Nick Viall’s long run on “The Bachelor” franchise is nearing its end. It has been a unique and entertaining season: We met Corinne Olympios, a 24-year-old woman (with a nanny and a “platinum vagine”!) who began as a villain flaunting her sexuality and ended up making it to home towns. We met Rachel Lindsay, who will be the franchise’s first African American lead.
And of, course, we met Nick Viall. Again.
Throughout this season, Viall’s past has been ever-present. Viewers and contestants were well aware that he was coming into this with more baggage than most: He had lost three other times on the “Bachelor” franchise and has spoken harshly toward “bachelorette” Andi Dorfman after she rejected him.
As we head into the penultimate episode, let’s review the ways this season has stood out.
1. Nick Viall’s relationship to rejection.
“Nick is so unpredictable,” Olympios said during episode 7, when the bachelor unexpectedly dumped Danielle Maltby and Kristina Schulman.
What’s unpredictable about two goodbyes when dismissals happen nearly every episode? For starters, the breakups in that episode didn’t happen in rose ceremonies, when goodbyes are typically said, but in one-on-one chats (Maltby’s at the end of her solo date with Viall and Schulman’s when he popped by the house unannounced). In an earlier episode, Viall also stopped by unannounced to tell the remaining contestants that he wan’t sure he will find someone at the end of this. The bachelor’s unpredictability clearly makes the women anxious, but it makes for far more entertaining television.
Perhaps Viall is unpredictable because he has a lot of practice in “Bachelor” land and the rejection that is built in. As he said in his breakup with Schulman: “Having gone all the way to the end twice and knowing what that’s like — I don’t want to do that to anyone.”
Beyond the Bimini breakups, during Viall’s hometown dates, there was a foreboding sense that SOMEONE WILL GET HURT. For example, Lindsay’s pastor reminded Viall, in front of his entire congregation, that they all care a lot about her. “Rachel is very important to us, man. So we hope you take very good care of her.” (Subtext: Hurt this woman, and the wrath of God will rain down upon you.) Vanessa Grimaldi’s father refused to give Viall his blessing — should Grimaldi make it to the end — because Viall admitted that, yes, he had asked other contestants’ fathers for their blessing, as well. Every season of “The Bachelor” or “Bachelorette” is weighed down by the knowledge that rejection is coming, but it’s been heavier than usual this season, with a lead who has been to the final two — twice! — only to go home empty-hearted.
2. The Rachel spoiler.
Last month on her show, Ellen DeGeneres summed up the dramatic irony that’s playing out on “The Bachelor” right now: Lindsay is part of the final three contestants, but we know Viall won’t be proposing to her because she was named the next “bachelorette” three weeks ago. “I’m kind of shocked that I’m meeting you, because I really thought that you and Nick were gonna end up together,” DeGeneres said. “And I think a lot of people thought that. Right now, as it’s airing, you’re still there and yet you obviously don’t end up there, because you’re here.”
Exactly. It’ll be a little odd to watch Lindsay in the fantasy-suite date tonight when viewers know she’ll end up being booted. But, as she said on DeGeneres’s show: His loss.
3. Dorfman and Viall’s frank sex talk.
When Dorfman made a surprise visit to Viall’s hotel room during last week’s episode, she asked him a deliciously pointed question: Was he going to sleep with the final three women on their fantasy-suite dates?
(If you need the backstory here: After Viall and Dorfman made it to the fantasy suite on her 2014 season of “The Bachelorette” and Dorfman didn’t choose Viall in the end, he publicly talked about their sex life and questioned her decisions on national television. It wasn’t well-received.)
“I don’t know. I’m honestly torn,” Viall told Dorfman. “Physically, I’m attracted to all of them.”
Dorfman gave Viall her blessing to have as much sex as he wants: “Honestly, you’re entitled to do whatever you want. You have three girls that you respect and care about, that are dating you, that you’re dating. You’ve met their families. They’ve professed how much they like you or love you. You’re an adult; I think you have every right to get as intimate as the two of you want in each relationship. That’s my feminist rant.”
Nick responded that it was “weird” getting fantasy-suite advice from Dorfman. Weird, but also satisfying for viewers who have followed their saga from the beginning until now. Viall went on to apologize for calling out Dorfman: “My single biggest regret when it comes to you and I is that, when I said what I said, it brought you a lot of heartache and a lot of pain. It’s something you had to deal with for a long time, and I’ve always felt bad about that. I’ve always cared about you, and I still want you to be happy. And for that, I’ve always been sorry.”
Yes, even a man pondering sex could use a sex-positive feminist rant as much as a woman in his position could. As an “I give you my blessing” talk, Dorfman and Viall’s conversation might have more weight and relevance than any of Viall’s conversations with the contestants’ fathers. If those talks are about his relationships with the women on the show, this one seemed aimed at the women (and men!) watching the show.
4. Corinne’s many corn kernels.
As Lindsay told DeGeneres in the clip above, there are many sides to Olympios. Or as Olympios herself might say: “I’m a corn husk; you gotta pull all the layers back. … In the middle is this luxury, yellow corn, with all these pellets of information, and it’s juicy and buttery. You want to get to that corn.”
Last week’s episode served up so many delightful pellets. First, witness Olympios’s uncharacteristic self-doubt as Viall says goodbye. Never throughout this show has Olympios shown any regret for her actions, and yet as she’s leaving, the insecurity floods in: “I’m sorry if I ever did anything to make you upset,” Olympios said to Viall, who confirmed that she had “nothing to regret.”
Cue the episode’s second feminist rant, in which a tearful Olympios declares in the getaway limo that she’s DONE: “I’m done trying to show my men how much I worship them and I love them and I care for them and I support them. I need that. So if someone feels that way about me, they can come and tell me and bring a ring to go along with it. I am done trying to impress these men. I’m going to be me — and whatever happens, happens. But I will never kiss up to a man ever again in my life.”
And then, in a perfectly Corinne coda, she promptly falls asleep. This was quite the turnabout: A woman who began this season as an unapologetic villain bragging about her “platinum vagine” ended it as a woman who’s tired of trying so hard only to feel underappreciated in the end. Olympios and her many kernels have been so entertaining. They will be missed.
5. Raven’s candor about sex.
On their first one-on-one date, Raven Gates told Viall about that time she walked in on her ex sleeping with another woman — and Gates proceeded to beat him with a stiletto. Before their fantasy-suite date, “I need to remind you of two things,” she informed him. “One: I’ve only been with one person. … And the second thing is that my last boyfriend, my ex who I was intimate with, never made me orgasm.”
“I was not expecting that,” Viall responded, then admitted to the camera that he’s not sure if he’s going to sleep with the final three women.
Gates’s ex has told Us magazine that that orgasm claim isn’t true. Whatever went on in their relationship — and despite the fact that a woman does not need a man in order to climax — Gates’s admission is a reminder that the orgasm gap is real. According to a study released last month, heterosexual men almost always orgasm while being sexually intimate and heterosexual women climax 65 percent of the time. For a show that often deals with sex in euphemisms only, Gates is incredibly straightforward, and it’s incredibly refreshing.