NEW YORK -- Matt James' season of "The Bachelor" came to a shocking conclusion and the next "Bachelorette," or should we say "Bachelorettes," were also announced. But, before we could get to that, let's recap the finale. Matt is down to his final two women, Michelle and Rachael. He's still reeling from his conversation with his estranged father last week. Matt met up with his mother, Patty, and his brother, John, and filled them in on how he is feeling about Michelle and Rachael. He hoped that once his family meets them, they would help provide clarity on who he should choose.
Michelle Meets Matt's Family
Michelle was up first, and her goal was to let Patty and John know how much she loves Matt. Patty was overcome with emotion and told Michelle that she just looked "so nice." She does have the most friendly smile, doesn't she? John was a bit of a skeptic in the process and he said he wanted to "keep it real" in their conversation. Michelle told John about her past relationship, and John said that seeing Matt in a relationship is new for him. Matt hasn't always let them into that part of his life before. John felt that Matt genuinely seemed happy around Michelle. Patty asked Michelle about how it went when Matt met her family, and of course, if you remember it went amazing. Patty said that it's a blessing that Michelle has a strong family because she felt as though that was something she couldn't offer him. Patty said she's so proud of who Matt has become.
"I can see how she made your final two. She couldn't be sweeter or easier to be around," Patty told Matt. Matt said that he hoped that he could feel comfortable enough to be engaged at the end of the process. "I love seeing you happy," Patty said. Matt said he saw the day as a celebration and he knew that Michelle would hit it off with his mother. As she got ready to leave, Michelle said she forgot something and started a snowball fight with Matt. It was very cute!
Rachael Meets Matt's Family
Rachael brought a bouquet of sunflowers to meet Matt's mom and brother. Matt seemed very passionate when he kissed Rachael. He told her to be herself so they could see the woman he's falling in love with. Matt and Rachael shared how they've been vulnerable with each other and how she struggled seeing him come back from his overnight dates with the other women. Rachael told John about Matt, "I feel like he's the other half of me that I've needed."
Patty liked that it seemed like Matt and Rachael are being themselves around each other. Rachael told Patty that love and a serious relationship would bring more meaning into her life. She said that she has a lot of faith in God and she was really taken by the fact that Matt prayed over them. "I really truly felt it in my soul that this is where I was supposed to be," Rachael said. She felt like it was God's way of putting them together. Patty cried and said that "I hear you and your feelings and where they come from and it means a lot to me."
Matt's Family Compares the Women
Patty thought that Michelle and Rachael were both amazing. "I have nothing but warmth in my heart for those two girls," she said. Yet, Patty said, "Feelings come and go." She added, "Love is not the end-all, be-all." She and John both want Matt to take his time and urged him to not get engaged if he's not ready. Matt said that Patty's words about not being ready took him into a dark place. He doesn't want to not be ready because he feels that's what tore his family apart. Sadly, the assurance he was looking for was replaced with doubt.
Chris Harrison showed up at Matt's door to help him talk through his doubts. "That commitment to me is everlasting," Matt said. He thinks that the more he learns about having a healthy relationship, it makes him want to pump the brakes on his relationships. "This is not the guy I was talking to a week ago or two weeks ago," Chris told him. "Don't worry love ends, what kind of greeting card is that?!" Matt said that he and his family both realize he'd be lucky to be with either woman, so he is afraid of going too fast. Matt said that he does not want to get engaged and will not be proposing to someone at the end of this. Plain and simple, he says he's not ready. He thinks it's a recipe for disaster and would actually ruin it.
Michelle's Final Date
Matt went into the date with an open mind. He didn't plan on telling either woman that he wasn't sure about a proposal. Matt took Michelle to the roof of the estate where they looked down on a romantic firepit for two with a heart around it on the ground. They had to rappel down the side of the building to get to the table. They took a leap of faith together and made it successfully down the building. Despite their fear, they conquered it!
At the bottom, they sat together and talked about Michelle's conversation with Matt's mother. Michelle talked about how she understood the importance of being there for Matt no matter what and how she loved meeting his mother and brother. Michelle told Matt that she feels like she's in the right place at the right time. She asked him if he felt like he was in the right place mentally to make a decision. He said that he was working on it, but clearly, he was in turmoil.
That evening, Matt went over to Michelle's room and they talked about the fun they had rappelling together. Michelle said that she had so much fun, she'd do it again. "It's you, it's you that I want," Michelle said. "Oh uh oh, ok," Matt said. "I don't know what that means." Michelle gave him a jersey that said Mr. James and it was her way of inviting him to be her teammate. A second bag had a jersey that said Mrs. James. Matt suddenly had a wave of doubt wash over him. He said because he cares so much about her, he had to tell her.
