SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched the Dec. 21 finale of “The Bachelorette.”
Michelle Young already made history as the third lead of color on “The Bachelorette.” During her three-hour finale, an engagement with either suitor would continue her historic trend, marking the first Black couple in “The Bachelorette” franchise. That landmark came to fruition as Michelle walked away engaged to Nayte Olukoya.
Hosted by Kaitlyn Bristowe (sans host counterpart Tayshia Adams, who was exposed to COVID-19), the finale was a hybrid of live segments and prerecorded dates in Mexico.
During the first date, Brandon Jones reunited with Michelle’s family after meeting them earlier in the season. He initially charmed her parents and continued to impress them during their one-on-one conversations. In rare Bachelor form, they even discussed logistics – including his willingness to relocate to Minnesota and his ability to work remotely.
Michelle’s second finalist and future fiancé, Nayte, also met the bachelorette’s parents and sister, Angela. After coming off the high of Brandon, her family was less than impressed. Despite trying to not compare the suitors, they missed Brandon’s warmth and his preparedness for a life with Michelle.
They challenged Nayte’s willingness to commit, including his interest in moving to Minnesota or proposing. Her mom was especially concerned, noting his unemotional responses. When they brought these observations up to Michelle, it sparked a fear that forced her to reassess their relationship.
After both men met the parents, they were each given one more date to seal the deal. Brandon went first, the two spent the day jet skiing. Their evening turned sentimental, as he gifted her with his favorite sweatshirt and the two reminisced on their favorite moments together. They exchanged “I love yous,” where Michelle shared those feelings with him for the first time. She admired how deeply he loved, before the two separated for the night.
The next day, Natye and Michelle’s final date was focused on sharing feelings. Her family’s concerns echoed in her head, and she was initially unimpressed with his ability to be vulnerable. However, she continued to push him and finally broke down his walls by the end of the date.
“All I do is think about life with you,” he shared. His vulnerability comforted Michelle, as the two considered a future proposal.
When Michelle returned from her date with Nayte, she was greeted with a card at her door. The letter was written by Brandon, who promised to love her unconditionally and prompted her to follow her heart.
Michelle kept that in mind as she headed into proposals. She was torn, confused and dreading hurting a man she loved. Brandon arrived – armed with a ring – and was gutted by rejection as Michelle turned down his proposal.
Even during their breakup, she affirmed her love for him. The breakup was nearly inaudible over the waves of the ocean, but Brandon wished her the best through his tears and left alone.
His heartbreak was juxtaposed with Nayte’s joy, as he got down on one knee. “At the end I wanted to be standing in front of my soul mate, and he is standing right in front of me,” she told him. With an emotional and enthusiastic “yes,” the two celebrated their engagement and her “soul-Nayte.”
During the live post-show, Brandon’s fans were enthusiastic in the audience, several taking off their masks to audibly show their support. He was initially devastated over the breakup, but has since found happiness for Michelle, and comforted that she found “her person.”
When Nayte joined Michelle on stage, the two were visibly excited and shared their plans about starting a life together. Both sets of their parents joined the celebration, who have since become close over the course of the season.
Nayte plans on joining Michelle in Minnesota. While they were not specific about the timeline of his move, the pair was assisted financially, as the franchise surprised them on-stage with a $200K check for a house down payment. (Click here for our interview with Michelle and Nayte, after their TV engagement.)
Season 26 of “The Bachelor” premieres Monday, Jan. 3, 2022 at 8 p.m. on ABC.