in partnership
(Image: ABC / Craig Sjodin)

'Bachelor in Paradise' ep. 1: Kissing, fake birthday and a love triangle

Welcome back to paradise, Bachelor Nation.

The eighth season of "Bachelor in Paradise" premiered Tuesday night. While this wasn't the most riveting episode of reality television I've ever seen, we have already been graced with several couples, awkward moments and a love triangle — and that is better television than the last season of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" combined.

Episode one essentially set the foundation, introduced the contestants and gave us our first connections of the season. There wasn't anything *too* crazy that happened. In fact, I actually fell asleep toward the end of the episode because it was just meh, but hey, it was the first episode, so I'll let it slide.

What shocked me the most was just how many contestants came down to the beach in hopes that someone specific was going to be there (spoiler alert: they were). Take Brandon Jones (Michelle Young's season) and Serene Russell (Clayton Echard's season), for example. They both came in hopes of meeting each other. I swear, there had to be some DM'ing beforehand or something because when Jones came down, he beelined for Russell immediately.

I was also a big fan of just how much Jones' confidence seems to have boosted since he was on Young's season of "The Bachelorette." This is a couple nearly everyone on the beach said is likely to leave engaged, but only time will tell.

Another couple I did not expect but was pleasantly surprised by was Andrew Spencer (Katie Thurston's season) and Teddi Wright (Echard's season). Seriously, get you a man who looks at you the way Spencer looked at Wright when she walked down the steps. If it's not like that, I don't want it.

They went on a one-on-one date, and it was easily one of the most realistic, genuine and sweet interactions I have seen on this show. It was kind of awkward, they were both visibly nervous and you can tell they really did have an immediate connection.

To put it simply, I ship these two tough.

<="" sd-embed="">

If you read my "Bachelor in Paradise" cast reveal, you know that I am a sucker for Justin Glaze (Thurston's season). In my opinion, he is one of (if not the most) interesting and attractive people on that beach right now. Do I think he and Genevieve Parisi (Echard's season) are endgame? Absolutely not. But I am excited to see where this season takes them, either as a couple or with other people.

Another hot commodity on the beach is Michael Allio (Thurston's season) — essentially every woman there had something nice to say about this man. I truly, truly hope he leaves with love and happiness because he deserves it all.

<="" sd-embed="">

We must get into Lace Morris (Ben Higgins' season). I have no clue what she came down to Mexico to do, but I am here for the ride. This woman really lied about it being her birthday to get attention, which led to Logan Palmer (Gabby Windey's season) singing her "Happy Birthday" — replacing her age of 32 with her name in the song — and then calling her "Luce" instead of "Lace." He clearly did not know her name, which is why he used her age instead. The horror on this man's face when she corrected him. This, THIS, is PEAK reality TV. This is why I tune into this show.

And to top it all off, a love triangle already...kinda. Romeo Alexander (Young's season) and Jill Chin (Echard's season) have some history, and they are interested in each other. But Alexander has history with Kira Mengistu (Echard's season), too, who is also in Paradise. There is also some drama between the two women. But men have the roses this week, so right now, this looks good for Chin and not so much for Mengistu when it comes to Alexander.

Also, can we note how many women are from Thurston and Echard's seasons? Sheesh!

Some other honorable mentions:

  • Jacob Rapini (Windey and Rachel Recchia's season) coming down in nothing but a thong leaf is a schtick I could never see again and be happy.
  • I have no idea who Hailey Malles (Echard's season) is. I have never seen this woman in my life.
  • Shanae Ankney, who was the biggest villain on Echard's season, actually seems, fun? I liked her this episode. We'll see if it lasts.
  • Hunter Haag (Echard's season) couldn't go a sentence without mentioning IBS. Honey, everyone has IBS. You are not special.
  • Mengistu being a physician and saying in another life she would have been a porn star, you go sis.

This episode definitely set us up for the season — you can't possibly have this many connections already without some turbulence on the horizon. Cheers to BIP being back, Baches!

Abby Luschei is the assistant editor of Seattle Refined and can be reached at Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.