Thursday’s episode opened with the 16 remaining men, feeling confused and a bit angry about where they stand with Clare, pondering their next move.
Meanwhile, host Chris Harrison paid Clare a visit to warn her that “the path we’re on right now… we can’t continue.” There, she makes the stunning revelation that she’s in love with Dale and that he’s the one with whom she’d like to spend the rest of her life.
That led Harrison to respond with the phrase that’s been teased for weeks, “Congratulations, you’ve blown up The Bachelorette.”
Harrison then informed the remaining men that both the cocktail party and rose ceremony had been cancelled. Afterwards, he asked Dale to step outside and the other competitors become all the more confused when neither man returns.
Dale, as it turned out, had been invited on a one-on-one date by Clare, who professed her love for him. After happily returning her feelings, the two share a slow dance while being serenaded by Chris and Brie, winners of The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart.
Later, Dale proposed to Clare and she excitedly accepted.
Their whirlwind romance sparked controversy though, amid rumors the two were secretly in contact with each other prior to the competition — which Clare and Dale vehemently deny.
Back at the villa, Harrison delivered the news to the others that Clare would be departing the show, but offered the men a “historic” proposition. The competitors, should they choose, would be allowed to continue their journey with a brand new Bachelorette — Tayshia Adams from The Bachelor season 23.
The guys were divided on whether to accept or not, but most seemed grateful to get a fresh start due to never really having the chance to forge a bond with Clare. However, Blake, Zach J., Jason and Riley aren’t so sure that this is the route they want to take.
After some thought, they all eventually agree to try their luck with their new mystery woman, but, as next week’s coming attractions seemed to imply, Adams and the guys are all in for a bumpy ride.
“Tayshia,” warns Harrison as the episode wraps, “unfortunately everything’s about to change.”
Also next week, Clare and Dale “return to tell all,” and address the rumors that they lied to Bachelor Nation.
The Bachelorette returns next Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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