Welcome to the last Bachelorette Bracket of 2021!

(Please note I realize it is 2022 but the last thing ANYONE needed was another email over break so just roll with it).

Thank you everyone for going on ~another~ Bachelor Nation journey with me this year – I know it’s been loooong, what with two bachelorettes, a bachelor, and a whole beach worth of people, but we did it, we survived.

And some even thrived! I would love to share out how we all ended up, but the website we were using to run the league apparently gave itself a facelift fourteen seconds after the season ended in preparation for Clayton’s season and now all past leagues are gone. WHICH IS FINE I’M FINE I’M NOT MAD WHATSOEVER WHY WOULD I BE MAD.

But in a way, this makes more sense – in Bachelor Nation everyone is truly a loser.

And on that note, let’s finish up Michelle’s season by figuring out where Nayte and Brandon stand!

Our episode kicks off with Kaitlyn sitting in front of a live studio audience alone, because Tayshia was exposed to someone who had COVID. Strong start! As some may remember, Bachelor/ette finales are live, where we get the episode and an immediate live reaction and recap with the losers and winners. As if we haven’t been tortured enough this season, we have AN EXTRA HOUR to close us out. Yay?

Whatever, this is the deal we’ve made and I’m sticking to my end of it. The live finale has a crazy amount of people at it for a show that has to kick off by acknowledging that one of the co-hosts might have COVID. Especially with no one wearing a mask. But despite this being live, it turns out life has foreshadowing too, so this maskless super spreader event will come back up, just you wait.

After way too much time acknowledging the live aspect of the show though, we FINALLY get to the actual episode where we start with Brandon meeting Michelle’s parents. But not really, since Brandon has already met them on his one on one date earlier this season, giving him a wildly unfair advantage over Nayte.

An advantage Brandon uses right off the bat! In addition to the flowers he presents Michelle’s mom, he gives her father a pair of swim trunks to remind him of the time that he borrowed his to use their hot tub. Not sure if that’s something you want to remind the man of Brandon but sure, you do you!

Brandon’s meet the parents date in a nutshell can be summed up by saying if her parents needed to pick a guy, it would be Brandon, Nayte unseen. And if you told me they needed to pick between Brandon and Michelle, I’m not even sure Michelle would win out. They LOVE him.

And equally important is how they tell Michelle that! Her mom basically says that if Michelle doesn’t run off with Brandon then she might have to.

Knowing what we know about Nayte and Brandon’s relationship with Michelle (and Michelle’s obvious preference towards Nayte) this is a big yikes.

Especially once the parents get the opportunity to meet Nayte, it is almost comically used as a foil against Brandon’s interaction with them.

To say Michelle’s parents didn’t like him would be kind. Her dad says he has a different vibe and they comment that Nayte wasn’t as warm as Brandon. And they do it in the overly nice way that lets us know they DO NOT LIKE HIM.

It’s almost, but not quite, as bad as the time Hannah introduced her first pick Jed to her parents and one of her parents said “he has qualities.” Not good qualities. Not any specific quality. Qualities in general.

But back to Nayte – maybe I’m just too hopeful and naïve and hope that all couples end up working out together, but I want Nayte to be genuine. I want his disaster of a parent meeting to be because he grew up in a family that wasn’t as forthcoming with their emotions and as a result doesn’t necessarily have the words to express what he’s trying to say. But then when he won’t commit to moving to Minnesota, something even my brother who doesn’t watch the show knows is a necessity for Michelle, it makes it hard. Why do you have to make it so hard Nayte, I want to root for you??

Rather than doing the fake thing anymore, Michelle’s mom steps up to the plate and tells Nayte that she doesn’t think he’s ready to be the guy at the end of this. It’s all but a roast, only instead of it being something fun it’s just Nayte trying to keep a smile on his face to mask the pain.

Nayte manages to survive the rest of the disastrous day though, and Michelle talks to her family. They essentially tell her that they don’t think he’s ready and that he’s open enough with his emotions and Michelle has the biggest that is not the answer I’m looking for face I’ve ever seen. She’s very displeased but doing a great job pretending that her family is going to have any impact on her decision whatsoever despite saying multiple times their opinion means the world to her.

