I’ll write my blog posts while watching “live” (a.k.a. on ABC or Roku the day after broadcast) - so it’s my immediate reaction. Any subsequent notes or edits I’ll highlight.

Prelude / preview

There isn’t one. We all saw what happened in the last episode proper. Today is for serious talk.

This is the episode where this series of blog posts becomes especially inaccurately titled.

You’re not Chris Harrison!

Yes, Emmanuel Acho is “sitting in” for Chris Harrison. He’s better dressed, and ready to warn us that we’re going to have uncomfortable conversations.

I’m not sure there’s going to be as much as usual to throw shade at, if they’re taking the race discussion seriously (which is good) and making it a core part of this show.

Michelle looks a-mazing

She seems nervous, but she looks absolutely knockout.

Must be so weird to watch an experience you had months befoore, and then have a conversation straight after that watch.

She thought he was the one

…because her family liked him.

And she still seems pretty sad that Matt blindsided her with his breakup. Poor Michelle, she’s too good for him.

And Matt, the shit, refused to have a two minute conversation with Michelle for her to say her piece. That’s absolutely lame.

Hopefully she doesn’t stay upset for too long.

So what do you think about Confederacy Rachael and Woke Police Chris?

She’s terribly kind about Rachael. She goes for the “good hearted, but ignorant” line of defense.

She’s less kind, at least she implies less kindness, towards Chris. That his behavior is just weighty, and exhausting. I’m guessing a not uncommon feeling that POC have about behavior from white people.


And we’re back with Tim Howard James Harden Matt James

Emmanuel has a better tailor than Matt.

And we’re straight into Matt saying just how tough it’s been for him?! His beard is really sparkly under the lights.

It was kind of weird how Matt dropped Michelle, honestly. I mean, I guess he’s got to pick one, but his connection with Michelle always came across as a bit more genuine, and his connection with Rachael more “for the cameras”.

Michelle talks about how sad she was, how she “crumbled” (and had to have the producers in her room seeing that). Matt dives in with some bland platitudes, but at least he apologizes.

She says she still cares about Matt, and she’s very forgiving. But also clear that she’s not in love with him (so, fingers crossed, no “you’ve obviously broken up with Confederacy Rachael, let’s give this a go” silliness).

Michelle hopes that Matt finds his happiness, has more phrases (yes, calling him out for bland platitudes), and kisses with his eyes closed.

Hopefully Michelle finds literally anyone other than Matt.

Emmanuel Acho is a really good host, and also not creepy-as-fuck like Chris Harrison. He lets us know that the upcoming conversation with Matt and Confederacy Rachael is gonna be hella uncomfortable.


A conversation between two black men

Emmanuel introduces this well, about the uniqueness of experiences, and lets Matt speak. Now, The Bachelor itself is stupid, trivial, trash television. But that doesn’t mean that the pressure of being a black representative on that show wouldn’t be huge.

The piece about being conditioned as a black person just to make white people comfortable with your blackness was especially powerful for me.

So…why Confederacy Rachael?

Post leaving The Bachelor (or any reality show) in the middle of a pandemic must be odder than leaving a reality show in any other circumstance. There’s the profile, but no opportunity to take advantage of that brief window of that profile.

Matt basically sounds like he took a position of trusting Rachael to be good, and then found out a lot about how she wasn’t. And that when Rachael came out to apologize he realized that she wouldn’t understand what being black in America meant (no shit).

Unsurprisingly, Matt confirms that he and Rachael are no longer together.

Couldn’t you teach her? Couldn’t you grow with her?

It’s not an unfair question from Emmanuel. But I think Matt is strong here, that however good Rachael’s intentions are, it’s not his role to make Rachael understand how different his experience is, or to help her develop empathy with people subjected to racism.


So, about that racism, Rachael?

A reminder - Rachael went to an antebellum plantation themed party (and, also, some other info about sketchy racist social media behavior). She gave an ok apology a little while back.

I also don’t like her dress.

Emmanuel very clearly explains what antebellum is, and what it is in context of American history, and how awful it is to celebrate or honour that.

I was ignorant, but I didn’t not know any better

Rachael says she was ignorant, but also says that it was on her to not be ignorant.

…and Emmanuel is very blunt on that, defining prejudice as a “wilful commitment to ignorance”.

He also says;

History is meant to be remembered. Not all history is meant to be honored.

Which, in two sentences, is the argument against the bullshit “protect the statues, protect the Confederate flag” arguments you hear from the GQP all around the country.

Why she took so long to apologize

Rachael says she wanted to “do the work”. And I’m glad that Emmanuel asked for specifics on what she’s actually doing to understand and improve herself.

…and she entirely dodges that question. So, essentially, she’s doing nothing. Which undermines the well worded apology she had finally put out.

She’s pretty honest that she never even thought about the photos being bad.

I lost the love of my life, and also I hurt him.

Let’s put you on a sofa together even though you don’t want to be there

Matt has such a weird way of not even directly looking at the women he’s physically embracing.

Rachael: Sorrysorrysorrysorrysorrysorry

Matt’s tie is too thin for that suit and his frame. And he has too many different patterns - one check on the suit, one on the tie, polka dots on his pocket square.

…anyhow, he’s “devastated” by everything that happened.

They’re not comfortable as a couple of people, and Emmanuel gives them the space of silence that’s probably quite tough to allow on TV. They wait a minute or more, and only have a patented Matt exhale before we go to…


Still an awkward silence

Emmanuel’s doing his best to prod some kind of response from Matt. Rachael’s holding his hand.

The most problematic thing was having to explain why I was upset

That’s fair. That Matt can’t be in a relationship without thinking about the track to marriage (which he also says) is a lot less fair, and is fucking stupid.

Rachael has to do the work on her own, and that’s not something that Matt wants to be around for.

Rachael’s reasons

Matt was the only reason that she decided to do the show? Do they all apply after they choose The Bachelor, then? Otherwise, how does that work?

She’s so over dramatic, about her lost love and never having felt a love like this, at the wise old age of…what…24?

Matt says he doesn’t want her actions to lead to her being excluded, but that maybe it will provide some impetus for her to be included.

Rachael gives yet another apology, and Matt does a lot of staring at the floor.

Good luck, kthxbye

Emmanuel wishes the couple farewell.


New Bachelorette? Psyke!

It might be who you thought it was, but then again it might not be.

All the rumors and coverage were that it was gonna be Katie.

And it’s between…two…women…

Michelle and Katie.

Both are wearing kinda 80s power suit evening wear. Michelle looks amazing, Katie less so.

And they are…both The Bachelorette. In two separate seasons? Back to back? Are they doing an extra season? Did they just go “oh, shit, pick a woman of color” after all this shit went down?

Why are you doing this?

Katie says it’s because she’s genuinely interested in finding love. So she’s deranged, if she thinks this toxic show will help that.

Michelle says she’s OK to do this, even despite being crushed by Matt so recently (I guess she has time to recover if she’s the season after Katie).

So how long is it between seasons? If it’s months and months, might Michelle not find a relationship? (I assume they’d just switch to an alternate)

The end

Many many props to Emmanuel Acho. A little bit of redemption on ABC’s part. Chris Harrison certainly wouldn’t have been able to approach the weight of that conversation.