Matt James’s historic and chaotic season of “The Bachelor” is coming to an end. Spoiler alert: It’s not the end most people were hoping for.
What it was meant to be Historic season (The first black hero in the series and the most versatile in the history of the show) took a turn for the worse On camera with constant bullying And off it with a racist controversy involving one of Matt’s last two women and host Chris Harrison.
The big question: Will it end up choosing Rachel KirkconnellThe woman at the center of the controversy? Or will he choose Michelle Young, who is widely regarded as a fan favorite? And what will everyone say later during the “After the Final Rose” special?
An in-depth look:What does it take to fix the racism of the “bachelor” franchise?
At the conclusion of Monday, the two women meet Matt’s mother, Patti, and his brother John. Michelle is the first, and she tells Patty that she loves her son. Patty cries and says she can see Michelle as part of the family. So … can we end there?
Nope, it’s Rachel’s turn. Rachel told John that she believes Matt is the other half she was looking for and Patti is emotional again – and she says Rachel’s love for her son “means a lot” to her.
Matt tells his mother that he loves the way Rachel carries herself through “the little things”: “It should be a harbinger of how she deals with more important things,” Matt says.
Both women seem to be winners in Matt’s Family Book, but Patty and John maintain he doesn’t need to jump into something he’s not ready for. And now the bachelor is worried that he might not be ready to go down on one knee, a fear that he carries on to Harrison without specifying what that means for the potential engagement.
Next is Matt’s deadline with Michelle, which begins to reverse past conversations: There’s a lot of love to wander around, but Matt is still paralyzed with suspicion.
Michelle gave him identical basketball jerseys that read “Mr. and Mrs. James”, but that appeared to be the moment of his reckoning. He tells Michelle that this is the first time he feels “anything outside of his desire to be with you forever,” and Michelle wonders out loud if she is supposed to fight for him.
“I don’t think I can get there with you,” Matt says by crying goodbye. The conversation with his mom about fading love apparently “rocked him,” Harrison notes.
“I don’t know how to go on,” says Matt. “How do you go from there?”
Does Rachel get one last rose?
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Harrison alerts Rachel that Matt feels “lost” and has canceled his deadline, leaving Rachel’s fate – and his confidence in Matt – in question.
Regardless of Matt’s marital intentions, jeweler Neil Lin still needs to get his product positioned, so The Bachelor sits down to look at potential episodes. He chooses one to “keep” just in case, but ultimately he will not need it.
Bidding day arrives, and Matt is still troubled by his uncertainty, even though he loves Rachel.
She told him, “I don’t know if I still feel this, but I feel very lucky to have felt this.” (Side note: Even in an enclosed resort, it’s comforting to see the tradition of the poor final sound continuing.)
The Bachelor finally opens up to Rachel about his conflicting feelings and tells her that this is why he “can’t propose to you today”. But that doesn’t mean they’re calling it quitting, at least for now. He still sees Rachel as his future wife and wants to continue their relationship, just without the stress of courtship.
We let Matt give Rachel the last rose without the engagement ring. Sorry Neal Lin.
The special “After the Final Rose” deals with racial controversy
Rachel, Michelle, and Matt recreate the dramatic ending in the one-hour special “After the Final Rose” that followed the ending, in which Matt and Rachel talk about a racist controversy that led to Harrison’s backlash and widespread defense.
Former NFL player and Fox Sports analyst Emmanuel Aku took Harrison’s place after the longtime host announced that he would “be back for a while” after the controversy. Acho is the author of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man based on his online series that aims to open up a dialogue about racial ignorance and insensitivity.
Matt opens up to Aku about facing pressure and extra scrutiny as his first black bachelor, especially during a period of growing interest in social justice and diversity issues within the franchise. He notes that for many viewers, watching his love story was the first time they had a “gay person” in their home.
After the end of the recording, things went well for Matt and Rachel. But after controversy erupted and Rachel apologized, the couple broke up. Matt notes that he doesn’t think “anyone is irreparable,” but that there is “a lot of work” Rachel needs to do on her own.
“You hear distressing things and say they are not true,” Matt says. “When you find out that they are, it makes you question everything.” “I just wasn’t feeling well because it was in that moment and that conversation (that I realized) Rachel might not understand what it means to be black in America.”
To critics who argue that her actions three years ago should not reflect who she is today, Matt urges those “who have been motivated to offer this energy to support people of color who are demanding change.”
Acho shares a photo of Rachael at a party titled Antebellum 2018. Rachel, who joins the host on stage, says she didn’t want to “hurt” herself and was living in ignorance at the time. You never stop thinking about what the party stands for.
“People need to realize that saying this is normal, where you came, does not make things right,” she says. Acho notes that the date is meant to be remembered, not necessarily celebrated.
When asked what specific measures she is taking to rectify the situation, Rachel did not go into detail, but said her actions are worth more than promises to do better.
She says she still loves Matt and “will always love him” before Matt joins the discussion. Rachel repeats her apology to him while she cries.
“For you to wrap things up, I realize … you must have been agonizing and I’m really sorry for not understanding that at first and I’m really sorry I hurt you,” she says.
Matt, who does not seem to be looking at Rachel, is struggling to find words other than repeating his disappointment at “having to explain to you why what you saw was a problem.”
“I didn’t sign up for this conversation,” he says.
The tearful Rachel concluded that she wanted Matt to be happy and will always be thankful for everything we have shared. Acho welcomes them to “share in one last embrace,” but Matt, still in pain, is clearly not ready for that step.
Michelle and Matt reunite, too. She told him that she had “collapsed” following their break-up, which made it even more difficult for Matt to refuse to speak to her about the lockdown.
“It was a conversation until I had inner peace when I left, and I said no,” she says. Matt apologizes and wishes he could come back and have that conversation with her.
They end up with Zinger & Woody (we think?): Michelle hopes Matt’s future will involve kissing less openness and more common phrases other than “Thank you for sharing that.”
But things are looking for Michelle, who will be One of two new “bachelorette” stars. Its season comes this fall, while former co-runner Katie Thurston is this summer.
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