Back -- I don't know, somewhere -- Charlie fiddles with the ring, telling us that it's exciting and scary that he may soon be engaged. Ryan, in a tall building somewhere either across town or not, can't wrap his tiny mind around what the ring represents, thinking, "This could potentially be on Trista's finger for the rest of her life. It's kind of overwhelming." The screen actually splits, Telephone Hour-style, as the two prepare for their night ahead. They put the rings inside their coat jacket lapels, Charlie giving himself an off-camera "this guy!" with thumbs pointed at self in a nearby hotel mirror, and they hit the limos for the last time. In this scene.
Okay. We already know I was totally duped, right? I've admitted as much numerous times, I'm sure. I must say, this is the exact scene where I started to figure it out, too. And it was just one tiiiiiiny little moment, which I'll get to in a bit. But first let's check in with correspondent Chris "Guy Smiley" Harrison, who meets Trista in the Room Of Reckoning. They sit down in their respective chairs, Chris kicking things off: "Can you believe you're here?" She can't. He asks her how she's holding up, and her Zen-like response is a victory for all fans of life-altering decisions made as capriciously as possible over a hot cop of post-show endorsements: "I'm calm. I'm at ease. I'm happy with the way things are ending. And even though I'll have to say goodbye to somebody tonight, I'm trying to focus on the bright future ahead." That and a Xanax will get you halfway back to Vail, baby. Chris asks her if this last week has been beneficial, and she confirms that it has indeed. "The fact that Ryan had the decency and the integrity and the respect for my father that he showed that night really won him some big points." Chris asks if Trista can see herself with a ring on her finger tonight, and she outlines the remaining moments of the show by telling us that she is going to "tell him how I feel." Brave. That's good. Good and brave. Chris explains further: "The guys are going to arrive here one at a time, not knowing if they're arriving first or second. They won't see each other at all tonight." Show don't tell, ABC...somebody just asked me if I packed these bags myself. But first it's the final video messages from each of the guys. And this is where it started to come together. During Charlie's message, Trista remains stone-faced as he explains, "I want you to know how much I've treasured the time we've spent together thus far." "Thus far"? Truly in my heart that it is myself? Why is Charlie acting in the King James version of The Bachelorette tonight? He ends his message by telling her, "It's not a rose that I want." Well, wish granted.