The finale is here, the finale is here! And they’ve gone back to the dreaded two-hour format. Best settle in, ‘cause it’s a long ride to the end.
Three guys remain – Caleb, David, and Mike. Caleb and David are holding checks worth an astounding single dollar, while Mike has been sitting pretty with his $250,000 since day one. It’s getting down to the wire, and the producers decide to shake things up a bit. That’s right, new checks.
Jordan arrives to meet up with our heroes and invite them to join him in the vault. (Yes, I know that sounds like the premise for a horrible porn movie…bow chicka wow wow…) Jordan’s hair has been dyed again, a rather unnatural shade of almost-blue black, and he’s returned to wearing his impeccably pressed suits with bad ties.
The guys all figure out that going to the vault means that there’s something coming up regarding their checks. See, they’re not just cute, but smart too! Caleb says that he and his dollar aren’t too nervous about heading off to the vault room.
In the vault room (every home should have a vault room, by the way), Jordan opens up a small cabinet-type dealie and shows the men four new checks. Just like in FLOM3, the guys now have the chance to swap their checks for new ones. Two of the new checks are worth a dollar, and the other two are worth a cool million.
Mike is up first, and he seems to struggle with his decision. Cue voice-overs from Caleb and David, saying that Mike would be crazy to swap his check when he knows that he has a guaranteed $250,000. Apparently Mike is indeed crazy, as he opts for a new check.
The decision is a no-brainer for David and Caleb – worst case scenario would be that they still end up with a buck. Caleb and Mike are shocked that David decided to swap though – they both thought he had at least half a million. Back upstairs, David grins and asks the other two guys how much they thought he had. They tell him, and he holds up one finger (no, not that finger). Mike and Caleb are sufficiently surprised.
It’s time now for the fantasy dates, an idea ripped out of the pages of The Bachelor, but still a time-honoured tradition for any dating show. David gets his 24-hour date with Rachel first, and he heads out to meet her in the limo. Rachel reminds us that she feels David is saying all the right things, but she fears he’s doing that just to win his check.
They arrive at a spa resort, and check in. They go walking on the beach and end up sitting on the sand watching the waves roll in. Rachel is peppering David with questions, and he tells her that he has a mental checklist of what he wants in a woman – and she fits the bill. David’s laying it on thick for sure, but it’s hard to tell if he really means what he’s saying. Rachel gets the same vibe from him.
The two of them end up back at the resort, cuddling and kissing in front of the fire. David comments privately that the kisses are nice, but they don’t make him feel weak in the knees. Rachel seems to be enjoying them though, as we see several shots of her biting David’s bottom lip.
David and Rachel head back to the mansion the next morning (after spending the night in separate rooms), and Rachel drapes her legs all over him while she lays back on the limo seat. It seems that two of Rachel’s favourite flirting techniques are hanging her legs over a guy and playing with her hair.
As David goes back into the house Caleb comes out for his date, while Rachel touches up her lipstick. Caleb has been doing a lot of thinking, and is having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that Rachel is still making out with three guys. Is she telling them all the same things? If she is, then she’s being disingenuous with at least one of them. Is it him? The questions plague Caleb as he greets Rachel in the driveway.
Rachel is happy to see Caleb and tries to kiss him – uh oh, Caleb’s not into it. He ducks and gets into the car. Rachel keeps trying to get kisses out of the poor guy, but he’s not having any of it. He’s not mean to her, he just doesn’t want to make out apparently. Good on ya Caleb. Rachel doesn’t understand it – they had such a great date last time and now he’s playing hard to get again.
They go for a walk (holding hands, so things aren’t as bad as they might seem) and end up having dinner together. Now, I have to go a little astray here and mention one of Rachel’s quirks that annoys the heck out of me. It’s petty and I know it, but I’ve held off mentioning this long enough. When Rachel eats, she hunches down right over her plate, and holds her fork so that her elbow jets out high into the air. Then instead of lifting the fork to her mouth, she lowers her head to the fork. There, I said it. And I feel better. I like Rachel a lot, but every time they show her eating I cringe. Now where were we?
