Bachelor in Paradise Season 9, Episode 1 Recap: The Beach is Open

Bachelor in Paradise recap
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Bachelor in Paradise is back! My favorite show of the entire Bachelor franchise. I love the location, I love that the contestants get a second chance at love and I love that it’s more organic than any other Bachelor show. The couples get to mingle like they would at a party or a bar and decide who they would like to know better, rather than everyone competing for the same person. Plus it’s a free vacation!

Before everyone arrives at Playa Escondida, host Jesse Palmer meets us on the beach. He teases, “While we’re certainly hoping for engagements here on the sand, one couple will actually get married right here on the beach … Let’s see who’s headed to the beach right now.”

The players arrive

Bachelor in Paradise recap
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Up first, Rachel Recchia, who was the Season 19 co-Bachelorette, alongside Gabby Windey. Rachel’s ready to have some fun. She’s hoping to meet quirky Brayden Bowers from Charity Lawson’s season.

Looks like Rachel will get her wish, as Brayden is next to be introduced. He’s hoping to find the “girl of my dreams on the beach.” One of the girls he’s hoping to meet is Kylee Russell from Bachelor Season 27.

Hey, guess what? Next up is none other than Kylee Russell! What a coincidence! Kylee’s hoping to make a connection with Aven Jones, who was Rachel’s runner-up. They’ve been flirting on Instagram, so she’s looking forward to meeting him in person. “I just hope no one else comes between us,” she says. Uh oh. That sounds like foreshadowing to me.

Could it be Aaron Bryant who completes the triangle? I see trouble between him and Brayden. Aaron was the one who didn’t think Brayden was there “for the right reasons” on Charity’s season and got him sent home. He wants to meet Mercedes Northup from Zach Shallcross’ season.

Aaron’s wish is this show’s command, ’cause there she is! Mercedes wants someone “manly” who can do farm things with her dad. Okay …

Next up is Sean McLaughlin, also from Charity’s season. Sean thinks he looks like a Ken doll, and he’s definitely a metrosexual, as he describes his beauty regimen in detail. He’s hoping to meet Jessica (Jess) Girod since they’re both Taylor Swift fans.

And they just keep coming…

Next up is — surprise! — Jess Girod. She really wants to have a “beautiful love story.” Maybe she and Sean will hit it off and go to a Taylor Swift concert.

Next is Will Urena from Michelle Young’s season. Will apparently spends a lot of time in the gym. He’s super excited to find his person in Paradise. He’s looking to meet Kylee and Brooklyn Willie.

And poof! There she is. It’s like magic. Brooklyn says, “I’m gonna rope me a man this summer!” She’s hoping she doesn’t run into her arch nemesis Kat Izzo in Paradise.

Oh, Brooklyn, you should know better than to speak her name. It’s like Voldemort. You say her name, and there she is. Kat is happy to be in Paradise but isn’t looking forward to dealing with the humidity, the bugs, the crabs, the sand … and Brooklyn Willie. Kat wants to meet her Bachelor Nation crush Blake Moynes, originally from Claire Crawley’s season.

Next up is Blake, who’s “looking for what’s eluded me for a long time: a lasting partner.” Blake was also on Katie Thurston’s season and ended up engaged to her, but it didn’t work out. Blake is hoping to fall in love in Mexico.

Let the fun begin

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Rachel is the first to arrive in Paradise. Jesse greets her with open arms. He tells her that she’s only the second Bachelorette to come to Paradise looking for another shot at love. And the first person to arrive at the beach! That has its advantages and its disadvantages, as viewers of this show realize. “The beach is all yours,” he says.

Aaron is next to greet Jesse. He’s excited to be in Paradise. “So much less pressure here,” he says, as he walks down the stairs to meet Rachel.

Brooklyn arrives soon after Aaron. When she introduces herself, she mentions that Charity was her best friend when they were both on Zach’s season. The mention of Charity makes Aaron squirm a bit, and Brooklyn interviews that she has “inside information” on Aaron, but she’s willing to give him a chance. “First impression is that he seems really nice.”

Meanwhile, Jesse is welcoming Catherine “Cat” Wong to Paradise. Cat was also on Zach’s season, so she’ll have friends here. In fact, she gets a warm welcome from Brooklyn, who gives her a big hug.

Just as Aaron is enjoying being the Bachelor of Paradise, here comes another guy. It’s Sean, who greets his buddy with a hug.

Next to come down the stairs is Will, who nobody recognizes (including me). The guys spend a few minutes discussing who they’d like to meet in Paradise, while they wait for the next person to arrive. Both Aaron and Will are looking forward to meeting Kylee, so we’ll see how that goes.

