The Bachelor 21, Episode 11 Recap: The Final Rose and ATFR

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The buzz words for the night? "Live historic 3 hour finale of The Bachelor."

"Historic?"

Most dramatic Charrison line ever?

So with those words, we wind down another season of The Bachelor. The 21st season in fact. All of the viewers who thought this season might be different - more transparent or more "real" - can probably admit we were left a little disappointed. Nick's "insider" information and comfort with the process didn't make for good TV. It made him too guarded. It made him too emotional. It made him too staged. I guess it happens to the best of them; there's little the lead can do to resist the scripting and edit the cast and the season gets from ABC - much to their and our dismay. 

So if we were expecting something different than typical Bachelor/ette status quo, we didn't get it. 

That being said, I think most of us can agree the person we thought would be the last woman standing was in fact the "winner." Vanessa and Nick had a deep connection from the start. ABC tried their manipulative editing and their Corinne storyline to try to throw us off and in some ways it worked. They do know what they're doing. I don't think I'm the only one who questioned the relationship between Nick and Vanessa toward the end. The edit was full of red flags and question marks. Meanwhile the edit of Raven and Nick was all hearts and flowers and unwavering commitments on Raven's part.

I don't know if I care if anything was best or worst so here are just some other random thoughts:

Vanessa retained some power. As much as I just complained about Nick's inability to "free range" his season of The Bachelor, I will compliment Vanessa - and in some ways the editors - for her ability to maintain some modicum of power throughout her experience on this show. Part of it was her stubborn and independent personality; part of it was ABC's glee about teasing us with the storyline of Nick potentially going away heartbroken again. Either way, the decision making did not fall entirely on the lead's shoulders. There was discussion about free will and mutual decision making. There wasn't the typical assumption that the Bachelor would make his "pick" and an engagement was his decision and his decision alone. Both players had a say here - and that says a lot about what kind of woman Vanessa is. And I like it.

Raven's poise. I think we can all admit now that Raven never had a chance, right? She was sweet and funny and mature, but she was so young and...she wasn't Vanessa. But Raven took it all like a champ. She was poised when she was let down and didn't point fingers or make a scene. She told Nick she wanted him to be happy and you can tell she meant it. I was impressed. Her parents raised her right. I think she'll find someone quick on Bachelor in Paradise.

The "historic" twist. I'll give ABC credit for trying something new and for trying to energize ATFR, but watching these guys trot out to meet Rachel was painful. Live TV is not the place for regular people. I'm starting to see the value in all the coaching and hand holding and editing that makes this show bearable. The whole thing felt awkward - for all involved. 

Nick and Vanessa...to be continued. Of all that talk about the new couple looking awkward and unhappy, I think Nick and Vanessa are actually starting somewhere that not many "Bachelor/ette" couples do: on the same page. They did not appear shy about talking about uncomfortable topics. They seemed to tackle real life issues. It remains to be seen if these two strong personalities can compromise enough to make it work for the other; at first glance it seems like they really are too much alike. But I hope they can. I hope part of the learning Nick has done throughout his journey on this show is that part of the hunt for and courting of a strong, independent woman is appreciating her position and voice in the relationship and not just in the courtship. Being strong and sexy and opinionated is all fun and games until you have to work side by side with that person and give up some of your power and control in order to work together. 

We'll see how it goes. I wish them the best!

See you soon for Rachel's season of The Bachelorette!

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