Tuesday instead of Monday nights? Literal knights in shining armor? Strip dodgeball? Clare finding her husband in the first episode? Okay, we are gonna need some CLARE-ification after these episodes.
Caution! Spoilers below.
Tuesday, October 13th saw the long-awaited premiere of the 16th season of The Bachelorette franchise. In teasers dropped the week before the first episode, host Chris Harrison seemed to build upon his never-ending promise that this season would be the most dramatic yet. But…could that actually be true this time?
Clare was first introduced as one of the ladies competing for Juan Pablo’s heart back in season 18 of The Bachelor. After making it to the final two, Clare’s memorable exit kick-started her journey through multiple seasons of Bachelor in Paradise as well as Bachelor Winter Games. Clare made headlines early last year as the still hopeless romantic and oldest bachelorette to date.
After production of the show was forced to halt due to Covid in March, Clare’s season was up in the air. Would the 39-year-old bachelorette be able to find love? A unique situation, to begin with, seemed doomed from the start with a setup as intimate as The Bachelor. But finally, after months of waiting (as shown in recaps in the first episode), we see Chris Harrison face-timing a very excited Clare to tell her that they have been cleared to start filming. Each contestant was tested before and upon arriving at the spacious La Quinta Resort & Club according to health and safety regulations. After each person was cleared, preparations for the iconic opening ceremony went forward.
The first episode had its usual combination of classic punch lines, grand entrances, banter and wholesome butterflies. The most prominent example of those butterflies didn’t just come from the guys, but from Clare at the arrival of 31-year-old Dale Moss. Moments after former football player Dale’s charming introduction, a breathless Clare says she feels like she had “just met her husband”.
After drinks, stolen seconds, small talk and a first impression rose given to none other than Dale, the sun rose through the windows of the resort over an exhausted group of 31 men. That group was reduced to 23, including the exit of “mini McConaughey” Tyler C.
Night two featured the first group date where the guys showed off their passion for love languages. First was words of affirmation where Clare stood in a Romeo and Juliet like tower. Basked in soft stage lighting the guys looked up to her and talked about what it meant for them to be there. Afterward was gift-giving and then a blindfolded hug session. Clare, moved by their statements and actions picked half of her favorites to go on a group date.
Later, things really got vulnerable as half of the group stripped down to their birthday suits with a game of extreme dodgeball. Five were sent back with no celebration and no champagne.
The unexpected birthday suit penalty did not sit right with some contestants and has sparked debate online. Contestant Yosef called it “classless” with plans to confront her.
Later, tensions rose again between the guys after Blake M., a member of the losing team, went out of his way to talk to Clare during Red Team’s celebration. Before the rose ceremony that night Blake M. was sent home after Clare felt his answers to deep questions were too surface level.
The progression of this season is….unclear. Former Bachelor in Paradise member Tayshia Adams is rumored to replace Clare later this season according to multiple news outlets. Does Clare walk out on her own? Is she leaving with somebody? One thing is for sure, #Bachelornation and Twitter are dying to find out.