March 8, 2022
Just when you thought The Bachelor had eliminated all of the villains …
So, it’s the Fantasy Suite episode, the ickiest episode of the season. And brace yourself: not only is this episode not an exception to that very solid rule, but it also manages to break whole new ground in ickitude.
Clayton heads off to Iceland for the last leg of “his journey” which will include (in theory) three Fantasy Suite dates where they will fantasy suite; then two final dates in which the ladies will meet his family; and finally, a proposal.
At least that’s how it is supposed to go.
And Clayton is here to tell you that Iceland is “the perfect place to fall in love.” Yeah, I’ve heard that before.
Clayton reminds us that the three remaining women, Hannah Brown, Jr.; Pilot Rachel; and Bachelor Groupie, have all told him that they are falling in love with him, and he’s thinking he might be falling in love with all three women … but one more than the others: “Me maybe love Hannah Brown, Jr. most.”
The monsters who produce this show then force the three women to sit in a small hotel room together to wait for Jesse Palmer to deliver the first date card. After a long, awkward silence, they begin to admit how they’re all FREAKING. OUT.
Jesse Palmer finally arrives and reminds them that this is A Very Important Week and that one of them could be getting engaged to Clayton in a matter of days. He reiterates that this is an “intimate” date with Clayton with “private, uninterrupted time,” where cameras won’t intrude and that it could bring them “closer than they ever thought possible.”
OH MY GOD, JESSE PALMER, WE’RE ALL ADULTS HERE. JUST SAY IT: THEY’RE ALL GONNA BONE CLAYTON.
Jesse Palmer then leaves the first date card on the table: “Pilot Rachel: Let’s see how deep our love can go. Love, Clayton.” As Pilot Rachel heads off to her date, Bachelor Groupie and Hannah Brown, Jr. look sick about the reality of this entire situation. Bachelor Groupie points out that if tonight goes well …
But Hannah Brown, Jr., she’s hoping that he takes sex as seriously as she does and not be physically intimate with the other women.
Oh, honey. Sweetie.
Pilot Rachel prepares for her date, and … look. I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time on these dates because you know what they are: the Bachelor and a woman go on some daytime activity; they act like they meaningfully connected during said activity; they head to fake dinner where they manufacture some pretext to accept the Fantasy Suite invitation, usually in the form that one or the other (usually she) professes their love; and finally they get it done in the Fantasy Suites. Like the hometowns, this is a formula, and it rarely diverges from its problematic path.
For instance, on Pilot Rachel’s date, they get into some sort of contraption that lowers them 400 feet into an extinct volcano, inside of which they sit and are like, “WHOA. WE’RE INSIDE A VOLCANO RIGHT NOW.” As to the extent of the depth — pun certainly intended — that they reach on this date: they talk about Clayton meeting her family. That’s it.
As they head into fake dinner, which I’m guessing is being held at a wastewater treatment center?
… as they are headed into fake dinner, Pilot Rachel is still saying that she needs Clayton to open up to her as much as he demanded of them before she can move forward with the Fantasy Suite. Once they are actually seated at fake dinner, she shares that she was nervous he was going to send her home in Croatia. In response, Clayton is like, “CLAYTON LOVE YOU.”
That’s enough “opening up” for Pilot Rachel and the two of them head straight for the Fantasy Suites where they most definitely fantasy suite.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Bachelor Groupie and Hannah Brown Jr. are discussing their differing philosophical approaches to the Fantasy Suites. Bachelor Groupie is in the “I want him to explore everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, with anyone he might be interested in, and then choose me in the end” camp, where our sweet pageant queen, Hannah Brown, Jr. is in the “If he has sex with anyone else, especially if he thinks I’m the one he ultimately wants to be with, it’s over” camp.
Boy, it sure would be awkward if the producers gave her the last date deliberately so that Clayton would be sure to go to the Fantasy Suites with two other women before seeing her again, wouldn’t it?
