“Insane two-night Bachelor finale.” – Jesse Palmer
The first ‘Bachelor finale bomb drop (there were a lot) was that “The Bachelor” Clayton Echard fell in love with ALL three women left – Gabby, Rachel, and Susie! “The Bachelor” season 26 aired its two-night finale episodes to a live studio audience with host Jesse Palmer as moderator. He opened Monday night’s episode with “we already knew it’s going to the most controversial finale in Bachelor history. What we don’t know is how it’s all going to end.” That made for a little bit of intrigue and mystery for audiences. It also told us that the ending would play-out live on Tuesday night’s finale in real time.
Jesse warned that viewers were about to be rocked down to “it’s core” and experience “the Rose Ceremony from hell!” The show picked-up with Clayton, in Iceland, sitting at a church pew. He stated, “I’m hurt right now. Bad,” as he was reflecting on the repercussions of losing Susie after telling her he had slept with both Gabby and Rachel. And told them both that he loved them too. “I need somebody to help me because I’m so broken,” stated Clayton in his confessional.
Next, Clayton sat down for a chat with Jesse, who said “it was crazy.” Clayton described being “blindsided” by Susie and felt that everything that they had “meant nothing” which shattered his trust. He was confused about being told by her “I want you to explore other relationships fully.” With Susie gone, Clayton didn’t know where to go after that. Jesse seemed to pressure Clayton into finishing the show. He said Rachel and Gabby are expecting a rose, meeting his parents, and for Clayton to get down on one knee.
Clayton said he wants to be honest with both Gabby and Rachel. If they stay, then that would prove to be a testament of their love for him. “I will be 1000% transparent ” realizing that the Rose Ceremony could be the end for him. Clayton said after Susie, he has lost ALL of his trust and his walls are back up.
Clayton was sure that both Gabby and Rachel wouldn’t want to move forward.
Jesse greeted Rachel first, reminding her that if she got a rose, that meant she would get to meet Clayton’s family. Rachel was hopeful of receiving a rose. Gabby was next. She said Clayton telling her that he’s falling in love with her felt good, and she is falling in love with him.
As Gabby and Rachel stood side-by-side at the Rose Ceremony, they could help but wonder where Susie was. They were deeply concerned by her absence. They assumed she went home.
Clayton arrived at the ceremony and told him he was “shattered into pieces.” He said the person standing in front of them wasn’t the same “last person” they were with. Then he told them about what Susie had shared with him. He said that made him question everything that he had with her. Gabby’s facial expression turned into hurt, and Rachel was holding-back tears. Clayton told them that he was in love with Susie, and he’s in love with both of them. Oh, yeah, had added at the end that he slept with each of them. It was in the season’s teasers from the beginning – “I was in love with her, and I’m in love with both of you…also, I was intimate with both of you.” So, no viewers should be shocked by this! The shock comes in Tuesday night’s episode.
The tears came down Gabby’s face. Clayton said he believes that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and sees one of them with him on the other end of the tunnel. But, he didn’t know which woman. If he knew, he wouldn’t string them along. He said if they have questions for him, then to ask. In return, Clayton got silence, and both women walked away for time to process what he had just told them.
Rachel cried on the steps as Gabby stayed upstairs trying to figure it out. she said “maybe it’s easier to just go.” When Jesse checked-in with Clayton, Clayton said this mess happened because he opened-up and became vulnerable. He said he knew it would hurt them, but they deserve to know. “I can’t go into a relationship with secrets” and he wanted to continue with both of them.
Gabby returned to talk to Clayton. She asked him what happened last night. He said he told Susie that he’s in love with her. But she couldn’t move forward because he shared his love with Gabby and Rachel, and was also intimate with both of them. He told Gabby, ultimately, “who I pick I love the most.” He rationalized it by stating, the other love was real, but it ends there. It just meant I had a stronger love with somebody else. Gabby asked him, “why didn’t you just save it?” Clayton said because that’s what he feels. Gabby walked away again.
In her confessional, Gabby said Clayton wasn’t being fair. You don’t tell multiple women that you love them, thinking that there wouldn’t be any consequences. “The woman that I walk out with is the one that I love the most. Wrong f$**ing answer!” She said “love isn’t measured.”
Rachel reacted in her confessional that she was “really heart-broken” and never thought that he’d be in love with all three of them. It felt like, what they had meant nothing. “He loves Gabby and Susie. How do you even say this out loud?”
Then Rachel sat-down with Clayton to talk. She told him that she was in a lot of pain and scared that she was going to put-up a wall. She told him how much she was struggling over the fact that it might not be her at the end. Clayton said the love that he feels for her is different than the love he feels for Gabby. Rachel said she had been waiting to hear him say he loved her for so long, and she finally did hear him say that. Now, he’s there telling them that he loves all of them. Clayton told her that it could be them two at the end of this and it’s worth fighting for.
