'The Bachelor' finale recap: Nick picks Vanessa, but things seem kinda tense

For The Baltimore Sun
"The Bachelor" finale recap: Nick gives out his final rose, but is his (long) journey really over?

Somehow, we made it to the season finale of what feels like the longest season of “The Bachelor” I’ve ever watched … and I’ve watched all 21 of them. And all 12 seasons of "The Bachelorette." And the three seasons of "Bachelor Pad." And the three seasons of "Bachelor in Paradise." You guys, I need new hobbies.

Chris Harrison starts tonight’s live show calling this finale “historic” instead of the usual “most dramatic,” and I can’t believe it only took all of the aforementioned seasons to come up with a new adjective.

The count of how many times we can be reminded that Nick has done this a few times already begins before the episode does, with Chris asking, “How will Nick’s family protect him from another broken heart? Let’s find out together.” After this season I could afford a mansion in Bel Air with all of the dollars I’ve earned from this.

The episode finally begins in Northern Finland, and Nick quickly shares that Santa Clause lives here. Santa Clause is about as real as Nick marrying someone before his time on ABC reality shows is over, so it’s quite fitting.

All 104 of the Vialls are also in Northern Finland to meet two more of Nicks girlfriends from the franchise.


Raven, and her terrible Southern accent, has already spent time with Nick's family during their first one-on-one date, because who doesn’t introduce a girlfriend to their parents after six hours of knowing them?

Raven makes the rounds, obviously starting with Bella, Nick's youngest sister who has asked Andi, Kaitlyn and now Raven (and next Vanessa) the same question: Do you love my brother?

After Raven says she does, she moves on to tell both Nicks mom and dad the same thing: She is in love with him and she sees a future with him.

Nick talks to his mom about nothing we haven’t already heard, and the date is over.   


Nick and Vanessa, the perfect combination of Andi, Kaitlyn and Jen, sit down to talk with the Vialls, and I’m pretty sure if Nick doesn’t propose to Vanessa, his dad will.

Vanessa shares the story of their first date — the one where she threw up — and gets emotional. I probably would too if that were the story of my first date. And it was broadcast on national television. And my date had done this three times already.  

It’s Vanessa’s turn to talk to Mama Viall, and she confesses that she isn’t sure she’s ready to be engaged to Nick because she’s not sure that they know each other well enough. Cleary Vanessa hasn’t watched the last four years of the franchise, because we all know Nick pretty well.

She moves on to talk to one of Nick's sisters who isn’t Bella and then his father. Vanessa asks Nick's dad if love is enough to make a relationship work, and he can’t say the word cliché, which is really funny to me. He then tells her that, no, love isn’t enough and starts crying. So, basically, lisps and tears run in the family.

Now Vanessa is crying. Nick’s dad goes in for the hug he’s been waiting for since she walked in the door and I’m so bored I want to cry, too.

After the Vialls have met both women, they sit in the living room to share their thoughts on each relationship before Nick rejoins them. Nick's mom tells Nick that an engagement is precious and Nick is like, “I know, Mom, I’ve done this three times already. Duh.”  


Nick tells Vanessa they are going to experience some Nordic traditions, which apparently means riding horses in the snow. I have to be honest here, my idea of romance is Jimmy Johns and a game of “dirty word” Scrabble, but I’m into this. Finland is beautiful and I promise I won’t say anything else nice for the rest of the night. 

After they trek through the snow for a few, they park the horses (is that what you do with a horse?) and knock on a cabin door. They are greeted by Santa Clause and those thoughts of how romantic this is quickly vanish.

Nick, Vanessa and Santa Clause sit by a fire and talk about love before Santa gives the couple a gift. It’s one of those things people who like Pinterest make to hang in their sewing room. Not sure what they’re called, or how to sew, but it promises Nick and Vanessa happiness and fertility.

Again, retracting my statement about this being romantic.   

When they leave Santa Clause, Vanessa tells Nick that she wants their relationship to feel different than his other relationship. Rather than address her concerns, Nick makes it about him by saying that HE wants to feel different about this relationship.

Making this about me, I hate when people make things about themselves when they shouldn’t. I also hate when people don’t return phone calls.

As they end their date, Vanessa has more questions she’d like answered, so she asks the same questions she’s asked every week leading up to tonight. She wants to know that she is the one and that he loves her, but Nick knows better than to tell her those things since he’s done this several times before. Nick stutters through a rehearsed answer and then lies on top of her while she cries at his response. I imagine this isn’t the first time Nick has lied on top of a crying woman.


Like they do every time they are together, Raven runs and jumps into Nicks arms and straddles him while they kiss. After he sets her back down, Nick takes Raven ice skating. The song “Kiss Me” is playing in the background and I think, “Watching ‘She’s All That’ would be way more fun than this.”

