(If you haven’t seen the episode yet, stop reading now to prevent spoilers.)
It has been nine grueling weeks since Denver’s Gabby Windey and Florida’s Rachel Recchia took the primetime stage as co-stars on “The Bachelorette,” but this week added a little spice to the mix. In two episodes that aired Monday and Tuesday night, the ladies and their six finalists flew to Riviera Maya, Mexico, for the highly anticipated Fantasy Suite dates.
For the uninitiated, the Fantasy Suites offer the couples an opportunity to spend a camera-free night together in a swanky hotel room where they can, presumably, have deep conversation.
“As much as I want to revert back to laughing and chasing each other around naked, I need to make sure we utilize this time,” Gabby said.
As fans will recall, this is the point in Clayton Echard’s season of “The Bachelor” where things went haywire. Because the leading lover has the option of three overnight dates, they often take them to explore their sexual connections. Who wouldn’t?
That, however, caused problems with finalist Susie Evans last season, who gave Clayton an ultimatum that led him to awkwardly tell Gabby and Rachel he slept with them both before basically breaking it off. It was henceforth known as the “rose ceremony from Hell,” to quote host Jesse Palmer.
Going into Fantasy Suites this time, Gabby said she felt hopeful about and ready for an engagement with one of her three remaining men: Erich, Johnny or Jason. But, as we covered a couple weeks ago during hometowns, one or more of those guys admitted they may not be able to follow through with the premise of the show.
So here are the Fantasy Suite stats: The Mile High City’s darling Gabby had three amazing dates, two sleepovers and only one guy left in the running by the end of the episode.
You read that right – just one dude remains! By contrast, Rachel still had three men waiting to see if they would be awarded a rose.
Gabby’s situation is as untraditional as it gets with this show, so let’s explore how she got here.
Her first date was with Erich (Mr. Little Party in the Back), during which they jumped into a beautiful swimming hole called El Salto de los Enamorados, or Lovers Leap. They had a great dinner, Erich said “I love you” and, cha-ching, he earned a ticket to the Fantasy Suite.
Next up was Johnny, who described Gabby as the “dopest girl I’ve ever hung with” complete with both – gasp – brains and beauty. Their date consisted of taking a sailboat on the ocean and chatting on the beach. Unfortunately, Johnny couldn’t commit to an engagement, so Gabby left him sitting there on that beach to think about actions. Overall, it was an amicable split.
“There’s a part of me that hopes you and I would make it happen one way or another, but I think we’re just in two different places,” Gabby told him.
Lastly was Jason, the super quiet guy from New Orleans who many in Bachelor Nation only recently learned the name of. Gabby took Jason to play tennis – or perhaps more accurately, she hired him as a tennis coach for the day since he apparently played in college and Gabby, respectfully, needed a few pointers.
Things were going great until Jason finally decided to be “fully honest and transparent.”
“I’m into you and when I’m with you I’m having some of the best days ever,” he said. “I know what the expectations are in all of this, being engaged and fully in love… I don’t think I’m there yet.”
Gabby decided to give Jason the benefit of the doubt and invited him to the Fantasy Suite in hopes they could talk it out on their overnight date, but the conversations ended with the glaring realization that this relationship was over.
“I was like, ‘Maybe it’s not meant to be,’ and he was like ‘Yeah, definitely,’” Gabby said in a confessional the next day. “When were you going to tell me that?!”
And so the only guy left standing was Erich. Gabby decided against an unnecessary rose ceremony and went straight to his hotel room to tell him the good news. The last image viewers saw of them was a heartfelt embrace after Gabby told Erich she loves him. Erich said it was “friggin awesome.”
Whether or not this ends in an engagement remains to be seen, however. “The Bachelorette” did not air Rachel’s rose ceremony so that fans, again in Palmer’s words, could breathe and prepare themselves for the most dramatic season finale in the show’s history. Like we haven’t heard that before.
Part one of “The Bachelorette” finale airs next Tuesday, Sept. 13, since the Denver Broncos will be playing the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football. (Let’s Ride!) So I guess we’ll see you next Tuesday.
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