The Bachelor Recap: We're Down to the Final Four

The long-awaited moment is here: welcome to our very 2021 version of hometown dates on The Bachelor.

In a usual season, this is when Matt visits his final four contestants in their hometowns and meets their families. But in the era of COVID, the "hometown" episode has taken on a new format. This time, Michelle, Serena, Bri, and Rachael get to plan their dates with Matt at the Nemacolin resort, and their families are instead brought to them.

Before we get into the action, Matt made some news of his own just hours before Monday’s episode aired. He released a statement on Instagram to address Rachael’s racially insensitive photos and Chris Harrison’s problematic interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay.

Matt shared how challenging the past few weeks have been, and how much heartbreak and disappointment he has felt. Matt mentioned how these recent events involving racism speak to the “much larger issue that The Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years." Before going forward into this recap, give it a full read on his Instagram.

And now, on to hometowns. The episode has four juicy one-on-one dates, along with the always-entertaining milestone of introducing your parents and family to your boyfriend.

Image by ABC Press/Craig Sjodin

We start with Michelle’s date. She and Matt bike ride around the resort, and then head to the most adorable Zoom call of all time: Michelle is a teacher, and all of her students were on Zoom ready to meet Matt and ask him 1,000 questions.

These kids did NOT hold back–they asked how many girlfriends he has (a valid question, in this situation), if he and Michelle were going to have babies, and one extremely bold kid straight up asked “are you going to marry her?!” I love their enthusiasm! And their eagerness to pry! In the end, they gave Matt two thumbs up and Michelle was thrilled.

Next up, Michelle introduces Matt to her parents. They are so excited to see Michelle and meet Matt! Matt and Michelle's dad, LaVonne, had a one-on-one conversation where LaVonne asked legitimate questions, like how he can date three other women and also his daughter. I wouldn't say Matt exactly won Michelle's dad over, but in the end, LaVonne reiterates that they trust Michelle and will support her no matter what. 

Michelle and her mom, Ephraim, had a truly heartwarming conversation. She askes Michelle if Matt always puts her first, in the same way LaVonne always puts her first. Michelle was giddy and smitten the entire time. Overall, it really feels like this date was almost a 10/10. We're off to a good start.

Image by ABC Press/Craig Sjodin

I loved how quickly we moved from date to date this week. Right away, we're on Rachael and Matt's date. Rachael says "My family means the world to me," what feels like multiple times, so it's clear that this is a major milestone for her.

Rachael planned a sky diving date for her and Matt. Of all the Bachelor dates in the history of Bachelor dates, sky diving is the one that would truly break me. I have vertigo, a fear of heights, and I'm just a bad flyer, so it’s basically a triple no from me.

I honestly couldn't even watch the scenes of them falling, but once they were back on solid ground it was clear that Rachael had a "gnarly" (as Matt said) landing. About 5 seconds later, her hair somehow looked like she just got a blowout. Overall, their date wasn't nearly as heartwarming and cute as Michelle's date with Matt. Just saying.

Rachael's mom, dad, and sister are in town to meet Matt. Rachael's dad, Darrell, had really valid questions for Matt: how is he seeing multiple women at once?! Darrell's vibe was concerned as a whole–he thought this whole relationship happened really quickly, and he's not thrilled that Matt is dating other women. You are not wrong, Darrell!

Rachael's sister and mom were much easier on Matt. Matt told Rachael's family that he was falling in love with her, but Rachael left the date disappointed: she wanted Matt to ask her dad for his blessing to propose. Just a quick reminder that your boyfriend has three other girlfriends, Rachael. Let's walk before we run, okay?!

Image by ABC Press/Craig Sjodin

Now it's time for Bri! I love Bri, and I think Matt does too. For their date, they went off-roading in a jeep, with lots of makeouts and a picnic in between.

