THR ranks the women vying for Nick Viall's heart based on their episode performance. This week, Nick narrows his search to his final two women following three overnight dates.
Welcome to The Bachelor version of The Hollywood Reporter's Power Rankings. Each week, THR's Bachelor experts will be tuning into the romantic connections and dramatic shenanigans taking place on season 21 of the long-running ABC franchise. In an effort to cater to viewers who opt out of show spoilers, these rankings are based on opinions and observations week-by-week.
Finally, the moment Bachelor Nation has been bracing for: Nick's breakup with Rachel.
ABC's 13th Bachelorette has remained on Nick Viall's season of The Bachelor for four weeks since the announcement that she would lead the upcoming season of the female spinoff. Though Rachel has spoken publicly about moving on from Nick, neither she nor Nick have provided any hints as to what went wrong between the season-long frontrunner and the star in the show's final weeks. Monday's episode, however, finally showed the pair's demise when Rachel is dumped after her Fantasy Suite date, bringing her first journey on the Bachelor franchise to an end.
Her parting words were hard to watch. "It's hard to hear how great you are and how much love somebody has for you, but then they still don't choose you," the Dallas native said through tears in her departing limo. "I swear that's like the story of my life." She continued, "I want someone to have that undeniable, unconditional, unexplainable love for me, and I want to be able to feel the same way for them. So, it's back to square one."
Ahead of the 31-year-old's search for that undeniable love on her own season, she also came face-to-face with Nick during Monday's Bachelor: Women Tell All reunion special, which aired after the episode.
Before finding out if Rachel is, in fact, ready for love — and how Nick reacts when he reunites with Rachel and his many other exes — read on below for The Bachelor's state of affairs ahead of next week's finale with finalists Raven and Vanessa.
Raven is clearly the new frontrunner at this point. Just pay attention to the rose ceremonies and it’s obvious.
For several endowments in a row, Nick has gifted Raven the first rose of the night. Any longtime Bachelor viewer can guess that producers have a hand in the order they are handed out, as the women with the most unstable relationships are often called last. If you’re keeping tabs, Vanessa has been in the bottom two for the past two weeks (facing off with Corinne and Rachel, respectively), while Raven has received the instant validation of knowing she’ll be dating her boyfriend for another week.
The Arkansas native earned the first rose this week after spending the night with Nick in the Fantasy Suite. While their intimate date aired last week, Bachelor viewers were left on a rather unusual cliffhanger: did Raven, well, have her first orgasm? Awkward answer: yes. But don’t blame the viewers for being curious — it’s all the 25-year-old could talk about! Monday's episode picks back up the morning after, when Raven says it’s safe to say she had a good evening. “To be alone physically with him was just so nice and relaxing. I will say this: Nick is really good at what he does, so I'm pretty satisfied today.” Producers then treated viewers to a montage straight out of a rom-com, with a giddy Raven skipping through the snow (think: Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s post-sex scene in 500 Days of Summer).
The question remains: will Raven score the final rose? At face-value, she seems to have the stronger relationship. But maybe it’s not a good sign that she and Nick have yet to fight or work through major issues. Is this couple more of a fun fling than marriage-ready?
Vanessa making the final two confirms one thing: Nick likes a challenge. For weeks, the Bachelor has fought (or at least had difficult conversations) with this Canadian cutie. Yet, he’s still coming back for more.
Fortunately for them, Monday's fight was at least productive. The two international lovebirds took time to address how their relationship would work in the real world, with Vanessa living in Canada and Nick telling her he's proud to be American. But the logistics of where they would live after the show still remain in question. “I've never imagined moving to Canada, and I'll be honest like that's not easy for me to picture. I hope that's not a nonnegotiable,” Nick told the 29-year-old after surviving a Finnish ice bath together. They do not reach a decision on where they would call home, but Nick, who is set to compete on the Los Angeles-set Dancing With the Stars this month, hinted he would be flexible. It’s important for him to “be willing to do things for the other person that we love the most,” he said.
Nick and the special education teacher also butted heads over their future family life. The Bachelor comes from a big family with 14 siblings, yet expressed discomfort with the “big personalities” of Vanessa’s relatives and his “hesitation” to embrace her family traditions. The Montreal native took offense, citing her weekly Sunday quality time with her loved ones as one of her “core values.”
And then there was the bigger question. Are Nick and Vanessa too self-righteous to compromise as a couple? The Bachelor has his concerns. “There might be some strong conversations because we're passionate people, and we want what we want,” Nick says apprehensively.
Still, Vanessa agreed to share the Fantasy Suite and told him she loves him despite their differences. Before getting intimate, Nick self-reflects, “I think my relationship with Vanessa has the potential to have more conflict, but at the same time ... it has the potential to be a passionate, amazing relationship.” (Our take: if there’s this much drama already, it will only be a greater challenge to build a healthy bond once the show wraps).
We’ve been bracing for it, and Rachel’s dramatic goodbye has finally come. As we said above, it was hard to watch Rachel’s tearful exit, but at least #TeamRachel fans can find comfort in knowing her second chance at love is right around the corner on The Bachelorette (premiere date TBD).
What went wrong with the Texan’s relationship with Nick? It’s hard to tell. The 36-year-old continued to be smitten with the lawyer, 31, before spending the night together in the Finland Fantasy Suite. Rachel revealed to Nick, “I'm falling in love with you.” To which he responded, “Rachel, I am falling for you 100 percent. It's easy to say.” Talk about leading a woman on! Nick even made Rachel breakfast, something he doesn’t do with any other woman.
The Dallas native left their overnight date feeling confident, telling the camera, “I'm looking to seal the deal. That's what I'm looking for. Period.” But Nick made an about-face, breaking up with her at the rose ceremony for no apparent reason. In fact, he complimented Rachel profusely as he dumped her, “You are one of the most incredible women I've ever met in my entire life. I was really lucky to have you in my life. Selfishly, I hope someday this won't be a goodbye forever,” he told Rachel as they both cry. She let him know she thought they had a “really, really good thing” and that, either way, she’s "glad" he knew how she felt.
Calling it now: if Nick and Rachel are in Chris Harrison's hotseats during the Women Tell All, the Bachelor will likely lean on his canned excuse to explain all of his breakups: the "other relationships were stronger."