Chris Soules begins his journey to find love with a bushel and a peck.
The Bachelor Recap
Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC
4. Season 5 (Jesse Palmer)

Welcome, welcome, rose lovers. It’s once again time for us to embark on a journey of love, lust, champagne, and Chris Harrison one-liners. But before we get going, I feel like I need to address the obvious, as if I’m getting out of the limo in a super short dress and need to explain myself: I am not Kristen Baldwin, your beloved Bachelor/Bachelorette recapper. Kristen is no longer with EW, and on her way out, she passed the rose on to me.

The way I see it, this is our first night at the mansion. I will drink, maybe too heavily, and you will judge me for it. And then, at the end of this season-long journey, you can make up your mind about me and maybe forgive me for my night one mistakes. Look, I’m not asking you to pull a Mesnick and sob over a railing before ultimately deciding that your second pick was actually your first pick. I’m simply asking that you think about pulling a Desiree. In other words, your Brooks just left, and you’re devastated. BUT, you have all season to decide if this Chris is deserving of that final rose. Are you sick of me, yet? Good. Me, too.

Officially welcoming you to season 19 of the show is Mr. Hot Farmer himself, Chris Soules. Quick refresher: Chris is 33 and best known for being Andi Dorfman’s secret admirer on the last season of The Bachelorette. He’s a farmer in the very small town of Arlington, Iowa, and it’s pretty much a done deal that his chosen love has to want to live there, too. You also might recognize him as “that adorable guy whose family played ghosts in the graveyard.” And just in case you forgot, his sisters would like me to remind you that he’s loaded.

This season, he’s riding a motorcycle along his 6,000 acres of “God’s country”—I was wondering where that was—wearing a leather jacket and walking through his beautiful house. Did I mention he’s rich?

But before you can even think about making a joke about crops growing and flourishing, much like love, Chris is there to do it for you. “Love is a lot like farming: You plant a seed, you hope it grows, sometimes the weather isn’t always on your side but with a little bit of luck, something beautiful can come from it.” Well, if his journey to find love looks as good as he does shoveling grain, I’m in. (There’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.)

In our quick introduction to Chris’ life, we watch him fish with his father, enjoy a big family dinner, and lean pensively on a fence before heading down to the local bar where everyone literally knows his name. Also, “everyone” is like eight elderly gentlemen who enjoy talking about the weather, drinking coffee, and using words like “bushel.”

However, there’s one word that I prefer to “bushel,” and it’s “bale.” Specifically, it’s that bale of hay that Chris is currently using to do push-ups.

That’s right. He might be rich, but Chris doesn’t waste his money on pesky gym equipment. Instead, he hires his buddy Cody, whom you might recognize from Andi’s season/Bachelor in Paradise to come by the farm for some personal training. I have to admit that watching Chris do push-ups on bales of hay changed me. I’d never before contemplated using bales of hay in that manner, but now, it’s the only push-up scenario I’ll accept. As Cody says (with more conviction than anything he ever said to Andi), “Looking good dude. Seriously.” Yeah, we didn’t need that last part Cody. We know you’re serious.

After casually squeezing in a few squats while holding a rock—as one does—Chris cleans up and hops on his motorcycle. He’s not happy about leaving his farm in the middle of harvest—it’s a big deal—but he’s ready to find love. And step one of finding love involves trying on all the clothes Los Angeles has to offer. In this moment, it’s evident how much fun the producers are having with Chris, showing us some behind-the-scenes footage of Chris making crotch jokes, wishing he were harvesting corn, and saying, “I don’t feel like getting more needles in my ass.” But this is one game farmer. Chris allows himself to get poked for what feels like forever before posing with some hay and getting ready to meet a woman who loves “a real, grown-ass farmer.”

NEXT: Meet the ladies

Cue the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Chris’ first shower scene. But his is an outdoor shower because, you know, he’s rugged and loves nature and stuff. The verdict? He’s ready for love (if “ready for love” means “ripped,” which spoiler, it does). Also, the fact that this guy can’t wrap his head around a woman who’d want to date a farmer from Arlington just makes him more lovable.

Time to meet the ladies.

Britt, 27. A waitress from Hollywood, Britt enjoys hiking, “journaling,” and not sleeping with her boyfriends. At least, not until after they’ve established that they have a non-physical connection. And when she’s single, she enjoys handing out free hugs to strangers in preparation for what might be the longest first hug in Bachelor history. The first one out of the limo, Britt throws her arms around Chris like he’s a soldier who’s just returned home from war, but he doesn’t seem to mind. And if her claw marks in his back didn’t ensure he’d remember her, her note for a “Free hug from Britt” would. First impression: Sweet but potentially clingy.