Right, dinner. Caleb is still stand-offish, and says things like “how do I know you haven’t said this to the other guys too?”. Privately Rachel seems annoyed – she’s getting close to the million-dollar moment, and Caleb’s hesitation is throwing a kink in her plan. She tells him flat out that her feelings for him are genuine, and he can choose whether to believe it or not.
Eventually Caleb comes ‘round, and as they head back to their cabin they kiss – a real kiss, none of this peck on the cheek stuff. They end up at the cabin, and make out some more. In the morning they leave together – no separate rooms this time! As they walk back to the limo, Caleb says, “We’ll always have the hut!”.
It’s Mike’s turn, and after leaving Caleb at the door Rachel fixes her lipstick again. Mike comes out and Rachel greets him warmly – all the while Caleb is watching out the window and looking a little gloomy. You’ve gotta feel badly for Caleb – his emotions seem to be going through the wringer.
Mike and Rachel head off to their hotel and go stand on the balcony. They see a tour bus outside, and decide to be spontaneous and hop on. For Rachel, this is the perfect time to lay on the charm. She gushes to Mike about how much she likes him, how great he is, and how beautiful he is. Privately she admits that she wasn’t being completely honest – no kidding! Poor Mike – now he thinks that Rachel is so into him that he doesn’t need to play any harder.
Mike admits privately that, although he thought swapping his check for an unknown amount would alleviate the pressure of the money, it’s had the opposite effect. Now he can’t stop thinking that he might be holding a check for a million bucks.
Over dinner, Rachel asks Mike if he likes her. She tells the camera that “maybe Mike would feel bad and pick me over the money, because I’m just so gosh-darned sweet!” Uh, yeah, sure. Anyway, Mike whispers in Rachel’s ear, asking if he’s the one. He tells her to wink once for yes, and twice for no. Is Rachel totally playing this guy? **wink** Yup, she sure is.
Back at the hotel, Mike nearly slips up and shows his hand. He tells Rachel that he could never giver her up, but privately says that he almost uttered ‘for money’ at the end of it. Rachel confesses to the cameras that she doesn’t think Mike’s the one, but she does think he would choose her over the money.
After the dates are done, it’s once again Elimination Night. Tuxes are donned, and doubts are expressed. Caleb says that if Rachel is true to her word, then he’s safe. Both David and Mike seem to think that Caleb is on his way out though, because he hasn’t given Rachel what she’s been looking for. (Which is apparently undying declarations of love, from what I can gather.)
Each guy gets a chance to talk to Rachel, quickly, before the elimination. The ‘fireside chats’ don’t go swimmingly for Rachel, as she complains that Caleb doesn’t step up and lay it out for her (he simply says that if she wants to keep him, great), and Mike tells her to keep him if she ‘wants to have some fun’ with him. Not what she wanted to hear! Rachel has been keeping Mike around as a safety net – he’s been the most forward with her physically and she thinks she has him where she wants him. Now she thinks he’s not as serious about her as she originally assumed he was. What’s a girl to do?
The men line up outside and Rachel comes out, thanking them for spending more time with her. She calls down Mike first, and tells him again that they have a natural chemistry and that she has strong feelings for him. Caleb winces in the background as Rachel tells Mike he’s safe, gets to keep the ring, and be tortured by his unknown check amount for a bit longer.
David’s next. Rachel had a lot of fun with him and thinks they have a lot in common. She loves that they have a strong friendship, but that’s really what it amounts to – friendship. She’s looking for passion, and she just doesn’t feel that they click on that level. As David takes off to burn his mystery check, he wonders how Rachel could only feel friendship for him since she couldn’t stop kissing him.
