The Bachelor traveled across the country for four hometown dates.
Clayton Echard just took the next step with his final four women. On Monday night's episode of The Bachelor, the medical sales rep traveled across the country to meet Susie, Gabby, Serene and Rachel's families, all of which ET is breaking down in the recap below.
In Virginia with Susie, Clayton got a peek into the wedding videographer's heart, thanks to a touching story from her dad. When Clayton traveled to Colorado for Gabby, the ICU nurse finally confessed her feelings for him.
Clayton next headed to Oklahoma, where Serene, a teacher, laid it all on the table. In Florida, Clayton faced flight instructor Rachel's intimidating dad with apparent ease.
Keep reading for a full recap of episode 8 of The Bachelor.
Susie Sees a Future With Clayton
Clayton arrived in Virginia for his first hometown date believing that he'd "already begun to fall in love" with Susie. The wedding videographer gave Clayton a peek at one of her hobbies, taking him to a Jiu-Jitsu lesson.
Afterward, the pair had a romantic picnic on the beach, and Susie opened up about what she went through when her dad got really sick, and her fear that he wouldn't be able to walk her down the aisle one day. Susie told Clayton that her dad "set such a standard on what a man should be," as the duo headed off to meet the man in question.
Clayton quickly understood what Susie loved so much about her dad, as the patriarch recalled his daughter sitting by his bedside all night when he was ill. In turn, Clayton stated that Susie's exes "are dumb as a box of rocks."
That seemed to win over Susie's dad, who told Clayton, "When you guys walked in the door, there was definitely something there with you guys. I felt really comfortable with having you come into my house. You seem like a really good guy. I know Susie would know if you’re a bad guy or not. I defer to her judgment. I’ll tell you this, if Susie loves you, we’ll love you."
During a conversation with Susie's mom, Clayton gushed about being "blown away" by Susie, but stopped short of saying he was in love with her. Susie, though, had no problem telling her mom her true feelings, confessing, "I think I could marry this man, but it’s still very scary because Clayton is somebody who could break my heart."
Even though Susie's mom warned her to "proceed with caution," Susie said in a confessional, "I feel like my family could see Clayton becoming part of the family.”
Gabby Is Falling in Love
Clayton arrived in Denver next, and took off on a hike with Gabby. The ICU nurse dropped a not-so-subtle hint, when she led Clayton to a place known as Proposal Rock.
The pair relaxed in a hot tub after their hike, and Gabby revealed that Clayton would be meeting her aunt, uncle, cousin and grandpa. Absent from the family meet-and-greet would be Gabby's dad, who decided to sit the whole thing out due to COVID-19 concerns, amid his girlfriend's cancer battle.
The meeting got off to a hilariously rocky start when Clayton blushed over Gabby's memorable limo entrance, but the ribbing was all in good fun, as Gabby's grandpa told her beau, "So far I like what I see."
After Gabby had a heart-to-heart with her aunt, uncle and cousin, she got an epic surprise when her dad pulled up outside the house and held up cards expressing his love, à la Love Actually. The gesture left Gabby in tears.
"Bringing Clayton home went as well as I could imagine," Gabby said in a confessional, before telling the Bachelor himself, "I definitely feel like I’m falling in love with you."
A giggling Clayton proclaimed, "There it is! I might’ve been waiting on that a little bit."
"I’ve felt it for a while, but seeing you with my family just solidified things," Gabby told him, before admitting in a confessional, "I’m so ready to be engaged and share our lives together."
Serene Says 'I Love You'
Clayton next arrived in Oklahoma, and was immediately pushed out of his comfort zone when Serene revealed they'd be doing a high-up obstacle course.
Clayton didn't totally keep his cool during the challenge, but that actually endeared Serene to him. "I’ll never forget him freaking out at the top of that thing. I got to see him going through all of the emotions and being human. I don’t want him to feel like he can’t be scared in front of me, which today he showed me that he very clearly can," she said.
