Let us review some statistics before we begin, as found in my post “The Bachelor Franchise: A History and a Breakdown.”
Before Nick, there had been 20 Bachelors in the history of the franchise. One of those 20 Bachelors is happily married to his winner (Sean Lowe + Catherine). One of those 20 Bachelors is questionably happily engaged to his winner, but with no wedding in sight (Hot Ben + Lauren B). That means the success rate of Bachelor relationships is a whopping 5%. If Hot Ben and Lauren B miraculously make it to the altar, that ups the odds to an underwhelming 10%.
Not including Rachel, there have been 12 Bachelorettes. Three of 12 Bachelorettes are happily married to their winners (Trista the OG + Ryan, Ashley + JP, & Desiree + Chris). Two others are questionably happily engaged to their winners (Kaitlyn + Shawn & JoJo + Jordan). That’s a 25% success rate of marriage, moving up to 41% success rate if Kaitlyn and JoJo walk down the aisle.
WHY ARE WE ALL SO SURPRISED THAT NICK MADE THE WRONG CHOICE. Literally 90-95% of all the Bachelors before him did the same thing.
Women are clearly wayyyyy better at making rational decisions when it comes to relationships. Hence why being a single woman is so much more frustrating than being a single man, because women are just waiting for a guy to not be a complete idiot when making up his mind about a future together. I’m married and it STILL stresses me out to think about single men of our generation. *shudder *
Anyway, if you don’t know who the winner is yet, I won’t spoil it for you until the end of this recap, so interpret that opening information as you will.
This “live” season finale, which means that a live studio audience watches something that was filmed 3 months ago, revolved heavily around comparing Raven and Vanessa to Andi and Kaitlyn. Oddly enough, the four women have a lot of parallels. Raven is definitely Kaitlyn (goofball, more easygoing, her true crazy streak is a little further below the surface), and Vanessa is definitely Andi (more serious, demanding, and wears her crazy on her sleeve).
Of the four, however, I strongly believe that Raven has the best personality to put up with Nick’s narcissism and need for attention. She’s the most willing to compromise of the four, yet still strong enough for Nick to like her. Their relationship would be easy, which 37-going-on-17-year-old Nick probably thinks is boring compared to the “passionate” i.e. “we fight all the time” relationship with Vanessa.
Folks—especially single folks—PLEASE please understand that a rollercoaster passionate relationship is not better just because it makes for a more intriguing Hollywood movie. Easy can be just as passionate and about 1 million times better for the psyche and the longevity of your happiness within the relationship. Just some friendly advice from your neighborhood wino.
Oh, sorry, were you reading this in order to get a recap of last night’s episode?
FINE. Here we go.
We first find ourselves in the live studio, where Chris Harrison stands on a circular stage made up of pretty nice tile. I assume that the only reason I notice the tile for the first time ever is because Aaron and I are buying a house and I’m basically obsessed with interior design at the moment. #chipandjojo4life
He tells us that something will happen at the end of the show that has never happened before in Bachelor history, which leads me to yell at the screen “LIAR!!!!”
Foghorns and reindeer set the scene as we step through the portal of Narnia, where Nick is being stalked by poorly dressed elves as he waddles around in his skinny jeans, wondering if he’ll be rejected by his final two.
Nearby, half the city of Milwaukee sits in the living room of a charming yellow house-cabin. I assume he invited all of his in laws and 5th cousins until I remember that he’s one out of like, 14 children. I think they’re all his siblings, but producers don’t even bother introducing them. We only hear from Bella, the youngest and GUARANTEED Bachelorette in 2030, and his parents. At one point a guy with a beard and a man bun said a few words, but I didn’t listen because I was too busy trying to figure out who is the hottest brother…him, the skinny one with Disney prince hair, or Nick. I’m nervous to say this outloud, but I think man bun was the winner.
When Nick walks in to chat with his family before the first contestant arrives, his mother cuts to the chase:
Nick claims he doesn’t have a favorite, but it’s pretty clear his family does. They’re all rooting for Raven before she even walks in. They already met her back in Milwaukee on her one-on-one date with Nick, and clearly she made a great impression. “But we’re excited to meet the other girl, too, Nick,” they throw in at the end. Nice save.
