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We Have a Winner — and It’s Not Nick

The Viall family heads to Lapland, Santa Claus gives the lucky couple his marital blessing, and Nick makes a decision. Plus, awards from the season finale of ‘The Bachelor.’

(ABC)
(ABC)

There are only two good sports in the world. One is that awesome handball thing from the Olympics. The other is The Bachelor, a show that features 30 women competing to gain as many Instagram followers as they can before they’re eliminated by a slightly above-average guy who once got dumped on national television. This year is the best yet, because the Bachelor, Nick Viall, got dumped on The Bachelorette … twice! Every week we told you who, uh, rose to the occasion on the previous night’s episode. It took 12 episodes, but this guy finally decided which person he liked!

The Literal Winner of This Show: Vanessa

The first hour and 45 minutes of the two-hour season finale of The Bachelor built up all of the supposed tension behind the decision Nick had to make. He could propose to Raven, who in her words was “100 percent ready” to accept his proposal, or to Vanessa, who openly mused about the prospect of declining his offer.

There were clearly stated chasms in his relationship with Vanessa: Both seem unwilling to move to another country to live with the other. Vanessa seemed taken aback by Nick’s father’s claim that a couple needs more than just love to sustain a relationship. Vanessa was consistently displeased with Nick’s answers to any sort of serious question about their potential life together or her status throughout the season. She seemed to question her ability to be in a relationship with a person who treated her as equal with so many other women for so long. She said she didn’t want to get engaged to Nick just because he thought she was slightly better than some other girl. And she was upset by Nick’s refusal to offer any committals until the final few moments of the show.

But then he proposed to Vanessa and she instantly said “yes.” Season over; thanks for watching!

You could have found out about this months ago. Or you could have just watched the show, which seemed to really be stretching (and editing) to prove that there was plausible competition between Vanessa and Raven even though Nick clearly favored Vanessa from the moment she was vomiting in a zero-gravity plane.

The Actual Loser of This Show: Nick

After four seasons, Nick’s televised journey for love has finally come to an end. But there’s good news: He has pretty much nothing in common with Vanessa, who seems to have decided to get engaged to him based on a spur-of-the-moment emotional reaction. And only one of 20 winning couples from The Bachelor has ever ended up getting married. Stay strong, Nick; I remain confident that you’ll manage to break up with Vanessa while filming Dancing With the Stars and wind up as the Bachelor again in three seasons.

Best Dogs: HUSKY PUPPIES

HUSKY PUPPIES.

HUSKY PUPPIES.

This season was pretty good. Nick, while easy to make fun of, is pretty decent at his job of Televised Single Person. Corinne provided enough ridiculous moments to fill about eight of the 12 episodes. They managed to get the Backstreet Boys on camera twice. There was some decent drama.

But the best part is definitely the husky puppies.

MVP: Raven

Raven got dumped and did more than just handle it well. She won this episode, in my opinion.

“I’ll miss you.”

“I know.”

Like an Arkansas Han Solo.

Raven didn’t win, but she made it to the final two while letting the world know that she beat the hell out of her cheating ex, who was bad at sex. Her ultra-confident departure was — and I’ve been waiting to say this for literally the entire season — so Raven.

Most Tortured: Nick’s Family

At first I was stunned by the emotion and passion of Nick’s parents and assorted siblings. If I had 12 children, there’s no way I’d be able to get emotionally invested in each of their relationships. Hell, I can barely get emotionally invested in my own life. And yet here’s Nick’s dad, weeping at the prospect that his son’s relationship might not work out.

Then I remembered: There is only one thing that sounds more boring than going on one date per day in a land where it’s constantly freezing and the sun is above the horizon for only five hours. And that’s staying in a cabin with your family in a land where it’s constantly freezing and the sun is above the horizon for only five hours while your son goes on one date per day. I think Nick’s dad was just bored to tears.

Most Effort Per Second: Neil Lane

Neil flew from Los Angeles to the north of Finland to pull out a suitcase and say, “This is the biggest ring I’ve ever made.” They could’ve just given Nick the ring back in America and had him take it to Finland, but Neil will cross the globe for his cameo. You don’t get to be a “celebrity jeweler” without putting in the work, and I’m not sure how much work being a “celebrity jeweler” actually entails.

Best Music Selection: Sixpence None the Richer

For the second time this season, Nick and Raven went skating. The first was at a roller rink in Wisconsin; this time was on a frozen pond in Finland. And both times, The Bachelor chose to play the song “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer.

Today I learned that Sixpence None the Richer have released six albums, half of them after their 1990s heyday. More like Sixalbums None the Morepopular, amirite? Hell yeah, what a great zing. Anyway, congrats to Sixpence on becoming the leitmotif for a soon-to-be-broken couple. I’m sure SpNTR — what we Penceheads call them for short, and no, “Penceheads” are not affiliated with Vice President Mike Pence — wouldn’t want Raven and Nick’s relationship to end with no accompaniment, so I’ve gone ahead and dubbed Nick dumping Raven to “There She Goes,” the only other Sixpence None the Richer song I’ve ever heard.

Best Fairy Tale Ending: Vanessa, Nick, and Santa

When Vanessa vents about the flaws in her relationship with Nick, she worries that it isn’t the “fairy tale” she expected. Luckily, Nick has a solution to this: bringing her to meet a Finnish man pretending to be a fictional character!

(I didn’t provide any Bachelor spoilers all season. Apologies if I am spoiling anything here by telling you Santa isn’t real.)

Today I learned that the part of Finland above the Arctic Circle tries to market itself as the real-life home of Santa Claus. Finnish custom actually features an evil goat-person named Joulupukki, but it has since been adapted into friendly Santa, which is especially convenient now that people from other parts of the world are willing to pay money to visit and receive letters from Santa. Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, where this episode was filmed, is the center of the “Santa lives in Finland” industry. The city’s soccer team is delightfully named FC Santa Claus.

Anyway, Santa blesses Vanessa and Nick’s relationship. Then Nick proposes, Vanessa says yes, and now we know it’s all going to work out. Just like how you always got those puppies, ponies, and cool new bikes you asked Santa for every year.