Michelle ousted Chris, a 28-year-old commodities broker from West Hollywood, CA, during her week of dates in Minnesota and then eliminated Casey Woods, a 36-year-old advertising creative director from Miami Beach, FL, and Leroy Arthur, a 27-year-old biomedical Ph.D. student from Dallas, TX, at the Rose Ceremony in her hometown.
The Bachelorette broadcast began with Michelle and her 11 remaining bachelors traveling to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Michelle is from and her family currently lives.
Michelle said this week would be crucial in the men getting to know her and it would help to see the bachelors in her own environment. She bragged about her cast being filled with "mature, grown men" who are very unique from one another and all check off her boxes.
"There are some really awesome people I think will put me first. They have what I'm looking for plus so much more. They truly are some of the best people I've ever met," Michelle told her parents.
"I do think there is more than one guy here who would choose me every day, and that's exciting."
The first one-on-one date with Michelle in her hometown went to Joe Coleman, a 28-year-old real estate developer from Minneapolis, MN.
The other guys were disappointed and jealous of Joe's clear "advantage," given Joe would be getting to explore the same city he's also from with Michelle. Olumide "Olu" Onajide, a 27-year-old IT analyst from Newark, NJ, went as far as to say he was "devastated" about being passed up for another one-on-one date.
For their date, Michelle threw out the first pitch at a Minnesota Twins game, which resulted in her giving Joe a kiss on the big screen at the field, and then she took Joe to her high school.
Michelle, a former member of the Woodbury Royals basketball team, took a trip down memory lane with Joe, who gushed about how his connection with Michelle had grown and was getting easier and easier with each passing day.
Michelle and Joe played a little basketball on her high school court, and she said being with Joe "felt so good and so right."
Michelle told Joe that he reminded her of her father, who is very "neutral" when expressing his emotions. Joe explained that his own father is very reserved and he had only seen his dad cry twice in life.
Joe therefore said it's "really hard" for him to trust and open up to other people but Michelle was teaching him to let his walls down.
Meanwhile, the group-date card arrived at the men's hotel with the following names on it: Casey; Leroy; Chris; Rodney Mathews, a 29-year-old sales representative from Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Brandon Jones, a 26-year-old traveling nurse recruiter from Portland, OR; Clayton Echard, a 28-year-old medical sales representative from Columbia, MO; Martin Gelbspan, a 29-year-old personal trainer from Miami, FL; Rick Leach, a 32-year-old medical sales representative from Los Angeles, CA; and Olumide "Olu" Onajide, a 27-year-old IT analyst from Newark, NJ.
That meant Nayte, a 27-year-old sales executive from Austin, TX, would be getting the other one-on-one date, and he was thrilled because he felt he had to make up for what Chris had said about him.
Nayte wanted Michelle to know that he's not cocky and was truly on the show for her and the right reasons, and Rick even said Nayte deserved this date.
"Nayte? Wow. I'm really disappointed. I went out on a limb for [Michelle] and told her the honest truth, which is what she wanted to hear and asked from everyone in the house," Chris complained.
"And what I said fell on deaf ears. The way things have played out, I feel like I got the short end of the stick."
On the evening portion of Michelle and Joe's one-on-one date, Joe broached the topic of his previous sports injuries.
Joe broke three bones in his leg in seventh grade, which left his foot susceptible to further injuries. And then in college, Joe broke his fifth metatarsal and underwent surgery.
"But the doctor who did my surgery ended up putting too big of a screw in my foot, and it ended up splitting my fifth metatarsal in half, just completely shattering it," Joe revealed to Michelle.
Joe ended up having another intensive surgery, which resulted in Joe getting seven screws and a plate in his left foot just to correct the error.
Joe said that was a tough time in his life and he was never able to perform basketball the same way.
"I didn't want to be out there because I couldn't handle it mentally. It was beyond difficult. It was anxiety, depression, and there were times where I was thinking if I even still wanted to be here," Joe shared.
Joe added, "Ball was life and that life was gone, and so, I've always had such high standards and I didn't feel like I was [reaching them]."
Joe, who was completely in tears telling his story, said he was broken and "not in a good place" mentally, and Michelle started to cry as well.
