In the season 16 premiere of The Bachelorette, 39-year-old Clare Crawley meets 30 men — including one who leaves her nearly breathless.
The Bachelorette

It’s been a long 31 weeks, rose lovers. How’ve you been? Anything… stressful or unprecedented been going on in your lives the past seven-plus months? Nah, me neither. But hey, I’m so glad to be back with you and recapping The Bachelorette: Clare Searches for “Love” in a Pandemic Bubble Before Peacing Out Early (Reportedly).

Team Bachelorette kicks things off with an extended teaser that (mostly) confirms all the rumors we’ve been hearing about Clare’s “journey.” (And by “we,” I mean anyone who’s been on the interwebs anytime between March and this exact moment.)

Rumor 1: Clare falls hard and fast for one of her guys, Dale Moss.

We see Dale exit the limo and give the Bachelorette a big bear hug. As he walks inside. “I definitely feel like I just met my husband,” gushes a shaky Clare. “When Dale stepped out of the limo, it was like love at first sight.”

Need more proof?

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

Welp, I guess we can consider that rumor confirmed. On to the next!

Rumor 2: Clare quits as Bachelorette, and Tayshia steps in as replacement.

Okay, so here producers are playing it a bit coyer — though I’m not sure why. We see Chris Harrison, our Bachelor Nation lord and savior, informing the guys that the show has “never dealt with anything like this” in its 18-year history. We see a stunned Riley (30, Long Island City) saying, “I didn’t expect the process to be cut short,” while high-haired Kenny (39, Chicago) wonders, “Do we get a new Bachelorette in here?”

Yes, but clearly producers aren’t ready to admit it yet. Tayshia is nowhere to be found in the “this-season-on” super-tease… unless this is the back of her head?

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

Either way, let’s consider rumor No. 2 half-confirmed. With that taken care of, let the “journey” begin!

Cue Chris Harrison. He strolls out onto a pretty but unfamiliar courtyard and announces that the coronavirus has affected everything about our lives, including “how we fall in love.” Legitimate LOL, buddy. But hey, I know he’s just trying to explain how the show wound up at a golf resort in Palm Springs, and more importantly, how production “did everything we could to make this beautiful place COVID-free, and hopefully full of love.”

I don’t think any of us need a refresher on Clare’s history with this franchise (click here if you do), so let’s skip ahead to the pandemic.

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

I’ll admit, I had to pause for a good three minutes to laugh at this shot. Is this what “sheltering at home” looks like for ANYONE? But the rest of Clare’s quarantine footage is pretty relatable: Baking, bed-head, making funny dog videos, and missing family. “It’s really hard for me to not be able to see her, to not be able to hug her,” says Clare of her mother, who has Alzheimer’s and lives in a care facility. “It’s hard.” (As someone who hasn’t seen her own mother in person since February, I get it.)

Once production finally got going at the La Quinta resort, Clare had to wait a few days to get her COVID-19 test results, because no one wants this season of The Bachelorette to turn into a super-spreader event. What’s that, Chris Harrison? Clare’s is officially COVID-free? It’s finally time to “get this show going”?

The Bachelorette gif
Credit: ABC

Roll the hot-men-in-quarantine montage! You see, the standard “guy walks around his hometown and cooks a meal with his grandma whose marriage he wants to emulate” package is a no-go in these COVID times. Instead, we get quick, self-shot glimpses of a handful of guys sitting around their hotel rooms. And when they’re not sitting around their rooms…

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

That unhappy but civically-responsible gentleman is Eazy, a 29-year-old sports marketing agent from California. Other gents featured in the segment include Demar (26, spin instructor); Brendan (30, roofer); and Ed (36, health care salesman). Our first Canadian of the bunch is Mike, a 38-year-old digital media advertiser, who seems to have fashioned his own “Clare” out of a random collection of hotel-room objects.

