The first part of the season 19 Bachelorette finale put Rachel Recchia and Zach Shallcross in the hot seat.
The Tuesday, September 13, episode of the ABC series picked up with the 26-year-old tech executive asking Rachel, also 26, to talk ahead of the rose ceremony.
Zach, who had a rocky overnight date with the co-lead, told Rachel that he didn’t think he was seeing “the real Rachel” but instead the “Bachelorette version” of the pilot during their overnight date.
“I felt like the ‘concerns with the age part’ was a complete blindside,” Zach, who is six months younger than Rachel, said. “It’s kind of hard to wrap my head around it. I did really love you. I saw a future with you, but I need to go.”
Rachel noted that she wishes she could’ve “gotten there” with Zach, but they both know it’s over. He subsequently left Mexico and she gave roses to Tino Franco and Aven Jones.
“Her response — it felt so cold. I thought, maybe, that I meant more,” Zach said in the car after his elimination. “One of the things I fell in love with was she made me feel, like, special. And I cared for her and I question if any of that was real or if that was just an act.”
The show then cut to Rachel live with Jesse Palmer, waiting to see Zach for the first time since his exit. He didn’t waste time apologizing for suggesting she wasn’t being authentic.
“I just want to say that I do apologize for ever making you feel like I called you out for your character,” he began. “That’s the last thing I wanted. I was kind of in shock and disbelief in what was happening between us. I am so sorry.”
Rachel quickly apologized too. “That was really hard for me to watch back,” she said, adding that her feelings for Zach were “real.”
When the host pressed for details of the fantasy suite date, Zach said it felt “immediately off” between the twosome. Looking back, he thinks Rachel knew that she wasn’t The One before he did.
“It started off very early in the fantasy suite … and it was just off. [We’re] two very different people,” he said.
Rachel clarified that she didn’t mean to “accuse” Zach of not being ready for marriage. “I was never trying to make that awkward,” she said. “There was a miscommunication.”
When asked whether he had any “regrets,” Zach said no, adding that he’ll “never forget” his memories with the Bachelorette.
“I really just hope you are happy and I want the best for you, always,” he concluded.