‘The Bachelor’ Finale: Is Love Enough? Apparently, for Matt James, That Would Be a ‘No’ (RECAP)
Throughout the finale, Matt James wonders if love is enough. And as he concludes his historic The Bachelor journey, the answer is a resounding “no.” While the Season 25 winner was confirmed weeks prior (and rumors spread there’d be no engagement), it’s still just as wild seeing it play out, and as heartbreaking to watch the runner-up be devastated onscreen.
Let’s get started on the end of this tumultuous — and truly unprecedented — season.
Michelle Wins Over Matt’s Family
No surprise here. Matt introduces Michelle to his mom Patty and brother John, and they quickly fall in love with her just like Bachelor Nation has. “I just felt this pull to Matt,” Michelle gushes, as Matt’s mother tears up. “He’s a world-changer and that’s exactly what I’m looking for.”
John pulls Michelle aside to get to know her better. He asks about Michelle’s past relationships, and learns Michelle broke up with her ex-boyfriend fairly recently (in January 2020). John says Matt has is usually reserved about his love life, and it’s nice to see him happy with Michelle. “My brother is legitimately happy and that’s all I care about,” John explains. “It seems like Matt has found somebody that’s a good match for him.”
Michelle is excited, but John says their mother is “really the ultimate testament whether this will end up being long-term or not.”
Patty can’t stop crying in front of Michelle. Matt’s mother tells the elementary school teacher that she wishes she could have provided a stable traditional family life for Matt and John. Michelle assures her that Matt’s upbringing is not viewed as a “disadvantage,” and just makes him more grateful for the small things in life. “I am very much in love with your son, and for me to feel so deeply about somebody so quick is something that surprised me. But it also doesn’t scare me because I’m confident in what I feel for him,” Michelle says with a smile.
Matt’s mom tears up again, telling Michelle that it’s “an honor” to hear that from her. “I see your sweet heart,” Patty says before hugging Michelle. But does Matt see everything Michelle has to offer?
Not quite. He agrees that Michelle is a kind person, but stresses that he’s “so attracted” to Rachael.
Rachael Loves Matt ‘Too Much’
Now it’s Rachael‘s turn to sit down with John, and he asks the exact same standard questions. Rachael reveals, much like Matt did earlier in the season, that she had never been in love prior to the show. But she adamantly says Matt is her soulmate. “Every time I see him, I can’t breathe,” Rachael says in a laundry list of clichés.
Meanwhile Matt is glowing as he talks to his mother. He credits Rachael’s positivity as part of the reason why he fell for her. Yet Patty hints that she’s worried it may not be “enduring love.” Does Patty see Rachael is an infatuation for Matt?
Separately, Rachael assures Patty that Matt’s faith is the foundation of their love. Rachael “felt it in her soul” that she was fated to meet Matt on The Bachelor. “This was God’s way of putting us together. I don’t know how I would have met him outside of this,” Rachael cries. “Matt is everything I’ve hoped for, prayed for, dreamt for. I really feel like I can begin my life now. I love him, too much obviously.”
Patty starts the waterworks again, and it just seems that Patty is more overwhelmed by the whole process than either Rachael, Michelle, or Matt.
So Who Does Matt’s Family Prefer?
John warns Matt that he shouldn’t feel pressured to “jump into a decision where [he’s] not ready.” Patty agrees, and says that love isn’t the only thing in a relationship. Now Matt is questioning whether he can “make that everlasting hope and commitment.” Sounds like he’s not going to propose to anyone.
Instead of going diamond shopping, Matt seeks out Chris Harrison’s guidance. Chris is annoyed by single mother Patty’s input, and seems to regret bringing Matt’s father on the show last week. “‘Love fades’? What kind of greeting card is that?” Chris jokes, before seriously asking Matt what his plans are.
“The easiest thing to do would be to tell Rachael and Michelle what they want to hear,” Matt says. “And then what happens? It sets off a relationship course that neither one of us are ready for.”
Guess this season won’t be ending with a Neil Lane engagement ring.
Matt & Michelle: “It’s You Who I Want”
Matt and Michelle propel down the hotel (it’s as boring as it sounds), but Matt doesn’t reveal to her that he’s having second thoughts about proposing. Michelle tells Matt that he’s “the one” who she wants —any other Grease fans out there? — and gifts him a custom jersey that reads, “World Changing Warriors.”
“Why I put on hold changing the world is because I wanted a partner in crime to do that with me,” Michelle says. “What better way to give us a team name?” Her jersey says Mrs. James. We’re not crying, you’re crying!
What Just Happened?
Matt privately says that he feels terrible because he’s about to break Michelle’s heart. “I never thought that I would have feelings like I do at this point. It’s a lot, you know?” he starts. Yes Matt, you did sign up to be The Bachelor. There’s been 24 other seasons to show you how it’s done. “Everything is becoming real for me,” he continues. “I’m just having doubts. And I shouldn’t be having any doubts about that, we’re like a day or two away.”
Michelle is visibly crushed. “I just want clarity on what this actually is, or how you’re actually feeling,” Michelle rightfully says before sliding away from Matt. “Am I supposed to fight for you? Tell me where you’re at, actually!”
“I don’t think I can get there with you,” Matt solemnly replies. But he’s not telling Michelle that he can’t get there with anyone, and she thinks that he’s breaking up with her to be with Rachael. He limply hugs Michelle and they go their separate ways.
Rachael Doesn’t Get a Date…
Chris surprises Rachael before her scheduled date with Matt. “I was with Matt last night and he was emotional and to be honest, lost,” Chris explains. Shocker: Rachael’s date is cancelled. She’s not too pleased that she put on faux leather pants for nothing.
“He didn’t even want to see me today,” Rachael complains to no one. “I feel pretty in the dark right now.”
…But She Does Get a Rose
A confused Matt still meets with Neil Lane (they’re not going to break that contract, come on). Eventually Matt gets wrapped up in the sparkle and glitz of jewelry shopping, and he selects a ring for Rachael. WHY? No one knows.
“There’s a lot of weight in this,” Matt gestures towards the diamond. “This is more than a ring. To me this represents what my father didn’t give to my mother. It represents a lot of broken promises, and if I put this ring on Rachael’s finger, I would never want it to come off.”
Turns out Matt never puts it on her finger at all. He swears once he sees Rachael, he’ll know what to do…and that is to hand her the final rose, but no ring.
“Everything that I came here looking for, I found with you,” Matt promises Rachael. “I want to be everything for you that my dad wasn’t for my mom. … The easy thing would be to brush these feelings off and make you happy and propose to you today. But I couldn’t live with myself if I put you through what my mom’s been through. … That’s why I can’t propose to you today.”
Rachael is dumbfounded, but Matt says that he doesn’t want to lose her. “When I think about the life I want to live, I think about living it with you, and I want to leave here with you and I want to commit to you,” Matt finishes. “The truth is that I love you. It doesn’t get more real than this.” They kiss, and that’s Matt’s happily ever after Season 25 ending.
Does anyone else feel like this finale was rushed? Well, hopefully the After the Final Rose reunion will give us the answers Matt promised.