When Clare Crowley was announced as the 2020 Bachelorette — over seven years after her first appearance in Bachelor Nation — the story arc essentially wrote itself. Clare was slut shamed and objectified by the most obnoxious Bachelor in history, Juan Pablo Galavis. Now, almost a decade later, she is getting her proper shot at Bachelorette-finessed love. Plus, in a sign of made-for-reality-TV feminist empowerment, Clare, who turned 39 days after her Bachelorette stardom was announced, would be the most mature Bachelorette in history… after markedly young casts of women.
Yet, when you go back to Clare’s Bachelor entrance into Bachelor Nation — Juan Pablo’s infamous Bachelor season 18 — you’ll realize there’s a huge portion of Clare’s inevitable Bachelorette journey we’ve forgotten. That secret comes down to Clare’s late father, James Crawley — and it reveals an imminent Bachelorette finale twist, whenever her season is actually allowed to film.
In her 2014 season of The Bachelor, Clare is an immediate frontrunner. Juan Pablo is blown away by her limo entrance, down to her prank pregnancy belly. The Bachelor is so taken by Clare she eventually wins the first one-on-one date of the cycle. So, it’s no surprise Clare is given a comprehensive intro package on season 18’s first episode. During the segment, we get the lowdown on Clare’s large family, which includes her mom Lilia and five sisters. Then Clare starts talking about her grief over losing her dad James, who died in 2004 from brain cancer. Clare was 23 at the time.
“When my dad passed away, I feel like it just shattered my world,” Clare, the youngest daughter in her family, says. The honest statement alone feels like a prescient theme for Clare’s further Bachelorette season.
But, she then adds a huge detail about Mr. Crawley’s actions before his death. “One of the things my dad did before he passed away,” Clare begins, “[is that] he made a DVD for my future husband to watch.” At this time, during the 2014 season, Clare hadn’t watched the video, nor had anyone in the Crawley clan. “But, I’m saving it for the right man to watch it,” she continues. “I am looking for a man that is just like my dad: strong, loving, gentle, compassionate, and just a real, genuine, kind man.”
It is widely known that Clare met Canadian Bachelorette alum Benoit Beauséjour-Savard during 2018’s Bachelor Winter Games and the pair got engaged during the special series’ reunion show. But, it seems likely that Benoit never watched the DVD that Clare’s father left. Benoit has never spoken about seeing the video and Clare has never talked about sharing it with him. The video is pure Bachelor fandom bait, so it’s doubtful the duo would have kept such an emotional scene to themselves, if it had come to pass. Clare and Benoit also broke up six weeks after the Winter Games reunion aired, which didn’t give the pair a lot of time for mournful DVD-watching.
Juan Pablo certainly didn’t get a chance to sit down and watch the DVD either. His hometown visit with Clare didn’t involve family movie time, and Clare exited his season in spectacular fashion once an engagement was off the table.
That means the winner of Clare’s eventual season will likely be the first man to ever find out what James Crawley recorded over a decade-and-a-half-ago. At minimum, Clare will probably spend the season grading her men on how much they share the previously mentioned characteristics she so appreciated witnessing in her father. If you hear a man described as “gentle and compassionate” or, most importantly, “kind,” know he is a frontrunner.
But, beyond giving us a template for figuring out the winners and losers of The Bachelorette season 16, Clare’s OG intro package easily lays out a blueprint for her finale. It’s likely she’ll spend the in-game portion of the finale trying to figure out which man her parents would like the best (particularly since Clare’s mother is now suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia). Then, once that decision is made, the happy couple will introduce themselves during the traditional After the Final Rose special. When Clare and her new partner — or, possibly fiancé — sit down with host Chris Harrison, Clare’s winner will reveal he has seen The Video. Clare will finally know what words of wisdom her beloved father shared with the man she hopes to spend the rest of her life with. It is probable Clare and her new man will keep Mr. Crawley’s message a secret from the world at large, only strengthening its importance and their connection as a couple.
All together, the scene has the capacity to be a heartwarming sobfest with the polar opposite charge of Peter Weber’s trainwreck Bachelor finale. After seven-and-a-half years of Bachelor Nation hell, it’s what Clare Crawley deserves.