I can't even begin to count how many times I picked my jaw up off the floor, which is great from a storytelling perspective, but when it comes to writing a review, it's the very reason why I'm not fond of two-hour finales.
The action is so fast-paced that it's difficult to give each moment the attention it deserves.
The one thing that stands true is that Noa and Daniel's relationship is hot-and-cold. They wanted to be together, but it was a struggle for them to admit it because they kept allowing external factors -- differing lifestyles, ex-lovers, and whether or not they matched -- to influence their decisions.
You'll recall that at the end of The Baker and the Beauty Season 1 Episode 7, Noa broke up with Daniel because she felt like the universe was against them, but we knew it wasn't permanently over.
It’s a night for everyone to celebrate, to cut loose, to forget their troubles, but my quince has to do more than that, my quince has to fix my family.Natalie
When you have two people whose lifestyles are so fundamentally different, it can become tricky to find a way to make their paths organically cross again. It's not like they run in the same circles or frequent the same restaurants and bars.
However, the series achieved it by forcing Daniel and Noa back into each other's orbits through Natalie's quince. The youngest and best Garcia reached out to Noa for help throwing the party when the family ran into financial troubles and threatened to cancel it.
Daniel and Noa's meeting in the men's bathroom may have been accidental, but nothing about the way their relationship progressed on the series was.
Every fiber of their relationship was intentional, and yet, the series still found a way to make it feel spontaneous and unexpected each time they ripped the rug out from under them.
Even when it seemed like things were back on track at the quince, Daniel decided to walk away from the relationship.
Honesty is hard in a relationship, and while these two have stumbled (a lot), they've always been upfront with each other.
In this case, the short break from Noa helped Daniel realize that he didn't want to be hounded by the paparazzi anymore.
Daniel has never been one to take a leap of faith, and thus, much of his decision was influenced by his commitment to his family and the desire for things to stay the same.
What he said last night is what I said three weeks ago. He doesn’t wanna change his life, I don’t want to change mine. Period.Noa
Life is funny like that sometimes. The more you want things to stay the same, the more they change. The comfort zone is dangerous because it limits you and hinders your growth and opportunities. In order to grow and find true happiness, you have to step out of your comfort zone.
So, it wasn't long before Daniel regretted his decision to turn down Noa because, whether he liked it or not, things were changing, as Thomas Gold, the famous food reviewer, offered him a job, and his family was considering an offer to sell the bakery.
It wouldn't be a rom-com if it didn't pull the lovers away from each other with classic run-of-the-mill plots like Daniel seeing Noa with an ex and jumping to conclusions that it was more than just a friendly hug.
By the time Lewis talked some sense into Daniel, Noa was on her way to Morocco to find herself and move on.
We always point out that rom-coms are predictable and cheesy, and while that's true, if they're done right and the buildup has been compelling, we don't mind.
And that's the case for The Baker and the Beauty.
Daniel and Lewis ran through a whole airport barefoot (did anyone else cringe at the thought of that happening now with the coronavirus pandemic?) to get the girl only for the gate to close the moment they got there.
Also, in my The Baker and the Beauty Season 1 Episode 1 review, I mentioned that I had high hopes for Dan Bucatinsky's character because he's a true talent, and boy, I was not disappointed.
Lewis' witty one-liners and general indifference, which masked the fact that he cares a whole lot and is a teddy bear on the inside, was the show's secret power. And watching him run through an airport shouting things like, "coming through, stupid guy in love," or "we don't look suspicious at all," was one of the finale highlights.
His love for Noa knows no bounds, and despite his distaste for "Baker Boy," he helped him because he knew it would make her happy.
While Lewis and Daniel weren't successful in stopping the plane, there was a happy ending in the cards as Noa got off the plane to find Daniel, and they reunited smack-dab in the middle of the airport.
What are the odds? Insert something overly cheesy here like: "love will find a way" or "all roads lead to love."
Remember when I said Daniel and Noa are hot and cold? They go from rationalizing their breakup to realizing they can't live with each other to breaking up again to getting engaged.
When Noa asked, "what's next," the rational part of my brain figured they would just see where this crazy adventure takes them and whether they can successfully navigate a relationship in their respective lifestyles. They both have to make some compromises for this relationship to even stand a chance, and up until now, neither of them was willing to do that.
Instead, they jumped headfirst into a very serious commitment, which proves that they are in no position to get engaged.
If they couldn't make a relationship work for longer than a few weeks at a time, chances are, this isn't going to go well, either.
Marriage doesn't make all the problems disappear -- it only amplifies what wasn't working. How are they going to balance their careers and differing lifestyles? What happens when Noa goes to Morocco?
I would have expected it from Noa since celebrities love to get engaged immediately after meeting someone, but I didn't expect it from level-headed Daniel.
On the other hand, love makes you do crazy things. They are such an unconventional couple that marriage might just work because it'll force them to work through things rather than just calling it quits whenever things get tough.
Some of the best marriages started as two people who barely knew each other, so it wouldn't be fair of me to sit here and say that there's no reality in which this doesn't work.
When you know, you know.
Their actions have been so extreme that, in retrospect, an engagement was the most logical next step.
And while Lewis and his poor, dingy airport shoes do not have a say here, Daniel's outspoken family surely will.