The next day, Bachelor Groupie receives her date card, but we don’t hear what’s on it (not that it really matters). Instead, the show is much more interested in watching Hannah Brown, Jr. die inside when Pilot Rachel returns from her date, says it was “nice” and then goes on to tell the other two that she “respects [them] so much,” before adding that “I’m really sorry in advance.”
As for Bachelor Groupie, her daytime date is dune-buggying on a black sand beach and having some Icelandic lunch at a beachside diner where Clayton discusses meeting her family. “You family fun. Grandpa funny jokeman.”
That night at fake dinner, Bachelor Groupie again talks about how she feels like she can show all sides of herself to him, not just “Fun Bachelor Groupie.”
“Me fall in love with you,” Clayton declares to Bachelor Groupie, so, of course, they agree to go to the Fantasy Suite to get their fantasy suiting on.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Hannah Brown, Jr. explains that she’s “spiraling” while thinking about what Clayton is doing at that moment and the producers, making sure we understand the metaphor, have Hannah Brown, Jr. come down a literal spiral staircase.
She goes on to tell us that she is just so worried that Clayton is telling the other women that he’s in love with them and sleeping with them, and it’s killing her to not know what is happening.
Oh, sweetie, it’s definitely happening.
The next morning, Bachelor Groupie rejoins the other women, and they can’t help but notice — and comment on — her bed head.
Gabby trying to discreetly come home from her fantasy suite night #TheBachelor pic.twitter.com/x4BKElbjEC
— LCS (@lcseymour315) March 9, 2022
Meanwhile, Clayton is over here in an interview realizing that he’s now told two women that he is in love with them and the week’s not over yet. He cries.
For her date, Hannah Brown, Jr. meets Clayton on some windy beach, and as she approaches, Clayton orders, “You do jump!”
Hannah Brown, Jr.: “No.”
Clayton: "Do the jump."
Susie: "No."#thebachelor #bachelor pic.twitter.com/HjMNhQyWOP
— Beth Johnson (@bethsparkles) March 9, 2022
She’s already a goddamned hero.
Clayton takes Hannah Brown, Jr. to a spa for their date, but it’s nightmarish. It’s not just a “you go sit in this nice hot springs” kind of spa, but instead a “you go stand in this cold shower before getting into the nice hot spring before sitting in this freezing plunge pool before swimming in the geothermal pool” kind of spa and I say NO THANK YOU TO THAT.
That night at fake dinner, Clayton tells Hannah Brown, Jr., “We have adventures. Me like you family. Me no falling in love … me IN love with Hannah Brown, Jr.”
Hannah Brown, Jr. is like, “Yeah, that’s great, and I think you’re awesome. But here’s the thing: there’s an engagement in literally a week from now. So let me tell you a little bit about my expectations and what I can’t compromise on: if you feel this same way about someone else, or have slept with other women, it would be impossible for me to move forward with you.”
After stammering for what feels like an hour, Clayton blurts out that, in fact, “me sleep with someone else here” and “me told them me falling in love.”
Hannah Brown, Jr. handles this news better than could be expected but points out the obvious: if he thinks he’s fallen in love with her, it doesn’t make sense for him to have slept with someone else, and she is no longer comfortable moving forward with him.
Clayton tries to fix this mess by insisting that yes, he’s fallen in love with multiple women, but his feelings are different with different people, and he can promise that with her it’s “very special.”
DUDE. YOU’RE NOT HELPING YOUR CASE. STOP TALKING.
Hannah Brown Jr. points out that if he had some inclination that it would be her at the end of this, he would have KEPT IT IN HIS PANTS. She recognizes that this would cut short his “experience,” but if he’d made up his mind … why would he need those experiences in the first place?
Clayton begins, somehow, to become angry at her: “How you give up on this? How you say no continue? ME HAVE STRONG FEELINGS. ME MOST IN LOVE WITH YOU.”
Hannah Brown, Jr. points out the obvious: THIS IS JUST MAKING HER FEEL WORSE. Hannah Brown, Jr. becomes upset, noting that she didn’t know how he felt about her, and therefore didn’t want to give him an ultimatum, but that she just can not get past this.
