Nick Viall, Vanessa.
Photo: Terhi Tuovinen/ABC
This morning, I was sitting in an airport in Chicago, waiting to board a plane for a family vacation and frantically emailing with my brothers to set up a VPN to stream tonight’s Bachelor finale. After googling “The Bachelor ABC” to double check the time it would be airing, I saw a headline about one of Vanessa’s relatives having doubts about Nick giving her the final rose and I thought to myself, “What’s the goddamn point of all this then?” Between Rachel being revealed to be the next (and first black) Bachelorette and Reality Steve and Dancing With the Stars and pictures of Vanessa in a bridal boutique weeks ago, What is the goddamn point of all of this? Who is this for? Who is still waiting with bated breath to find out if this miserable sentient sponsored Instagram account finds his true love? Because it ain’t me and I’m not even sure it’s Nick.
We’re still in the northernmost reaches of Finland, snuggled up in Nordic sweaters as little tufts of Nick’s hair pop out of his beanie in the most curated way possible. Let’s just condense a few of Nick’s monologues and interviews: Andi and Kaitlyn broke his heart. The important difference that Nick keeps forgetting is that HE IS THE BACHELOR. He’s already changed the structure and pace of this show; if he decides that he needs a couple of more days or another fantasy suite, he could ask for it. Want to make Raven and Vanessa battle in front of the Finnish locals? Just ask for it. He could even propose to both, see who says yes, then dismiss the one he decides he doesn’t want. The façade of reality has been stripped away. Someone marry this bowl of Cream of Wheat and let me go home.
Nick’s family has been flown all through the polar night to meet the two ladytestants still standing. His sweet little white family is being put through this mess again. They’re used to being let down and terrified they’ll have to pick up the pieces of Nick’s life if he ends up sad and alone. Did Nick’s great-great-great-grandfather laugh at a witch who cursed his offspring to live a never-ending cycle of failed reality-television romances? If so, that was one prescient witch, even for witches. First up to meet Nick’s family is Raven.
Dear, sweet, precious, darling, fetching Raven. Girl. Even if you hadn’t read all the spoilers on the internet, the writing was on the wall. I read once in Oprah magazine at the hairdresser’s that we don’t choose partners who are worthy of us because we don’t want that them to be “a permanent witness to our flaws.” When I read it, I had to put down the magazine to gather all my thoughts. Our dear, sweet, precious, darling, fetching Raven made the mistake of unconditionally loving a man who confuses conflict for passion. She kept proffering words of reassurance about their life together and I kept thinking, “This is just not what Nick wants.” He has so much fun with her, but he’s not looking for fun. Raven sits down with Bella, who tells her that she hopes that she’s the one standing at the end. I’m all-in for this spinoff of Raven and Bella seeking revenge on Nick and all the other shitty exes in the world.
Next, it’s time for Vanessa to meet Nick’s family. Nick’s mom says she’s putting up a big hurdle for Vanessa to impress her since the whole family loved and adored Raven. Within five minutes of meeting Vanessa, Nick’s mom is full-on weeping. Well, that’s that. Nick’s dad sits him down and says that because Vanessa is really his type and he hasn’t exactly had luck with pursuing his type, maybe he should really think about this. Then Vanessa sits down with Nick’s dad and they start talking about if love is enough for a relationship to last. Within five minutes, Nick’s dad is crying. Vanessa’s crying. Y’all. It is a lot, but Nick’s dad is still worried that she could hurt him and he’s not wrong. Vanessa isn’t particularly interested in letting Nick know that she’s ready because there’s still another woman.
Has no one told her what happens on this show? (The answer is no, because she revealed on After the Final Rose that she only watched a couple episodes of a season before going on the show.) Vanessa and Nick have one final date where they ride horses on a Lapland safari while Santa Claus hides in the trees. This is not a bit. This actually happened. They ride up to a cabin deep in the woods and they meet Santa Claus. Let me rephrase that: Two grown-ass adults have to pretend that a Finnish actor hired by ABC producers is actually Santa Claus and accept gifts from him. He gives them a plaque with their Finnish names: Nickelodeon and Venmo.
I feel like this episode had me stuck in a recursive loop where not just Nick and his family were repeating the same talking points, but even the ladytestants were repeating the same phrases and moves. Vanessa keeps asking for reassurance and better answers. Nick and Raven have a conversation about how much she loves him and they go skating and even make out on the floor again. But Nick and Raven’s date ends with him presenting her with puppies and she declares it the best day of her life. Oh, honey.
The final day unfolds first with Neil Lane showing up at Nick’s door to tell him, “I hope this one works.” I’m a fan of that kind of shade. When the first limo pulls up to the cabin, everyone in my family went, “It’s gotta be Raven” before her stilettos even touched down in the snow. Nick lets Raven confess her love and tell him how she doesn’t feel any hesitation in the world. Why does he let her go first? Because he’s incapable of dealing with any emotional difficulties — or, in layman’s terms, he ain’t shit. Nick cries and tells Raven that he doesn’t know if he’s in love with her and he’s torn up letting her go. Nick, you’re breaking up with someone, not staging a one-man version of Up in the Air. Throw a little more sensitivity into the proceedings. He doesn’t get the note, though, because he walks her out to her limo without her coat.
Now, the inevitable proposal. Nick goes first and tells Vanessa that he loves her and he’s been falling in love with her since the second rose ceremony. They comment on how attractive they were on that first night. A tale as old as time. They both admit that they aren’t easy to live with. Song as old as rhyme. After he proposes and she says yes, Nick says, “It’s great! It’s so good! I’m not kidding!” Then Vanessa says they’re off to do it, literally. Beauty and the Beast.
The After the Final Rose is uneventful, except for a handful of reveals about Rachel’s contesticles for her Bachelorette season. There’s one non-black contesticle who says that he’s ready to go black and he’s not going back. In case anyone was wondering if I wouldn’t be able to bring the snark, the Good Lord provides. See you all then!