Bachelor Matt James Finale Recap

Bachelor Matt James Finale Recap |

To say that Bachelor Matt James’ season finale was the most dramatic is an understatement. Although most of us knew the controversy that swirled around Rachael, one of his final two picks, I can report that many other moments had me shaking my finger at the screen, sucking in my breath in shock, and shaking my head in disbelief. 

I’m going to guess that most of you reading this recap already know the glaring revelations from last night’s show. There’s no need for me to break down every little detail, commenting on the episode’s ins and outs when all you really want to know is if Emmanuel Acho is as great as everyone is claiming him to be.

That answer, by the way, is yes. Yes, Emmanuel Acho is a fine man who enjoys riveting conversation and the snug fit of a jaunty plaid suit. 

As the host of a YouTube channel called “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,” Acho was the perfect choice to maneuver the unchartered territories of this particular After the Final Rose. Acho is not a member of the Bachelor franchise. He can approach these people with a fresh, unbiased perspective with no personal relationships or ties with ABC. 

Acho does have an agenda, and he opens the segment by disclaiming his intentions: 

“There is a lot to talk about tonight, especially after racially insensitive images surfaced from Rachael’s past. And we certainly have to address Chris Harrison’s defense of insensitivity in his interview with Rachel Lindsay, for which he has since apologized. I hope that we can talk openly and honestly. We can take steps toward mutual understanding and healing.”

That’s a slow clap intro if I’ve ever heard one.

The first person to saunter through the sea of a thousand tea lights scattered all over the empty studio is Michelle. She looks phenomenal physically and has the appropriate amount of nerves interfering with her megawatt smile. Although Acho is a professional and handles himself beautifully for most of the episode, he falters and stumbles during Michelle’s hot seat time.

My roommate Lara thinks it’s because Emmanuel Acho has a huge crush on Michelle, and I AM HERE FOR THAT HYPOTHESIS. 

Michelle crushes her time with Matt James’ mother Patty and his brother John during the finale episode. She even consoles his mother when Patty starts crying about Matt James’ propensity to be drawn to friends with cohesive and “normal” family units. She feels that Michelle’s family is a blessing Matt James needs since it’s something she, his own mother, can’t give him. 

Once again, Michelle steps it up and tells Patty that Matt’s upbringing is not a disadvantage. It makes him the man he is today. And she loves that man. 

You’d think that Patty is all about Michelle, but the same thing happens with Rachael. Patty cries just as hard and is just as impressed with contestant number two. And this is precisely why Matt James spirals into a pit of despair moments after Rachael leaves his side. 

I believe Matt James was prepared for his mom to prefer Rachael over Michelle. And when she deemed both girls worthy of his affections, Matt James felt a little stuck. The precise moment when she warns her son not to do anything rash under the banner of love is when he turns into a petrified version of himself. 

I don’t think Patty grasped what she was doing as she reminded Matt James that love isn’t the be-all-end-all. Love fades. There has to be more in a relationship than just love. Exhibit A: her marriage with his absentee father for the last two decades. 

Patty kisses Matt’s cheek, and he wanders to his own forest-dwelling, eager to have a fireside chat with Our Host Chris Harrison. He didn’t like the pain in his mother’s face when she reminded him that people fall in and out of love all the time and that he shouldn’t propose until he’s ready. 

Mild assurance has been replaced with major doubt. Matt James tells Hare that his mom told him that love isn’t something that can carry you through to an engagement. This takes him to a dark place. He knows the commitment is everlasting, but he feels like he needs to pump the brakes because he’s unsure if he’s ready. 

Harrison presses, questioning that this reaction is not the same as the Matt James who was head-over-heels just days ago. Didn’t he say his wife was at the Nemacolin? Didn’t he say he was ready to get engaged? (Hare was one step away from having the ABC Intern fetch him the agreement Matt James signed in blood.)

OHCH: “Love changes. Love wilts. Love ends. What kind of greeting card is that?”

Matt: “My mother knows I’m taking this seriously. The only reason she would bring this up is that she knows feelings are involved. I’m not going to mess this up by doing something to make these women happy.”

