Thomas touches down in Paradise, much to every other guy's chagrin — and another new arrival gives the ladies those fiesta flutters.
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Bachelor in Paradise
Karl and Thomas on 'Bachelor in Paradise'
| Credit: ABC

Before we get started, rose lovers, a question: Is it me, or are the Bachelor in Paradise intros a little lame so far? Demi's pot-stirring intro, which my colleague Maureen pointed out in yesterday's recap, is cute, and I suppose I don't hate this...

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Credit: ABC

Love that they made him put on a mock turtleneck in 200-degree weather. (Even better that they make Connor "I am only here for a record contract" B. put on a furry cat costume.) Still, I hope they step up the insanity as the season progresses.

With that out of the way, it's time to talk about episode 3. New men arrived, one couple made a beeline for the "boom-boom room," and Tahz almost got devoured by a crab. Let's recap!

It's morning in Paradise, and some of the uncoupled men are on edge. "I'm kind of, like, scrambling to figure out what to do today," says James. He gave Demi his rose, but with new men arriving this week — and the women handing out the roses — none of the guys can get comfortable.

Before any frantic flirting can begin, though, this happens.

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It's the official slogan of Paradise!
| Credit: ABC

What could it mean? The Paradisians gather around as Tammy presses play. Suddenly, the opening chords of "It's Gonna Be Me" come blaring through the overhead speakers — so loud, in fact, that poor Abigail looks a little traumatized.

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Credit: ABC

Turn it down, y'all, before her cochlear implant explodes! Anyhow, of course the only reason ABC would shell out the money to license an NSYNC song is to help introduce our second guest host of the season…

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Credit: ABC

Welcome, Lance Bass! (Random aside: I've only been to Chicago once, and that was to visit the set of On the Line, the 2001 movie starring… Lance Bass and Joey Fatone! The movie was not good, but Bass and Fatone were very nice. End of random aside.)

"We got some hot men coming in this week, so guys, you better watch out," notes Bass. "Who wants a mimosa?" Lance pulls the ladies aside to gossip about the boys over some bubbly. "I need to know what's really going down," he says. "Who are we liking? Who's ready to meet someone else?" YES! More dishy gay hosts, please. In a bit of foreshadowing, Maurissa admits that even though she's with Connor, she's eager to see who will stroll down those stairs.

The men are also thinking about the new arrivals… but with dread rather than anticipation. Aaron seems certain that Thomas, one of the asshats from Katie's season of The Bachelorette, is on his way. "Thomas is all about clout and, like, a platform," he scoffs. Tre, who also had to deal with Thomas on The Bachelorette, accuses him of "crazy snake behavior." Well, somebody better get a heat lamp and some dead mice, because look who's here:

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He's tall.
| Credit: ABC

When he walks in, the women are all like, Ooooh, look at this tall drink of water! As for how the men are feeling… well, Aaron's face sums it up.

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Credit: ABC

"Aaron's about to tackle him," says Natasha, giggling. All of the women are just swooning… perhaps because they didn't watch Katie's season? Or maybe they did, and they're just horny. "Someone's making out with him today," predicts Serena P. "And I'll be okay if it's me."

Since Thomas arrives with a date card, his first order of business is to interview each of the women to decide which one of them deserves the honor of spending "alone" time with him. While he does that, the guys gather in the dining palapa and grill Katie's dudes for more details about Thomas' douchebaggery. "The big one is that it came out that he came with the intention of becoming the Bachelor," reports James. "He openly admitted that." (Grocery Joe's response is hilarious: "He openly admitted it? Never a good idea.")

After chatting with Abigail, Tahz, Mari, and Serena — and reminding each of them how very, very tall he is — Thomas ultimately chooses Serena for the date. (Props to the editors for interspersing this whole sequence with clips of Thomas casually mentioning to almost every woman that he's worried about bumping his head on the ceiling — just so they'll ask how tall he is. He's 6'6", in case you were wondering.)

Awwww, poor Grocery Joe is so sad. He puts on a brave face for Serena, who politely checks in with him before leaving. "You gotta explore your options," he says, jokingly adding, "I hope you have a bad time." Once she's gone, though, Joe goes into full sad-sack mode.

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Grocery Joe at rest
| Credit: ABC

Elsewhere on the beach…

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Credit: ABC

"I don't know what the air did to Karl, because Karl's really kicking the air's ass for no reason," quips Demi. Maybe Karl's just pretending that the air is Thomas? Anyhoo, even though Joe is worried about what will happen with Serena and Thomas, he should have some faith: Serena is smart enough to realize that since all the men hate Thomas, she should be on the lookout for some red flags. For now, though, Serena sees Thomas as "super hot" until proven problematic. 

Serena and Thomas stroll down the beach and find a giant banana raft thing waiting for them. The phallic imagery is an appropriate match for Serena's mood — she all but faints when Thomas takes off his shirt to reveal his chiseled abs. "He's got great lips, great body, great eyes," she coos, as a quasi-porno pulsing beat soundtracks the moment. "Thomas is a man." A man who tattooed his torso with a quote from a motivational poster he saw at Successories, apparently.

