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Michelle and Naye get a special surprise on the set of After The Final Rose

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: SoulNaytes

By Ryanne Probst | December 22, 2021
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Well, well, well, kids, it looks like we’ve made it to the finale episode of Bachelor/ette content for the year 2021. After one season of The Bachelor, two seasons of The Bachelorette, and a season of Bachelor in Paradise that had such a long episode count it should have been illegal, ABC finally ran out of days in the year to ruin our lives with more content. I think I need a cigarette. But before I can dip my brain in bleach and pretend for a few blissful days that I’ve never heard the words “bachelor” and “nation”, we have to find out how Michelle’s story ends! That’s right, tonight it all comes down to Michelle’s final two men: Brandon, a man whose devotion runs so deep he would allow Michelle to wear his skin as a suit if only she asked, and Nayte, a man who is… *checks notes*… 6’8. Hmmm… whomever will she choose?

Meet The Parents

But before Michelle can choose anyone, the guys have to meet Michelle’s parents. I mean, technically, Brandon has already met Michelle’s parents, though I’m guessing he would like to meet his maybe future in-laws again under different circumstances. And by “different circumstances” I mean without having to use pool furniture to hide his water-logged chubby. 

Brandon’s second impression does, in fact, win over the in-laws. Brandon says all the right things: he loves Michelle, he wants to move to Minnesota for Michelle, he would work from home for Michelle, he’s been slowly siphoning off his own blood for Michelle in case she would ever like to wear it in a vial around her neck like he’s been wanting to do hers (it’s just a suggestion, take your time to think about it, baby!). Is anyone really shocked by Brandon’s stellar performance? Meeting families is his goddamn Super Bowl. 

While Brandon already has Michelle’s parents penciling in a family cruise for 2022, Nayte’s date with the in-laws goes less smoothly. Right off the bat, Michelle’s dad hates him. No notes. Iconic. 

NAYTE: *says literally anything*
MICHELLE’S DAD:

Miranda Cosgrove Interesting Meme

I love that her family is just like, immediately no. When Nayte evades their questions about relationship logistics by talking about the “awesome vibes” he gets from their daughter (I paraphrase) they’re right there to poke holes in his story and call him out for his vagueness. It’s like every time Nayte tries to make bold proclamations about their relationship, the parents are looking for JSTOR articles to back up his claims. Amazing. 

Things only get worse when Michelle asks her mother if she thinks Nayte is ready for a relationship and she straight-up says no. Her mom was like, “how do I put this gently? Um, he sucks.” LaVonne! At least sugarcoat it a little bit. Michelle is naturally devastated. She keeps saying that she’s got to rethink her relationship with Nayte and by that she means rethinking how is she going to tell her parents that she doesn’t care what they think, she’s picking him anyway. I’m reading you loud and clear, Michelle!

The Last Supper One-On-One’s

At this point in the season, it’s definitely Nayte’s game to lose. Brandon is less a realistic romantic suitor and more the guy friend you send pictures of your outfit to, to ask if it looks slutty enough for your real date. There is a reality where Michelle would choose Brandon, of course she would choose Brandon, but that reality can only exist in a dystopian world where tributes from each district fight for the death for food and resources. 

Of course, Michelle does get one last day with each of the guys before the proposal to finalize her decision. First up is Brandon and jet-skiing. If Michelle was looking to bring out more of Brandon’s sex appeal then, boy, did this date blow up in her face. If anything, their date reads very “mommy-son fun outing” to me. At one point, Michelle even tightens his life jacket in such a way that suggests this might be the start of Brandon’s new kink in the bedroom. Oh, mommy, safety first pleaseeeee. 

The one thing that comes out of this date is that Michelle does give a half-hearted “I love you” to Brandon. Previously, when Brandon had dropped the “L” word, Michelle had only said she was falling for him, not that she was actually in love with him. I’m not sure if she’s even conscious of how hard she’s trying to make it work with Brandon but, from the comfort of my own home where I can make snap judgements about complete strangers 3.5 glasses of red deep, I can confidently say that she doesn’t make their love look easy.

MICHELLE: Brandon loves so hard
BRANDON “LOVING HARD”:

When Nayte’s date rolls around, it’s almost a relief to watch Michelle stop faking it. Say what you want about Nayte being a seven-foot, human-shaped red flag, but their chemistry is undeniable. Unlike her relationship with Brandon, where the chemistry is maybe less tangible but he is at least able to articulate his feelings by using his big boy words, Nayte is all about the vibes. Enter Raul: a Mexican shaman ABC hired to both contribute to cultural appropriation and sage Nayte’s aura to get him proposal-ready. K.

Raul would like for them to sage each other and whisper their relationship wishes into the smoke. Look, no shade to Raul, but if he thinks literally blowing smoke up their asses is going to shake a man who has 28 years worth of commitment issues stored up inside, then he better think again. 