Bachelor in Paradise recap
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And here comes Kylee. Even though she’s looking forward to meeting Aven, she’s willing to keep her options open. Good thing because when she comes down the stairs, Aaron lights up like a Christmas tree.

Next to arrive is Brayden, who greets Jesse just as Sean is telling Aaron that the last person he wants to see in Paradise is Brayden. Sean’s last words to the travel nurse were, “Go back to San Diego, you douchebag.” This show loves a good foreshadowing moment.

But Aaron’s a grownup and says, “I just turned 30, bro. I’m not here for the drama. My eyes are on Kylee right now.” However, at that very moment, Brayden is telling Jesse that he’s interested in meeting Kylee. Here comes that drama Aaron wants to avoid.

When Aaron comes down the stairs, Sean’s only comment is, “Oh, f*ck.” You should know by now that if you don’t like someone, this show will go out of its way to put you together. It was inevitable. Aaron’s cool until Brayden invites Kylee to the bar for a drink (where’s Wells Adams?). So much for being a grownup. Aaron’s feelings are hurt that Brayden went straight for the girls and didn’t even acknowledge the guys. He’s not there to date you, Aaron.

Even though he says he doesn’t want any drama, Brayden is already filling Kylee in on the drama from Charity’s season. “There was this guy named Aaron B. … ”

After chatting with Kylee, Brayden moves on to Rachel and Cat. He tells us in an interview, “I know there’s more people coming, so I’m always looking for that next best option.” He’s got drama written all over his forehead. I’m already over him.

A Paradise alum returns for another try at love

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Meanwhile, Jesse welcomes Eliza Isichei from Clayton Echard’s season. She was there for Season 8 and initially hit it off with Rodney Matthews, but when Justin Glaze hit the beach, things got complicated. This time she says, “I just want to find my person … I just don’t want any more love triangles.”

Greer Blitzer from Zach’s season arrives shortly after Eliza. I always get her mixed up with Kylee. Mercedes is right behind her. Aaron was looking forward to meeting her, too, so he should be happy.

Finally, another guy comes down the stairs. It’s Aaron Schwartzman from Charity’s season. He’s quickly followed by Peter Cappio, from the same season. Charity sent Peter home the first night, so I hope he gets to stick around a little longer this time.

The boys are followed by the girl Will was hoping to meet, Kat from Zach’s season. Brooklyn and Kat had drama on the Bachelor, so it’s only a matter of time.

Another girl approaches Jesse, and I have no idea who she is. Neither does Jesse, as he asks, “Who are you again?” Rude, Jesse! You’re supposed to remember everyone. She’s Samantha Jeffries, and she was on Clayton’s season for about five seconds. She showed up in a bathtub full of bubbles but dipped out before the Rose Ceremony. Guess she just wasn’t that into him.

Olivia Lewis (Zach’s season) gets an enthusiastic greeting. Will says he had her “on my list” and then says she “smells like a fresh garden.” She seems equally impressed with him and says, “Will is an attractive human being, baybee … God took his time on you, honey.” They immediately walk down the beach for a private convo. Will’s the first guy to move in for a kiss.

Sean wants to be covered in Jess’ body glitter

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Just when Sean is telling Aaron he hopes Jess will show up soon, she magically comes down to the beach. “Go get her, bro,” says Aaron.

“I’m really excited to talk to Jess,” Sean interviews. “She’s the number one girl on my list.” He wastes no time introducing himself to the newcomer. Even though Sean has “very blue eyes,” Jess admits she wants to explore other options.

Blake has actually dated three Bachelorettes (Clare, Katie and Tayshia Adams), but he still hasn’t found that lasting love. He’s back to hopefully find his life partner. All the girls are drooling over Blake’s hot body when he arrives on the beach. Jess says she’s “starstruck.” Kylee calls him “eye candy.” Olivia has heart eyes.

Jesse calls a Paradise meeting

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When Jesse comes down to the beach, he tells everyone to “come meet me in the Rose Palapa.” Since there are currently more girls than guys, it will be the men handing out the roses this week. The girls are gonna have to compete for the guys’ attention. Anyone who doesn’t get a rose at the Rose Ceremony will immediately go home. The guys are pretty happy with that arrangement. Just wait, guys, next week the tables will turn, so it’s a little early to gloat.

There are currently seven men and eleven women, so four women will be going home this week. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think Paradise would work for me,” says Greer. That and the free trip to Mexico. “So I’m gonna have to pursue.”

“With that,” says Jesse, “go check this place out and let the Paradising begin!” Class dismissed, they all run to check out the sleeping quarters. I’m sure they’re all thrilled about sleeping in a bunk bed in a crowded dorm room with no AC.