After conquering the course, Clayton and Serene headed off to meet her mom, brother and best friend. Her brother immediately noticed that Serene seemed "really, really happy," but he noted that was "bittersweet for me, because the higher you are, the harder you fall."
Serene's brother voiced his concerns to Clayton, telling the Bachelor that the teacher is "really fragile." Those worries weren't totally eased when Clayton admitted he was not in love with Serene yet.
When Serene spoke to her brother, he cried over the possibility of her winding up with her heart broken. Even with the concern from her family, Serene confessed her feelings to Clayton.
"After today, I’m not falling in love with you, I’m in love with you," she told a grinning Clayton. "Seeing you with my family really solidified that for me. I don’t think it could have gone any better."
Clayton Thinks Rachel 'Could Be My Wife'
Last up was a visit to Florida to see Rachel. The pair went kayaking, paid a visit to the Kissing Tree, and couldn't keep their hands off of each other during the activity.
While Rachel said in a confessional that she did "truly feel that Clayton could be my husband," she warned the Bachelor that her father "never really liked any of her exes" and said that he would be "very skeptical" about their relationship.
Clayton said in a confessional that he wanted to "win over" Rachel's family, but her dad revealed in a confessional of his own that he'd offered to beat up her last boyfriend when they had an argument.
When Clayton finally got a chance to sit down with the man in question, Rachel's dad was quick to question him about whether or not he'd support Rachel's dream of being a pilot.
Clayton confirmed that he "loves that she’s independent, I love that she’s passionate about being a pilot," even saying he'd move for Rachel if needed.
While Rachel's dad admitted that things seemed good between the pair, he still expressed his fear that Rachel would wind up hurt. Clayton said he "will hurt somebody" as part of the process, but had "no intention of hurting Rachel." In fact, Clayton said he did "see a future with her" and has even "dreamt about getting down on a knee and proposing to her."
After Rachel spoke to her dad, he appeared to be won over, something that delighted Clayton.
"I see a future more than I ever have with Rachel," Clayton said in a confessional. "I don’t know if today could’ve went any better... Rachel absolutely could be my wife."
Rachel agreed, telling Clayton, "If I was falling in love with you before, I’m falling even harder for you now."
A Heartbreaking Goodbye
Back in Los Angeles, Clayton admitted to host Jesse Palmer that he was "falling in love with all the women in a different capacity." His feelings for Serene weren't on par with the rest of the relationships, though, and he ended up sending her home during the rose ceremony.
When he walked her out, Serene questioned if her departure was because she said "I love you" and he couldn't reciprocate those feelings.
"I just had to look back and reflect and say, 'Where do I stand with my heart?'" Clayton answered. "I just have stronger connections."
Once in the car and driving away, Serene admitted that she was "shocked, confused."
"I literally told the man I was falling in love with him and in love with him. If that doesn’t do something for him, then there’s nothing I can do," she said. "It sucks, it really does. I wish it were different. Clayton was able to break down my walls. I gave it my all. I can feel myself closing back up, and that’s why I have nothing else to say to him."
Drama in the Fantasy Suites
Next week, fans will be treated to two episodes of The Bachelor. First, on Monday night, the Fantasy Suites. The "Women Tell All" episode will follow on Tuesday.
In the Fantasy Suites preview, Clayton appears to tell both Susie and Rachel that he's in love with them.
His confessions lead him to realize, "I don’t want to hurt anybody, but I’m going to."
That hurt will play out in dramatic fashion, as Susie walks away from a table crying, Rachel sobs while still on a staircase, and Gabby bemoans, "He told me that he was falling in love with me."
When Clayton tells two of the women, "I am in love with each of you, and I was also intimate with both of you," Susie is left stating, "I shouldn’t have to ask my future husband to not sleep with somebody else," while Rachel says, "I never thought he could be in love with three of us. In love!"
As for Clayton, he tells the cameras, "I’m so broken."
Clayton Echard's season of The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC. The "Women Tell All" episode will air on Tuesday, March 8. ET has got you covered throughout the entirety of Clayton's season with all of our Bachelor content.