Whitney, 29. If any of you live in the Chicago area and are looking for a fertility nurse … keep looking. Because surely you can find one who doesn’t say things like, “Chris is America’s prince” and whose voice doesn’t make you wish you were listening to nails on a chalkboard. First impression: Too much, honey.

Kelsey, 28. Another fan of “journaling,” Kelsey is a school counselor from Austin whose husband died when his heart stopped suddenly on his walk to work one day. But now, she’s “just a regular girl,” and Chris is “just a regular guy.” God, that was such a meet-cute I almost vomited. First impression: Genuine option.

Megan, 24. Although Megan only seems capable of whispering, Chris is there to drown her out, adoring her blue eyes and just generally being overwhelmed with her hotness. First impression: Boring/nervous.

Ashley I., 26. Rule #1 of being on The Bachelor: Pick a dress you can walk in. Luckily, Chris is too caught up in her beauty to notice. First impression: Direct quote from my notes: “I like them. Intrigue.”

Trina, 33. Of all the awkward things, Trina screams at “farmer Chris” before grossing out the nation with her suggestive eyebrow raise. We see you, Trina. We also see that you have no connection with Chris. First impression: No eyebrow raise can fix this situation.

Reegan, 28. She’s got a prop! She’s got a prop! She’s got a cooler? And she’s a cadaver tissue saleswoman? Somebody make it stop. Somebody make her turn back. Oh wait, it’s a false alarm. Turns out, her “really fun” job—she desperately needs to look up the definition of “fun”—might be selling human tissues, but the heart she brought Chris is FAKE. And bless his little fake heart, Chris plays along. First impression: DOA.

Tara, 26. No premiere can be considered complete without a “sport fishing enthusiast” arriving in cut-off jean shorts, cowboy boots, and flannel. Okay, every premiere can be considered complete without that, but not one that involves a hot farmer. At least, not where Tara’s concerned. Someone get this girl a Jameson on the rocks and a fishin’ pole, because she’s ready to drink find love. First impression: Try, honey.

Amber, 29. Amber brought a teddy bear with her to comfort her … because that won’t make Chris feel at all like he’s dating a child. First impression: I can’t find the words, but I feel gross.

Nikki, 26. Now here’s something a Bachelor season wouldn’t be complete without: A former NFL cheerleader. And this one literally just flew here from Peru. Literally. She was just on a plane that was in Peru. And now she’s here. First impression: Peru sounds fun.

NEXT: Tara meets Chris … again

Brief pause for Tara’s second introduction: Now in a black cocktail dress, the cowgirl uses her second arrival to give Chris the classic “you can’t take the country out of the girl” speech. I can’t say I’m a fan of her, but she got Chris to wink at her, so I have to give her props for that.

Amanda, 24. A ballerina from Illinois, Amanda would like the world to know that she’s still single because she’s “f–king crazy.” And by “f–king crazy,” she means “f–king lazy.” Still living at home, Amanda does not enjoy paying bills, cooking, or cleaning. She also doesn’t like first introductions, so instead, she has the limo driver deliver a note to Chris that instructs him to turn around and close his eyes. She’s decided he deserves a secret admirer of his own and hopes he’ll be able to figure out who she is. Yes, because that will be hard… First impression: Good effort, but nope.

Jillian, 25. A national news producer from DC, Jillian is what we like to call “the muscle” of the season. Her hobbies include deadlifting more weight than a lot of men and wearing short shorts. Jillian is also another Bachelor season necessity: The one who thinks love is a competition. First impression: Peppy and a little awkward. (But she’s got nice biceps.)

Mackenzie, 21. There’s really only one thing you need to know about Mackenzie: She named her son Kale. And then she wore a green dress to the mansion. She also didn’t do her hair. First impression: Kale > men. I’m not talking about her son.

Ashley S., 24. Nope. Nope. Nope. I’m sorry, but is Ashley lost? Is that just the way she holds her face? Why is she touching Chris’ foot? First impression: Nope.

Kaitlyn, 29. Wait, can we go back to Ashley’s wide eyes? I’m sorry, I take it back! Come back, Ashley! I much prefer awkward glances to Kaitlyn telling Chris, “You can plow the f–k out of my field, any day.” First impression: Not worth it.

With 15 women in the house, Chris Harrison returns—I’m officially calling these two guys Chris Squared because they’re my favorite—to inform Chris that he can go inside and get to know them a little better. So he only gets 15 women? Why, because he’s a farmer?! It’s okay. Chris isn’t nearly as outraged as I am. His response is that it’s “14 more than I usually date at one time.” Fair.

