‘The Bachelor’: One Down, Two to Go as We Inch Toward the Inevitable (RECAP)
It’s the beginning of the end for The Bachelor. Usually this is when the women are swept off their feet with overnight dates, fantasy suites, and the hope of getting a Neil Lane engagement ring. But Season 25 has another twist up its sleeve: Fans already know know who the winner is, thanks to a major leak. And in this episode, it seems Matt James does, too. Now all we have to do is wait and see how the inevitable proposal with Rachael Kirkconnell plays out. (What we won’t get, however, is the post-show breakup, reported by multiple outlets.) Hold onto your evening gowns and champagne glasses, we’re in for a bumpy rose ceremony.
Right away Matt reveals that he’s conflicted moving forward with the remaining three women: Bri, Michelle, and Rachael. “There’s still a lot of fear about what a long-term commitment looks like based on what I’ve seen with my family,” Matt confesses, seeming to cite his estranged father…who is now at his front door!
“Harboring that negativity in my life hasn’t progressed any of my relationships,” Matt continues. “For me to move forward I need to address those demons in my life.” He sits down with his dad Manny, who advises Matt to let go of the past.
“I need to know where your head was at so I don’t make those same mistakes,” Matt presses, telling him they’re not on The Bachelor to “celebrate like at Chuck E Cheese.” Manny reveals that he also grew up without a father in Africa, but seems to blame Matt’s mother for the downfall of their relationship while he fathered other children.
“I thank God she had the courage to stand up for herself and do something,” Matt says, applauding his mom for leaving Manny after his infidelity. Separately Matt says through tears, “I remember growing up, [Manny] would come around every now and then, drop off some shoes, some pizza. I don’t need shoes, man…I needed a dad.”
Ultimately Matt forgives his father and they both vow to move forward. Yet Matt is most proud of their dissimilarities: “Just because I’m his son doesn’t mean I need to follow in his footsteps,” he sums up while preparing for his first overnight date.
Michelle Gets Closer to Matt
Michelle is ready to tell Matt just how much he means to her on their date. “I’m ready to spend my life with Matt and I’m ready to tell him I’m ready,” Michelle shares.
Matt surprises her with a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch spa day, complete with a milk-filled soaking tub, fur-covered hay bales, and bear taxidermy. The couple laugh at the buttery massage sessions and weed-whacking techniques, but just being with Matt makes Michelle feel at a home.
Post-spa, Matt confides in Michelle that he felt most connected to her family following their “Hometown” date. Michelle asks Matt what they’ll do to stay in love down the road. “Looking at my parents, I think I have a good idea how to do it,” she says before Matt kisses her. Aww!
The couple discuss Matt’s parents’ “distrusting” relationship in contrast to Michelle’s folks’ 35-year love story. Michelle admits that she thinks Matt is the person she wants to spend the rest of her life with. She accepts the key to the fantasy suite — where she tells him she loves him!
“It’s not hard to see a life with her. She’s an amazing woman,” Matt gushes after waking up next to Michelle. “She could be my wife.”
The Other Ladies Get Restless
“The fact that he is with Michelle right now is driving me absolutely insane,” Rachael pouts back in her room. “I love Matt and he’s with another woman right now. My heart is going to explode. I’m going insane. My worst nightmare is him spending the night with someone else.” Ugh.
The next morning she’s still going. Poor Bri has to listen to Rachael explain how nauseous she was all throughout the evening. Rachael also interrogates Michelle through a scowl about the date before patting away tears.
Later Bri admits that she’s “frustrated with the situation” of being in the Final 3. “I’m battling between being jealous and hurt and excited and happy and in love.”
Bri & Matt Explore Romance…and Clichés
Matt planned a super romantic evening for Bri: hiking to a campsite. Fun? Matt invites Bri to pitch his tent — the euphemism is never lost on us — but let’s just say this date idea isn’t an aphrodisiac for Bri, who is self-admittedly not an outdoorsy person. Thankfully they aren’t actually sleeping in the woods overnight, and head to a cozy cabin complete with a roaring fire.
“If Matt got down on one knee tonight, I would 1,000% say yes,” Bri giddily confesses. Matt teases that Bri will most likely be meeting his mother next week. Yet he clams up when Bri asks if he’s ready to get engaged and once again brings up his father.
Bri can relate. “I’ve always wondered how my relationship with [my dad] would manifest in my relationships down the line,” Bri reveals to Matt. “If it’s any reassurance to you, I am 100% ready for an engagement after this. I really am so in love with you. It means the world to me that you can really understand me.”
After an intimate evening, Bri and Matt cook breakfast together and it’s clear Bri is head over heels. “Last night was life-changing,” Bri blissfully says, before also telling Matt she loves him.
But does Matt feel the same? “Two women have said they love me. It’s not going to be easy sending someone home after spending this time together,” he coldly states to the camera. “I have such strong feelings for everybody.”
Rachael Has Reservations, But Matt Loves Her
Rachael is two-for-two on her hate train. “I don’t even want to see her,” Rachael says as Bri walks into the room back from her date. There is a montage of Rachael crying and comparing herself to her peers. “I’m freaking out,” she says, seemingly the millionth time. “Just tell me, do I need to walk away? I’m just scared he’s going to hurt me.” Can we fast forward broadcast TV?
Lost love is definitely the theme of their date as Matt and moody Rachael half-heartedly recreate Ghost. “The thought of him getting intimate with another woman is absolutely excruciating,” Rachael says before pulling Matt aside.
Matt equates wanting Rachael to be OK after face-planting last week (aka normal human emotion) with falling in love with her. Rachael is the only woman he says the big L word to, and she reciprocates.
“I see him as my husband,” Rachael says, revealing why she will be intimate with Matt. She also tells Matt that if he proposed that night, she would say yes — and have his children as soon as possible. “I hope I wake up with a ring on my finger,” she coos. Cue the literal fireworks: Bachelor Nation, we have a Season 25 winner.
An Uncomfortable Rose Ceremony
“One of us is going to be completely blindsided,” Bri accurately sums up the last few minutes of the episode. Matt has three women who’ve said they’re in love with him. Who will he choose?
“I just know what I have to do,” Matt is convinced before even seeing the trio. Matt gives the first rose to Michelle, then Rachael. Bri sadly is sent home — but not before elegantly crying in her halter gown. “It has nothing to do with you,” Matt assures her.
“Obviously I gave up a lot to be here” — such as her high-powered job — “but you are going to be moving on to someone else. I think that’s what makes it harder,” Bri says. Matt doesn’t even acknowledge it and just walks her to the car.
Does this mean Bri can officially be announced as the next Bachelorette now?! Guess we just have to get through the finale first, and watch Michelle’s inevitable heartbreak. Let’s just have the fan favorite women of this season appear on Bachelor in Paradise to get a fair, second shot at love. Sound good?
The Bachelor,Mondays, 8/7c, ABC