As her soul lies in the dirt, bleeding out through the chest wound Juan Pablo's words just gave her, the Bachelor delivers the fatal blow. "I like you a lot. A lot," he says. "So, um, Nikki, will you assept my final rose?" Hey, look! It's the precise second when Nikki's heart rips in half! Then, weakly, "Absolutely." The Bachelor plants a patronizing kiss on her forehead and utters the only four words on the planet that could possibly make Nikki even angrier: "Don't get cranky now." Ay, señor, in a few minutes, you're gonna be praying for cranky. Everybody take a deep breath...
Hey Clare -- how you doin'? I hope you can take comfort in the fact that you look lovely tonight. The audience watches grim-faced as she explains how she could have possibly bought the truckload of BS Juan Pablo sold her after the Helicopter Incident. "I should have left," she admits, but "I trusted that there was a man here that wanted what I wanted... I just wanted to have hope for it." Now, though, she is ready to put her Bachelor experience behind her -- so much so that she politely declines Harrison's offer to bring Juan Pablo out to face her wrath (yet again) live. Her rant in St. Lucia, she says, was all it took to exorcise any and all Juan Pablo-related demons. "It was so liberating to be able to stand there and say 'This is exactly how I feel, and it's not okay!'... That was my closure," she explains. "I don't want to sit here on this couch and get fed any more BS." Man, that is a gross image.
Speaking of, here comes Juan Pablo to defend himself. Lukewarm applause, but no audible boos (at least that my ears could hear). The Bachelor kicks off his image rehabilitation effort by mentioning the recent unrest in Venezuela. (I'd say he was trying to garner sympathy for himself by invoking the struggles of his countrymen and women... but that'd be really tacky, right?) As for Clare and her anger about being dumped, well, Juan Pablo isn't going to give an inch: "For me, I made the decision that was best for me, and it is what it is." (Sharleen and Kelly's betch, please face during Juan Pablo's monologue is priceless.) Meanwhile, Harrison keeps pressing the Bachelor on his treatment of Clare -- so much so that the ever-defensive Juan Pablo jumps in with a "Can I talk?" Not that well, to be honest. I mean, his answer about whether he would have done anything differently in the helicopter -- e.g., not been such a jackass -- is essentially unintelligible. (Something about how she can talk smack about him, but he has "nothing bad to talk about Clare.")
As unsatisfying as Juan Pablo's answers are, there is plenty to enjoy in this ATFR -- primarily how much Chris Harrison clearly loathes this Bachelor. He doesn't really bother to hide it, what with the side-eyes and "Can you believe this guy?" looks to the camera during the live breaks. And the host seems set on getting Nikki to crack when it's her turn in the hot seat: Even though she insists that she and Juan Pablo are "very happy," Harrison won't stop hammering her about the fact that the Bachelor has yet to say he loves her. "He hasn't ever said those words to you?" he marvels, his brow furrowed in studied concern. "Does that worry you?"
NEXT: Surprise -- there is no surprise!