Monday night was the finale of Nick Viall's tenure as Bachelor Nation's "nice guy" who perpetually finishes last and I, for one, couldn't be happier to see him go. I mean, find love, Nick--sure--great--but also PLEASE let somebody else get some face time on my favorite TV franchise, OK?
The episode kicked off with our intrepid Bachelor Nick roaming the Arctic tundras of Finland all alone, wondering if his "desperate search for love" (Chris Harrison's words) would result in an engagement or instead a broken heart.
I was pretty annoyed by the whole "maybe Nick will end up alone AGAIN!" possibility that the show kept on pushing because, I don't know, NOTHING in the season made me think that. But I suppose that every season they HAVE to find some angle to keep us on our toes.
Nick and the gang are in Rovaniemi, Finland for this the FINAL WEEK (sorta like FINALS WEEK in school and I hope you studied for the KISS TEST, ladies!). Nick's family has flown up there (they must be SO TIRED of all this by now)--his sweet mom Mary (who seems like a gemstone, or as Raven calls her, "a jewel"), his dad Chris, an assortment of siblings (blonde, brunette, bearded, Bella) and they are all living embodiments of the Great White song "Once Bitten, Twice Shy."
Raven is the first up and she has already met Bella (and they're BFFs, it seems) and the parents (at Bella's soccer game in Wisconsin) so she's got an advantage. Raven makes a good impression, but I couldn't help but wonder if her confidence and excitement made her seem a bit too casual about the potential of an engagement and a marriage. Raven doesn't seem worried about Nick and Vanessa's relationship at all, saying that "this year is going to be filled with events because now I have all these family members" and at that moment, I was like, oh Rav-Rav--you're going back to run your boutique and slide around mud pits in Hoxie, aren't you? Comments like that are just TOO MUCH and if there's one thing my lifelong membership to Bachelor Nation has taught me, it's that the girls who SEEMS to be in the lead is NEVER the girl who wins. Could also be a cool metaphor for life right there.
Vanessa is up next and she rocks a light grey jacket and straddles Nick on sight. Hope the family wasn't watching through the window, Canada Goose! They all sit down for chit chat and Vanessa serves up their first date puking story like a stiff actor on Letterman's couch but it falls FLAT. Ouch. It was like watching a bad standup comedian just sorta EAT SHIT up there, then stare off and almost cry. Very odd.
Vanessa spends the 1:1 conversation being the heavy and asking Nick's mom what happens if they aren't ready for marriage (errrrmmm well Neil Lane won't give you a free blood diamond, so you may just want to SAY you are ready and see what happens?) then weeping with Nick's dad. Overall it felt SO DAMN EMOTIONAL and I thought, perhaps it was to Vanessa's detriment, but now I'm thinking that maybe it was good because it made Vanessa seem adult and serious about marriage (in contrast to Raven, perhaps).
Back in the studio, Chris Harrison takes a casual poll of the Bachelor Nation residents in attendance--will Nick end up with Raven, Vanessa, or [lotsa laughs on this one] ALONE!??!? HONK!
Finally it's time for final, final dates and Vanessa is up first. She meets Nick in the woods (what is this, every romantic encounter in my high school career?) and they walk over to a hut, knock on the door, and are greeted by SANTA!!! Vanessa freaks out as if she's a child who doesn't understand where Christmas gifts ACTUALLY come from and Nick seems to find it cute (they deserve each other). The trio hangs out in Santa's weird hovel before Nick and Vanessa split off for Weep-Fest 2016 (or 2017?).
That night as they spend their final moments together, Nick and Vanessa overthink the definition of romance, talk about whether this all should be easy or hard, and Nick says "there are no guarantees" then Vanessa cries as they kiss. HOT DATE, GUYS!! Nick attempts to reassure Vanessa, saying "when I've been with you, I've only thought of you" which is a phrase with a pretty big loophole, my friend. As much as I think that Vanessa has morphed into a sentient wet blanket these past few weeks, I'll admit that I might behave that way, too. I mean, it's a silly reality TV dating show but your heart is TRULY out there, if you're playing in good faith.
The next day is Raven's final date, so cue up the worst song that ever came outta the 1990s, "Kiss Me" by one hit wonder band (rightfully so) Sixpence None the Richer. Good Lord just the NAME of that band gives me horrific dumb chills. Like, what are you DOING with that band name? Why can't you follow the 90s template, combine 2 nouns (Silver Chair, Green Day, Pearl Jam), and stop being a cheesedick? Anyher--Nick and Raven pull out some pairs skating moves (despite her TIGHT jeans) and frolick around the pond having SO MUCH FUN, which makes Bachelor Nation think: he'll go with FUN over heavy weeping, right? WRONG! But hold on a minute. Oh yes, Nick walks up with 2 puppies and Raven makes a joke about their children being as cute as these puppies. Oh girl--you keep making these comments and reminding me that you're 24 years old and have never had a major HEARTBREAK that would prevent you from so much as guessing about something that might happen TWO WEEKS from now (just me? Been burned? Too many times? Incapable of love? Doubt everyone?).
That night Nick and Raven snuggle by a fire and Raven shares her feelings very thoughtfully and candidly, saying that she knows that she's ready to marry Nick and it will be easy to say yes when he proposes. Nick responds, "more than anyone--I never worried about you" which is a polite way of saying "YOU ARE ALL UP ON MY CRANK AND I KNOW IT, APPRECIATE IT." Nick then speaks in vague circles about how he's confident in them (or something) and departs, leaving Raven feeling SURE that she will be proposed to tomorrow.
