The Bachelorette: Michelle Tells 1 Man 'I'm Falling for You' During Hometown Date, Eliminates Another
This post contains spoilers from Tuesday's episode of The Bachelorette.
Michelle Young headed home with her remaining four suitors on Tuesday's episode — rather, Brandon, Joe, Nayte and Rodney brought their hometowns to her in Minnesota to avoid traveling during the pandemic.
"I was hoping for one solid connection, but now, I have four relationships that I'm truly invested in," Michelle, 28, said.
First, Brandon showed a sense of his life in Portland, Oregon, to Michelle by taking her to the skate park.
The elementary school teacher tried her hand at skating and even though she took a tumble, Brandon, 27, softened the blow with a kiss.
"Brandon has been all in from the start — unwavering — and my feelings have gotten so much stronger with today," Michelle said in an on-camera interview. "And I do think it's very real that after meeting his family I could fall for Brandon."
Next, Brandon introduced Michelle to his mom Carmen, dad David and brother Noah, who delayed going to the Navy so he could be there for the traveling nurse recruiter. Brandon began by recounting to his family how he arrived in a bed to meet Michelle, and the Bachelorette admitted she initially found him to be a "smooth talker."
Then, Michelle split off and chatted with Brandon's brother, while Brandon spoke to his mom. Noah asked Michelle if she could see herself with Brandon for the rest of her life and she said, "I can 100 percent be honest with you and sit here and say, 'yes.' "
Meanwhile, Brandon told his mom that Michelle "made me realize like what I have been truly missing in this world," later adding, "I know who my person is now."
Michelle also chatted with Brandon's dad and asked him if he liked to fish, because her dad did. David said he used to go out fishing every weekend as a kid, and that helped Michelle see her family merging with Brandon's.
"I got this overwhelming support already from Brandon's family of welcoming me into the family and already making me feel like I was a part of their family," Michelle told the cameras.
Brandon's mom felt good about her son being with Michelle, too. "She sees him, and she sees all the wonderful qualities that he has," Carmen said.
When Brandon and Michelle got some one-on-one time after meeting his family, she told him, "I'm falling for you," and they kissed.
Continuing to lean into the apple theme he started with his limo entrance, Rodney, who hails from California, took Michelle to an orchard to look for the First Kiss apple, which only grows in Minnesota.
"I definitely am falling in love with Michelle," Rodney, 29, told the cameras. "I have no problem getting down on one knee and making her officially my fiancée and my future wife. I would be the luckiest man in the world."
Michelle felt similarly. "He's truly somebody who I can see as a life partner," she said in an on-camera interview.
After doing yet another taste test at the orchard, Rodney introduced Michelle to his mom Carrie and stepdad Tyree. They recount to his parents how they bonded early on over both feeling like underdogs.
His mom pulled Michelle and asked the Minnesota native what she thought set Rodney apart from the other guys. "With Rodney, it's just like there's this level of playfulness," Michelle said. "I mean, I don't laugh with anyone else as hard as I laugh with Rodney."
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Rodney spoke with his stepdad, who asked if the sales rep has had enough time to develop strong feelings for Michelle. "When you know it's real you know it's real," Rodney said. "She checks off my list what I'm looking for."
But his mom was worried that Rodney could end up heartbroken. "I think Michelle is very genuine, but Rodney has only one person to have feelings for and she has four," Carrie said. "That does give my anxiety."
Rodney assured her, "I look at Michelle and I think she's worth the risk."
After meeting with his parents, Rodney told Michelle how he felt about her. "I just want to be your person and I'm definitely falling in love with you," he said.
To the cameras, Michelle said, "It felt good to hear where Rodney is at."
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Since Joe also grew up in Minnesota, he returned the favor of Michelle taking him to her high school and brought her to his. They made out in the halls and then Joe surprised her by bringing her to prom. The duo danced, took pictures in the photo booth and received the honor of prom king and queen (since they were the only ones in attendance).
"I never thought prom would be this great, this romantic and this special," Joe, 28, told the cameras.
Michelle, who proceeded to meet Joe's mom Julie, dad David, brother Dan and sister-in-law Hannah, told his family she liked Joe's "quiet confidence."
David told Joe he thought his son and Michelle looked like a "loving couple," but he didn't have much more to say to Joe.
Mom Julie also noticed the love between Michelle and Joe. "I see how excited he is sitting next to you," she said to Michelle.
Joe informed his brother and sister-in-law of Michelle, "I think I'm falling for her for sure," and Hannah liked Michelle's energy.
Once the visit wrapped, Joe told Michelle as much, too. "I am falling in love with you," he said to Michelle. "I feel like you're that special person for me."
Michelle responded by giving Joe a kiss.
To bring a taste of Austin to Minnesota, Nayte took Michelle paddleboarding, an activity he usually does three to four times a week back home.
"I'm crazy about you, you know that," Nayte, 27, said to Michelle.
After going out on the water, the sales executive brought Michelle to meet his mother and stepdad Charles. Michelle told them that her and Nayte's relationship "was just easy" and when asked if she wanted to leave engaged, said, "I am going to do what feels right."
Nayte's mother worried about her son rushing into marriage. "My worry is he's got kind of swept up in the process because if he leaves with Michelle, it's a very different world when you're dealing with everyday struggles that every couple has to deal with," she explained.
She asked son Nayte whether he felt ready for an engagement. "I feel like I'm heading in the direction that I'm going to want to do that," he said, "but at the same time, am I there 100 percent right now? No."
Stepdad Charles told Michelle he felt "very surprised in that Nathaniel actually seems very genuinely excited," but also expressed some reservations.
"He doesn't know the difference between being in love and being married or engaged," Charles said. "One's a feeling, one's a commitment and they tie together very closely, but is he ready for that?"
Michelle asked Charles if he thought Nayte could be ready soon for an engagement. "I don't know if he's going to get to that point," Charles replied. Nayte's mom thought the same, but Nayte and his stepdad had a breakthrough when they said "I love you" to each other for the first time.
"Clarity didn't come in the way that I thought it would," Michelle said of the hometown dates.
When the rose ceremony came around, Michelle made the tough decision to give roses to Brandon, Nayte and Joe, sending Rodney home.
"I need you to know that who you are is enough," Michelle said to Rodney when she walked him out. "I don't want you thinking that you weren't enough because that's not true. It's just feelings moved quicker in other relationships."
Rodney said that even though she eliminated him, his feelings for her remained. "I am falling in love with you. I need you to know that that's something that doesn't change easily," he said. "I'm always going to care about you Michelle, like, forever."
The Bachelorette airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.