The Bachelor Episode 11 (Live)
Tears, heartbreak, and a surprise ending?
I have a crate of fizzy beverages, a mountain of chocolate, and my favorite blankie, because I think it’s going to be a tough night.
Tonight’s recap is going to be a loosey-goosey, stream-of-consciousness, word-vomit type of situation, because I don’t think I can bear to keep rewinding for accuracy.
You’ve been warned.
Join me, won’t you?
The Nightmare Begins
Jesse’s voiceover: “Susie walked away from love.”
I don’t think Clayton knows what love is, but that’s just my opinion.
Jesse walks out on stage to get things started.
He calls it the most controversial finale in Bachelor history. This is troubling. What will they do next, to keep the “most shocking” streak going? Electrocute a contestant on stage?
Jesse: “What you are about to see will rock Bachelor Nation right down to its core.”
Stop stalling, Jesse, and rip off the bandage!
He tells us we’re about to see the “rose ceremony from hell… Hopefully the kids are in bed and the pets are all safe.”
Holy crap, are they making innocent animals watch this thing?
Clayton is Broken
We get footage of Clayton in a church. “I need somebody to help me, because I’m so broken.”
He meets with Jesse to talk things over, and says Susie completely blindsided him and shattered his trust.
Susie told him to “explore the other relationships fully.”
Jesse: “And you interpreted that as?”
Clayton’s trust is ripped apart and all his walls are up.
He plans to be 1,000 percent transparent with Rachel and Gabby, and see if they’re willing to move forward.
Run, Rachel and Gabby, run!!!
The War of the Roses
Rachel and Gabby are getting ready to have their hearts ripped from their bodies, and I can barely watch.
They arrive at Harpa Concert Hall, an incredibly distinctive building.
It’s the drama queen of architecture, and it seems appropriate for the MOST DRAMATIC ROSE CEREMONY EVER!!!!
(Sorry for typing in all caps; Jesse is getting to me.)
They immediately notice Susie isn’t present.
Clayton climbs a very long, and DRAMATIC staircase, so that he can deliver the most SHOCKING news to two perfectly lovely and appealing women, who deserve much better.
I’m surrounded by chocolate wrappers, and the evening has just begun.
Clayton Begins the Speech
He thinks they deserve to know why Susie isn’t present.
He says the person standing in front of them isn’t the person they “were last with.”
Sounds like he’s about to tell them he’s been abducted by aliens, and what they’re seeing is just a disembodied hologram.
That might make for a better show, actually.
Here it comes…
He shares Susie’s deal-breaker: If he was in love or intimate with either of them, she couldn’t continue.
He doesn’t want to have any deal-breakers with them.
“I was in love with her, and I was in love with each of you, too. I am in love with both of you, and I also was intimate with both of you.”
The production team adds a little box to the bottom left of the screen, so we can see members of the studio audience react.
This Is How We All Feel
He believes there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and he can see one of them standing with him, but he doesn’t have the answers.
He invites them to ask him questions; he won’t hold back.
Clayton, not holding back is what started all of this.
There’s an awkward silence, and then both women leave the stage.
This is the moment we’ve been seeing in the previews, with Rachel sobbing on the concrete steps, and Gabby crying in a stairwell.
Clayton stands alone, next to a stand carved from ice which holds two roses.
Rachel: “I’ve never felt pain like this before.”
She’s crying to a producer: “He’s in love with all three of us, all three of us, and he’s heartbroken that Susie left? Oh my God…I feel like I can’t breathe.”
Gabby: “I don’t know what to do. Maybe it’s easier just to go.”
Clayton is still standing forlornly by the roses, listening to them cry.
Jesse: “How you doing?”
Clayton: “It hurts a lot right now, and I hate hearing them crying.” He blames all of this on his being vulnerable.
He doesn’t feel good about where things are about to go.
Jesse asks him what’s next, and Clayton says he wants to continue with both of them.
Clayton sits on the steps, and Gabby approaches.
Clayton says he’s so sorry. He tells her everything he’s said to her is real.
Gabby wants to know more about what happened with Susie, and Clayton begins to tell her.
When he talks about exploring, she tells him “exploring is not definitively ‘loving’.”
Gabby has much wisdom.
Clayton doesn’t want to build a relationship on half-truths.
She wants to know how he can explain his words of love, given the fact that he might send her home.
He says, “I mean everything I say.”
She presses him. “How do you like, back that up?”
He says, “Because ultimately, whoever I pick, I love the most.”
His explanation is an ouroboros. The woman Clayton picks is the woman he loves the most…and he loves her the most because he picked her.
Once he decides who he loves the most, the other relationships will end there.
She asks why he wouldn’t just save it, and not say the words.
“Because I felt it.”
He insists he’s in love, and he’ll walk out with just one person.
Gabby points out that’s great if he picks her, but what if he doesn’t? Is she just supposed to stop loving him? “How would you feel, in my position?”
He doesn’t have an answer. She says “This is f****ed,” and she walks away.
