SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the Feb. 22 episode of “The Bachelor.”
The final four contestants headed to hometowns. Bachelor Matt James hosted four families at the Nemacolin Resort in Pennsylvania, welcoming guests of Michelle Young, Rachael Kirkconnell, Bri Springs and Serena Pitt. Each date included a day portion before they spent the evening with their families.
Michelle – an elementary school teacher from Minnesota – schooled Matt during a group Zoom call with all of her students. Each took turns grilling Matt about their future (“Have you kissed!?” one student asked) before Matt met even more people from Michelle’s life.
Michelle’s mom, LaVonne, and father, Ephraim, joined their evening. Her dad was hesitant about Matt dating other people, but after the two spoke and Matt admitted he would leave New York and move to Minnesota, the family was all-in.
They ended the night with a game of basketball, where Michelle got to show off her athletic chops (she played collegiate basketball at Bradley University from 2011 – 2015). At the end of the night, she told Matt that she was falling in love with him.
Rachael’s date was a test at trust, as she and Matt jumped out of a plane together. After their skydive, Rachael took a nasty spill during landing and prompted an emotional response from Matt. The two had already shared that they were falling in love with each other earlier in the season, but the crash-landing made him admit, “You don’t realize how much you care until it’s like, there is a chance that you could be gone.”
After recovering from the fall, the pair headed to meet her family, who had traveled from their hometown in Georgia – mom, Kim; dad, Darrell; and sister, Trinity. Rachael’s time on “The Bachelor” has been surrounded by controversy after evidence of racist behavior surfaced online. Her family’s behavior has also been questioned, but they were supportive to the couple (despite initial skepticism).
Matt shared with Rachael that while he wanted to ask her father for his blessing, that’s not a conversation he wanted to have with four families. He decided against the topic, but rather said he would call if he got to “that point.”
Bri and Matt’s first date was riding ATVs, and the two spent the morning off-roading in a full-circle moment. At the beginning of their relationship, the two bonded over being brought up in single-parent households. The California-native shared her insecurities of not having a “conventional” family before Matt met her hometown visitors.
Bri’s mom, Lauren, was joined by her newborn daughter/Bri’s sister, plus Bri’s best friend (also named Bri). Her mom wasted no time before interrogating Matt, trying to identify where their relationship was at. Both Bri and Matt told her mom that they were “falling” in love, but Bri’s fear of vulnerability kept her from vocalizing it to Matt directly. After a conversation with her mom, she turned around and told Matt about her feelings.
The last hometown went international, as Serena tried to educate Matt on her hometown of Toronto. She quizzed him on geography, introduced him to Canadian delicacies and crushed him in a game of hockey before introducing her parents.
Serena’s mom Rasna, dad Bill and sister Talia made the trip from Canada. While Matt tried to win over Serena’s parents, it was her sister Talia that sewed seeds of doubt in Serena’s head. “The thing I’m most nervous about is that she could be talking herself into it,” Talia said.
Throughout the night, Serena became more confused, feeling a “deep doubt” in their relationship. While processing her feelings with her mom, Serena became emotional when addressing her past relationship, recognizing that it’s caused her to question decisions with Matt.
After meeting all four families, Matt sat down with host Chris Harrison (who recently stepped aside from the franchise in the wake of a TV interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay). He admitted that Serena’s hesitation scared him, and prompted a one-on-one visit between the two.
He went to her hotel room and tried to give her additional validation. Despite that, she was still hesitant. She said that she was struggling to admit her feelings, and she thought it was fear but after processing, it was “more than that.” “I don’t think that you’re my person,” she told him.
He was visibly disappointed but took her rejection in stride. “It sucks to hear that because I just want what’s best for you. If that’s not gonna’ be me – if I can’t make you happy and be all those things for you, then, like, that stinks.”
Despite Serena’s self-elimination, Michelle, Bri and Rachael headed to the rose ceremony. Matt was still shaken by her exit, concerned that the other women’s feelings would also change. He reiterated to the women the significance of a rose, and that he considered engagement a real possibility.
With each woman accepting a rose, Michelle, Rachael and Bri advanced to fantasy suites.
“The Bachelor” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.