The claws are coming out

When Olivia admits that she and Will already kissed, Kylee’s heart breaks a little. She teases Will about her broken heart, prompting him to apologize and say, “We need to talk.” It’s only night one, and Will’s already in a love triangle.

Greer has the first date card! “Kylee,” she reads aloud, “choose your first spark and set that love ablaze.” Yikes. Who will she choose? She says she came here to meet Will (I thought it was Aven?), but the fact that he’s already kissed another girl is a turnoff for her. Now she’s torn over who to pick. She excuses herself to go “figure myself out.”

Kylee sits down with Mercedes to talk it out. Her top three are Will, Brayden and Blake. She’s scared of making a mistake. Kylee, it’s just a date. You’re not marrying the guy. Go have fun with someone. She’s definitely overthinking the situation. Finally, she picks Will and he quickly accepts, much to Olivia’s surprise. She thought she’d already staked her claim.

Olivia tries to accept Will’s decision philosophically. “That’s a grown man, he can do what he wants to do,” she says. “Just like I can do what I want to do.” Privately, though, she confesses she’s “annoyed.”

“Don’t mack on me,” she says, “and then go on a date with someone else.” Why not? It was a kiss, Olivia. He didn’t ask you to be his girlfriend. Sometimes that’s just what happens. Saying she can “stoop,” Olivia seems to hint that she’d be up for some payback. “Oh, it’s game on,” she concludes. Look out, Paradisers, here comes your first summer storm.

Wells is back behind the bar

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While Kylee and Will leave to get ready for their date, the rest of the group heads down to the bar to hang out. Look who’s behind the bar! Bachelor Nation’s favorite bartender Wells Adams is on the job. He’s so adorable. Sarah Hyland (his wife) is a lucky girl.

“Welcome to Bachelor in Paradise,” Wells says, as he raises a shot glass. “Let’s get weird. And maybe someone will get engaged. Here’s to love.”

When Kylee and Will stop at the bar on their way out, Olivia looks like she wants to hurt someone. It was just a kiss, girl. Move on! Find another boyfriend or you’ll be going home. Will’s not worth it.

The first date of Paradise

Over at the luxurious Vidanta resort, Kylee and Will wade through a shallow pool to their table. Even though he admits that Kylee knows about the kiss with Olivia, Will’s all about Kylee now. He hopes this is just the start of something special. “I’m here to find my wife,” he says. I’m not convinced.

When they reach their table, Will pulls out Kylee’s chair like a gentleman. But when he tries to go around her to his own chair, he trips and falls flat in the water. I was afraid of that. Glad it was him and not her.

Will is so embarrassed, but Kylee tries her hardest to turn it into a positive. “You were being a gentleman,” she reassures him, adding that they’ll have “something to laugh about” when they look back on their first date. Will just wants to disappear.

Brayden explores other possibilities

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Meanwhile, back at the bar, Brayden is telling Wells how disappointed he is that Kylee didn’t choose him for the date. But Wells encourages him to look at other opportunities and go talk to someone else. “Go get yourself a Southern bell,” he adds.

So Brayden takes his advice and ends up on a daybed with Kat. Kat tells Brayden her favorite color is beige. That’s weird and boring. It’s barely even a color. It’s just washed-out brown. It has it’s place, but that’s just weird.

Kat thinks Brayden’s sweet, “like a golden retriever.” She loves that he’s paying attention to her and actually listening to her. They laugh over her spilling her drink, and then Kat moves in for the first kiss. Brayden’s not mad about it. In a confessional, he admits, “Kat is a great kisser. Ten out of ten.” He sees “potential.”

Romance is in the air

This whole BIP thing is new to Rachel. It’s a little less structured than either the Bachelor or the Bachelorette so Rachel’s kind of feeling her way. She takes the opportunity to get to know Sean, and they walk hand-in-hand to another of the daybeds scattered on the beach.

Even though he admits he was surprised to see her here, he feels they “vibed” immediately. Sean loves to use the word “vibe.” He uses it a lot. Sean finds Rachel easy to talk to. And he also goes in for a kiss. The romance is poppin’ on the beach on Night One.

Rachel confesses that she’s surprised she kissed someone on the first night. Why not, Rachel? There are only seven roses up for grabs this week. It’s not a bad idea to stake your claim early.

On yet another daybed on the beach, Blake and Jess are hanging out. They’re cute together. He also leans in for a kiss. Aaron S. and Sam are also coupled up. Ditto for Aaron B. and Mercedes, who also share a kiss.

“Paradise works!” Rachel declares.

Olivia’s not over it

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Still smarting that Will kissed her and talked about sucking her gross, sand-covered toes, Olivia is commiserating with Wells at the bar. Olivia just needs to get over it and find someone else. Will has already moved on.

