WARNING: The following post contains spoilers.
With the finale around the corner, it’s make it or break it for the remaining contestants on Bachelor in Paradise.
As Tuesday’s episode began, everyone was questioning where they stood in their relationships. The strongest couple, by far, was Hannah Godwin and Dylan Barbour, who exchanged “I love yous” on their date this week. Then there was Demi Burnett and her girlfriend Kristian Haggerty, who clearly had real feelings for each other — but Demi was struggling to embrace her sexuality for the first time in front of so many people. (She publicly came out as queer this season.)
“I want to be engaged, I want to marry her,” she said. “But there is a part of me that’s terrified of what people are thinking whenever they see me and her kiss. I can’t get rid of that.”
And they weren’t the only couple that still had a lot to figure out: Clay Harbor and Nicole Lopez-Alvar and Chris Bukowski and Katie Morton were also on somewhat shaky ground.
While Nicole and Clay had been steadily progressing for weeks, she had been avoiding asking him direct questions about their future together because she sensed him holding back. They headed out on a romantic date and she decided to tell him she was falling for him, but he couldn’t quite say it back.
“You are my best friend in the beach,” he told her. “I just want to see you and spend so much time with you, I do. And I do think I’m starting to fall in love with you, I am. I just can’t say right now that I’m in love.”
Chris and Katie were struggling to get on the same page, too. “I’m just so in my head right now,” he admitted. “I can’t even explain it, because I feel like what me and Katie have is great. I know I have something amazing, but I’m still second-guessing that amazingness with an amazing person.”
Then there was Connor Saeli, who had a very different problem. He had just gotten dumped by Caelynn Miller-Keyes (who left the show with Dean Unglert), and he wasn’t clicking romantically with newcomer and fellow singleton Revian Chang. The one person on his mind was Whitney Fransway, whom he hit it off with at Chris Randone and Krystal Nielson’s wedding, but she had yet to arrive on the beach.
“I thought Whitney might come down the stairs, but if she doesn’t come, I’ll probably just leave,” Connor said. “I’m not here to give out a friendship rose, I genuinely came here to find someone to find love, and if that’s not happening, I don’t want to be here.”
‘Lo and behold, she showed up armed with a date card mere minutes after he left. When she found out she had just missed him, she decided to head to his hotel and show up at his door, much to his delight.
“All I wanted was for you to come down and go on a date,” he said, grinning from ear to ear. “So this is the best.”
Back at the bungalows, the couples prepared to head into that evening’s cocktail party, only to find out that Chris Harrison had canceled it. They headed straight into the rose ceremony instead, and Harrison made sure to remind them how important these roses were — at this stage, they’re designed to represent commitment and a future together.
Luke Stone went first and offered his rose to Bri Barnes, but she declined and he was sent packing. Next up was Matt Donald, who also offered his rose to Bri, and this time she accepted. Then Dylan picked Hannah, John Paul Jones picked Tayshia Adams, Chase McNary picked Angela Amezcua, Clay picked Nicole, Demi picked Kristian, and Chris picked Katie, which meant Revian, Sydney Lotuaco and Haley Ferguson were going home.
The next day, Harrison returned to announce that Paradise as they knew it was over. “Last night was your last rose ceremony,” he said. “What is next? Romantic overnight dates, Fantasy Suites, spending the night together and taking that night step as a couple.”
“Today, each couple is going to go have that conversation,” he said. “And I need you to be brutally honest with yourselves and each other and think, ‘Are we ready to take that step together as a couple?’ If you’re not, it’s time to check out of Paradise and head back home.”
From there, the couples started dropping like flies, starting with Bri and Matt, then Chase and Angela. Next up, JPJ told Tayshia that he was in love with her — but she just wasn’t there yet. Both devastated and in tears, they left separately.
Hannah and Dylan, meanwhile, couldn’t wait to take the next step, and Clay and Nicole also decided to give things a shot. After a heart-to-heart, Demi and Kristian agreed to keep exploring their relationship, too.
Last but not least, Chris and Katie were forced to make a decision.
“I feel like I’m so unsure,” he told her. “I don’t know, I feel like I push people away that I like, that I feel comfortable with.”
“At the end of the day, whether it’s me or it’s not me, you need to figure out who makes you happy,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s you for the rest of my life, but do I like you? Yes. Do you make me happy? Yes.”
“For you to even still be sitting here is a testament to the person you are, and that’s what I’m looking for,” Chris said. “I want to give this a shot, I can’t sit here and say I don’t.”
Katie was elated. “If this is Chris Bukowski’s last time ever on the show and we end up together, then that makes me the exception to the rule,” she said. “He came out of retirement — and found me.”
The season finale of Bachelor in Paradise airs next Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.