“The Bachelor” Season 21, Episode 1: Dolphinately Here For The Right Reasons

1. Season 21 of The Bachelor finally started last night, and as Nick journeys to find love, we’re journeying to find out if he’ll be as good of a bachelor as ABC is forcing us to believe. We’ll be recapping each episode of this sure-to-be epic season.

Rachel: I’ve never actually watched The Bachelor. Tons of my friends watch it and love it, but I’m not a TV person and I’m definitely not a reality TV person. In honor of last season’s premiere, Terri made an image for the BuzzFeed Weddings Facebook page featuring a “bachelor” holding a rose made out of pizza; when she showed it to me, I complimented her on her excellent selection of a stock photo guy. Turns out, it was a picture of Bachelor Ben! But after I got into UnReal, and after Terri mentioned the announcement of this season’s contestants…and I didn’t emerge from that rabbit hole for several hours… I figured, Huh, why not give this a try? I can’t promise I will make it through this entire season, though.

Terri: I’ve quite literally watched every single season of The Bachelor. As disgusted as I am that Nick is the bachelor, I’m actually PSYCHED for this season because he will probably give us an alarmingly entertaining season — and not just because it will probably be the first season where the bachelor sleeps with every single contestant. Also, this may be the first season that ends with half of the contestants running off and joining a dolphin cult, so needless to say, I am so here for this. I really hope Rachel makes it through this season so that I can actually try to rationalize the two-on-one date to someone, but I have my doubts.

Our journey begins with Chris Harrison setting up “The unprecedented season premiere” of Nick’s go-run of being the bachelor. Unprecedented, eh? Unless all the contestants are men, we highly doubt that, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

We start with some gratuitous shots of Nick taking a shower that were far too short as far as we’re concerned. We’ve got TWO HOURS TO FILL — surely you can give us a little more of those abs. Instead, slippery shower ab time is cut short so Nick can tell us about his “flaws”:

“I don’t know how to sit sideways on a couch.”
“I’m long-winded.”
“I sometimes mumble my words.”
“I can look away and not have the best eye contact.”
“I have a track record of ending this thing in tears.”

WON’T SOMEONE FIND THIS MAN A WOMAN TO LOVE AND ACCEPT THESE INSURMOUNTABLE BLEMISHES UNCONDITIONALLY? Fear not, though! The highly credible and totally not morally bankrupt Ben Higgins, Chris Soules, and Sean Lowe [Rachel: Who????] are here to calm his ner — nope, they give him some half-baked advice and rib him endlessly about his three (!) failed attempts at love on TV. “Fourth time’s a charm!” they say as their shot glasses in a toast. Yeeeesh. Maybe men don’t realize that that’s a terrible toast to raise to a friend. Or maybe they do? God bless that triumvirate of skeeziness.


Just as we process how fully they’ve censored Juan Pablo out of the franchise, it’s time to get the backstories of some of the contestants! First, we have Danielle L. She owns three nail salons, which is cool, and she has the best hair of all the contestants, but later, it becomes clear that she thinks giggling is a personality trait. Danielle is going to get old really, really fast.

Next up is Rachel, an age-appropriate attorney, and holy shit she seems kind of relatable and normal??? She is already leagues ahead of everyone else on the show, and we haven’t even met them yet.

Vanessa makes a splash speaking French. She is a special needs teacher who reveals she actually speaks three languages. Nick can barely squeeze one language out of his tiny mouth, but whatever. At this point, it has become clear that Nick’s type is “women out of his league.”

Josephine is a nursing student, but her contestant bio lists her as an “unemployed nurse.” Josephine immediately overrides that injustice by screeching around some cardboard cut-outs on a beach boardwalk. She’s definitely going to be this season’s resident weird girl.

Corinne does an “I’m Elle Woods applying to Harvard” intro — pool float, bikini, and all. She also has a loaded father to match, and, as she notes proudly, a nanny. (Corinne is 24 years old.) She describes herself as a “very serious businesswoman,” just like Romy and Michelle.

