Week 1 - Part 2
The show begins with the most inspired opening credits in years, a send up of old credits of yesteryear. Think like Love Boat and old sitcoms. It's the Too Many Cooks of reality TV openings. Super corny poses and smiles. It's basically the thing I've most enjoyed in this franchise in years. I want to watch it forever.
Clare arrives in Paradise and decides to be diplomatic in her date card choice since some of her top picks were taken. Once Clare gets the full scoop she realizes her only options and Mikey and JJ, so she talks it out with her new spirit animal: a crab. Mikey is one notch short of begging for the date with Clare, which she accepts and invites him on her date. Clare's excited for an action-oriented, once in a lifetime date... instead it's tantric yoga. "My favorite position was Downward Clare," Mikey laughs. Oh gross, dude. Sitting in a hot tub, Mikey tells Clare he's crushing on her and she lets him down gently that she's not really into him.
The final date card of the week goes to Ashley S., who had an informal first date in the back of an ambulance with Dan. Considering this show's obsession with medical crises, it's shocking that no resolution is given. The couple go out for a romantic dinner on a platform where you can hear oncoming traffic the entire time. The only sound that can cover cars passing is the loudness of a mariachi band which Ashley and Dan dance along to and smooch.
Tenley begins to do math and realizes she's the odd number of the group and has no one that will pick her. Her biggest crush right now is Jared, and she puts on her best baby voice to go talk to him. Ashley I. heads right into tears and "I'm going to die alone" mode. She liquors herself up and uses the liquid courage to steal Jared back; Tenley cries at being roseless and unloved. The conversation Ashley starts doesn't go as planned as Jared implies he's still interested in exploring more opportunities in Paradise.
The first cocktail party is upon us with the women fighting for those roses since the men have the first picking power, as a tie-less Chris Harrison reminds us. The two women most in jeopardy are Tenley and Jillian, who made some prior moves on JJ to claim his rose. Tenley isn't going down without a fight, tells JJ he's cute in her baby voice, and openly extends an invite to kiss her. JJ's enjoyment in women practically begging for his affection is cringe-inducing. Knowing that her sister Lauren is not getting a rose, Ashley I. begins her campaign to Jared to save the sisters from elimination and get that rose. The conversation with Jared goes well, but then jealous Ashley comes out when Jared talks to Clare. Jared tells Clare if she doesn't have a rose when it's his turn, he'd give her one and for sure would spend time with her if she stuck around.
Seven roses are stacked in a nice little pyramid for the first Rose Ceremony in Paradise. Chris Harrison reiterates how great it is to see relationships built already, then reminds everyone of the rules which is basically if you don't have a rose you go home (unless a random twist allows you and your sibling to stick around). Tanner gives his rose to Jade and Kirk to Carly, and Dan to Ashley S, which we all knew would happen. While they had little screentime, Julia and Jonathan have paired off. Despite an awkward date, Mikey offers his rose to Clare. While giving yet another dramatic tantrum under her breath, Jared gives Ashley I. the rose she so craves. This leaves Tenley and Jillian available for the night's final rose from JJ. Tenley's "hot streak" of never being eliminated on the franchise continues as she receives the final rose, and Jillian's heading home.