Dredging up difficult childhood experiences of being overlooked, it's a tough week for the Bachelorette -- and then Chris S has to go and make it a whole thing before the Rose Ceremony!
The Bella Twins certainly know how to bring a good time, and they were definitely great guests for "The Bachelorette" -- it's just too bad that Michelle was already in a terrible head space by the time they showed up at the group date this week.
With 14 guys remaining in the competition, this week was divided by two One-on-One dates, and one epic Group Date with a dozen guys. And things were set to go pretty smoothly on paper, after Michelle booted troublemaker Jamie last week.
We should have known better, as there's always another troublemaker lurking just below the surface on these shows. But even that person wasn't the problem during this week's slumber party group date. It was actually that there was an overall positive vibe in the House that led to the problem.
As often happens, the guys in the House have been growing close with one another, even as they've been dating the same woman. It's weird, but what are you going to do? These are the people you live with.
Perhaps the date was just too laid back and fun -- until it wasn't. Either way, it shaped the whole rest of the week.
Bookending the weird experience in the middle of the week were a pair of One-on-One dates. The first was a proving ground of sorts tied back to Jamie. Martin and Jamie were tight, so Michelle was really needing to see where things stood between her and him at this point.
Things got a little rocky after a fun drifting date when he started defending Jamie -- sort of -- and emphasizing that he was "a hell of a man." Considering Michelle saw him as a liar and a disruptor, she was feeling challenged in the decision she'd made.
Luckily for Martin, in the evening portion, he opened up about ... well his difficulty in opening up, letting down his walls and being emotional. It was still a bit gruff in delivery, which makes sense considering how restrained he says he is, but Michelle appreciated the effort enough to give him a rose.
And here we were thinking this might be one of those infamous One-on-One exits that the suitor never sees coming. To his credit, we did appreciate that Martin checked in with Michelle about that tumultuous experience with Jamie the day before to see how she was doing, so at least he was seeing her and cognizant of her experience here.
Being seen was exactly the problem that Michelle feared coming into this show as it's something she experienced growing up in predominantly white school and neighborhood, where she truly felt like the "token Black girl," overlooked in all things.
She felt the same way in a recent relationship, where she always was the one giving and she didn't feel that what she was putting out there was being reciprocated.
Now, we can also kind of feel for the guys in this situation, because there were 12 of them and this slumber party setup was pretty sweet. There were sweets stations, pillows, giant teddy bears and just a whole lot of fun to be had.
The problem is that they were having so much fun with each other, none of them thought to fully engage Michelle or invite her into the experience. Intentional? Not at all. Hurtful. Hell, yeah!
By the time the Bella Twins showed up for the second phase -- it wasn't just going to be cotton candy and cuddles -- Michelle was already in her head about the whole thing. Both Katilyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams sensed it and tried to reach out, but she was determined to suppress it for the battle to come.
The guys were divided and had to slam it out in the Ultimate Teddy Bear Takedown. Considering their only weapon was a massive stuffed teddy bear, these battles actually got pretty brutal. By the end of it, six guys (Will, Chris S, Chris G, Rodney, Brandon and Joe) were heading home.
The remaining six (Casey, Leroy, Olumide, Clayton, Romeo and Nayte) got to enjoy the afterparty. But that turned into Michelle voicing how she'd felt during the earlier portion of the day and the guys subsequently apologizing and trying to do some serious damage control.
One person who's never made Michelle feel unseen is Rick, who's been so enamored with her since he stepped out of the limo that it's palpable and visible on his face and that million-watt smile of his.
He was the perfect One-on-One to follow up an uncomfortable Group date experience. They went over 8,000 feet to the top of a mountain where they connected just through meaningful conversation, and things got emotional at a wish box.
The way this box worked -- not a facet of the show, but just something that's atop that mountain -- is that you have to read the wishes already in there before adding them. A few were about love, but one was about wishing that your dad could know the man you'd become.
This hit home and hard for Rick, who revealed that his father had died three years ago. It was heavily implied it might be suicide, as he talked about his father's ten year struggle with depression, and how he felt for years responsible for the end of his parents' marriage.
It was a 17-year-old Rick who opened his dad's phone and found a message from his mother shortly before Christmas. A few days after, they were moving out of the house and his dad's affair was exposed. He also feels that his father blamed him until his death for exposing his secret.
That's a heavy load for a kid to carry, and even a man of 32 now. And the tragic aspect that he will never be able to get complete closure with his father, and so he'll have to find it alone through forgiveness and acceptance.
It was a very real share and an emotional moment for Michelle, who always touts her parents as this gold standard of relationships, which is such a contract for the experience many of these guys had growing up.
Rick also dropped one hell of a short speech about feeling that he's starting to fall in love with her and looking forward to the day that he's fully there. It was the kind of stuff that makes you root for him either on this show, or as a future "Bachelor." He seems to have such a great heart.
Before Michelle could even greet the guys into the Cocktail Party to close out the week, Chris S jumped up to speak to the guys, chastising them over his feeling that some guys feel they have it "in the bag," so to speak, when Michelle had just talked about not feeling seen.
In particular, he was referring to Nayte's confidence earlier in the week that he's not sweating missing a One-on-One now, because he knows there's one with his name on it coming down the line. Is that thinking it's "in the bag," or just believing in the relationship he's building?
That's a question that doesn't get answered, as Nayte just listens after Michelle confronts him about those remarks and doesn't offer much in the way of defense or explanation. Instead, like most guys, he admits that he could be giving more of himself to this experience to match Michelle.