Clayton asked Rachel to take it day by day. His family was there and he wanted her to meet them. He was able to talk Rachel into staying. All the while this was all going on, there was a real snow storm happening outside.
Back to the Rose Ceremony from hell:
Clayton’s take-away was that by judging by their reactions, he did mess it up. He’s in love with both of them and hoped that he did enough to convince them to stay. He apologized for putting them through that and appreciated the time that they took to talk to him. He told them that in handing out the roses tonight, they can choose not to accept the rose. He said he hoped that he said enough and thanked them for giving him the time to “talk through it.” The first rose went to Rachel. She accepted the rose.
However, Gabby rejected her rose. So, Rachel was the only one left. She was stunned and clearly, not the position she wanted. Because that meant that she won only by default.
After Gabby and Clayton got alone, she said she went there thinking that if could be them two at the end. Her trust in him carried her forward. She said “I’m not in the business of competing with anyone for love.” Clayton said he “compartmentalized it, what he has with her and what he has with Rachel,” is different. Clayton told Gabby, “I see something in us.” Gabby reacted that she doesn’t know what she’s supposed to feel. What made her week special (so she thought) was how Clayton said he loved her. But, now knowing that he said that to two other women, it wasn’t special. And, being loved “the most,” she said, “I don’t want to be the most loved…because love isn’t measured.” She said she’s never felt like she’s being measured until that moment.
Gabby told Clayton “say you’re sorry or something.” Clayton said he was sorry. Clayton asked her to try with him one more time. Give it another chance. Clayton told Gabby that what they have is genuine. “This is as real as it gets.” He told her to do what her heart is telling her.
In the meantime, Rachel was freaking out because she was the last one left, but not because he chose her. Then Clayton came back with Gabby. The biggest surprise of the night was Gabby apologizing to Rachel for taking so long, and asked if she was alright. This was amazing to see.
Clayton gave the rose to Gabby and this time she accepted the rose. Clayton told them that he’s really excited for them to meet his family. It was a very somber ending to a Rose Ceremony. The extreme opposite to where they are all typically happy. However, they still made a toast to trusting themselves to be there this far.
In her confessional, Gabby said Clayton allowed her space to feel what she was feeling. And acknowledged that what they do have is special. She can move forward, but might be kicking herself next week! (a premonition)!
The show invited back past ‘Bachelorettes and ‘Bachelor – Nick Viall, Michelle Young, and Clare Crawley.
Jesse asked for Clare’s reaction to watching the “craziest” Rose Ceremony. In Clare’s season, she famously rejected Juan Pablo at his Rose Ceremony. Clare answered Jesse’s question that it was tough to watch and excruciating. It was “brutal.” Nick Viall, who’s been on “The Bachelorette” (Andi Dorfman’s season), “Bachelor in Paradise” and a ‘Bachelor himself, brought up an excellent point when he said that Clayton didn’t tell Gabby and Rachel that he told Susie that he loves her “the most.” Nick added that Clayton never took the position of what it’s like to be in their shoes. Nick said he’s dying to know what Gabby and Rachel have to say watching this back.
Michelle Young, the most recent ‘Bachelorette’, said there’s no handbook for being the lead. But being vulnerable, you have to handle the care and that’s both sides and both sides have to be willing to put in the same amount of effort.
Jesse asked Clare what are the chances that Clayton finds love at the end of this? She said “these are real people with their hearts on the line” and she applauds them for putting up their vulnerability and hopes that he does find love at the end.
Clayton’s parents and two brothers met Clayton in Iceland at an Airbnb that they openly plugged on the show. Clayton’s dad, Brian, said he was excited to see Clayton and wanted to see him find someone whom he’s in love with.
Clayton told his family that he’s “really scared right now” because he’s in a “really bad spot.” He said he told himself that he wouldn’t allow himself to fall in love with more than one woman. But, he did fall for multiple women. Then, he told them about Susie and her reaction and why she left. His dad, Brian, said Susie leaving was “understandable.”
Clayton said he wished that he had never fallen in love with three women. His mom, Kelly, was flabbergasted. Brian said they have a right to be upset with Clayton. Clayton told them that Gabby and Rachel took it hard. Brain said Clayton is in a “really tough situation” and he “screwed the pooch.”
Kelly said she felt like Gabby is the consolation prize, and doesn’t know if the love of Clayton’s life is gone. Clayton was a little upset and told his mom not to look at it that way because one of them might be her daughter-in-law. He then went outside to get Gabby.
Gabby hoped that Clayton’s family wouldn’t be turned off by the fact that she almost walked-out on Clayton the night before. Gabby and Clayton’s mom talked in private. She asked Gabby what it was that made her stay. Gabby said she is falling in love with Clayton and she couldn’t give up a man like Clayton without seeing it through. She said Clayton would be such a good partner and such a good father. Clayton’s mom thought it was a good learning experience to “work through struggles” in a relationship.