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

Love the creative use of coffee creamers. And now for our first d-bag of the season:

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

“I went to Harvard, I’m a proud alum,” says Bennet. “They call it the ‘H-bomb’ when you drop that [into conversation].” Wow, he’s an Ivy League snob and a financial dude-bro from New York? It’s as if American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman stepped off the page and into La Quinta! [Dreamy sigh]

A few more quick hellos: Ivan, the 28-year-old aeronautical engineer from Dallas, kills time by playing chess against himself; Yosef, a 30-year-old medical device salesman, has a daughter at home; former Army Ranger Ben, 29, doesn’t mind isolation and he knows how to juggle.

Hold up, we have our first salmon jacket of the season!

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

Happy to see Eazy keeping the tradition alive. Tyler Cameron would be so proud.

Alas, producers couldn’t milk as much time out of the quarantine segment as they usually get from the “meet the men” packages, so we’re treated to a different kind of filler: A Clare-Harrison fireside chat. Our Bachelorette says she’s looking for someone with “depth,” and she’s ready for “hard conversations.” Six years after she first stepped foot into the Bachelor universe, Clare is a new woman — a confident, take-no-crap woman — and she’s ready to find a good man like her dear, departed dad. “I want to get married and engaged to the right man,” she says. “And this is where I expect that to happen.” Oh, honey, you know better than that.

Finally, it’s limo time!

Ben, 29: He’s tall, he served our country, he knows the power of a cleansing breath… what’s not to love? (Please don’t turn out to be awful.)

Riley, 30: Technically speaking, his intro gag doesn’t even make sense. You’re an attorney, so you’re finding Clare “guilty as charged” for looking beautiful? Fine, but attorneys don’t render verdicts… they just argue the cases… Couldn’t you have just told Clare that she needs to “lawyer up” because it’s against the law to look that good? Sorry rose lovers, I’m overthinking this. Riley seems cute, and I’ll admit, his spiel made me laugh.

Zac C., 36: An addiction specialist from New Jersey. Believes “everything happens for a reason.” (It doesn’t.)

Jordan M., 30: Holy crap, this cybersecurity engineer from California is so tall, they don’t make pants long enough to fit him!

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

Jason, 31: The former football player from Virginia arrives with a “pregnant” belly — a nice callback to Clare’s original limo exit on Juan Pablo’s season.

Ivan, 28: We already know he’s smart (he’s an aeronautical engineer, after all), but who knew he was bilingual? At least, he can say “Maganda ka,” which means “you’re very beautiful” in Tagalog.

Kenny, 39: This boy-band manager (!) from Chicago bowls Clare over by arriving in a T-shirt featuring a painting of her two dogs. (Thank God it was a gag — if Kenny had shown up in a T-shirt for any other reason, he’d be dead to me.)

Brendan, 30: The roofer has a strong bow-tie game.

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

Mike, 38: Though he didn’t bring his coffee-creamer-Clare creation in the limo with him, at least he brought the Bachelorette some sandals from the gift shop in case her feet get tired in heels.

Jeremy, 40: “I promise that I’m not here for me,” says the banker from D.C. “I’m actually here for you.” We’ll be the judge of that, buddy.

Blake Monar, 31: A “male grooming specialist”? Well, it’s not as ridiculous as “boy band manager,” but we’ll take it.

Tyler C., 27: This lawyer from West Virginia shows up in an old-school station wagon (complete with fake-wood paneling) to prove to Clare that he’s ready for domestic life: Kids, a few dogs, etc. It’s reminiscent of Garrett’s minivan entrance on Becca’s season, but hopefully, Clare’s “love” story will have a happier ending.

Bennett, 36: A rented Rolls Royce, suede loafers with no socks, and a full-on tuxedo (complete with a white scarf) — Harvard sure is going the extra mile to solidify his title as the season’s biggest tool.

Blake Moynes, 29: Oh, so that’s why the previous Blake was identified by his full name — otherwise we’d have two Blake M.’s! Mystery solved. This Blake M. is a wildlife manager from Ontario.

