while also sucking up a bit, in a way that was endearing. We said last week he's been getting the hero edit all season long and that certainly continued tonight.
Even Ben's certain confidence that he was going to win this season was matched by Zac's realism that despite how much he's in love with Tayshia, it could still not go his way. Some of that is a testament to the power of life experience tempering expectation.
All in all, we like Tayshia's family, but her father might just be overcorrecting in his concern. At the same time, she basically jumped on this ship midway through its journey to pick through Clare's scraps and find love in a month or so.
We can understand why he'd be hesitant to just let her trust her heart as she could be swept up in something disingenuous here.
If you didn't believe Zac was getting a hero's edit, then you needed only watch this segment where he and Tayshia had their last date, which was also a wedding dance lesson. Seeing her trepidation and overall anxiety after that talk with her father about whether she should get married at the end of this at all, Zac responded perfectly.
He was simply there for her, doing what he could do to prove his sincerity and his heart. At the same time, he acknowledged and recognized that her heart is her own. All he can do is show up and be present for his part, leaving the rest to her.
But even recognizing her trepidation and allowing her that space to express them from a place of love and support was incredible later in their date. Did we mention Zac is getting the hero's edit? It's in moments like this that he earns it.
It's not just saying the right things, but also listening and allowing her the space to process her feelings and validating whatever they are. Those are hers and they are real, no matter if he shares them or even understands them.
From here, it was hard to imagine how Ben could possibly make a stronger case for himself in their final date. We just couldn't see it. With each moment together, Zac was proving himself over and over again the real deal. Plus, their chemistry and bond was so strong even her parents saw it when they were just sitting together.
As it turns out, Tayshia couldn't see it, either. And this is where you can see some of Tayshia's emotional maturity and growth through her own life experiences. She could have still gone through that last date with Ben.
Instead, knowing that he had poured his heart out to her and expressed his love -- which was not easy for him -- the kinder thing was to sever that relationship immediately when she realized definitively that she did not reciprocate. Her heart lie elsewhere.
This is where Clare Crawley fell short earlier in the season, continuing on with the charade of pretending to be interested in these guys when her heart was already made up that it was Dale. And we saw how ugly that got, and how unfair it was to these other guys.
To her credit, Clare finally got there and removed herself from the show entirely with her man, but not before doing some real damage along the way.
As much as this was an abrupt (second) end to Ben's journey, it was still more decent and kind than dragging it out any longer now that Tayshia knew where her feelings truly lie.
And to Ben's credit, he handled this breakup so much better than the last one. Perhaps just fighting his way back so he could man up and express how he felt helped him grow a little bit, too.
This time, rather than be pithy and cold, he told her he was happy for her and shared some genuine heart. It was still a tough moment for him, but he was fully present in it with her, which did a lot to redeem his own arc.
Chris Harrison said that if we thought we knew how this was going to end, we were wrong. Well, he was wrong because this went exactly the way we've been predicting for weeks. Of course it was Zac. It's been Zac for the longest time.
Their chemistry has been unmistakable. His vulnerability and maturity has been so far beyond any of the other guys and it was clear Tayshia was responding to it. And despite her trepidations and deceptive editing, of course it was going to end with a proposal.
It was a genuinely beautiful exchange between them, with Tayshia and Zac both expressing how they got here emotionally and really laying a foundation so convincing we're already predicting this might just be one of those relationships that last.
There are advantages to casting a little older, as they did with recasting for 39-year-old Clare. You find people more mature, more established and more settled in who they are. Those are people more ready on average to make life decisions that stick.
We believe in Tayshia and Zac as a couple, just as we believe that both are genuinely good-hearted and decent people. And they're going to make sickeningly beautiful children together -- five if Tayshia gets her way!
While our next Bachelor -- the franchise's long-awaited first Black Bachelor -- is a new face, the Nation usually dips into pools like this one to find its future stars. So who, among these guys Clare and Tayshia rejected, stands a real shot?
We could actually see Brendan, should he reach that point of growth in himself, being a great bachelor, as would Riley or even Demar. Ivan, unfortunately, just lacks that compelling quality while Ben has some more growing to do before we feel he'd be ready.
However, our favorite future Bachelor pick would probably be Eazy. He's got a big personality and a genuine heart underneath it. He'd make for an incredibly fun season, as he's down for anything, and what we feel would be a compelling and unexpected journey to love.
It's not his fault he finished so poorly in this one, as Tayshia just could not turn that corner with him from really cool guy friend to someone she has real feelings for. That might mean he needs to learn how to open himself up a bit more beyond that fun side, but that would also be fun to watch.
Now, as for "Paradise," we need to see Bennett there, and we'd have a lot of fun also with Noah, Ed, Kenny, Chasen, Blake Moynes and Joe. Okay, Eazy would be a lot of fun there, but he's still our favorite future Bachelor -- we just wouldn't be mad if he took a trip to "Paradise" first.
Matt James kicks off his journey toward love on the Season 25 premiere of "The Bachelor" on Monday, January 4 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.