Wait — forget Josephine, Alexis — who sometimes walks to CVS wearing inflatable costumes, NBD — is absolutely this season’s biggest weirdo.

She is obsessed with dolphins, and not just in a “I want to swim with them and use the photo as my Facebook picture” way. No, the “aspiring dolphin trainer actually says, “We could be trainers together. He needs to love dolphins or otherwise this isn’t going to work out.” ALEXIS IS OUR DOLPHIN OVERLORD. Squeak twice if you accept her authority.

We also meet (another) Danielle, a neonatal nurse who loves her job and is also age-appropriate, so she is absolutely Nick’s type. There’s also Taylor, a mental health counselor who went to Johns Hopkins. She seems smart, but also seems like she thinks Nick has depth, so…hmm.

And to end things with a bang (pun intended), we meet Liz, the doula whose contestant bio convinced us that she has definitely killed someone. Liz says she met Nick at “Jade and Tanner’s wedding.” [Rachel: WHO????] Turns out, THEY PROBABLY HAD A DRUNKEN ONE NIGHT STAND AT SAID WEDDING AND HAVE NOT SPOKEN SINCE. Okay, that’s actually a GREAT twist. She coyly dances around a producer’s question about whether or not they had sex, and it’s delightful.


With that, the first limo slides across Bachelor Mansion’s permanently glistening-wet driveway, and it’s time for Nick to meet these ladies. There are 30 contestants this season, and it really feels like it. The intros go on and on, and many of the women are a complete blur, but there were some definite highlights:

Sarah jogs up to the house in sneakers, and greets Nick by saying, “I thought you’d appreciate another runner up.” You couldn’t pay us $1,000,000 to run in a dress or make that pun. But Sarah immediately redeems herself by saying, “Oh my god, there’s food!” once she goes inside the mansion.

That wouldn’t be the last bad pun of the night. Rachel drops this painful line: “Before I got here, I finished setting up my fantasy teams…but the only plays I want to make this season are for your heart.”

Later, Josephine hands Nick a book with an uncooked hot dog placed in a cut-out section. “You’re definitely a wiener in my book!” she tells him before forcing him to “Lady and the Tramp it” with her.

Jasmine G. brings out Neil Lane to show Nick exactly which engagement ring she’d like. Neil Lane looks like he’d rather be having a root canal.

Taylor introduces herself and then tells Nick that all her friends think he’s “a piece of shit.” Is she negging him?

Note: Taylor, like several other contestants, is wearing a red dress. They are all very upset about the fact that so many of them are wearing red dresses. Strangely, no one seems to notice that they are also all wearing the same hair extensions, veneers, eyelashes, and spray tan.

Combining bad puns, a red dress, and beach waves — like she was created especially for us by Amazon’s “YOU MAY ALSO LIKE” algorithm — Lacey shows up on a camel; her opening line is “I heard you like a good HUMP…and so do I.”

Meanwhile, many, many women tell Nick they’re “here for him” (duh??) or reference his past few times on The Bachelorette, but none lay on the creep factor quite like Christen, who says meeting him is like “meeting a celebrity.” Needless to say, Nick doesn’t seem all that charmed by his notoriety.

Neither Liz nor Nick mention their previous meeting when she gets out of the limo, but then Nick — in a way that feels EXTREMELY staged — says something to the effect of “I feel like I’ve…met her before?” to Chris Harrison.

Remember when Nick told us that “it’s important to be sensitive to the emotional attachment that sex has to your potential partner and to treat it with the greatest amount of respect”?

Finally, Alexis the dolphin queen arrives in a bargain bin Left Shark costume and refuses to listen to anyone, including Nick, who tries to tell her that it’s not a dolphin costume like she thinks it is. She also says she “dolphinately” can’t wait to talk to him more inside. Bless her heart.


Once Nick has met all the contestants, it’s time for the party to begin. Jasmine G. cries, Nick keeps his eyes glued to Vanessa’s bodycon dress, and holy hell, Alexis is the breath of fresh air this season has been WAITING for. She gets pissed drunk, dips into the pool in her shark costume, squeaks incessantly, and busts out some dance moves. The women mostly seem to appreciate her DGAF-ness, and, quite frankly, so do we.

