NEW YORK -- They say good things come in threes and with the season 9 finale of "Bachelor in Paradise" being three hours long, you know it has to be good.
Plus, three couples took major steps in their relationships on this episode of Paradise, and one set of the couples was not even on the beach this season!
Five people went home on last week's episode when only three were supposed to, so tensions are high on the beach. But it is about to be the end of Paradise for every one of the couples in Mexico. They are forced to ask themselves, does the end of Paradise mean the end of their relationships?
Although these two women leave the show later on in the episode, I feel it is important to get their departures out of the way at the start of the recap so we can focus on the couples.
At the start of the episode, Jess and Mercedes set some ground rules for themselves to get them out of their funks after each of their partners sent themselves home. First, they will take tequila shots, then they will build sand castles (and subsequently destroy them).
Jess talks to Tanner before she leaves (conversation featuring Coco the French bulldog). The two of them seem to have a connection, but Jess worries they won't be able to get where they need to be before Paradise ends.
Mercedes approaches Jordan to dump him, essentially friend-zoning him by saying their connection "is not romantically there." We learn that Mercedes' bags were packed before she even went to pull Jordan for a chat.
Both of these women, even though they were on the beach the whole season, were unable to find their love connection in Paradise.
"I came here for love, and I am leaving with nothing," Jess said.
I came here for love, and I am leaving with nothing,Jess Girod
Kat and John Henry go on a paddleboarding date together. Funny enough, Kat hops onto her paddleboard in no time, but John Henry struggles. It seems as though he truly is more comfortable in the water.
"The ocean is John Henry, that's literally his office," Kat said.
Kat and John Henry had one of the rockiest starts of any of the remaining couples on the beach, but that has not dampened their connection.
"I think this relationship between me and Kat is probably the least expected on the beach, but it's working," John Henry said.
On their date, Kat and John Henry open up to each other. Kat shares that her extended family is full of failed marriages, and she lived in a group home as a teenager. John Henry tells Kat that he has struggled with depression in the past. Both of these confessions are things they say they have not shared with other people in their lives whom they are close with.
"This was the perfect date for me and Kat. We took a major step forward, I am 100% all in," John Henry said. "Knowing that we feel the same way is exciting."
John Henry and Kat make things exclusive with one another, and I cannot be the only one who is in both shock and awe. Maybe opposites do attract.
"I am literally like done dating. I have found my person. I am going to be possibly engaged," Kat said.
This was the perfect date for me and Kat.John Henry Spurlock
In this episode, the producers finally decided to wipe the initial "B" from Aaron's name card as well as everyone's vocabulary. As such, Aaron B. will henceforth be referred to as Aaron. (If you are confused by which Aaron this recap is referring to, I implore you to pay better attention next time you watch "Bachelor in Paradise.")
Aaron and Eliza get a date card for a visit with a shaman who takes them to a sweat lodge. Inside, they are asked to share their fears. Both Eliza and Aaron are scared that the other is not ready to commit to their relationship. However, they each share they are falling in love with each other and they talk about the possibility of getting engaged.
"It's giving forever," Aaron said.
It's giving forever.Aaron Bryant
Back on the beach, Kylee starts to doubt her relationship with Aven. She says she feels insecure because their relationship is not as strong as some others.
Plus, an engagement is really important to Kylee, but Aven does not feel ready for that.
"When are you ever going to be ready? You're almost 30... It's just really discouraging," said Kylee. "I feel like I am holding onto false hope."
Aven says he is sure about Kylee, but he does not want to regret rushing into an engagement.
As Kylee and Aven try to hash the future of their relationship out on a daybed, Kylee starts to cry and Aven leaves in a huff. Off camera, we hear Aven is frustrated.
"Oh my God, it's always about a **** ring," Aven said.
The next morning, Kylee says she does not like that when the conversation got tough between the two of them, Aven stormed off.
"I went to bed feeling sick to my stomach; I woke up feeling sick to my stomach," Kylee said.
When are you ever going to be ready? You're almost 30.Kylee Russell
If you are a long-time fan of "Bachelor in Paradise" you probably recognized Bachelor Nation royalty Kenny Braasch and Mari Pepin as they made their way down to the beach. Kenny and Mari met two years ago in Paradise, and even though they had a rocky start, they got engaged on the beach at the end of their season. They have returned to Paradise to make their union official and get married.
"I am not sure we would have ended up together outside of Paradise if we didn't have our issues in Paradise first," Kenny said.
As they gear up for the wedding, a surprise guest appears as Kenny's best man: Blake. (Good thing, because Kylee has been missing her confidant and friend.)
Even if you did not know who Kenny and Mari were, this Paradise wedding most likely pulled at your heartstrings.
