Tennis pro Joey is taking another swing at love this season on The Bachelor — and he might’ve already met his future wife before Monday’s premiere even started.
We start at the end, with a distraught Joey wiping away tears at the final rose ceremony, and we see a car drive off without him. Is he about to get his heart broken? Or is this just a classic Bachelor misdirect? We first met Joey on Charity’s season of The Bachelorette, where he got all the way to the final two and even started to get down on one knee to propose before Charity stopped him to tell him she’s choosing Dotun. But he’s ready to fall in love again! (And get his heart broken again, maybe!) He’ll have plenty of options, too: Jesse informs him that he has 32 women to choose from, the most in Bachelor history.
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The limos start pulling up, and the first to step out is Lexi, in a glittery gold dress. He meets a few Hawaiians and a whole lot of Canadians. (But why did ABC have to blur out Maria’s Canadian flag? Is there a copyright or something?) Kelsey A. is from New Orleans, so she brings him a creepy voodoo doll of himself. There’s a girl named Chandler, who tells Joey, “I’ll be there for you.” (Ah yes, we understood that reference.) And weirdly, one of the girls is named Allison — and her older sister Lauren is there, too! Even more weirdly, they’re not telling anyone yet that they’re sisters. But when Lauren gets out of the limo, she gives Joey a can of beer to shotgun. Classy lady!
We get a few of the usual gimmick entrances: Jenn pulls up in a go-kart, and then Jess pulls up in a boat being towed behind a truck. Taylor brings him a really big bra to show him her “massive support,” and there are a couple of tennis gags along the way, too. Daisy drives up in a pickup truck hauling Christmas trees, since she grew up on a Christmas tree farm. She’s also a schoolteacher who just regained her hearing after getting a cochlear implant, so she’s basically a Hallmark holiday movie heroine. The biggest arrival, though, is Lea, who already met Joey at After the Final Rose. At the time, she was given a card to open on the first night, and she brings it with her — and naturally, the other women cannot wait to see what it says.
Once Joey gets inside, the wrangling for alone time with him begins, and Jess manages to nab the first kiss after impressing him with her zest for life. She makes a tactical error, though, when she immediately blabs to the other girls about their “little smoochie-poo.” Taylor thinks it’s “disrespectful” of her to tell everyone, but Jess doesn’t care. She just wants the other girls to go home already! But then Joey does a little go-kart racing with Jenn, and they share a kiss, too. He spends some time with Daisy as well beside a twinkling Christmas tree and admits he’s drawn to her before going in for a lip-lock. See, Jess? You’re not that special!
Jesse brings in the first impression rose, and Jess is convinced she’s getting it. In fact, when Joey is talking with Taylor, she interrupts to steal him away, awkwardly standing nearby waiting for them to finish. She even literally says the words, “I’m not here to make friends”! Was she created in a Bachelor lab? Taylor is annoyed and tells the other girls, and now everyone kind of hates Jess. Taylor pulls her aside and accuses her of eavesdropping on her conversation, and Jess tries to smooth things over. She would still do the same thing again, though. Because she’s not here to make friends!
As if we needed more drama, we have Allison and Lauren, who decide it’s time to tell the women they’re sisters. The other women are just confused and weirded out. (As Lexi puts it: “Everyone here is thinking the same thing: These girls are nuts.”) Lauren gets alone time with Joey, and then Allison swoops in to take him away — and she gets a kiss before Lauren does. Lauren is furious: She’s the older sister, so she should have dibs! Plus, Lea opens her card, which grants her the ability to steal a one-on-one date from anyone at any time before hometown dates. It should be a good thing, but it makes Lea emotional, since she doesn’t want to take an opportunity away from anyone else. She admits her conflicted feelings to Joey and to the rest of the girls… before decisively throwing the card in the fire. (A few of the girls admit they totally would’ve kept it, though.)
Joey’s kissing tour continues with Lexi, and Maria thinks he’s kissing too many girls — but then she goes and kisses him, too! (Her first question for him: “Do you like scary movies?” Is she the killer from Scream? What is happening?) Joey grabs the first impression rose… and hands it to Lea, telling her the way she approached the card really said a lot about her character. (He gives her a smooch, too.) But the other girls are shattered, especially Evalin, who breaks down in tears because she never even got a chance to speak to Joey, and now it’s time for the rose ceremony.
Allison gets the first rose, and Lauren is pissed, muttering to her sister: “Go f–k yourself.” (Again: Classy lady!) Daisy, Kelsey T., Lexi and Jess get roses, along with Jenn, Autumn, Chrissa, Edwina, Kelsey A., Katelyn, Rachel, Erika and Madina. Sydney, Starr and Marlena get roses, too, and after some dramatic pauses, Maria, Taylor and Evalin are saved as well. There’s one last rose — and of course, it goes to Lauren, to keep that sisterly drama alive. She accepts the rose, but she still berates Joey for giving her sister the first rose. (One more time: Classy lady!) The unlucky ones eliminated include Chandler — no Friends love connection this time — and Sandra, who sobs, “I just don’t want to be a crying meme.” Um, it might be too late for that.
In the trailer for the rest of the season, Joey travels the world with his ladies and admits, “A lot of girls are giving me butterflies at this point.” (He tells Jenn he’s falling in love with her, and he thinks Rachel could be his wife.) The women are getting competitive, too, and Maria and Jess get into a fierce argument, with Maria declaring, “I just can’t be in that house anymore.” We also see Daisy admitting, “I’m just not feeling it,” and Joey receives a card that says, “We need to talk.” (Uh-oh.) He doesn’t want to end up alone — and then we’re back at that final rose ceremony, with Joey sobbing and, yes, alone.
Will Joey get a happy ending? And with whom? Vote for your pick to take home Joey’s final rose in our poll, and then hit the comments to share your post-premiere thoughts.
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