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Elyse Watches The Bachelor–S25 E12: Uncomfortable Silences

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http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/WP/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/ElyseBachelor-150x125.pngWe are finally at the end of the fiasco that was this season of The Bachelor which means The Final Rose special. A LOT happened between the last episode and filming of this special.

For one, Chris Harrison was suspended/fired?/laid to rest in a coffin filled with dirt from beneath the Rose God for being racist and generally a shitheel in an interview with Rachel Lindsey.

Emmanuel Acho is hosting.

I have no Pudding update for you as she’d rather sleep under the loveseat than watch this nonsense.

Acho nails it from the starting. He introduces himself. “I’m sitting in for Chris Harrison tonight which already makes this the most shocking final rose ever.”

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Also Acho is wearing an extremely tight suit. It reminds me of a Marvel superhero like Vision who can just make his own skin-tight costume materialize. I applaud this man’s tailor.

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He immediately addresses the fact that after the season started airing, photos of Rachael at an antebellum themed sorority party came out. It was an interview defending those photos where Chris Harrison talked over Rachel Lindsey (a Black woman) and said that things were different when they were taken (you know, way back in 2018). Rachel Lindsey told him it was never okay, and he dismissed her.

Since then there have also been allegations that Rachael liked social media posts featuring the confederate flag and bullied high school classmates for dating Black men.


First Michelle comes out. She said she really thought Matt was the one after he fit in so well with her family. She says Matt breaking up with her caught her off guard.

“It felt like one of those moments where all of your blood leaves your body,” she says.

That’s called exsanguination and you die from it, Michelle.

She continues, “Afterwards I wasn’t okay and I needed to say my piece because I wasn’t allowed to. And I asked if I could talk to Matt for two minutes, and not to change his route, and not to get in the way of the relationship that he was pursuing that was still there, it was just for me to say my piece. But he refused to have that conversation with me. I think I deserved that two minutes to have my closure and move on.”

Acho asks her how she felt when the photos of Rachael at the antebellum ball came out.

“That’s a prime example of not understanding the history behind it, not being educated enough on what that actually meant, what her actions actually meant, how we see it,” she says. “I feel like Rachael has a good heart, I do, but I think there’s a lot of learning to do. It comes off inconsiderate.”

Acho asks how she felt about Chris Harrison defending Rachel.

“It was another weight that was added on to the already difficult feelings,” she says. “All of these issues everyone is talking around, explaining, apologizing, making statements but not actually changing anything. There’s a point where you’re just so exhausted.”

To add to her exhaustion, I guess, they bring Matt out.

Matt says it’s been “a rough few months” and that he’s still processing everything that happened.

“The moment you left, I completely crumbled. I had to walk away without closure and I had to fill in the gaps of what our relationship really was,” Michelle tells him. “And I wasn’t okay.”

She tells him how hurt she was that he wouldn’t even talk to her.

“There’s no justification for me not having that conversation,” Matt agrees.

He tells her that he really did care about her.

Acho askes Michelle if she still loves Matt. She says she cares about him, but she’s not in love with him anymore.

After the commercial, Acho talks to Matt one-on-one.

Matt says there was a lot of pressure being the first Black Bachelor. “For a lot of people, that was the first time having someone like myself in their home, and a lot of what they take away from the show, and how I interact with the women and carry myself, uh, like it or not, is going to be their perception of how Black people live.”

He and Acho talk about how as Black men they are conditioned to make people feel comfortable with their Blackness.


Matt says that once he and Rachael left Pennsylvania, “it felt like an extended honeymoon.” Then the photos of Rachael at the antebellum party came out.

“So, you want to believe that you know your person better than anyone else knows your person and while all this controversy is swirling around who Rachael is and things she might have attended, and pictures she liked, people she’s associated with, before Rachael addressed anything or Chris Harrison spoke on anything, I’m trying to be there for her,” Matt says. “I dismissed them as rumors because that’s what they were to me. You hear things that are heartbreaking and you just pray they aren’t true. And then when you find out that they are, it just makes you question everything. As someone who grew up in the South, it takes me to a place I often try not to think about. Events, people, places where I’m not welcome.”

Matt says he’s not currently with Rachael. He says, “If you don’t understand something like that is problematic in 2018 there’s a lot of me you won’t understand.”

