'The Bachelor' Finale Recap: Clayton Can't Let Susie Go
By Paige Gawley
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Clayton Echard can't let go of the one that got away. On the first part of The Bachelor's two-part season finale, Clayton convinced two women to stick it out, but couldn't get Susie off of his mind, all of which ET is breaking down in the recap below.
The episode began as Clayton led the Jesse Palmer-coined "rose ceremony from Hell," in which he told Rachel and Gabby, his two remaining women, that he was in love with them and Susie, and had been intimate with both of them.
After emotional conversations, Clayton convinced them to stay and meet his family, but two successful meetings with the parents didn't get Clayton's mind off of Susie and their love.
The episode ended with the Bachelor stating that he wants one more shot with the one who got away.
Keep reading for a full recap of part one of the two-part season finale of The Bachelor.
Clayton Is 'So Broken'
After Susie's dramatic exit, Clayton said in a confessional that "everything blew up" with her departure.
"I feel terrible that I was so upset and angry," he said, alluding to the angry words he lobbed during their split. "I’m just so messed up at this point and I just don’t know what’s going to happen. I want to believe that love’s here, but I just don’t know."
"I need somebody to help me, 'cause I’m so broken," Clayton added through tears.
Then, during a conversation with Jesse, Clayton admitted that he was "blindsided" and "shattered" by Susie's exit, especially since she had told him before to "explore" his other relationships.
Susie's reaction to the reality of his feelings made Clayton question if the other women would respond similarly. Thus, Clayton decided to handle the rose ceremony by being "100 percent transparent," knowing that, "If they were to stick it out after hearing all of that, that’s a testament to the love that we have."
The 'Rose Ceremony from Hell'
Rachel and Gabby entered the rose ceremony with both nerves and confidence, given that they'd both slept with and exchanged "I love yous" with Clayton. The nerves took over, though, as soon as Clayton began speaking.
"I’m shattered into pieces at the moment. I’m questioning everything," he admitted. "The person that’s standing in front of you right now is not the person you were last with. What I’m about to say is not going to be easy to hear, but I owe it to you all."
After explaining the situation with Susie, Clayton said, "I didn’t want to go about this way, but because it became a deal breaker, I don’t want that to be a deal breaker with us. This is the hard part to say, but I was in love with her, and... I am in love with both of you, and I also was intimate with both of you."
"I know it’s not easy to hear, but I do believe that 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," he said. "I don’t have the answers. I don’t know who that is. I really don’t. I promise you if I knew the answer to that, I wouldn’t string someone else along."
After promising that he'd be "transparent" with each of them, both Rachel and Gabby walked away in tears. As Clayton listened to the women's sobs, standing by two roses he'd yet to offer up, they questioned everything.
"He told me he was falling in love with me, and he told Rachel. That’s not fair. I don’t want to end up at the end if it’s gonna be like that," Gabby said. "... I don’t know what to do. Maybe it’s easier just to go."
As he listened to the pain both women were feeling, he stood by his decision to tell them the whole truth. "They have every right to feel hurt... but they deserve to know," Clayton told Jesse. "I don’t feel good right now, but I can’t go into a relationship with secrets... I want to continue with both of them."
Gabby and Rachel Make Their Decision
Gabby spoke to Clayton one-on-one first, and he assured her that everything he'd expressed was "real," and, while she accepted that, she questioned how he could "back up" his words if he said the same thing to three people.
"Ultimately whoever I pick, I love the most," he said. "That’s what I’m figuring out... Once I make that decision, all the other love, it was real, but it ends there."
Gabby, though, asked, "Why wouldn’t you just save it?" Immediately, Clayton replied, "Because I felt it."
"That’s great if I’m at the end, but if I’m not, I’m just supposed to stop?" she said through tears. "How would you feel in my position?"
In a confessional, an emotional Gabby said, "For him to say 'The woman I walk out with is the woman I love the most,' wrong f**king answer... I don’t want to be loved the most, I just want to be loved for who I am."
Rachel was up next, and before talking to Clayton she said in a confessional, "I’m supposed to have my heart broken for the chance that he might love me a little more than the others?"
While speaking to Clayton, Rachel questioned if things were real, if their time together was "special."
"I just am so in love with you. I feel like my heart’s breaking," she told him. "... It’s just so hard to understand that the love that I feel, you can feel for three people."
Clayton reiterated his love for Rachel, before asking her to stay and meet his parents. At the rose ceremony, Clayton apologized once more, telling the women, "You can choose not to accept the rose if you do not feel that you are able to... I hope that I said enough, but I thank you for at least giving us the time to talk through it."
