The 8 Wildest Moments From The Bachelor Finale
There’s so much to unpack.
In any Bachelor season, you can expect plenty of scandals: messy breakups, champagne explosions, and even fence jumping. While the show is used to dealing with petty drama, its 25th season elucidates just how ill-equipped The Bachelor franchise is for dealing with more insidious controversy — namely a contestant’s racist past coming to light. The season’s frontrunner, Georgia native Rachael Kirkconnell, was met with backlash from fans and show alums alike after photos surfaced of her at an Old South plantation-themed college party.
While Bachelor’s season finale, shot at Pennsylvania’s scenic Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, contained a predictable dose of relationship theatrics, its After The Final Rose segment struggled to address more than just broken hearts and navigate conversations about racism. Read up on the biggest takeaways from Matt James’ final moments as Bachelor.
1. Matt’s breakup with Michelle
Talk about awkward. We already knew that the angelic Michelle Young is way too good for Matt, but seeing her gift him with jerseys emblazoned with “Mr. and Mrs. James” before he ultimately dumps her is heartbreaking to watch.
2. Matt stands Rachael up
Instead of meeting Rachael for their final date, we watch an excruciating sequence of her getting ready before Chris Harrison delivers the news that Matt has cancelled their date. Eventually, she does receive a date card instructing her to meet Matt by the lake.
3. No ring for Rachael
For a show whose end goal is to get engaged, there have been surprisingly few engagements in recent years. In a twist ending that should shock absolutely no one, Matt gives Rachael the final rose but no ring, telling her that he loves her and wants to keep dating but doesn’t want to rush into a proposal. This essentially feels like the Bachelor version of “I’m not looking for anything serious but we can still hook up!”
4. Chris Harrison’s absence
After facing deserved backlash for dismissing former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay’s stance on racism, host Chris Harrison has officially left the Bachelor franchise after 25 seasons. In his place, Emmanuel Acho led Monday’s After The Final Rose. This comes as a relief, as Acho is much better equipped to lead the following conversations about race.
5. Michelle roasting Matt
During After The Final Rose, Michelle reveals that Matt refused to give her any sort of conversation after their breakup on the show. Luckily, she seems to get that closure and then some by effortlessly dragging Matt. “I hope you find your happiness,” she tells him. “I hope you move on with kissing with your eyes closed, and I hope you come up with more phrases than just ‘thanks for sharing.’” As she should!
6. Matt gets real about Rachael’s racism controversy
Emmanuel and Matt get a chance to discuss Matt’s experience as the first Black bachelor, and his discovery of Rachael’s racist history. After a brief period of honeymoon bliss, Matt eventually learns of Rachael’s problematic past. While he hoped it was just rumors, the overwhelming evidence of her ignorance was a dealbreaker as Matt realized their differences were irreconcilable.
7. Rachael faces her past
Emmanuel wastes no time confronting the elephant in the room, and asks Rachael to address her racist past. She acknowledges that growing up in a racist society isn’t an excuse for her actions. “In my eyes, there’s no excuse,” she said. When asked what she’s doing to educate herself after coming to terms with her ignorant past, Rachael gives an unsatisfying answer about how she doesn’t want to focus on what resources she’s been using, but wants to focus on how to implement all she’s apparently learned. Her reunion with Matt is full of awkward silences, and ends with the two avoiding a final embrace. Yikes.
8. Not one, but two Bachelorettes!
On a happier note, The Bachelor makes the wise decision to ditch male leads all together for the upcoming seasons and give runner-up Michelle and Katie Thurston (AKA Vibrator Girl) their own seasons of The Bachelorette.