“The Bachelor’s” historic 25th season concluded on Monday, with Rachael and Michelle meeting Matt’s family and enjoying one last date before he handed out the final rose.
The episode began with each of the ladies meeting Matt’s mom, Patty, and brother, John.
Patty was impressed with her conversations with both women, telling Matt later that each was “amazing” and that she felt “warmth in [her] heart” for both. However, reflecting on her relationship with Matt’s father, she warns him that “love isn’t the end all/be all.”
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That conversation left Matt shaken, which led to a shocking turn of events.
During a conversation with Chris Harrison the following day, Matt revealed that the more he learned, the more he was starting to “pump the breaks” on making a commitment to anyone. The easiest thing to do, he said, is tell them he’s ready and questioned, “What’s the right thing to do?”
A final date with Michelle started out with a romantic outdoor chat by a cozy fire. The catch was that they had to rappel down the side of a building to get there. That night, Michelle expressed her commitment to their relationship by pulling out his and her jerseys labeled “Mr. James” and “Mrs. James.”
Unfortunately, she was blindsided by Matt’s admission that he didn’t think he could get there with her. Instead of a proposal, Michelle’s journey came to a devastating end.
Matt then decided to forgo his scheduled date with Rachael, later explaining in a note that she “deserved answers,” which he would provide later in a meeting by the lake.
Rather than a proposal, Rachael got a rose — as well as a promise from Matt that he was in love with her and saw himself spending his life with her, as well as starting a family together.
However, that was before photos of the 24-year-old graphic designer attending an antebellum plantation-themed ball in 2018 surfaced on social media. Rachael has since apologized for her actions, explaining that she was “ignorant” and promised that she would “learn from my mistakes” and encouraged people to “use them as a teachable moment.”
During the “After the Final Rose” special, we learned that Rachael and Matt were no longer a couple.
Matt told host Emmanuel Acho his initial reaction to hearing about the photos was to dismiss them as rumors but, after learning they weren’t, he began to “question everything.” He eventually came to the conclusion that Rachael didn’t understand “what it means to be Black in America” and, for that reason, and had to “take a step back” from their relationship.
Rachael once gain apologized for the insensitive images, explaining, “I never once asked myself at any point, like, ‘What’s the tradition behind this? What does this represent? Why do we wear those dresses?'”
“This isn’t an ‘I didn’t know better’ defense,” she continued. “I never took the time to make that connection.”
Rachael also ruled out her upbringing as an excuse, stressing, “I did get a lot of people saying, ‘This is normal where I grew up.’ That doesn’t make it right.”
After an emotional apology from Rachael, in which she insisted, “I just don’t see how I can have these same feelings for someone else,” Acho asked Matt if the door was “even slightly open” for a reconciliation.
Matt responded by saying the feelings he had for Rachael “don’t go away overnight,” but “the reconciliation that needs to be done is work that I can’t do for you” and she needed to do the work on her own.
Acho also announced a “curveball” regarding the next Bachelorette, revealing Michelle and Katie from this past season of the Bachelor would star in two separate back-to-back-seasons, this summer and fall.
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