Over the past few weeks, viewers have watched Nick Viall take the reigns as season 21’s star of The Bachelor. After 2 failed attempts on The Bachelorette, as well as an unsuccessful trip to Paradise (on Bachelor in Paradise), Nick finally made it to the finale of his very own season of the romance-filled reality show. On this week’s episode, Nick is left deciding which of the last 2 contestants – Raven or Vanessa – he wants to give his final rose to (and possibly propose to as well).
The episode starts, as all Bachelor finales do, with Nick contemplating whether it is Raven or Vanessa he wants to spend the rest of his life with. After not having much luck with love in the past, Nick admits that he is nervous that he will yet again leave the show heartbroken – despite the fact that the ball is completely in his court this time around.
Fortunately, Nick is able to gain some insight from his family, as they visit with the Bachelor star in Rovaniemi, Finland. While there, the Viall clan also takes up the opportunity to meet with both Vanessa and Raven.
First off, Raven meets with Nick’s family. Unlike Vanessa (later in the episode), this wasn’t the first time that Raven has met Nick’s family. In fact, the beauty met both Nick’s parents and his sister Bella when she went on a one-on-one date with Nick back in Wisconsin. During her Finland visit with Nick’s family, Raven earned Nick’s younger sister’s seal of approval, as Bella told her, “I hope [Nick] picks you.” Raven also got the chance to have some private time with Nick’s father, Chris. She was able to win Chris over rather quickly, as Nick’s father told the confessional that he liked Raven’s “maturity” and he could see her “fitting in with [their] family.” Raven also won over Nick’s mother Mary, who felt that Raven seemed like “an honest, trustworthy person.”
Following Raven’s get-together with Nick and his family, Vanessa had her chance to have some family bonding time with her potential in-laws. Not long after she arrived to the family’s accommodations, Vanessa is hit by a wave of questions from Nick’s loved ones, who are rightfully curious about her background. Confidently, Vanessa explains various aspects of herself, including her background, working as a special needs teacher and living in Montreal, Canada.
Later on during the family date, Vanessa talks candidly with Nick’s mother Mary. Vanessa tells Mary that while she loves Nick, she is afraid that both her and Nick might not be ready to commit to marriage yet. Subsequently, Vanessa expresses the same fears to Nick’s dad Chris, who tells the confessional camera that while he can see that Vanessa loves his son, he still fears that she might hurt him.
After going on his final one-on-one dates with both Bachelor contestants, Nick is still unsure whom he is going to give his final rose to. However, this uncertainty did not stop him from meeting up with The Bachelor’s resident jeweler, Neil Lane. In an attempt to calm Nick’s nerves, Neil assures him that everyone is “rooting” for him in his [hopefully final] quest for love.
As expected, the episode ends off with the final rose ceremony. Raven is the first contestant to reunite with Nick. In her final spiel, Raven reminisces about all of the memories they have made over the few short weeks they have known each other. She tells Nick she “couldn’t be more sure,” emphasizing that she knows she loves him. Unfortunately, things don’t go well for Raven after this. Tearing up, Nick tells her that, while he loves and respects her, he is not “in love” with her. Raven maintains her composure, despite her heartbreak, as she heads out to the awaiting car. In fact, in her final moments on the show, it seemed like Raven was offering more comfort to Nick than he was to her.
Moments after Raven’s send-off, Vanessa arrives to the romantic venue to meet face-to-face with Nick. Here, Nick tells her that he still remembers the “moment’” he fell in love with her, adding that he has fallen more and more in love with her each and every day. Blushing, Vanessa thanks Nick for “taking another chance on love.” Then, the moment Bachelor fans have been waiting for all season…Nick gets down on one knee and asks Vanessa if she would marry him. Inevitably, Vanessa says, “Yes” to both the proposal and the final rose.
Thus, after appearing on 4 separate shows within the Bachelor franchise, Nick found love (at least, for now) – and it’s with Montreal-based beauty, Vanessa Grimaldi!
And that’s it for season 21 of The Bachelor!
Now here’s where things aren’t looking so bright for their future, but when does it really for contestants on The Bachelor? While the final rose ceremony played like the perfect fantasy even though before that Vanessa was seeming to have doubts about Nick while Raven Gates was ready to jump headlong down the aisle with him.
The aftershow where we get to see them together now is when you really can see how things are going.
First, Harrison brought out Nick by himself, who uttered an unconvincing assurance that he was “very happy” and “everything’s good.” Then, Vanessa got a solo interview, and Harrison grilled her about the relationship. Vanessa echoed Nick: “It’s been good,” she sighed.
“Has it?” Harrison asked suspiciously, noting her hesitance. “As you take a deep breath?”
