An unprecedented season of The Bachelorette got off to an unprecedentedly awkward start.
Namely, in the immortal words of host Jesse Palmer: "How is this all going to work?"
Well, for starters, a bit uncomfortably!
It was clear that both Gabby and Rachel—who formed a bond during Clayton Echard's season of The Bachelor—were very excited to be there. Once the eligible men started to arrive, it became clear that many of them were excited about one thing in particular: talking about Clayton!
There were (bad) jokes about Clayton, there was Ryan who dressed up as a clown and called himself Clayton, there was even a four-person youth choir who sang an original song about Clayton. It was a lot.
"These guys keeping bringing up Clayton," Rachel said. "I think Gabby and I are okay with not hearing Clayton's name again tonight."
The most awkward introduction, however, belonged to John from Nashville, who got Gabby and Rachel's names mixed up.
"I messed up their names," John said. "I think that's a great first impression. Actually, it's a terrible first impression, but it's a big impression."
Whatever you need to tell yourself, John!
Once inside, Gabby and Rachel mostly veered off in separate directions for one-on-ones, with a few exceptions: real estate analyst Erich, magician Roby and twin brothers Justin and Joey.
Gabby and Rachel both enjoyed their time with Erich—especially Gabby, who kissed him—but as for the other three? Not so much. After some very dull conversations, Roby, Justin and Joey were all sent home at the end of the night.
It goes to show that having a good friend by your side when a stranger is trying to impress you with magic tricks is always a good idea.
By the end of the night, Gabby and Rachel really hit their stride. They were comparing notes on who they liked, who they kissed and why Jacob was so insistent on sitting shirtless in front of the fire.
Their greatest display of synergy, however, came when they made the bold decision to postpone the rose ceremony. Gabby and Rachel both concluded that, simply, they weren't able to spend enough time with all of the men and it wouldn't make sense to send anybody else home without giving them a fair shot.
If viewers were expecting anything other than complete simpatico between the two, they can prepare to be disappointed.
"It was never a question for us," Gabby exclusively told E! News. "We just both respect each other and love each other so much that we would never, ever want to make the other one feel compromised or like we were competing against each other. To me, there was no other way. There was no other option."
Rachel echoed the sentiment, and teased that the season's eventual conclusion came about organically, as well.
"Gabby and I just always had really open communication," she exclusively told E! News. "Being able to talk to each other throughout this, things just fell naturally where they did."
Watch how Gabby and Rachel juggle it all when The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
-Reporting by Alyssa Ray