They make out standing up, they make out lying down, if Dr. Seuss were writing this recap he’d probably turn this into a rhyme.

Nick asks Raven if she can do him a favor, other than being “sexy and adorable,” and then walks away to retrieve puppies. He carries them in his arms through the snow to hand them to Raven as she sits next to an outdoor fire, and this is everything I hate about Instagram in one place.

As they end their date, Raven tells Nick she is sure that she wants to marry him, and if he has any reservations she is willing to alleviate those tonight. I’m pretty sure she’s offering him sex right now.

Instead of sex, he sucks on her fingers — and I am officially appalled.

When Nick leaves, Raven tells us that she is absolutely certain he will propose to her, so now I’m assuming it’s Vanessa because that’s how this franchise works.

Nick says that Andi and Kaitlyn were both very hard to get over. So hard, in fact, that he waited like a month between each of them and wanted to marry them both. And Jen.

Back at Nick's, Neil Lane shows up. I’m pretty sure Nick and Neil Lane have been on more one-on-one dates than whoever Nick proposes to.

Neil offers Nick two ring options, citing that the first is the biggest ring he’s ever made. Obviously, Nick doesn’t need to know anything else — he will overcompensate at any opportunity he’s given.


As the women get ready to face their fate, Nick cries again. This time because he knows how it feels to be broken-hearted.

Raven arrives first, which means he chooses Vanessa. But, we still have to watch the breakup.  

Raven tells him that she loves him and couldn’t be more sure about their relationship and their future. Nick takes his time to reminisce about their relationship, which doesn’t seem fair. You’d think after so much time on this show he would know better, but he’s milking it so we can see him cry some more. He says that he cares for her but he isn’t in love with her. He drags this on, and when he says, “I’ll miss you," Raven says, “I know” — making her my hero.

After Raven leaves, Nick tells us he’s been falling in love with Vanessa for a long time, but he can’t get through the sentiment without crying. At this point, I have to believe this season is an audition and he’s just trying to prove that when he lists “Can cry on demand” on his acting resume, he actually can.

Not even I cry this much, and I can’t get through an episode of “The Voice” without sobbing.

Vanessa arrives and Nick tells her he’s been falling in love with her since the first rose ceremony. You know, the one where he gave Rachel the first impression rose.

He says, “I do love you. I am in love with you,” through, you guessed it … tears!

Seriously, how much can one person cry?

Vanessa thanks him for taking another chance on love. I hope I’m never the fourth woman a man has proposed to.

Nick calls her “Vranessa” and then proposes with the enormous ring. He picks her up and I just don’t understand this fetish. Like, I’d rather him be into feet, and feet are gross.

He asks, “Are you ready to start our life?” and she responds with, “Let’s go do it … literally.”

Hopefully he’s done crying before that happens.


Honestly, the first 30 minutes of this is Chris and Nick spewing different iterations of how Nick has done this all before. Like, the season is over, we get it.

Raven is interviewed first, and Chris Harrison invites her to “Bachelor in Paradise.” She accepts, which means we haven’t heard the last of that accent. Literally.

During Vanessa’s interview with Chris, she tells us that she’s in love but that she and Nick fight a lot. The way she talks about their relationship makes it seem like I could get married before Nick does. And I’m single AF.

Nick joins Vanessa on stage and gives her the most aggressive kiss I’ve ever seen. I’m assuming it’s just so we know he’s finally engaged. After years of trying.

During the rest of their interview, I think I said to myself, “I want to jump out of a window” 10 times, so you didn’t miss anything.

Rachel, the next Bachelorette, also happens to be here. Chris Harrison asks her what she thinks about when she’s in bed and I’m not totally sure that’s a question he can ask.

We learn that the “historic” moment he has been teasing all night is that “The Bachelorette” starts right now; on live TV. Some interns wheel in a backdrop of the mansion and Chris tells us that Rachel will be meeting a few of her new suitors.

The first suitor offers her tickets to Vegas and an engagement ring so they can elope; the second seems like he's almost certainly not into girls; the third is for sure still in high school and says, “I’m ready to go black and never go back,” because that joke is still funny when you’re in high school; the fourth and final suitor for the night is from Baltimore, and it’s very, very obvious he misses Nevins in Federal Hill. 

We will meet the rest in May at the premiere of Rachel’s season.


Raven, and her terrible Southern accent. 


“Nick could be standing at the proposal alter” – Nick's dad. Like he doesn’t know what it’s called by now.

Thank you all for following along, reading, commenting, sharing and laughing with me through another season. Would love to hear from you on Twitter @abbydraper. See you soon for "Bachelor in Paradise" and "The Bachelorette"!

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