Joe recalled going to rehab constantly and having to overcome mental hurdles. Joe said the rehab took time away from his friends and family, and so he finally gave the sport up and looked for a career that would make him happy outside of basketball.
Joe told Michelle that he had to find himself again and discover new interests, which left him feeling really lost. When Joe was at his lowest, he returned home to his parents in Minnesota and said that was ultimately a good decision to make.
Michelle could relate to "hitting rock bottom" and having major anxiety, and she assured Joe that it was okay to still feel hurt even though other people may not understand his internal battle.
"My feelings for Joe have grown tremendously," Michelle told the cameras before giving Joe a rose.
Michelle said the date was incredibly special as it ended with a romantic Ferris wheel ride, and Joe appreciated the fact he could open up to Michelle like never before.
"Today was the most powerful, special, perfect, stars-aligning date I've ever been on," Michelle shared in a confessional.
"I feel like you had two souls that have kind of been living side by side without even knowing it, and I feel like we got brought together. And I am very excited to see what the future has in store for me and Minnesota Joe!"
The next day, Michelle met a group of her bachelors at the Minnesota Vikings football stadium, where the men assumed they'd be playing some football.
However, the guys were introduced to several "Scandinavia Vikings," who put the guys through a series of challenges -- such as throwing tree trunks and eating fermented herring -- to test the bachelors' bravery and honor.
After a series of arm-wrestling faceoffs, Clayton was crowned "The Ultimate Viking," and he was so happy to finally stand out.
At the afterparty that night, Clayton asked Michelle how she developed so much confidence and began carrying herself with such poise, and the pair bonded over talking about their parents being role models.
"She is very passionate, she's intelligent, she's funny, she's beautiful. She's got all these great qualities. So it's really exciting to see somebody like her potentially being in my future for the rest of my life," Clayton gushed.
Michelle also advanced her connection with Brandon, who called Michelle "the star" he had been "chasing" his entire life, as well as Rick and Martin.
But Chris didn't have a moment alone with Michelle, and he clearly wasn't happy. Chris hoped Michelle would pull him aside or show him a little attention since he had warned her about Nayte and told her that she deserved better.
Michelle ended up giving the group-date rose to Clayton, whom she felt close to that day. Michelle said Clayton's effort was obvious and she was appreciative of that.
"You know, I'm a fun and goofy guy, and I'm playful, and I wasn't that today -- but you're not going to check in on me at all?" Chris complained.
"She didn't say 'thank you' for coming out and doing what I did last week, for the things that I told her. She speaks with every single person but me, and that is crazy to me. So I still have a lot of things to say to her."
Casey called Chris "an idiot" for not showing Michelle special attention on a group date. Casey called Chris "desperate" and worried another grand gesture was coming.
The following day, Michelle took Nayte out on a beautiful pontoon boat so they could enjoy a date on Lake Minnetonka, where Michelle had grown up fishing, waterskiing and boating.
Nayte also got to spend the day with two of Michelle's best friends, Tia and Allie, who grilled Nayte with questions and noticed Michelle's obvious chemistry with her initial frontrunner.
Nayte explained the issue he had with Chris to the women, saying Chris had taken one of his comments about a one-on-one date out of context. And Nayte insisted that he really cared for Michelle and was missing her all the while being pretty patient.
Michelle admitted that she "got choked up" when Nayte walked away from her once after a sweet conversation, and she made it apparent that she was catching feelings for Nayte quickly.
Tia and Allie both liked Nayte a lot, and Michelle said the day couldn't have gone any better and their date had been "so meaningful."
The pair then took a sunset swim by themselves, and later that night, they enjoyed a romantic dinner together. Nayte talked to Michelle about how he liked being playful and bringing out "the inner child" with a woman he's dating.
And Michelle said she had given too much in a past relationship that left her empty and brokenhearted. Michelle said the relationship lasted three years because she didn't want to give up on it, but towards the end of it, she started to get "extremely sick."
Michelle revealed that she couldn't keep food down and doctors even considered putting a food bag into her stomach. Michelle said the man left her when she was at her sickest and her digestion problem ended up being from her "toxic and anxious relationship."
