The Bachelor Fantasy Suites recap: No more 'I love yous'
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Fantasy Suites week on The Bachelor began with a trip to the majestic snowscape of Iceland and ended with Clayton sending the woman he's "the most in love with" home after an angry blowout.
We begin, rose lovers, with The Problem. "Can you fall in love multiple times? At the same time?" frets Clayton, who thinks he's "falling in love" with Gabby and Rachel and is already "in love" with Susie. "I don't know."
Clayton, if you're asking me, I think the answer is a resounding, "No!" On the other hand, it is understandable that an impressionable meathead like this Bachelor could think he's in love with a group of women — because his entire existence for the past two months has been engineered to make him feel that way.
Hmmm… I wonder how the ladies are doing right now?
"It's weird," says Susie at last, breaking the silence. Gabby says the prospect of being in the final three is giving her a (very quiet) panic attack. "Welcome to the Panic Attack Room," jokes Susie. "We're all having one." Even though the situation is extremely strange and uncomfortable, the women seem genuinely supportive of each other, which is nice. Oh Lord, what's this guy doing here?
Dude, they KNOW how this week works. Just hand out the date card. Rachel, you're up! As she heads out the door to get ready, Gabby and Susie sit in the awkwardness of the moment. "If tonight goes really well for Rachel, obviously they would be, like, sharing intimate time together," muses Susie. "That would be a really tough pill to swallow."
Listen up, rose lovers, because it's time for another round of But You Do Know How This Show Works, Right™? — the game where contestants reveal personal expectations that run counter to the very situation that they've placed their own damn selves in. Susie, you see, doesn't want Clayton to sleep with anyone else during Fantasy Suites week… but it seems she hasn't told him this important piece of information? "I can see myself getting engaged to this man, I can see myself having a family with him," she continues in her confessional. "But I'm hoping that he takes, like, physical intimacy as seriously as I do… If I find out that he's falling in love with other women or that he has become physically intimate with another woman, that would be devastating."
Hoo boy, this is gonna be fun. Anyhow, back to Rachel. She meets Clayton for a helicopter tour of Reykjavik's beautiful snow-capped mountains.
"Rachel and I have the strongest physical connection," says Clayton, stating the obvious. Still, he hasn't dropped any sort of l-bomb, so tonight the Bachelor says, "it's time that I let my walls down." To that end, he and Rachel are about to descend 400 feet into an inactive volcano. "I have to start going deeper with our relationship," says Clayton. "That's what today is about."
Once at the bottom, Rachel and Clayton chat about her hometown date and how cool it is to be sitting in an Icelandic volcano. But the Bachelor doesn't Open Up™ enough for Rachel's tastes. "I have done nothing but be vulnerable this entire time," she says. "And I need him to just give a little bit back."
We interrupt this date to bring you Susie's involuntary reaction to Gabby saying this: "I want [Clayton] to be able to explore everything, I really do. Like, truly getting to know us inside and out, just to see what it feels like."
"I don't know that I feel the same way," says Susie. Oh, that's clear, honey.
Okay, back to the date. At dinner, Rachel confesses to Clayton that she thought he might send her home at the last rose ceremony. It's her way of saying, "Dude, put up or shut up. Do you love me or what?" And lo, the Bachelor does at last reveal all — though not without an ominous preamble. "I don't feel like I was able to be, like, 100 percent transparent when I was with your family… I kind of wish I had told you earlier. I was kind of holding on to it, so I'll just come out and say, like…"
"I've been feeling this way for probably a couple weeks, maybe more," admits Clayton. "Thanks for being patient with me." Dude, what else does she have to do but sit around and wait for you to figure your shiz out? Anyhow, the Bachelor pulls the Fantasy Suite card out from underneath his plate of untouched fish — and of course she says yes.
As Susie bares her soul in confessional — "If Clayton thinks that it's me at the end of this and then proceeds to sleep with another woman anyways, I would have a really hard time moving forward with him" — this is what's unfolding in the Fantasy Suite:
Welp, prepare to be immobile, Susie! The next morning, Clayton and Rachel cuddle in bed, cooing at each other about how great their "connection" is. When it's finally time for Clayton to leave, Rachel calls to him from the balcony. "Hey! I love you!" The Bachelor shares that sentiment.
"I'm gonna miss you!" he hollers, walking back to his hotel. And back in the ladies' suite, Rachel has just returned to regale Gabby and Susie with tales of her romantic evening with Clayton.
"I know this is really awkward, and I respect you guys so much," says Rachel. "I think it's just going to be a tough week for all of us." Correct! It's especially tough for Susie, who is now weeping in her confessional while Gabby goes to get ready for her overnight date. Of course, they're making Susie go last. The devil works hard, but Bachelor producers work harder!