Raven walks in wearing a pink sweater and jeans, really looking the part of a future wife. Well, as much as you can when you have black hair to your waist and full TV makeup.
During their one-on-one time, Bella tells Raven that she hopes Nick chooses her. From the mouth of babes! Bella throws in that she still needs to meet the other girl, and Raven hilariously chimes in “Don’t worry, you won’t like her.”
Raven tells Mr. Dad that she’s never felt this way before and she’ll absolutely say yes if Nick proposes. Dad is stoked because he’s tired of the family name being drug through the mud by Nick making poor relationship choices.
Nick assures his mom that he “more than really likes her,” and Mom tells the camera that she thinks Raven has affected Nick in a really positive way. As in, he’s really happy and not overthinking things for once.
Not sure if you’re seeing what I was getting at in the intro statistics, but this is the point where I want all you single people to recognize that you should probably be with the person who makes you much happier, not the one that causes you tons of internal turmoil (coughVanessacough).
The next day, or maybe five minutes after Raven left, Nick’s family gears up to meet Vanessa. They don’t see how she can be any better than Raven.
Vanessa starts things off with a bang as she tells the story of when she threw up during her first one-on-one date with Nick, explaining that he’s such an amazing caregiver. She begins to cry, so Nick’s mom begins to cry, and if you can get the mom to cry in the first 5 minutes, that pretty much seals the approval.
Vanessa tells the camera and Nick’s family in about 125 different ways that she’s not sure she’s ready for an engagement because they may need more time to get to know eachother/she’s not cool with the fact that he still has feelings for another woman this close to proposing. This is Nick and his family’s biggest fear—that he’ll get rejected again. Yet at the same time they respect her for taking an engagement so seriously. By the time she’s done giving them phenomenal hugs that only true Italians can give, they’re all convinced that she’s in love with Nick and the one who’s most mature and ready for marriage.
Nick’s dad gives the best insight of the entire episode, though, when he points out to Nick that Vanessa is the most like Nick’s typical “type” – headstrong, independent, and emotional. He didn’t even bother pointing out the other obvious similarities…
He tells Nick that going with his type hasn’t worked for him so far in life, so maybe he should try something different. He also reminds his son, Remember when you told us that you felt Andi made the wrong choice to be with Josh because he was simply more her “type,” even though you knew your could make her happier than Josh could? Yeah, don’t do the exact thing you complained that Andi did.
I’ll give you one guess as to whether or not Nick listened to his wise father.
Kids these days.
Back in the live studio audience, Chris Harrison teases the “most jaw-dropping live event in Bachelor history” once again, so I try to take him more seriously. In my notes, I write down that perhaps they’ll introduce some of Rachel’s suitors. Right after I write that, a commercial comes on saying that they’re still casting for Rachel’s season, so I assume my prediction was wrong. (I was right. I was SO RIGHT.)
Vanessa and Nick’s last one-on-one date involves riding horses through the snow and meeting Santa Claus. Finnish Santa is a real creepy fellow, popping out from behind trees to secretly watch Vanessa and Nick in the manner of a murderous clown.
After stalking them for awhile as they ride horses, Santa beats Vanessa and Nick to his secluded cabin where he definitely kills people. Vanessa and Nick sit by the fire with him inside, where he gives them a wooden ornament that Vanessa immediately puts right next to the flames. I think she wanted to destroy it when he told her that one of the symbols on the ornament stood for fertility. RED FLAG, Nick.
Santa is somewhat of a psychic, as well, it seems, so he predicts a happy future for Nick and Vanessa.
With his blessing, they head outside to sit by their own fire to have another tense conversation, because that’s their MO. She tells him she’s not down with getting engaged to him if he just barely chooses her over another woman. While this is a completely fair and rational thing for her to want, I can practically hear Bachelor Nation sighing “Didn’t this girl know what she was signing up for??”
We find out during After the Final Rose that, no, she didn’t. She admits she wishes she’d watched an entire season before signing up. Chris Harrison admonishes her for not doing her homework. Dadddddd.
