Alright folks. Remember last week when we thought we’d hit the rock bottom of the Bachelor franchise? This week blew that theory to fucking smithereens as ABC forced us to watch three hours of Nick being a complete twat waffle as he agonized over whose finger he should shove a Neil Lane diamond ring onto during his final Rose Ceremony: Raven, the pride of Hoxie, Arkansas, or Vanessa, the ice queen of Montreal. It was a great reminder of why he’s on this show for the fourth goddamn time. Nevertheless, we’ve already spent 21 hours watching this shit so far this year (that’s not an exaggeration; we’ve spent 1.41% of 2017 watching The Bachelor), so we might as well finish the season strong so we can see the final nail go into the coffin of this chapter of Nick’s romantic misadventures. Let’s break it down.
Meet the Parents: Raven
The episode starts with Nick walking around the Finnish tundra, looking pensive and undecided. I’m honestly not sure if that footage is from this season or just recycled to save effort, and I could not care less. ABC sprung to fly Nick’s family out to Finland to meet the remaining two contestants in this game of
fame love and as Nick goes to meet them, the camera pans across the Viall clan. If you filmed these people at a funeral, I’m not sure their expressions would be any different. These are the faces of a family who is fucking over this shit. The camera cuts to an interview with Kate Gosselin Mama Viall. She sighs, and wipes a tear from her face before it courses down to her nose ring, and says, “Well, first it was Andi. Then Kaitlyn. And now he’s asking me to meet two more of these bitches? When will it end?”
Raven is the first of the contestants to meet the Vialls, except she already met them on her first date with Nick at his youngest sister Bella’s soccer game in Waukesha, WI. After the game, she accompanied them to a skating rink, because apparently, Waukesha exists in some sort of Groundhog Day time loop since it is clearly still 1993 there. As Raven climbs out of the black SUV that ferried her from her hotel suite to the Vialls’, she tells the camera “I’m expecting his family to be super protective, so I’m more nervous than a cat on top of a trailer in a twister!” I don’t know why Nick’s family would be protective; I think they’re one more failed reality show away from auctioning Nick off to the highest bidder and washing their hands of this disaster.
The awkward interactions begin as Raven and Nick sit down for dinner with Nick’s family. Everyone, including Bella, is slugging wine. They’re done pretending to be happy to be on camera; they are just in this for the free transatlantic flight; after everything ABC has put Nick through, they might as well milk that production budget for everything it’s worth. The dinner conversation is pleasant and light before Raven breaks off to talk to various family members, as is Bachelor tradition.
Raven first talks with Nick’s dad, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t really pay attention to the conversation. It’s all the same at this point. My ears perked up when Papa Viall uttered the phrase “I really appreciate your maturity, Raven.” Did I miss something? I’m a big fan of Raven and everything, but she must have left out the part about breaking into her ex’s house and beating his naked lover with a stiletto-like three months ago.
After somehow impressing Nick’s dad with her maturity, Raven spends some time with Bella. “How was the rest of your soccer season?” Raven asks. “Cut the shit,” Bella replies. “Are you going to be my new sister? Raven stares at her, her giant Disney princess eyes frozen open. “Well, I sure do indeed hope so!” Raven tells Bella. Bella eyes here up and down. “Whatever. You’ll do.”
Fockers Parents II: Vanessa
After meeting Raven for the second time, Nick’s family was treated to the pleasure of meeting Vanessa. As Nick led her in to meet his family, a nervous smile spread across Vanessa’s face. “I’M FROM MONTREAL! I LOVE CANADA!” Vanessa announces. Nick pats her leg as they sit down at the dinner table. “She sure is something, isn’t she?” he says nervously.
As the evening progresses,
Kate Nick’s mom pulls Vanessa aside for some girl talk. “So, what attracted you to my son?” she asks Vanessa. “Well, I mean I went on The Bachelor, so like, he was the only dude there, so that made things easier. Plus on our first date he made out with me like three seconds after I barfed in a zero gravity plane. I mean, we were sucking face and my vomit was literally just floating around us. I didn’t pop in any gum or anything, so I could tell he was really into me, and I just rolled with it.”
“That’s so romantic,” Nick’s mom replies like a robot. “Do you feel like you’ve had enough time to get to know Nick?” Without hesitation, Vanessa replies, “Nope. I can’t imagine
losing to any of these other bitches not ending up with Nick. I’ve got my claws dug in and I’m not letting go.” Mama Viall looks to her cue card off camera, and then back to Vanessa. “That’s wonderful. Are you sure you’re ready to be engaged?” Vanessa pauses as if it’s the first time anyone has ever asked this question. “Well, I definitely want to end up with Nick,” she tells his mom. “I guess when I think of getting engaged, I think of it as a step towards a marriage.” (Sidenote: what planet is this bitch from? That’s generally how it works. I hate this stupid show.) She continues, “I know that I only want to get engaged once…so I can’t say with certainty that I’m ready to be engaged. Maybe I need more time to get to know Nick.” Mama Viall chokes on her wine a little bit. “Isn’t that what I just fucking asked you?” she spits at Vanessa, who smiles coyly before replying. “I love your nose ring. You must be a cool mom.”