In fact, their faces said it all. Too bad that Daniel and Noa were on Cloud 9 and barely noticed.
After such a fun, intense, and chaotic season, the engagement is the perfect cliffhanger because it wraps up the "will they or won't they" rollercoaster of the relationship while raising the stakes just enough to keep audiences invested and wanting to know what comes next.
The series has exceeded expectations. Instead of being just another romantic comedy, the writers infused it with spirit, culture, and soul, along with plenty of themes that we can all, on some level, connect to.
We've been given characters we care deeply about and relationships we want to nurture.
But at least it’s a plan. It might sound janky, but at least it’s a plan.Daniel
Daniel and Noa are up high in the stratosphere, but down in Little Havana, the drama between Vanessa and Mateo was equally as captivating.
The relationship blossoming between Mateo and Vanessa might be better than Noa and Daniel's relationship because it started with a solid foundation; they were friends and business partners first.
It's developed so organically, and though it caught them both by surprise, you can tell their feelings are reserved but very real.
Sadly, Mateo made a huge mistake when he told Marlow about Vanessa's soup throwing incident. Surprisingly, Marlow hadn't seen it yet.
It was clearly one of her lowest points, yet she's worked hard to rise above it and come out on the other side.
And when it comes to her relationship with Mateo, she's only ever done what's best for him with the idea of helping him excel in his career; she supported his career, she truly believed in him, and she was there for him.
She didn't deserve to be humiliated by him in front of someone in the industry who looked up to her. And you could see that Mateo regretted it immediately after he said it.
It came back to bite him as it pushes Vanessa towards Marlow, who she wasn't interested in, while also hitching his career to their romance.
Daniel, take it from someone who had a hard time letting go, she would not be throwing your sister a birthday party if she didn’t still care for you.Vanessa
Marlow is essentially giving Mateo a shot at a music career because of his relationship with Vanessa. They go hand-in-hand. If she were to turn him down now, she'd be ruining Mateo's chances of making it in the industry.
Mateo's romantic gesture and love song likely would've convinced Vanessa to forgive him, but they were just a little too late. Maybe if he took an Uber instead of a scooter, he could have had a shot.
And here we all were thinking that Vanessa and Mateo's biggest obstacle would be Daniel.
The way Daniel found out about the relationship wasn't ideal, but his reaction was so refreshing.
Instead of coming to blows, Daniel gave Mateo his blessing. His reaction proves that he values his relationship with his brother. He's also truly over Vanessa in the romantic sense.
Daniel never looked at me the way he looks at you, so, thank you. I would have rather found that out tonight than 20 years from now.Vanessa
Daniel cares about both of them, so when he saw that the notoriously goofy Mateo was serious about Vanessa, he knew he couldn't stand in his way. After all, Mateo did say, "the right woman makes you walk taller, makes you feel like anything is possible." Daniel didn't know he was talking about Vanessa at the time.
If ABC doesn't think Noa and Daniel's bumpy relationship is enough to warrant a second season, they have to be compelled to green-light the series so that we can find out if Vanessa and Mateo find a way back to each other!
Daniel's reaction was just as good as Noa and Vanessa's meeting in the bathroom.
These two women had every right to be catty and nasty to each other, but they took the high road and avoided the "scorned ex hates the new girlfriend" cliche.
They are both beautiful, independent women who rose above the expected pettiness. Vanessa even thanked Noa for stepping in and helping her realize the truth about her relationship.
With so much happening all at once, the bakery storyline could have easily fallen to the back burner, but because it's such a big deal to the family, it was equally as important.
The Garcia's identity is tied to that bakery. They'll be family with our without it, but it represents so much more than a space with good food; it's their culture, it's their dream, it's their family's legacy.
No one asked for my opinion, but if Daniel is too busy to give the tie-breaking vote, I'm siding with Rafael and Mateo -- don't sell the bakery.
I never realized how much I enjoyed normal life until I left it. It was so much fun being up there on the stratosphere with you, but I’m back now, on Earth, where I belong.Daniel
There are some things money cannot buy, and some things you simply cannot put a price tag on. Rafael's bakery is one of those things.
But even removing the personal connection to the bakery, the fact that it would be sold to a corporation to bring in chain restaurants and remove any and all personality from the neighborhood is disgusting. For that reason alone, they should refuse to sell, at least to this buyer.
They might not get the offer Jameson is willing to give from another buyer, but at least they wouldn't be selling it to a soulless, faceless corporation.
And lastly, can we just talk about how beautiful Natalie's quince was?
Since it happened so early on in the episode, it got overshadowed by all the other drama, but the big moment deserves some recognition.
In the Latino culture, the quince symbolizes a young girl's entrance into womanhood, and the fact that Natalie wanted it to make her family happy proves that she's a woman with the right values and morals.
After all that she's been through with her school troubles and the hardships of coming out, she deserved a night to let loose and celebrate her achievements. Not to mention, she looked stunning!
The twists, turns, and romance in the series all contribute to the recipe, but the familial bond between the Garcia's is the key ingredient.
When I said that the series was like a summer fling in my premiere review, I meant it was one of the rare summer fling's that last.
Hopefully, ABC realizes the worth of a series led by a loving Latino family and gives us a second season.
If you missed any part of the series, you can watch The Baker and the Beauty online to catch up!
Let us know your thoughts about the finale in the comments!