Caleb is finally called down and Rachel gushes about how much she likes being with him, and that he’s once again wowed her. I’m thinking of sending Rachel a thesaurus this Christmas. C’mon, Caleb impressed, amazed, dazzled, excited, and inspired you Rachel! Wowed has got to go.
Anyway, Caleb is obviously safe and keeps his ring. Rachel thanks the two of them and says how pleased she is that they’re the last two guys left.
Back ‘home’, Caleb and Mike seem to be zoning out. All they ever seem to do in that house is sit around and think about the money. Surely they got to do more than that? Caleb ponders the possibility of picking Rachel and then having the relationship end after four months. Mike says at least they would have had that four months. Both guys are waffling, unsure of the strength of their feelings for Rachel, and worried at the possibility of choosing a check only to find out it’s worth a dollar.
In one of the funnier bits of the show, Mike says privately that he’s 27 and hasn’t had a lasting relationship yet. He calls himself ‘relationship retarded’, and wonders why he thinks this one would work when none of his others have.
In a scene that was probably meant to add drama but proved rather useless, Caleb and Mike are called down to meet with Jordan. Jordan gives them both their checks and asks them to feel them – do they feel like million dollar checks? Mike thinks his feels heavy – it must be a million. Caleb has no idea, and doesn’t want to guess.
Rachel is called down next, and she’s given her check as well. She smiles when she sees the pretty blue paper with her name and “One Million Dollars” written on it. She’s conflicted though – she does have feelings for these guys and doesn’t want to walk away with nothing again. Jordan reminds Rachel that if she chooses the money, she will never be able to see the man she picked again. How do they enforce this? Do they put all the guys in the witness protection program after the show? Do they hire a private detective to follow Rachel around for the rest of her life? I’m baffled.
Rachel is then told that she can join the guys for lunch. The meal can only be described as uncomfortable, as Rachel and Caleb are silent while Mike tries to goof off. Mike is much more endearing when he’s being a goofball, but apparently this isn’t the time or place for his antics. While Mike squirts chocolate syrup straight from the bottle into his mouth, Rachel holds her head in her hands. Meanwhile, Caleb is picking at his lunch, not in the mood to eat any longer. He says he was starving before Rachel arrived, but he’s suddenly lost his appetite.
Rachel starts to tear up and excuses herself. She tells the camera that this sucks right now – she really didn’t want to have feelings for these guys, and now things are getting too hard for her.
She comes back and asks Mike to go for a walk with her. She tells him that his comment during their fireside chat left her confused – does he just want to have fun with her? Does he have any reservations about her or a relationship with her? He admits he does, and privately says that that was likely the wrong thing to say, but he decided to go with it anyway. Rachel is left even more confused, even though Mike is obviously interested in her and makes that very clear. Maybe he’s still thinking of the wink she gave him on their fantasy date, confirming to him that he’s the one. Mike should know by now that Rachel needs very explicit verbal confirmation of his feelings for her.
Time for a private talk with Caleb. They sit together and Caleb lays things out for her. He says that she has both of the guys convinced that they’re the one, so he wonders which one of them is being played. Rachel tells him that she’s being true to him, and that her feelings are real. Caleb seems okay with this – either that or he realizes that it’s so close to the end that there’s not much point in dragging this discussion out again. Rachel is now uncertain though – Caleb seems to change his mind awfully quickly. He’s the wildcard, and she’s a little scared.
The morning of the final elimination dawns. Both of the men are unsure of what they will do if Rachel chooses them. Mike seems to think that he will indeed be the last man standing, but he just doesn’t know what to do – take the girl or the cash. Caleb is totally unsure and nervous. However, he’s made up his mind what he will do if he has to make the choice. He just hopes that he doesn’t live to regret it.