Matt James reminds Harrison that his mantra this entire season has been complete and utter honesty. He owes it to Michelle and Rachael to stay open-minded.

And he does that by scaling down the freshly whitewashed facade of the main house of the Nemacolin. He leaps of faith with Michelle. He has her back. She has his. They are free-falling into love, trusting nothing but each other to help them through the hard times in life.

But that isn’t enough. Michelle handing Matt James matching “World-Changer Warriors” basketball jerseys with “Mrs. James” and “Mr. James” on the back isn’t enough either. It’s like the gift triggers something guttural in Matt James’ entire being, and he doesn’t even have the strength to hold his emotions in check. 

Michelle can see the angst and drags the truth out of him. He doesn’t think he can “get there” with her, and it’s not fair to just tell her what she wants to hear. 

BURN THE JERSEYS!

Michelle is gobsmacked. Matt James leaves to cry curbside with Our Host Chris Harrison, while Michelle sobs in the fetal position in her room. She later informs Acho that she begged producers to ask for a few minutes with Matt so that she could gain some clarity and was refused. 

Again I say, “BURN THE JERSEYS!”

So, where does this leave us? Well, the next thing we know, Our Host Chris Harrison is knocking on Rachael’s door, delicately explaining that Matt James will not be sharing one last date with her before the final rose ceremony. She knows nothing, and Hare reveals nothing. Rachael is left to believe that Matt James is wavering, and she doesn’t know why since he’s given zero signs of trepidation before. 

Because Uncle Neil has an ironclad contract with ABC, Matt James still has to visit with the tangerine jeweler to pick out a sensational engagement ring that he will hoard as his precious until the time is right. 

We see Matt James push through the double birch gate doors that lead to a rustic proposal setting that would make wedding Pinterest boards proud. Rachael arrives in an ill-fitting forest green sequin gown, scared out of her mind with what’s about to go down.

Her soliloquy is lovely, full of wonderful sentiments. She’s never felt love like this. If he hurts, she hurts. She will choose him every day for the rest of her life — if he’ll let her. 

Matt James trudges up memories from his childhood. He’s not ready to propose as a result of his upbringing. He doesn’t want to put her what his mom went through. So instead of a ring, he’s going to give her a promise to build on what they started here at the Nemacolin. 

He is ready for a life with her and sees Rachael as his future wife and future mother of his children, but he’s not ready to put a ring on it because that’s a bigger deal than telling her the aforementioned wife/mom bits. Details. 

And Rachael is one-hundred-percent fine with this declaration. Why? Because she’s twenty-four-years-old and has no desire to be married, either. Give her the rose and a carriage ride through the brisk Pennsylvania air, and she’s fine. 

Then all hell breaks loose.

Back in the studio audience, Matt James has apologized to Michelle for not meeting with her for two minutes, and then he sits down one-on-one with Acho. They discuss the pressure of being the first Black Bachelor lead and how hard it was to represent Black men universally in this role. Then Acho inquires about the controversial photos of Rachael that surfaced, asking Matt James to walk us through his emotions.

Matt wanted them to be a rumor. He wanted it to be a misunderstanding. And when he learned that they were indeed a reality, he knew Rachael didn’t understand his life as a Black man in America. So he stepped back from the relationship. 

Acho wonders aloud, “Isn’t she a different person now? Can you teach her? Help her grow? Can you still in 2021 condemn her for the actions in 2018 and let that dictate the love you shared?” Matt James doesn’t think so. Rachael must put in the work and do this on her own. 

Rachael lands on the hot seat next and Emmanuel Acho says the following statement before he asks one question:

“There’s a difference between being racist and racially insensitive or racially ignorant. I’ve been very intentional about saying what you did was racially insensitive, it was racially ignorant, and it plays itself out as racism. But that doesn’t necessarily classify someone as racist. You have to pull back the curtains and look at their intention. Was their intention malicious?”

He then pulls up the controversial photo and asks Rachael to describe who she sees. 

Rachael: “I see someone who was living in this ignorance, without thinking about how it would be hurting other people.”

