On Monday, July 26, the latest episode of the ABC dating series got right into the action following last week's roller-coaster rose ceremony that saw Katie's extremely emotional display after dismissing Andrew and then offering him a chance to come back. This week, as the four remaining men—Blake, Greg, Justin and Michael A.—were reflecting on the idea of preparing for their hometowns date, Michael suddenly had a change of heart.
The catalyst was an on-camera FaceTime call with his 4-year-old son, James. Their exchange started out much like previous ones we've seen between the single dad and his boy, except that toward the end of this call, viewers heard James say, "I know what the problem is. Maybe daddy left because he don't want to see me."
Understandably, this was too painful for Michael to move past. Immediately after the call, Michael surprised Katie at her suite to tell her, "I'm not leaving because of us. I'm leaving because my son needs his dad."
Katie seemed stunned, and they had an emotional conversation, during which Michael handed her a stopwatch he'd brought for her on the first night as a reminder of the importance of time. "We ran out of time," he told her just before walking away. "I can't help but wish that we had more in a different world or different circumstance. 'Cause I do think it would work."
This led her to reply, "I know it would have worked." She then told him, "As selfish as I want to be, and I want to beg you to stay, I just know that's not an option."
Katie shed plenty of tears before Michael made his way outside, with the Bachelorette later telling the camera, "Michael is someone I saw myself walking away with. I knew what my life would be if I chose Michael, and that was a life I wanted. I know his decision is the best decision for his family, but right now, in this moment, it f--king hurts, and in this moment, I am mad. I am sad. All I'm looking for is to be in love and find my person, and it's very possible that my person just left."
The standout from Matt James' season of The Bachelor has yet to address the surprise exit on social media. For his part, Michael posted a sweet photo to Instagram over the weekend of James resting his head on his shoulder, adding the caption, "Saturday night milkshake run wit my #1."
Check back soon for our full analysis of tonight's Men Tell All special.