"What are you thinking about?" Michelle asked. Matt said he didn't know and revealed to her that he hadn't slept at all. "Everything is becoming real for me," he said. Matt told Michelle that he is having doubts and that he shouldn't be having any a day or two away from the end. Michelle's face fell. He said that it was the first time he felt anything outside of wanting to be with her forever. "I've been pushing through that feeling today and trying to get there because of how I feel about you and how I know life could look like with you," Matt said. He told her that he could tell her what she wants to hear, but Michelle cut him off and said, "That's not what I'm looking for." "Am I supposed to fight for you? Am I not supposed to fight for you? Tell me where you are at actually," she said. "I don't think I can get there with you," Matt said through tears. He told her he didn't want her to think that it was a flip of a switch. "I put it all on the table. That's all I can do," she said. With that, she got up and Matt left as he apologized. That was awful. It was one of the worst, painful, "Bachelor" breakups. Michelle really put it all out there.
Matt Copes with Breaking up with Michelle
Matt left Michelle's room crying. He stood outside the hotel crying as Chris Harrison came to console him. He felt awful that he hurt Michelle and said that he had to be honest with her. "It's not a good feeling to put someone through that heartache, especially someone you care about," Matt said. He was even questioning the decision of breaking things off with her. Chris told Matt how sorry he was he had to go through that brutal breakup. "Tough to let an incredible woman like that walk away," Chris said. "I loved her, but I wasn't in love with her," Matt said. He has a fear of putting Rachael through what his mom went through. "The last thing I want to do is bring someone into a situation that I'm not ready for," Matt said.
Rachael's Final Date Canceled
Chris Harrison showed up at Rachael's door and told her that Matt had an emotional night and was "lost." "I'm sorry I'm the one to tell you this, but there's not going to be a date today," Chris told Rachael. She was so shocked. Chris told Rachel that they had to respect the fact that Matt wanted more time. "He didn't even want to see me today," Rachel said. "I feel pretty in the dark right now." She felt blindsided by the fact that Matt was having doubts.
Matt Picks a Ring
Matt walked around his room and contemplated his feelings. He said that he thought that his spirits would be different at this moment. "I need time to think about where I am in this relationship with Rachael," Matt said. He wondered if love was enough. As Matt freaked out, Neil Lane showed up at his door with a briefcase of diamonds. "Maybe I need to hold it in my hand and think about it," Matt said. Um, maybe. Or maybe it will send you into the mountains screaming. Neil asked him, "Is Rachael expecting a proposal?" "What she's expecting from me is honesty," Matt said. Neil urged him to be honest with himself and said "Whatever you are feeling is the right feeling." How wise! They checked out the merch and it was gorgeous! Matt told Neil Lane that he wanted to hold onto the pear-shaped diamond ring. "It represents what my father couldn't give to my mother," Matt said.
A letter arrived for Rachael, it read, "'I'm so sorry for making you wait. I've had a lot on my mind these last few days. Meet me at the lake,' Matt." So, she did. Rachael and Matt got dressed for decision day and headed to the lake. Matt told Chris Harrison that he loves Rachael, but he doesn't know what he's going to do. There was a beautiful wooded structure with a fire burning and a podium with a rose. Matt said he had the ring in his pocket.
Rachael walked to the lake wearing a beautiful green gown. She was terrified. Still, she walked in with a smile, but told Matt that she hated going into today on this note, but she didn't like that he was hurt and confused and didn't want to see her. "I want to be there for you when you're hurting," Rachael told Matt. "I'm not going to run just when it gets tough." "I love you and I will choose you every day from here on out if you'll let me," she concluded.
Matt told Rachael that he came to this journey to find love, and he said that everything he came there looking for he found with her. "I want to be everything for you that my dad wasn't to my mom," Matt said. He revealed that he was wrestling with what he was doing and said it would be easier to make her happy and propose to her, but that he couldn't live with himself if he put her through what his mom has been through. "That's why I can't propose to you today," Matt said. "That doesn't mean that I want to lose you. When I think about the life I want to live, I want to do that with you." He added, "The truth is that I love you." He went as far as to tell her that he sees her as his wife and the mother of his kids and that those kids would be crazy. Matt said he wants to make sure that his love is "enough" for her. "Of course it is!" Rachael said. Matt offered her his final rose which she accepted. They kissed and said that they found the love of their lives with each other. They might not be engaged, but they vowed to stay together and be in love.
AFTER THE FINAL ROSE
Emmanuel Acho welcomed everyone to the show and said that he wanted to have an open and honest conversation about race, love and romance. Chris Harrison, as you know, has taken a step back after his defense of Rachael.
Michelle in the Hot Seat
Michelle came out first to talk about her heartache and her breakup with Matt. "I did not want to be sitting here with the ending that I had, but I'm ready to face it," she said. Michelle said that he slid right in with her family and she really thought he was the one. "Afterwards I wasn't ok," Michelle said. She wanted to talk to Matt for two minutes after the breakup but he refused to have the conversation with her. "I think I deserve my two minutes to get the closure I need to move on," Michelle said.
