Over the last season of The Bachelor, Nick Viall has hot-tubbed, saunaed, and helicoptered his way through his journey to find love. He’s doled out roses to dozens of women dressed in evening gowns. He visited four families and asked for four hands in marriage, but because bigamy is illegal in this country, Nick had to narrow down his options. He got rid of Corinne (and her nanny), he let Rachel go to star in The Bachelorette, but, like The Highlander there could be just one to get a Neil Lane diamond ring on her finger. Now it is down to ATV enthusiast and small town charmer Raven or the tri-lingual Canadian special needs teacher Vanessa and by the end of the finale, Nick will have given one lucky, telegenic lady his final rose. Maybe. As Bachelor fanatics may recall, Nick has been in this position before. He was in love with Kaitlyn and Andi and got dumped both times. It’s totally possible that he will go down on one knee, stick out his final rose, and get turned down. Again. Three-peat! The only way to find out is to watch.
Here’s what happened on The Bachelor finale:
Raven Meets the Parents: Nick’s parents were shipped to Finland to meet their son’s two girlfriends, which is a super normal thing to do. Raven has already met Nick’s entire family (remember when he took her on a hot date in Wisconsin to his kid sister’s soccer game?) so she rolls into their fur-lined cabin in Finland like it’s a family reunion and she has the Jello salad. They all greet her with big smiles and hugs. Then Nick’s dad grills her about her true feelings for Nick, and Nick’s mom asks Nick his true feelings about Raven (“She’s beautiful, smart, pretty, and intelligent, and I have a thesaurus.”) No one asks Nick if he wants to live in Hoxie, Arkansas and no one asks Raven if she wants to tag along while Nick tries to make his 15 minutes of fame stretch a little longer on Dancing with the Stars. (Or if Nick has a career path that doesn’t involve reality television.)
Vanessa Meets the Parents: Vanessa is in the unlucky position of being the sloppy second and having to follow in Raven’s wake. For her first introduction to the family, she tells them that she barfed on their first date and Nick didn’t immediately ditch her, so she is ready to marry him. Nick’s mom smiles politely. Vanessa then makes the mistake of telling Nick’s mom that she isn’t 100% sure she is ready to get engaged to Nick after dating him for eight weeks. Nick’s mom looks like she has taken the name of the lord in vain in front of a nun in a church on Good Friday. Then Vanessa made Nick’s dad cry while they talked about love and marriage, but hey if your kid was on The Bachelor franchise four times, you might cry too. Vanessa hugs everyone as she leaves and Nick’s dad announces that he’s worried she will hurt his precious son. With a date this bad, she’ll probably end up with the ring. Nick’s dad really hopes that Nick will propose to someone who will actually say yes this time.
Vanessa’s Final Date: Nick and Vanessa walk through a snowy wood, find some horses, and ride through the frozen landscape to a dilapidated wooden hut. They knock on the wood and — it’s Corinne! Just kidding, it’s Santa, which is slightly less exciting. He invites them in to his hut and asks if they’ve been naughty or nice …and the adult film industry would undoubtedly have a field day with this.
Nick and Vanessa make polite small talk with Santa, until he realizes that there are still two hours left in the show, and excuses himself to go water the reindeer (or go to Finland’s national treasure — the spa inside the Burger King). Nick and Vanessa leave the hut to have an intense conversation about love and relationships next to a fire in a snowy wood. Because it’s the finale, Vanessa takes a moment to reflect on the fact that her boyfriend has another girlfriend and then cry about it. Later, Nick comes to reassure Vanessa that there is a 50% chance he will choose her. “I feel very strongly about you,” he intoned, romantically, further sweetening the deal with: “When I was with you, I thought only of you.” Nick tells the camera that he “cannot clarify for Vanessa” because his motherboard is broken.
Raven’s Final Date: Nick and Raven go ice skating on a frozen pond, while Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me” blasts, which is only notable because the show doesn’t usually have a soundtrack per se (unless it’s Backstreet Boys, of course). The date is so cute and Nick and Raven giggle and canoodle and flirt and make schmoopy faces at each other. When things get too cutesy, Nick shows up with an armful of husky puppies. If Raven was smart, she would grab a puppy and run.
It’s hard to imagine that all this adorable happiness is going to end well for her in the Most Dramatic Rose Ceremony Ever. Later, Nick admits that the pressure is getting to him. To alleviate his stress, Raven tells Nick that she loves him and is ready to be engaged. As Nick leaves her alone to think, she tells the camera that it’s the last time she got to call Nick her boyfriend, because next time he will be her fiancé. Um, sure.
The Bachelor Milestone: Neil Lane showed up with his a bag of diamond rings in tow. In Finland. In winter. The man knows how to market his diamonds. Nick notes, “Choosing a ring is the second hardest thing I have to do today.”
The Decision: Nick spends a lot of time staring into the middle distance—and the roaring fire.
Raven and Vanessa pair coats with evening gowns, try to quell their nerves, and head to the lodge (which looks like it was decorated by a rogue elf with a Michael’s gift card, a World Plus shopping spree, and an oversized glue gun). Nick stands inside with tears rolling down his face telling the cameraman how much this sucks. The limo (actually an SUV) pulls up. A woman steps out and it is …Raven. Chris Harrison gives her a big hug. Takes her coat and sends her inside to face Nick. She gives a heartfelt speech about how much she loves him and he waits an awkwardly long time before telling her that he thought about it a lot last night …and this morning and that he loves her, but isn’t in love with her. He starts crying again. Raven is really wishing she had run off with those husky puppies. Nick walks her to the limo where she stands outside with no coat and bids him farewell. In the limo, Raven questions every single decision she ever made in her life that lead her to this point (when she could have been rolling around with puppies).
The Final Rose: Nick is so nervous that he will propose to Vanessa and she will reject him. The minute that she walks in, he starts the hard sell telling her that he fell in love with her weeks ago. He loves her, he’s in love with her. He doesn’t want to hide it anymore. He sees his future with her. The stare into each other’s eyes and as she bawls her eyes out, he drops to one knee and asks her to marry him. She says yes. They kiss some more. Then he gives her his final rose. She says yes. Again. Nick kisses her, saying, “Let’s go start our life.” She agrees, “Let’s go do it. Literally.” And with that they ride off in a horse-drawn sleigh.
After the Final Rose: Raven says she has no regrets, but hopes to come up with a few on Bachelor in Paradise. Vanessa says she and Nick have a “very open relationship” and the audience gasped and she quickly clarified, “In terms of communication!” Nick and Vanessa are surprisingly awkward and uncomfortable around each other and then Nick admits that he’s made a mistake and is actually in love with ABC and can’t wait to go on Dancing with the Stars and then Shark Tank and then pull a Brad Womack and come back on The Bachelor but bring his therapist with him.
The Drama: When Rachel stops by the show, Chris Harrison tells her that The Bachelorette starts right now. Um …what? As she tries to wrap her head around that, the production crew sets up fake mansion, a limo pulls up, and incredibly attractive men start spilling out. They walk on stage, introduce themselves to Rachel and Rachel meets her first four suitors. To meet the rest, she’ll have to come back later.