By Krissy Dolor

Before we get the pleasure of seeing next week’s final rose ceremony, we must first cross one last bridge: the infamous “Women Tell All” episode, where both the Bachelor in question and his dearly departed bachelorettes reflect (and awkwardly watch back) the ridiculous moments that made them famous.

While it’s no surprise that old beef between Raichel and Melissa continued to stew, the night’s big shocker was Michelle’s – dare we say it? redemption – which, of course, made for excellent television.  So without further adieu, let’s dig right in to last night’s episode:

It started off with a classic Brad Womack and Chris Harrison heart-to-heart, where Brad took another look back at some of the more colorful women on this season (including Madison, who was fangless last night).  While he mentioned the usual (Chantal O.’s first impression slap, his first date with Ashley H., how funeral talk with Shawntel N. made him uncomfortable), Chris wanted to know what Brad really thought of Michelle.  “She has a lot of game,” he said.  “And that’s coming from a guy that has zero game.”  True statement, Brad – but we still adore you!

Next, Chris Harrison announced that yes, ABC will bring us Bachelor Pad 2 this summer.  With the “Bachelor Nation” count toppling 500, it’s no surprise that this Bachelor spin-off will continue.  Who doesn’t want to see former contestants duke it out – again?  There’s nothing wrong with some good old fashioned recycling.

But the real drama began when Chris turned the show over to the ladies.  The Michelle-bash started instantaneously, and she was called “two-faced” and “shady” by Stacey and Sarah P. (I’m sorry, who are you again?).  She was even compared to a “creepy spider” by Jackie, who was one of my early favorites this season.  Ashley H. and Madison quickly rushed to a crying Michelle’s defense, who believed she went on the show for the right reasons.  Michelle said she was aggressive and grabbed every chance she could with Brad was because she missed her daughter: “If it wasn’t right, I wanted to go home.”  Touché.

Taking a break from the Michelle drama, Chris brought Melissa into the hot seat, whose tension with Raichel caused them both to make an early exit during week two.  “I genuinely don’t think I initiated any conflict in the house,” said Melissa, as Raichel nearly passed out in her seat, since she believes that Melissa is partly to blame for her demise.  After a long and over dramatic rehashing of their dispute, Melissa apologized.  Raichel’s classy response?  “Of course I’m sorry.  I’m not sorry to her, though.”  Keeping it real.

But the Michelle drama was far from over.  Chris viewed Michelle’s actions as a defense mechanism, and said, “I found you unbelievably entertaining.”  She said her comments weren’t meant to be malicious, and that she was trying to be sarcastic and funny: “You have to make light of a situation in an intense situation.”  While I have been guilty of a Michelle-bash or two, I wouldn’t have gone so far as to criticize her parenting skills, which is what Stacey did, making her look like a crazy madwoman.  But Meghan said it best: “Monday nights would not have been the same without you.” We definitely have to agree there!

Both Ashley S. and Ashley H. (who looks great as a brunette!) tearfully watched their respective parting moments with Brad and reflected on what happened.  While Ashley S. wanted closure, Ashley H. said she still had questions about her and Brad’s relationship, even at the end of their run, which she regrets.  But no worries!  Ashley, staying true to her bubbly self, said, “Brad primed me for what is yet to come.”  Is this a hint of a possible role as the next Bachelorette?

And finally, the moment we were all waiting for – Brad’s turn on stage.  While Shawntel N. looked beyond miserable, Brad was positively glowing.  This is the happiest I’ve seen him all season, and it was simultaneously unnerving and endearing to watch.  He said seeing Ashley S.’s tearful goodbye broke his heart.  He called Michelle “his girl forever,” and said, “I’ll defend you ’til I’m blue in the face.”  And he still feels that his carnival date with Ashley H. was the best first date he’s been on in his whole life.

But I do believe Brad gave us a tiny hint as to who he proposed to in South Africa.  When Chris brought up the final two women’s names, Brad smiled that boyish/giddy smile of his when Emily’s name was said.  While five out of six of the former Bachelor Pad contestants said Brad should pick Chantal O., Michelle said last night that Brad needs someone like Emily.  But regardless of who Brad ultimately chose, it seems this woman has given him the fairytale ending he’s been searching for after two seasons.  “I’m telling you, I’m truly happier than I’ve ever been,” he said.  “It has nothing to do with me; it has everything to do with her.”  Cue collective Awww.

And there you have it!  What did you guys think of last night’s episode?  Let’s chat in the comments below.  If you haven’t already, check out our exclusive article, where we interviewed the former Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants.  Also, visit us daily for more in-depth interviews with them – we’ll have something Bachelor-related every day until the final rose ceremony!