Clayton argues that “If me know dealbreaker, me no do it. You forgive me now. You fight for us. Relationship is about me sleep with other people, Hannah Brown, Jr. deal with it and forgive Clayton.”
Hannah Brown, Jr. is like, “Dude, I hear what you are saying, but I can’t imagine a situation in which you know it’s going to be me in the end, and yet you still choose to have sex with other people.”
Clayton argues, “Me love other people in moment! Me sleep with both of them! You forgive Clayton now!”
Hannah Brown, Jr.: “No.”
Clayton: “WHY YOU NO TELL ME BEFORE NOW THAT CLAYTON NO SLEEP OTHER WOMEN? YOU TELL CLAYTON NOW? WHEN TOO LATE?”
The producers who arranged it so that Hannah Brown, Jr.’s date would go last and she wouldn’t have the opportunity to tell him about her feelings:
Hannah Brown, Jr., confused and frustrated, leaves the table to go have a cry outside with the producers, insisting that she understands where he’s coming from, but that she is unwilling to compromise her values.
Meanwhile, Clayton rants to Jesse Palmer that “SHE SHOULD TELL CLAYTON EARLIER! SHE DESTROY CLAYTON.”
Hannah Brown, Jr. finds Clayton and brings him back inside to tell him that she understands his perspective and that maybe she should have had a conversation with him about what sex means to hear earlier … but she also knows that she can’t leave there with him. She begins to say that she doesn’t know what to do … when Clayton interrupts, “NO, YOU MAKE UP YOU MIND. ME WANT YOU FORGIVE CLAYTON, BUT YOU NO FORGIVE CLAYTON.”
And Hannah Brown, Jr. is like, “And I wish you hadn’t fucked two other women this week. I was hoping that you’d keep it in your pants and that would be the clarity, the proof I’ve been looking for. But that didn’t happen.”
But Hannah Brown, Jr. also begins to question herself and if she could have done something else, something better. This is just the shard of vulnerability Clayton needs to try to convince her that in fact, she is the real villain here. “YOU RUIN EVERYTHING. IF YOU REALLY LOVE CLAYTON, YOU FIGHT FOR CLAYTON. ME NO KNOW WHO ME LOOK AT NOW. ME DONE. Me sorry raise voice, me no like this, you make me like this, you bad. Anything you say bad. You go now.”
… genuinely what the *fuck* #TheBachelor pic.twitter.com/e8dmzopoAe
— Brett S. Vergara (@BrettSVergara) March 9, 2022
Clayton walks her out to the Go Away Now van — or, more accurately, while Hannah Brown tries to smooth things over by telling him that she genuinely cared about him, he marches several feet ahead of her, clearly furious. As she gets to the Go Away Now Van, she apologizes to him for the pain she’s caused him.
And then this asshole, just to really triple down on the assholedom, he tells her that as a person of faith, he believes everything happens for a reason, and that he had to go through this to find the person who would fight for him (after he slept with two other women in one week).
clayton: “because of my faith—“
jesus himself: #thebachelor pic.twitter.com/gJfv6MwcRP
— marissa (taylor's version) (@MarissaSaysWhat) March 9, 2022
Meanwhile, in the Go Away Now Van, Hannah Brown, Jr. just marvels at just how unkind Clayton was to her in those final moments.
As Hannah Brown, Jr. drives away, Clayton rants to an unseen producer, “THAT CLAYTON BIGGEST FEAR, THAT CLAYTON FIND PERSON AND THEN PERSON NO LET CLAYTON SLEEP WITH OTHER PEOPLE WITHOUT BEING MAD AT CLAYTON!”
But before we say goodbye to Hannah Brown, Jr. (for now), we need to talk about all this. My default position on these shows is that you don’t become part of the cast without knowing damn well what the Fantasy Suites are about. If you’re not cool with potentially becoming engaged to someone who had sex with three different people a week before your proposal, THEN DO NOT GO ON THIS SHOW BECAUSE THAT IS DEFINITELY GOING TO HAPPEN.
