Mainer Ashley Hebert appears to be just one episode away from finding true love.

On Monday’s installment of “The Bachelorette,” Hebert was seen paring her final three suitors down to two. She’ll pick one of them — J.P., a construction manager from New York City, or Ben, the Sonoma, Calif., winemaker — during next week’s finale at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Hebert, who has spent much of the past year in front of the cameras, seemed at ease during Monday’s episode. She was on “The Bachelor” early this year before landing the starring role in “The Bachelorette,” which began airing in May.  

Hebert, 27, a dental student from Madawaska, was seen early on Monday’s episode getting a surprise visit from Ryan, a solar-energy executive from California, whom she sent home two episodes ago. At the time, Hebert told Ryan she felt “no spark, no passion” between them. But other than that, he was everything she was looking for in a man. Minutes after he left, Hebert was seen telling the camera she might regret her decision.

Ryan’s return — during an episode filmed in Fiji — revealed a strange duality in the show. The show is based on an artificial premise enforced by an artificial set of romantic rules — one woman dates 25 men in exotic locations around the world and gets to cast a few aside each week.

But it seems those rules can be broken at any time. Ryan said that even though he was sent home by Hebert — according to the rules of the show — he asked the show’s producers to bring him back so he could have one more chance with her. And they said yes.

“I didn’t know if you might have regretted it, but if that was in your mind at all, I’d like to have more time with you,” Ryan said, minutes after surprising Hebert at her Fiji hotel room. “I feel we didn’t give it a full chance.”

Ryan told her to just “think about it” and get back to him. A few days later, she told him nothing had really changed and she had no real regrets about sending him home.

So he went home. Again.

Early in Monday’s episode, Hebert spoke about the three men left on the show, and the strong feelings she had for each. She said she thought her relationship with Constantine — a restaurant owner from Atlanta, Ga. — was moving more slowly than the others. After spending the day with him in Fiji, on a helicopter ride and during a romantic dinner, Hebert was still unsure. She had the option of offering Constantine the chance to spend the night in the “fantasy suite” with her.

“I don’t feel like you want to hold my hand and I wonder if you ever just let your emotions out,” said Hebert.

“I haven’t been able to do that,” Constantine said. “I knew if we got to this point, and the fantasy suite was offered, and I didn’t feel it, I wouldn’t accept it. I respect you too much.”

At this point, ABC broke in with a special report that included an address by President Barack Obama on the federal debt crisis.

Back on camera 25 minutes later, Hebert said “So where does that leave us?” To which Constantine replied “For me, it’s probably the end of the road.” Then he left.

Constantine’s departure ended the long-standing confusion for many viewers about which bachelor was Constantine and which was Ben. Both have dark hair parted in the middle, sort of intentionally mussed. Both speak in a monotone and are fairly tall.

But Ben is apparently more of Ashley’s type. He did accept her invitation to stay with her in the fantasy suite overnight. Ben carried Hebert from a hot tub into the suite, but the cameras did not follow them inside. Ben had told the cameras he was going to tell Hebert that he was in love with her. But he never did.

J.P. was in a similar situation, thinking out loud about whether he should tell Hebert he loves her. On his date with Hebert, he danced around the issue saying, “I’m waiting for everything to be right.” Later he said to the cameras, “I want Ashley to be my wife, but it’s contingent on how she feels. … I’m afraid of getting hurt.”

Hebert invited J.P. to the fantasy suite.

The two were seen kissing on the bed as the cameras cut away.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: [email protected]