For the night portion of the date, Vanessa wears an orange-red lipstick that I only wear when performing in musicals, yet somehow she makes it look completely normal for a casual night of drinking wine in a cabin. She tells Nick that she needs more reassurance about how he feels because he only ever gives her vague answers. He responds with another vague answer.
They fight over if it is de-ro, un-ro, uh less-romanatic for her not to know if he’s choosing her (poor Nick and his speech issues). Nick claims it’s more romantic for her not to know. She says it’s not romantic to wonder if the guy who might propose to you was torn between proposing to you or to someone else. Nick responds that it’s a matter of perspective.
Vanessa starts crying, and Nick holds/shakes her as she sobs on the couch. This is how their date ends:
We cut straight to the next day when he greets Raven in the most fun-loving and playful way, just to provide some stark contrast between the relationship dynamics.
Raven looks amaze as she and Nick ice skate on a frozen lake. As an ode to their first one-on-one date in the roller rink, Nick tells Raven that he chose to go to the frozen lake because “skating is our thing,” which means that Vanessa will never ever be able to enjoy any form of skates for the rest of her life.
They clearly have a blast on the ice, doing funny dance moves and jumping all over eachtoher. Raven says “It’s so romantic out here with no one else for miles.” Except for the 7 producers and camera men right over there to our left. She notes that Nick should’ve been a professional ice skater, and I imagine him in a competition outfit inspired by Johnny Weir. The good news is we’ll get a taste of what that would actually look like next Monday during his debut on Dancing with the Stars.
Once they finish skating, Nick presents Raven with three husky puppies. As she balances two adorable fluffs in her arms, she beams to the camera that this is officially the best day of her life. For once, I don’t think they had to tell her to say that.
She quips that she hopes her kids with Nick are as cute as these puppies, though maybe a tad less hairy. That’s honestly a fair concern because I’m always concerned that I’ll never find my children as adorable as I find my puppy. As far as the hair thing goes for my kids vs. puppy, though, they’ll probably be about even if any of you have ever met my husband.
Raven and Nick end the day by laying down on a frozen body of water and making out. Only slightly less uncomfortable than when they laid down in the swamp during Hometowns, but not much. Do you think they know that furniture is a thing? And diseases? And hypothermia?
That night, Raven and Nick continue to giggle and laugh and have easy conversation. She makes a point to tell Nick that she is ready to marry him and he would have nothing to worry about if he proposed. He gives her the pre-breakup speech that “No matter what happens, I’ve never had reservations with how I feel about you and how happy we could be. I’ve had reservations with literally every other girl except for you. I want you to know that.”
Vanessa is backstage at the live event going off at Nick in the dressing room. (Oh crap, did I just spoil the ending? My b.)
I’m going off at Nick in my living room, telling him that YEAH THAT MEANS YOU SHOULD CHOOSE HER. If you’ve never had reservations, that means it’s easy. BE THE MAN I KNOW YOU CAN BE. JK, I don’t think you can be that man. I know you’re going to choose Vanessa.
Raven says, “Aw, Nicolas” when he tells her that he’s proud to have her by his side. Can we have two Bachelorettes from the same season? Plz?
Nick’s next one one one time is with his old pal Neil Lane. Neil rubs dirt in the wound by telling Nick that he sure hopes this one works. LOL. Nick says he’s keeping both women in mind as he chooses the ring.
Vanessa takes her ring off and chucks it at his head in the dressing room.
That night, Raven puts on a slinky silver bib cut gown and her favorite witches cape. Vanessa puts on a black Jessica Rabbit dress and fur stole. She reminds the camera that she loves her job, family, and friends back in Canada, and isn’t sure she wants to give all that up for Nick. Meanwhile, Raven tells the camera that she can already see Nick as the father of her children so LET’S DO THIS.
I tried to write everything I saw in the proposal cabin. This is what I got:
- 7 bearskin rugs
- 1 million candles/lamps
- 12 pine trees
- 2 pairs of deer antlers
- a wicker basket
- one pile of firewood to last a small army through the apocalypse
- 3 woven rugs
- a wine barrel holding the final rose
- Nick in a skinny black suit, white shirt, and black tie
The first limo pulls up. Whoever gets out will be the woman he’s rejecting.
It’s Raven. SURPRISE SURPRISE.