Unless the Bachelor is gay.
And it’s not like the show has kept it a secret that the Fantasy Suites follow the Hometown visits. So technically speaking, Hannah Brown, Jr. did have an opportunity to tell Clayton about her expectations and standards when they were in her hometown. And I could speculate as to why she did not — mostly based on what she actually said to Clayton above, namely that she didn’t want to give him an ultimatum when she didn’t know what he was feeling for her — but to play devil’s advocate, I won’t. (Except for the part where I just did.)
But despite the fact that my usual position on these issues is that the contestants who are SHOCKED! and UPSET! that the Bachelor/Bachelorette had sex with other contestants during the Fantasy Suites is that they are dummies who knew what they signed up for, my attitude here is a little more … nuanced.
First of all, had Clayton not acted like a complete and total gaslighting shitbird in that final conversation, I would say that the real villains here are the producers who manipulated this entire situation. Knowing full well that Hannah Brown, Jr. had strong feelings about sex and commitment, they clearly planned for her Fantasy Suite date to go last, giving Clayton the opportunity to have sex with the others and create this conflict. After all, TV is made from conflict, and there is no conflict if Hannah Brown, Jr. goes first, makes it clear that there is no engagement if he sleeps with anyone else, and he respects that going into the other dates.
But Clayton DOES act like a complete and total gaslighting shitbird when Hannah Brown, Jr. calmly reveals that while she understands why he slept with the other women, she is not willing to violate her principles to be cool with it, especially — ESPECIALLY — since he did so after having decided that she was The One. Clayton didn’t have a lot of options in this situation: he went into this date believing that he held all the power, and it must have been a shock when he suddenly realized that Hannah Brown, Jr. was also a participant with free will who could make choices that might not align with his own. That, however, does not give him license to treat her as poorly and aggressively as he did. It was ugly and cruel and unnecessary and showed his profound sense of entitlement.
Now, all that said, I did have to spend a little time examining why I took Hannah Brown, Jr.’s side here, when I took her namesake’s side in a very similar situation on The Bachelorette. There, Hannah Brown was informed by one of the men that he expected that she would not have sex with the other contestants. Hannah Brown did not take it well and angrily dressed him down before sending him off in the Go Home Now Van.
So what’s the difference between these two very similar situations, aside from a gender swap? Well,w there are a few: the guy in question on The Bachelorette was a dude who based his entire personality around being a Christian. His name was Luke, but I called him “Shower Jesus” because of all the times he invited the cameras in to watch him shower. He framed his expectations of Hannah Brown not having sex with the other men in that as a “good Christian woman” she shouldn’t. While Hannah Brown, Jr.’s position against Fantasy Suite sex might have been instructed by her own faith, she presented it in a way that was rooted in real feelings, not judgment: “if you loved me the most, if you knew I was “The One,” then you wouldn’t want to be out there having sex with other people.”
Additionally, Hannah Brown’s anger with Shower Jesus was based on feeling like he was judging her as a Christian; whereas Clayton’s anger at Hannah Brown, Jr. was for not compromising her values and principles for him. I agree that it seems like a subtle difference, but where that difference lies is that Hannah Brown was angry at Shower Jesus for questioning her faith for having had sex with other men, while Clayton was angry at Hannah Brown, Jr. for not having sex with him. Hannah Brown was angry at being judged; Clayton was just angry for not getting his way.
Finally, but importantly, Hannah Brown, Jr. was nothing but lovely, friendly, and respectful to the other women while Shower Jesus had been a complete ass to the other men all season long. And this matters so much as it speaks to the individual contestant’s natures as a whole and what place their opposition to sex in the Fantasy Suites is coming from: one of entitlement and judgment or one of principle and emotion.
ANYWAY. THis is a long way of saying that just when you think the show has run out of villains, they reveal that the biggest villain was there all along:
Here are the ladies who have been eliminated along with their very not good nicknames:
Here are the women along with their dumb nicknames who are still “dating” Clayton:
The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC at 7/8 p.m.