The Book Bachelor Season 8: Gilbert Blythe

America has fallen in love with our first Canadian Bachelor.
Unable to win Emma Woodhouse’s heart, Gilbert returned to Avonlea, Prince Edward Island wondering why he just couldn’t seem to ever get the girl he wanted. “I’m not satisfied with their friendship!” Gilbert told People, “I want something more.” Is he simply unloveable, as he declared at the end of Emma’s season?

Women around the world disagree. They have been swooning over his boyish good looks, irrepresible sense of humor, keen intelligence, and perhaps that doctor career. Despite the largest turnout ever for auditions, showrunner Mike Fleiss decided to also open up the show to the many women from across the pond who wanted their chance to vie for his heart. 35 women arrived on night one to try to win Gilbert’s final rose…and love.

On that night, Gilbert paced nervously in front of the mansion, the wet stones of the driveway glistening and the limos lining up full of eager women ready to make awkward impressions.  Hermione caught his eye early, marching up out of the limo and standing out in her own way by informing him he had something on his nose. The audience was surprised when she got the First Impression Rose after responding defiantly when he teased her about her bushy hair.
Elizabeth B.’s fiesty personality and handsome looks also caught Gilbert’s attention that first night, resulting in her getting the first one-on-one date and quickly becoming a fan favorite. Faced with scaling a skyscraper together, Elizabeth B. simply hiked up the bottom of her long skirts, which were already looking a little dirty, and told him she was ready to go. “There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me,” she told Gilbert. Later that night, she told him about her previous relationship, in which she could just never get over her ex’s pride. “I can relate,” Gilbert told her, as he presented her with the rose.
Since then, it’s been the most dramatic season yet. Petunia and Abigail W. became thick as thieves and kept the women on edge as the audience watched them play the other women against each other.  One of the women, who insisted on everyone calling her “Lady”, brought an intensity to every competition that frightened the other women until she finally seemed to have a nervous breakdown and left the competition clinging a dried rose petal in her hand crying, “out damned spot!”. Jadis kept trying to get all the women to eat Turkish Delight, while giggling in her interviews about everyone gaining weight.

But it was Cathy “call me Kate” from California who was the real villain of the season, initially fooling Gilbert with her stunning looks and flirtatious nature. Bachelor Nation was outraged by the evil that poured out of her mouth during the interviews and, in the most dramatic turn of events that has ever been a part of the show’s history, the police showed up to make an arrest in a case once thought to be cold. Cathy wasn’t only trying to steal Gilbert’s heart, she had murdered her own parents. In a haunting exit interview, Cathy stared right into the camera lens and declared, “They looked at me and thought they knew about me. And I fooled them. I fooled every one of them. And when they thought they could tell me what to do—oh! that’s when I fooled them best”. Gilbert was shown running away from the cameras before pushing a button to open the gate and run out into the Spanish countryside to get away from it all.

Gilbert was convinced not to quit and Bachelor Nation breathed a sigh of relief that the craziness seemed to be over. By hometown visits, America believed that Gilbert’s wife just might be in that room.  Elinor, who has had a slow relationship with Gilbert but continued to charm him with her quiet practicality, was worried about her family making the wrong impression and her sister being too flirtatious and Elizabeth B. seemed to feel the same embarassment, although mostly around her mother.  Jo’s sister, Amy, told a few stories about her that seemed to make Jo quite angry and Gilbert didn’t seem to know what to make of her father and his unusual philosophies. Hermione’s time was perhaps the most memorable, as she puzzled viewers by bringing Gilbert on their date to get a routine dental check-up before introducing the dentists to him as her parents. It was Jo, Hermione, and Elizabeth B. who went on to the fantasy suites, but shall we modestly skip over that?
Down to the last two women, Jo and Hermione, viewers were shocked when teasers seemed to indicate a past love interest showing up. Hadn’t enough already happened to poor Gilbert?
Anne Shirley, a childhood friend, had been following the show’s progress on Reality Steve.  “I loved you since we were kids” Gilbert told her, “but I don’t want to be with someone who needs to see me almost die in order to realize she loves me. I dream of a home with a hearth-fire in it, a cat and dog, the footsteps of friends. I used to think you were there, but now I know that all those times you would mercilessly and frostily nip all attempts at sentiment in the bud – or laugh at me, which was ten times worse…it wasn’t right, Anne.  I need better than that.  There is someone else I have found to go hand in hand all the way through life.” Anne left, crushed, and Jo and Hermione were left to meet the Blythe family and hope they might be the ones in the end.
And what an end it was.  On the edge of the Cliffs of Moher, wind whipping around them in an almost supernatural way, Gilbert had to tell Hermione that she wasn’t the one.  She begged producers she to bring her to the nearest library, “it’s where I go when I’m in doubt” she whispered, before crying quietly into her hands. The last shot Bachelor Nation saw of Hermione had her looking defiantly at the camera, tears wiped from her face, as she declared, “Bachelorette? Certainly not! I’m hoping to do some good in the world.” But could that just be the ultimate ploy to put herself at the top of the field?
Jo emerged out of the limo with slightly disheveled hair and looking uncomfortable in her fancy dress. We know Jo had given up on love, learning in her initial package that she told her family “there should always be one old maid in a family” and devoting herself entirely to her writing.  When her sister Amy nominated her for the show, Jo was initially furious, but they convinced her that it would make good material for her books and that it would be an adventure.  Slowly, Jo found herself drawn to Gilbert. She and Gilbert bonded over their shared interests and he admired her gumption, intelligence, and independence. She found that he seemed to even like her flaws and she told the cameras that she knew she wouldn’t have to worry about the two of them fighting, as she had with a past friend who proposed, because Gilbert knew how to handle her fiery temper and accepted her for who she was and encouraged her ambitions that she held so dear to her heart.
For the proposal, Gilbert opted not to get down on one knee, but he did take her ink-stained fingers into his own and asked, “Jo, may I join you in your castle in the air? I want you to always be able to write. I want long conversations by the fire and rambling walks followed by picnics. I want us to be partners who strive to make the other one happy without losing ourselves.  I admire every part of you and I love every part of you. I never thought I’d meet someone who has accepted all of me and made me feel so loved and whole. I hope we will always do that for each other.  Will you marry me?”.
The cameras faded out as the two happily happily kissed with the sun setting behind them. The real question is, though: Do you think our happy couple will defy the Bachelor odds?

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