Next up was Nick’s sister, and their conversation wasn’t much better. “So if you and Nick get engaged, are you going to move to be with him?” Sister Viall asked. Vanessa ponders, then replies, “I’d actual be the first person in my family to ever leave Montreal. I really haven’t thought about it.” Nick’s sister senses her unease and backs off. “If you have questions about where things are with Nick, you should probably, you know, ask him.” Vanessa ponders again. This has become a trend. “That’s probably a good idea.”
Vanessa’s last conversation is with Nick’s dad. It’s deep and meaningful and they both cry and I threw up a little bit in my mouth. This is torture.
Final One-on-One with Vanessa
In case you hadn’t gotten enough of Vanessa already during this episode, she gets the first of the final two dates of this godawful season. If the eye rolling emoji could take human form, it would be Vanessa. Her only redeeming quality is that she does not live in America, nor does she really want to live in America. After spending so much time watching her suck the joy out of every situation she’s in, maybe the Donald should think about relocating that wall to the Northern border to keep America fun.
Nick and Vanessa’s date starts out with some horseback riding. When Vanessa seems apprehensive, Nick yells from his steed, “Just squeeze it with your thighs! You know how to do that.” What were they doing in the Fantasy Suite last week? Scratch that, I don’t want to know. Atop their horses, they head further north to the Arctic Circle. If anyone wants to go on a date with me, I would like to make it known that I have no desire to go to the Arctic Circle. That shit sounds frigid and I am not about it, but I’m sure Vanessa feels at home. As they continue on their trek, they arrive at a circular shack, where Nick tells Vanessa he has a surprise for her. What’s his surprise? Is he going to kill her? This would be a good place to hide a body.
Nick knocks on the door of the shack, and who should answer the door but jolly old St. Nick, speaking only French. He leads them into his shack, which is apparently not a murder dungeon as I initially anticipated. “So, what is on your wish list?” Santa asks, switching to English for the viewers here in the States. “Well,” Nick starts. “I’d like to find love!” Santa lets loose a hearty laugh. “Funny joke, dipshit. Now what about you, young lady? Would you like to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what you want.” Vanessa shifts uncomfortably in her seat. “I’m fine over here, but thanks for the offer. My wish would be just to spend my life with someone that I love.” Nick smiles and looks at Vanessa. Vanessa continues to stare at Santa, unblinking and unmoving, refusing to make eye contact with Nick.
As they leave the shack, Vanessa is holding a weird wooden circle. “Look!” she says. “Santa gave me an ornament. It has symbols for happiness and fertility on it!” That is a terrible gift, and that’s coming from someone who got bath towels from his grandmother as a Christmas gift when he was 15.
For the remainder of the date, Nick and Vanessa talk about their relationship, and it’s excruciating. Over the past several days, Vanessa has apparently realized that she’s fallen in love with a guy on a reality television show where the guy dates multiple women simultaneously. “It just really bothers me that Nick may have feelings for Raven,” Vanessa tells the camera. That’s literally the point of this show, Vanessa. Come on. Read the fine print before you sign up for social experiments like this. Regardless, she’s super butthurt over the whole situation and continues to press Nick for answers, and he dodges saying anything too specific. It’s like he’s done this before.
Eventually, she gets tired of his shit. “You know that I love you,” Vanessa tells Nick. “But your answers to this questions have been very general, and I need to know specifics.” Nick doesn’t take the bait. “Listen,” he replies. “It would be easy for me to give you an answer that you want to hear, but I’m not going to do that. I still don’t know who I’m going to choose, so yeah.” Vanessa sobs. Nick kisses her cheek while she sobs. This is fine. Everything is fine. What could possibly go wrong?
Final One-on-One with Raven
After what seemed like an hour, probably because it was, Vanessa is finally removed from our television screens and replaced by Raven. She tells the camera “I could either leave this week on a super high high or a super low low.” It seems that she understands the general principle that she’s either getting engaged or getting dumped and has accepted it. I wish Vanessa were more like Raven. I wish most people were more like Raven.