“What do you say to people who imply that if you broke up with her over an action from a long time ago that wasn’t intended to be malicious, then you Matt James, never really loved her?” Acho asks.

“You know what was a long time ago?” Matt asks. “Plantations.” He says that he wishes people who were so upset by his breaking up with Rachael could bring that same energy to supporting people of color.

Acho asks if he thinks Rachael is a different person now and if Matt could teach her. Matt says he doesn’t believe anyone is irredeemable, but he doesn’t think he’s helpful in this situation and that she has to do the work herself.

After the commercial Matt has gone backstage and Rachael comes out solo. Acho asks her how she’s holding up. She says, “It’s been a lot, but I don’t want to sit here and victimize myself.”

They show the photo of Rachael at the party. It’s a selfie of her and two other women (with their faces blurred out) wearing antebellum ballgowns.

“When you look at that photo, what do you see?” he asks.

“I see someone living in this ignorance, not thinking who it would be hurting. I never once asked myself what’s the tradition, what does this represent,” she says. “If I had taken the time I could easily have understood what it meant.”

Acho defines prejudice as a willful commitment to ignorance and asks Rachael what she blames her ignorance on. “Was it your upbringing? Educationally? Familial?”

Rachael says that there’s no excuse regardless of how or where you were raised.

“I think we all need to do a better job of remembering that history is meant to be remembered, but not all history is meant to be celebrated,” Acho says. He adds, “There is a difference between being racist and being racially insensitive or racially ignorant.” He defines Rachael as the latter.

She says she wants to be better and he asks for the specific ways she’s trying to be better.

“I could sit here and give you a list. I could say I’ve been reading this and I’ve been watching  these documentaries and these movies and I’ve been listening to these podcasts and it’s great to educate yourself, but I don’t think anything is going to change if we don’t take actions to put that education into play,” she says.

So. She’s doing…nothing? I mean when someone asks what specifically are you doing and you’re like well, I’m not gonna go into specifics…

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Acho then asks how she could reconcile going on The Bachelor knowing Matt was Black while also knowing those pictures of her existed.

“Being completely honest, I didn’t think about it one time,” she says, “because at that point it was just me taking some photos with my friends. I didn’t think of the trauma it would cause.”

She also reveals that Matt broke up with her on the phone. She says she still loves him and that was the love of her life.

So then Matt comes out.


Rachael apologizes and says that she felt their relationship was strong so Matt must have really been hurting to break things off, and adds “I’m sorry I didn’t realize it initially.”

Then we get a long, awkward silence.

Matt describes the ordeal as “heartbreaking” and “devastating.”

Then we get another super long silence where he and Rachael just stare at each other.

“The most disappointing thing for me was having to explain to you why what I saw was problematic and why I was so upset,” he says. “When I questioned our relationship it was in the context of you not fully understanding my Blackness and what it means to be a Black man in America and what it would mean for our kids.”

Rachael says, “You were the only reason I decided to do the show, and that includes every single part of you, and obviously that includes you being a Black man. I’ve never experienced a love like this so…I don’t see anyone else out there for me. At this point I just don’t see how I can have these feelings for someone else.”

Now it’s entirely possible in the midst of grieving a relationship Rachael believes this, but it comes across as super manipulative to me, especially because she’s sniffing a lot but not actually crying (we do get tears later TBF). I feel like she’s saying, “if you really break up with me I’ll just never love anyone else ever and that’s on you, Matt.”

Matt, who seems better able to articulate boundaries and emotions in a way he wasn’t on the show, says, “I don’t want to be emotionally responsible for those tears because the work and reconciliation that needs to be done is work I can’t do for you, and I know you’re capable of doing it, and the last thing I want is  calling for you to be canceled. I really want you to do this work because it’s the best thing that can come out of this.”


Rachael says she’s sorry and she thanks God for putting Matt in her life and she just wants him to be happy.

More long, uncomfortable silences.

Acho asks if they want to have one last hug, and Matt doesn’t move in for that hug so they just stare again.


Finally they end by introducing the next Bachelorette, which is actually two Bachelorettes, Michelle and Katie. They will have two separate seasons with Katie going first.


And that’s where the show ends.

Did you watch this season?


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