Clayton Echard's season of "The Bachelor" was a bumpy ride -- and continued to surprise through to its dramatic end.
The episode began with Clayton admitting that, though he'd fallen in love with both Gabby and Rachel, he couldn't stop thinking about Susie and was "willing to risk everything" to try and make things work with her.
Host Jesse Palmer then paid a visit to Susie to tell her Clayton had "been a wreck" since she left and urged her to go to him if she felt up for it.
As Clayton was still with his family after they'd met Gabby and Rachel, Susie showed up and asked to speak to him. She told him she was "really shocked" by how he'd treated her, saying she felt "embarrassed" and "humiliated" by the situation.
"I got to that point because I saw myself losing you, and I got scared and the fear overcame me and I just went way out of character," Clayton said, apologizing and asking if she could give him a second chance. "I love you and I don't want to lose you."
Susie said Clayton's apology "meant a lot," but that she wasn't in a place to make a decision at that time.
This meeting, however, was enough for Clayton to realize what he had to do. "Regardless of what happens with [Susie], Gabby and Rachel did nothing wrong," he said. "They've given 100 percent of themselves and I owe it to them to tell them everything and ultimately to break up with them."
Clayton faced Gabby and Rachel -- who already suspected something was wrong -- together to tell them he was ending things with them.
- 3January 3, 2022
"I absolutely saw a future with you both and told you that I loved you and I meant all of that. I realize that it's not feasibly possible for me to be in love with three women like I said I was, and everyone deserves to have someone give them 100 percent of their heart," he said. "Unfortunately, I just can't be that person for either of you because my heart's no longer here. It's with Susie."
Gabby said she was speechless and walked out of the room, but Clayton followed her. When they were alone, she expressed her frustration for how he'd handled everything. "I can't believe anything you say -- not one thing," she said. Gabby, refusing to let Clayton walk her out, got in the car and left, not shedding a tear for the cameras.
During the "After the Final Rose" special, Gabby said she had found "clarify" and "closure" since the show. Gabby confronted Clayton by telling him she felt "misled" with the information he had given to her during the show as he was not upfront about his feelings with Susie when keeping her and Rachel around.
A shellshocked Rachel emotionally recounted their journey through tears and explaining how the love she felt for him was different from the way he felt about her. She said her love for him wouldn't end when she left and that this decision would "haunt" him. Rachel let Clayton walk her out and before she drove away said, "You gave up on us. I never gave up."
Rachel said on the "After the Final Rose" special she felt "blindsided" by what Clayton told her versus what was happening behind the scenes and that she no longer had feelings for him. When she was able to confront him, Rachel told Clayton his journey for love was "completely selfish" and she didn't believe his apology.
Jesse then visited Susie, delivering a letter from Clayton in which he poured out his feelings for her and invited her to join him in the Icelandic countryside.
"Susie, I am incredibly sorry for hurting you and not being the man you thought I was -- especially in the moment where you needed me the most," he wrote in the letter. He asked for a chance to prove he was that man, adding that "without you I am nothing and with you I have everything."
As Clayton waited for Susie to show up, he said in a voiceover, "Today, I either leave alone or I leave here with the love of my life."
When Susie arrived, Clayton welcomed her to the final rose ceremony.
"It's just you and me here because I don't want anything else. I want you to know that I am so fully committed to showing you how much I love you and how I will never stop fighting for you. I know I can't take back what I've done, and I take full accountability for it. I told you from the beginning that I was looking to get down on a knee and I want that," he said, holding an engagement ring.
Clayton, pouring his heart out, said he saw himself growing old and having a family with her.
Susie responded by saying his letter and his romantic declaration meant a lot to her, but that she wasn't on the same page with him.
"The love that I have for you in my heart is so real and I know you have it too, but I don't feel like the kind of love I have for you right now is the kind of love you have for me right now," she said. "You have an unconditional love of somebody that you want to spend a lifetime with and that's not where I'm at."
Susie said she'd made the "devastating" decision to leave Iceland alone because she didn't think they were each other's person.
"To me it's not over until you tell me it's over," Clayton said, asking if she could ever see her feelings matching his.
Susie replied, "I feel like it's over."
Clayton walked her out, gave her a hug and put her in the car. Before Susie drove off, leaving him standing in the rain, he told her, "I wish nothing but the best for you."