Matt was really excited to meet Bri's mom, Lauren. Matt and Bri have bonded over being raised by single moms, so Matt clearly understood how important Lauren's stamp of approval was. Lauren brought Bri's baby sister (!) and her bestie, whose name is also Bri, to meet Matt. Confusing, I know, but stay with me because Lauren is the MVP of this episode.

Matt and Lauren started talking right away. As Lauren wisely said, “this man is not only dating my daughter, he’s dating other people’s daughters.” When you put it like that it wrong?

Lauren wanted to know how Matt felt about Bri, and Matt said he's falling in love with her. Lauren reminded Matt that Bri is a realist and may be afraid of being shot down. And then, Lauren asked, "Do you see Bri in your life?" Matt said "absolutely" and Lauren's response was pure gold: "Interesting." Even with that, I got the sense that Lauren liked Matt.

Lauren and Bri chat next, and Lauren encouraged Bri to really go for it in the relationship. "It's crazy but it's not crazy," Lauren said. Even though she wants to protect Bri, it's more important that Bri is honest and vulnerable about this relationship. So very wise, right?!

It was clear that this is the exact advice Bri needed: after the meeting, Bri tells Matt that she's falling in love with him. They both left the date feeling very solid about their relationship.

Image by ABC Press/Craig Sjodin

Serena has the last date of the episode. So far, the rest of the dates have been pretty standard, but Matt seemed very nervous. Serena planned an entire ode to Canada for their date, complete with a Canadian-themed trivia lesson, poutine, and hockey, obviously.

Serena's family was beyond excited to see them. Serena's mom, Rasna, likes Matt, but she isn't 100% sure that Serena will be ready to get married so soon. And then Serena speaks to her sister, Talia, where Talia drops a bomb: "I think there's just something missing. You don't seem smitten." Talia just doesn't think Serena and Matt are *there* yet, and honestly, if your siblings can't tell you that then who can?!

Serena then tells her mom she's having a feeling of doubt, and she started crying about a past relationship. Throughout this, Serena realized she didn't feel as strongly about Matt as she should. Serena then told Matt how she's feeling, and Matt gave her some reassurance, but they leave the date in a very weird space.

The rose ceremony is up next, but Matt can't move forward without speaking to Serena again, so he finds her right away. Even though he's made it clear he sees a future with her, Serena just isn't there. "I don't think that you're my person," Serena told Matt. WOAH does that make it crystal clear.

Matt was completely silent in response–he admits he knew something was off, and then there's nothing left to say so Serena walks him out. He was way more upset than I expected–he clearly saw a future with Serena! Now I'm sad for him! But also: Serena's sister called it.

At the same time this is going down with Serena, Michelle, Bri, and Rachael are arriving at the rose ceremony. Matt is now concerned that the other three women might not even accept his rose. His mind is clearly all over the place after the surprise farewell to Serena.

This feels like the first time we've seen Matt a bit flustered. Matt has pretty much nailed the role of Bachelor so far. Although some may say he's more guarded than past Bachelor leads, I actually appreciate that he's being more conservative through this process. His go-to response when the women tell him how they feel is "thank you for sharing that with me." While that may seem sort of blah, I think it's better than telling every contestant he's falling in love with them (and breaking multiple hearts at once).

Peter Weber, last year's Bachelor, was interested in wayyyy too many contestants, and it wasn't a good look. Matt isn't going to fall into that trap and is moving at his own pace, and I respect that.

In the end, all three women get and accept their roses, so Matt had nothing to worry about. Although Bri is upset that she was given the last rose, but that's next week's issue. The scenes from next week show an explosive episode of The Women Tell All, and Matt is rocking a beard!! This feels like a huge update! He still looks amazing, duh, but I just didn't see it coming! 

We'll be back next week for all The Women Tell All drama (and to fully analyze Matt's beard). And remember: we're just a few short weeks away from Matt's final rose! 

Main Image by ABC Press/Craig Sjodin; Bracket design by Sydney Mastrandrea