Matt James met Bri, Michelle, Rachael and Serena P.'s families during Monday night's episode

By Dana Rose Falcone
February 22, 2021 10:00 PM
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This post contains spoilers from Monday's episode of The Bachelor.

And just like that, Matt James and his final four made it to hometowns. But in the COVID-19 era, hometown dates meant the women's families came to them at Nemacolin Resort in Pennsylvania.

"We have already brought in the people that mean the most to you," Chris Harrison told Bri, Michelle, Rachael and Serena P. on Monday night's episode.

For more on the Bachelor, listen below to the episode of PEOPLE Every Day.

MICHELLE'S HOMETOWN DATE

Michelle kicked off the first hometown date of the week with a bike ride, because she and her parents used to go on rides every night back in Minnesota. In lieu of being able to bring Matt to her classroom, he met her students via video chat and they got a chance to ask the Bachelor questions to get to know him. One student, Mamie, asked Matt, "How many girlfriends do you have?" Matt evaded the question a bit, responding, "I've got one right here, Ms. Young."

Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Another student, Kelsey, wondered if the couple planned on having babies. "That's a great question," Matt replied. "And yeah, I do want kids. A lot of them."

A third student, Tyler, was a straight shooter. "Are you going to marry her?" he asked Matt.

"We're in the process of figuring that out," the North Carolina native told the youngster. "And I can't give you a definitive answer yet, but Tyler, I will Zoom call you when I know."

At the end of the Q&A, Michelle asked her students to share what they thought of Matt by giving one or two thumbs up or down, and Matt received a unanimous decision of two thumbs up from each kid. "The more time I spend with Michelle, I see everything I'm looking for," Matt said in an on-camera interview.

While spending time together before Matt met Michelle's parents, she called seeing her students "super emotional" and opened up to him about wanting a partner who valued her connection with the children she teaches. "I think that's probably been the missing factor," Michelle said. "And honestly, moving into hometown visits tonight, my parents were hesitant at first for me to put everything on pause. And when they asked me, 'Why? What is your reasoning?' — you were completely my reason why."

They kissed and Michelle told the cameras that the day had gone "even better" than she could've imagined. "I'm falling in love with Matt," she admitted. "And I think my family, they're going to have no problem falling in love with him, too. But tonight, if they for some reason said, 'No, we don't like Matt,' it would be really hard for me to move forward with our relationship."

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Matt met Michelle's parents and recalled how she entered the process late, but said that didn't stop them from connecting quickly.

"Michelle looks really happy and back to her old, playful, smiling [self]," her dad Ephraim said in an on-camera interview. "She's had a couple of relationships in the past that were not so good, and so the concern I have is he could be in love with multiple people."

Michelle told her dad during their one-on-one conversation that she would said "yes" to a proposal from Matt and recalled how her parents got her through a tough breakup a few years ago. When Ephraim spoke privately with Matt, he asked whether the former Wake Forest football player was in love with his daughter.

"I haven't told her that yet and it's not something I will share with her until I meant it," Matt said. "And I am all in for your daughter."

Matt also told Ephraim that he'd be open to moving to Minnesota if he and Michelle ended up together. Ephraim concluded, "We trust her decision-making process and we will respect Michelle's choice or whatever she decides to do. And we'll be supportive in whatever way we possibly can."

Michelle told her mom she "really" liked Matt and could see him being "the one." When her mother asked if the process seemed too quick, Michelle assured, "No, which doesn't make sense either because I'm a let's-take-things-slow kind of person."

Michelle, Matt and her parents ended the night playing basketball together.

"I connect with you in a way that I've never connected with anyone before, and so I do want you to know that after you meeting my family, I knew that I was going to take my emotions to a whole different level and I was ready for that," Michelle said to Matt. "And I can say that I am falling in love with you. And that makes me so excited and it's so scary but it's so genuine and it's so real."

Matt responded with a kiss.

RACHAEL'S HOMETOWN DATE

Georgia native Rachael drove up to her date in a sports car and asked Matt, "Do you trust me?" He said "yes," and then Rachael blindfolded him and sped off to another location. When they got out of the car and she took Matt's blindfold off, he saw a plane and understood that Rachael had planned a skydiving date for the two of them.