"I've never looked back since, but I definitely clawed my way out," Michelle shared, adding that she'd never put too much into a relationship again without reciprocation.
Suddenly, Chris decided to crash Michelle and Nayte's date in order to talk to The Bachelorette star and make his feelings heard.
Right after Nayte and Michelle kissed, Chris walked in on them and Nayte appeared completely bewildered.
Chris said he felt "really insecure" showing up on Michelle's date but he was very disappointed about not having a moment to speak with her during the previous group date.
"To be honest, I felt really played by the whole situation," Chris said.
Chris expressed surprised and a bit of anger over Michelle giving Nayte extra attention and then asking him on a one-on-one date after Chris had warned her about his alleged arrogant attitude.
"I felt like what I said had fallen on deaf ears, and I came here to say that I warned you and I don't want you to make the wrong decision," Chris said.
Michelle acknowledged that she was caught off-guard by how Chris had chosen to approach the situation and she didn't need a man to speak for her, like Chris had attempted to do at the previous cocktail party by scolding the men for not putting more effort into their relationships with Michelle.
Michelle admitted she was frustrated with Chris for doing that, and then he complained about her "putting a fake smile on" and "being fake" with him during the Vikings group date.
Michelle told Chris that he didn't have a good attitude on the Vikings group date and while she appreciated him wanting to look out for her, she can speak for herself.
"I want a man who is going to stand and support me when I speak, and not a man who is going to speak for me," Michelle said. "As a female, as a female of color, there's a lot of situations... where my voice isn't heard, and I'm empowered when I can speak for myself."
Michelle also said she can make decisions for herself and feel confident in those decisions.
"Ultimately, I do feel like we're not on the same page. I just don't see this relationship progressing, and so I do need to walk you out," Michelle told Chris.
Michelle said while Chris may have been coming from a genuine place of concern, he was also trying to control the decision she was making about Nayte when The Bachelorette was her journey.
Michelle told the cameras that if she gets heartbroken, then that's on her because she knows what she wants and doesn't want. Michelle intended to follow her heart at all costs.
Michelle therefore gave Nayte the date's rose because she noted their chemistry was "undeniable" and unlike anything she's ever felt before.
Michelle pictured a fun, nurturing and caring relationship with Nayte in the future, and their date was topped off with a fireworks display.
Nayte said he could see himself genuinely fighting for Michelle for the rest of his life, and Michelle gushed in a confessional, "I am very crazy about Nayte. I'm starting to get this feeling of, like, 'This is my person.' And that's very exciting. It's also really terrifying."
Michelle added, "I do feel like I am starting to fall for Nayte."
At the next cocktail party, Michelle's feelings for Rick and Rodney grew. She took a short city stroll with Rick and kissed Rodney on the rooftop of a building where they could look at a cityscape.
"She gives me goosebumps," Rodney gushed. "I am so obsessed with this amazing and beautiful woman! I feel confident going into this Rose Ceremony but I'm still nervous because you don't know what's going to happen."
Michelle also surprised Brandon with a birthday cake, but then she had some miscommunication with Martin.
Martin expressed to Michelle how he was worried she was giving multiple men the same compliments when he thought she had been only telling him those things, but Michelle assured him that she wasn't blowing smoke up his ass.
Martin then made a comment about women in Miami being different from Michelle -- in a bad way -- because they are allegedly "very high maintenance." When Michelle asked Martin what makes a woman high maintenance, he replied, "Just expecting somebody to do absolutely everything for them."
Michelle didn't think Martin had answered her question, and Martin tried to explain how a man doesn't typically enter a relationship expecting the woman to totally take care of him.
Michelle seemed a little turned off or thrown off, and Martin hoped miscommunication wouldn't result in Michelle denying him a rose.
Martin didn't think he had said anything wrong, but Olu told the cameras, "Martin is very two-faced; he's one way to the guys and another way to Michelle. I don't trust him, and I hope that at the Rose Ceremony, Martin gets sent home."
The episode concluded with Michelle handing out roses to Rick, Olu, Brandon, Martin, and then Rodney.