The Bachelor recap: 'Wrong f---ing answer'
After a brief "we're live!" pit stop in the Tealight Candle Thunderdome, we rejoin Clayton here:
"I'm hurt right now," he says. "Bad." It's the morning after his disastrous conversation with Susie, and the Bachelor feels "terrible" for getting so "upset and angry" with the woman he loves. (One of the women he loves, I should say.) Sitting with Jesse Palmer later, Clayton tries to explain why he flipped out on Susie. "She told me multiple times, 'I want you to explore the other relationships fully,' " he says. "To me, that's a huge ask to say, 'Don't tell anyone else you're falling in love with them and don't be intimate with anyone else.' " Still, he says he would have abided by Susie's boundaries if she had TOLD HIM ABOUT THEM before Fantasy Suites.
"Where do I go from here?" muses Clayton. Palmer is all, Um, you go to the rose ceremony? The Bachelor decides that before he can hand out any roses, he's going to have to tell Gabby and Rachel the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth — even if it means both women might kick him to the curb. And if they decide to stay, Clayton says he'll continue his "journey" to find "love." Ugghhhhh. Let's just get this over with.
At long last, rose lovers, we arrive at the Electric Blue Rose Ceremony — the one teased all season in promos. The one Palmer keeps calling "the rose ceremony from Hell."
Gabby and Rachel stand side-by-side in silence for a few beats. "Where's Susie?" Gabby whispers at last. "You don't think that she went home?" Rachel replies, her eyes widening. Well, yes and no… But this is Clayton's mess to explain. Sir, the floor is yours.
Clayton spills it all, about his confrontation with Susie over sex and "I love yous," how "shattered" it left him, and how he owes it to both of them to be "very transparent" about everything that's gone down. "This is the hard part to say but, like, I was in love with her, and I was in love with each of you, too — I am in love with both of you. And I also was intimate with both of you." Oh man, this f---ing guy. Rachel and Gabby are visibly distraught.
Nevertheless, Clayton keeps talking. Even though it is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT CLEAR that he is in no way prepared to carry on a relationship with either of these women. Even though he could have EASILY pulled a Womack 1.0 and sent them both home, because he knows deep down that it would be best for everyone. But nope, Clayton keeps talking: "I know it's not easy to hear but I do believe, like, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I do see one of you being on the other side of it with me … And I don't know who that is, I really don't. Because I promise you if I knew the answer to that, I wouldn't string somebody else along … I respect whatever decision you all decide to make tonight."
Rachel and Gabby look stunned, and unsure of what to do next. Finally, they both walk away in search of a place to process the insane news they just heard. Clayton stands dolefully at the Rose Podium, as Rachel's sobs echo throughout the cavernous building.
Elsewhere, Gabby is pouring her heart out to a producer. "He told me he was falling in love with me, and he told Rachel?" she says through tears. "That's not fair!" You're right, honey. It's not fair. "He's in love with all three of us? All three of us?" gasps Rachel. "And he's heartbroken that Susie left?" As both Gabby and Rachel cry their eyes out off-camera, Palmer shows up to check in on Clayton. "I hate hearing them crying!" he moans. "I love both of these women and I know it sounds ridiculous … " You're right, sir. It does sound ridiculous. You should pull the plug now — but I know you're too much of a jackass to do the right thing.
Having collected herself a bit, Gabby returns to grill Clayton about what the hell just happened. He reiterates his whole spiel about how all of the women encouraged him to "explore" all the relationships fully, to which Gabby replies, "To me, 'exploring' is not definitively 'loving.' " In other words, Gabby's fine with the sex part — but the three-way "I love yous" are a bridge too far. She needs to know: How can he say that he loves her and then possibly send her home at the end? The Bachelor's response … rose lovers, let me just tell you that I screamed. He said, and I quote: "Ultimately, like, whoever I pick, I love the most."
Oh NO. Gabby is not having it.
"Why wouldn't you just save it?" she asks him. Why say "I love you" to three women when he can only choose one? "That's great if I'm at the end," she continues. "But what if I'm not. Then I'm just supposed to stop [loving you]? How would you feel in my position? This is [bleeeep]." Read him, Gabby! Read! Him! For! Filth!