When she sees him, she says in her amazing southern accent, “You do look good in a suit, I have to say!”
As she begins her speech about how much she loves him, Nick takes shifty eyes to a whole new level. Producers prepped her to not pay attention to any of his nonverbal cues, though, so she lays her heart on the line despite every inch of his body asking her to stop.
When she finishes, Nick starts things off with a tease, reviewing all the amazing time they’ve spent together. He loses it right when he starts saying “I have so much love for you,” and you see the shock pass over her face. She knows what’s next.
“But I don’t know if I’m IN love with you.”
He starts sobbing. She stares at him silently like the fierce queen she is.
He tells her his heart is somewhere else and he’s so sorry. Silent tears stream down her face and she says “I’ll never regret standing here telling you how I feel.”
Nick: “I’m going to miss you.”
Raven: “I know.”
She doesn’t even bother getting her witches cape on the way to the rejection limo. He puts her inside, where she softly cries and says she’s not sure anyone will ever love her. I know the pain, girl, I KNOW IT. You’ll meet Luke in Paradise, though, and all will be right in the world. Hang tight.
Nick tells the camera that he’s going to propose to Vanessa. Honestly, I didn’t see that coming. I thought we’d get an Juan Pablo ending, where he simply asks her to start a relationship off the show.
Vanessa saunters in, looking downright breathtaking in her low cut black disco ball dress. Girlfriend is gorgeous, no denying that.
For the first time in Bachelor history (I say that seriously), the Bachelor is the one to speak first. Basically, whoever is really the one making the decision speaks second, that way the person who talks first will feel even MORE rejected if they get dumped, because they just spilled their heart and soul. They like to keep things as healthy as possible on these shows.
We all know Nick wants to propose to Vanessa—it’s just a matter of whether or not she’ll accept. Thus, Nick speaks first.
Nick professes his love for Vanessa and says he doesn’t want to fight it anymore. “I am the Bachelor because of what happened in my past, but when I look at you, all I see is my future,” he cries. Then he stares blankly at her until she understands that now it’s her turn.
She tells him that he makes her the happiest she’s ever been (crying all the time is the happiest she’s ever been? Yikes, maybe she’s had a rougher life than I thought…), and thanks him for taking another chance on love. She tells him she’s ready to do life with him, but then I get distracted from listening because I notice how bomb her biceps are.
When she finishes, Nick gets down on one knee and shows the camera the ring instead of Vanessa. As you do.
“Vanessa Grimaldi, WILL you marry me?”
She sobs, says yes, and they ride off into the sunset on a horse drawn sleigh.
The last words as they pull away is Vanessa saying, “Let’s go do it! Literally.”
I don’t usually recap After the Final Rose, and I’m not going to start now, especially since everything that went down with Raven, Vanessa, and Nick was super predictable. All I wanted was for Raven to show up with a stiletto, but she didn’t. But here are some quick highlights:
- Raven tells Nick she’s happy for him
- Raven is going to be on Bachelor in Paradise this summer (!!)
- All Vanessa can talk about is how much she and Nick fight, but that they still love each other
- Nick joins Vanessa and Chris Harrison on stage, and confirms that sometimes they have knock-down-drag-out fights, but they want to make things work because they love each other
- Vanessa is moving to the states and is supportive of Nick being on DWTS
- There is no wedding date, but they hope to slowly move in that direction
- Rachel looks so freaking amazing with her side bangs and black jumpsuit
- My prediction was right and they introduce her to 4 of her suitors, but not before transforming the live studio into “the Bachelor Mansion” with a giant backdrop printed of the front door and lots of flower pots so that she feels like she’s standing in the driveway
- Three of the four men she met seemed great, and one seemed too nervous to be anything less than COMPLETELY awkward. All of them were a bit awkward because no one really knew where to go or what to do, and it was live TV, but the second guy literally shook her hand and it was downhill from there
- There were two incredibly sexy black men, and two decent looking white men
- One of the white guys (not the one who shook her hand) said “I’m ready to go black and I’ll never go back” I DIE
I CAN’T WAIT FOR HER SEASON. See ya in May, Bachelor Nation! Thanks so much for all your support for these recaps! Love you long time.