We did it. We made it through Barb. We made it through Clare and Dale. We made it through Matt James going from non-beard to beard. (And his winner having a racist past. And Chris Harrison “stepping aside” over his defense of it.) We made it through Katie loving to look at Greg and then very much not loving to look at Greg. And now, after all of that, we finally get to watch Bachelor in Paradise for the first time in two, very eventful years.
Once again, the beach is full of villains, people we hoped would become the Bachelor or Bachelorette instead, and people we straight up don’t recognize. Also, David Spade is there, because why not? Someone’s got to replace Chris Harrison, and apparently “someone” is a whole slew of celebrities you haven’t heard from for a while.
Sad Grocery Store Joe
With this being the first episode, the biggest drama of the episode isn’t, like, a huge brawl or anything. Instead, it involves Grocery Store Joe Amabile (Becca’s Bachelorette, BIP 5) being unsure if he really wants to be back in Paradise, because he met his ex, Kendall Long, on season 5, and they broke up after dating for two years. So, he cries in his confessional, spends a lot of time alone, and walks sadly on the beach. He ends up getting advice from bartender Well Adams, who tells him to keep his heart open.
And he does. Soon, Serena Pitt (Matt’s Bachelor), goes to talk with Joe to see what his deal is because he’s been moping around all day. Serena’s a real straight shooter and I like it. She makes fun of him for being five years away from 40 (she’s only 23) and laughs at his socks and sandals, but she’s also willing to talk with him seriously about Kendall and their breakup and how he’s feeling. They end up kissing, even though it doesn’t seem like either of them really expected it to go that way. (By the way, of course we already knew Joe was going to stick around; the trailer shows his shock at Kendall showing up later in the season.)
Abigail & Noah's piñata date
At dinner, in a room surrounded by black-lit piñatas, they have an honest conversation about how Abigail is very slow to make things official in relationships (with her ex, she waited eight months) and tends to “friendzone” guys. Noah is concerned that taking things slow isn’t possible on this show and wants to get Abigail to open up more. With the serious part of their convo out of the way, they smash some piñatas and share a kiss. I’m not really seeing a future for these two, but time will tell.
Tre and Tahzjuan’s… Uncle Situation
Tre Cooper (Katie’s Bachelorette) and Tahzjuan Hawkins (Colton’s Bachelor, BIP 6) have my favorite storyline on this show possibly ever. Tahzjuan is a gem. You might remember her from BIP 6 where she basically arrived on the beach, complained at length about how hot it was, sweated through her confessionals, and left. Well, when she gets there this time, she already knows who Tre is. Through his uncle. Who she went on a date with. Really.
Tre doesn’t even know why his uncle put them in touch (they hadn’t met in person until now), until Tahzjuan explains it to him. Tahzjuan and Tre’s uncle met on a dating app, went on a date, and ended up kissing. Initially, Tre and Tahjzuan seem to think this is enough to mean dating each other is off limits. But, that night, they have a nice conversation, and when Tahzjuan says she wants someone who is “going to go for it,” Tre suddenly kisses her. “I really enjoyed kissing Tre,” Tahzjuan says in her confessional. “More than his uncle.” She'd better be sticking around for longer this time.
The rest of Paradise's night 1 couples
There’s only one official date this week, but there are a number of other pairings — they just don’t have as engrossing of a backstory as Tre and Tahzjuan. In fact, Wells says that this season's saw the most first-day makeouts in Bachelor in Paradise history.
The kissing duos so far include: Connor Brennan (Katie’s Bachelorette) and Maurissa Gunn (Peter’s Bachelor), Ivan Hall (Clare/Tayshia) and Jessenia Cruz (Peter), Aaron Clancy (Katie) and Tammy Ly (Peter), and Kenny Braasch (Clare/Tayshia) and Mari Pepin (Peter).
Unanswered question of the night: How long was Kenny actually naked? Judging by everyone else’s commentary, he actually was naked at the time he arrived, but there’s no way he was actually naked all day and night. That’s just uncomfortable. For everyone.
Fashion moment of the night: Brendan’s leopard and palm tree button-up shirt (above). It’s a lot of look, but this was just the right place for it.
Accidental tagline of the season: “We’re vaxxed. We’re waxed. And we’re ready for some boys.” Thank you, Tammy.