"I'm stoked that she would even consider something like this for a date, because I think this is the perfect date," Matt told the cameras.

One of the two instructors informed the couple that they'd be free falling at 120 m.p.h. from 12,000 feet to 5,000 feet before their parachutes opened.

"Matt, if I die, I'm glad I'm dying with you," Rachael told Matt before she jumped. Matt, meanwhile, owned up to feeling "a little nervous." They both went through with the jump, though, and Rachael said she felt "on top of the world" while cascading back down to earth. But she took a rough fall and Matt was worried.

"It's a different feeling when you're falling in love and that person's potentially, like, really hurt," he told Rachael. "And the thought of losing you set in in that moment. I was like, damn we're just getting started. I didn't realize how strongly I felt until something like that happened to you."

Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Before Matt met Rachael's parents and sister, Rachael admitted to the cameras that she hoped Matt would ask her father for his blessing "because I'm in love with the guy."

Rachael reiterated as much to her mom when they spoke one-on-one. "I've definitely been falling in love with him so easily," Rachael said, adding, "If he were to propose to me tomorrow, I would be confident in saying 'yes.' Like, I know we can make this work. At least I think so."

Her dad Darrell, however, expressed concern to Matt during their solo chat. "A few weeks isn't, in my opinion, [enough] time to take that big next step," Darrell said. "I don't see how you can get to that point in such a short period of time."

Matt assured, "What Rachael and I's relationship has been built on this whole time has been honesty, communication and being upfront with one another. And I told her that I'm falling in love with her because I never connected with someone on the level we've connected on."

Darrell remained unconvinced. "It's very quick to get to the point where you're talking about getting engaged or married," he said in an on-camera interview. "To me it's a little unrealistic, and he's got other ladies here, so who knows what he's telling Rachael."

Rachael insisted that she and Matt had a unique relationship. "It might be a little naïve of me to think that I'm different, but I really do think that I am," she told her dad.

When Matt and Rachael touched base before parting ways for the night, he confessed he didn't ask her dad for his blessing. "When I get to that point, I will call and ask for it. I just didn't feel right asking for it just to check a box," Matt said. "That's not who I am."

Rachael was disappointed. Ultimately, "I will be completely crushed if I don't end up with Matt," she told the cameras.

RELATED VIDEO: Matt James Weighs In on Whether Katie Thurston Should Be the Next Bachelorette

BRI'S HOMETOWN DATE

As "payback" for their messy ATV one-on-one date earlier in the season, San Francisco resident Bri wanted to take Matt off-roading again — this time, with her behind the wheel.

"I don't think I expected to be here with you and I didn't expect for you to meet my fam," Bri told Matt. "I am still terrified of the fact that I wouldn't necessarily be able to give you a conventional family with a mom and a dad and brother and sister. But I would just hope that who you will meet today will be enough."

Growing up in a single-parent household, Matt understood. "Sounds like your mom and your friends are showing up for you, and that's why I'm nervous," he said of meeting Bri's loved ones.

When Bri's mom Lauren asked what he liked about Bri, Matt mentioned the commonality they shared of being raised by a single mom.

"The level we connect on is different than the conversations and connections I have with other women here, and I realized that early on when I shared with her what it's like to grow up with a single parent," Matt said. "It's made me who I am and everything that you've done for Bri has made her into this woman who she is today. And I see it working with Bri."

Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Lauren questioned whether Matt loved Bri, but he didn't give a definitive answer. "I'm falling for her," he said. "It's not the assurance you're probably looking for, but it's my honesty."

Once Bri got the chance to talk privately with her mom, she confessed, "I do feel like I'm falling in love with him. I'm so, so scared."

Lauren assured her that, despite the short timeline, she believed in Bri and Matt's relationship. "It's such a short period of time, but when you have a connection with somebody and you feel it and you know what they feel it too, it's just something special," Lauren said. "I don't think it can be faked."

After saying goodbye to her mom and best friend, also named Bri, Bachelor star Bri confessed her feelings to Matt. "After taking to my mom and Bri, I feel like I'm falling in love with you and I just… I want more time with you," she told Matt, who gave her a kiss in response.