We cut to a commercial and when we cut back it’s to Kaitlyn in the studio audience – but now everyone is wearing masks! Apparently they got roasted so hard on Twitter for no one following proper COVID protocols that they got some intern to run out and buy everyone a mask within a single commercial break. And all this tells me is that the Bachelor producers not only read what people on the internet write, they also care what people on the internet write. Which makes me wonder – why isn’t Rodney the Bachelor then? Or, more importantly, how come they routinely pick a future Bachelor that ends up with people up in arms rather than listening to Twitter?

That would make too much sense. #RodneyforBachelor will die here with me.

Getting back to the actual show, we have Brandon’s last chance date. They go jet skiing and talk about their favorite moments with each other during this process and it’s super cute. Brandon’s problem truthfully is that he’s so unobjectable. Like I don’t really like him, but he simultaneously isn’t doing anything wrong. He feels too perfect on paper but time and time again I can’t give you an actual reason for why he’s not it.  

In the evening portion of their date, Brandon gives her a present of a sweatshirt he absolutely loves and says that he wants her to have something that means so much to him. Again, super cute. I was getting flashbacks to when on Matt’s season Michelle gave Matt a gift in the evening before the proposal and he dumped her (rather harshly) and thinking Michelle might pull the same move, but instead we have a late show shocker! She tells Brandon she loves him too.

Now, to be clear, there is something to be desired on Michelle’s delivery. The exact quote is: “I’m not falling in love [PAUSE PAUSE PAUSE PAUSE PAUSE PAUSE PAUSE] I’m already in love.”

What nonsense is that. Did you want to give the boy a heart attack? Because I sure had one and I wasn’t even the person who was remotely affected by it. Jeez Michelle, what’s up with that?

That moment out of the way, we switch over to Nayte’s last chance date. Which again I recognize could just be editing that makes it look like a disaster, but does not seem to go well. They start off with a day date with a local shaman where they are supposed to burn some sage and talk about their feelings. So naturally Nayte struggles and gets flustered talking about how he feels about Michelle. You know, something you totally want right before someone is going to propose to you.

Nayte realizes he’s screwing this up though and throws a game winning Hail Mary by the end of the date. He tells Michelle that he’s bad with words and it frustrates him and he wishes he was better and now he’s stressed it’s going to be the reason that she doesn’t pick him which absolutely terrifies him and that he loves her. And that is clearly all Michelle needed to hear. And here is also where I plug therapy instead of a dating show if you struggle to communicate in romantic relationships.

Because we also need a tiny bit more mess and can’t let Nayte have any wins, who left a note for Michelle other than Brandon! He note is super romantic and cute and definitely is his Hail Mary attempt right back because he also was clearly told that much like media attribution, sometimes it’s last touch that counts.

Next up we get Neil Lane out here to sell some gaudy rings to America! We aren’t able to full see Brandon’s ring of choice but we do Nayte’s, a pear shape diamond I personally find ugly but he selects with the confidence of someone who was told exactly what ring to pick from his girlfriend. It feels like Neil Lane got less air time this episode than he did in previous seasons, although I guess when neither of the men is having a breakdown a la Blake on Katie’s season when faced with the rings themselves, there is less dramatic moments.

We get to the moment we have all been waiting for: the men and Michelle prep for the big day and we have the first rejection car pull up. Who walks out? To no one’s surprise, Brandon.

Kaitlyn and Tayshia wait for him and instruct him to walk down a perilous path to meet Michelle where she will ultimately crush his heart.

Brandon meets up with Michelle and starts to give his speech. I’m sure it was lovely but the ocean is dialed up to an 11 so it’s borderline impossible to hear what is being said.

But what is clear is that Brandon gets rejected by Michelle – she’s obviously super classy and nice about it, but she’s crying and Brandon is CRYING and he looks so heartbroken and while I do think he probably wasn’t her forever person, I do think this is one of the most devastating breakups we’ve had in recent years. I’m sure the Bachelor bubble just got him and he doesn’t realize it’s the cult that makes him feel like he’s in love, not actual love, but at this point in the game he clearly can’t differentiate that and is sobbing.

We get a cut of Brandon talking about how devastated he is while crying and sweating profusely – nothing says a winning combo quite like that. In a momentary panic it appears that while shouting how much everything sucks Brandon chucks the Neil Lane ring into the ocean, but upon a rewatch it’s decidedly a rock.