Gabby and Clayton’s dad, Brian, talked next. He said he respected the fact that she walked away. She told him that she wants to be there so bad. Brian said it could make her stronger for it, and it may all work out. After Gabby and Clayton went outside to say goodbye, Brian said he hoped to see his son get his own clarity.
As they said goodbye to each other, Gabby told Clayton that she thinks she made a good decision by staying and that she has “so many deep, deep feelings” for him and she loves him. She said what got her there that far was the trust she has with Clayton.
Host Jesse warned that things were about to take a “very unexpected turn” during Rachel’s meeting of Clayton’s family.
Going into the day, Rachel said in her confessional that she was still really hurt from the Rose Ceremony. She met Clayton outside and it was the first time seeing him since he had broken her heart. He told her that he was thankful to her for taking another step forward with him.
Inside, Clayton’s family was discussing Gabby, and the prospects of Rachel. After getting Rachel’s first impressions of Clayton when she first saw him, Kelly grabbed Rachel to talk in private. Rachel told her how tough it was at the Rose Ceremony and it was “heartbreaking.” She is so in love with Clayton. Rachel said if she had left, she would have spent the rest of her life wondering “what if.” Rachel said she feels that Clayton is “perfect for her” and she sees him as her husband. Kelly told Rachel that the fact that she wanted to stay spoke volumes about her as a person.
Rachel talked to Clayton’s dad next. Rachel said she’s never been in love like she is with Clayton. Rachel said Clayton listens to her and truly sees her. She said she’s never been in love the way she is with Clayton. She’s been open and vulnerable with him and trusts Clayton. Rachel told Brian that she is really so in love with Clayton and she’s hopeful. Brian responded that it was nice to hear that and was looking forward to where their journey goes.
After Rachel left, Clayton talked to his dad in private. Brian told Clayton that he should be able to feel it “inside.” And, if he doesn’t feel it inside, “it ain’t right,” Brian added, “no matter what happens down the road, you’re going to hurt somebody.” Clayton told him that he can’t shut down what his heart is telling him.
Clayton said in his confessional, with Gabby and Rachel, he couldn’t make up his mind between the two of them. When Susie left, his whole world got flipped upside down and with the women meeting his family, it didn’t stop him from thinking about Susie.
The family discussed Clayton, “trying to figure out what his problems are,” Brian said. Even his brother said Clayton isn’t in love with them equally. When Clayton rejoined his family, he told them he was “conflicted.” Brian asked, “What’s conflicting?” Clayton said being with Rachel, he sees a future, and sees the love there and feels it. He thought the same thing with Gabby. Through the clarity that his family provided him with, and them telling him to follow his heart, he realized that his heart is there “with these women. But, now my heart is out there with Susie.”
Clayton said what he had with Susie is special. “It was a little bit more special with Susie.” Mom reminded Clayton that Susie left him. Clayton tried to stick-up for Susie in explaining that he stopped listening to Susie and he was the one that said he was “done.” Brian said Susie made the choice to “walk.” His brother asked him why he didn’t stop her at that moment. Clayton said he was overwhelmed with emotions.
Brian told Clayton that he is too caught up with the one who got away. Kelly asked Clayton why he screwed it up with Susie by sleeping with these other two women. Cayton’s reaction was “I know my heart is telling me to go to Susie. And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.” Kelly said “this is too much pressure.” Brian encouraged Clayton to follow his heart.
Then, out from the back door, in walked Jesse. He told the family that watching Clayton and Susie, he was “very shocked” and it was very emotional. It was difficult to watch. Then Jesse reminded Clayton that he has two women there that he told he loves. He asked him what he wanted to do. Clayton said he wants to follow his heart and go after Susie. Then, Jesse gave Clayton some hope by letting him know that Susie is still there in Iceland.
A former Bachelorette, Kaitlyn Bristowe; previous contestant from Michelle Young’s season, Rodney Matthews; and Cassie Randolph, the winner of Colton Underwood’s season were all there to give their own perspectives.
Jesse asked Kaitlyn what Clayton should do? Kaitlyn replied, “you’re always going to break somebody’s heart in this process. He’s a victim of being too much in the moment, which is something she’s also guilty of. He has to pursue the one that he actually sees his life with and thinks that Clayton should take the risk.
Jesse asked Cassie what should Susie do? Cassie said she was definitely having deja vu while watching it. She said she hopes that Susie doesn’t feel pressure from Clayton, or the show to give it a happy ending, or the pressure from her own expectations of going onto the show. Cassie hopes that Susie is in the moment in a good way. She hoped that Susie sticks with her intuition.
Rodney, who’s best friends with Clayton, said it was so tough to even think about the position Clayton is in right now. Most importantly he thinks Clayton has to follow his heart. “More important, you have to think before you speak.” He suggests that Clayton should pull-back.
FINALE PREVIEW: Jesse goes to Susie’s hotel room to see if she’s “up for it” to go see Clayton. Then, there is more heartbreak for Gabby and Rachel.