Despite The Bachelor being, you know, reality TV, it’s not often we see a true reality displayed on our screens. Hot tubs seem to magically appear out of thin air. A trip to Vietnam is totally normal after spending six complete hours with someone. And a helicopter rides are the only logical means of transportation. That’s the case in the rosy world the ABC dating series creates for views week after week. But, for what feels like the first time in 23 seasons, the picture perfect, romantic facade was stripped away and Colton Underwood presented us with a heartbreakingly relatable moment. But first, let’s pick up where we left off. At the rose ceremony, Colton pulls host Chris Harrison aside to talk. Why, his remaining ladies, Cassie, Tayshia and Hannah G, wonder. Well, probably because Chris has been MIA and they need to catch up on how Chris’ golf game is going. Or, as it turns out, our virgin Bachelor wants to let him know he’s taken a sex ed course and is fully aware of what to expect in this week’s fantasy suites. (ICYMI, last season, while vying for Becca Kufrin’s heart, he seemed to be confused by the overnight date’s itinerary.)
And, he’s prepared to potentially lose his v-card. “It’s something I don’t have mapped out,” he says. “If I feel like I’m in love, I could see it happening, 100 percent.”
Back inside, he tells the women they’re headed to Portugal, “where the mountains meet the oceans.” Yes, Colton has now added poet to his growing resume. There, Tayshia lands the first one-on-one, which, has foreboding signs from the start. (Sign number one: Why is Colton wearing that heinous black scarf?)
Keeping with their tradition — well, as much tradition as you can create in barely two months — of heart stopping, height-related activities, they hop into a helicopter and journey to the end of the world. (Or just a cliff overlooking the ocean, but whatever.) Apparently, with fantasy suites looming, Colton is contractually obligated to get in as many virgin jokes as possible: He quips that Portugal exports extra virgin olive oil and pokes fun at his lack of flexibility.
Colton. We get it. You have never had sex.
But Tayshia hopes to change that. “I definitely think that physical chemistry is something that needs to be explored,” she gushes. “Going into tonight, I am ready to take that next step with Colton.”
First, however, a candlelight dinner where Tayshia comes dangerously close to a very relatable nip-slip. (Don’t worry, girl, ABC has censors!) Girls secured, she opens up about her own relationship history, revealing she lost her virginity to her husband. But intimacy comes down to trust — not lust. A year and a half into her marriage, Tayshia was cheated on. And it gutted her. “It’s something I was ashamed of but it’s caused me to know my self worth because I’ve been through the hardest part of a relationship,” she tells Colton. “I turned that around to fuel my future relationships.” To her, intimacy holds extraordinary value and sex should not be taken lightly.
On cue, he hands her the invitation to the fantasy suite, which she happily accepts. “I might be the person Colton could be waiting for,” she says. “If he has a big smile tomorrow morning I think you can guess why.” The music hits a crescendo — and Colton closes the door. Boom.
The next morning, he is indeed smiling. But it’s not from sex. “I enjoyed having our conversation,” he tells her. “It was nice to have private moments.” Yeah, a great conversation is definitely not top of mind if you just lost your virginity.
As Tayshia reveals, the night was “new territory for both of us,” but they did not get physical. “I guess the next time I’ll see you is at the rose ceremony?” she asks before walking him out of her suite. There’s clearly an uncomfortable tension in the air, which they both confirm in their confessionals. While Tayshia says she’s on the brink of an emotional breakdown, Colton reveals he just isn’t in love with her. Yet. “My mind automatically is still thinking about the other two relationships,” he says of Cassie and Hannah G. “One thing I know is you can’t force feelings.”
Next up is Cassie, who Colton is giddy as a school girl to see. “I want to be in love with Cassie,” he says. “In order to get there we really need this time together to really see where we’re at.” But wait, I thought you couldn’t force feelings, Colton?
As they explore the cobblestoned town of Tavira, their dynamic is effortless. Colton has tossed his eye-roll inducing virgin jokes aside to unleash a more wild side. He tells Cassie he wouldn’t mind if she wore something see-through and lovingly smacks her with a paddle. Later, he pulls her into an alleyway for an intense make out with a side of heavy petting.
“I want to be able to feel the way that I felt today and be with somebody who I feel crazy about and I can’t keep my hands off of and just explore things together,” a glowing Colton raves. “That’s what I want out of my wife.”
Pause. Did he just tell us Cassie is his winner?