Jordan meets with the guys for the last time. He gives them their checks and tells them to put them in their pockets. Later on, one man will have to roast his while the other will need it as a prop for the dramatic finale. Jordan then tells them that they will be called out one at a time to meet with Rachel and hear her final decision. They will finally find out if they’re here For Love………..or Money. But now they must go to their rooms and wait. Caleb and Mike share a hug and wish each other the best.
Rachel is ready to meet her guys one last time. She’s worried about the possibility of leaving empty-handed, but she’s made up her mind. She feels that one of the guys is an awful lot like her, and she’s a bit scared.
Time for split screens and fades to black and white – classic For Love or Money finale stuff!
Mike’s up first. Rachel recants how she felt when she first saw him, how she was struck by how beautiful he was and that she felt an immediate chemistry with him. She had fun with him on their lawn-bowling date, but wasn’t sure if there was a potential for a relationship there. The second date that day, however, opened her eyes to the possibility. The fantasy date was great, and she had a lot of fun with him. But…
~~Mike fades to black and white, the screen splits, and here comes Caleb…~~
Caleb looks like he’s about to be sick. Rachel tries to comfort him a bit before plunging into her speech. When she first saw him, she thought he was incredibly cute. On their dates, she needed him to open up to her more and he did (which wowed her of course!). On their fantasy date, he was standoffish and that made her worry…however…
~~Split screen, black and white, time for a commercial. We return to Mike…~~
At that blasted fireside chat, Rachel started to worry about Mike’s intentions. Then when they chatted the next day, she felt like he was telling her that he wasn’t the one for her. Rachel starts to cry a bit, and Mike apologizes profusely for giving her the wrong impression and for hurting her. Rachel tells him that she cares about him, but doesn’t feel that they are right for each other. Mike hands his ring back and they hug.
Mike goes back to the vault room to torch his check. He seems okay with what just happened, and promises that he’s going to give 110% from now on when it comes to relationships. He finds out that his check was worth a dollar, and he’s glad – he hopes Caleb is holding a million.
Speaking of Caleb, we’re back to him and Rachel. Rachel says that his lack of trust frightened her. She loves what he said on their last date though, that he had an opening for a best friend. When she first saw him, she thought he was the one, and she still thinks he’s the one. She’s choosing him.
Caleb looks happy and relieved, and hugs Rachel. He tells her how flattered he is, but…there’s something he needs to explain to her. As Rachel looks on wide-eyed, Caleb tells his tale of coming into the show thinking it was a simple dating show, and then finding out it was For Love or Money. He tells her about his original check being for a million (to which Rachel utters “Oh My God!”), how he ended up with a dollar, and then finally a mystery check. As he is telling his story, Rachel is looking like she’s going to pass out. She nervously winds her fingers through her hair, hands shaking.
Caleb goes on to say that a million dollars is a lot of money, and that he could do a lot with it. He’s gone to bed every night with a million-dollar view. But in the end, all he can think about is Rachel. He crumples his check and tosses it on the table beside them. He chooses her!
Now it’s Rachel’s turn – she has something to tell Caleb as well. Caleb looks at her in disbelief. “I knew it!” he exclaims, as she tells him that she too was one of sixteen girls, yadda yadda yadda. He calls her out on her feigning surprise about his confession, but she tells him not to worry, and to just wait. She says that she too has a check, and it’s for a million bucks. Would he like to see it? “No”, says Caleb. She pulls it out anyway, and says that the money would go a long way with her. Her mom has worked all her life and doesn’t want to work any more (don’t we all?).
But…she crumples her check and throws it on the table beside Caleb’s. She doesn’t want the money – it won’t make her happy. She wants Caleb.
They hug and kiss, and Caleb ponders the fact that if they were willing to give up so much for each other right from the start, things can only get better. Rachel says that she has no regrets, and that love is much more important than money. They head off together for the waiting limo as the credits roll.
Oh, the value of Caleb’s check? A dollar.
And so ends another summer of For Love or Money. No one walked away a million dollars richer, but two love connections were apparently made. Will they last? Who knows.
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