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Does the other side say "Yolo"?
| Credit: ABC

They ride the big banana (get your mind out of the gutter!) and then have some aquatic fun on a giant floaty called the Sombrero. All the while, Joe is back at the bar talking Wells' ear off. "I don't think she's gonna like him," he predicts… but he doesn't sound too sure. And he shouldn't be.

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Credit: ABC

Back at Crab Beach, Tre is in good spirits. "I'm not necessarily super worried," he says. "My plan for the rest of the day is to kind of focus on the connection I'm building with Tahzjuan." Oh no, Tre — now you've done it! The moment you relax in Paradise, this happens:

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Two tickets to the gun show, please.
| Credit: ABC

Holy biceps! It's Riley, the handsome attorney from Tayshia's season. And naturally, he is the man that Tahz came to Paradise for. Indeed, she's so flustered by Riley's arrival that she can barely bring herself to say hello to him. Don't worry, honey — you won't have to talk to him for long, because it looks like he's going to pull in every other woman for a pre-date chat before he pulls you. But after Riley talks to Maurissa, Tammy, Demi, Natasha, Deandra, and Mari, he finally grabs Tahz. "I was hoping that you were going to walk down those stairs," she gushes. "You're the only person that I wanted to meet down here… I go after what I want." Aww, poor Tre!

Bachelor in Paradise GIF
Credit: ABC

Actually, Tre has nothing to worry about — because Riley asks Maurissa on a date. And she says yes. Sorry, Connor! But your ukulele skillz pale in comparison to Captain Biceps' overall charm. "I think Connor should be extremely worried," notes Kenny, whose chyron simply reads "40 year old," as though that's his job.

Correction: Tre does have something to worry about. After being rejected by Riley, Tahz stomps off in a huff. "Is she, like, upset that she didn't get taken on a date?" he wonders aloud. "Oh, f---."

Wait, how is Serena and Thomas' date still going on? And why does he think there would be a "side pickle" packed with the fruit in their picnic basket? As they sip their sangria in the sand (try saying that five times fast), Serena nudges Thomas to talk about why all the guys on Katie's season hated him. As with all of Thomas' answers about anything, this one is meandering, confusing, and evasive. First, he blames Tre for not being "emotionally strong"; then he blames Aaron for being "full of s---"; and he also describes himself as "a big ol' teddy bear who just wants to love on everybody."

Everyone watching is probably yelling, "Sure, Jan!" at their TV screens. But what about Serena? Is she buying what Thomas is selling? Now that they're finally, finally back from their date, it's time for the moment of truth. Does Serena want to be with Thomas or Grocery Joe?

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Credit: ABC

Huzzah! She chose wisely! "I told him he should pursue other people," Serena informs Joe, who breaks into a massive grin upon hearing the news. "I was just like, 'Thanks for taking me, but I was super overwhelmed by all the information you gave me… and I'm not one to want to be near any of the drama.'" In other words, "F-boy, f-bye." (Sorry, wrong show.)

Thomas, meanwhile, is very annoyed. How is he supposed to get a fair shake in Paradise when his past crappy actions made everyone hate him? Life is just so cruel. After getting the brush-off from Serena, Thomas decides to go clear the air with the guys from Katie's season. "I get it. There was a lot of [bleep] that happened," he says. "That's why I just want to apologize to all of you guys for every single wrong that I've done. I was an a--hole." Thomas says he's sorry for taking extra time with Katie, for lying to the guys about his behavior at the time, and for generally just being a dick.

So, are Aaron, James, and Tre willing to accept Thomas' apology and move forward? Um… yes and no. Aaron and James are all, Thanks. Now please stay the eff away from us. Tre, though, is a bit more open-minded. "I appreciate that," he tells Thomas, shaking his hand. "I'm not perfect," he explains. "I've made mistakes, so I want to offer the grace to people that I've been given."

Hold that thought, sir. Over on another daybed, Serena is filling the gang in on why she kicked Thomas to the curb. "I didn't really like the way he was speaking about Tre," she says. "He just said that Tre has been through a lot… and needs to be, like, given love and support because he, like, emotionally isn't, like, strong… I just remember sitting there like, 'Why are you talking about Tre like you're his father?'"

Good question, Serena! If you found yourself getting hot under the collar when Thomas started bad-mouthing Tre, you are not alone, rose lovers. Nobody on the beach is gonna stand for that kind of slander. Tahz immediately marches over to Tre and informs him that Thomas called him "emotionally immature." Tre, in turn, marches over to Thomas to call him out on his endless BS.

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Credit: ABC

"This is going to be the last conversation I intentionally have with you," Tre says calmly. When Thomas tries to interject and defend himself, Tre just cuts him off — "Wish you the best of luck… Have a good life. Go crazy, bro" — and then walks away.

