Imagine this: you're just chilling on your couch, passing the time, when there's a knock on your door. It's Chris Harrison and he's got your test results.
"You're COVID-free!" he says, and you rejoice.
Most of us could only dream of having our COVID-19 results delivered by the host of The Bachelorette, but it's a dream Clare Crawley lived this summer. Tonight, we saw her finally begin her long-awaited journey as the newest Bachelor franchise star, and after several long montages of Clare and her contestants losing their minds in quarantine, it became pretty clear just how ready Clare was for this gig. Some might actually say she was too ready.
We already knew, based on multiple sources, that Clare found love very early on and ended up leaving after she gave out her first impression rose. What tonight's premiere made very clear is that Clare knew exactly what she was looking for—she even said she could pick her husband out the second she meets him, and she might have been right. The moment she laid eyes on handsome football player Dale Moss, she was a goner. (And truly, who could blame her?)
The show didn't even try for any dramatic tension. Clare was shown in the opening teaser saying that she just met her husband after Dale stepped out of that limo, so it's sorta like what are we even watching these other guys for? Just give us Clare and Dale hanging out, especially since some of the other men seem...irritating? Frustrating? They ain't Dale, that's for sure.
We've only known Dale for one episode, but if Clare can fall for him in one second, we can do it in one episode, OK?
But we've gotten ahead of ourselves. Let's jump back a bit—just to the start of the limo arrivals, when the show really begins—to really join Clare on her journey and share some thoughts along the way.
The Limo Arrivals
The first guy out of the limo (where did the limo even drive from though) was Ben, an Army vet, who taught Clare some breathing exercises and honestly that was a GREAT move.
After that...our eyes glazed over. Men were showing up way too fast. It was like Whackamole but instead of hitting them, you were supposed to remember their names. One guy tried some lawyer jokes. A man named Jason showed up looking pregnant to mimic Clare's grand entrance during Juan Pablo Galavis' season which we had entirely forgotten about.
One guy's move was to say "I honestly couldn't be happier that they chose you," and it just feels like he could have come up with something better than that. It would be pretty wild if he sat through all that quarantining wishing the Bachelorette was someone else.
A guy named Eazy jumped through a giant banner that said "Your Future Husband" and then really regretted not bringing snacks after he saw several other guys bring snacks. (It's really a great rule to always bring snacks.)
One guy proposed with a ringbox containing a small farting man, which was just SO sweet.
And then there was Dale, who came in with no tricks or treats other than his own face.
"You look beautiful. I'm a hugger, so I got a big one for you," he said as he picked her up in a big, jealousy-inducing hug. He proceeded to introduce himself, but Clare was too busy grinning from ear to ear to pay attention.
As he walked away, Clare started to hyperventilate a little bit, and that's when she mumbled to herself that she thought she just met her husband. Cue Chris Harrison, whose show was about to unravel if the Bachelorette was ready to propose on night one, zipping on out there to check to see if he heard his star right and perhaps to remind her how this show is supposed to work.
Bachelorettes have a very good history of giving first impression roses to their eventual winners but not a one of them has ever stood there in the driveway and declared a man their husband on the very first night, so we can totally understand Chris' confusion. Uh, there's still nine weeks to go Clare! This isn't how this works!
Clare, meanwhile, didn't care. She could only wonder, googly eyed, if she'd even managed to say a word to Dale, and we genuinely don't know how she continued to meet more men.
The Cocktail Party
Aside from some dumb drama between two men about texting girls during quarantine (like who cares), there were two major cocktail party standouts:
Blake Moynes: Blake is the only guy out of 31 who reached out to Clare during quarantine. She brought this up during the cocktail party to thank him because his message came at a particularly difficult time for her. Blake then got the first non-impression rose, so Clare apparently loves a rule breaker, but not as much as she loves Dale.
Dale, obviously: Clare shared a moment with her alleged future husband where they bonded over caring for their unwell relatives during quarantine, and later she gave him the first impression rose and went in for a kiss. He first pulled back, just to say "Oh my god, I'm so nervous!" Then they kissed anyway and he seemed just as flustered as she did.
This is now officially a rom-com where we totally know (or at least we think/hope we know) that Clare and Dale are going to end up together but we can't wait to find out exactly how. They kissed a little early in the movie, but we will almost never complain about consensual kissing!
The Rose Ceremony
Some guys went home, including the guy who tried to accuse the other guy of texting girls during quarantine. But the guy who got accused of the texting did get a rose, in case you're wondering where Clare stands on that.
There is sooooo much to unpack here (especially given that it ends with another limo arriving), but for now, here are a few choice lines from the action-packed teaser that aired at the end of the episode. Apologies, we know very few names so far.
"You're damn right I'm going to ask her to marry me." - Not Dale
"The way that you make me feel is the way that I've been wanting to to feel my entire life." - Not Dale
"I have feelings for Dale. We have a connection. Guess what. It's because I like him." - Clare
"I know what I'm looking for. I know what I want, and I found it." - Clare
"You're phony, you're fraudulent, you're artificial, you're everything fake. The cameras are here, you're a completely different person." - Not Dale, to Dale (Concerning!)
"It's only a matter of time before Clare realizes the truth, that Dale's maybe not who Clare thinks he is." - Not Dale
"In the 18 years I've been doing this show, we've never dealt with anything like this." - Chris Harrison
"I just don't know how you could be so sure so quick." - Not Dale
"Wanna get f--king crazy? Let's get f--king crazy. How about the 15 of us walk out?" - Not Dale
"I will never apologize for love. I'll apologize if I wasted your time. I'll apologize if I hurt you, but I'm not gonna apologize for love, ever." - Clare
"The path we're on right now, it doesn't end well for anybody. Congratulations, you've just blown up The Bachelorette." - Chris
"I didn't expect the process to be cut short." - Not Dale
"Clare's gone." - Not Dale
"I don't know what that means. Like, Ok, do we get a new Bachelorette in here?" - Not Dale
"What the f--k just happened?" - Not Dale
We'll find out "what the f--k just happened" in the weeks to come, but for now, stay tuned for more coverage of The Bachelorette.
New episodes air Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.