Rachael explains that she never thought about the tradition behind an antebellum party and what it represents. She doesn’t blame anyone, and there is no excuse for her behavior. 

When asked what steps she’s taking to be better or to learn, Rachael mentions books, podcasts, interviews, but she understands that it means nothing unless there is action behind the education put into play. 

Acho then asks about the breakup. Rachael admits she felt confused at first, but once the initial reaction went away, she thought how strong their relationship had been. Matt had to feel extremely hurt for him to end things. And she feels awful that she is the one who hurt him. 

Matt James comes back out to the stage and sees Rachael for the first time since the end of their relationship. He’s unwell and has a hard time putting into words what he feels. He lets the breakup beard speak for him instead. 

Rachael apologizes, and Acho tries to lead Matt James in a discussion about his pain. Matt James claims he is heartbroken, devastated, and disappointed. 

Then there is a whole big bunch of silence. 

Like any good host, Acho lets the couple sit in that silence, confident someone will soon fill it. Neither do. Acho prompts Matt James to share what’s on his mind. 

Nothing. 

Acho prompts again. Matt repeats that Rachael has to put in the work and it’s something she has to do on her own. This is followed by another long silent beat.

Acho asks if Matt James considers the woman who he fell in love with the same woman who is sitting in front of him right now?

NOTHING.

So Rachael takes over and tells him that he is the only reason she decided to do the show. That she loves every single part of him, which includes him being a Black man. She’s never experienced love like this and doesn’t see it happening again for her.

N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

Acho asks Matt James point blank if the door is even slightly open for Rachael. Like someone who has been media trained within an inch of his life, Matt James responds, “The work and the reconciliation is something I can’t do for you. The last thing I want is for people to call you out to be canceled. I want them to call you in. That’s the best thing that can come out of this.”

And Rachael knows. She knows it’s over. She wants him to be happy and wishes him nothing but the best. She apologizes once more and thanks God for putting him in her life. 

Acho invites Matt James to give Rachael one last embrace, and he doesn’t move an inch from his seat on the couch. 

Fully embracing that hella awkward moment, Acho turns to the camera and asks the audience to GET EXCITED about his next announcement — our new bachelorettes for the upcoming seasons!

That’s right. Plural bachelorettes and plural seasons. Katie, who will hopefully leave her sex toy at home this go around, will be first up. Her season is currently filming in New Mexico. And our girl Michelle will be later this fall. 

Even though I would have loved for them to put the two together in the same season (can you imagine?), I’m glad Michelle is ready and willing to find love again in this environment. My verdict is still out on Katie. 

Well? What did you think? Was it everything you thought it would be and more? Do you think Acho should join Michelle’s season?! He’s totally smitten. 

Sound off in the comments section!

Photo By: abc.com
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Mary
Mary
March 16, 2021 3:32 pm

Matt acted like a jerk. . . he could of at least responded to the questions with a “I can’t answer that”. Lost respect for him….

Andrea
Andrea
March 18, 2021 12:01 pm
Reply to  Mary

I don’t know, I think he felt the weight of responsibility representing Black American men everywhere, and knew that anything he said would be scrutinized to the Nth degree. I feel that he still loves her and wishes he could have her in his life, but couldn’t say anything about it because he can’t allow white folks to continue to ignore how their racial insensitivity or ignorance affects humanity. That’s how I saw it. I think he was in a very difficult situation.

Judy
Judy
March 16, 2021 3:50 pm

I kept waiting for someone (Matt’s family–or OHCH) to say that while feelings (love) sometimes do fade, sometimes they deepen and grow.

Lauren
Lauren
March 16, 2021 8:56 pm
Reply to  Judy

Completely agree. Yes, I understand what they are trying to say, but you can CHOOSE to stay in love – it’s not like you just wake up one day and aren’t in love anymore? I feel like he wasn’t given well-rounded advice.

Didi
Didi
March 18, 2021 4:14 pm
Reply to  Judy

Also, feelings go up and down but love is a choice and commitment. Not just feelings.

Dawn
Dawn
March 16, 2021 4:10 pm

I question whether Matt was really looking for marriage. I think therapy might be the route to take.