The next day, Nick roams the woods of Lapland WITHOUT A JACKET ON (my mother would KILL him) and then retires to his cabin (aka the Bear's Lodge, which sounds like a place where they stock "my type") when he hears a knock at the door and who is it but his old pal Neil Lane, going door-to-door peddling diamonds in the woods of Finland. Nick selects a rock and laments that he must dump a girl. Such is life, Mr. Viall. Such is life.
Meanwhile the ladies are getting ready and they both pick fantastic looks. Raven rocks a sparkly white/grey textured gown with light shoes and her gorgeous, dark hair swept to one side (I LOVE the one side sweep and recommend it for anyone trying to make their hair appeal more full.) Vanessa looks gorgeous in a sequined black gown with side cut outs (not easy to pull off), black pumps, bold lip, and a super chic short fur coat.
As any Bachelor Fan knows, the first girl to arrive is the girl whose world is about to be ROCKED and not in a good way. Whose little toes do we see first?
Aww sweet sweet daughter of Hoxie, your world is about to be rocked. Raven is escorted from the car down a snowy red carpet by Chris Harrison (earning that MONEY) and into the house, where she joins Nick and starts in on a monologue that the producers obviously told her to simply launch into. Poor thing. Nick can barely look her in the face and is hardly holding it together as she shares her feelings. Soon it's Nick's turn and he reflects on all the fun they have had, how much he loves her, but says that he's not "in" love with her and his heart is somewhere else. Raven handles this rejection with such grace--simply listening and sorta smiling. Props to her for having a poker face. They tearfully hug goodbye and she hops in the car. Next Stop: PARADISE! Well not really, but during After the Final Rose we learn that Raven is indeed going to Bachelor In Paradise, which rules!
Up next is Vanessa and her voice overs are very dramatic (maybe taken from MUCH earlier in the season?)--she wonders if Nick can handle the pressure of having to BE engaged, if he can compromise (ummm girl can YOU?), and if she is going to hurt Nick (huh?). She walks in and Nick grabs her, picks her up (his FAVORITE move), then they sorta fingertip touch hold hands (barf) as he says that he started to fall in love with her at the 2nd rose ceremony (ya hear that, Corinne?) and how so much of him being here is about his past, but "when I look at you all I see is the future." Goodness gracious are those lyrics off a Justin Timberlake single?
Vanessa shares that she was initially doubtful and she wondered if he would even notice her, but then says "instead, you have notice every part of me" which sounds strangely sexual and creepy. She mentions that she can be a little "emotional, a little crazy, and tend to overthink things" (way to list off your faults right after a guy finally admits he's into you). Nick gets down on one knee to propose and, contrary to almost everything Vanessa has said previous to this, she DOUBLES OVER in tears and emotionally, immediately accepts his proposal. They make out and quite LITERALLY ride off on a sleigh into the Finnish wilderness, but not before Vanessa says, "let's do it, literally" just to be sure that we all know THEY FUCKIN'.
Then we have After The Final Rose and I'm sorry but that portion of the Finale Extravaganza is always a snooze fest to me. The person who was rejected is obligated to look better than he or she has EVER looked in LIFE (and Raven delivers), the happy couple has to show that they are SO HAPPY (Nick and Vanessa do NOT deliver, I don't think--there was SO much talk of how damn HARD relationships are and I just feel like, THIS early on it's a daily struggle?), and Chris Harrison has to plug a few other things (the Vegas twins doing some lame spin off TV show on a D list network, Bachelor In Paradise, probably other things that I would have noticed if I weren't busy undercooking a pizza then overcooking a pizza).
The close of After The Final Rose is our girl Rachel who I am SO EXCITED about! Rachel is our next Bachelorette (and first ever black Bachelorette) and her looks is a 70s dreamscape: 70s-style pantsuit romper thing that shows off her cleavage and has sleeves with slits to show off her arms, plus AMAZING sparkly rings on both hands. She talks about trusting the process and taking the journey (because she's obligated to hit those talking points, no doubt) then, in a historic move in Bachelor Franchise history, Chris Harrison starts her season then and there! I HATED THIS!! NO NO NO NO NO!! Rachel deserves better than this! Some stage hands pop out with a giant backdrop of the Bachelor mansion (sucks to be the 50 people seated behind that backdrop) and 4 random guys come out, one by one, as if hopping out of limos on Night 1. No no no. No thank you. Rachel is, at first, like, "no I'm not ready" but they just keep pushing and I DO NOT like it. But if I must judge, I'll say that DeMario (first guy) is a gemstone, Blake (2nd guy) should be sent home immediately, Dean (3rd guy) immediately makes a racial joke which was fine, but I just found a little distasteful (and I'm a fucking professional comedian), and Eric (4th guy) didn't rock my socks although his little dance at the end was very cute.
And that's that!! What did you think, dear readers? Were you happy with Nick's decision? Are you fired up for Rachel's season (starting in May) and for Bachelor In Paradise??
If you're rather listen than read (too late), listen to Dava Krause and I dish all the dirt on this episode on our podcast, The Fantasy Suite.
Thanks so much for reading this season! See you in a few months--same time, same blogspot! xo