In the highly emotional finale of the 21st season of The Bachelor on Monday night, Nick Viall struggled with the challenge of choosing between 29-year-old Vanessa Grimaldi and 25-year-old Raven Gates.
He eventually chose Vanessa over Raven during the two-hour season finale. Vanessa, a 29-year-old special education teacher from Montreal, accepted Viall’s final rose, while the disappointed runner-up Raven Gates, who operates a fashion boutique in Arkansas, left in tears.
Nick, a 36-year-old native of Wisconsin who had experienced the pain of rejection in two previous seasons of the show, proclaimed his love for Vanessa.
They kissed, and Nick said, “Shall we go start our life?”
But before the happy ending for the couple, Raven had met Nick’s parents a second time.
Nick’s sister Bella expressed her preference for Raven, while Nick’s father admitted he thought Raven was “mature” and that she would make “a great partner for Nick.”
Nick’s mother said Raven appeared “honest and true.”
But it was the first time that the family was meeting Vanessa.
Vanessa told them about her first date with Nick, but she did not hide her feeling that she was unsure she was ready to get engaged to Nick.
The fourth time was the charm! Congratulations to Nick and Vanessa! ???? pic.twitter.com/uFS7w5KC68— The Bachelor (@BachelorABC) March 14, 2017
“There’s a lot of things I want to talk about with Nick before the actual proposal date,” she emotionally told Nick’s father.
Before Nick made his choice in the two-hour-finale, each woman had a final date with him in Rovaniemi, Santa’s official home in Lapland, northern Finland.
Nick and Vanessa went horse riding in the woods and met Santa in a cabin. Vanessa remarked that meeting Santa brought back memories of her childhood.
“If you end up with me because my relationship with you is slightly greater than with someone else, then I don’t know if I’m comfortable with that,” she later cautioned Nick while they sat by a fire in the open.
She was also open about the doubts she felt about committing to Nick.
“There’s something that isn’t sitting right,” she said. “I’m questioning whether or not I am ready to be engaged at the end of this.”
“I think Nick loves me, but I think he’s maybe feeling those same emotions for Raven.”
Nick and Raven went ice skating and Raven seemed to enjoy every moment of it.
“It’s like the ultimate romantic place,” Raven said.
“This is officially the best day of my life!” she declared later while sitting by the fire with Nick.
Unlike Vanessa, she was “completely sure” that she was ready to get engaged to Nick. She also expressed confidence that Nick would propose.
“I’m more in love with Nick than I ever thought was possible.”
“I have no reservations about how happy you would make me,” Nick assured her.
The pair kissed by the fire.
Later, Neil Lane, the show’s jeweler, showed Nick the engagement ring and told him that it was the biggest ever for the show.
Nick became very worried just before it was time for him to give out the final rose.
“I just know this sucks,” he grumbled about having to break a heart while making a choice between the two finalists.
When Raven came in, Nick shed tears as he struggled with the knowledge that he would have to break her heart by telling her he wasn’t in love with her.
“I think about how much I’ve grown to care about you, respect you, and I feel, like, how much love I have for you,” he began. “I just don’t know if I’m in love, like my heart’s somewhere else.”
“I’m torn up inside letting you go. I’m sorry. I’m gonna miss you.”
Gates comported herself remarkably well despite her disappointment. Nick escorted her to a car which drove her away. Ruminating on her experience in the car on her way home, Raven appeared to despair of finding love.
“Why even bother looking for something that’s not possible?’ she wondered tearfully.
Meanwhile, when Vanessa appeared, Nick gushed, saying, “When I look at you, all I see is my future.”
“I will never forget the moment I saw you,” he said. “I don’t want to fight it anymore. I’m in love with you.”
He got down on one knee and proposed to Vanessa, presenting the Lane sparkler.
Vanessa accepted the proposal despite having previously expressed doubt.
“When I’m with you, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been,” she said. “I knew this kind of love existed; I just never thought it was going to happen for me till I met you.”
This is not the first time that Viall has appeared on The Bachelor franchise. Nick finally found love after failing in two previous seasons of The Bachelorette. He previously competed unsuccessfully to win the affections of Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe in previous seasons of The Bachelorette.
He also appeared on the Bachelor in Paradise.
He will compete in the upcoming 24th season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, which will premiere on March 20. He has been paired with the New Zealand-born professional dancer, Peta Murgatroyd.
It has been confirmed that the 21st season’s third place finisher, 31-year-old Rachel Lindsay, a legal practitioner from Dallas in Texas, will be next star of The Bachelorette.
In The Bachelor: After the Final Rose that followed the season finale, Rachel, the first African-American to star in The Bachelor franchise, met her suitors for the upcoming season.
But many viewers commented about what they considered the rather “awkward” interaction between Nick and Vanessa during the After the Final Rose.
This is so real it's kinda depressing. #TheBachelorFinale— CatherineGiudiciLowe (@clmgiudici) March 14, 2017
The vibe of the whole room at After the Final Rose right now is so serious and strange feeling. No? #TheBachelorFinale— Jade Tolbert (@jadelizroper) March 14, 2017
Honestly watching Nick sitting next to Raven, the girl he publically dumped, was less awkward than him with Vanessa ???????? #TheBachelorFinale— Makiala Yates (@MakialaYates23) March 14, 2017
Some expressed doubt about the future of their relationship, pointing to what they considered the “lack of chemistry” between the two.
Others expressed the opinion that Raven should have emerged as the winner.
[Featured Image by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images]