Um, guys? Did Clayton forget his date with Gabby?
Oh, never mind. Here comes Clayton in a dune buggy. Good thing they're both bundled up, because driving in an open-air vehicle can be chilly in even the warmest of climes. And it's a very good thing that they're both wearing helmets, because Clayton hits every damn bump possible during their high-speed drive. Then, it's Gabby's turn to drive, and the CTE risk goes way down.
Later they warm up in a little café and discuss Gabby's hometown date while a local pretends not to listen in.
"I know I could end up heartbroken," says Gabby. "But I trust you. And if I do end up at the end, I don't want it to be because you didn't explore your options. I want it to be because you did… and you chose me." Whoa there, Gabby! You're displaying a bit too much common sense for this whole ridiculous enterprise.
At dinner, Gabby — looking [fire emoji] in a form-fitting gold minidress – is hoping that Clayton will Open Up™ with her about how he's feeling. And wouldn't you know it? He comes right out with it: "I realize that, like, you know, I'm falling in love with you. I am, I really am."
On to the Fantasy Suite! Oh, I'm sorry, I mean the Fantasy Geodesic Dome, complete with a hot tub and the strawberries and champagne Gabby's been craving all day.
Back at the women's hotel, Susie is spiraling… while walking down a spiral staircase.
"I'm just spiraling emotionally, thinking through the worst-case scenario," she says. "Whether it's Clayton falling in love, or him being physically intimate with Gabby… I just hope that, like, Clayton's on the same page." He… is not.
The next morning, Clayton brings Gabby some breakfast in bed. "Where's yours?" she giggles. They share some pastries and champagne, and then Clayton dons his cobalt blue overcoat (?) and heads out the door.
Okay… I guess Rachel's still number one on the leaderboard. Meanwhile, Gabby has just arrived back at the ladies' hotel with some sweet "I just had sex" hair.
A couple of those strands were just DYING to let Susie and Rachel know what Gabby and Clayton were up to in their luxury yurt. "There was like a huge bed in the middle," reports Gabby. "It was beautiful." A few beats of awkward silence, and then Susie says what everyone's thinking: "You've got bedhead."
And so, Susie heads in to the third and final Fantasy Suite date full of trepidation. Did Clayton have sex with Rachel and Gabby? Did he tell either (or both) of them that he loves them? "There's no reason to be crying," she scolds herself. "I don't know anything… I just want to get to the bottom of everything."
The Bachelor is also feeling pretty stressed out. "I now realize I've told two women I'm in love with them. I also know that I could feel that way with Susie," he says. "So now, one-thousand percent I am going to absolutely shatter somebody. I just don't want to hurt anybody, and I'm going to… I just didn't want to fall in love with multiple people."
Hmmm… they must be showing these confessionals out of order because I distinctly heard Clayton say "I also might already be in love with Susie" at the beginning of this episode. Also, Clayton seems to be equating "I'm falling in love with you" with "I love you," because we only heard him say the former to Gabby. But I digress.
Susie, you're up! "I just hope I can be comfortable and, like, relax today," she says. Cut to:
Hold on to your hats, rose lovers — Clayton and Susie will be spending the day at Iceland's famous Sky Lagoon. Apparently this place is designed to make visitors catch their death: Clayton and Susie strip down to swimsuits and make their way from the "cold mist" room (no thank you) to the sauna (yes, please) to the outdoor "cold plunge" (hell to the no).
"Maybe this is like my relationship with Clayton," says Susie, who takes a lightning-fast dip in the cold pool before hurrying right back out. "Okay, I'm done!" she squeals. "I did it!" They cap it off with an indoor body scrub and a hot shower. As her body warms back up to a life-sustaining temperature, Susie's nerves begin to dissipate. "To finally see Clayton and feel his energy, this guy that I'm falling in love with… I just feel so reassured." The Bachelor is feeling great, too. "I have every intention of telling Susie tonight that I'm in love with her," he reveals. Great plan! You've already said "I love you" to Rachel and said a version of it to Gabby. What could possibly go wrong?
"It's no longer about me falling in love with you," he says. "I am in love with you." Susie looks stunned — more stunned than happy if I'm being honest. "Oh my gosh," she says, her eyes widening. "I honestly didn't expect to hear that."
Not only did Susie not expect it, she also is not ready to hear it — at least, not until she gets some much-needed reassurance from Clayton. "There are things I feel like I can't compromise," she explains. "I know you just told me that you feel like you're in love with me, but… do you feel that same way with somebody else? Or, have you, like, slept with another woman? Those are things that, like, I think would be, like, impossible to move forward towards an engagement. If I'm sharing your love with somebody else, I don't think that I would be comfortable, like…"
And now, a live shot of Clayton's reaction to this bombshell:
Indeed, it's the Bachelor's turn to be stunned. "You did say to, like, explore relationships," he stammers. "To answer your question, yes, I have slept with someone else here. And yes, I've expressed feelings towards someone else of falling in love."
