Zach Shallcross Gets Engaged in 'The Bachelor' Season Finale: 'You Are My World'
Zach decided between finalists Gabi Elnicki and Kaity on Monday's season 27 finale
Warning: This post contains spoilers from Monday's season finale of The Bachelor.
After choosing to break his own "no sex" vow during Fantasy Suites, The Bachelor lead Zach Shallcross decided on Monday's finale if he wanted to exchange vows with Gabi Elnicki or Kaity Biggar.
And, in the end, he chose Kaity, who accepted both his final rose and his proposal.
But before viewers could find out how Zach's journey in Thailand ended, host Jesse Palmer welcomed Ariel Frenkel to the stage during the live in-studio portion of the finale to reflect on her breakup with Zach, 26, and what happened during Fantasy Suites.
Ariel, 28, said the reality of the relationship ending didn't "hit me until afterwards."
"I think there's so much shock that happened," the marketing executive said. "I definitely emotionally shut down."
Jesse, 44, asked Ariel whether it upset her to be "totally in the dark" about Zach's decision to be intimate with Gabi, which he informed Kaity about.
"It really hurts to find everything out on TV when everyone else does, with a partner that you've shared so many intimate moments with," Ariel said. "I was really disappointed in the way the whole week was handled. I was disappointed in the way that I was left completely not knowing anything from Zach."
Ariel confronted Zach about her frustrations when Palmer welcomed the Bachelor to the stage.
"I committed to being in an open relationship — that's what it is, that's what I want to call it — we were," Ariel told Zach. "When the parameters of an open relationship change, I should be the first to know. I should have not been left in the dark sitting … standing up there in Thailand at the rose ceremony. You had ample time to also tell me about everything before I left."
She asked Zach why "I wasn't given that same respect" as the other women, whom he did tell about breaking his own rule.
"You're right," Zach admitted. "I should have told you, probably first. I just felt in that moment that I've got to focus on everything I can right now in the moment and with how that week was set up with having the next date with Gabi, there was just a lot of stuff going on in my mind. And I do owe you an apology for not telling you at all and you found out when the rest of the world did and that's on me. There's no excuse for it."
Ariel revealed she actually agreed with Zach's idea about not getting physical during their overnight date. "You took away my agency," Ariel told Zach. "You took away my ability to even have a conversation."
Zach confessed he did mess up. "I really made it one-sided and that was very selfish of me," he said, later adding, "I did mess up and I wish I could make that better."
GABI MEETS ZACH'S FAMILY
Prior to meeting Zach's family, Gabi wanted to talk to the senior account executive about how he made her feel like the reason for the sense of "failure" he expressed during the rose ceremony.
"Yesterday at the rose ceremony, all I was hearing was the negatives," she said. "And I guess I just want to make sure that like, you aren't associating those negative feelings with me because I don't want to be the reason that you feel pain."
"That is the last feeling I want you to feel," Zach told Gabi.
Zack added that "it was a mess-up" to head into Fantasy Suites with "some weird notion in my mind thinking I can just come up with rules to like find love."
Gabi said she felt "guilty," as if "I was an accessory in a crime" in deciding to be intimate with Zach.
He assured Gabi, "I wouldn't take anything back."
Zach also said that their decision came out of a special place. "It's love," he told Gabi. "I want you to know that."
Inside, Gabi chatted with Zach's dad, who explained how he and Zach's mom's marriage strengthened when they faced the possibility that Zach could die as a baby.
Gabi thought it came down to "are you willing to give that extra?" she told Zach's dad. "I'm 100 percent willing to and I know that he would do the same for me."
Chatting with Zach's sisters made Gabi realize how much she loved Zach.
"I am in love with you, and it's so scary to admit that," she told Zach after meeting his family.
KAITY MEETS ZACH'S FAMILY
Having already hashed out their Fantasy Suite issues last week, Kaity headed into meeting Zach's family feeling nothing but love. In fact, she got emotional talking to Zach's mom about how much she loved him.
