Who says you can’t go home again… two years after a pandemic ravaged a nation and changed life as everyone knows it?
On Monday night’s brand new episode of The Bachelor, Clayton Echard actually visited the families of his final four woman, going on a nationwide tour that left his heart full…
… and which eventually left one aspiring spouse in tears.
First, the Missouri native traveled to Virginia to meet Susie’s family.
The hopeful suitor brought Clayton to a jiu-jitsu studio to learn about the sport she first picked up in Japan, prior to introducing him to her mom Jean, dad Tom, sister Barbra and best friend Lauren
Said Tom, whose illness has had a great impact on his daughter, to Clayton:
“You seem like a really good guy. And I know this too, I know Susie would know if you’re a bad guy or not. So I defer to her judgment. I’ll tell you this, if Susie loves you, we’ll love you.”
Susie’s mom, meanwhile, asked Clayton if he loved her kid.
“I will say I have very, very strong feelings for Susie and to fall in love, to me, it’s very sacred and I know that I will get there,” he replied.
“There’s a part of me that is trying to make sense of it in my head. To be honest with you, with other women around I don’t necessarily, I kind of guard myself. I don’t want to fall in love with four people. It doesn’t make sense.
“And so … but when I look at Susie, there’s no question in my mind that I will get there.”
Next, Clayton went to Denver with Gabby, hiking the Rocky Mountains and stopping at Proposal Rock before taking a dip in the hot tub.
The ICU nurse told Echard he’d be getting toggether her grandpa John, her aunt Julie, uncle Rich and their daughter.
Sadly, her dad wouldn’t be able to make it.
“My dad’s girlfriend of like 10 years was recently diagnosed with cancer, so because of COVID, he’s not going to be there, which is hard for me,” Gabby explained to Clayton. “It’s just not a good time for him.”
After Clayton made positive impressions on aunt Julie and grandpa John, Gabby’s dad actually pulled up outside the house.
“You deserve the very best and I hope that’s Clayton,” her dad wrote on some poster boards. “Tell Clayton hello and that I hope to meet him soon.”
Inspired by her father’s visit, Gabby told Clayton, “I definitely feel like I’m falling in love with you.”
“There it is!” Clayton responded before kissing Gabby.
From there, Clayton made his way to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to be with Serene, opening the day by tackling an obstacle course at Riversport Adventures.
“Today was a lot of fun,” Serene told Clayton once they completed the adventure.
“And I feel like kind of conquering that together and just like seeing how you handled it, it’s more of a testament to how I am falling in love with you.”
Then, the duo met with Serene’s mom Sherri, brother Roland and best friend Melanie.
Serene and Clayton told them how the elementary school teacher opened up to him about the deaths of her grandma and cousin during their one-on-one date in Houston.
Roland at one point asked Clayton if he loved Serene.
“To tell you the truth, I haven’t told anybody that I’m in love with them,” the 28-year old admitted. “I’m not there yet.”
Still, the day went well enough to prompt Serena to go there again.
“I can say that after today I’m not like falling in love with you, I’m in love with you,” Serene told Clayton. “Seeing you with my family really solidified that for me and I don’t think it could have gone any better at all.”
The final hometown delierrved Clayton to Clermont, Florida, to meet with Rachel and her loved ones.
Early on, they went on a kayak ride and swapped a lot of spit.
“I think it’s very obvious that Rachel and I have a connection because we can’t keep our hands off each other,” Clayton said in an on-camera interview. “We can’t not kiss.”
Rachel warned her potential husband that her dad can be tough, but Echard navigated their discussion pretty well.
“I have no intention of hurting Rachel,” he vowed to Tony.
After Rachel’s dad mostly gave his blessing to any future union, the contestant was over the proverbial moon.
“If I was falling for you before, I am falling even harder now,” she told Clayton in whispers after parting ways with her friends and family.
And this all brought us to the challenging Rose Ceremony.
“I’m falling in love with all of the women in a different capacity,” Clayton at first told hose Jesse Palmer, prior to relaying a similar thought to his final four:
“This week to be in your hometowns, meeting your families, was so special.
“I went into hometowns hoping to find clarity and what it comes down to is just following my heart. And it is the toughest decision that I’ve made up until this point.”
Clayton started by extending a rose to Susie, followed by Gabby. He offered the final rose to Rachel, sending Serene home.
On the car ride home, Serene said she gave the relationship everything she had.
“There’s nothing I can do,” the reject told the cameras. “It sucks. It really does. And I wish it were different.”