SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched the Nov. 30 episode of “The Bachelorette.”
In a franchise first, all of “The Bachelorette” lead Michelle Young’s final four were men of color, and she visited versions of their hometowns that production set up within their isolation bubble in Minneapolis, Minn. on the Nov. 30 episode of the ABC dating competition series.
As each contestant — Brandon Jones, Rodney Matthews, Joe Coleman and Nayte Olukoya — introduced her to their loved ones, in a franchise first, the hometowns episode saw families of color consistently represented on the show.
Brandon’s makeshift hometown was first, where he was joined with his mom, dad and brother Noah. Noah, who recently enrolled with the Navy, postponed his leave to make the trip to meet Michelle.
Before she met the family, Brandon wanted to show her a bit of home, and they spent the afternoon at the skatepark. Despite his skills being less than impressive, Michelle was still just as charmed.
When Michelle finally met his family, she was equally smitten. She commented that she could imagine both of their families spending time together, and she immediately felt supported by the entire crew.
Rodney, who arrived on night one in an apple costume as “the apple of Michelle’s eye,” took Michelle to an apple orchard to celebrate his hometown. They spent the afternoon together before Rodney introduced Michelle to his mom and stepdad.
His mother was originally protective of her son and expressed concern about Rodney getting hurt. Despite that, she warmed up to Michelle after hearing about how much fun they had together and how they kept each other laughing all the time.
Joe’s hometown was different than the others, as it took place in his native city. As a Minneapolis local, he had the advantage of showing Michelle his high school, where he hosted a throwback prom. In an earlier episode, Michelle confessed to not feeling “picked” during her high school career, and Joe tried to correct the situation.
Afterward, he introduced Michelle to his parents, brother and sister-in-law. His sister-in-law narrated the interactions and said that the Coleman men — who are naturally quiet anyway — get even quieter when they’re nervous. She joked that she hoped things would work out since they’d likely run into each other at the local grocery store regardless.
Joe’s family admired that Michelle had brought out more energy in him, and they recognized his growth. When he and Michelle had time together, Joe said that he was falling in love with her.
Nayte was last, and tried to recreate his current hometown of Austin, Texas by taking Michelle paddle boarding. Afterward, the pair met with his mom and stepdad, despite the couple recently separating.
Michelle was visibly nervous, but Nayte reassured her. He said that the family wasn’t particularly emotional and prepared her that they would be protective. They were, and they expressed concern that Nayte had been “swept up” in the environment.
The most emotional moment came between Nayte and his stepdad, Charles. Nayte expressed his feelings for Michelle, and Charles countered, questioning if his feelings were true or sustainable. The conversation led to a tender place, with Nayte saying that he wanted to embody his stepdad for his future family. By the end of the exchange, the two men had exchanged “I love yous” for the first time.
In the debrief with Michelle, Nayte credited her for bringing the family together. She was moved by his emotion but began to panic about his family’s remarks and that he wouldn’t be ready for a commitment.
After a brief cameo by Michelle’s friends (and former contestants) Bri Springs and Serena Pitt, Michelle prepared for the rose ceremony. She cushioned the elimination by telling the men that it was the hardest one yet before she sent Rodney home.
With three men left, the episode wrapped with a teaser for next week’s “Men Tell All” special and a first-look sizzle reel of next season of “The Bachelor,” featuring Clayton Echard.
“The Bachelorette” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.