The smart thing to do, Gabby, would be to keep walking. Come to my house, and we’ll have a sleepover with margaritas and a dartboard with Clayton’s picture on it.
A Gift for Gabby
Gabby feels Clayton isn’t being fair. Her response to him picking the woman he loves the most: “Wrong answer…love isn’t measured; you can’t measure it.”
She doesn’t want to be loved the most; she wants to be loved for who she is.
“I feel really heartbroken because I literally never thought there could be a chance he could be in love with three of us. In love!”
She continues, “It feels like it meant nothing. And I’m just supposed to have my heart broken just for a chance that he might love me a little bit more than others?”
She wants clarity, so she goes to talk with Clayton.
She tells him, “I’m just in a lot of pain.”
Her tells her that the love he feels for her is not the love he feels for Gabby; it’s different.
She’s wiping away tears with a paper towel. Doesn’t anybody on the production team have a box of tissues? They should have been prepared for this.
Clayton tells her it isn’t over, unless she wants it to be.
He tells her, “I feel like this is worth fighting for,” which is exactly what he told Susie the night before. “And I love you. I do.”
She feels their love is worth it, but she doesn’t know if she can handle it.
He wants her to take it day by day, and meet his family.
He asks, “Can you trust me to take it day by day?”
She nods, and he says, “Thank you.”
They hug, and she leaves.
Outside, we can see a fire truck driving down the street, lights flashing.
Can paramedics heal a broken heart?
Next we get footage of Rachel crouching in a stairwell or a utility room, it’s hard to tell. She still crying, and she doesn’t know what to do. “I’m just so in love with him. It just hurts so bad.”
This is so painful to watch.
I want to give her a hug, and some tissues, and a chair. The concert hall is a gorgeous building, and I’m certain there must be a lounge or a green room, or some area that would allow Rachel and Gabby at least a small measure of comfort and dignity.
Outside, the snow is swirling, beating against the windows.
It looks like comfort is a lost cause.
Jesse cuts in to announce that the live broadcast is trending worldwide, and then it’s back to the concert hall.
I feel like we need a break.
Please enjoy this parody of “Love Actually,” starring OwlKitty:
The Rose Ceremony Continues
Clayton returns to his position by the roses, and we hear his voiceover.
“After speaking with Rachel and Gabby, I saw the reactions of the women, and those reactions tell me all I need to know: That I did mess it up.”
He’s in love with both of them. “And I’m hoping that I’ve done enough to convince these women to stay.”
I’m hoping that they run screaming out into the snow, because they both deserve better.
Rachel returns, followed by Gabby.
He apologizes for putting them both through this. He appreciates them giving him time to explain himself, and he acknowledges they may choose not to accept his rose.
He offers a rose to Rachel, and she accepts.
He offers a rose to Gabby, and she says, “I can’t. I’m sorry.”
My heart grows four sizes with those words.
She asks if he’d like to walk her out.
In the lobby, they discuss things further.
She says, “I just want to level with you. I came here tonight thinking it could be you and I at the end, that we do have something very special and very unique.”
Her trust in him carried her forward, but there are limits. “Who you…love the most is who you're going to end up with at the end, but like, I'm not in the business of competing with anyone for love."
That sounds ironic, considering she’s on a show that’s designed around competition, but I follow her meaning. She was okay with competing to win his love, but once she’d won it, she didn’t expect to share the winner’s circle. There can only be one gold medalist, not three.
Clayton tells her he didn’t mean for it to be a competition. “For me, I compartmentalized it when I was with you, and what I have with you is different than what I have with Rachel. And before yesterday, there was Susie as well, and what I had with her was different.”
He continues, “I know none of this makes sense…I can’t give you all the answers because I don’t have all the answers.”
He says, “This is my last plea…I wish I could just tell you the perfect thing, but like, I don't even know what that is. All I know is that I'm speaking from my heart."
Gabby can’t get past the fact that he told two other women he loves them, presumably with the same “intention, volition, excitement,” that he displayed toward her. “And that’s what made my week special.”
He tells her there’s more than one way to fall in love.
Every love story may be different, Clayton, but the basic principles remain the same. One woman at a time works best, unless you’re auditioning for Sister Wives.
Gabby doesn’t know how to proceed, and she doesn’t want to be measured.
"I don't want to be the most loved, I just want to be accepted and loved because love, you can't measure it. I feel like I’m being measured…did you regard what it would feel like? Like, it hurts…just say you’re sorry, or something.”
He says, “I am sorry. I’m very sorry. I’m not trying to create any turmoil, like, I’m trying to do this the right way.”
He continues trying to convince her, because he feels they have something special. “Is your heart telling you to walk out the door? Do you want to walk out, or do you want to give it another chance?”
Didn’t he say he was making his last plea five minutes ago? Let her go, Clayton.
We cut back to Rachel, who’s sitting on the floor, still crying. Is there not a single chair in this giant concert hall? Seriously, this is annoying me to no end.
“I’m the last one here, but not because he chose me…this feels awful.”
Gabby and Clayton return, so clearly he changed her mind.