Meanwhile, Rachel and Nick have a shockingly normal conversation about her job and their siblings, and honestly, it’s obvious that Nick’s multiple go-rounds on TV have served him well — he’s incredibly relaxed on camera, and able to have some real chemistry off the bat.

The show spends a lot of time on Corinne, who is clearly this season’s villain. The best way to describe Corinne is “The stripper they’d send to your buddy’s bachelorette party if you told them when you booked that your buddy has always wanted to fuck Ivanka Trump.”

Her face, hair, voice, and obsession with her family’s business are all giving subtle Ivanka cues…but later, when she hands Nick a literal bag of money (“tokens” that he can use for “hugs” or “whatever”) and puts the moves on him — making him seem kiiiind of uncomfortable — she comes across as merely a cheap version of the real thing (much like Ivanka’s shoe designs).

Corinne — who at one point during this episode said, “My heart is gold but my vageen is platinum” — also happens to be extremely suspicious of what’s under Alexis’s shark costume, saying “It could go OK, I have a great body and I’m saving it or I have a really bad body and I just want you to get my personality first. Hopefully it’s just not a trainwreck under there.” UM EXCUSE ME, CORINNE. WE DON’T CALL WOMEN’S BODIES ‘BAD.’ ESPECIALLY WHEN ALL OF THE BODIES WERE PRE-SELECTED TO BE EXTREMELY CONVENTIONALLY ATTRACTIVE. Sheesh. We actually don’t think your heart is gold at all.

Liz quickly erases her coy “maybe we did have sex, maybe we didn’t” act and flat-out admits to the camera that they very much did. None of the other ladies, including virgin Christen, know this yet, and boy is it going to be a shitshow when the truth comes out. For now, Liz can entertain us with one-liners like this: “One of the girls kissed him, but I kissed him nine months ago.” Obviously, she gets a ton of screen time, and amazingly, Nick seems upset he didn’t hear from her after they boned at the wedding. (Her story is that he asked for her number, and she turned him down, and now is casually popping up on a national TV show to get back in touch with him. As one does.) He also — very rightly — calls her out on not being interested until finding out he was going to be the bachelor.

After close an hour of anticipation, Nick finally hands out the first impression rose to Rachel, which is amazing! (Also amazing: the fact that no one says anything racist about this on camera.)


Rachel: Rachel, obviously, and I also really like Vanessa. I’m into Danielle because she is so pretty and owns three nail salons, which seems like a great job for a Bachelor winner. And while I don’t love Liz yet, I definitely like the idea of her because she banged Nick and then never talked to him again because she didn’t think he was serious when he gave her his number and turns out he was actually kind of sad about it and now they are meeting again on this show and I actually find that incredibly romantic???

Terri: Yeah, Rachel is dolphinitely my number one, but can I throw in a wild card and add Alexis into the mix???? She’s adding a lot of light to this show, and the women clearly like her. Other than her, pretty much all of these women blend together for me at this point, so I’ll narrow down the rest of my favorites next week.


Terri: This season is off to a great start, IMO. I’ve been hot and cold with Nick in the past, but I actually think he’ll be a great bachelor because he’s totally unfiltered and pretty real. I’m also greatly looking forward to his requisite leaning-on-a-ledge-and-crying moment they teased for later this season. Corinne looks like she immediately goes off the rails, Rachel seems to stick around for a long time, and there are lots of pretty snowy shots, so I’m very stoked for what’s to come.

Rachel: Hard agree on Rachel/the snow. I have to say, this wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be! The two hours flew by faster than just 60 minutes of Westworld, tbqfh. Like, it’s ridiculous but also it was bearable and kind of entertaining? And maybe it’s because Nick is 100% My Type, and also the fact that I know next to nothing about his past, but I find him kind of hot and pretty inoffensive. Let he among us who hasn’t acted like an asshole to multiple prospects and had a bunch of one night stands and fallen in love too fast and had our heart broken but also still believed in love cast the first stone!!!

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