TV & Movies

Does Meatball Go Home On The Bachelorette?

Don't worry. James might just come back.

by Kadin Burnett
Gabby Windey, Rachel Recchia and James having dinner on 'The Bachelorette'
Craig Sjodin/ABC

A fan favorite seems to have left the building. We’re only three weeks into the latest season of The Bachelorette, and we’ve already witnessed one of the most dramatic episode endings in recent memory. It came courtesy of James Clarke, everyone’s favorite meatball enthusiast in Season 19. As it happens, James’ laser focus on Gabby served to give audiences their first look at how majorly awkward rose ceremonies could be when there are two bachelorettes giving out roses. A contestant refusing a rose isn’t unheard of, but the muted chaos that ensued after James’ rose reluctance was certainly a moment for the ages.

This brings us to Week 3’s episode when the contestants have to choose between Gabby and Rachel. Before the rose ceremony, host Jesse Palmer informed the men they would have to commit to one bachelorette for the rest of the season. “I really hope you’ve given strong consideration as to where your feelings lie,” Palmer said. This change to the ongoing dynamic resulted in an episode where several men relayed to Gabby, some nicely and some not so nicely, while Rachel received a series of refusals during the rose ceremony.

ABC/Craig Sjodin

The rose ceremony was when this high-stakes situation got inextricably sticky, especially since it involved Rachel and James. It played out with a slight bit of irony because Rachel told the cameras ahead of the ceremony that she was worried about Gabby getting rejected and what it might do to her friend’s feelings. Rachel didn’t seem prepared for the awkwardness that would ensue when Termayne and Alec declined her rose offers before James’ turn. When Rachel finally offered her rose to James, he rejected it, saying he was there for Gabby. But the other bachelorette ultimately decided not to give him a rose, so James is sent packing.

But there’s a twist! After the credits, everyone’s favorite meatball returned after the rose ceremony to ask Rachel for a second chance. “Rachel offered me a rose,” James said. “I really regret it. I think I made a mistake.” He also explained to Rachel that he was more interested in Gabby only because he’d spent more time with her. The episode ends before we see and hear if Rachel decides James’ fate, with the screen abruptly cutting to black.

If you’re very invested in James and Rachel’s chances at love, you can rest assured knowing that Meatball almost certainly sticks around, likely thanks to Rachel’s forgiveness. Fans can spot him in a brief scene from the trailer for Week 4’s episode, but there’s no telling just how much longer he’ll stick around beyond that.