"When you asked me to marry you on this beach, it was the surest yes I have ever said," Mari said in her wedding vows.
It was the surest yes I have ever said.Mari Pepin
For anyone wondering where Mari and Kenny's family was during their wedding, there is no need to fret. According to their Instagram accounts, the pair had a second reception on November 11 with their friends and family in Puerto Rico.
During Kenny and Mari's wedding reception, many of the couples are forced to face their feelings. Kylee talks to Blake about the engagement conflict she is facing with Aven, and Aven talks to Mari and Kenny.
Kylee then pulls Aven to chat, and he tells her he is falling in love with her.
"My feelings for you are very strong... I don't want to lose you. I can't imagine leaving here without you," Aven said. "I am falling in love with you at this point."
As happy as Kylee is to hear those words from Aven, she still wants him to commit to an engagement in Paradise.
"I just want to shake him. He knows what I want, and he does not care." Kylee said. "It's giving desperate, and I'm not doing that anymore."
It's giving desperate.Kylee Russell
Jesse calls the final five couples over to tell them that it is the end of Paradise (as they know it). Each of the couples will have to decide whether or not they would like to pursue a Fantasy Suite together and ultimately get engaged.
Peter --- Sam
Aaron --- Eliza
Michael --- Olivia
Aven --- Kylee
John Henry --- Kat
Sam says she does not feel things are far enough along to keep pursuing a relationship with Peter. Meanwhile, Michael tells Olivia that he does not see a future with her outside of Paradise.
Plus, Kylee and Aven have to decide whether or not they will get engaged and/or stay together outside of Paradise. Aven tells Kylee that he is not ready for an engagement, but he still wants to be with her.
"I really want you to trust in us, and what we have had up until this point," Aven said. "I want to start a life with you... I have never been so excited. I want to be in a relationship with you. This is going to really hurt if you decide that it's not worth it because of that."
After a long pause, Kylee says she wants to make it work with Aven even if he is not ready to propose.
"I don't want to lose you," Kylee said. "I think at the end of the day, I can't see myself walking away from you."
They leave Paradise in a car together, and even though neither one of them looks happy, you can't help but root for them.
"Love is all about taking risks," Kylee said. "This could also be my biggest heartbreak, but I won't know until I know."
In a montage at the end of the episode, we learn that Kylee and Aven have blossomed as a couple since leaving Paradise.
Love is all about taking risks.Kylee Russell
The two remaining couples, Kat and John Henry and Eliza and Aaron, decide to pursue fantasy suites together.
As they gear up for their fantasy suite, Eliza and Aaron express their love for one another. However, Eliza said she is nervous about the possibility of an engagement. Aaron is not swayed by this fact.
"I want to protect you. I just want to love you how you need to be loved," Aaron said.
The next day, Aaron and Eliza approach each other for their final rose. In an impassioned speech, Aaron shares with Eliza that he spoke with her mom for 15 minutes ahead of this moment. Any doubts Eliza had about an engagement seem to fade from her eyes as she learns she has her mother's approval.
"I want to do this right with you, I understand what this means to both of us... Will you marry me?" Aaron asks Eliza.
Of course, she says yes.
"It's giving fiance," Eliza said. "I did not know until I was standing right here what I was going to do... I knew I was not in control of what was going to come out of my mouth."
I knew I was not in control of what was going to come out of my mouth.Eliza Isichei
In the finishing montage, we learn that even though Aaron and Eliza are still engaged their relationship has hit some "speed bumps" since Paradise wrapped.
After a love story like Aaron and Eliza's was wrapped so perfectly, I could not help but worry about the future of John Henry and Kat's relationship. However, the two of them are madly in love as they wake up from the Fantasy Suite.
"Right now, how I feel waking up is -- I want to wake up next to him every day," Kat said.
At the final rose altar, Kat is quick to express her love for John Henry.
"I've never felt so comfortable so quickly with a person in my entire life," Kat said. "How could something so good come so easy? I am standing here right now happy and completely at peace."
On the other hand, John Henry seems to be having second thoughts. He says his heart is telling him to get engaged to Kat, but his gut is telling him it is too soon.
"I've always kind of trusted my gut, in life, it has helped me at times. Right now, my gut is telling me that it's too soon," John Henry said. "But, I am going to try something a little different and follow my heart today."
I am going to try something a little different and follow my heart today.John Henry Spurlock
John Henry proposes to Kat and she says yes.
According to the "where are they now" montage, John Henry and Kat are still happily engaged and are moving to San Diego together.
Otherwise, we learn pretty much everyone else from this season of "Bachelor in Paradise" is still single. That is, except for Brayden, who is dating Christina Mandrell from Zach's season.
Don't miss the premiere of "The Bachelor" with Joey Graziadei on January 22 on ABC and streaming the next day on Hulu.