We can now say this about Clayton Echard:
He’s no longer boring.
But he is pretty darn destestable.
This is the conclusion pretty much all ABC viewers drew on Monday night — on part one of The Bachelor Season 26 finale — after watching how Clayton handled the fallout of Susie Evans walking away from him last week.
“I’m hurt right now. Bad. Last night, everything blew up and Susie left. And I feel terrible that I was so upset and angry,” Clayton told host Jesse Palmer… while sitting in church.
“I’m just so messed up at this point, and I don’t know what is going to happen. I want to believe love is here, but it’s all up in the air at this point.”
Through tears, he added:
“I need somebody to help me because I’m so broken.”
Susie told Echard that she couldn’t continue on the show after he expressed his love last week for her… and Gabby…. and Rachel.
And also told Evans he had slept with those other two suitors.
Rachel and Gabby, for their part, had no idea that Susie was gone when they showed up for the most awkward and emotional Rose Ceremony in series history.
Standing in front of both finalists, Clayton said he was “shattered into pieces at the moment,” continuing of Susie peacing out:
“It just had me questioning everything about what her and I had, and I felt like at the end of it, I couldn’t even look her in the face and I didn’t even know who I was looking at.”
The ladies were shocked — and that was before Echard said the following:
“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.”
Points for honesty? We guess?
“He’s in love with all three of us?! And he’s heartbroken that Susie went home?” Rachel said to the camera, laying flat across the stairs, crying hysterically.
“Oh my god. I feel like I can’t breathe.”
Gabby, meanwhile, told a producer off-camera: “I don’t know what to do. Maybe it’s easier just to go.”
Clayton told Palmer that he knew this candor would hurt both of the finalists, and yet…
“I can’t go into a relationship with secrets.”
Echard then tried to speak to each women one-on-one, but only seemed to make things a lot worse.
“Ultimately, whoever I pick, I love the most,” he said to Gabby, who told him this news was hard to hear, pointedly asking: “Like, why wouldn’t you just save it?”
“That’s what I’m figuring out,” Clayton explained.
“Who is the best fit for me? Who do I love the most? Once I make that decision, all the other love, it was real, but it ends there. It didn’t mean I didn’t mean it. It just means I have a stronger love for somebody else.”
“How would you feel in my position?” Gabby replied, prior to storming off and telling the cameras:
“This is bullshit.”
Gabby kept going, too.
“I don’t think you just tell multiple women that you love them, thinking there would be no consequences,” she rightfully said.
“For him saying, ‘The woman I walk out with is the women I love the most’ — like wrong fucking answer! Love isn’t measured. You can’t measure it. So like, don’t say that.”
Things didn’t go much between between Clayton and Rachel.
“The love that I feel for you is not the love that I feel for Gabby… It’s different,” he told her, adding:
“It’s not the same…. You both are two different people. I have different feelings. I’m in love in different ways.”:
Crying uncontrollably, Rachel was almost impossible to understand.
“I am just so in love with you,” she said.
“I feel like my heart is breaking.”
Rubbing her back to console her, Clayton attempted to assure Rachel.
“We could be at the end of this, too. This isn’t over,” he said.
“Unless you feel like it needs to be. But for me, I believe this is worth fighting for. And I love you, I do. I know that’s what we have. There’s no question about it.”
Back at the podium with two roses, Clayton told the women:
“I want to apologize for putting you both through this tonight. I do appreciate you giving me the time to talk with you both.”
Rachel ended up accepted his rose. Gabby did not.
“I just want to level with you,” Gabby later told Clayton.
“I came here tonight thinking that it could be you and I at the end, that we do have something very special and my trust in you and us is what carried me forward… I’m not in the business of competing with anyone for love.”
“It’s not meant to be a competition and I’m sorry if that’s how it felt.”
Somehow, this was enough to convince Gabby to return and accept the rose.
After Gabby and Rachel meet Clayton’s parents and become more excited than ever before to join this family, Echard tells his mom and dad:
“I love both Gabby and Rachel, but when Susie left, my whole life just got flipped upside-down. How am I supposed to just let that go?”
He said he felt “lost” and “confused,” while his parents just thought their son was totally nuts.
“Clayton, she left you,” his mother said, while dad chimed in:
“You’re grasping at straws. She made that choice to walk.”
Heck, the mother even asked Clayton why he slept with Gabby and Rachel if Susie meant this much to him.
And then? From there?!? In a moment of true Bachelor magic that wasn’t planned or scripted at all?!?
“I didn’t realize she was still here,” Clayton replied. “I just want one more shot. That’s all I can ask for. I just want an answer.”
Sounds like those most recent Bachelor spoilers were accurate, huh?
We’ll find out how it all ends for Clayton and his women on Tuesday night.
Palmer walked through the door and said Susie was still in Icelandd.