Is everyone ready to have "Almost paradise/We're knocking on heaven's door" stuck in their head for the next several weeks along with an image of Chris Harrison's smirking face? Sure hope so, because the Bachelor in Paradise season 6 premiere is here, along with all of the hookups, drama, and one-sided conversations with animals that come along with it. In the unforgettable words of BIP alum Jenna Cooper, "It's about to get coconuts!"
The first episode begins with intro packages for 10 of the 20 night one contestants. Most notable is the one for Demi Burnett, which she begins by saying, "Going to Paradise? I am Paradise!" and introducing herself as an alum of "Demi’s season of The Bachelor" (she was a contestant on Colton Underwood's season). This girl is reality TV gold.
But her intro then launches into something more serious, too: A conversation between Demi and Bachelorette Hannah Brown about Demi dating a woman, but deciding to go to Paradise anyway as it will help her find herself. (Also because she's reality TV gold — the two aren't mutually exclusive, okay?) In the convo, Demi explains that she doesn't really label herself; when she's interested in people, it's more about their personality than their sex. Demi previously came out as queer on Twitter:
Other than that, the intro packages tell us that Jane Aver, who was kicked off the first night of Colton's season, loves hot sauce (and also that we shouldn't take her too seriously because she was willing to brush her teeth with hot sauce for this video), that Nicole Lopez-Alvar is still expecting to cry a lot, and that Chris Bukowski came out of retirement for his sixth Bachelor franchise appearance because he's in a point in is life now that... blah, blah, blah that thing about being ready for love that everyone says.
Moving on to Paradise itself, things start out pretty calm with contestant after contestant joining in on the fun, but the drama hits hard when Caelynn Miller-Keyes from Colton's season is the last person to arrive. As she tells Chris Harrison of Blake Horstmann from Becca Kufrin's season, who is already on the beach, "Blake’s not my favorite person." Understatement of the year, but more on that later. She explains that they talked for a few months and it didn't end well. Blake's response to seeing her walk in? "Holy shit. I gotta go."
There's also some potential drama brewing between Annaliese Puccini and Clay Harbour (or at least attempting to brew). Annaliese explains that she's good friends with Angela (Amezcua), another BiP alum, who Clay dated outside of the show. Annaliese thinks that it's too soon for Clay to be in Paradise, which she immediately tells all of the other women. But unfortunately for Annaliese, the women don't seem to be all that interested in her attempt to make it a thing. Instead, focus is centered on the man whose name is said approximately one thousand times in two TV hours: Blake.
Naturally, because he already has drama brewing and is the most sought-after dude in Paradise (the women all agree on this), Blake gets the first date card. Literally everyone thinks that he is going to take Hannah Godwin on the date, after he spent all day wooing her and acting like they maybe know each other from outside Paradise, but he chooses Tayshia Adams instead. In particular, this excites Dylan Barbour (of Hannah B's season and salmon blazer fame), who starts gleefully "shipping" Tayshia and Blake since he thinks Blake is no longer standing between him and Hannah G. You might want to hold off on buying the wedding China, bud.
Tayshia and Blake's date is dinner in a room full of string lights. Like, so many string lights. Like the exact number of string lights that made me spend their entire very boring date conversation wondering how much the light bill cost, instead of actually listening to them talk. Still, the two end up making out in a hot tub, as you do on BIP.
What's more interesting is what's going on back at the beach, where Caelynn spills serious Blake details to BIP bartender Wells Adams. She even says that for a while, she and Blake had been planning on skipping Paradise to be together. Clearly, he didn't. But Caelynn explains that too: She says that the morning after she spent the night with him, Blake was DMing Hannah G. and talking about Tayshia being "hot." He also, apparently, told her that he'd hooked up with Kristina Schulman (more on her later, too) the night before. Oh and she says that Blake called her two weeks before Paradise began and told her they had to lie about having ever being together. Caelynn's are the sort of details that could make Blake one of the shadiest BIP figures ever.
That said, I would like Caelynn to make a timeline about when all of this happened, because it doesn't quite add up in the order she told it. This is not to say that it's not true, just that a lot seems to have happened very quickly and some things seem slightly out of place, like why would Caelynn consider skipping Paradise to be with someone who was messaging another woman and talking about another being hot while you are still in the bed with him? Am I missing something?
In other news, Demi and Derek Peth make out in a hot tub, and Dylan (seizing the hell out of the moment) and Hannah make out in one of the palapas. Demi and Derek just seem horny. Dylan, meanwhile, is incredibly giddy and seems to have put Hannah way up on a pedestal prior to even meeting her (Wills is also guilty of this). He seems sweet, but methinks this won't end well. Related: The trailers show Hannah making out with a number of other men.
The next day we learn even more about Blake, oh joy! Caelynn tells Onyeka her Blake story. Again, this seems produced. Why tell Onyeka? Why not just talk to Tayshia? Or Blake? Let's get this going!
Oh, it's because Kristina is about to show up for her second round of Paradise and she's rolling up with a date card. This is a good place to mention that there have been many mentions of the Stagecoach music festival on this episode. Blake, Kristina, Caelynn, and Tayshia all attended the music festival, and it's great that they're talking about it, because at this point Bachelor Nation knows that all of these people meet-up off screen. Break that fourth wall!
Upon Kristina's arrival, Blake tells some of the other dudes that they were seeing each other "six or seven months ago" but decided to stay friends in the time since. His face when she arrived said otherwise:
Kristina asks Blake on the date, and tells him it's because, "I'm familiar with you. We do have fun." But in her confessional says that she knows what happened with him and Caelynn, that she thought it was disrespectful to her, and adds, "Today, I'm going to make him my bitch." Wowowow. I truly did not see this coming, especially because on this show, contestants are just full of vague excuses like "We do have fun" when going for it in toxic relationships. Whatever happens on that date, it's going to be seriously intense. Kristina did not look like she was messing around.
And that's where the episode ends... JK, there's a huge full-season BIP trailer, too. Mike Johnson shows up and is a real contestant! Hannah Brown shows up and is probably not a real contestant, because she's not otherwise in the trailer, but one can dream! Derek and John Paul Jones argue over Tayshia! Demi seems to find love with a woman who they refuse to let us see! A lot is happening! Here's where things stand after this episode:
Most likely to make it in the real world: Literally none of these people... yet.
Most likely to get engaged but 100 percent not make it in the real world: Derek and... someone. Hey, it happened before.
Bachelor potential: Mike. The fact that he's hitting the beach is a very good sign for his Bachelor chances because it's basically like a second audition. (It worked that way for both Colton Underwood and Nick Viall.)