We apologize for the spoiler in the headline of this article, but some matters are bigger than The Bachelor, and in order to discuss them properly, we need to delve into the "secrets" that have actually been public knowledge for several weeks now.
So yes, Rachael Kirkconnell will receive Matt’s final rose during tonight’s finale of The Bachelor.
But if you’re a Michelle Young fan, and you’re disappointed by that turn of events, fear not — this story is just getting started.
Michelle has been named one of the next Bachelorettes (along with Katie Thurston, who’s season is currently filming), so the fan favorite is not done with the franchise that made her famous.
Far from it, in fact.
As for Matt and Rachael — well, it seems that their future as a couple is not quite so rosy (pun fully intended).
According to insiders and a post from Matt which strongly hinted that he’s back to being single, James and Kirkconnell have already broken up.
The news is not terribly surprising for at least two reasons:
1. The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise has had a pretty horrific track record in recent years, with Tayshia Adams and Zac Clark standing out as one of only two couples out of the past five seasons that’s still going strong.
(The other is Rachel Lindsay and Bryan Abasolo. You have to go all the way back to Sean Lowe’s season in 2013 to find a Bachelor couple that’s still together.)
2. Matt’s search for love has been overshadowed by controversy, and Rachael has been at the center of the storm from the very beginning.
It’s hard enough for any Bachelor couple to actually stick it out and make it work, and Matt’s situation with Rachael was rocky from the start.
As you’ve likely heard by now, Kirkconnell has become embroiled in a race scandal that’s led to a reckoning of sorts within the franchise.
Photos of Rachael at a plantation-themed party led to an investigation of her past that turned up other incidents which seem to suggest a long history of racial insensitivity.
Amid all of this controversy, Matt wrote a lengthy Instagram post that avoided any explicit spoilers (so as not to violate his contract with ABC), but strongly hinted that he and Rachael are no longer together.
This has been the most public pre-finale breakup in the show’s history (which is one of the reasons we felt comfortable putting a spoiler in the headline of this piece), and many are hoping that producers will counter it with a surprise in the finale.
This hope seems to have resulted in a very persistent rumor that Matt and Rachael are back together and will reveal their reconciliation during this season’s live After the Final Rose special.
So allow us to clear the matter up right now by stating conclusively that there’s no reason to believe these two have reconciled.
In addition to the fact that getting back with Rachael would be horrible for Matt’s career, spoiler-master Reality Steve has been on the top of his game this season, and he’s said nothing about a James-Kirkconnell reconciliation.
So we guess the franchise’s atrocious track record will continue.
But if you’re feeling bummed out by the prospect of anotherun happy ending, fear not:
This story is almost certainly far from over.