The Bachelorette Abstract: That is how Clare Crawley’s melodramatic exit went down

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Thursday’s episode of The Bachelorette. Read at your own risk!]

It seems really crazy to write about The Bachelorette with everything going on, but what doesn’t feel crazy right now? For at least two hours on Thursday, things seemed crystal clear in Bachelor Nation: however you view Clare Crawley as a Bachelorette, it’s utterly obvious that she only has eyes for Dale and those gimmicks are over. She found the guy she wants! Let’s summarize what we knew from the beginning and move on to the next part of the procedure, okay?

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but it takes an hour and a half to get the Clare and Dale love story to bed. The Bachelorette / Bachelor’s have been known to extend over a period of time, but this really pushes the boundaries of what I can and can’t handle right now.

It’s the morning after the group date that Clare refused to hand out a rose and the boys are still steaming. They are frustrated and confused about what’s going on with their maybe woman. “What am I doing here?” Boy Band Manager Kenny Asks. I don’t know, Kenny. This is a very personal question that only you can answer yourself.

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Meanwhile, Clare is in her suite journaling, or maybe doing a word search, when Chris Harrison comes up for a “serious, honest” conversation. “Just you and me,” he says. But also the camera team and finally all of America. He tells her how the boys are feeling and needs to know where she is. Clare has never been one to hide her emotions – that’s why we are in this situation in the first place – and immediately tells Chris: She is “head over heels for Dale”. But Chris needs more information. After all, he speaks for the entire Bachelor nation. Did Clare and Dale bond before the show started? It even drops a hard “f”. A hard “f”! Chris Harrison! At La Quinta! Clare tells Chris that she and Dale had no contact before filming and swears by her father’s grave, a feeling I’m sure will wake me up in the middle of the night in two months. However, Clare admits following Dale on Instagram and developing real feelings for him just through his posts and honest friends, who among us doesn’t?

Anyway, the gist of the whole thing is that Clare came here to find the love of her life, and she believes that is what she did to Dale. It makes Chris Harrison cry a little. Chris Harrison really has a journey ahead of him this season. The next step is for Clare to tell Dale how she is feeling and if he will return the favor. The show tries to imply that there’s a chance he doesn’t and this is a really scary move for Clare, but we’re not being fooled, show. “Is that over in your mind now?” Asks Chris. When Clare says yes, Chris delivers the line that the promos played repeatedly: “Congratulations, you just blew up the Bachelorette.” As I said, this man is on a journey and we are all just on the way.

So Chris has to tell the guys that their cocktail party and rose ceremony will be canceled for the evening, but he doesn’t give them any further information and they just have to worry about it because this show loves setting gasoline on fire. He pulls Dale aside to give him the message: Clare wants to spend the evening with him. Dale says he’s confused about what’s going on, but no one is buying it.

The date goes exactly as Clare hoped: she shies away from all her feelings for Dale, and he receives those feelings. She falls in love with him, he falls in love with her, Clare tells how her father proposed to her mother after three weeks and only met her once, and this story is both wild and explains a lot. After Clare and Dale sit at a table but haven’t had dinner, they encounter a private concert by Chris and Bri from Listen to Your Heart. Okay, it’s less of a private concert and more like Chris and Bri singing into microphones while watching Clare and Dale turn it off. There are only four of them and it is very uncomfortable. Finally, Clare brings Dale home.

Dale Moss and Clare Crawley, the Bachelorette

The next morning starts with a shot of Clare’s dogs scattered around the sofa and they look like they’ve seen some things. Clare and Dale scribble in bed: Clare is still ready to spend the rest of her life with Dale. Dale seems to be there too, I think? There is one major obstacle, however. What are they doing now, Clare wonders when she technically has 16 other friends. Dale leaves to process or whatever, and Chris shows up at Clare’s to bring them dirty deeds. Clare is sure of her feelings and she is sure of her feelings. That’s it. But instead of just having the happy couple who (maybe) just met head off into the sunset less than two weeks ago to see what happens, this show demands a sacrifice – excuse me – a suggestion. Chris Harrison pushes this proposal so hard on Clare and Dale; He’s like that person at a wedding who doesn’t stop clinking their glasses to get the newlyweds to kiss. It’s like, cool your jets grandma, we know they’re in love. I don’t have to watch them smash faces while I try to have my wet salad quietly, you know? WE UNDERSTAND IT.

However, before a proposal is made, Clare must abandon her other friends. When she tells them she fell in love with Dale and it’s over, only Kenny really struggles: he wants to apologize for wasting his time and honestly, who cares at this point? Clare won’t apologize for the love guys! And that’s a fact. The only thing productive about this group breakup is that Ivan finally gets into the limelight for a hot second and is seemingly friendly and thoughtful and very cute too, you know, should a future bachelorette need to know this information.

Back to the suggestion: Again, the show tries to create tension by Clare “starting” “freaking out” about maybe pushing Dale too much too soon (LOL, now she worries about that?) And her old fears of men about it to be abandoned raises their ugly heads. On the suggestion night, Chris Harrison tries to make a little fake and comes up to Clare while she waits at the suggestion point like he’s telling her Dale isn’t coming. Instead, he tells her that he is proud of her. It’s extremely not cool, Chris. Plus, we all know Dale is going to show up and propose. And he does. And Clare says yes. And these two are getting their happy ending, which means they will be released from their quarantine bubble in 2020. Ah, dear.

Now, let’s get to the part that everyone was wondering about: how will this bachelorette switcher work? The day after Clare and Dale get engaged, Chris goes to meet the other men who are still in the dark about what’s going on. You get very emotional! He tells them what happened and tells them their journey will continue on this show if they choose to stay. You have until this night to decide. Chris tells them it’s understandable if they want to leave, if they are over the whole thing and / or still have feelings for Clare. None of the other boys really had much time with her, with the exception of Jason, who unfortunately had to endure a therapy session that was disguised as a one-on-one conversation and in which he exposed his soul to Clare and some desert rocks. In the end they all decide to stay and seem excited to get a clean slate and level playing field, and I guess they have a little more time at the La Quinta Resort.

And then comes the moment we’ve been waiting for: Tayshia Adams, our new Bachelorette, gets out of the limo and is ready to find love. She is excited but also nervous that the men may not accept her since they were originally here for Clare. Chris Harrison calms her down and then tells her “in the next 10 seconds [she] could meet [her] Husband “before leading her into the room where the men are waiting and the show goes black. No pressure or anything.

The Bachelorette airs Tuesdays at 8 / 7c on ABC.

Tayshia Adams, The Bachelorette

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