Rachel is similarly incensed. "I'm just supposed to have my heart broken for a chance that he might love me a little bit more than the others?" she sobs. "I need clarity." Girl, what you need is a first-class ticket home to the States. But everyone grieves their own way, I suppose.
Excuse me, how did production not have REAL TISSUES on hand for this rose ceremony? They knew it was going to be a dumpster fire, and yet it looks like Rachel has to dry her tears with a napkin from the crafty table?
That's just rude, y'all. Get some Puffs in here, stat!
Rachel is practically hyperventilating with tears as she tells Clayton that she loves him so much, but her heart is breaking, and she feels like their relationship meant nothing. But Clayton isn't giving up. "This isn't over, unless you feel like it needs to be," he says. "I feel like this is worth fighting for." (Sound familiar? He said almost the exact same thing to Susie! This man is such a tool.)
The Bachelor reminds Rachel that his family is already in Iceland and he'd really like for her to meet them. "I care about you so much," he says. "Are you able to trust me just to take it day by day?" Rachel murmurs a vaguely affirmative noise. She even thanks Clayton for talking to her. She thanks him! Up is down. Black is white. Dogs and cats living together. It's mass hysteria!
As he waits for Gabby and Rachel to return to the rose ceremony, Clayton says this via voiceover: "I did mess it up." Rose lovers, when I tell you that I screamed … Oh, here come the final two. Let's try this again.
"Thank you for at least giving us the time to talk through it," says the Bachelor, before offering the first rose to Rachel. She accepts. But when it's Gabby's turn …
"Do you want to walk me out?" she whispers, after refusing the rose. As Rachel watches in utter disbelief, Clayton and Gabby head down the stairs to the exit of whatever this building is. "I came here tonight that it could be you and I at the end," she tells the Bachelor. But his declaration that he'd leave with the woman he loves "the most" is simply not something she can accept. "I'm not in the business of competing with someone for love," adds Gabby, a contestant on a reality TV show where thirty women compete to be the last potential wife standing. (I'm teasing because I love Gabby. Her larger point — that Clayton should only truly be in love with one woman at the end — is completely valid.)
Once again, Clayton won't leave well enough alone. He urges Gabby to reconsider, insisting that the "love" he has for her is different than the "love" he has for Rachel and Susie. Nope, says Gabby. "I don't want to be the most loved," she says, choking up. "I just want to be accepted and loved." And that is what you deserve, honey! You also deserve a man who doesn't have to be told to apologize when he's done something wrong.
And yet Clayton keeps pushing, telling Gabby that what they have is "so real" and ignoring her concerns about having to go through this whole heartbreaking ordeal tomorrow if he chooses Rachel. "I don't have a crystal ball, but I do know one thing," he says. "What we have is genuine and real, and there's love … It's as real as it gets."
Ugh, enough. Let's just jump ahead to where we all know this is going.
Gabby apologizes to Rachel for making her wait. "Stop it, stop it!" says Rachel, hugging Gabby with genuine concern. "Are you okay?" HELL YES TO THESE WOMEN AND THEIR RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER! Gabby accepts the rose. "I'm choosing to be here now," she tells us. "I really love him, but I could, like, kick myself next week."
Oh great — Palmer just invited Michelle Young, Nick Viall, and Clare Crawley up on stage to share their thoughts on this garbage fire.
Welp, that was totally illuminating. On to one of the weirdest family visits … ever. Please welcome the Echards!
Clayton arrives, and it's all around. And then he drops the bomb. "I'm in a really, really bad spot," says the Bachelor. "I fell in love with three [women]." He explains the whole deal, how Gabby and Rachel are the final two, and how Susie left after learning about his emotional and physical extracurriculars. "I love both of these women so much," says Clayton, his voice breaking. "But I also love Susie … I f---ed everything up."
Mom and Dad clearly can't believe that they raised such a moron, but they try to be gentle. "I don't know how you can be in love with three people," says Kelly. Dad is even more direct. "You have to understand, they don't want to be second or third — they want to be first," says Brian. "And I think you've gotta step back and say they have a right to be upset with you." Furthermore …
Dad! For! The! Win! Kelly admits that it's going to be hard for her not to view Gabby as the "consolation prize," since Clayton seems to love Susie more. Her son gets a little defensive and insists that neither Gabby nor Rachel are consolation prizes. "One of them could end up being your future daughter-in-law!" he scolds. Whatever, bro. Go meet Gabby outside and let's get this over with.
