The Bachelor Recap, Nick Viall Episode 11: Nick Picks a "Winner"
When we left off last week, only Vanessa and Raven remained out of an original pool of 30. Nick has only one more episode to choose a fiancee (again), so let's see who gets an enormous, Neil Lane-sponsored diamond ring this season!
In the ABC Studio
Chris Harrison promises us something never before seen on the Bachelor, but the reveal takes place during the After the Final Rose segment, which I don't watch. Don't worry, it won't be anything important.
Rovaniemi, Finland: Raven Meets Nick's Family (Again)
Finland is still very pretty, but the town of Rovaniemi claims Santa Claus as a resident, which is just bush league. Rovaniemi is south of the Arctic Circle, and everyone knows Santa lives at the North Pole. C'mon, ABC, you should be better than that.
Nick's family is in Finland to act as his sounding board and meet the two finalists. Raven arrives first, and she's heaped a lot of pressure on herself. I sort of understand her anxiety given Nick's history of nationally-broadcast breakups, but someone should have reminded her that Nick is 36 years old and single. His family's bar is set at saying "yes" to a proposal and avoiding this face:
Bella (Nick's younger sister, last seen in episode 4) gives her approval and Nick's dad comes away with a positive impression. Raven starts her conversation with Nick's mother by listing his positive traits, a tried-and-true approach. Knucks, Raven, especially because it seemed genuine.
Rovaniemi, Finland: Vanessa Meets Nick's Family
Vanessa, working on a compressed timeline, details her background and first date with Nick to his family. For some reason, she then begins to cry, so one drink for everyone! Vanessa tells Nick's mom she loves her son, but expresses concerns over the hasty nature of a Bachelor proposal. It's an unreasonable concern for anyone who has heard of this show or how it works, but I hope the family agrees with her anyway.
Nick's dad says Vanessa fits Nick's type, which hasn't worked out well in the past. Vanessa seems to put his concerns to rest in her conversation with him, as Nick's dad begins to cry, which prompts Vanessa to cry, so now everyone is crying for no apparent reason. Huzzah!
Rovaniemi, Finland: The Family Debrief
Nothing of note happens in this segment. The family thinks Nick has a connection with both women, that both had nice things to say about Nick, and that both could be a match. Really groundbreaking stuff. Ultimately, Nick's mom expresses concern over Raven's readiness to accept a proposal, and Nick wanders off into the night:
The Next Day: Vanessa's Last Date with Nick
Nick's opening monologue picks up where the scene above left off: his anxiety from twice being turned down at this juncture. This pretense is ludicrous, as he was previously a contestant and is now The Bachelor. I've only watched this show for a few years, but I've never seen or heard of the Bachelor or Bachelorette being abandoned by both contestants on the final day. Let's stop pretending it's a real possibility. Okay? Okay!
Nick and Vanessa's horseback ride takes them through a winter wonderland. Though pretty, it also looks cold and boring. I guess that's why they threw a creepy Santa into the mix?
They finally make it to a cabin inhabited by our former forest stalker, where Vanessa disappoints immediately by being thrilled to see Santa Claus, who she says takes her back to her childhood. Does it really, Vanessa? Did you often ride horses through Finland to find a lone Santa Claus waiting in a cabin as a child? You were recently hesitant to accept a potential proposal because you needed to talk through things, and now you've forgetten all of them because Santa Claus gave you this bizarre carving representing happiness and fertility
Finally, they leave Finnish Santa's lair to sit by a fire outside. They actually get to some real talk, and Nick expresses concern over dating someone who is his type. This is his type, and why he's concerned:
I hate when an attractive person's intelligence, strength, or confidence boils over. It's like, could you just be dumber, weaker, and more insecure once in a while? Gosh! Later that night, Vanessa presses some of her more urgent questions to Nick, who dug deep into his wardrobe for this odd, shapeless-yet-collared, gray blob:
I'll give some props to both Nick and Vanessa for having a real conversation about an entirely bizarre situation. It's probably hard to rationally discuss an engagement when you've been group "dating" for two months, but it actually goes pretty well. Knucks to you both.
The Next Day: Raven's Last Date with Nick
The date begins with ice skating on a frozen pond, which looks pretty fun. C'mon, I'm a bit cynical about this franchise, but this looks like fun:
Raven is considerably more confident than Vanessa heading into the bonfire portion of her date with Nick, but confidence didn't help the target of her affections in the same situation. Things are looking good when Nick brings out some husky puppies, so let's take a break. LOOK AT THE PUPPIES:
Nick visits Raven in her lodgings, where they share a drink before getting down to business. To ease Nick's anxiety, Raven tells him she would absolutely accept a proposal. His response, even given the circumstances, is very hard to follow:
I'm sorry, what? Anyway, as Nick walks into the darkness, Raven's unwavering confidence makes me think she's headed for a bad surprise.
D-Day (the "D" is for Decision)
Nick hangs out at the Bear's lodge (seriously, it's labeled) and ponders in front of a fireplace, like all Finnish presumably do before making a big decision. Neil Lane arrives shortly after to present him with engagement ring options, so it's time for me to grab a new drink. It's okay; this is basically a mid-episode commercial, because ABC decided a 2:1 ratio of content-to-advertisements was just too high.
Vanessa claims to be less certain and unready to accept a proposal today, but I find that hard to believe; she went on this show and stayed the entire season, and told a man she's known for weeks she loves him. I'd say she's ready to get engaged.
Raven is just as confident as she was last night, and all three set out to the final Rose Ceremony. They get there quickly!
The Final Rose Ceremony
Raven arrives first, which means she's doomed. In the show's tradition, she's left to deliver her love speech, an elegant and detailed recap of their relationship, before Nick tells her he's proposing to someone else. I have no idea why the show is set up this way, because it seems unnecessarily painful. Nick responds with an "I almost love you" speech, and Raven takes it like a champ! I think she shed one single tear, and responded to Nick's "I'm going to miss you" with "I know." Hot damn, Raven's my new favorite contestant in history for going Han Solo!
The only point of suspense left is whether or not Vanessa will accept Nick's proposal, but as I mentioned before, she will. Nick gives his spiel, Vanessa responds with her own, they both cry, and Nick drops to a knee. Vanessa accepts, which means Nick solved ABC's Bachelor puzzle!