SERENA'S HOMETOWN DATE

Serena wanted to give Matt a taste of Canada for her hometown date, so she brought him to a private bar decked out with Canadian flags, maple syrup and beaver stuffed animals. She taught him Canadian lingo and they ate Canadian delicacies like poutine, peameal bacon and Nanaimo bars. They capped off the experience by playing hockey and smooching on the ice.

Before Matt met Serena's parents and sister, he told the cameras he felt "beyond nervous" about it. "Serena's someone that I can see [myself] spending the rest of my life with," he said.

Serena's mom Rasna pulled Matt aside to talk and asked him what he liked about her daughter. "She's smart, beautiful, has her head on her shoulders and she challenges me," he responded. "She doesn't take crap from anybody and every time I've left a conversation with her, I'm thinking about her and wanting to know everything I can about her."

That answer didn't completely satisfy Rasna. "You can be in love with someone, but there's a lot more work and a lot more that you have to be able to do to get to that point of marriage," she told Matt.

Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Meanwhile, Serena chatted with her sister Talia about the status of her relationship with Matt. "He on paper and in my head checks every single box. We literally get along so well. Like, you can tell, we're very laughy and playful," Serena said. "He's extremely affectionate. I do sometimes feel like I'm catching up to his feelings."

Despite thinking that Matt was "everything" she would want for Serena, Talia told her sister, "You don't seem smitten. And I think it's because you're in your head, personally. I think you're logically thinking, 'Yeah, Matt checks all the boxes, but where's that it-factor?'"

Talia expressed further worry in an on-camera interview. "Based on what I saw, Serena's definitely holding back," she said. "I don't think they're quite there yet. The thing I'm most nervous about is she can be talking herself into it."

While speaking with her father, Serena admitted that the certainty she felt in her relationship with Matt had started to wane. "On one end I was confident, but now I'm not 1000 percent sure," Serena said.

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Rasna suggested Serena's hesitations might've stemmed from a past relationship that "really messed" with her head.

"I do have this pit in my stomach, sometimes, with Matt," Serena said. "Like, is it fear of letting myself fall in love with him and then getting hurt again? I don't know."

Following the shaky visit with her family, Serena chatted with Matt about her concerns. "There's a time limit on all of this," she said.

Matt reassured Serena of the process and his feelings for her. "I think about the things that you're thinking about," he said. "Just think about where we're at now and don't focus on anything else. Just trust me."

Serena didn't expect Matt to be so calm about the situation. "Thinking about getting engaged to him in a few weeks does scare me because I'm not there yet, and I wanted my hometown to get me there," she told the cameras.

Sensing that something remained "off" after the hometown date, Matt paid Serena a visit at her suite and she shared the decision she came to following their meeting with her family.

"When it came to being able to actually talk about my feelings for you and how I felt about you, I really struggled," she told Matt. "And I thought that it was fear initially, that I was just scared. But I think if I'm being honest with myself, it's more than that. And I think that it just comes down to the fact that I don't think that you're my person."

Matt took a long pause before saying, "It sucks to hear that, 'cause I just want what's best for you. And if that's not going to be me, I can't make you happy and be all those things for you then like, that stinks."

Serena promised Matt she had carefully considered the decision. "I'm just not there and I don't know why," she said. "And trust me when I say I've thought about it so much and I've just been emotionally torn up over it."

Serena walked Matt out, leaving him worried that the other women's feelings would also change.

ROSE CEREMONY

With Serena bowing out on her own, Bri, Michelle and Rachael became Matt's de facto top three who would proceed to Fantasy Suites. But Matt wanted to make sure each lady still wanted to be there.

"I just want to reiterate what it means when I offer you a rose and what comes with accepting that rose is accepting what comes with being here — for me, that's an engagement," Matt told his remaining suitors before starting the ceremony. "I want you all to think long and hard about that commitment before you accept the rose tonight."

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Michelle accepted "without hesitation," as did Rachael and then Bri. But Bri felt some type of way about being the last one offered a rose.

"There's just something a little bit disheartening knowing that I got the last rose," she told the cameras. "I can't help but just wonder where Matt's head is at."

The Bachelor airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.