By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Mar 14, 2017 at 11:36 AM

I'm happy to say Nick Viall's fourth run on "The Bachelor" at least ended on one of its stronger notes. Monday night's finale was funny – mostly unintentional, but hey, entertainment is entertainment. It was dramatic. It brought in sweetly real people to balance out its cardboard cutout lead.

And most importantly, it finally put this boring, bad season out of its damn misery. 

The "explosive" finale (not the word I would've gone with, Chris Harrison, considering how much time we've spent talking about orgasms these last two eps) opened very unexplosively with one final meet-and-greet with Nick's sweet, lovely family.

Since Raven already met the family on the Waukesha hometown date seemingly years ago, she was all chummy with the Vialls – especially young Bella, who was rooting for the Hoxie native and who was also probably sent to her room during the fantasy suite episodes. Vanessa, on the other hand, didn't get the softball treatment, as she had to meet the family for the first time – and, in growingly typical Vanessa fashion, she had to tearfully overthink the hell out of "The Bachelor." She asks Nick's parents about love and the realities of it, and they respond with honest, real answers about making a relationship work. As usual, when actual people are on this show, it's startlingly watchable.

Plus, Nick's parents are great. His dad is sweet and down-to-earth, and his mom is all of that while also looking like the Sconnie version of Robin Wright. So what the hell went wrong with Nick? And what was up with that AstroTurf sweater, dude? 

With the final family visits out of the way, Nick took the two on their final dates. Vanessa's date was a walk in the scenic Finnish woods and – who the hell is that creepy murder Santa creeping on them from behind that tree?! And now Nick and Vanessa are going into Random Santa's cabin in the woods? Have you people never seen a horror movie!? Of all the things I predicted to happen on this finale, double homicide committed by a Finnish forest wizard was not in the top ten. 

Don't worry; it didn't turn into "Law and Order: Santa's Victims Unit." Santa just chats with the two and gives them a nice wooden piece of wall art. Unfortunately, even the presence of a mystical Christmas mascot can't get Vanessa's mind off of whether Nick actually fully loves her or if he just likes her the most of the people on the show.

Fair – but as someone who's paid to overthink this stupid show, Vanessa, you're REALLY overthinking this stupid show. Vanessa's treating "The Bachelor" like it's a place where real relationships happen, not some kind of sleazy love-based entertainment to watch while getting drunk. A bit of that's nice, but these last few episodes, her naivety about the show has been as annoying as her desire for an actual future with Nick has been commendable. During the post show, Vanessa said that her goal was to treat this all as a real relationship – and that she probably should've seen an entire season of "The Bachelor" before joining on.

Suddenly, this all makes so much sense.

Raven must've gotten access to Vanessa's footage, because she spent her whole final ice skating date with Nick constantly talking about how she has no reservations whatsoever and that she's super confident and, hey, worrying about life stuff is for squares and Canadians. Also: PUPPIES! You can really tell one of these women is almost 30 and one of these women is closer to just getting out of school. Vanessa's asking a lot of real questions, which makes it weird that Raven asks none (guess she's fine bailing on her Arkansas fashion boutique). Vanessa comes off as the best real-life relationship material; Raven seems like the best choice for a light-hearted "Bachelor" winner. 

That being said, "The Bachelor" is as good at foreshadowing as Nick is at being a sensitive and considerate life partner, so putting all of the drama on Vanessa's plate while Raven is all carefree cuddling puppies in the snow is overplaying your hand. It's obvious at this point: Vanessa's winning. Only one question remains: Will she dump Nick for Finnish Forest Santa? 

Actually, another question too: Will Raven beat Nick with a stiletto for breaking her heart? Let's watch!

Raven shows up first to the rose ceremony shack, and Nick's got a sad, farty face the minute she opens the door, so you know she's doomed. But Raven keeps trucking along, giving a nice little speech about ... something. I didn't hear it; I was too busy laughing at the immense awkwardness flooding into televisions across the nation as Nick, master of chivalry, lets her deliver this emotional speech before driving an axe into her heart. Eventually, she pieces it together, and Nick lets her down gently. Raven doesn't stiletto-murder Nick and instead handles the ultimate letdown with poise, grace and dignity. Yes, she pulled the typical "what did I do wrong?" sobbing in the car ride out, but in the moment, Raven took the punch like a champion. Maybe she'll high-heel shiv Nick on the post-show?