Gabby apologizes to Rachel. “I’m sorry to make you wait,” and the two women embrace.
Rachel asks her, “Are you okay?”
The support they give each other is touching, and it’s the best thing about this raging dumpster fire.
Clayton offers Gabby the rose once again, and this time she accepts.
It’s not the most dramatic or the most shocking event, although those words still apply. It’s simply the saddest rose ceremony I’ve ever witnessed.
Gabby says, “You know, I really love him, but I could kick myself next week.”
Bachelor Nation Alums Weigh In
We’re back in the studio with Jesse, and Michelle Young, Nick Viall, and Clare Crawley have been invited to share their take on this episode.
Clare: “It’s tough to watch…excruciating…I think it’s cringey.”
Jesse asks if Clayton’s decision to be “brutally honest” was a good idea.
Nick: “Unfortunately, he left out the most important thing, which is, he told Susie that he loved her the most.” He feels that’s something the other women would have wanted to hear, especially Gabby.
He continues, “I think you’re seeing a guy who’s focused on finding love for himself, and not finding love with someone else.”
Michelle says, “Both sides have to be willing to put in the same amount of effort, and both sides have to feel heard and acknowledged.”
Gabby Meets Clayton’s Family
Clayton explains the situation to his family, and his father, Brian, is blunt.
"They have a right to be upset…you screwed the pooch, in my opinion.”
They’re meeting Gabby first. Clayton’s mother, Kelly, worries it will be hard for her to talk to Gabby, because if the love of his life is gone, then “she’s the consolation prize.”
Clayton wants his family to ask the tough questions, while also realizing the women have been through a lot. “One of them could end up being your future daughter-in-law.”
For her part, Gabby hopes his family will give her the benefit of the doubt, considering she almost left.
The family welcomes her, and Kelly gets emotional. “Gabby, I feel like I’ve waited my whole life to…[she tears up]…If you’re the one, I’ll be very happy.”
The visit goes well, and Gabby thinks her decision to stay is a good one.
Back at the studio, Jesse says things are about to take an unexpected turn.
Rachel Meets Clayton’s Family
Clayton’s parents and his two brothers, Nate and Pat, have recovered from the initial shock of the situation, and they’re ready to greet Rachel.
Rachel feels Clayton is perfect for her, and she would be willing to accept a proposal.
Brian asks if she trusts Clayton. She says, “I do trust him.”
His response: “I would have smacked him.”
Father knows best.
Clayton is a Cotton-Headed Ninny Muggins
He still can’t choose between Gabby and Rachel. Susie’s absence has turned his life upside down. “How am I supposed to just let that go?”
He’s still thinking about her, and he doesn’t know what to do.
Finally, he confesses to his parents that Susie has his heart.
His mother objects. “But she left you.”
Clayton says it’s not that straightforward.
His father tells him he’s grasping at straws. “I think you’re too caught up in the one that got away.”
He tells them Susie is a once-in-a-lifetime woman.
His mother isn’t buying it. “But then you were intimate with these other two women. Why did you screw that up?”
He doesn’t have an answer. Instead, he throws the blame on them. “You told me to follow my heart.”
If he breaks his own heart chasing Susie, “so be it.”
They’re skeptical, but they ask if he can reach out to her somehow.
He barely finishes saying, “I don’t know,” when Jesse bursts through the door. Has he been hiding in a closet this entire time?
Jesse asks Clayton what he wants, and of course, he wants Susie.
Jessie says, “Clayton, Susie’s still in Iceland.”
A Steaming Pile of Horse Excrement
Let’s take a moment to marvel at the sheer audacity of this announcement.
It’s common knowledge that dismissed contestants don’t go home until their final episode has aired, to prevent spoiling the show.
So it’s no surprise Susie is still in Iceland, because she’s not allowed to leave.
Clayton says, “I didn’t realize she was still here,” as if he still has no clue how the show operates.
Jesse promises him that by tomorrow, he’ll know how this whole thing ends.
I’m just holding on to one bright spot: The show will end.
More Bachelor Alums Weigh In
Jesse is joined by Kaitlyn Bristowe, Rodney Mathews, and Cassie Randolph.
Jesse asks, what should Clayton do?
Kaitlyn can relate to being in the moment, and she would tell Clayton to take the risk.
Rodney would tell him to follow his heart, and to think before he speaks.
What should Susie do?
Cassie hopes Susie will follow her intuition, and withstand outside pressure. Pressure from Clayton, pressure to give the show a happy ending, etc.
Jesse plugs tomorrow’s “shocking” conclusion, and tells us yet again that even Clayton doesn’t know what will happen. The next bachelorette will also be revealed. “You may think you know who it is, but you actually don’t.”
One Sleep and Two More Hours
We’re almost done! One more show, and we can put this horrible, terrible, no good, very bad season behind us.
I hope to see you tomorrow, so we can compare notes and exchange virtual hugs.
Need to catch up? Here’s the episode list:
| Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 |
| Episode 8 | Episode 9 | Episode 10 | Episode 11 | Episode 12 | Free Bingo Cards! |