Spoiler alert: The Coast will be recapping episodes of The Bachelorette every week this season. If you missed our introduction to this series, click here. Please stop reading if you don’t want to know what happened in the episode.
When we get down to the final four in The Bachelorette, it’s usually obvious that there’s at least one contestant who just… probably shouldn’t be there. Their connection to the bachelorette isn’t particularly strong; the audience doesn’t know them well; they’re still on the show not because the bachelorette really wants them to be, but because she just needed to choose someone. We’re all confused as to how they got this far yet we watch anyways, knowing in our hearts they’re going home.
But this season isn’t quite like that. The final four men are all lovely—and while I can't speak for other viewers, I know I would have been happy to see any of them get through to the next episode. We’ve gotten to know each one, and though many of us may have had an inkling as to who wouldn’t get a rose, it still felt sad to watch him go.
It’s worth noting that last night’s episode is one for the books: for the first time in franchise history the final four contestants are men of colour, with Rodney, Nayte, Joe and Brandon all being Black.
Okay, let’s dive in!
Because of the pandemic, hometown dates still look a little different than usual. Rather than actually travelling, the show stays put in Minneapolis, where the men will be bringing pieces of their hometowns to Michelle (along with a few family members). This has been pretty successful for the last few COVID-impacted seasons: the producers pull a bunch of strings to accurately represent what each contestant loves about where they grew up. It’s usually sweet! Comparatively, this episode feels a little low-effort.
We start off with Brandon, who’s still riding the high of his cute one-on-one from last week. We learn that he’s from Portland, so he brings Michelle to… an indoor skate park? Because he loved skateboarding when he was younger? And, uh, that’s the whole date. They ride around on skateboards for a while; Brandon falls a lot; they leave. That’s Portland!
Michelle then meets Brandon’s parents (which is especially nice given that Brandon met both of hers last week), along with his brother. Everyone gets along! It’s good! Michelle says she can picture herself spending more time with his family, and even thinks her parents would get along well with Brandon’s. She’s clearly very comfortable, they have a good time, and there’s nothing much to write home about. Brandon says he’s falling for Michelle, but at this point, isn’t everybody?
Nayte tells Michelle he’s never talked about relationships with his parents. Michelle worries this might be a red flag. Nayte’s parents agree that it is.
We now move onto Rodney’s hometown date. He’s an unexpected pick for top four (he was pretty unassuming for the first few episodes), but it’s great he’s made it this far. He and Michelle have amazing chemistry, they laugh a ton together, and he clearly has strong feelings for her.
Rodney, who dressed up as an apple on week one, brings Michelle to an orchard. If this has a connection to his hometown, I’m fairly certain he doesn’t explain it. They pick apples together for a while. They laugh a lot. Oh, how they laugh! It’s a cute date.
Michelle meets Rodney’s parents and we learn that he’s very close with his mom, Carrie. Carrie is concerned that Rodney is going to get his heart broken because of the whole “you’re on a game show designed to have multiple people fall in love with the same person in an intense, emotionally-manipulative setting” thing.
Rodney says he’s falling for Michelle.
Carrie puts her head in her hands and sighs deeply.
We move on to Joe, who’s actually from Minneapolis! He has a real hometown advantage here—he’s the only contestant who actually gets a proper hometown date like what we’re used to. He brings Michelle to his high school, where he leads her to a surprise prom in the gym. In her poem a few weeks ago, Michelle mentioned being picked last for prom, so Joe says he wants to make it up to her.
“This is the most romantic date ever,” she says, and she’s absolutely right. They dance! There’s a photobooth! There are bubbles! There’s a disco ball! It feels like the producers blew the budget on this one date, but it’s worth it. It’s a very cute one.
Michelle meets Joe’s parents, brother and sister-in-law. It’s nice! It’s fine!
We now move onto Winnipeg Nayte’s Winnipeg Date, which actually… isn’t about Winnipeg at all. He says he wants to bring Michelle a piece of Austin, Texas, since that’s where he calls home now. What about your roots, Nayte???? These are hometown dates, not “place where I live currently” dates! Teach us about Winnipeg! (I googled “Winnipeg landmarks” while writing this, so I could clearly use a lesson on Manitoba’s capital, too.)
Nayte takes Michelle paddleboarding since he likes to paddleboard. It really feels like the producers forgot it was hometown week and just told the contestants to fend for themselves. They paddleboard. And that’s Austin!
Nayte tells Michelle he’s never talked about relationships with his parents. In fact, he’s never even introduced a partner to them before because he’s never been in a serious enough relationship. Michelle worries this might be a red flag. Nayte’s parents agree that it is.
She meets his mom and his step-dad, who both sound some alarm bells. His mom is concerned about Nayte getting into a serious relationship in such little time. She doesn’t think he’s ready or mature enough for it, and his step-dad doesn’t either. He says he doesn’t think Nayte knows the differences between love and actual commitment.
Michelle asks if he thinks Nayte could be engaged after the show. His step-dad says no.
After the date, Michelle is really nervous about the rose ceremony. Bri and Serena P (who were contestants alongside Michelle in Matt’s season) arrive as a surprise to help with her decision. She explains that, after talking to Nayte’s parents, she’s just not sure he’s ready for the level of commitment she’s after. She’s clearly shaken, and with good reason—we know she really likes him, but those were a lot of red flags.
Anyways! Nayte gets a rose. Though this might seem like the wrong choice, it isn’t too surprising; he’s been a frontrunner since day one, and a little warning from some parents won’t change that.
Joe and Brandon get roses too. Rodney goes home, but not before a conversation with Michelle in which he reiterates how strongly he feels about her. It’s really sad.
We’re down to the final three! Big week! My top pick remains Nayte, though it really could be anyone now.
Before we end here, can we take a quick moment to acknowledge how silly it is that Clayton is going to be the bachelor? Clayton? When every other contestant has so much more personally and a much stronger fan following? Clayton? When Rodney is right there? We saw the first promo for his season today, and that combined with Rodney’s elimination has me a little upset.
Okay! See you next week!