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Clayton Echard at the final rose ceremony

The Best ‘Bachelor’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Romance Is Dead And So Is Clayton

By Ryanne Probst | March 15, 2022
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Welcome back to the best Bachelor recap you’ll ever read! It’s been less than a week since Clayton announced his unofficial campaign for “Asshole of the Year”—and this week it looks like he’ll be hitting that campaign trail even harder. Usually, The Bachelor finales give me no joy to watch. What’s fun about watching two hot people exchange lukewarm declarations of love on a makeshift stage that is usually decorated just a little bit culturally insensitively to the place in which they are getting engaged? Nah, not for me. Want to know what is for me? Watching Clayton get eaten alive by these women. Is this how the ancient Romans felt right before they threw the village idiot into a pit of live tigers?

When last we left off, Clayton was just starting to realize that there would be consequences for his actions. Specifically, his sexual actions. During the Fantasy Suites he revealed to Susie—a woman he was theoretically trying to woo!!—that not only had he been “intimate” with two out of his three suitors, but he was also in love with every single one of them. And how did Susie take the news? Not well, bitch. Like an actual reasonable adult who had just learned that her significant other was emotionally invested in other women.

Susie ended up leaving and Clayton reacted by throwing a tantrum, the likes of which have only been seen in a 2007 mall when my mom refused to pay for my Victoria’s Secret Pink thong. I will say, while it wasn’t fun for me to watch Susie get screamed at by a man twice her size, it has been fun to watch a mediocre white man succumb to the sexual double standard that has plagued women since the dawn of time. Is this what gender equality feels like? Is it??

With that said, let’s get into this week!

Welcome To Hell

This week’s episode starts where last week’s left off: with the rose ceremony. ABC has been teasing this particular rose ceremony as “the rose ceremony from HELL!!” (ABC’s emphasis on “hell”, not mine). To that I say: I’ll be the judge of that, thank you. Look, you can’t call this rose ceremony “hell” unless one of the women sets the place ablaze. So… please, one of you, set this place ablaze. 

Almost immediately the women realize that Susie is suspiciously absent from the rose ceremony. Rachel asks Gabby if she thinks Susie went home, to which Gabby basically replies, “Who cares? Let her burn!” (I paraphrase.) Meanwhile, it looks like Clayton is going to tell the women everything: that he loves them, that he fucked them, that because he can’t make up his mind he’s thinking the final rose ceremony will just be an elaborate game of duck-duck-goose in which the goose has to spend the rest of her life chasing him for his affection. Yes, I can’t foresee how this could go badly for you at all, Clayton. I believe this is what my therapist calls “self-sabotage.”

Clayton does in fact tell Gabby and Rachel everything. He tells them about his confrontation with Susie, the sexual bases he ran this past week, and that he’s in love with each of them. Wooooow. If I were Gabby and Rachel there is a lot I’d be pissed about in this moment. For one, he just told all of America about their “just the tip” action. I know that the Fantasy Suites dates heavily implies sexual activity, but my god, we don’t need to know about the differences between each girl’s turn-ons in foreplay. Keep something to yourself, I beg of you. 

And then there’s the matter of him saying that he’s actively “in love” with all three women. I think that’s perhaps the most upsetting to them as it cheapens each of their relationships. He’s using the term “love” with about as much reverence and intention as I use to describe my latest Nasty Gal haul. It’s not that I actually love the thing, it’s just that it fits okay enough and will look good on my Instagram. You know?

Rachel asks for a second to digest the news and, man, are the acoustics in this place great. Whoever the ABC intern was who scouted this location just earned themselves a nice Christmas bonus. All you can hear are her endless sobs as Clayton stares dead-eyed into nothing. 

My favorite part about the rose ceremony is Clayton unloading his entire fight with Susie on Gabby. He’s like “and, yeah, I did have sex with you and, also yeah, I did tell her that but it’s like she didn’t even hear me when I said I was in love with her too!” Meanwhile, Gabby is mentally calculating how many years of therapy will be needed to work through this trauma. The limit does not exist.

GABBY: But if you’re in love with all of us then how will you choose?
CLAYTON: Oh, that’s easy! I’ll just choose who I love the most.

I’m telling you it’s giving me big Jackie Burkhart vibes, tbh:

The thing that Clayton is actively not telling these women is that he already told Susie he loves her the most. It’s like he’s convincing these women to stay if only so he won’t end up alone. Does he realize if he moves to Utah he doesn’t have to pick who he loves the most?

Somehow production is able to wrangle the women into submission long enough for Clayton to hand out the roses. Rachel accepts the rose but you can tell that this “yes” came at the cost of her eternal soul. Gabby flat-out says no. Gabbyyyyy. That is some queen shit right here and I was really not expecting it. Gabby, you’ve never been my favorite, but you’ve officially won me over. Congratulations, you’ve made me a belieber. 