Rose lovers, I'm of two minds about Susie's sudden (or at least sudden to Clayton) dealbreakers. If Susie has seen this show (or met a man) before, she would know that it's patently absurd to assume that he's only going to sleep with one of his potential wives in the Fantasy Suite. It's even crazier that she never informed him of her personal rules and yet she expects him to follow those rules. ("I really didn't want to give you an ultimatum," she explains later.) On the other hand, it's very reasonable for Susie to expect that Clayton would only say "I love you" to the woman he wants to marry — even if she did see Ben Higgins' season of The Bachelor. Now, back to this mess, already in progress…
"I told myself coming into this that I wouldn't fall in love with multiple women," he says. "But I can tell you that, like, right now I am the most in love with you."
Nice try, sir, but this only makes Susie feel worse. "It makes me more sad for all of it," she says, choking up. "I honestly don't feel like I knew how strongly you felt." Rather than giving Clayton an ultimatum, she just hoped that he would "protect" her if he knew she was the one. "I don't think I can get past those things. I just don't think I can."
The Bachelor's face gets redder and redder — from frustration, from anger, from sadness — as he listens to Susie tell him he blew it. "Had I known how important that was to you, that it was literally a dealbreaker, I would have changed the way that I approached things," he says. "I would hope that what we have is something that worth fighting for."
But Susie doesn't seem able — or willing — to push past Clayton's accidental betrayal. Oh, and this doesn't help.
Yep, Clayton clarifies that he slept with Rachel and Gabby because he was "having feelings of love" for them and he wanted to "see how the physical connection is." After all, he's in love with all three women, for Pete's sake! He's gotta do something to narrow the field down. And then he asks the million-dollar question: "If you felt this strongly about this, why wouldn't you have told me early on?" he fumes. "You don't tell me until now, and it's after the fact?"
Susie just keeps saying that she's "very confused" and doesn't know what to do. And then…
She heads outside to cry on a producer's shoulder: "I don't know what to do." Clayton gets up and storms off, as a producer in a pink puffer coat follows behind him. "This is exactly what I was afraid of," he huffs. "I don't believe in anything anymore! Everything is literally invalidated." Can someone wake Palmer up from his nap? The Bachelor is venting.
"Hopefully she comes back and she's like, 'Okay, I thought about it, let's talk it out,'" says a clearly agitated Clayton. "She just tore me apart!" Don't look now, sir, but Susie's back — and her mind has not changed.
"I probably should have, like, had that conversation just about what sex means to me earlier on, but I didn't know that you were feeling so strongly," she says. "Like, I don't feel like I can leave here with you, but like, I don't know what to do right now, because like…"
Clayton cuts her off. "What do you mean? You've made your mind up!" he snaps. "I was trying to convince you, but now it's like…" The Bachelor goes on to say that she's "invalidated" their entire relationship (LOL), and reiterates that if sex other women really was her third rail, she should have brought it up to him sooner.
Susie sobs about how awful she feels, how she wishes she had handled things differently, how she knows he's going to send her home now because she "f---ed this up" — and she's right.
"I don't even know who I'm looking at anymore," he says. "You just dropped a bombshell on me, and I don't agree with it at all how you went about it. I think it's BS… I'm sorry that I even raised my voice. It's because I cared so much, I really did love you… Anything you say to me at this point doesn't matter to me anymore, so I'm going to walk you out."
Daaaaamn — that was cold. But not unjustified. As Clayton walks Susie out, he stays ahead of her, not looking back, as she plaintively pleads her case. "I genuinely, like, want you to know that this was real for me," she says. "I promise you that every ounce of this has been real… and I actually feel awful about how this has gone down tonight." The Bachelor tells her everything happens for a reason (it doesn't) and says he'll get through this — and one day find someone who will "fight for me as much as I fight for them." Brrrrrrrr.
Though Susie stays quiet in the Reject SUV, Clayton has plenty to say once she's gone. "That was my biggest fear!" he tells an off-camera producer. "My heart's not in it anymore. My heart's out. It's out — it's done. It's over. It's over!" With that, he drops his head and cries.
Good God, rose lovers, that was a jam-packed, back-to-back leg of this "journey." And we have four more hours next week! [sobs into keyboard] Before you go, a few questions: When it comes to this breakup, are you #TeamClayton or #TeamSusie? Do you think saying "I'm falling in love with you" is the same as saying "I love you"? Did you have Gabby and Rachel down on your Final Rose Ceremony bingo card?
And is "spelunkeling" the best fake word in Bachelor history? Post your thoughts below!
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