Once inside, Hot Farmer proves that he’s not about to let some crazy jokester mess up his prepared speech. After he shuts Kaitlyn down, he recovers with a self-deprecating comment about letting him get out his horrible speech first. Damn, he’s good. And just in case you were wondering, Kaitlyn’s joke involves a walrus, a Tupperware party, and a tight seal. SOMEONE STOP HER.

And it’s finally one-on-one time. Chris sits down with Britt, who decides to explain her incredibly self-explanatory “Free Hug” note. She starts talking about how a wife is a safe haven and how she wants to be the person Chris comes to for a hug, a shoulder to cry on, etc. And as much as I don’t want to like this girl, it’s freakish how genuine she seems. And it’s evident Chris feels the same. They clarify that a “small town is where it’s at” before hugging and almost kissing. Hey, when you see a pretty horse you … ride it? That went south fast. I’ll work on my farmer jokes, I promise.

From an almost-kiss to talk of insemination, Whitney takes Chris aside to talk about how making babies for a living means she has a lot in common with farming. In fact, she’s been thinking about how much the two have in common for a while now considering she’s been crossing off the days on her calendar until she meets Chris. Here’s to hoping Chris being “excited” about Whitney means he’s sending her home, like, now. After all, who has paper calendars anymore?

Other fun facts: Reegan still thinks her cadaver tissue job is “really fun,” Nikki was seriously JUST scaling Machu Picchu and she’s got the heart-shaped rock to prove it—god bless you, mother nature—and Chris is referring to his secret admirer as “it,” which only makes me love him more. Spoiler: It’s Amanda, who’s giving off a very mermaid-esque vibe tonight, and much like Ashley S., has only one setting for her eyes: wide.

NEXT: Who’s ready for round 2?

But wait! Chris Squared has a surprise for us. There’s another limo coming. This little break served only to make sure the first 15 will be drunker than the next bunch and therefore begin a full-out war. Let’s do this!

Samantha, 27. A fashion designer from LA, Samantha is “grateful and blessed” to be here. First impression: Boring. (To be fair, the second bunch had much shorter introductions.)

Michelle, 25. This wedding cake decorator has one train of thought: “You are a babe, so that’s good news.” First impression: Kind of awesome?

Juelia, 24. It’s pronounced “Julia”? First impression: Your name is spelled funny.

Becca, 25. I’m just going to come out and say it: Chris is into this chiropractic assistant. According to Hot Farmer, she looks “ridiculous” and “out of this world.” First impression: Definite lust option.

Tandra, 30. You have to respect a woman who rides a motorcycle in a cocktail dress. First impression: Ballsy.

Alissa, 24. If you thought the typical flight attendants safety speech was painful, Alissa’s got a treat for you! Here’s just a snippet: “Smoking is prohibited on this aircraft … unless you’re smoking hot. Hey Chris.” *wink* It’s official: I’m never flying Bachelor Air (unless my only other option is AirAsia). But Chris doesn’t have to worry about that because she brings a seat belt to the mansion just in time to make him feel fat. First impression: The nearest exit might be located behind you.

This is where we take a brief pause to see how Group 1 is doing inside the house, where they’re crouching in windows, continuing to drink, and second-guessing their entrances considering how much more creative group 2 is being. As for Jillian, she’s flexing her biceps to try to scare girls away, and then there’s Kaitlyn, the court jester, who’s screaming “Bring on the weirdos!” in the episode’s most ironic moment.

Jordan, 24. When in doubt, bring a man a tiny bottle of whiskey that you probably got on the plane. First impression: Smart.

Nicole, 31. When in doubt, do not put on a pig nose and “ham it up” with a man just because he owns a farm. And please, let this be a lesson to everyone that “oink oink” can never be sexy, no matter how you say it. First impression: Bacon. Get it?

Brittany, 26. Look out, Jillian, you’ve just been replaced as the muscle of the house by a freakin’ WWE wrestler who does not believe in long skirts or Twitter. Instead, she prefers her thighs to be exposed and her hashtags to appear on poster board. #Soulesmates First impression: As Kaitlyn puts it, “Next.” (Please don’t beat me up for that.)

Carly, 29. What’s a cruise ship singer without a childlike karaoke machine and a song she wrote just for Chris? First impression: I’ll leave this one to the ladies in the house. “What is she singing?” “I don’t know, but I think she’s going to get eliminated.”

Meanwhile, inside the house, this: “Make the girls stop coming!”

