Chris Harrison steps in, shocked, as Clare says she thinks she just met her husband seconds after seeing Dale for the first time ever -- plus, best and worst suitor intros!
By now, we all know that this season of "The Bachelorette" is going to go off the rails. It's like driving by the aftermath of a horrific wreck on the highway and tuning in to your late local news in hopes of hearing how it happened or, even better, getting footage.
This is a trainwreck waiting to happen, but we still have to go through all the usual "Bachelorette" trappings to get to the true craziness to come. And, just as we saw Colton jump a fence for weeks on end, we're probably going to see some of this footage for awhile now.
According to rumors, though, Clare Crawley's journey ends about halfway through this season, having decided to walk off with a contestants she falls for on the first night. So we definitely had that moment to look forward to in this premiere, as well as the emergence of gossip and drama on the first night!
But mostly, it was the surprise emergence of Clare's dog, Honey, who immediately stole the show.
It was so all-consuming, it meant Clare didn't even get a chance to talk with all 31 of her suitors before she had to cut eight of them out of the competition. And what about the two guys involved in the drama?
Contestant Eazy was ready for her to give them both the boot, but one did survive the cut. Was it the one who brought up the intel he had about another guy, or was it the guy forced to defend his actions -- or deny them -- during quarantine?
Clare has her own reasons for liking or disliking a contestant's grand entrance, but from our point of view it's who was the most memorable, for better or worse. Many just came in, said she looked beautiful, maybe got a hug and moved on inside.
As usual, though, there were some who went with more elaborate entrances, some which were more successful than others. We won't talk about anything that happens later, this is just our breakdown of the best and worst of tonight's first impressions.
BEST IMPRESSIONS RANKED
8. Chasen walked up in a full suit of armor, which he immediately discarded. "I know that you're looking for a man who's gonna be vulnerable and -- I just shredded my armor for you," he told her, going in for the hug.
7. Joe showed up with his stethoscope and told Clare, I'm here to save your life. Your ... love life." "I need it," she laughed. Simple, silly, but effective in loosening the mood.
6. Jason got an, "I love it, I absolutely love this," as he came out sporting a full pregnancy belly. "I remember you walked so elegantly and beautifully up here holding your belly so now it's my turn to prove to you that I'm willing to hold the weight of this relationship and the labor of my love for you." Clare pulled the same stunt as a contestant on "The Bachelorette," proving he knows her.
5. Dale said, "All right. How are you?" while playing it cool. "Come on over," Clare finally urged. "I'm a hugger, I've got a big hug for you," he said, lifting her off the ground with his embrace. "While it's been a long time coming, I couldn't be more excited to take this journey with you," he told her. "I really do feel this is gonna be special."
4. Tyler showed up in a station wagon laden-down with luggage on top and the first thing Clare wanted to know was where his accent was from. "I packed up my entire life, crammed it all in this station wagon to be here tonight to date you. I promise, once I clean it out, there's room for kids, a couple dogs in there, and I want that. I'm here to be genuine, to be real, and I want you to know that from the get-go."
3. Brandon kept it casual, but was the only guy who kissed her on the cheek. "Honestly, I never imagined myself doing anything like this. When I found out that you were going to be the Bachelorette, I said, I have to be there," he said. Sometimes the simplest gesture can mean so much.
2. Kenny told Clare she looked beautiful and then got right down to it. "So, I know that your dogs are super important to you. And you probably wish that you had them here sniffing all the guys out with you. I'm not a suit guy, so I did this instead. I brought 'em with me." "Do you mind if I pet my dogs," Clare giggled, caressing his chest through his t-shirt with her dogs emblazoned on it.
1. Eazy made a huge first impression, busting through a "Your Future Husband" banner while rocking a pink suit and looking around like he was about to fight off a bunch of ninjas. "What an entrance," Clare said as he responded, "Let's do it." "I just want to let you know, from this night forward, you will always be my first-round draft pick," said the former pro baller.
8. Jay emerged from his limo in a straitjacket, telling Clare, "It's been 128 days since I was first supposed to meet you. Clearly I've gone a little crazy during that time." It did cost him his chance at a first-impression hug, though.
7. Jordan M kicked off his meeting with Clare with a compliment on his velvet shoes. "You look amazing, I'm so nervous, my heart is racing right now," he told her. "Let me feel it," "So it's hot out here, I know it's hot. I know you're hot, I'm burning up. And just in case you're thirsty, I'm your tall drink of water."
6. Ed literally rolled up, panting, in a giant rubber hamster ball. "I heard your journey was taking place in a bubble," he said. "And I just wanted to come prepared for you." It was over-the-top and he was a little too out-of-breath, so sweaty and panting ... not a great first look.
5. Jeremy said stiffly, "I'm really excited to be here and I promise to try to make you laugh as much as possible," not doing that at all. "I promise that I'm not here for me, but I'm actually here for you." Wait, so is he a gift? How can he not be there for himself?
4. Yosef brought Moon Pies from Mobile for Clare, which is ... something you can buy at a store. Hopefully, these were at least homemade. But dude, were you just hungry?