So Vanessa wins – or loses depending on your feelings on Nick! But will she say yes? The two deliver their TV vows to one another, and Nick gets on one knee, calls her "Vranessa" (hey, he's nervous; this is the most relatable f*ck-up he's had on this show) and asks her to marry him with a hilariously gaudy ring. A Ring Pop would've been less ridiculous. And after keeling over, she says yes (I'm pretty sure; the mic was muffled during their celebratory hug). So yay for the new happy couple!


Cut to the hour-long post show, and Vanessa and Nick have the intense romantic and sexual chemistry of two day-old bowls of soggy Crispix. First, they don't come out together; it's just Vanessa alone getting grilled by Harrison about working through their relationship and the distance. Then Nick shows up on stage, and hoooo boy, can you tell they haven't been in the same room in a while. The two are stiff and awkward, and Harrison is about five seconds away from just straight-up asking if the two have broken up. If their engagement in the finale briefly lit a small flame of hopeful romance, then this post-show couples therapy session dumped an Ice Bucket Challenge all over that. 

Also: During the post show, Vanessa joked that she didn't watch the fantasy suite episodes, and the crowd emitted the most awkward chuckle in televised history. I would've killed for a cutaway to a smug-looking Raven sipping on some tea all "But that's none of my business."

Anyways, there's no way this doesn't end with Nick leaving Vanessa for his upcoming "Dancing with the Stars" partner. 

So a happy ending for everyone. Nick and Vanessa found love – for now – plus reality show fame, while I got to watch Nick get as bummer of a happy ending as possible. And most importantly, I get to no longer watch this season. Cue the confetti cannons and champagne! No more bland vapid platitudes coming from a sweater mannequin pretending to be human! No more tragic dismissals for no reason! No more Nick tearfully complaining every 15 minutes about that time he got double-dumped on national television (seriously, if you took a drink every time Nick brought up his past "Bachelor" rejections, you'd be eating charcoal within a half-hour). 

And if you think I'm excited for this season to be over, ABC apparently couldn't WAIT to bail on this crap – because before the post show autopsy was finished, Harrison and company had already moved on to the new "Bachelorette" Rachel and introducing her to some of next season's suitors. You could practically see the hook yanking Nick and Vanessa off the stage. ABC was done with this sh*t. 

And now, we all are.


Quote the Raven, nevermore (or at least until she appears on "Bachelor in Paradise"). 

Oh hi, Wisconsin!

Two – not including Nick's parents and family showing up, though I guess you can count their adorable Wisconsin accents as a reference. Both actual Sconnie shoutouts, though, came from the dearly departed Raven, who dropped a cute, "OK, Nicholas from Waukesha," on their final date before also mentioning their date in Waukesha during her final rose ceremony speech. Playing the hometown card didn't do her any good though, as she was sent home – and without her jacket either, her stiletto-stabbing rage the only thing to keep her warm. 

Line of the night

Not a ton of memorable lines from the night, though I did have a mighty good laugh at Chris Harrison telling Rachel that, "We are actually good at what we do here." Gonna have to see your detective work on that one, Harrison!

Rachel recap

Since "The Bachelorette" apparently already started, here's my take on the first bunch of dudes. Guy one seemed great – until he started pulling out plane tickets and rings like he was buying his way to Rachel's heart. He did better than the next guy, though, who was tremendous awkward – and not just because he had a version of Richard Spencer's neo-Nazi haircut.

That last guy, though? With the dancing and the sweetness? Rachel's season is already over. He wins. He was so slick and fun, I want him to propose to ME. 


Madre Mueller, being a smart, wise and intelligent woman, checked out of this season a long time ago. But that didn't stop her from dropping some "Bachelor" insight near the end. I knew Vanessa was the pick thanks to the show's terrible foreshadowing abilities, but when Raven was the first person picked up, my mom must've smelled death in the air and went, "Ah! She's going home." And thus her powers of clairvoyance were revealed. 

Later, when Nick got on his knee, I saw my mom reach for a Kleenex. Was my mother moved by this display of affection, of a man finally finding true love? "No, it's just a cold." And cue a big snotty blow into a tissue. THAT'S WHAT THIS SEASON DESERVES. 

Lastly, like any good person, Madre Mueller is very excited for Rachel's season – though she is nervous about one thing. "I like her, but I think if I have to listen to that laugh a lot ... " she ominously trailed off. You're on watch now, Rachel. 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.