Michelle addressed Rachael's antebellum-themed photos, and she said she felt hurt by what she saw. She thinks that Rachael wasn't educated on it, thinks Rachel has a good heart, but there's a lot of learning that needs to happen. She called Chris Harrison's defense of Rachael, "another weight added on."
Matt and Michelle Speak
Michelle asked Matt how he was feeling and he said, "It's been a really rough two months." Michelle said it was hard to sit there and watch the whole night of their breakup over again. "The moment you left, I completely crumbled," Michelle said. She was left to fill in the gaps of what their relationship was and she told him, "I wasn't ok." She asked him why he wouldn't talk to her for two minutes when she asked him for that. "There's no justification for why I wouldn't have that conversation," Matt said. He added that if he knew how bad she was feeling, he would have talked to her. "If I could do it over again, I would have had that conversation with you," Matt said. "I'm sorry." Emmanuel asked Michelle if she still loved him and she said, "I still care about you," to Matt. She said that hearing how Matt felt helped her process her feelings. Michelle told Matt that he would always hold a piece of her heart.
Emmanuel and Matt Talk
Matt said that there was a lot of pressure on him being the first Black "Bachelor." He said he wanted to be the best perception of "how Black people move." He said that it felt like a lot of pressure from the social justice situation in the country and diversity pressure regarding the show. "I think that we're conditioned to make people comfortable with our Blackness," Matt said. "To show that you aren't as threatening as you come off as." He said that he doesn't regret the experience of being on the show because he learned a lot about himself. He learned to show emotion and tell people that he loved them.
Matt said that he fell in love with Rachael's authenticity. After leaving the show, "It felt like an extended honeymoon period," Matt said. Once the pictures came out, things turned. "You want to believe that you know your person better than anyone else, and that's you're person," Matt said. He said that he tried to be there for her and he dismissed everything as rumors at first. Once he saw the photos and learned some more things about her, "It just makes you question everything." He said that when she spoke out and apologized, he wasn't okay in the situation. "It was in that moment, in the conversation that I had, that Rachael wouldn't understand what it is to be Black in America." Matt said that he had to take a step back for Rachael to "do the work." They are no longer together. Emmanuel asked Matt why they couldn't work it out and Matt said that the feelings of love don't go away overnight. He cares about her and wants her to do better. "No one is irredeemable," Matt said. "It's not a situation that I could help."
Rachael in the Hot Seat
Rachael came out to talk about the racially insensitive photos of her attending an Antebellum-plantation-themed party in 2018, and her breakup with Matt. She said that she wasn't there to victimize herself but she's been having a hard time. They put the photo up of Rachael on the screen and she said she was living in ignorance and wasn't thinking about who that party might hurt. She never thought about the tradition behind it or what it represented. "I never took the time to make the connection," she said. Rachael said she wasn't there to blame anyone or anything for her ignorance. Emmanuel asked her what took her so long to apologize and release a statement. Rachael said that she wanted to understand why people were hurt by this and wanted to do better. Rachael said she never thought of those photos as being a problem in her relationship with Matt. So it wasn't anything she was trying to hide. In her mind, she was just taking photos with friends. She said that her breakup with Matt blindsided her, but after thinking about it she realized how hurt Matt was. "I love him so much and I always will," Rachael said.
Matt and Rachael Talk
Matt came out on stage and hugged Rachael. She told him, "I think you know exactly how I feel, and I just want to take the time to say I'm really sorry." Matt sat there speechless. "It's heartbreaking, it's devastating, it's just disappointing," Matt said after Emmanuel asked him how he felt. Matt sat there and tried to say more, but couldn't. Rachael rubbed his shoulder reassuringly, and looked him in the eyes. But he just cried and took a deep breath.
"The most disappointing thing for me was having to explain to you why what I saw was problematic and why I was so upset," Matt said to Rachael as she held his hand. He said that he thought of their future kids seeing those pictures and that they can't be in a relationship because she needs to do the work on her own. Rachael told Matt that he was the reason she decided to do the show and that meant every part of him and that of course meant him being a Black man. "I don't see anyone else out there for me," Rachael said. "I don't see how I can have these same feelings for someone else." Emmanuel asked Matt if the door was even slightly open for reconciliation. Matt said that seeing her like this hurts, but he doesn't want to be emotionally responsible for her tears and he can't do the work for her. He just kept saying that she needed to do work on her own. So that would be no. Rachael told him that she just wanted him to be happy, she wanted what's best for him, and that she was sorry. "I thank God for putting you in my life to begin with," she said. "I'll always be thankful for everything that we shared and the time that we did have together." Emmanuel asked them if they wanted to share one last embrace, which was a little odd, but then Matt said he didn't know if would ever not hurt hearing those things.
Two New Bachelorettes
Michelle and Katie came out on stage and revealed that they would both be the next "Bachelorettes!" It's two separate seasons! WOW! Your favorite pleasure-packing girl Katie's season will air first in summer. Then, Michelle's season will air in the fall. Both say they are ready to find love and think the process can work.