Welcome to Paradise! (Or, at least, The Bachelor franchise's version of it.) The show brings together the chaff separated from the wheat of various seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. They are the also-rans in the great love stories of Andi and Josh, Sean and Catherine and Desiree and whatshisname. It's a veritable pu-pu platter of attractive, fit, tanned and well-coiffed consenting adults all looking for love and more time in the spotlight. It's a summer fling that America gets to watch.
Here's what happened on Bachelor in Paradise:
The Good: Clare is "getting back to being Clare." She wants to step up and say "I want to live" or in Wham! terminology "Choose Life." Marcus isn't quite over Andi, but thinks being surrounded by beautiful bikini-clad attention seekers will help ease his pain. Sarah (from Sean's season) thinks Marcus has piercing blue eyes and is really well dressed, but not as well-dressed as Marquel, who is wearing a straw fedora, and an "on point" outfit, according to Clare. Daniella — who was basically the narrator on Sean's season due to her exuberant loquacity — assesses herself as fun and outgoing and announces that she hopes she "vibes" with Marcus. Graham, who looked for love with Bachelorette Deanna, is "older, but not in a bad way," according to Clare. Robert, from Desiree's season, also catches the eye of the ladies. It's clear that Lacy, who has managed a lot of eye make up for an island vacation, will be a hot commodity for the male contestants. Marcus says she beautiful eyes, but, Marcus, her eyes are up there.
The Bad: Just as Clare voices her hope that there won't be any douchey guys, Ben (from Desiree's season) shows up and yells, "What's up guys?! Where are the drinks?!" Everyone stares at the single dad and starts to wonder whether he is there for the right reasons, although it's not clear what the "right reasons" are on this show, which could easily double as a Fame Seekers Anonymous meeting.
The WTF: Twenty minutes of the show is spent watching Elise (a cast-off from Juan Pablo's season) slowly navigate sand-covered stairs in stacked wedges and then prattle on in cross-stitch-worthy aphorisms about everything working out and how she ended up being in paradise for a reason.
Smoothest Move: Chris Harrison polls the room to assure that everyone is single. Michelle K., snuggled between Graham and Marcus shrugs, "Sure?" and won't give Chris a straight answer about her non-televised dating status. Graham suavely gets up and moves across the room.
New Couple Alert: Lacy is already in a bikini. Robert is the only man who has gone shirtless. Good enough for a love match (and undoubtedly the solid foundation for a long lasting relationship).
Life Lessons: As they watch Lacy and Robert kiss in the ocean, Clare finds that if she learned anything from The Bachelor, it's that you shouldn't make out in the ocean with anyone, unless you're wearing an engagement ring.
The Rebounder: Lacy thinks Robert is okay and all, but he's no Marcus. As Marcus stands in the waves in his teensy swim trunks, Lacy decides she's going to go for him, as well. Sarah disapproves of a woman who is willing to swim in the ocean with more than one man in a single night, but mostly because Marcus is the only man she finds physically attractive. Robert also disapproves, but mostly because he was making out with Lacy two minutes earlier.
New Couple Alert #2: After disappearing for hours, Elise and Dylan appear from nowhere like that couple in high school who always made out under the stairs emerging just in time for class. They descend to the beach, hand in hand and drunkenly make out in the waves under the watchful eyes of Clare and Marcus who declare it "better than reality TV."
Honesty Is Not Always The Best Policy: AshLee confesses that she is here to meet Graham. Then she tells Graham that she likes him and wants to love on him and snuggle him, but doesn't want to be overbearing or anything. He blinks a few times before accepting his fate.
First Date Card: Clare is given the first date card and invites Graham for an excursion. AshLee flips her lid and starts crying and cursing at Graham as well as all the other women. Graham is hers and hers alone. She's marked him. The other women back away slowly.
The Best Moment In Bachelor History: After AshLee's tantrum, Clare goes out back to cry to a friendly raccoon. She explains that she doesn't want drama, she just wants a nice date with a nice guy. The raccoon chirps in commiseration. This actually happened.
Sloppy Seconds: Clare sits down for some high-level diplomatic negotiations with AshLee. She decides not to go on a date with Graham and instead invites Robert who gamely accepts his sloppy seconds. Robert manages to have fun on his date with Clare, despite losing his shirt in a vicious fire ant attack. They shoot a lot of selfies atop the ruins and Clare does a few cheer poses on the ancient stones.
Paradise Lost: Despite getting what she wants, AshLee is still mad at Graham and won't even talk to him about her hurt feelings. Graham is no longer having fun and can't believe that he managed to hurt AshLee's feelings so quickly. The next day she apologizes for her crazies in a baby voice, bats her eyelashes and all is forgiven.
Second Date Card: Sarah is given the chance to choose a man to accompany her on a date and she chooses Marcus, because she is attracted to him and doesn't care about anyone else's pretend claims. Marcus and Sarah go swimming in a cave and end up kissing. Marcus interviews that he and Sarah "clicked" and says that she's a "great girl," which is code for the fact that he would definitely go out with Lacy if she asked him.
The Back-Up Plan: Both of the men that Lacy is interested in went on dates. Since Marcus is still on his date with Sarah, she sets her sights on Robert, who assures her that he didn't kiss Claire. Sure, Clare had her legs wrapped around him in the ocean, but they did not kiss. That's good enough for Lacy!
The New Arrival: With no fanfare or warning, Michelle Money shows up at the front door with date card in tow. She hugs Graham and tells them that they need to talk. AshLee bravely manages to not hiss. But Michelle is here for love and she already been there and done that with Graham, so she wisely invites Marquel for horseback riding on the beach.
Third Date Card: Under Clare's desperate gaze, Lacy invites Robert on a date. Marcus moons around and contemplates giving his rose to poor Sarah who deserves so much more than secondhand roses. Lacy and Robert have a lovely time, much to Clare's and Marcus's chagrin.
The Cocktail Party: Chris Harrison makes his weekly appearance, showing a little neck in his island casual attire, to remind them that the men will hand out roses and due to Math, two women will be going home. Everyone breaks up into little groups to wheel, deal and flirt in last minute efforts to get roses. The biggest drama is that Marcus doesn't want to look like a jerk if he doesn't give a rose to Sarah, who he went on a date with and kissed.
The Rose Ceremony: Michelle K. interrupts the proceedings to recuse herself from the festivities. She announces that she didn't make a connection with any of the men and is ready to go home (to her off-camera boyfriend). Marquel gives his rose to Michelle. Graham wisely decides to give his rose to AshLee, but mostly out of fear. Dylan gives his rose to Elise. Marcus cockblocks Robert by giving his rose to Lacy. Robert blames Lacy for Marcus's action and angrily gives Clare his rose, who is just happy to be sticking around. Ben, who is faced with choosing between Sarah and Daniella, announces, "This sucks!" before giving Sarah the rose. As she is deported back to the U.S., Daniella cries about missing out on love again, while the remaining contestants toast their continued success.
Best Reason To Tune in Next Week: Betrayal! Tears! The truth behind Michelle K.'s sudden departure!