Colton. Underwood. Jumped. The. Fence. Colton Underwood finally jumped the fence. After well over three months of wondering how the Bachelor managed such a confounding athletic feat — and what emotional blow inspired it in the first place — the ABC reality show finally explained all. During the fantasy suites-focused episode that is season 23’s “Week 9,” Colton’s very clear frontrunner Cassie Randolph decides she needs to send herself home. As the 23-year-old says many, many, many times, she “doesn’t know” if a relationship with Colton is the right lifelong commitment, and she is very “confused” about the entire pressure-filled situation.
After a back-and-forth conversation that takes up almost a full half hour, Cassie tearfully leaves The Bachelor “forever” (next week’s finale will reveal if this breakup sticks). So, emotionally obliterated by this latest split, Colton literally says, “Fuck all of this,” rips his mic pack off, and hops the fence to wild Portuguese freedom.
It’s the greatest middle finger to The Bachelor(ette), and the rules and regulations viewers have ever seen from a lead. However, the fence jump seen ‘round the world wasn’t the first time Colton decimated all Bachelor Nation protocol during “Week 9.” In fact, if you look at just how much Colton spilled during his lengthy conversation with Cassie, you realize something as deeply unconventional as The Fence Jump was inevitable.
There are certain levels of attraction and love The Bachelor(ette) is expected to exhibit throughout a season. The first one is basic physical interest — that’s a big decider in the eventual First Impression rose winner. Eventually the lead can “see themselves falling in love” with some of their suitors or suitresses. Finally, towards the end of the “journey,” they can be falling in love with a few contestants, but not actually tell one individual they’re full fledged in love. After all, there are still other people vying for a lead’s affection, and who knows how one last beach-y date or parental brunch will change everything. Saying “I love you” is akin to promising an already-on-edge contestant they’re going to “win.”
It’s only in the finale, when the Bachelor or Bachelorette has made their final decision, that they’re supposed to say those three little words. Usually, the first “I love you” goes hand-in-hand with an official, accepted proposal.
In an effort to keep Cassie from leaving The Bachelor, Colton sets this entire unspoken romance schedule aflame. First, Colton attempts to be a little subtle, suggesting to Cassie that leaving the show without the person he “feels the strongest for” won’t be worth it, engagement or not. The very obvious subtext is that the person he is talking about — and is therefore planning to choose — is Cassie. She understands as much, calling the sentiment “sweet.” Then he becomes a tad more obvious, saying, “I don’t want to lose you.” Finally, when Cassie cannot stop panicking, Colton simply announces, “I… want to be with you.”
Those six words open up a flood gate of emotions.
From there, Colton cannot stop detailing his dreams of picking Cassie and spending the rest of his life with her. Yes, as Tayshia Adams is still reeling from her overnight date the day prior, and Hannah Godwin prepares for her prospective visit to the fantasy suites. “I can’t stop thinking about you when I’m not with you,” Colton admits to Cassie, adding, “It’s not easy … going on other dates with other women when all I do is think about you.” He refers to his relationship with Cassie as “the rest of [his] life” and reveals he was “most excited” to be with Cassie after their Thailand-set one-on-one date, essentially poo-pooing the many other dates he went on after that sunny “Week 5” outing.
At last, Colton finally says, “I’m sitting here telling you that I’m in love with you.” Not “I’m falling in love with you” or “I could be in love with you at the end of this.” Nope, just a straightforward, “I’m in love with you.” Later he adds, “I care for you. I love you. I want it to be you at the end of this.” Cassie, knowing the “rules,” reminds Colton of the two remaining women competing for his love. Colton, clearly over the game show aspect of The Bachelor, just silently stares at Cassie. He eventually responds to that question by reiterating, “I want a future with you, and I’m telling you right now, at the end of this, I want it to be you. I. Want. To. Be. With. You. I. Love. You.”
As Cassie continues to say she’s “confused,” Colton flatly says, “I fucking love you,” while violently shaking with anxiety.
Bachelor season 21 lead Ben Higgins sent shockwaves through Bachelor Nation when he said “I love you” once to future Bachelorette Jojo Fletcher. At this point, Colton has said those words multiple times. With his complete disinterest in Tayshia, whom Colton spent the night with, and Hannah, whom Colton made out with all over a Vietnamese spa, in full, relentless display, it’s impossible not to question how painful the upcoming After The Final Rose special will be.
However, Colton doesn’t seem too worried about the aftermath of his rule-breaking “I love you,” rampage. No one jumps a fence when they’re looking to commit — or apologize — to their two remaining, oblivious, love-struck Bachelor contestants.