I must confess that I don’t really watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette anymore, but I did watch Trista and Ryan Sutter fall in love on the show in 2002 and was absolutely riveted by their love story. I had heard a rumor that this week’s Bachelorette was going to be like no other episode, so when I turned to ABC to watch what I thought would be the newest episode of Grey’s Anatomy and found myself in the midst of what would become Clare and Dale’s escalating relationship –I was immediately hooked. It was also the perfect antidote to my election watch blues.
In case you could not pull yourself away from the election results, let me recap what happened for the very first time in the 16 seasons of the show—a contestant knew that s/he had fallen in love with one of the suitors offered and decided s/he didn’t wasn’t to play the game.
This was an especially unique episode of The Bachelorette because it had started before the pandemic, when Clare Crawley was introduced to the 17 men who might one day be her husband. But the show stopped filming when COVID-19 broke out and both the bachelorette and all the suitors went into quarantine. Although Clare swears she and Dale did not communicate while they were in quarantine, she did research him through social media and that’s where she started to fall in love with him. When they brought everyone back together, Clare and Dale were immediately drawn to each other, and spent a disproportionate amount of time together. The other bachelors were concerned when she cancelled subsequent rose ceremonies.
So Bachelorette host Chris Harrison was dispatched to Clare’s suite where she confessed that she thought Dale was the one. They were set up on a one on one date where she boldly told Dale how she was feeling and we learned that both Dale and Clare had uncannily similar parental love stories that involved sort of love-at-first-sight tales. Dale said he was feeling the same way. They quickly retired to her suite for the evening, and in the morning we found the two of them cuddling in bed, clothes strewn artfully on the floor.
Chris Harrison confronted Clare again asking her what she wanted to do and was told that she wanted to move this relationship forward and that she thought she could spend the rest of her life with Dale. When Chris asked her if Dale felt the same way she said she thought he did.
So Chris was sent to Dale’s room with an engagement ring and told him that Clare was waiting for a proposal.
As Clare stood there in her white gown waiting for Dale, we didn’t know how this would end. But when he showed up in his suit and kissed her, it was pretty obvious where this was going. He got down on one knee and proposed, she said yes, and then he picked her up and carried her to the threshold of her suite. It was magic! And subsequent images after the episode showed them cooking and playing in the pool together after the show had ended and you could see that they seem to be a truly happy couple.
But that left the show with 16 unloved bachelors and episodes to fill. So the producers managed to get a new bachelorette in record time and brought in Tayshia Adams who will now jump-start this new segment of The Bachelorette. I might just have to start watching again.