“If it was really true, I believe you would work through something like this.” – Clayton Echard
This week “The Bachelor” fans got through Clayton’s “Women Tell All” episode on Monday night. New host Jesse Palmer proved himself as a pretty good shoe-in during this episode. He prepared fans for what the franchise promises to be the most dramatic season finale yet.
The three-part ‘Bachelor season 26 finale started with Tuesday’s two-hour episode that will finish with the final two episodes airing next Monday and Tuesday. This will include a hometown visit for Clayton where he will get advice from his parents. So, what sparked all the drama? Well, it all started when Clayton told both Rachel, and Gabby that he’s falling in love with them and proceeded to sleep with them in the Fantasy Suites. Then, he was hoping to do the same with the third finalist, Susie, after he told her he was in love with her “the most.”
However, Susie revealed to Clayton that his disloyalty to her was proof that he wasn’t the one for her and called it a deal-breaker. Clayton was upset that she didn’t tell him this information beforehand. Point well-taken. But, Susie’s argument was that it didn’t feel right to her to ask him to cut short any of his experience on “The Bachelor.” It was something that he should have chosen for himself. Also, a point well-taken.
We now go back to season 24 when pilot Peter Weber was “The Bachelor” who faced a very similar situation with Madison who was a virgin saving herself for marriage. Madison did indeed tell Peter that if he slept with any of the women in the Fantasy Suite dates, that would be a deal-breaker for her. He in fact chose to sleep with other women. And she in fact walked-out. Fast-forward to present time where now it’s Clayton Echard’s turn as “The Bachelor” and similar drama is now unfolding in the remaining two episodes of his finale.
On Tuesday night’s “The Bachelor” first of three finale episodes, ‘Bachelor Clayton Echard and the three women remaining – Rachel, Susie, and Gabby, arrived at their final exotic destination, Iceland.
Clayton said he hopes that the Fantasy Suite dates bring him clarity. Because he is “falling in love with these women” and “already in love with Susie.” He said he’s ready to let his guard down. But, wait…didn’t Clayton tell Susie’s mom that he wasn’t “there yet” with her? Hmm…Oh, yeah, he had his walls up until this week!
Host Jesse Palmer announced to the women that they would be “embarking” on an intimate date without cameras, the overnight dates. He left the first date card which read: “Rachel, let’s see how deep our love can go. – Love Clayton.”
Susie was anxious about Rachel’s date and worried about what if Clayton ended-up sleeping with her.
Rachel said the more that she’s with Clayton, the more that she sees an engagement. Rachel hopes that Clayton tells her he’s falling in love with her. This is where Rachel finally got a helicopter date!! Because she’s a pilot! Clayton’s surprise for her was that he took her up in a helicopter to have an overhead view of Iceland.
Clayton said he and Rachel have an “explosive connection.” He was worried that if he doesn’t express his love to Rachel, then she might hold back. Clayton said he was ready to let his wall down. They landed on a volcano and went inside of it which was 400 feet down. During their time inside the volcano, Rachel was disappointed that Clayton didn’t open-up. She feared that she wouldn’t get what she needed from him, which is vulnerability, in order to go into the Fantasy Suite.
During dinner, Rachel told Clayton about last week’s Rose Ceremony being “terrified” because she couldn’t read him. She thought he might be walking her out and it put things in perspective on how she feels about him. Then, Clayton told her that he wasn’t able to be 100% transparent when he met her family. He said he wished he had told her earlier. “I was kind of holding onto it. I’m falling in love with you and I have been.” Clayton said he had been feeling that way for the last few weeks and didn’t want to tell her.
In her confessional, Rachel said it was the most incredible feeling and she was ready to go forward for whatever happens that night. Then, Clayton pulled out the Fantasy Suite card. Rachel said the Fantasy Suite “will change everything.”
Back at the hotel: Susie and Gabby were talking about Clayton. Susie said if Clayton feels like she feels, then sex would be a really big deal. If he thinks she’s the one, but he sleeps with another woman, Susie said she’d have a hard time moving forward with him.
Back to Clayton & Rachel: The next morning, Clayton and Rachel woke up together in bed. Clayton said it was a perfect night and they had a “strong connection.” He added that “it felt like a dream.” Rachel said she felt that their relationship was on an entirely new level, and intimacy is important. “It was a good night.”
After Rachel left, Clayton said he didn’t know he was going to say he loves Rachel, and doesn’t know if he’ll fall in love with the other two women. “That’s the scary part about it,” he said.
Gabby and Clayton started their date by riding on ATVs. After that, they settled into a diner to talk. Gabby told Clayton that she didn’t have any expectations going onto the show. But, each week has exceeded the next. Clayton said emotions are getting stronger and stronger. Gabby said it’s scary knowing that she could get hurt. She told Clayton that if she’s the one left at the end, it’s not because he didn’t explore his other options. But, he did, and it’s still her at the end. Clayton credited Gabby for opening-up first, and it’s why they’re both there now. In his confessional, Clayton said he’s falling in love with Gabby.