OK, continue: Cassie sees a future with him too. But she wants more time. Plus her dad’s outright refusal to give Colton his blessing only shatters her happily ever after even more.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so confused about something this big,” she says in a confessional as tears stream down her face. “ I just feel like he has no idea how confused I am. It just makes me so, so, so sad.”
Next thing you know, an ominous foot is stepping out of van and, hold on, it’s Cassie’s dad, Matt! Now isn’t that some beautiful foreshadowing from team Bachelor. He’s here to discuss his concerns with “with the potential engagement that may be around the corner.” Oh, also he was just “in the neighborhood.” (If you grab a map, Portugal is indeed a hop, skip and a jump away from Southern California.) He admits he wasn’t completely convinced Cassie was head over heels in love and wants to make sure she’s seeing the full picture. “It scares me getting to the end and accepting a proposal,” she sobs. “That’s huge. But I’m also not ready for it to be over.”
Their conversation is beautifully honest. Matt knows Cassie has her hesitations and tells her if it’s true love, it shouldn’t be this hard: “Following your heart doesn’t always mean it’s easy but you gotta think long term.” (Let’s hear it for Dad!)
This situation, for lack of a better word, sucks and Cassie knows it. But here’s the thing, when you know, you know. And Matt doesn’t let her forget that. “I want to feel that 100 percent this is the person for me: I’m in love and 100 percent confident in it,” she says. “That’s what I want. I want what my dad and my mom have and I don’t have that right now.”
The conversation gives her clarity: She has to send herself home. But can she go through with it?
Meanwhile, Colton is prepping for their dinner date, truly believing this could be the night he’ll finally lose his virginity. “Cassie is the one. Outside of all of this, I can definitely see us working forever,” he raves. “I feel like my whole life has been leading to tonight because I love Cassie. I want to be with Cassie. My heart is complete when I think of Cassie.” (Real talk: A lead has never gushed so adamantly about a contestant before the proposal. This is the real deal.)
But brace yourselves, Bachelor Nation: this one is going to hurt. Cassie meets up with Colton and tells him about her dad’s visit. She says her parents never had doubts about their relationship, but Cassie does: “I love you so much but … I’m not, like, in love.”
Did you feel Colton’s heart snap in half, too? She can’t explain it but she’s having doubts and, rightfully so, doesn’t want to lead Colton on. The journey, after all, can be overwhelming. Over the course of eight weeks, contestants are thrust into this bubble where they’re expected to fall in love and get engaged after spending sporadic hours with the lead.
“Were you planning on leaving tonight?” Colton asks. She nods and abruptly gets up. It’s a move not even the crew was expecting as they shakily grab the cameras and follow her outside. Meanwhile, Colton remains on the couch, head in his hands, absolutely speechless.
This may very well be the most real drama Bachelor Nation has witnessed. “I don’t know it was going to be this hard,” she tells the camera as she crouches on the floor. “I don’t know what to say.”
Colton, meanwhile, gets himself together and chases after her. He wraps her into an embrace and tells her he’s OK waiting. He’s patient. Cassie, please just believe him! But, alas, her heart is telling her to flee. Though she says she doesn’t know what to do, it’s clear her decision has been made.
They go back inside for yet another back-and-forth conversation about what’s next. She’s never been so conflicted and he refuses to lose her. “I want to be with you,” he pleads. “I want to be around you. I can’t stop thinking about you when I’m not around you. It’s not easy going through and going on dates with other women when all I do is think about you.’
He repeatedly confesses his love for her, but she can’t shake her doubts. She’s overthinking — there’s an unbearable amount of pressure put on her, despite Colton saying otherwise — and this very moment may decide the rest of her life. Cassie just cannot handle it.
Colton, on the other hand, is shaking. He wants to fight for her, but knows you can’t force someone to love you. He walks her out to the conveniently waiting car. “I want so much what’s best for you,” he says, kissing her on the top of the head. And with one final “I love you,” he finally lets her go. (I’m not crying, you’re crying.)
But then, it's on to the moment we’ve been not so patiently waiting for: That damn fence. And now we, unfortunately, know what caused Colton to jump ship, er, gate: His heart is shattered and he is done with the show. He rips off his mic and escapes over that now notorious fence.
Producers call after him while Chris Harrison instructs someone to open the fence. But Colton is nowhere to be found. Says Chris Harrison, as cameramen shuffle around him, “Holy [bleep], he is gone.”
But where could he have gone?