Somehow, this episode still isn't over yet. It's time for Maurissa's date with Riley — and even before it starts, it seems that Connor is already a distant memory. Hint number one: She arrives on the beach in a flowy, cleavage-baring leopard-print gown. Hint number two: When Connor asks her to chat quickly before she leaves for the date, she demurs. There will be no reassurance for you tonight, sir! "Have fun," Connor says weakly. "I'm excited I got to see you in your outfit." Oh boy, that is just sad.

Riley and Maurissa head out to the Playa Mita resort for their fancy dinner date. Did you know this is the first real date Maurissa's ever been on? (Apparently mini golf doesn't count.) Weirdly enough, Lance Bass is at the restaurant to greet them. "Love is all about honesty and trying new things," he says. "Tonight I have come up with a very special menu for you both."

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Credit: ABC

Tongue? Chicken feet? Larvae? A pig snout? What the hell is this Fear Factor nonsense? Turns out, it's truth or dare — vomit edition! "The rules are simple," chirps Lance. "You either answer the question, or you're gonna have to eat something that I tell you to eat." Ostensibly, the goal is to help Riley and Maurissa get to know each other — but seriously, what's to stop either of them from just flat-out lying?

The questions are pretty tame ("Have you ever slid into a celebrity's DMs?"). But when Lance asks them to reveal how many sexual partners they've each had, Riley and Maurissa would rather nosh on something nasty than reveal that information on national TV. 

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Riley gives Maurissa some tongue.
| Credit: ABC

While neither of them wants to reveal their most embarrassing moment (mmmm, tripe!), Riley and Maurissa have no trouble answering more risqué questions, like "How many times a week do you masturbate?" ("Every day!" Maurissa announces. "I'm a very sexual person.") It doesn't take long for the two of them to begin smooching in front of Lance Bass. Cut to Lance in his confessional: "It was so awkward when they first kissed! I didn't know if I was supposed to look away or keep staring at them, but they did not care."

(No, I refuse to talk about Connor on the beach playing his ukulele and singing that stupid song he says he wrote for Katie. Moving on…)

Rose lovers, don't you just hate it when you're on a reality TV dating show in Mexico and the entire resort is overrun by crabs? So does Tahzjuan.

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Credit: ABC

"Nothing is safe!" she yelps. "I have endured bugs, birds, everything here! I can't do crabs. I can't do all this nature. I can't!" To be honest, I might watch an entire episode of Tahz freaking out about beach creatures. Somehow, the producer convinces Tahz to hold the crab (or, more accurately, hold the cardboard that it's sitting on). Though she's still bummed that Riley didn't ask her out, and she's also a little bummed that Tre didn't use Riley's arrival as a prompt to come talk to her about their relationship, Tahz is still willing to give Tre another chance — because Mr. Crab said so.

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Credit: ABC

"I would like to make this work with Tre," she says. "I want to get to know him even more."

Hey, do you remember Brendan? You know, the guy who spent the entire last episode fending off rumors that he was dating Pieper from Matt's season before arriving in Paradise? Well, if he's hoping to get Natasha's rose this week, he had better step things up. For whatever reason, she's still willing to give him a chance even after the whole Pieper situation — but she's also disappointed that he hasn't once tried to plant one on her. "I'm used to dating people who are more intentional," she says with a sigh. "But Brendan… he is very avoidant."

Rumors that he has a girlfriend back home + reluctance to kiss you = move on, Natasha! But she really likes him, poor girl, so instead of walking away, she asks Brendan if he's just waiting around for someone else to arrive in Paradise. "All I can tell you is that I'm starting to like you more and more every day," he replies. "And that's a good thing." Maybe, but the lack of physical chemistry between them is palpable. "You should go to bed," Natasha says. "I'll probably just stay here for a little bit." Once he's gone, she begins to cry. Ugh. Paradise gods, send a hot dude for Natasha — stat!

At least things are going well for Maurissa and Riley. Over their (real) dinner, they talk about looking for "love" and wanting to settle down and have kids one day. Maurissa reveals that at one point her self-esteem was so low, she stopped taking care of herself and gained 80 pounds. "People treated me different," she says sadly. Riley assures her that she's beautiful at any size. "You've got a beautiful soul," he says. "You light up the room." Then they smooch. They smooch at the table, they smooch outside the restaurant, they smooch and smooch and smooch. "I know a place we can go," whispers Riley. And that place is…

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Not looking good for Connor, tbh.
| Credit: ABC

Dang! They ended their first date in the "boom-boom room"? Oh boy, Connor — I hope you have a song about getting dumped written down in your little notebook. Annoyingly, we'll have to wait until Monday to watch Maurissa break Connor's heart. Until then, rose lovers, a few questions: Do you think anyone will give their rose to Thomas? Is Brendan the most complicated person on Earth or a conman? And how long before someone smashes Connor's ukulele like John Belushi in Animal House? Post your thoughts below!

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Bachelor in Paradise

The Bachelor goes international with a cast of former bachelors and bachelorettes looking for love… and a chance to extend their reality fame.

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