Falling hard! Clayton Echard embraced his strong feelings for his final four women amid hometown dates, which took place during the Monday, February 28, episode of The Bachelor.
Susie landed the first date in her home state of Virginia, where she and Clayton practiced Jiu-Jitsu and had a picnic on the beach. She told Clayton that him meeting her dad held special significance because her father had been sick recently and he set the standard for what she expected in a man. Clayton raved about Susie to her family, noting that he felt like they had been dating for a year after their first one-on-one date.
When it came time for him to open up about his feelings for Susie, Clayton told her family that he was still trying to figure out his connections with all of the women because it did not make sense to fall in love with four contestants. Susie’s family urged her to be cautious since Clayton did not say he was in love with her yet, but the visit did not change her feelings about him.
Gabby was up next with a hiking outing in Colorado. She explained that her father could not come to meet Clayton because his girlfriend had cancer and could not risk being exposed to COVID-19. Gabby struggled with sharing her feelings for Clayton without her dad’s approval, but her father eventually showed up to reassure her from a distance. The surprise gave Gabby the encouragement she needed to tell Clayton that she was falling in love with him.
Serene planned an adventurous date in Oklahoma, taking Clayton to an obstacle course that tested their comfort level with heights. That night, Serene’s brother expressed his concerns that she would get her heart broken because she was all in with Clayton. The Bachelor confessed to Serene’s family that he was not in love with any of the women yet, but Serene later dropped a bombshell on Clayton that she was in love after seeing him with her family. She told the cameras that he seemed shocked, but she was willing to be patient as his feelings grew.
Clayton’s final hometown date was with Rachel in Florida, where they went kayaking. She warned him that her father never liked anyone she dated, and she hoped that her dad’s actions wouldn’t affect how Clayton felt about her. Clayton assured Rachel’s dad that he would do whatever it took to make their relationship work. Clayton said he had no intention of hurting Rachel and had already pictured himself proposing to her.
Rachel’s dad ultimately gave Clayton his blessing after telling her that he was supportive of the relationship if Clayton was The One she wanted. Clayton then noted that he could imagine his future with Rachel more than ever after meeting her family, gushing that they had a one-of-a-kind connection.
Back at the Bachelor mansion, Clayton told host Jesse Palmer that he did not want to hold back anymore. “I’m falling in love with all of the women in a different capacity,” he confessed, adding that he wanted to give the contestants his all so they would not doubt where he stood.
During the rose ceremony, Clayton sent home Serene. He explained that his connections with the other women were stronger, and her saying “I love you” did not cost her a rose. A stunned Serene said in her exit interview that she had nothing else to say to Clayton because she could already feel herself putting her walls back up.
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