My favorite is Rachel’s reaction. She’s looking at the producers like she didn’t realize it was an option to say “no” to the rose. Despite the fact that I am constantly equating The Bachelor to terrorist acts, this is not actually a hostage situation. You can—and should—get up and leave at any moment.

While Rachel laments over the thought of having to tell her and Clayton’s future kids that their love story was less a once-in-a-lifetime romance and more of a survival, last-two-people-on-earth situation, Clayton is all but begging Gabby to reconsider their relationship. He’s like “babe, I don’t have a crystal ball that says it’s going to be me and you at the end, but imagine how cool it would be if it were?” 

ME, ALONE IN MY LIVING ROOM: 

Andy Bernard how are you not murdered every hour

Here’s the thing: it’s not about if Clayton slept or didn’t sleep with someone. It’s not even about his being in love with everyone. It’s about the fact that he killed the fantasy. People go on The Bachelor to be swept off their feet. The reason they compete with 20+ other women for the attention of a guy who thinks doing it with the lights on is sexually adventurous, is because of the fantasy. Sure, they might also want to be married or become an Instagram influencer (it’s 50/50 at this point), but more than that, they want the fairytale only ABC’s budgeting department can give them. They want lavish dates where bottom-tier Nashville stars sing to them in a two-person concert. They want to dine in Croatia and make out in an Icelandic hot spring. They want fireworks and bold proclamations and emotional orgasms. They want to feel like a goddamn 8th world wonder.

What they don’t want is to be confronted with how un-special they actually are. If they wanted that they could re-download Hinge. Clayton’s little speech about settling down with whoever he “loves the most in the moment” is reminding them of every guy who ever deflected their “what are we” questions with how, personally, he just doesn’t believe in monogamy, it’s a construct designed by capitalism to keep us buying more things and his feelings for them can’t be bought. You don’t want to be bought, do you baby? No, that shit isn’t romantic. It’s way too much like reality. And nobody wants that, Clayton.

CLAYTON: *opens his mouth once*
GABBY: Wrong fucking answer

GABBY FOR FUCKING PRESIDENT, Y’ALL. I have not flipped this much on a person since my ex (probably accidentally) liked my IG story and I decided I was in love with him all over again. 

I will say ABC is giving Gabby a full-blown Bachelorette edit this episode. When she says that “love shouldn’t be measured” she single-handedly rallied the strength of every sorority girl in America to her battle cry. Clayton, you will rue the day you ever wronged this bitch. Rue. the. Day. 

Despite Gabby’s reservations, she does rejoin the rose ceremony where Clayton asks her once again if she’ll accept his rose. Her response is the least excited “yeah” in the history of yeahs. Rachel keeps hugging Gabby like she’s a life raft and they’re both on the Titanic. It’s clear they both seem less than enthused to still be with Clayton, especially when they all rack their brains for some semblance of a cheers and just settle on clinking their champagne glasses sadly. That’s the spirit, kids!

Clayton’s Family Would Like To Be Excluded From This Narrative, One Which They Never Asked To Be A Part Of

How do you tell your entire immediate family that you fucked three women in three nights? I guess we’ll find out! Clayton is all set to have the two women he loves the least come meet his family. And, because he’s Clayton, he introduces his love interests exactly like that! 

CLAYTON’S FAMILY AFTER HEARING ABOUT THE ROSE CEREMONY: 

I love that after this conversation he just expects them to be on board with meeting these women. You can tell his dad is already siding with literally anyone but his son. He looks so disappointed that he has to claim him as kin—and on national TV and everything. At least Clayton’s mother is on board. She chugged an entire bottle of champagne to get through Clayton’s “confessional.” She’s happy someone, anyone, is still here to marry her son. She wants grandkids, goddamnit. 

And you know what? For a moment it looks like things are back on track for Clayton. Both the women, despite wanting to roast his genitalia over an open flame the night before, are happy to be meeting his family now. His family, despite wanting to publicly deny his claims to the Echard last name, tolerate him during the meet-and-greet and absolutely dote on his final two. It’s all going to work out, right? Right?! Lol.

After gallivanting these women—whom he BEGGED to stay on the show—in front of his family, he proclaims that he actually still loves Susie and would like to only be with Susie. Never mind that Susie is no longer an option for him. What do little things like contracts and rules have to do with him getting his happy ending? Hmm? Meanwhile, his family looks absolutely at their wits end with him. The mother especially is looking at him like with each passing word that comes out of his mouth her chance at having grandkids this millennium is getting smaller and smaller. Welcome to my hell, family. 

We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see if Clayton ends up happily engaged or chased from the Icelandic borders by a crowd of angry women and family members. Only time will tell. I won’t be recapping that shit show, but you’ll be in the very capable hands of my trusted colleague, Sweetest Betch You’ll Ever Meet. See ya next season!

Images: Giphy (3); ABC (2)

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