“I mean, you know, I’m not going to sugarcoat things,” she admitted. “Some days are tougher than others. Like any relationship, I’m sure people here could understand that and relate to it. Ours is just televised.”
Translation: Not so good! Vanessa quickly got reflective as she told Harrison that she wished she had seen an entire season of the show before signing up so she would know what she was getting herself into. (Pro tip: Before you sign up for a reality show, watch an entire season.)
“I think I treated this relationship as if it was a real relationship in a very unrealistic world,” Vanessa said. “There were moments where I had to understand ‘Nick the bachelor’ and ‘Nick the guy that I was dating’ and the individual relationship that I had going with him. So, it was hard sometimes to separate the two.”
Vanessa went on to say that the distance was also tough; until now, she’s been living in Canada while Nick was in Los Angeles prepping to go on “Dancing With the Stars.” Plus, Nick, who was the runner-up on two previous “Bachelorette” seasons, felt guilty over breaking up with Raven. “There have been moments where I wanted him to be a little bit more empathetic toward my feelings,” Vanessa added. “We’ve had our challenges with that.”
Harrison also got Vanessa to admit that they have had some “knockdown, drag out” fights. (“Because you are both so open and honest,” he clarified.) Vanessa agreed. “But at the end of the day, we love each other, and even when things get hard, we’re both willing to make it work. We’re not going to call it quits because things get difficult,” Vanessa said.
Time to bring out Nick! The two cuddled up next to each other, and it was … awkward. Were they truly unhappy? Or was it just exhaustion coupled with a very surreal situation? Either way, the memes started in earnest as they both looked like they would rather be anywhere else:
Harrison’s interview veered into therapy session territory again. “How scared were you?” he asked Nick. “And are you still a little scared about things working out, just because you’ve been down this road before?” (Nick also appeared on “Bachelor in Paradise” last summer, making this his fourth appearance on the franchise.)
“I’ve always been a realist, and even as the bachelor, I was a realist. That’s why you saw me have some of those fears and emotional moments,” Nick said. “As Vanessa mentioned, there’s been those moments, we’ve had our struggles. But we’re good communicators, and we talk. … I think we’re still looking forward to having that first normal moment.”
Harrison pointed out that “Bachelor” viewers on social media have very high expectations. “It’s tough in the real world,” he said. “Now you guys are really fighting for this and really trying to make it happen. So, I’m sure you guys are feeling that pressure that every couple goes through.”
There was a long pause. “Yeah,” Vanessa ventured. “Like I said, our relationship is televised … but at the end of the day, like, we know what we have, and we don’t really have to prove anything to anyone.”
“Have you guys been able to kind of insulate yourselves, and will you be able to continue to do that?” Harrison pressed.
“All we’ve done is insulate ourselves!” Nick shot back, a bit desperately, as there was uncomfortable laughter from the studio audience. “I think we’re looking to kind of, you know, get out there … we’re just really looking forward to any type of normalcy.”
After Harrison urged Vanessa to reveal her biggest fear (spoiler: It’s the relationship not working out), he asked the $1 million question: “Are you guys going to get married?”
“We’re taking baby steps,” Vanessa replied smoothly. “We’re still in the process of really getting to know each other. We still have things to figure out, but we’re very optimistic about what the future holds.”
Finally, Harrison brought up one possible point of tension: That Nick is going on “Dancing With the Stars,” which means he’ll be in Los Angeles for weeks, and puts even more pressure on the couple. In addition, people will judge Nick for yet another reality show appearance.
Vanessa did not look pleased with his comment. “I feel like in this world, you choose door A, people will still say something. You choose door B people will still say something,” she said. “I’m excited for this chapter in our life that we’re starting together. It’s not like he’s done ‘Dancing’ four times.”
"It's not like he's done Dancing FOUR times." Vanessa, throwing shade like a damn pro. #bachelor
— Damian Holbrook (@damianholbrook) March 14, 2017
“That’s true. Good point … you cannot please everybody,” Harrison agreed. He turned to Nick. “I asked her this, and I’ll ask you the same of you. Do you feel like you’re a team? Do you feel like she’s got your back and vice versa?”
“Absolutely,” Nick said. There was a stretch of silence as Harrison waited for him to follow-up — but he didn’t say anything else.
After all the uncomfortable vibes on the set, new bachelorette Rachel Lindsay was hauled out along with her coterie of men to choose from. Very smart to bring out the sexy shiny new objects to distract from the fact that it’s not looking likely for Nick Viall and Vanessa Grimaldo to be having a happily ever after from this round of The Bachelor. Maybe five times can be the charm for Nick or at least a good monetary incentive.