Tracy, 29. As a fourth grade teacher, Tracy does what any smart woman would—she uses her kids to land herself a man. Reading Chris a note her student Natalie wrote, she says: “Dear farmer, please like my teacher so she doesn’t end up lonely with 9 cats.” As far as I’m concerned, Natalie gets my first impression rose (and not in a weird way). First impression: Thank you, Natalie.

Bo, 25. All we know about this one is that she’s a plus-size model. First impression: Bland.

Kimberly, 28. Wow. Between Bo and Kimberly, clearly we saved the contestants with the biggest boobs for last. Oh, and this one’s a yoga instructor. First impression: [Insert flexibility joke here]

Kara, 25. Her dress is too sparkly and she’s already talking about babies. First impression: Byeee.

Winning quote from inside (once they realize that more than 25 woman have arrived): “Juan Pablo had 27.” “Yeah, and he was a douche.” Truth.

Jade, 28. Last but not least, we have Jade, who Chris is really feeling. Like really. First impression: Contender.

With 30 women in the house, we return to my favorite programming, Chris Squared, where this is happening: “If this doesn’t work, I don’t know what will.”

Inside the house, Chris begins the rounds. Some women have kids! Carly looked up weird laws in Iowa for some reason! Kaitlyn puts on tights to teach him how to dance the 6-step! Bo loves meat! And Alissa says tonight is like Christmas morning, “except your presents are women.”

And just as Chris is wishing he were a polygamist, Ashley S. comes forward as the serial murderer crazy one of the night. Talking about how people are like onions and how you cut and peel them—it really feels like she means literally—she steals Chris from the WWE wrestler to talk about running through sunflower fields and riding horses. Then, she finds an onion in the garden and stops her interview to pick it. Just kidding, it’s a pomegranate! Who woulda thought?!

NEXT: The first kiss, followed by the first rose ceremony

With Ashley S. out to solve the mystery of the onion-esque pomegranate, Tara takes the drunk-girl reins like the good cowgirl she is. There are hiccups, burps, and one interview cut short so that she could take another sip of her Jameson. And those are three reasons why she probably doesn’t get the first impression rose. Instead, the rose goes to …

Britt! Seriously, how are these two already so cute? Chris: “If it isn’t me, she deserves somebody incredible … and I kinda hope it’s me.” As Andi would say, STAHP. Just like that, the two finally share a first kiss and then agree to freak out, labeling this the “best night ever.” And to think that it all started with a very awkward too-long hug. Or perhaps I need to work on the timing of my embraces?

Alright, enough happiness. Who’s ready for some good old-fashioned rejection? Well, Chris Harrison is here to bring you just that with this year’s first rose ceremony. After a little Chris Squared pep talk, it all begins…

Well, it sort of begins with Chris handing out roses to Kaitlyn, Jade, Samantha, Ashley I., Tandra, Nikki, Kelsey, Megan, Alissa, Amber, Juelia, Becca, and Trina (really?) before Tara steals the spotlight. Jameson was a bit too kind to Tara tonight, and by this point, let’s just say she shouldn’t be standing on a platform. But the good news for her is that, after a quick conference with Chris Squared, Chris decides that he doesn’t need his women to be able to operate heavy machinery at the drop of a hat. And with that, he’s back at the rose table, handing out his second batch to Mackenzie (quick, somebody tell him her son’s name!), Tracy, Tara, Jordan, Jillian, Whitney, Carly, and Ashley S. (oh, Chris).

That means it’s time to say goodbye to Reegan, Amanda, Michelle, Nicole, Brittany, Bo, Kimberly, and Kara. Hey, at least this is going to be an entertaining season, right? Speaking of which, the drama is beginning right now with Kimberly refusing to leave. Correction: It’s beginning next week when the show picks up with Kimberly’s re-entrance. Well played, Bachelor.

As for the live portion of this premiere, here’s a quick CliffsNotes version: Sean and Catherine are still married; Des and Chris will be married in just a few weeks; Andi and Josh haven’t started planning their wedding yet; and Nikki would like the world to know that Juan Pablo is a good person but that they had “different lifestyles.” They real-life tried—not TV-tried—to make things work, and their priorities just didn’t line up. And now? Nikki has been welcomed back into the Bachelor family. (But, like, do we get a say in this?) Also, final lesson: If you promise free booze, every Bachelor alum ever will show up (possibly wearing a tiara).

And that’s a wrap on night one! I hope I didn’t get too drunk—unlike Tara, I could at least attempt to operate heavy machinery—but more importantly, I’m going to go practice hugging, because if this hour taught me anything, it’s that I’m no Britt.

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