Gabby really loves an off-the-shoulder sweater, doesn't she? Given the extremely uncomfortable circumstances, Gabby handles the visit with remarkable poise. When Kelly asks her why she decided to stay, she's honest about what went down — "he had said some things that were very hurtful" — but says she didn't want to give up on Clayton without really "seeing things through."
Kelly appreciates that Gabby is "caring and compassionate." Brian, meanwhile, informs her that he respects how she walked away from Clayton — albeit temporarily — during the Rose Ceremony From Hell. "For you to come back, that's pretty amazing," he adds. "It's a shame what all transpired, but maybe it'll all work out at some point. That could be neat." From "screwed the pooch" to "neat"! I love Papa Echard.
Overall, the visit goes very well. Gabby says staying on the "journey" with Clayton was the right decision: "I'm ready now more than ever to be with him." Will Rachel feel the same way after her visit? Let's find out.
Rachel and Kelly peel off first to discuss the tumultuous events of the past few days. "It was really tough," says Rachel. "It's just so hard to think about the fact that I can be so in love, and he can be so in love with two, three people? It's hard for me to understand." Still, Rachel says she stuck around because she feels that Clayton is "perfect" for her. "I see him as my husband," she confesses.
Then it's Brian's turn. "Do you trust him?" he asks Rachel. Excellent question! She says she does, adding that she's very "hopeful" about where her relationship with Clayton could go. Brian jokes, "I would have slapped him!" Still, both he and Kelly come away from the visit thinking that Rachel, like Gabby, is a nice young woman who their son would be lucky to marry.
As for Clayton? He's still feeling "lost" and "confused." He can't make up his mind between Gabby and Rachel … and oh yeah, he's still hung up on Susie, too. "I'm questioning everything," he sighs. "I don't know what to do."
Once Rachel is gone, the Bachelor comes inside and throws another bombshell into his family's lap.
Dude, come on. "I'm just realizing my heart, where it's at. My heart's here, with these women, and now my heart is out beyond these walls — with Susie," says Clayton, adding that his relationship with Susie is "a little bit more special" than the ones he has with Gabby and Rachel.
Brian jumps in, ready to play devil's advocate. "She didn't think so," he says. "Clayton, she left you," adds Kelly. The Bachelor gets defensive again, saying that the situation is "not that simple" and that he's at fault, because he stopped listening to Susie during their fight. "She talked all the way until I opened the door and told her to go," says Clayton. Brian warns his son that he's "too caught up" in the idea of "the one that got away," which could be true — but it seems more likely to me that Clayton just doesn't feel ready to settle down with any woman, so he's trying to pick the one who already said no. Deep down, does he want her to reject him again so he can leave this "journey" alone?
Oh boy, mom just cut in to ask Clayton why he slept with Gabby and Rachel if Susie was The One™? The doofus can't even muster a response. "Doors might be closed," he snaps. "But you told me to follow my heart … and if I break my own heart in the process, so be it." Okay, buddy, simmer down — no reason to take that tone with your parents. We haven't heard much from the brothers, but Patrick seems to find his brother's buffoonery pretty hilarious:
Deep down, don't we all love it when our siblings screw up? Poor Kelly doesn't know what hit her. "I just am shocked. I'm totally blown away that he's in love with Susie," she frets.
Suddenly, Palmer walks into the Airbnb, and he's got a bombshell of his own: "Susie's still in Iceland." Of course she is! Clayton says he just wants "one more shot" to win her back. "At least I'll have an answer."
Oh good, more Bachelor Nation "experts."
Welp, rose lovers, there it is. All Clayton needed to find clarity was convincing two vulnerable women to stick around long enough for him to break their hearts a second time. But who knows? Maybe Susie will reject the Bachelor and he'll wind up picking Gabby or Rachel as a consolation prize! We'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out. Before you log off, a few questions: Is Clayton a sociopath or just stupid? Do you think it's possible to be "in love" with more than one person at a time? And do you think the Echards gave their Airbnb host a good rating? Post your thoughts below!
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