Season 21 of The Bachelor is finally over! Each week, Terri — who has seen every episode of The Bachelor and the spinoffs — and Rachel — who is watching for the first time — have been recapping the latest episode of this epic season. Catch up on all our other recaps here.
1. The live studio audience cheers very loudly when Chris Harrison asks who thinks Nick is going to end up alone.
Also, the audience is so pro-Vanessa, it’s a little sad for Raven.
2. Nick’s dad starts crying while talking to Vanessa, because apparently she has that effect on the Viall men.
What is it about Vanessa that makes them burst into tears?! Before the waterworks start, his family expresses severe concerns about Nick getting hurt, especially because she’s “his type,” aka smart and mature and has brown hair, sort of like the Andis and Kaitlyns that have broken his heart in the past. Other red flags include, but are not limited to:
*When Vanessa cries while talking to his family and Nick needs to be prompted to console her.
* When she basically says that no one in her family has ever left Montreal. Normally, I’d think “Hey! Maybe Nick’s up for a fun French-Canadian adventure,” and then I’m reminded that this moment literally happened on their last date.
*When Vanessa repeatedly she wants to get engaged, but never really specifies that it’s Nick that she wants as her betrothed.
*When she commits the cardinal sin of telling his mom she might not be 100% ready to get engaged.
All this aside, she has a touching heart-to-heart with Nick’s dad, and then he cries, she cries, they hug, and it’s actually really nice. His dad is totally Team Vanessa.
3. Nick and Vanessa’s final date starts off with a snowy horseback ride, and Nick’s instructions include, “Just give it a squeeze with your thighs. You know how to do that.”
4. And then Santa Claus third wheels on them.
A Santa Claus peeks out from behind a tree as they began their horseback ride, and it’s a *clasps hands and prays* “please don’t have Santa crash this date, please don’t have Santa crash this date,” moment. And guess what? They get off their horses, knock on a random cottage door, and FFS there’s a Santa in there, speaking Finnish and all.
Now, I [Terri] didn’t grow up with Santa Claus, but I’m pretty sure if I did, my parents would’ve told me, “NEVER GO INSIDE A CREEPY DARK CANDLELIT STRANGER SANTA’S HOUSE!!!” Nick and Vanessa don’t get murdered with a reindeer antler, though, and Santa gives them some kind of plaque symbolizing love and fertility.
5. Vanessa is *so* unsure about…everything, and it kind of derails their entire date.
After escaping Santa’s dungeon, they have a little chat after, and Vanessa is still so worried about the bigger picture that it gets hard to watch. On the one hand, no, she should NOT feel certain at this point on this particular reality show, but on the other, this is a fucking fantasy reality show! Just go with it. We’re here to watch them imagine the rest of their lives together whilst writhing on a bearskin rug, not be reminded how absolutely absurd it is that he doesn’t know who he’s going to propose to TWO DAYS BEFORE THE PROPOSAL. It becomes increasingly clear how unfamiliar Vanessa is with the whole conceit, because lady, he can’t reassure you the way you want him to. Anyway they hug, have a cringeworthy kiss, and are confused together before then she leaves into the snowy darkness.
6. Nick and Raven go skating one last time on their date.
Raven bounds into Nick’s arms on the morning of their final date, and honestly, she seems like a ray of sunshine after Vanessa’s treacherous date. The duo heads to a frozen-over pond because “skating’s their thing,” and Sixpence None The Richer’s “Kiss Me” plays as they careen about. It seems like ABC never shells out for real songs, but maybe they wanted to really highlight that Nick is practicing for Dancing with the Stars.
7. He also gives her PUPPIES.
Nick surprises Raven with an armload of husky puppies, and for the first time ever, we are jealous of her. As far as date surprises on this episode go, Raven wins.
8. They reunite later for a fireside chat (FDR is spinning in his grave) and Raven tells Nick she has zero hesitations about him.
Raven and Vanessa are like night and day. He tells her he’s “never been worried about her” and has never questioned her sincere love for him. At this point, we start thinking he might pick her, because she seems to offer the kind of loyalty and security he clearly needs after being turned down on television so many times. Plus, he says, “I want to brag about you.” They make out a bunch and suddenly it’s almost proposal time.
9. Poor, beleaguered Neil Lane schlepps halfway around the world for Nick again.
He brings his trusty briefcase of rings, and Nick claims he doesn’t know anything about engagement rings. The gentleman doth protest too much. Nick eventually picks a ginormous round-cut diamond because, as Neil Lane assures him, “You can’t go wrong with a round-cut diamond.” We actually do not disagree with this.
10. The first limo to pull up at proposal time is…Raven’s.
She’s wearing a pale blue dress with sparkles — very on the nose for a potential snowy Finland proposal — and it’s topped off with a fabulous cape. Chris Harrison is very somber as he leads her into Nick’s wooden shed. In a move that made us lose many ounces of respect for Nick, he lets her launch into a speech for him telling him how much she loves him. It is Hard To Watch. Nick stutters and weeps through his ensuing break-up speech, telling her he doesn’t know if he’s in love with her. Raven handles all of this really, really well, and they share a brief goodbye before her relatively subdued limo ride. At this point, people in the live studio audience are crying. Hopefully, Raven gets to keep the husky puppies.
11. Nick says “I’m going to miss you” and Raven replies “I know.”
12. We were still holding out hope that maybe Nick wouldn’t propose to Vanessa or that she’d realize this is a train wreck and dump him first, but alas.
Nick says, “I’m going to ask Vanessa to marry me,” in the same tone of voice someone would use to say they’re going to bury their dog. He is NERVOUS. Some very dramatic music plays as her limo shows up, which makes it seem like she’s going to say no or he’s going to chicken out. And yet, she walks up to the proposal stand and he talks first, telling her he’s in love with her and has been since the second rose ceremony. “When I look at you, all I see is my future,” he says, and he proposes! Vanessa is very, very, very, happy. All that drama for nothing.
14. Vanessa casually mentions that she had to get Nick’s phone number before they left Finland.
How do you agree to marry someone you’ve never texted? HOW?????
15. Vanessa and Nick keep talking about how hard relationships are, and use words like “challenges” and “struggles” and “never easy” and “I’m a realist” a lot.
And, look, relationships are hard, but in this context, the comments feel less like “Wow, finally, someone is being real on this show!” and more like “Eeeesh, this relationship is DOA.”
16. Vanessa appears to be confused about what it means to be engaged.
We still can’t believe this incredible exchange happened…
Vanessa: I knew at the end of the show that if I were to say yes to Nick, it’s because I see myself getting married to him.
Chris Harrison: Are you guys going to get married?
Vanessa: …we’re taking baby steps.
TF YOU THINK AN ENGAGEMENT IS????? A proposal and a ring from Neil Lane is not a baby step!!!!
17. Chris Harrison keeps teasing a big surprise for Rachel — TBH the only reason we kept watching — and when we finally get it, it is Very Bad.
SURPRISE! Rachel’s season of The Bachelorette is starting RIGHT NOW ON LIVE TELEVISION! Oh my god, isn’t this FUN?!?! There’s too much badness about this segment to get into here, so we’ll just mention the obvious low moment: when her suitor Dean says, “I’m ready to go black, and I’m never gonna go back.”
I (Rachel, the writer) shouted “OH MY GOD” at the television.
18. Is Nick’s last name pronounced Vile or Vy-ALL?
Chris Harrison says “vile,” our preferred pronunciation for obvious reasons, but the DWTS promo says “Vy-ALL.” Which one is right? We may never know.