Lisa
Lisa
March 16, 2021 4:35 pm
Reply to  Dawn

Right. He has to work out his issues with marriage, and national television wasn’t the best place to do that! He looked like a sullen child last night!

Gail Mooney
Gail Mooney
March 16, 2021 4:27 pm

I think Rachel is lucky, she can move on, find someone great who will be understanding & who will forgive her past missteps & be there if she falters. Matt isn’t that person. He needs help to get past his obsession with his father & his childhood & to also move on.

Judith
Judith
March 18, 2021 10:02 pm
Reply to  Gail Mooney

Matt also needs therapy to get past his obsession with his mother. Rubbing her leg? He probly doesn’t like Rachel anymore because mummy is unhappy.

Sherilyn
March 16, 2021 4:28 pm

I thought Acho did a good job of addressing the racial part of the show, but he definitely stumbled with the relationship part. They CLEARLY were not in a place to have a “final embrace”, and him asking them to was really out of place. Also, some of the stuff Chris was saying to Matt wasn’t very helpful either. They should look into getting a therapist to replace Chris, maybe then people would get better advice, and have a chance of lasting more than 5 minutes. Michelle probably would have understood what it’s like to be black a bit more… Read more »

Tracy
Tracy
March 21, 2021 5:06 pm
Reply to  Sherilyn

Yes! When Chris was speaking to Matt outside as he was breaking down, I thought he was very unhelpful and quite cold towards Matt.

Tracy Lewis
Tracy Lewis
March 16, 2021 4:38 pm

Matt is a spineless wimp/jerk. Should have never been on the show. For him to go completely out of it when his mother made one unfortunate, unfair comment is ridiculous! (And how did she influence him growing up? He is certainly not the only child to grow up without a father!) He was so unfair to Rachel. After she groveled and practically turned flips expressing her love, he wouldn’t even give her a hug at the end? Yes, he needs therapy.

Karen
Karen
March 17, 2021 3:20 pm
Reply to  Tracy Lewis

Spineless. the perfect word for Matt. He was supposed to be in love with Rachael, but as soon as things got a little tough, not only did he abandon her, he piled on. Seeing her grovel was heartbreaking. Someday I hope she realizes he never deserved her love .

Laurie
Laurie
March 19, 2021 11:04 pm
Reply to  Karen

I wholeheartedly agree. They treated her like she was on trial. Ridiculous. If she was so racist, why would she have gone on it knowing he obviously was black? What pray tell did she do that was so horrific? Should all plantations be burned down now? It’s out of hand. Rachel Lindsay can pat herself on the back now. She gags me. Matt needs to grow up.

Tracy Lewis
Tracy Lewis
March 16, 2021 4:40 pm

PS I didn’t like Acho at first, but he grew on me; asked some good questions. BUT that jacket that was two sizes too small never grew on me. What was he thinking?

Jane
Jane
March 16, 2021 7:23 pm
Reply to  Tracy Lewis

I thought he looked majorly uncomfortable squeezed into that suit. It was so tight.

lm3js
lm3js
March 16, 2021 8:58 pm
Reply to  Tracy Lewis

I thought the same thing, I figured that he would have had a tailor! Also, I thought he sounded like he was reading lines written for Chris Harrison when he was talking to the couples. I think he could have had better lines that brought more out of his personality. I actually thought the after show was a trainwreck and I will not watch the 2 bachelorette seasons.

Laurie
Laurie
March 19, 2021 11:06 pm
Reply to  lm3js

Me neither. I’m done with this show without Chris. He has been totally thrown under the bus.

Michele
Michele
March 17, 2021 12:03 am
Reply to  Tracy Lewis

I was initially totally distracted by the fit of that suit! You’d think ABC would have had a wardrobe assistant help him choose what to wear. (Maybe he gained COVID-15?)

Tracy Lewis
Tracy Lewis
March 16, 2021 4:44 pm

Ok, my last comment: Matt’s beard is awful!

