The Bachelor came to a close last night in a dramatic finale in which bachelor Sean Lowe sent home Lindsay Yenter and proposed to Catherine Giudici.

The episode opens with Sean’s family as they prepare to meet the final two contestants fighting for his heart. In Thailand, ready to get to know the two young women, are Sean’s mom, dad, sister, niece and nephew. Although it’s obvious that at least Sherry Lowe, Sean’s mom, is skeptical of the dating show process, she gamely welcomes the first of the two – graphic designer Catherine.

Sherry’s mission in her one-on-one time with Catherine is to determine how much she loves her son. Visibly nervous, Catherine lists off the reasons why she and Sean make a great match and appears genuine when she talks about how much she cares for him. Sean’s dad is certainly the softer side of his parental unit, as he openly tells Catherine that if she’s the one that Sean picks, he will welcome her in as if she were his own daughter.

Then it’s Lindsay’s turn to meet Sean’s folks. The atmosphere is noticeably different with her than it was with Catherine. Lindsay’s exuberance seems to imbue the “meet the parents” date with more energy than Catherine’s quiet nervousness. It’s not clear which of Sean’s girlfriends went over best with his parents, as Sean’s dad gives Lindsay the same heartfelt speech he gave Catherine, and Sean’s mom begs him to delay a proposal.

Lindsay is soon back at Sean’s side, as she’s the first to go on the final date with the bachelor. They take a boat ride on which they crack some champagne and add another make out session to their impressive onscreen tally. At dinner, Sean and Lindsay continue to kiss and whisper sweetly to each other. After dinner over a bottle of wine, Lindsay confesses to Sean that he is everything that she could want in a husband. To end the night, they send lit lanterns into the skies. Sean admits in voice-over that he loves her.

He might love Lindsay, but when his date starts with Catherine it’s clear he loves her too. Their date begins with a dramatic run towards one another in a field, and includes a romantic ride on an elephant with champagne. Catherine takes their alone time to pour her heart out, and drops the L bomb on the bachelor. He replies, “Thank you for today.” A distraught Catherine begins to cry, but Sean still withholds from reciprocating the sentiment.

Lindsay arrives first to meet Sean for decision time. Sean, hating having to be the bad guy, breaks up with her, telling her he loves her, but that his heart is elsewhere. Making a commendable effort to be strong, Lindsay simply says, “OK,” and swiftly takes her hands out of his grasp. Before having him walk her back to the car, she removes her heels, no doubt trying to make the long pebbly trek as quick and painless as possible.

The letter that was hyped in promos was nowhere near as devastating as they had led everyone to believe. Yes, it’s from Catherine, but instead of being a break up letter, it’s a love letter detailing her feelings for him. After giving essentially the same spiel he gave Lindsay, he tells Catherine she’s the one and gets down on one knee to ask for her hand in marriage. She says yes, and looks truly stunned that she landed the bachelor, repeatedly saying, “Oh, my gosh,” and touching him as though to make sure he’s really there.

At The Bachelor: After the Rose special, Sean and Catherine appeared side by side, seeming more in love than ever. Lindsay stayed classy, commending Sean for how he handled everything and claiming that she was happy for the engaged couple. Sean and Catherine revealed that they plan to get married in the near future in a televised ceremony on ABC.

Before the three-hour finale was up, Chris Harrison announced that the new Bachelorette will be Desiree Hartsock. Her journey to find “the one” will kick off on ABC on May 20.

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