Here we are, folks… time for the infamous Fantasy Suites! Clayton Echard and his final three women head to Iceland for a week full of gorgeous views, fun dates, and *steamy* nights. But with an engagement just a week away, relationships are put to the test more than ever as Clayton gets one step closer to finding “the one.”
As has been teased all season, Clayton realizes his true feelings for each of the remaining contestants — and he’s in love (or “falling in love”) with all three of them. But with that revelation comes a reality of heartbreak, broken bridges, and broken trust. Who made it through their overnights with Clayton and who went home heartbroken? Find out what went down on tonight’s episode of The Bachelor and where Clayton’s connections stand ahead of next week’s Season 26 finale!
Let the Fantasy Suites Begin!
After last week’s U.S. Hometowns, the group heads abroad once again to gorgeous Iceland for a week full of new adventures.
Needless to say, things are a bit tense among the remaining three contestants. We can’t imagine how awkward it would be hanging around your boyfriend’s two other “girlfriends”! The women exchange some small talk while waiting for host Jesse Palmer, who arrives to remind them that one could be Clayton’s fiancé in a matter of days before presenting the first date card of the trip to Rachel. Susie seems particularly nervous about the overnight dates and hopes Clayton takes physical intimacy as seriously as she does. Given his well-established physical chemistry with Rachel so far, we can’t guarantee that certain *things* won’t happen!
me giving my new coworker a tour of the office#TheBachelor pic.twitter.com/zne6uHZJVN
— the bitchelorette (@Bitchelorette_) March 9, 2022
Rachel & Clayton Dive Deep
In a super cute red knit sweater, Rachel meets her man out in the countryside hoping Clayton will drop the “L-word” by the end of the day. As he tells her, what better way to take in the gorgeous Iceland views than from the air? They take a helicopter ride through the mountains. We’ve lost count of how many helicopter dates there’s been so far, but there have been many! Touching ground, they venture into the depths of a volcano. We know Fantasy Suites can be scary, but the date is supposed to be the fun part! Their descent into darkness is terrifying, but it is all worth it in the end for some private time together… 400 feet below the surface!
Alone in the cave, Rachel recalls their Hometown date and how happy she was to have her family’s support and acceptance. Looks like her dad didn’t scare Clayton off too easily. At the same time, she was looking for him to open up more, something she hopes he will do later that night.
“You took me all the way down here just to recap my hometown?” #TheBachelor pic.twitter.com/vRGqPR8eFz
— Henry Chang 🥨 (@t_witlessHen18) March 9, 2022
At dinner, Rachel needs some more clarity from Clayton to truly know how he feels, unable to move on to the Fantasy Suite if he isn’t on the same page as her. She opens up about her fear during the last rose ceremony, terrified she was going to be the one sent home (instead of Serene). That moment put everything in perspective for what she was feeling but made her question his progress. Clayton settles her fears, finally telling her he is in love with her in a magical moment, having not felt the way he does with her for several years. After a kiss, he presents her with an invitation to the Fantasy Suite, to which she happily accepts. She got the answer she was looking for, and the two head back to the private room together for a *fun night.*
Clayton says they shared a “near-perfect” night, with Rachel agreeing that their relationship has reached new heights. “It was a good night. That’s all I have to say,” she said joyfully in her confessional. They bid farewell, but not before sharing some final “I love yous.”
Susie: what’d you do? How did the date go?
Rachel: #TheBachelor pic.twitter.com/XADCja1fyw
— Sam Emerson (@sexysammyboy) March 9, 2022
Rachel returns to the hotel and dishes the details of her day to the other two. “I’m really sorry in advance,” she tells them, knowing that this week will be awkward and hard on all of them. Susie gets emotional in her confessional, sensing that Rachel and Clayton took the next step. In the meantime, Gabby sets off for her special day.
Gabby & Clayton’s Wild Ride
Gabby is pumped for her 1-on-1 day with Clayton, and he arrives to greet her on a dune buggy for a ride along the coastline. Their relationship was more of a slow-burn compared to the others, but things quickly progressed for the better, especially after Gabby told him she loves him during Hometowns. Riding on the beach, she can imagine their future life together, something she hopes he can see, too.
Gosh I love Gabby more every week #TheBachelor pic.twitter.com/vdkQCfkrYG
— jo (@jodiwatchesbach) March 9, 2022
Back on solid ground, they talk about Hometowns. Clayton loved her family and she loved how much they liked him, but Hometowns made her emotional thinking about how far their relationship has grown. She knows she could end up leaving Iceland heartbroken, but understands that Clayton needs to explore his options. She’s ready, and if he is too, she wants him to choose her because it’s what he wants. We love her mature viewpoint on the situation, but her maturity can’t protect her from potential heartbreak.
