‘The Bachelorette’ Finale: Who Does Michelle Pick? (RECAP)

Who does Michelle pick on The Bachelorette?
Spoiler Alert
ABC/Craig Sjodin
ABC/Craig Sjodin

After an emotional journey filled with ups and downs, Michelle Young has finally narrowed down her final two men on ABC‘s The Bachelorette — and tonight, she will hand out her final rose to either Nayte or Brandon. But, who will Michelle pick? Let’s find out…

We start off with Brandon meeting Michelle’s family — although he already met her parents on a date earlier this season, so this shouldn’t be too nerve-wracking. In fact, Brandon walks in and admits that he already feels like he’s part of the family.

During a private conversation with Michelle’s father, Brandon asks for his permission to propose to his daughter, to which he happily says yes. If Brandon is the one she wants, her father has no problem welcoming him to the family. The conversation with Michelle’s mom goes equally as well. Mrs. Young admits she’d be “so happy” if Brandon joined the family.

“I just want to marry her so bad,” he tells her.

The day wraps up with Brandon and Michelle acting completely smitten with one another. Michelle’s very happy that her family have given Brandon their approval and Brandon’s talking as if he’s got this thing in the bag — but does he? Let’s see how Nayte’s date goes…

 

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So Nayte already has a lot to live up to following Brandon’s picture-perfect date. Off the bat, it’s clear Nayte is less comfortable expressing his feelings in front of the family. He tells her parents that he’s never been in love prior to Michelle, so this is all new to him. Michelle’s dad refers to Brandon as a “warmer” person and admits there is a “different vibe” with Nayte. Eyebrows straight to raise when Michelle’s mom asks Nayte if Michelle is “the one” and he cannot give her a straight answer. “I’m still not sure at the end of this if you’d be ready for an engagement,” she tells him. “You feel really reserved. I’m not sure you’re 100% in.”

 

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Ultimately, Michelle’s mom is concerned about her daughter getting hurt. She sees Michelle head over heels for Nayte, and with his lack of communication going on right now, especially in comparison to Brandon, I can’t really blame her. She tells her daughter directly that she doesn’t think he’s ready for an engagement — which brings Michelle to tears.

So it’s clear Michelle is torn between the two men and needs more time to figure out her feelings. Luckily, she’ll get a final one-on-one date with each one, starting with Brandon. The two kick off a fun day filled with jet-skiing, but things get a bit more serious while cuddling on the beach. Brandon admits that Michelle’s mom told him she hopes he’ll be the final one standing. He reassures her of his strong feelings for her (as if we didn’t already know by the other 50 admissions this episode) and Michelle can’t wipe the smile off her face the entire time.

Later that night, Brandon gifts Michelle with the white sweatshirt he was wearing during their food fight in the fantasy suite. He wanted to give her a glimpse of what real life would be like with him. “I love that you take little moments like this to be sentimental,” Michelle says, before finally admitting to Brandon that she’s in love with him.

Moving on to Nayte’s final date, he once again has big shoes to fill. Michelle admits that there’s a red flag when it comes to Nayte, and she is unsure if he’s truly ready to commit. Nayte tells her he’s terrified and “scared as hell” to lose her. “When all you think about is life with someone and you realize it could get ripped away? Heartbreak,” he says. At least we’re getting somewhere with the communication… Later that night, it seems as though Michelle gets the clarity she’s been seeking, with Nayte opening up about his feeling and telling her he’s ready for an engagement.

When Michelle says goodnight to Nayte, she walks back to her room and finds a handwritten note from Brandon. The note reaffirms what he’s been telling her all along — that he’s in love with her and will always be by her side, if she chooses him.

The next morning, Michelle knows who she wants to be her husband — and when Brandon walks down to greet her first, we know that he’s not the chosen one. She tells him that she has to follow her heart, and unfortunately, her heart is leading her to Nayte. “You truly will always have a piece of my heart, Brandon. I’m sorry that I can no longer hold yours,” she tells him through tears.

“I wish you nothing but happiness. I truly mean that, even if it’s not with me,” he tells her. “Giving you my heart was worth it.” Before walking him out, the two hug and sob together. If it’s *this* hard to say goodbye, maybe you shouldn’t be saying goodbye?The camera cuts to Brandon completely sobbing uncontrollably. This man is broken. It’s difficult to even watch…especially because I don’t think Nayte would be this distraught if he wasn’t the chosen one.

Now it’s Nayte’s turn, and he tells her that he’s ready to take on a life with her. Michelle tells him that she’s never felt a love like this before and doesn’t want to ever think about waking up to anyone besides him. “At the end I wanted to be standing in front of my soulmate and he is definitely standing right in front of me,” she says.

“I am absolutely crazy for you,” Nayte says before getting down on one knee. And Michelle says yes! They’re engaged!

After the Final Rose

So Brandon comes out on stage and still seems so brokenhearted over losing Michelle, but he’s “thankful” that she’s found happiness regardless. Host Kaitlyn Bristowe reveals that before Brandon walked down to see Michelle on that final day, he said, “My whole life is about to change.” He thought it was going to change in a positive way, he admits, but he’s still happy for the experience. Kaitlyn asks if Brandon still loves Michelle and he admits that he will “always love her” but wants to remain respectful towards her relationship with Nayte.

Michelle comes out on stage to meet with Brandon for the first time since their split. Michelle confirms that her feelings for Brandon were true and real. She didn’t think it was possible to be in love with two people, but she was wrong. Brandon lays it on thick and tells Michelle how deep his feelings actually were for her, but ultimately, he just wants her to be happy.

And she is happy… especially when Nayte comes out on stage and reunites with her for the first time in public. These two look more in love than ever. Nayte opens up about realizing that he was in love with Michelle with an adorable metaphor. He says falling in love with her is like listening to your favorite song — you don’t realize it’s your favorite song until you listen to it a few times, and then you don’t want to stop listening to it. How sweet! And Michelle’s parents approve too! Both her mom and dad are in the live studio audience tonight and share that they are “in love” with Nayte and very supportive of their engagement.

As for next steps, Nayte reveals that he and Michelle are currently house hunting in Minnesota — but Kaitlyn and the franchise have a little surprise for the couple to help move things along. Michelle and Nayte are gifted with a check for $200,000 to put as a down payment on a home.

Moving on to next season, Kaitlyn invites Clayton out on stage to talk about his upcoming season, but instead of a warm welcome, he’s forced to read mean tweets about himself. It’s uncomfortable and the live audience is not pleased. Comparing him to Shrek? Telling him that no one wants him as the lead? Is this really necessary? I don’t know how to feel about it… but I guess we’ll see how things go when his new seasons kicks off in a couple weeks.

The Bachelor premiere, January 3, ABC