In the history of this show we have never seen an episode like this. As I lived through this, and as I watched this back, I was trying to think back through the years to compare this situation to something… but there’s nothing. It was strange watching it all happen in an “exotic” episode — which is usually filled with Fantasy Suite talk, loving embraces, and speculation about an eventual proposal.

All of this drama took place on the beautiful island of Antigua. We have never visited this island before but I would definitely go back. The beaches and water were almost as beautiful as the people. But I’ll admit, it was hard to fully appreciate this spectacular island as soon as I heard what was happening with Brooks. When I arrived I got word that Brooks was heading home to visit with his family. All along there have been red flags regarding how he feels about Des. I’m glad we showed the conversation about them trying to come up with terms to describe where they are in their relationship. At the same time Brooks said he was jogging, Des said she was running to the finish line. First of all, when you love somebody at this age you don’t need conjured up “adjectives” (or in this case verbs) to describe your feelings. When you love somebody at this point in your life, you say it like Chris and Drew have done. And if you look at Brooks’ body language and his eyes as Des says she’s running, it really says it all. His look screamed out, “What the…? Oh really?”

I’ve asked Des several times along the way if she was concerned about the fact that Brooks never really expressed his feelings. Because she was so in love with him, or so she thought, she either couldn’t see these warning signs, or was “running” so fast that she blew right past them. I guess we all believe what we want to believe. At no time, however, did I think it would come to this. Yes, there were warning signs, but I believed that what Des was telling me about him was true, and that he gave her many other signs that it was all there. I didn’t know there was really anything significantly wrong until I was told he went home to confer with his family. Even then, I thought maybe he was just getting affirmation, and that he would come back ready to go and continue on. After seeing the talk with his family, which I didn’t see until much later, I realized he knew going in what he wanted to do. He wanted to love her so badly, but he knew before he went in to talk to his family that it just wasn’t there. He just needed his family to tell him exactly what he already knew. He had to tell Des he wasn’t in love with her; he had to break her heart.

I was told how the conversation went with Brooks and his family and was asked to go visit with him. Much like his talk with his family, deep down his mind was made up before he ever said a word to me. It was an open, honest conversation and I felt like he was being very vulnerable and giving me everything straight. More than anything, he just needed to be heard. He needed somebody to sit and listen to him get all this off his chest and sort out his feelings so he could then try to articulate them to Des. Sometimes the best thing you can do in a conversation like this is just be there. I don’t think Brooks is a bad guy and I truly believe his intentions for being on this show were true. He really wanted to be in love with Des so much I think he almost forced himself into doing something he would have later regretted. One thing about Brooks is that he has a very hard time articulating his feelings. I don’t know if this is a common thing for him, or if he knew it was just going to be so hard that he wanted to avoid it, but either way he struggles with expressing himself. He was like that with me and he was definitely like that with Des. It was quite some time into their talk before Des really knew that he was breaking up with her and leaving the show. I really think at first she may have even thought he was about to finally say he loves her. I don’t know if I’d be any better in such a horrible situation, but I know he had a really tough time with this.

Brooks knew his conversation with Des was going to be tough, but he had no idea it was going to be this brutal. Des admitted that she loved him and then she dropped an incredible emotional bomb on him when she said she was conflicted because she didn’t want to share her heart with anyone else. Des was gutted, and so was Brooks. I know everybody will have an opinion about what happened, but after looking back, I don’t really think Brooks ever misled Des. He seemed to really struggle all the way through this. Maybe he could’ve come to this final realization earlier, but the fact is, it just never seemed to be there. And when you look at Des’ relationship with Drew and Chris and how they talk to her and treat her, there really is no comparison. They both know exactly how they feel and have easily been able to convey that to Des.

So the big question is, What now? You’ll get the answer during next week’s three-hour live event. Des is gutted and brokenhearted. Hearing Desiree say that “it’s over” and that she wants to go home is difficult. We will pick up next week with me talking to Des and trying to figure out what, if anything, is left for her here. Sitting with someone who is so incredibly brokenhearted and without hope is difficult. I just wanted to reach out and hug her. Let’s see if she can pick up the pieces, or if it is too late. Next week is a special two-hour show, followed by a live edition of After the Final Rose where all three of the final men will be there to chat with me, and Desiree. Stay tuned.

More Bachelorette from EW:

Episode Recaps

The Bachelorette

One single woman searches for her future husband amid a sea of studs in this romantic reality series. Will you accept this rose?

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