"I didn't think I could find somebody so amazing," Kaity, 27, gushed.
The ER nurse told his dad as well just how much she cared for Zach. "I am very in love with him," she said.
Kaity appreciated talking to Zach's sisters since "I don't have that traditional-looking family."
She ended the date by telling Zach how "so in love with you" she felt.
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LAST DATE WITH KAITY
Kaity and Zach met up for a hike through the jungle for their final date before engagement day. "I just feel like we're a really good match for each other," she said in an on-camera interview.
They recapped Kaity's meeting with his family and stopped by a river to observe their surroundings.
"If it isn't me, I'm just going to have this steel heart," Kaity worried to the cameras.
At the evening portion of their date, Kaity told Zach she hopes "there's more adventures to come" for the two of them. She also admitted that her time on the show "has been very tough on me," especially last week's Fantasy Suites debacle.
"After it happened, I was so in my head," Kaity told Zach.
Zach said that, while he didn't like seeing Kaity upset, it showed they could come out on the other side of difficult situations.
"It's something that, as a relationship, we were able to overcome," he said. "And I look at that: how are we going to overcome things? How can we figure this out and work out things together? That's important."
He also told Kaity that when it comes to a proposal, he didn't want "there to ever be second guessing" and promised he'd been "fully feeling my heart" in the process of making the big decision.
LAST DATE WITH GABI
For their final date, Gabi and Zach appeared to ride horses on the beach, an outing that ended with making out in the ocean. This date largely took place in silence for viewers, as the sound cut out on ABC's live broadcast and quickly went to commercial before the beach portion ended.
When the sound returned after a commercial break, Gabi, 25, gushed about where her relationship stood with Zach. "We just get each other without having to get each other," she said in an on-camera interview. "He gets me and I think I get him. And I feel like we are in a really good spot."
They sat on the sand and reflected on Gabi's conversation with Zach's dad.
"I didn't know you almost died when you were born," Gabi said to Zach.
The experience gave Zach new perspective. "I felt like I kind of had a new lease on life that I didn't, like I took for granted as a kid," he said.
Then Gabi told Zach she looked forward to starting their lives together "hopefully."
"I'm so torn," Zach told Gabi. "Like it's the biggest decision of my life and I don't know where like fully I'm going to be in two days."
Gabi took that to mean that Zach wouldn't be choosing her at the end.
"I just think if Zach knew how he felt, to me, he'd say it," she told the cameras. "I have a gut feeling it's not me."
During the second part of their date, we learn that the silent horseback ride marked Zach's first time riding a horse. "Today was a blast," Zach told Gabi.
Zach then tried to assuage Gabi's concerns telling her, "I wouldn't be here right now, going this far, if I wasn't sure that there was a future with us."
She wanted to know what it would take for Zach to "be like, 'yes, it's this way,' or, 'yes, it's this way.'"
"I wish I knew, but I want you to know I'm trying so hard to figure this out," Zach responded, adding, "my heart's being tugged in two places."
Though Zach said he was undoubtedly falling in love with Gabi and could see a future with her, that didn't relax Gabi.
"None of my fears were relieved," she said in an on-camera interview.
ONE FINAL CHECK-IN WITH SEAN
Before Zach made that tough final choice, Sean Lowe weighed in in the studio one last time.
Sean, joined by wife Catherine Giudici, said he advised Zach about what he would do during Fantasy Suites, but it ended up going "terribly" for Zach.
"Drawing a game plan up on Fantasy Suites week, that's tough," Sean continued. "When you put yourself in that situation, two people, things are going to happen sometimes. Is it surprising? Not so much. But that's kind of the nature of the beast."
PROPOSAL DAY WITH GABI
Gabi showed up first to meet Zach on proposal day.
"Oh f--- no!" she remarked as she stepped out of the car in heels. "That's a really muddy spot. Ya'll shouldn't pull in right there. When it actually matters, when Kaity arrives, don't do that to her."
When touching base with Jesse, Gabi confessed, "I think I just know what's about to happen."