Chris, 27: Hmmm… I could use a “landscape design salesman.” My yard looks like crap. In other news, this guy seems nice, and I dig his floral tie.

AJ, 28: Props to this software salesman from California for leading with this: “All my friends tell me I give terrible first impressions.” And AJ is a man of his word: He squeezes Clare’s hands so hard, she yelps in pain.

Joe, 36: I absolutely loved this dorky-cute anesthesiologist’s bit with the stethoscope and “I’m here to save your love life” joke. He’s adorable. She’ll never pick him.

Garin, 34: This journalism professor from California admits to being “kinda fun.”

Robby, 31: He’s an insurance broker from Florida and kind of looks like every other white guy who’s ever been on this show.

Eazy, 29: After bursting through a banner reading “your future husband,” the football player informs Clare that she will always be his “first-round draft pick.” I’m guessing that’s a sports thing.

Jay, 29: This fitness director from Florida shows up in a straightjacket… because he’s been going crazy in quarantine. Get it? But to give credit where it’s due, Jay appears to keep the damn thing on all night.

Hey, look! It’s Robocop!

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

Just joshin’. But Chasen, 31, does not go the whole “knight in shining armor” route. Instead, he strips off the suit and announces that he can be vulnerable: “I just shredded my armor for you.” Solid. Points for avoiding the obvious cliché, Chasen. (Also, is “Chasen” actually a name? Discuss.)

Demar, 26: “I may have fallen for you already,” the spin instructor tells Clare. Oh, did I forget to tell you that he was wearing a parachute? Sorry, that’s kind of important to the joke.

Ed, 36: The poor guy sounded like he was working really hard to maneuver that ginormous plastic Zorb ball across the flagstone patio. But hey, it was worth it for the “bubble” joke, I guess.

Yosef, 30: This man arrived with a plate of moon pies for Clare. Honestly, more men should show up to dates with baked goods.

Jordan C., 26: Popcorn? Sorry, Mr. Software Account Executive from New York, but not all carbs are created equal. (See: The aforementioned moon pies.)

Zach J., 37: Ah, the old fake proposal gag. But wait, rose lovers — this one comes with sound effects!

Bachelorette gif

Yeah, Clare seems like a woman who appreciates a fart joke. No notes.

Brandon, 28: This real estate agent from Ohio is probably too young for the Bachelorette, but he is the only guy to kiss Clare on the cheek — and she LOVES it.

Dale, 31: Well hey, it’s the former pro football player from South Dakota — also known as the man Clare immediately wants to marry. Like, immediately. Just look at her:

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

“I knew it!” Clare gushes. “I definitely feel like I just met my husband.” She’s giddy and breathless. “With Dale, everything else went dark around me,” Clare explains to Harrison. “I felt everything that I haven’t felt… ever.” The host is a little taken aback. “Um… you know there’s more [guys] to come?” Yeah, she knows. “I mean, obviously, I’d love to meet everybody,” giggles Clare. Man, sucks to be the dudes in the last limo.

Page, 37: He’s a chef, and he’s from Austin. He’s not Dale.

Tyler S., 36: A music manager from Texas. He is also not Dale.

Wait, that’s it? Okay, then — it’s cocktail party time! It doesn’t really seem worth going into detail about too many of these chats, so here are the highlights: Fart Box pulls Clare first, but fortunately he does not bring the flatulent toy with him this time. After a cordial but somewhat chemistry-free chat with Eazy, Clare sits down with Dale. They bond over the difficulty of being away from loved ones during quarantine (Dale’s sister has “underlying health issues” so he can’t visit her), and Dale says he watched Clare’s Bachelorette debut on Good Morning America and loved her confidence. Plus, they’re both empaths!

We interrupt this recap to bring you a screenshot of Clare’s fluffy dog Honey, who just burst into the cocktail party.

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

In other cute news: Joe the anesthesiologist made Clare an entire tray of origami animals!