Nayte then had it out with Chris S after that conversation, where Chris S seemed to get worried Nayte was going to lay hands on him or something, which wasn't going to happen -- Nayte just talks with his hands and he happens to stand a foot or so taller than Chris S.
The whole thing was uncomfortable, but still not on the level of what Jamie was doing. Chris S did not lie about what Nayte had said, though it was his own perception that Nayte, and perhaps others, thought they had it "in the bag."
It did nothing to endear Chris S to the rest of the house, so even though he did get a rose at the end of the night, the rest of his journey in this show isn't likely to be all that rosy.
By the end of the Rose Ceremony, Michelle had only cut three more guys. And we've finally reached the stage of the show where we're booting guys we've come to know, though there was very little screen time this week for Will, Chris G and Romeo before they said their goodbyes.
Now, with only 11 guys left, Michelle is bringing all of them back to her hometown of Minneapolis for Bachelor Nations' first real travel trip since Covid made everything weird on reality shows. And, of course, there's plenty more drama to come.
“I do know that Jamie and Martin were very close. And with everything that took place with Jamie, I want to see if I can give him all of my trust. I’m still deciding if Martin makes my heart race.” --Michelle (on why she chose Martin for One-on-One Date)
“As far as, like, the Jamie situation goes. I’m not trying to, like, take a side or anything. I just think-- I just, you know, ‘cause what happens is everybody’s like, ‘Oh, he’s a rat, he did this, he did that.’ I’m like, I don’t think he’s a bad person. I still think he’s a hell of a man.” --Martin
“So you feel like I made the incorrect decision yesterday?” --Michelle
“No, that’s your connection with him, that’s-- And I can’t get mad at you getting rid of somebody when I’m here to build my relationship with you.” --Martin
“I was the only person who was in me and Jamie’s conversation. Um… I had information to make the best decision. But I also, in this situation, need somebody to trust me and my decision making, because I am a strong woman.” --Michelle (unsure what Martin was trying to say)
“My dad, he’s never been good at communicating, and that’s what I learned.” --Martin (after Michelle calls him out)
“I don’t cry. Like, it was never, like, something that it was okay to do. Like, if my dad ever cried, it was, like, in hiding … but, like, sometimes crying in front of people is not setting a bad example. And I guess I’ve never really thought about that before.” --Martin
“Until now?” --Michelle
“Until now.” --Martin
“I’m not stressing about when I’m gonna get a One-on-One date. All I know is a one-on-one is coming. If it’s not today, it’s gonna be another time.” --Nayte
“He came off as really cocky. He thinks he’s got everything in the bag.” --Chris S (about Nayte)
“I think it would be safe to say the men are embracing their inner man-child a little too much.” --Michelle (feeling left out during slumber party group date)
“I’m upset. Now the boys are going to be competing with each other instead of making small moments with me during the group date.” --Michelle (this part is not their fault, it’s by design)
“Did we figure out if he actually has stuff under there.” --Michelle (about Chris S’ “Risky Business”-inspired PJs)
“It’s like tighty-whities.” --Kaitlyn
“What if a d--- pops out?” --Kaitlyn (about Chris S’ PJs)
“Well, it happened on my season when the guys were wrestling.” --Kaitlyn
“After the game, no one came up to me, no one pulled me aside. I really try not to sweat the small stuff, but not being seen is something I’m realizing truly hurts me.” --Michelle
“If I’m being completely honest with you guys, I feel like I’m putting in so much effort to make small moments with you guys, but I don’t necessarily feel like that’s being reciprocated. And that doesn’t mean I need, like, massive romantic gifts or gestures. I honestly just want, like, a hello during the date.” --Michelle (during evening portion)
“It’s tough hearing that from her. I didn’t expect that. I thought she was happy, but she has every right to feel that way. That poem she gave was very powerful. Growing up in Minnesota, you know, a Black woman and being overlooked. Always felt like she was in the shadows and not getting enough respect.” --Olu (getting emotional after Michelle talked to guys)
“It’s gonna be an amazing experience no matter what, but today could be my first date with my future wife.” --Rick
“I can’t rule out the fact that I could be falling in love with you and feel like I am. And I know that’s a lot to be said, but I know what my guy is saying, and I just am gonna enjoy every moment with you I get and just look forward to the next time I get another moment with you and the next and the next and the next, because I’m actually looking forward to that moment where I can say I’m in love with you.” --Rick
“I was not ready for that.” --Michelle
“Before we get started, I want to say something. I wasn’t at the cocktail party the other night, but I know that she addressed that she felt like she wasn’t being seen. I think that there are guys here that think that they have it in the bag. I think that’s b-------. And I think that they’re not showing you, you know, the effort that you deserve. And I think that you should give time to other people who are here for you, who are showing you the effort that you deserve. And I think that the guys that feel that they have it in the bag, they should either speak up or they should go home.” --Chris S (kicking off final cocktail party before Michelle can talk)
“You mentioned before that you came from a relationship that you didn’t get back what you put in, and I think that there are people here that are doing the same thing.” --Chris S (to Michelle)
“Why is my name even in your mouth when you’re talking to Michelle? --Nayte (to Chris S)
“She probed me and asked me and I told her the facts.” --Chris S
“I came in on my white horse and I saved her from the castle that she’s been stuck in.” --Chris S (with his hero complex)
“They all hate me. When Olu tells me I’m not gonna get a rose, she’s gonna call my name and I’m gonna say, “This one's for you, Olu,’ and then I’m gonna wink at him.” --Chris S (that’ll make Michelle feel seen)