Gabi thought Zach didn't choose her. "I have a gut feeling and, I think if it were me, I'd know it was me," she said in an on-camera interview.
Upon standing in front of Zach, Gabi's premonition came to fruition.
"Falling in love with you has made me a better man, but ...," Zach said.
Gabi cut him off. "I don't want to hear it," she said.
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Zach tried to continue. "I'm sorry," he said. "You deserve a man that picks you first every day."
Gabi cut him off again, and Zach attempted to apologize one more time. "It's fine," she said. "I knew it was coming. I've known it was coming. What I don't know is why you wouldn't tell me when you knew."
Zach revealed he only "made this decision fully" the prior night.
"You've known," Gabi insisted.
Gabi added that she'd be "okay" — and commended his final pick.
"Kaity's a really special person and she's really lucky, so good luck," Gabi said.
Zach continued to try to apologize. "This is heartbreaking and I don't want an apology," Gabi told him. "I don't want you to feel guilty. I knew what I was getting myself into and I thank you for all that you have shown me, truly, from the bottom of my heart. I do thank you for that."
Gabi got in the car and broke down, claiming she'd been "strung along." "What really pisses me off is, I f---ing knew," she said.
Zach walked away in tears.
GABI AND ZACH MEET IN THE STUDIO
Back in the studio, Gabi joined Jesse on stage. "It's honestly worse watching it back," she told him of the breakup.
Gabi said she had "a little bit of hope" going into the proposal.
"I didn't think somebody who cared about me would make me go up there and go through all of that stress and anxiety and just the entire day, just to, I mean, I felt humiliated," she said.
Jesse proceeded to ask Gabi how she reflected on Fantasy Suites.
"It's a part of me that I'll never get back that I shared with him," Gabi said. "It's extremely violating that the entire nation knows everything."
When Zach joined Gabi and Jesse, she expressed to Zach that he'd gone back on his word of keeping what happened on their overnight date between the two of them.
"It was consensual and it was what we wanted," she said. "And I'm just … it was, we decided that it was going to be between us. We said that that night. And I remember I was brushing my teeth, you came up behind me, you kissed me on the back of my head, you said, 'This is just between us.' And I said, 'Yes, this is just between us.'"
Gabi felt "blindsided" by Zach's decision to tell Kaity what transpired between them.
"What I wish would've happened was that you warned me that you were going to use my name and that you were going to tell everyone what had happened," she said to Zach.
Gabi divulged that she didn't learn about the extent of his conversation with Kaity until it aired last week.
"I just thought it was between us," she said. "I thought it was love. I thought it was more than a TV show. I get it, sex sells, but now I've become a narrative."
Once again, Zach owned up to his misstep. "There's no excuse for the way I handled things," he said.
PROPOSAL DAY WITH KAITY
When Kaity showed up to proposal day, she couldn't see life without Zach.
"I built my walls up so high that I couldn't see past them," she told Zach. "And then you stepped into my life. And Zach, every moment I've spent with you, my walls came crumbling down. With every kiss, with every laugh and with every 'hello, hello,' I'm so in love with you and so crazy about you and I want to spent the rest of my life with you. And honestly, if it's not you, it's not anyone."
Zach felt the same way.
"I can no longer say I'm falling in love with you because Kaity Lane, I am so in love with you," he said. "And I can't, it's like, you are my world. The love I feel for you is something I could have never imagined and something I thought a lot of my life I would never be able to deserve. I love you so much. I love you with all my heart and you're the face that I want to wake up to every morning. I want to go through life with you and only you.
"Kaity, I want to be with you forever. My heart is like beating through my chest right now."
From there, Zach dropped to one knee and asked Kaity, "Will you marry me?"
"Absolutely," Kaity said.
She accepted Zach's final rose and they sailed off on a boat.
In the studio, Kaity and Zach made their first appearance as a couple. Zach shared that when it comes to wedding planning "we're thinking about 2025," he said. "We'll see what happens after that with little ones."
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