But Wells is taking her side. “He went from wanting to suck on your toes to not even giving you the time of day to tell you that he’s going on a date with somebody else … I don’t like it.”

Over at Kylee and Wills’ date, Kylee tells Will, “I just want to make sure that I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes. I don’t want any drama.”

“You’re not stepping on anyone’s toes,” Will assures her, even though Olivia has her own feelings on the subject. He feels honored that Kylee chose him for the date and thinks their conversation has been more “intentional,” rather than the playful banter he had with Olivia. His feelings for Kylee are stronger than those for anyone else in Paradise.

They both agree that they’re looking for the same thing: a solid relationship with a partner. Will wants what his parents have, what his friends have. They both want “the real deal.”

Here come the fire dancers, right on cue. Careful, people, that pool can be treacherous! Finally, Will leans in and kisses Kylee. In a confessional, he admits, “It was a whole different feeling from the kiss I had … with Olivia.” Poor Olivia’s not gonna like seeing this on TV.

Couples recap

The next morning everyone is talking about who is coupled up so far. Aaron S. jokes, “I’ll probably marry Sam.”

Brayden and Kat “have really hit it off,” according to Brooklyn. “Sorry Brayden,” she adds, “she kind of scares me.”

Rachel and Sean are “super giddy, super excited,” Brooklyn continues. Rachel sees Sean as “literally a Ken doll … and I’m literally Barbie.” Even though she’s hopeful, Rachel knows that “things can go very south very quickly in Paradise.” So there’s an element of caution.

Blake and Aaron S. are talking at breakfast about the Kylee-Will-Olivia triangle. Aaron accuses Will of not being a man when he didn’t talk to Olivia before he went on the date with Kylee. Both guys predict that there will be repercussions for Will when he wakes up this morning. Olivia’s not one to let things go. Aaron predicts it will be “Dia de Olivia.”

For her part, Olivia says she’s open to having a conversation with Will. She’s still pissed off that neither of them came up and talked to her before going on that date. It was one kiss, honey, you weren’t dating. Move on already. Find someone else or you’re out. You’re wasting your opportunity.

Kylee’s already decided Will is her boyfriend. “Freaking Justin Bieber could walk down those steps, and I’d be, like, ‘No, Will is my guy.” For one thing, Justin Bieber is already married. Number two, slow your roll, sweetheart. You’ve been on one date. Believe me, a lot can happen.

Will pulls Olivia aside

Finally, Will takes the bull by the horns Olivia aside for a chat. “How are you feeling?” he asks, and she responds, “Fine.” But everybody knows she’s not fine. Even Rachel knows, “This conversation is not going to go well.” You think?

When he asks her again, “How are you truly feeling?” Olivia snaps, “I just said I was fine.” Liar! Just tell him how you feel and get it over with.

Will apologized for making Olivia feel “disrespected,” but added, “it’s day one.” They’re both there to explore their options. “I don’t think just because I gave you a kiss [means] I owe you an explanation on day one. If it was a little bit further into the process and we had a deeper connection, I could see why I owe you an explanation.” I don’t think he’s wrong. It was just a kiss, not any kind of commitment. What world does Olivia live in?

He did the right thing, he told her he was sorry she felt disrespected. But his feelings are just stronger for Kylee. I have a feeling it’s not over for Olivia, though. Olivia knows Kylee originally came to Paradise to meet Aven. She thinks Kylee will stay with Will till Aven arrives, then drop him like it’s hot to be with Aven.

Afterward, Will finds Kylee and tells her he just spoke to Olivia. He says she had a little “attitude.” But he told her, “There’s not anyone else here that I’d rather spend my time with than you.” He’s totally falling for Kylee on Day Two.

Here comes trouble

When Will confesses how happy he is and “there’s nothing you could do to run my day,” I literally blurted out, “Uh oh.” I’ve been watching this show since the first season. That was definitely a foreshadowing moment right there. Is that Aven coming down those stairs?

Of course, it is! The writers on this show are devious. “Oh, look who it is!” Jesse pretends to be surprised. “You’re obviously showing up late, but you’re not showing up empty-handed, brother,” he says, handing Aven a date card.

For some reason, Kylee tells Will, “I don’t know why I have anxiety all of a sudden, but I have so much anxiety right now.” Is she psychic? Her other boyfriend’s about to join the group.

And that’s where they leave it. I just hope Aven doesn’t end up taking Olivia on the date. I’m ready for Bitter Party of One to go home. She’s ridiculous. Will didn’t dump you after ten years of marriage, Olivia. It was one freaking kiss. Guys do that all the time. Girls do, too. Get over yourself.

Bachelor in Paradise continues Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.