Since Nick and Raven went roller skating on their first date, he takes her ice skating on their last Bachelor sanctioned date. It’s refreshing to watch; the two of them genuinely have great chemistry and seem so at ease with each other. It’s fun and carefree. She doesn’t nag him about feelings and moving and commitment; she simply enjoys the moment with him. It’s too perfect and too happy, so Nick is clearly going to fuck this up.
As the date progresses into the evening, Raven tells Nick that she has no hesitations about her relationship with him, and that she knows she’s ready to be engaged. She asks him if there’s anything else she can reassure him about, and Nick stops to think for a moment. “I know you’re definitely in the bag, but if I propose to Vanessa, what do you think she’ll say?”
On the morning of the final Rose Ceremony, Nick paces nervously in his hotel suite. He nearly shits himself as a loud knock at the door interrupts his thoughts; as he peers outside, a familiar, wrinkled face greets him: Neil Lane. Neil dispenses with the pleasantries, telling Nick, “Listen, dude. This is the third ring you’ve picked out. I see you more than I’ve seen my children the last few years. Make this one count, you dumb shit.” Nick looks in Neil’s briefcase of jewels and grabs the biggest monstrosity he can find. “Bitches love shiny shit,” he mutters under his breath as he puts the familiar feeling box into his pocket.
The next few minutes is devoted to a montage of Nick, Vanessa and Raven getting ready for the final Rose Ceremony. Raven gets ready with a sense of optimism, telling the camera “Let’s do the damn thing!” On the other hand, Vanessa is having an existential crisis. Sobbing like a newly minted orphan, she tells the camera, “I don’t want to get engaged! I love my life! I don’t want to give it up for Pubes McGee! What am I even doing?” As Nick puts the finishing touches on his fuckboy outfit, he tells the camera, “I know Raven would definitely say yes. Vanessa is a wild card; I have no idea what she’ll say if I propose.” I’ve never been engaged before, but I would say Nick’s got one good option here. Let’s see which adventure he chooses.
Raven and Vanessa load into separate limos and head towards their fate. Usually, the first one to step out of the limo is the unlucky lady headed for heartbreak. The suspense builds as the camera shows both of them stepping out and heading towards the final Rose Ceremony. The camera cuts to the interior door, and as it opens, a familiar brunette steps through the door.
She steps up to Nick and delivers a heartfelt monologue. I can’t listen to it. This is bullshit. She tells Nick once again that she loves him, and Nick starts to cry like a giant baby. “Raven,” he stammers. “I love you…but I’m not in love with you. I’m so sorry.”
As he continues to sob, Raven stands there stoically. She thinks about shedding a tear but decides against it. “I’m going to miss you,” Nick tells her. “I know,” she replies, and she begins to walk away. As she leaves, she turns to look back one more time. “By the way,” she whispers. “I faked it.”
Nick takes a moment to wipe his tears before Vanessa comes in. She enters the room and Nick immediately launches into a well-scripted confession of his undying love for her. “I started falling in love with you during the second Rose Ceremony. I didn’t even know half the other girls’ names at that point! That’s how I knew it was real.”
Without further adieu, Nick takes a knee. “Vanessa Grimaldi, will you marry me?” he asks, pulling out his Neil Lane piece that is probably worth more than the GDP of several developing nations. Vanessa stares at the rock in silence. A small droplet of drool drips off her lip as she slowly extends her hand towards the ring. “Give that to me. Give it to me now! Oh, yeah, sure, I’ll marry you, Nick. Whatever.” He slides the ring on her finger and she continues to stare at it. “My precious…” she whispers, eying it fondly. The episode ends as Nick and Vanessa get on a sled and ride away towards their happiness. Or their inevitable breakup in like 3 months. Whatever.
After the Final Rose
After two painful hours, ATFR is exactly what we need to remind us exactly how much time we’ve wasted watching this terrible show. The entire time of dedicated to rehashing everything we just talked about here, so here is the highlight reel:
– Raven is a class act. She’s obviously still a little salty about getting dumped on national television, but not so salty that she isn’t ready to go find her a new man on Bachelor in Paradise this summer. She’ll be the belle of the ball down there.
– Vanessa and Nick come out and do a shitty job of pretending to be happy together. I mean come on – they hate each other, right? Everything about their interaction seemed forced and unnatural. My only question is will they try to make things work on Couples Therapy before calling it quits.
– Chris Harrison continues to try to jumpstart interest in Rachel’ season of The Bachelorette, and he did so by starting the season during the last ten minutes of ATFR, where Rachel meets four of her potential suitors, who I cannot wait to destroy with my mighty pen in the upcoming months.
Well folks, that’s it for this season. Thanks for sticking with me, and I hope you enjoyed the perspective. Our next journey to find love starts on May 22nd. See you then. .
Image via Bachelor ABC