3. Mike told her, "I know it's going to be a long night, so I brought you these, 'cause I figured your feet could get tired," offering her a pair of comfortable sandals. A little weird, Mike.
2. Bennett dropped a "good evening" and rolled up in a Rolls and rocking a scarf, as the guys in the house were asking, "Who is this guy?" The Harvard grad clearly enjoys the high life. "I thought coming from New York all the way to Palm Springs, the only way to come was in true Hollywood fashion." Seemed a bit too self-impressed.
1. AJ strolled up confidently enough, asking for the "full twirl." As Clare did so, he told her, "Wow, you're blinding." "All my friends tell me I give terrible first impressions, so let's hope I prove them wrong tonight," he said. Then, as he talked about her green eyes, he squeezed her hands way too hard. "My ring's literally dug in," she noted later, showing the red mark. AJ's friends are gonna have a field day on this one. What a disaster!
Say what now? This declaration, made after Dale walked into the house, was so unexpected and shocking that Chris Harrison had to walk up and check in on Clare, who was checked out for the rest of the introductions.
"Oh man," Clare said, walking around as Dale walked past her and into the house. Tearing up, she looked into the camera and said, "I knew it," referring to her belief she would know her future husband on first sight. "I definitely feel like I just met my husband," she said.
It was such a shocking revelation. Chris had to walk over and make sure he’d heard what he thought he’d heard, but Clare was adamant that she knew what she knew. She said she felt comfortable with the other guys, but could barely remember meeting Dale, everything went dark around her.
She'd been saying since the beginning that she felt she would know when she knew, believing that it would happen this night. And then it did for her.
When Chris showed up later with the First Impression Rose, there was almost no question and no hesitation. We'd already seen Clare and Dale share a few moments together, bonding over their shared inability to be near their loved ones during quarantine, as well as both saying they are empaths.
Despite a similarly warm experience with Blake, whom she revealed had contacted her before filming began. Explicitly against the rules, we thought she was about to kick him off the show. Instead, she kissed him.
"I want you to know that that time you broke the rule meant everything to me. The fact that you risked not coming on here and putting that on the line at at a time where I was really struggling, it meant everything to me," she told him. "You were the only man that did that and I cannot even tell you how much that meant to me."
And apparently it did not cost him his spot in the game, or even the chance to advance beyond this first night. But it didn't give him a First Impression Rose, which he appeared to take pretty hard.
But Blake should be grateful he was even able to share that much time with her, because guys like Demar, Kenny and Zac C were among those who got zero time with the Bachelorette before roses had to be handed out.
We really didn't know how this was going to play out, when Tyler C revealed that he had some gossip on Yosef even as Yosef was connecting with Clare during his one-on-one session. So Tyler filled in a couple of the other guys.
Apparently, Yosef was flirting pretty heavy ("how you doing? have a great day") on social media, DM'ing a mutual friend during quarantine. It left Tyler wondering what his true motivations were.
Clare, proving she's just not going to play these gossip games, pulled Tyler in the moment Yosef decided to nip the rumor in the bud and go straight to her. Yosef never quite denied it believably, instead settling on it not really meaning anything. Maybe he was just being friendly? Keeping options open?
Either way, Eazy was ready for Clare to boot both guys disrupting what should have been a drama-free night of getting-to-know-you, and we can't blame him. He still got time with her, but several other guys did not as she had to deal with this mess.
In the end, though, while we almost expected her to do exactly that, Clare only cut one of the guys. And it wasn't the guy having gossip spread about him. It was the one bringing it up. Clearly, she didn't think what Yosef did or didn't do was that big of a deal, but we wouldn't be surprised if he was on notice, so to speak, in her mind.
Tyler C was joined by AJ, Chris, Jeremy, Jordan M, Mike, Page and Robby in falling just short and not getting a rose from Clare. To her credit, every guy that we know for sure she did not get a chance to speak with because of the drama did get a rose, so at least we know she's going to give them a chance.
But we also know that this season goes off the rails and she seems to already have her heart set on Dale. So is she dragging along these other 22 guys right now? We know she has a contractual obligations to do the show, but it looks like that question is going to way heavily this season.
Clare did kiss Blake this evening, as well as Dale, but how long before she just starts to more obviously commit herself fully to Blake. And what does that do to the other guys? We've heard the line, "How about the 15 of us just walk?" That suggests perhaps when there are 16 guys left, it starts to hit the fan.
That would suggest things going off the rails for good around Week 3 or 4, which would be about the midway point of a typical season.
And then we got a little more about what the guys are saying about Dale, with one of them suggesting to him that he's a different person when the cameras are on and when they are off, meaning does Clare know the real him at all?
The idea that she may leave the show midway through, thinking she's found love, only to discover that this man isn't who she thought he was is a new angle heretofore not really considered as all the rumors about this season started to fly.
It was easier to imagine her getting her happy ending and walking away, leaving Chris Harrison and company to scramble to salvage their season -- with Tayshia Adams, perhaps? -- then to imagine her walking away and having this adventure end "so horribly wrong," as she's said all of her Bachelor Nation appearances have.