Clayton called Rachel's name first and she accepted the rose, but a dejected looking Gabby said no to the offer to stay when Clayton called her name next.
Clayton accepted Gabby's rejection and walked her out, where she explained, "I came tonight thinking it could be you and I at the end, that we do have something very special and very unique. My trust in you and us is what carried me forward... I’m not in the business of competing with anyone for love."
Clayton said that "it's not meant to be a competition," noting that he developed love for each woman because he "compartmentalized."
"I don’t want to be the most loved, I just want to be accepted and loved... I feel like I’m being measured," she said. "... Did you regard what it would feel like? Why did you hurt us?"
Clayton apologized again, and as Rachel grappled with what it would mean to be the last one standing, he and Gabby reappeared at the rose ceremony. When Clayton asked Gabby to accept the rose for a second time, she did just that.
"I’m uncomfortable, I’m hurt, and I chose to stay despite it," Gabby said in a confessional. "... I really love him, but I could kick myself next week."
In a special live appearance, former Bachelor Nick Viall pointed out that Clayton was still keeping one secret from both Rachel and Gabby -- that he told Susie he was "the most in love" with her.
Gabby Wins Over Clayton's Parents
Clayton excitedly greeted his parents and brothers, who'd recently arrived in Iceland, but the happiness was short lived, as he recounted the happenings of the "hardest week of my life by far."
"I wish I never would’ve fallen in love with three women," Clayton told his family. "... Now that I’m there, I’ve f**ked everything up."
"They don’t want to be second or third, they want to be first... They have a right to be upset with you," his dad answered. "... You’re in a very tough situation... You’ve screwed the pooch in my opinion."
After Clayton assured his family that neither Gabby nor Rachel was "a consolation prize" after Susie's exit, he warned them against being too hard on either woman in light of the events of the night before.
Gabby was in a much better mood when she arrived to meet Clayton's family, and he was delighted by that fact. Gabby quickly won over Clayton's parents, especially when she told his mom that she just couldn't "give up a man like him without seeing it through" because he'd be "such a good partner, such a good father."
Clayton's dad, meanwhile, told Gabby that her and Clayton's trials "could make you stronger for it."
Ultimately, the positive experience left Gabby feeling confident in her decision, as she told Clayton, "I want to be here so bad. Knowing that I could’ve missed out on all of that is devastating. I think I made such a good decision... I really do love you."
Rachel Tells Clayton's Parents She's 'So in Love'
Rachel went into the day feeling "a lot of different emotions" as she struggled with the meet-the-family day being "the first time I’ve seen him since he broke my heart."
Rachel tamped down the worry, though, and impressed Clayton's family. She admitted to his mom that Clayton's reveal left her feeling "heartbreak," but she ultimately was "so in love" and would've "spent the rest of my life wondering" what would've been had she left.
After confirming that she'd accept a proposal from Clayton, Rachel told his dad that she's "never been in love the way I am with him."
"I would’ve smacked him," the Echard patriarch told her with a laugh, and she replied back, "I really am so in love with him."
The whole thing "went amazing," according to Rachel, and she left telling Clayton, "I had such an amazing day, and I am really, really grateful."
Clayton Has Susie on the Mind
Despite the positive family meetings with both women, Clayton could not stop thinking about Susie.
"I love both Gabby and Rachel, but when Susie left, my whole life got flipped upside down," he said in a confessional. "How am I supposed to let that go?"
Then, while speaking to his family, Clayton admitted that he wants one more chance with Susie.
"In the moment I see a future... but I thought the same thing with Gabby as I was standing there. Through the clarity that you all have provided the last few days... that’s when it hit me, I’ve realized my heart, where it’s at. My heart’s here with these women, and now my heart’s out beyond these walls with Susie," he said. "What I had with Susie was very, very special. It’s not to discredit what I have with Rachel, or what I have with Gabby. I mean, you guys can clearly see that it’s so special what I have with those women, but it just feels a little more special with Susie."
While Clayton's parents argued that Susie left him and their relationship was over, Clayton insisted that "it's not that straightforward" and confessed that he was the one to walk away from their love.
"She had everything. She was somebody where I was like, this is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of woman. Doors might be closed. They might be," he admitted. "... You told me to follow my heart, and guess what, if it goes and gets broken and I break my heart in the process, so be it. I know that my heart is telling me to go do this, if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work."
Jesse arrived soon after and revealed that Susie was still in Iceland. To that, Clayton had just one thing to say: "I just want one more shot."