She hopes Clayton will return her words of love at dinner that night. He appreciates their earlier conversation and has a lot of the same opinions as her. He’s proud to have gotten to know her and see how far she’s come and is grateful for the love she has given him… and he feels it in return! We knew this was coming, as we know he will fall in love with all three from previous promos, but the moment is still a sweet one. It’s almost bittersweet, knowing that the women will soon find out the truth. Like the previous night, they share a kiss and retreat to their Fantasy Suite. “We’re just connecting on a whole new level,” she says with delight.
Meanwhile, Susie is spiraling back at the hotel, unsure if she will be able to move past Clayton’s actions with the other women. “I feel like it’s ending,” she worries.
SUSIE IS SPIRALING DOWN THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE #TheBachelor pic.twitter.com/RodI68fvhG
— Bachelor Burner (@sykkuwutwt) March 9, 2022
Susie’s Surprise Dealbreaker
Susie’s date will make or break her relationship with Clayton. She doesn’t know where he’s at with the other women and wants to get to the bottom of their relationship. Clayton also takes in the gravity of his decision back in his hotel room, knowing that by saying “I love you” twice, he will have to break some hearts. We feel bad for him, but he brought this upon himself. Will he say it again with Susie?
Not the weather signaling the chaos that’s about to come
— Bachelor Addict (@Bachelorhaters) March 9, 2022
The insanely windy weather reflects her mood going into the date, but her man brings a smile to her face. They head to a hot lagoon and spa, switching from hot and cold locations each step of the process. Things certainly get steamy, and Susie’s mood changes to a more positive one. Clayton hopes that things with them are still as good as the last time they saw each other, and they certainly are, as evidenced by their passionate waterfall kiss at the end of the date. “My love for her is on another level,” says the Bachelor, planning to tell her his true feelings later that night.
With the Northern Lights shining in the sky, they each feel good going into the night. Clayton reminisces about their surprise clocktower date in Croatia, citing it as a turning point in their relationship. That was where she told him she loved him, and now he’s ready to return the sentiment. He drops the “L-bomb,” and while she is delighted to hear it, she uses the moment to ask how far he’s gone with the others. Here we go… Clayton tells her the truth, practically putting the nail in the coffin of their relationship. If only Susie had the first date, things could have gone so differently.
I think this is the oops face #TheBachelorABC pic.twitter.com/v5Saqm4wg3
— elle (@ellemnop97) March 9, 2022
He can’t deny the way he feels, but he has different feelings for different people. She never thought she would make it this far but hoped that their connection was strong enough to make it to the end. She never wanted to give him an ultimatum and cut his process short, and even though he says he’s “the most in love with her,” she can’t get past how he feels about the other women. Watching their connection crumble is heartbreaking, especially after Clayton says he would have gone about things differently had he known how she felt. He wants to fight for it but keeps driving them further apart by justifying his actions.
She steps outside, unsure of what her next move will be. He storms out not long after, frustrated with the situation. Is this officially the end for Susie and Clayton?
We’ve reached the breakdown we knew was coming all season. As Clayton panics outside, Jesse arrives to help the Bachelor out. “I don’t know where to go from here,” he tells the host. Susie re-emerges, and they head back inside to talk things out. She feels awful. He feels awful. We all feel awful. She does regret not bringing up her opinions on sex beforehand, but didn’t know he would fall in love with more than one person. “I just know that I feel awful about this whole thing,” she tearfully says. Things take a turn for the worse, as Clayton tells her that she “invalidated” everything they’ve built so far. Things are just a mess. Blame is being placed on both sides. Ultimately, nothing else that’s said can fix what happened, and Clayton walks Susie out. “I’m done,” he says coldly before she drives away.
For as sad as their ending was, it does make for a good Bachelorette set-up for Susie. Susie for Bachelorette, anyone?
That was easily the most infuriating episode I’ve watched in a really long time #TheBachelorABC #TheBachelor pic.twitter.com/JYa0uirAqN
— 👁👄👁 (@yktmfvb_) March 9, 2022
Clayton is in for more rough times ahead, as Rachel and Gabby will learn the truth about Clayton’s feelings during next week’s “rose ceremony from hell.” On top of that, Jesse teases a surprise that Bachelor Nation fans won’t see coming. “I’ve got some news that I think is gonna change everything for you,” he tells Clayton. How will Clayton’s story end? All will be revealed during next week’s two-night Season 26 finale.
The Bachelor, Mondays, 8/7c, ABC