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

“It made me smile. It made me feel good,” says the Bachelorette. Hmmm… maybe he does have a chance after all? (Just kidding: He’s not Dale.) When the first impression rose makes its appearance, Yosef informs us that he’s a lock. “She deserves only the best,” he says. “And I promise you, I’m the best.” Yosef makes his play with Clare by assuring her that he’s going to show her “how a woman is supposed to be treated.”

Sorry buddy, but a station-wagon-driving lawyer is about to call BS on your butt. According to Tyler C., Yosef has been acting “reckless” on Instagram, sliding into a whole bunch of DMs even after being cast on the show. (He apparently found out from a friend-of-a-friend who Yosef allegedly hit up.) When Tyler C. pulls Yosef aside to talk to him about the sordid social media shenanigans, the single dad says he doesn’t remember trolling for hotties on Instagram.

But Yosef is obviously pretty pissed at “mini-McConaughey” (I’ll admit, the nickname made me laugh), because he immediately tracks down Clare and tells her that Tyler C. is “trying to drag my name through the mud.” Uh-uh. The Bachelorette is having none of this.

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

Hoo boy, poor Tyler C. didn’t realize what kind of skilled sleazeball he’s dealing with. When he explains to Clare that a friend told him Yosef was sending mass messages to chicks on Instagram, Yosef is all, I would never! I’m here for you. I have to set a good example for my daughter! and so on and so forth. You know what that means: Now Tyler C. is the one who looks like an a-hole! It never fails, does it rose lovers?

Speaking of bad boys, apparently Blake Moynes (Canadian, beard, wildlife expert) chose to ignore Team Bachelorette’s pre-production rules and actually contacted the Bachelorette during quarantine. But you know what? She LOVED it. “You broke the rule,” says Clare, her voice once again quavery with emotion. “But I want you to know that that time you broke the rule meant everything to me.” It turns out, Canadian Blake’s message came at a time when the Bachelorette was really “struggling” (her mom had just had a bad fall), and she appreciated his kind words. How much, you ask?

Bachelorette frame grab
Credit: ABC

First kiss of the night, that’s how much! Still, Dale gets a kiss and the First Impression Rose… because of course he does.

Tink tink tink! Harrison arrives with his Butter Knife of Bad News, which means it’s time to wrap this first night up — even though Clare hasn’t been able to talk to all of her potential husbands. Sorry guys, but the sun’s coming up and production needs at least a few hours' sleep. Let’s do this!

Rose ceremony roll call: Canadian Blake, Eazy, Ben, Riley, Fart Box, Tyler S., Joe the anesthesiologist (!), Jason, Demar, Chasen, Jordan C., Other Blake, Kenny, Brendan, Garin, Ed, Bennett, Zac C., Jay, Brandon, Ivan, and Yosef join Dale in the “keep” pile.

That means we must say goodbye to Tattletale Tyler C. (of course), Mike, Chris, Page, Jeremy, Jordan M., and AJ. See you later, fellas! Maybe literally — will they be back when Tayshia (allegedly) takes over as Bachelorette? Who knows! All we know for sure is that Clare really, really digs Dale — and if the “this season on” tease is to be believed, the guys think Dale is actually a “phony,” “fraudulent,” and “fake.” Maybe so, but all signs point to “she picks him and walks away.”

And just to drive home that point, the episode ends with footage of Harrison standing in the courtyard as another limo drives up to La Quinta. OMG who could it be inside? (Rhetorical question.)

Well, rose lovers, was it worth the wait? How many episodes of “Clare pretends to be interested in guys other than Dale” do you think we’ll have to watch before Tayshia shows up? And honestly, was there anything cuter than Joe’s origami zoo? Post your thoughts below!

Related content:

Episode Recaps

The Bachelorette

One single woman searches for her future husband amid a sea of studs in this romantic reality series. Will you accept this rose?

  • TV Show
  • 18