But man, how funny would that have been?? Just angrily throwing over $100K worth of diamond ring? I would have been so much more impressed with Brandon had that been the case.

Next up we get Nayte out of the car to deliver his proposal. He also makes the journey down the slippery stairs and gives his speech to Michelle. I wrote in my notes it was cute but, let’s be real, I couldn’t hear much of anything over the sounds of the ocean. Leave it to the Bachelor producers to continuously pick terrible engagement locations.

So end up season right? Right? Nope! We are now moving onto our last hour where we recap what we just watched and see if the couple in question has broken up yet.

Kaitlyn brings Brandon out first and does what any true host of this show does: makes him relive his sadness. She emphasizes how torn up and depressed he was and even shows a picture of him looking forlornly over the Mexico sunset. But do you know what would be even better in Kaitlyn/the show’s eyes? If we made him relive that sadness in front of Michelle!

Michelle comes out and right off the bat this is a disaster because they are wearing matching outifts. Way to emphasize what could have been. But Michelle explains to Brandon that she did care about him and did love him, she just connected with Nayte more. In a nicer way of course, because Michelle is wonderful.

Brandon and Michelle have a nice closure moment, he talks more about how much he loved her family (yikes) and gets shooed off stage.

Next out is Nayte! He comes out and is allllll about Michelle, much more than I would even say he was on her season. He is all over her and they are pretty cute. I’m ready to put my faith in a couple again, despite knowing that they will inevitably not make it.

Big news of the night is that Nayte is moving to Minnesota! He can’t wait! He’s so excited! He’s all but ready to explain how he’s joined the tourism board he’s pushing how excited he is so much. Take that editors!

But in even BIGGER news, Kaitlyn and ABC give Michelle a gift – it’s a gingerbread house? But what’s in the house? A CHECK FOR $200,000 AS A DOWNPAYMENT FOR A HOUSE.

Folks this is what I’m here for. I am here for ABC being so desperate to keep a couple together they are all but PAYING them to stay together. And you know what? I’m fine with it. Fox is coming out with a dating show of their own this year, so ABC has got to pull out the stops to show that they are superior. I can’t watch another show like this, I need us all to just accept this is it and if it requires dropping $100K for the Bachelorette’s salary, $100K minimum for an engagement ring and now $200K for a down payment on a house I’m here for it. Bleed ABC dryyyyyy.

The happy couple goes away so we can bring out Clayton and remind everyone why they should watch his season despite not showing a personality the entire time he was on Michelle’s season.

Kaitlyn kicks us off by describing him as “a man who needs an introduction because honestly no one knows who he is” and that is only the beginning of the end for this segment. She addresses the fact that no one wanted him to be the Bachelor and makes him read mean tweets about himself, most of which are obviously planted.

Now let me say: I don’t want Clayton to be the Bachelor. But what ABC doesn’t understand is that I don’t want Clayton to be the Bachelor BECAUSE OF CLAYTON. I’m sure he’s a decent dude! Seems a bit dim but that’s forgivable. I don’t want Clayton to be the Bachelor because there were many BIPOC contestants who were much more deserving and made more sense, and I resent the fact that they picked Clayton only because they are worried about certain segments of their audience who won’t watch if it’s a black lead. My issue isn’t with Clayton, it’s with ABC.

Naturally ABC can’t address that however, so the fall guy must be Clayton himself. I’m sure they also had the logic of well if we bully him so bad on the finale, people will feel sad for him and then they might watch. Which like, okay? Sure? Still kinda mean but…I guess?

And with a previous for Clayton’s season, that ends our show! Finally! We did it! Not only is Michelle’s season wrapped, but so is 2021 Bachelor Nation!

As an aside, I will be taking a break from writing recaps for Clayton’s season. Nothing against him, but I’m tired and while I will almost definitely watch despite what I say, a hiatus is in order. Feel free to Teams or text me should you watch or if you desperately need an update and my super unbiased opinion on what’s going on.

Otherwise, thank you everyone for participating in the bracket and for otherwise lurking on the email thread! Hope everyone had a great time off and looking forward to connecting with everyone in the new year!


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