Going into dinner, Gabby said in her confessional that it would be so much if Clayton told her he loves her back. Then Clayton actually told Gabby that he loves her and that he’s been feeling that way for a while. But, he was holding back. It was pretty much the same thing he told Rachel.
Then Clayton pulled out the Fantasy Suite card. It was a glass igloo where their Fantasy Suite was. Gabby said they were connecting “on a whole new level.”
Back at the hotel: Susie was spiraling at the thoughts that Clayton might be sleeping with Gabby. Susie was crying in her confessional because she felt that it was ending.
Back to Gabby & Clayton: The next morning, Gabby said their night together felt like “the comfortability of home,” and there was no pressure. She felt that “everything is going to work out.” Clayton said with Gabby, he’s at peace. “There’s no fear, there’s no stress.” Then, Clayton said he is falling more in love with her with every moment that they have.
Back at the hotel: Gabby arrived back to see Susie and Rachel talking on the couch. She told them about her and Clayton riding on dune buggies. Gabby obviously had “bed head,” as Susie noted.
In the aftermath Clayton realized that he had told two women that he’s falling in love with them, and he may feel the same way about Susie. The reality hit hard that he’s going to hurt some of these women.
Clayton said Susie was the first person that he started to have feelings for. Susie called the week “the most challenging” and she’s in “a dark place” that she just wants to get to the bottom of. Susie said she’s going to go into the date hoping for the best.
The two did a hot, cold plunge into various pools of water that were hot, and cold. Then they body scrub onto each other. Susie said she could see Clayton as someone she’d want to start a family with and she was “so hopeful” of Clayton. ” Clayton said the love for Susie is “on another level” and the “expectations are through the roof.”
Clayton told Susie how happy he was after she told him that she’s falling in love with him at the clock tower. Clayton said as time went on , he realized how serious things are getting. And, in that night, he realized that he was also feeling those feelings but he had walls up. Clayton said he isn’t “falling in love” with her, he IS in love with her. Susie was surprised and didn’t expect to hear it. Susie told him that she adores him and thinks he’s incredible
Susie told Clayton that there are things that she can’t compromise and her expectations that she’s not willing to let go. “Do you feel the same way with somebody else?” Then she asked if he slept with another woman. Susie told Clayton that if she’s sharing his love with somebody else, then she doesn’t feel comfortable. Clayton responded that he thought that she had said something about wanting him to explore other women and she didn’t want to be the default (similar to what Gabby told him).
Clayton told Susie “yes” he did sleep with someone else, and “yes” he is falling in love with someone else. Of course, this was a great disappointment for Susie. She told him that if he feels that he’s in love with her then it doesn’t make sense for him to sleep with someone else. Clayton explained that he feels way different for her than he feels for anyone else. He told Susie that he doesn’t want her to walk away from this. Clayton said he has “strong” feelings for her and he’s “the most in love” with her.
Susie said she didn’t know how strong Clayton felt for her. Clayton told Susie that had he known how she felt, he would have changed some things. Susie said she needed someone who would have thought through that. Clayton pleaded with Susie to “work through it.” Then Clayton tried to rationalize his thought process.
Things got progressively worse when Clayton admitted to Susie that he slept with BOTH Gabby and Rachel and told them he’s falling in love with them. He was upset at Susie for not telling him how she felt earlier. Then Susie said “I can’t” and walked out the door.
Clayton was furious as he talked to producers. “That’s what I was afraid of,” Clayton said.
Clayton didn’t understand that if that was a deal-breaker for Susie why she wouldn’t tell him. He talked to Jesse Palmer about it and said he hoped that she came back to talk. Then, Susie came outside to talk to him. Susie told Clayton that she wished that she had a conversation about what sex means to her. She explained that if he had not slept with someone else, then that would have been her clarity. Then Clayton said in his eyes, she just invalidated everything that they had. “If it was really true, I believe you would work through something like this.”
Clayton said by her dropping that bombshell on him, he doesn’t know who she is. He said there’s nothing more and anything she says to him at this point doesn’t matter. After Susie told Clayton that everything was real between them, Clayton said because of his faith he believes that everything happens for a reason, and he’ll meet someone who will fight hard for him, and she’s not that person.
Clayton told the producers that his “heart is out” of it right now and “it’s over.”
NEXT WEEK: Believe it or not, Clayton continues on with the two women left! Footage is shown of both Gabby and Rachel reacting to Clayton telling them that he’s in love with them. Then, Clayton has to explain this mess to his father who seems to be on Rachel and Gabby’s side. It looks like Clayton will end-up walking away with no one. But, wait, there’s a major surprise yet to be revealed! Is it Susie coming back for Clayton? We’ll have to find out in the finale episode.