Speaking of Nayte, he is having a hard time speaking and waving smoke at Michelle at the same time. The only thing he’s good at multitasking is the girls in his DMs. Nayte’s like, “this is tough for me because normally my height sort of does all the talking.” Yeahhhh, I’m getting that. Say no more, buddy. 

Later, Nayte admits that he only came on the show with two suits because he didn’t think that he would make it farther than two rose ceremonies. And yet, here he is, falling in love when he definitely didn’t plan to. This admission does two things: 1) it clears up why his rose ceremony attire is more appropriate for spring break in Daytona Beach and 2) makes me tingle in places that are simply not appropriate to mention in my recaps. 

I will say that all of  Nayte’s “red flags” are only red flags in a world that’s been ABC produced within an inch of its life. What exactly are Nayte’s bad qualities? That he loves Michelle but doesn’t have a concrete answer for every single logistical thing about their relationship given that he has known her less time than it takes me to answer a DM? And the problem is… what exactly? 

Who Will She Choose??

Michelle Young contemplates who she will give the final rose to on the finale of The Bachelorette

Nayte. Aggressively, obviously, Nayte, though she does put on a big show of even considering her other dude, Brandon. The morning of engagements she seems nervous, which outwardly she tells us is because she “hasn’t made up her mind yet” though I think it’s less about her making up her mind and more about her making up her mind about how she will squash Brandon like a bug. 

Speaking of Brandon, guess who’s up first for proposals? Notoriously, the man who shows up first is the losing man and when the camera pans in on Brandon no one is surprised to see him there. The one reprieve we get is that most of his proposal/rejection is drowned out by the sound of waves aggressively crashing on the beach. Wow, this is bad. Seriously, did one of the crew members get high during the sound check portion of the show? Like, production has to be regretting this location choice. I can barely hear what they’re saying! 

 

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While I can’t quite make out the extent of their conversation (perhaps Mother Nature took pity on Brandon and caused this aquatic catastrophe to drown out his tears), I am able to hear Michelle when she clearly tells him she loves him as she dumps him. Brutal. She’s like “it’s not that I don’t love you, it’s that Nayte gives the better dick. You get it, right??” Not only does he get it, Michelle, but he’ll be talking about this moment for the rest of his days in therapy. Nice work. 

BRANDON: I truly wish you nothing but happiness, giving you my heart was worth it.
ME, TO MY DOG, ALONE IN MY LIVING ROOM: 

Speaking of next, Nayte looks absolutely delicious. He’s wearing his one of two suits and he’s ready to give Michelle the rest of his life. Probably. We’ll see. Only if the vibes are immaculate. Michelle, shocked that she conned this 6’8″ god into shackling himself to her in almost-matrimony, gives a tearful “yes.” It would have been a beautiful moment if Michelle hadn’t tarnished her “yes” by following it up with the words “you’re my soulNayte!!” I could have gone my whole life without hearing that pun. My. whole. life. 

After The Final Rose

In deciding how to spend the last hour of programming to wrap up the season, ABC took the route that most employers take at the end of the year: to eek the life out of their devoted subjects for as long as they possibly can, regardless of holidays or familial obligations. Seriously, this is 60 minutes of my life I will never get back. ABC, you’re lucky I don’t sue.

Honestly, the most dramatic part of ATFR was watching production get dragged on Twitter for not making the audience wear masks during a COVID surge. After that, everything else was a goddamn snooze fest. They bring Brandon out as if he is a slug and we, the viewer, are about to collectively pour salt on him and watch him disintegrate for our personal amusement. It gets worse when Michelle joins him in the hot seat and the two of them are MATCHING. They are literally a match made in heaven. I can’t. 

Michelle Young and Brandon sit on the couch in maroon outfits for After The Final Rose

After spending the appropriate amount of time flinging the remnants of Brandon’s heart into the audience like they’re free T-shirts being launched into the crowd at a sporting event, they bring out Michelle’s soulNayte. (Again, gag). They seem happy and cute together and we learn that post-filming, the two are house hunting in Minnesota. If there’s any cold feet happening in the relationship, ABC tries to circumvent that by gifting Michelle and Nayte with a down payment for their house. Bribery, much?

I will say these two look like they’re in it for the long haul, if only because they’re moms are now adorably BFF and there’s nothing that keeps people together quite like familial guilt. Ever happiness to you both! 

Michelle and Nayte kiss as confetti falls around them at the end of After The Final Rose

And that’s all she wrote, girlies! See you in two weeks when my New Years resolution of pretending to care about Clayton will immediately be put to the test. Until then!

Images: Craig Sjodin (3), Christopher Willard (2) / ABC; Giphy (3); @thebitchelorette_ /Instagram (1); @nayteandmichelle /Instagram (1)

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