For weeks, The Bachelor producers have been teasing that Clayton’s journey to find love took a sharp left turn during the “Fantasy Suites” dates. We knew going into last night’s episode that he had told multiple women he was in love with them and that he had slept with at least two of them. But the way this sex fest played out was more alarming than anything I could have imagined, especially given how flat and frankly boring Clayton has been throughout the season. How did this mumbling muscleman manage to mess things up so badly?
Producers artfully teased the central conflict of the episode from the beginning. After Clayton starred in a commercial for Icelandair, he landed in Reykjavik, where Susie, Gabby, and Rachel were all nervously waiting for him. Susie, the clear front-runner, told the camera that she was especially anxious, because she did not want Clayton to sleep with the other women if he knew he was going to propose to her in the end. “I hope he takes physical intimacy as seriously as I do,” she said. Uh-oh.
And so we watched as Clayton took Rachel and Gabby on their Fantasy Suite dates, where he did not take physical intimacy as seriously as Susie does. By giving Susie the final date, producers all but ensured that Clayton would do something with the other women that would upset Susie, and it would be too late to take it back. But did they expect him to commit quite so hard to loving and sleeping with every woman who crossed his path in the span of one week in Iceland? I mean, probably not?
On his date with Rachel, Clayton showed her one of the country’s famous volcanoes and then headed to a hotel suite to explore his “explosive connection” with her. It was clear from the next morning’s footage that the pair had had a good time: The camera panned to their clothes on the floor, and Clayton told the camera that he had the “strongest physical connection” with Rachel. He left by screaming, “I love you, Rachel!” up at her on the hotel balcony. So … Rachel’s the one, right?
Well. Clayton did more or less the same thing with Gabby. After a day riding dune buggies on a black-sand beach, Clayton and Gabby retreated to a geodesic dome, where it was implied that they also had sex. Again, he left by screaming, “I’m falling in love with you!” And all this time, Susie was stuck in a hotel, working herself up about what Clayton was potentially doing with the other women. At one point, producers showed her literally walking down a spiral staircase while admitting, “I’m spiraling.”
When Clayton and Susie finally greeted each other outside a hot-springs spa, Clayton urged his third would-be lover to “do the jump” — that thing on The Bachelor where all the women run, jump into the Bachelor’s arms, and wrap their legs around him. She declined, citing the cold. By the time they got to the dinner portion of their date, it was clear that the two were on different wavelengths. Clayton began the evening by telling Susie he was in love with her (no kidding!), and Susie responded by asking about his relationships with the other women.
“In knowing there’s an engagement, literally in a week, there are things that I can’t compromise,” she said. “I know you just told me that you feel like you’re in love with me, but I don’t know, do you feel that same way with somebody else? Or have you slept with another woman? Like those are things that I think would be impossible [for me] to move towards and engagement.”
The remaining 20 minutes of footage were some of the most brutal to ever air on this show. Boring, smiley Clayton went from inarticulate, to frustrated, to absolutely incensed as he attempted to explain why Susie, the woman he loves, should not care that he slept with two other women he purportedly also loves. “I can tell you right now that I am the most in love with you,” he said, grasping at straws. “No one told me I had to go sleep with somebody, okay? I was in love — I was, you know, having feelings of love with these, with this person, and I slept with them because I love this person, so I’m gonna just see how the physical connection is … So me sleeping with … BOTH … is somehow because I’ve fallen in love with three women, and it makes zero sense to me.”
Obviously, this did not do much to assuage Susie’s fears about Clayton’s level of commitment, and she made it clear to him that she intended to leave. Instead of showing any compassion or empathy for her position, he turned the situation around and blamed her for caring, saying she had “broken” him. “You invalidated everything we had,” he yelled. “I don’t even know who I’m looking at anymore.” The night ended with him marching her to a waiting SUV outside the restaurant.
All this time, it seems Clayton’s flat affect and horrendous sense of style were masking the fact that he’s a big jerk. And based on the teaser for next week’s two-part finale, he does not find redemption: Instead, he tells Rachel and Gabby that he slept with both of them at the rose ceremony, sending them into fits of tears. At least none of them will have to marry a guy obsessed with wearing patterned ties.