Bethany
Bethany
March 16, 2021 4:49 pm

I really question if Matt truly loved Rachael. I sat there watching her practically impale herself on a figurative sword to try to make amends and educate herself. Matt refused to give her any opportunity to prove that she has changed and grown…he just cut her out of his life. While that is certainly his prerogative, I’ve been in love (still am!) and I could not shun the love of my life for an ignorant mistake that they are trying to fix. Nope. So either he never really loved her, or he couldn’t take the woke heat on him &… Read more »

Allia
Allia
March 16, 2021 7:01 pm
Reply to  Bethany

He was in “honeymoon love” with Rachael, which crumbled as soon as any difficulty came along. That’s probably what mom was talking about… I thought Acho made an important distinction between being a racist and being racially ignorant/insensitive. I don’t think Rachael would have even considered being with Matt if she was an actual racist. It’s kind of sad that Matt didn’t even give her the time of day even though she was publically groveling to try to make things better. But honestly, I don’t think it was about the party… like you said, Bethany, he just wanted out and… Read more »

Jane
Jane
March 16, 2021 7:01 pm
Reply to  Bethany

I agree that this may be my last Bachelor/Bachelorette show as well for the reasons you outline.

Laurie
Laurie
March 19, 2021 11:08 pm
Reply to  Jane

It sure was my last one as well.

Tori
Tori
March 17, 2021 9:50 am
Reply to  Bethany

Amen Sister!

Libby
Libby
March 17, 2021 1:20 pm
Reply to  Bethany

He probably realized after getting off the show that she has zero personality or emotional depth and the racial issues just added to that. I think he was perfectly within his right to not want to continue with her, but I’m also saying that as someone who didn’t see any reason to like her even outside her racial insensitivity.

Tracy
Tracy
March 21, 2021 5:09 pm
Reply to  Libby

I agree with you, although I did think she showed some depth in her AFTR comments. She handled herself well in the hot-seat.

Jill
Jill
March 16, 2021 5:04 pm

So many thoughts. Matt definitely needs therapy. He needs to work through that just because his parents didn’t have a successful relationship, doesn’t mean that he won’t either. His dad made his own choices, Matt is a better man than his dad and needs to know it’s a choice to stay in a marriage and stay in love. I kept waiting for someone to point out to him the above, and was sad that neither Chris, Michelle, nor Rachael did that. Acho was amazing! Rachael was very genuine in her apologies and her answers. I believe she is doing what… Read more »

Tracy Lewis
Tracy Lewis
March 16, 2021 5:36 pm
Reply to  Jill

I agree that Matt used it as an excuse to end the relationship because he still is not ready to commit. And, yes, Neil Lane would be a great host!

Tracy
Tracy
March 21, 2021 5:10 pm
Reply to  Jill

I actually thought that the convo that Matt had with Uncle Neil was better than any of his convos with Chris. Neil was warmer and more comforting than Chris was when Matt needed it.

Allia
Allia
March 16, 2021 5:06 pm

A sour end to a sour season… I didn’t watch most of the episode, but from the glimpses I caught, Acho seemed like refreshingly good interviewer and Matt looked like he was done with the whole thing weeks ago. I appreciated that Rachael was willing to put herself out there and own her actions. At the end of the day, I think Matt was not ready to settle down w anyone and (unpopular opinion here) the antebellum controversy probably served as his “out”. Not to say that he wasn’t hurt by it, but he surely had no interest in working… Read more »

Betsy
Betsy
March 16, 2021 5:42 pm

I have many thoughts. Matt needs some therapy, for sure. He might think he is ready but he clearly has some unresolved issues. Totally thought Acho was crushing on Michelle. I am here for this dynamic duo! Having a new interviewer (love Acho!) really solidified for me that I think this show needs a new host. Having a young fresh host would really breathe some life into this dinosaur of a show. Sorry, Hare! Would have LOVED two bachelorettes in one season. This is what I thought was happening and was super bummed to learn it was consecutive episodes. Double… Read more »

Katherine Michelle
Katherine Michelle
March 16, 2021 6:05 pm

So many thoughts. So disappointed in Matt. The minute his Mom mentions it takes more than love and love can fade, he just crumbled. Someone ready for marriage would have taken that advice- heard it and recognized the agony his Mom went through and the place her advice came from, and resolved to have a different marriage. The follow up question could have been- Mom, what did you think is the next most important thing after love? Hurt clearly runs deep not just for his mother but for him. Poor guy needs therapy before a wife. Emmanuel Acho did a… Read more »

Mary
Mary
March 17, 2021 9:32 am

Katherine—good point about Matt’s mom! And agreed, a missed opportunity to “do” and not just talk—could’ve been a great model for navigating the tough waters with someone he claimed to love. Love might fade, but if you are truly committed to your the one you love you work through everything and that love changes and grows. In my opinion, Rachael dodged a major bullet!

