All week us Americans have been waiting for one very important reveal: exactly how Clare Crawley would leave The Bachelorette. It’s not like there’s another very important reveal we are waiting for in America right now. There’s nothing as high stakes going on as finding out whether Clare’s contestants will mutiny before she ditches them. There’s no very stressful reason that The Bachelorette aired on a Thursday this week, a day that is definitely not far enough away from Tuesday to make a difference for our mental states.
Tonight’s episode begins, naturally, with the guys talking about how Clare is clearly only there for Dale. Kenny, the boy band manager, is leading the charge. As the men point out, Clare hasn’t gotten to know anyone besides Dale, which is why as viewers we haven’t got to learn more about how Kenny manages boy bands for a living.
Meanwhile, Clare’s in her room writing in her diary about how much she loves Dale (this is not hyperbole) when Chris Harrison shows up for a chat. “The guys in the house, they are unhappy,” Chris says. “They are confused. The path that we’re on right now, we can’t continue.” Clare is understanding, because, duh, she wants to be with Dale. She explains that she bonded with him so quickly because she looked at the contestants’ social media before filming. She felt a connection with Dale because, like her, he’d lost a parent and has a family member in a care facility. Chris tells Clare not to “bullshit” him — language, Chris! — and asks if she spoke with Dale prior to filming. “Not one bit. Not one word. I swear on my dad’s grave.”
Clare and Chris decide the way to move forward is for Clare to get some more time with Dale, so she can tell him how she feels. So, Chris tells the group of guys that there is no cocktail party — long pause — no rose ceremony — long pause — and he’ll talk to them again tomorrow. Except for Dale! Pulling Dale aside, Chris says that Clare wants to hang out with him alone. Dale handles this pretty calmly, even though the only reasonable response is “Chris, please tell me what the hell is happening!”
Dale and Clare meet up for dinner, and Clare, seemingly right away, launches into a monologue about how Dale’s exactly the man she’s been looking for. They then talk about their families, and have a pretty deep conversation about how their parents met and how they grieved the parents they lost.
Eventually, Clare tells Dale she’s falling in love with him. “When we met, I felt love,” Dale responds, and says that he’s been dying to share that he’s falling for her, too. Clare is overjoyed. I am simultaneously confused and want to know how it feels to fall in love with someone at first sight.
The next part of their date is a performance by Bri Stauss and Chris Watson, the winners of The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart. Good for Bri and Chris getting to enter the quarantine bubble! Dale and Clare then go back to one of their hotel rooms to spend the night, free from the usual restraints of this show.
Back at another part of the La Quinta Resort & Club, we hear from the contestants that they don’t know what happened with Dale, because he never came back after speaking with Chris Harrison. I feel for these guys being left in the dark so much.
The next day, Clare and Dale cuddle in bed and talk about what’s going to happen next. Clare also mentions how she wants to take a lie detector test to prove she didn’t talk to Dale before the show because “nobody believes us.” Is she just talking about the producers and Chris? Who else is there at this point? Doth she protest too much?
As Dale leaves Clare’s room, he says in his confessional, “There is still a lot of time left in this process to nurture this love and see where it goes.” Does he think he and Clare will just get to stay at La Quinta keep filming? Because, as we'll soon see, that ain't happening.
When Chris shows up for another chat with Clare, she exclaims, “What do we do? What do we do?!” Chris responds, “The next step: proposal.” And when Clare asks when, he tells her “tonight.” Yeah, they’re speeding this right along. Sorry, Dale, no time to “nurture this love." You’re proposing in a few hours.
Clare finally fills in the other contestants, telling them she found what she was looking for with Dale. Their reactions let us know a bit more about them. Ivan and Ben both are super nice about it, while Blake and Kenny don’t take it too well. After Clare leaves, Blake even notes that he bought a book about dementia and Alzheimer’s so he’d be able to connect with Clare. (This is the guy she spoke with ahead of the show about her mother’s diagnosis, but still, dude, buying a book doesn’t guarantee anything.)
As a side note, you might remember from the previews that Clare is shown crying and hugging people, including a man wearing a hat. It turns out these are members of the show’s production and Clare is crying after telling the contestants she’s leaving. Mystery solved.
As the show continues to very quickly move along, Chris Harrison FaceTimes Neil Lane about rushing over a ring. Then he talks to Dale about how he can go right ahead and propose that night, if he wants. Surprise!
When Dale gets to the proposal site (another part of La Quinta Resort & Club), Clare says she loves him and that she knew he was her husband right away. Dale responds to her speech, “Yeah, that’s wild, right?” and goes into his own about how he fell in love with her at first sight, too, and knows his mom would have loved her. He proposes. She says yes. In their celebratory double-confessional, Dale says, “That’s wild, right?” again. Dang, just discovered the most entertaining thing about Dale and he’s already leaving. Dale carries Clare away, out of the quarantine bubble and into their new life together.
Two things: One, I hope this works out for them. They bonded over some very heavy topics in the middle of an already emotionally draining pandemic. That seems precarious, so I wish them the best. Two, it kind of sucks that Clare didn’t get a proper finale. Instead of the big proposal coming at the end of the episode, it happens with 30 minutes left. Sure, she didn’t do the show the traditional way, but if she’s not getting the finale of the season, she at least deserved the finale of an episode.
Anyway, the following day, Chris tells the remaining men that Clare and Dale are engaged and have taken their love into a world filled with a highly infectious virus. But, the men's “journey is not over.” If they can get past the feelings they had for Clare, they can continue on the show, but that’s all Chris says. Jason is like, “Question: I had a very intense therapy date with Clare from which I’m still recovering, so how long ya giving us to come to terms with our feelings?” They have until that night.
In the end, all 16 of the men decide to show up for what will seemingly be a second-chance at love, and Chris reveals that a new Bachelorette is on the way.
Chris meets that Bachelorette, Tayshia, outside and tells her she has a great group of guys. Honestly, it’s hard to say whether he’s right because we don’t know them. Tayshia walks into the room with the men and “to be continued...” appears on screen.
There is a bonus scene as the credits roll that shows home footage of Clare and Dale staying in a house together four days after they left the show. So far, so good. And while this technically means the episode ended with Clare, iPhone footage as the credits roll just isn’t the same as her big happy moment coming at the end.
Winner of the episode: Clare and Dale. They found love, which is the point of the show. That’s wild, right?
Loser of the episode: Clare. I get it. She was the one who rushed the process by falling in love so quickly, but the show really rushed her along in the production and in the edit. Would it have been so hard to put her proposal at the end of the episode?