FaninAZ
FaninAZ
March 16, 2021 6:36 pm

I agree that Matt is afraid of committing to either person, and needs therapy to work through his fear. It does take more than butterflies-in-your-stomach love/attraction to make marriage work. It takes commitment, honesty, trust, **FORGIVENESS**, friendship, compatibility in views on finances, faith, and lifestyle, etc.

Rosa
Rosa
March 16, 2021 7:11 pm

I pulled The Bachelor up on my computer today b/c I missed it last night, and sadly I had zero interest in finishing the season so I turned it off. This is coming from someone who has been watching since season 2. I never miss an episode of any part of the franchise. I follow the shows and “cast” on Facebook and Instagram and read all the used-to-be hilarious tweets. I listen to several “Bachelor” podcasts and of course I come here to read the hilarious recaps. I’m so sad that this show has come to this and that Chris… Read more »

Allia
Allia
March 16, 2021 8:02 pm
Reply to  Rosa

I think representation is important, but it’s something the show needs to work out internally… not to make the actual show about that. This is really not the platform for working out racial issues in America. Watching the show trying to tackle issues that it is not equipped to tackle has been painstaking. I only caught glimpses of the finale because I didn’t feel like sitting down and watching the whole thing… that’s unfortunately how I feel about watching the next season too. Thought: this is trash TV about one person dating a multitude of people of the opposite sex.… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
March 17, 2021 9:53 am
Reply to  Allia

I agree with everything you said Allia! I’ve heard people say they need better representation in the producers and crew too which may be a valid need. I think they would have been better off allowing Chris to continue, and maybe bring in Tayshia or someone to co-host or take over some of the hosting roles. That may have pleased everyone! This season was more of a train wreck than Peter’s. I loved Tayshia’s season! I’m just not excited about Katie for some reason and the absence of Chris. I’ve read so many comments from people who say they are… Read more »

Allia
Allia
March 17, 2021 4:40 pm
Reply to  Rosa

Thanks Rosa! Clearly a bunch of people disagree. Oh well. I loved Tayshia’s season too! That was probably my fav season. It was genuine, fun, and not drowned out by politics. It seems like now it’s all politics and zero fun. I also genuinely don’t understand what it is that people want from Rachael K. She made a bad decision and has come to regret it, and publically apologized over and over. Also, she fell in love with Matt (a biracial man) for crying outloud! How racist could she possibly be? What is she, concretely, supposed to do? I feel… Read more »

Libby
Libby
March 17, 2021 1:57 pm
Reply to  Rosa

Why do you hate Rachel Lindsay so much? She barely said anything in that interview, Chris drove his own self off the deep end. Everyone attacking her over all of this should be ashamed of themselves.

Mollie A
Mollie A
March 17, 2021 2:56 pm
Reply to  Libby

I don’t hate her but Rachel Lindsey is a pot stirrer.

Laurie
Laurie
March 19, 2021 11:15 pm
Reply to  Rosa

I agree with you word for word. Did I really miss the boat here…. what f did Rachael do that was SO horrific? Dress up for a party at a plantation? Why was she crucified for that? Am I missing something? How is that racist? She went on this show knowing his color…. I just don’t get it. I’m done with this show. It’s left a bad taste in my mouth. All of this controversy was totally unnecessary.

Libby
Libby
April 1, 2021 10:39 am
Reply to  Laurie

Antebellum parties are slave owner dress up parties. If you can’t see a problem with that I don’t think comments on an internet blog are going to help you. Watch Roots, you owe it to yourself.

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